Andrew Braunsberg

Andrew Braunsberg

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Blood For Dracula Review


Bad
Those requiring proof that Criterion is capable of releasing sub-par movies from time to time need look no further than Blood for Dracula, a Andy Warhol co-production that ranks among one of the worst and least faithful Dracula intepretations ever made. Udo Kier is Dracula, played as a villain so frail he vomits blood ever 10 minutes. He needs virgin blood, but all the lasses he encounters are strangely, um, experienced. Cute premise, but it's played straight, with nary an (intentional) laugh.

Macbeth Review


Very Good
Roman Polanski has seen his share of violence in the real world, so it's not too surprising that the Shakespearian play he opted to direct was Macbeth, which follows a series of bloody murders and a rapidly descent into madness. Made shortly after the Sharon Tate murders, there's a disturbing resonance when Macbeth's gang of wild-eyed assassins butchers noble MacDuff's wife and children.

The production design is murky, as though everything were taking place after a storm, with the actors wearing drab brown under heavy, tangled hair and beards. Everyone looks grim and unhappy, and they don't emote very much. The killers, including Jon Finch's Macbeth, stumble semi-moronically into their choices -- even would-be good guy MacDuff (Terence Bayler) comes off as less of a heroic avenger than an ignorant thug.

Continue reading: Macbeth Review

The Tenant Review


Excellent
Another classic Roman Polanski freak-out, new to DVD. It's The Tenant, the ultimate look at paranoia and real estate.

In the film, Polanski plays a quiet man who moves into a small apartment recently vacated by a woman who committed suicide by jumping out of the window -- for unknown reasons. Polanski's Trelkovsky quickly becomes embroiled in mysterious goings-on, including a dalliance with a stranger (Isabelle Adjani) he encounters at the hospital while visiting the former tenant's death bed, endless creepy apartment-mates, and a slow descent into insanity as he becomes obsessed with the life of the former tenant.

Continue reading: The Tenant Review

Being There Review


Extraordinary
If we're to believe 2004's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, the Briton who seemingly defined the term "comic actor" was an angry shell of a man, a vacant vessel who stumbled his way through life. Given that, could there be a more brilliant or appropriate final hurrah for Sellers than Being There?

In his final big role before his death, Sellers brings to life a man called Chance, a feeble-minded and quiet middle-aged gardener in a Washington, D.C. mansion he's never left. Chance's life - which consists of tending to the small garden, taking meals prepared by another servant, and watching and mimicking television - is shattered when the patron of the manse passes away and the house is sold, forcing Chance out into the harsh world he's never experienced.

Continue reading: Being There Review

Flesh For Frankenstein Review


Good
Camp is an understatement. This film, a partial product of the Andy Warhol art machine, reinvents the Frankenstein story as a sexed-up tale of incest, dismemberment, and 3-D gore, all ending in a slaughter on par with Hamlet... if it was written by John Waters. Horror fans will love it, as will friends of bizarro cinema. The rest of you are well-advised to steer clear.
Andrew Braunsberg

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