Wednesday, March 1, 2023

February Quick Picks and Pans


Cannibal Poster

Cannibal (2013) Carlos loves women… as food. He works as a tailor in the city, while indulging in his culinary hobby in a secluded mountain cabin. His rituals are thrown into disarray when a young woman (Olimpia Melinte) moves into his apartment building, plunging him into an existential crisis. Rather than dwelling on the sordid details of Carlos’ macabre lifestyle, director/co-writer Manuel Martín Cuenca presents a character study of a deeply conflicted man. Antonio de la Torre’s measured, idiosyncratic performance as Carlos is oddly mesmerizing – portraying a man who can only enjoy intimacy with women through eating them. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a fascinating, surprisingly subtle portrait of sociopathy.     

Rating: ****. Available on Blu-ray and Kanopy

The Moviegoer Poster

The Moviegoer (2023) Filmmaker Ross Munro’s (follow him on Twitter @rossbrew)  semiautobiographical love letter to the movies (told with a combination of animation and still images) is seen through the perspective of a preadolescent boy and his cinematic crush for a fictional Venezuelan actress. Set in 1972 and narrated by Munro, The Moviegoer features an homage to the late great Raquel Welch (with a parody of Kansas City Bomber) and ‘70s sexploitation movies (with some saucy Swedish stewardesses). Running a scant 19 minutes, Munro’s short film is part tall tale/part fact, but (as Werner Herzog would likely attest) only in the service of a greater truth.  

Rating: ****. Not available (yet), but watch for it at the American Documentary & Film Festival (and hopefully a film festival near you!).


4D Man Poster

4D Man (1959) Producer Jack H. Harris’ follow-up to The Blob (also filmed in Pennsylvania), is comparatively lower key but more thoughtful. Dr. Scott Nelson (Robert Lansing) oversees a research team (including his younger brother, Tony). Meanwhile, Tony (James Congdon) spends his spare moments pursuing an invention that enables objects to pass through solid matter via the amplification of brain waves. Scott duplicates the experiment, permanently transforms his body in the process. He can walk through walls, but a side effect of the process is that he begins to rapidly age (the only way to slow his condition is to sap years of life energy from other people). 4D Man is a bit on the talky side, taking its time introducing the main characters and establishing a love triangle between the brothers and a pretty lab assistant (Lee Meriwether, in her first feature film role). Once it builds momentum, however, it grabs hold and doesn’t let go. Unfairly overshadowed by its contemporaries, 4D Man deserves to be rediscovered as a forgotten ‘50s sci-fi gem. 

Rating: ***½. Available on Blu-ray and DVD


Crazy Love Poster 

Crazy Love (1987) Not to be confused with the 2007 documentary with the same name this story in three acts is based on the work of Charles Bukowski (the third act adapts his story, “The Copulating Mermaid of Venice Beach”). Set over a 21-year span, Belgian director/co-writer Dominique Deruddere focuses on Harry (played by Geert Hunaerts and Josse De Pauw), who’s perennially unlucky in love and life. It’s a sporadically humorous, often painful look at the perils of adolescence and the lost dreams of adulthood. 

Rating: ***½. Available on DVD

Dark Places Poster

Dark Places (1974) Edward Foster inherits an old mansion and its hidden fortune from a deceased mental patient. Unscrupulous brother and sister Ian and Sarah Mandeville (Christopher Lee and Joan Collins), along with unprincipled attorney Prescott (Herbert Lom), plot to cheat him out of his inheritance. Foster’s sanity gradually erodes, amidst a series of strange occurrences. The film enjoys a languid pace (some might just call it slow), taking its time to reach a surprise ending that probably won’t surprise anyone. It’s a mildly entertaining thriller, despite the reprehensible insinuation that mental illness correlates with homicidal behavior. 

Rating: ***. Available on Blu-ray (available individually or part of The Eurocrypt of Christopher Lee Collection 2)




  1. I have to say, Barry, you make all of these films sound very intriguing in their own ways! I am most curious about cannibal and 4D man!

    1. Thanks, John! It was a very good batch of movies (not a clunker among them). 4D Man was surprisingly good, and Cannibal exceeded my expectations. :)