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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

El Mejor Verle Con, Mi Querido 2/28

I saw a couple of foreign films during the last weekend that I thought I'd share with you.

Cronos (1993)

The plot: An ancient device finds its way into the hands of an old antique dealer with unexpected and dire consequences.

Anybody else out there like vampire movies? Yeah, I thought so. Cronos, an early film for director Guillermo Del Toro (Blade 2, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), throws an interesting spin on the familiar undead fable. Very creepy and very clever, if I have one complaint about this movie, it's that it's entirely too short. I wanted more of the story. I wanted more of Federico Luppi's haunting performance as the gentle old man reluctantly transformed into an immortal creature of the night.
This movie isn't for everybody. There is definitely an "ick" factor here, which normally I don't care for, but this movie is so visually powerful that I was willing to overlook it.
Oh yeah, Ron Perlman is in it, too. That alone gives it instant cult status.

Zorro (1975)

The plot: Oh come on, it's Zorro! Corrupt officials are oppressing the underprivileged villagers. A hero dons a black cape and mask and gives them what for with a sword and a bullwhip. Ole'!

This was a movie that I had some trouble tracking down for a long time. You see, I'm an awfully big Zorro fan, and I intend to see every movie, television show, or serial ever made about the masked avenger. This "spaghetti western" version of the swashbuckling adventure has been out of circulation for quite a while.
It's a shame, too, because, while the Spanish/Italian (even IMDb doesn't seem to be clear which country this film belongs to) sense of humor may be a bit quirky for American audiences, the cinematography and action sequences are impressive. The final sword fight is over ten minutes long! French actor Alain Delon makes for a very charismatic Zorro and chews scenery masquerading as the foppish governor, and Stanley Baker is excellent as the villainous Colonel Huerta.
If you can find this film, I definitely recommend it for fans of Zorro or just fans of adventure films in general.

Current Denver Theatre Recommendations:
Paragon's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune running through March 10th.
Metro State's Once On This Island running through March 4th.

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