The Films of Dario Argento
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
The Cat O'Nine Tails (October 12/05)
After a series of mysterious murders, an investigative reporter (James Franciscus) and a blind puzzle maker (Karl Malden) must team up in order to solve the case - which also involves shady dealings at an ominous research facility. Written and directed by Dario Argento, The Cat O'Nine Tails surely marks the filmmaker's attempt at a Hitchcockian thriller; the problem is, though, that the mystery at the movie's core just isn't interesting. Argento attempts to compensate by throwing in superfluous characters and subplots - as well as a whole host of needless red herrings - but it's simply not enough to alleviate the viewer's crushing boredom. The disastrously overlong running time certainly doesn't help, nor does Argento's reliance on dialogue that's overly obvious and hopelessly stilted. The Cat O'Nine Tails is highly unlikely to appeal to anyone other than the most ardent Argento fan, and even those folks will be hard-pressed to find anything here worth embracing.
Four Flies on Grey Velvet
The Five Days
The Stendhal Syndrome
Phantom of the Opera
The Card Player
Do You Like Hitchcock? (May 31/08)
As one might've surmised from the title, Do You Like Hitchcock? is rife with references and allusions to the films of Alfred Hitchcock - as its storyline essentially incorporates elements from several of the Master of Suspense's more well-known efforts (including Psycho, Vertigo, and Strangers on a Train). And while one initially can't help but derive some enjoyment out of the various nods to Hitch's body of work, the lack of interesting characters or even a storyline worth following eventually becomes too insurmountable an obstacle for the movie to overcome. Elio Germano stars as Giulio, a film student who becomes convinced his beautiful neighbor across the street is up to no good and subsequently begins stalking the woman in an effort to prove her dastardly intentions. Director and co-writer Dario Argento has infused Do You Like Hitchcock? with an expectedly grandiose sense of style that admittedly carries the proceedings for a while, although there does reach a point at which the film's few positive attributes are essentially rendered moot by the almost oppressively sluggish pace (ie the entire midsection seems to solely revolve around Giulio's surreptitious pursuit of various suspects). That Argento has dialed down the gore quotient considerably compared to his other works certainly doesn't help matters, nor does the fact that Giulio remains a hopelessly underdeveloped and downright bland central character from start to finish. By the time the Rear Window inspired finale rolls around, Do You Like Hitchcock? has definitively established itself as a weak carbon copy that'll leave even the most passionate Argento follower wishing they had just watched the far superior originals.