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suspense

Grand Piano (2013)

DIRECTOR: Eugenio Mira

CAST: Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Kerry Bishe, Tamsin Egerton, Allen Leech, Alex Winter

REVIEW:

A Spanish production with an English-language cast (despite being set in Chicago, all interior sets were filmed in Spain, though some outside scenes were filmed in Chicago), Grand Piano had the most limited of theatrical releases, screening briefly at only one New York City theater, though for anyone interested (or anyone who even heard of its existence), it was available for online streaming.  Those who check it out will find a diverting but slightly silly little Hitchcockian-esque thriller which zips along with enough slickly-crafted style to be engaging in the moment, even if it ultimately builds up too many plot holes and flimsy elements. Continue reading

Signs (2002)

DIRECTOR: M. Night Shyamalan

CAST: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, Cherry Jones

REVIEW:

For his latest venture, The Sixth Sense helmer and thinly-veiled Hitchcokian wannabe M. Night Shyamalan has crafted a sparse, low-key thriller using an alien/home invasion scenario as a vehicle for a thinly-veiled parable about faith and predestination.

Continue reading

Panic Room (2002)

DIRECTOR: David Fincher

CAST:

Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam, Patrick Bauchau

REVIEW:

A slickly-crafted thriller that doesn’t quite reach the Hitchcockian levels it obviously aspires towards, but is good for a couple hours of engrossing entertainment nonetheless Continue reading

A Perfect Murder (1998)

DIRECTOR: Andrew Davis

CAST: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen, David Suchet

REVIEW:

A Perfect Murder is a slick, stylish Hitchockian thriller that serves up plenty of diabolical twists and turns (in fact, it’s a loose remake of Hitchcock’s 1954 film Dial M for Murder, although much is changed).  For fans of this genre, it’s a suitably devious little entry. Continue reading

Narrow Margin (1990)

DIRECTOR: Peter Hyams

CAST: Gene Hackman, Anne Archer, James B. Sikking, Nigel Bennett, Susan Hogan, J.T. Walsh, M. Emmet Walsh, Harris Yulin

REVIEW:

A loose remake of 1952’s The Narrow Margin, Narrow Margin is a nicely old-school, no-frills, lean and taut thriller that relies more on good old-fashioned cat-and-mouse suspense than flashy action sequences or special effects, with a brisk 99 minute runtime that gets in, gets the job done efficiently, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.  It might not be the deepest or most substantial experience, but for those simply seeking a good old-fashioned Hitchcockian suspense thriller, it’s a solidly diverting time. Continue reading

Alien (1979)

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

CAST:

Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartwright, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt

REVIEW:

In some ways, Alien could be seen as moving the Halloween-style slasher horror movie into outer space, but its achievement was more than that. While the best-known sci-fi at the time was the fairly lightweight Star Wars and Star Trek, with Alien Ridley Scott looked through the glass darkly. Continue reading

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