Sordid Cinema Podcast
Sordid Cinema Podcast #558: ‘Frailty’ Remains a Solid Horror Mystery

Sordid Cinema Podcast #558: ‘Frailty’ Remains a Solid Horror Mystery

October 26, 2020

Frailty Podcast Review

The late Bill Paxton’s 2001 directorial debut Frailty may have passed by unnoticed at the box office, but over time this low-budget, atmospheric horror film has maintained a steady appreciation. This week Rick and Patrick are joined by Montreal-based film writer and professor Matthew Hays to break down just what makes this underseen gem so good, as well as dive into its themes of religious piety and family dynamics. The story of a man who believes he has been chosen by God to destroy demons living as humans on earth delves into dark places, as this good-natured mechanic also turns his mission into a family affair – even as one of his sons thinks his father may be going insane.

From strong performances to an interesting script with an unreliable narrator, Frailty consistently engages the audience and is sure to surprise them as well with its many (too many?) twists. Join us as we sort out all the plot details and ponder the mysteries. How well does Frailty handle the supernatural elements? Would the film have worked even better with more ambiguity, or is the clarity of vision one of its strengths? For all this and more, have a listen!

Sordid Cinema Podcast #554: ‘Dressed to Kill’ is Draped in Stylish De Palma

Sordid Cinema Podcast #554: ‘Dressed to Kill’ is Draped in Stylish De Palma

July 29, 2020

Dressed to Kill Podcast Review

Though many may not rank it among his best (including our own Ricky D), Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill is nevertheless a perfect example of how a particular director can greatly enhance the material through individual craftsmanship and sensibilities. Sure, what should be a fairly simple story of a high-class call girl both investigating and fleeing from the mysterious woman she witnessed commit a bloody murder might get a bit needlessly convoluted and confusing thanks to De Palma’s screenplay, but there is never any doubt in the clarity of the visuals. The director brings his Hitchcockian best here, with several standout scenes worthy of discussion, including a virtuoso flirtation sequence in a museum, as well as a grisly slashing in an elevator.

 

In addition to the fantastic camerawork, Rick and Patrick also save some praise for the performances, many of which rise above the sometimes-hokey dialogue to create memorable characters (and yes, that praise includes Nancy Allen as call girl Liz). They also discuss De Palma’s influences, and though Dressed to Kill might seem like an overt homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho, it also owes something to giallo horror films of the day. These elements all come together to result in a stylish, adult thriller the likes of which modern audiences could use more of. But can Dressed to Kill still enjoy a wide appeal?

 

For all this and more, have a listen!

 

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #551: Why ‘La Haine’ is as Explosive 25 Years On

Sordid Cinema Podcast #551: Why ‘La Haine’ is as Explosive 25 Years On

June 16, 2020

La Haine Podcast Review

Twenty-five years ago, Mathieu Kassovitz’s French black-and-white drama crime drama La Haine sent shockwaves through the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation and the Best Director prize.

A story of social unrest, La Haine was inspired by three isolated incidents involving the killing of unarmed young people by police officers (including the famous case of the 17-year-old Congolese Makomé M’Bowolé) that led to three weeks of riots in Paris and surrounding areas.

Starring Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Vincent Cassel (in his breakout performance), La Haine is set over 19 consecutive hours in the lives of three young men living in the impoverished, multi-ethnic public housing complexes known as Chanteloup-les-Vignes. We follow the three of them in the aftermath of a riot in a banlieue that left their teenage friend Abdel comatose in a hospital after being brutally beaten by the police. When Vinz recovers a gun lost by a cop during the riot, he feels empowered and decides to take revenge.

Twenty years on, La Haine feels more relevant than ever. It’s arguably the best film made about systemic racism and police brutality— easily the best film released in 2015— and one of the most powerful pieces of urban cinema ever made. Today on the Sordid Cinema Podcast we reflect on the film’s lasting significance and why it holds a special place in our hearts.

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #549: ‘The Vast of Night’ is a Fantastic Sci-Fi Directorial Debut

Sordid Cinema Podcast #549: ‘The Vast of Night’ is a Fantastic Sci-Fi Directorial Debut

June 2, 2020

This week we take a break from reviving older classics to take a look at a recently released indie sci-fi gem called The Vast of Night. The film (now available on Amazon Prime) depicts a fateful evening in a small town in 1950s New Mexico as they host a rival high school basketball team for the big game, but also may be getting some visitors from even further out of town. It’s up to a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ to uncover the truth. Rick and Patrick are once again joined by critic Stephen Silver to discuss the many things that director Andrew Patterson does right in his feature debut, from virtuoso camerawork to the fantastic rhythm he develops using editing. We also praise the engaging performances of the film’s two leads, who anchor the entire production.

The Vast of Night promises sci-fi creeps along the lines of The Twilight Zone, but does it deliver on this? Do all the stylistic approaches work in supporting the story and tone? And just why is that basketball game so important?

For all this and more, have a listen to our breakdown of this wonderful little film!

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #547: ‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover’

Sordid Cinema Podcast #547: ‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover’

May 1, 2020

This week on the Sordid Cinema podcast, we discuss The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Peter Greenaway’s most successful film and some would argue his true masterpiece— although not to the taste of the average cinema goer.

 

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #534: ‘Super Dark Times’ and ‘Gerald’s Game’

Sordid Cinema Podcast #534: ‘Super Dark Times’ and ‘Gerald’s Game’

October 23, 2017

This week on the Sordid Cinema Podcast we discuss Gerald's Game, the latest big screen Stephen King adaptation and Super Dark Times, the feature debut of the incredibly talented director Kevin Phillips.

Sordid Cinema Podcast #531: Darren Aronofsky’s ‘mother!’

Sordid Cinema Podcast #531: Darren Aronofsky’s ‘mother!’

September 19, 2017

This week on the Sordid Cinema podcast we discuss Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, a thought-provoking, albeit disturbing vision that may be too unwieldy for mainstream tastes. mother! is everything we should expect from a good horror film, a film that gets a rise out of you and makes your palms sweat – your hands tightly grip onto the armrest – your eyes widen and your jaw drop. It’s a film that grabs your attention and dares you not to look away. mother! does all that and more – it offers the WTF disbelief and while we wouldn’t call it Aronofsky’s best movie, it sure left an impression.

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