Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972, Directed by Lucio Fulci) Italian 6

Starring Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milian, Florinda Bolkan, Marc Borel, Irene Papas, Georges Wilson

Don't Torture a Duckling Review | Blu-ray Review | The Digital Fix

(6-Good Film)

Creepy. Lurid. Grisly.

 Tagline: A classic tale of the perverse from director Lucio Fulci.

The majority of the Italian giallo films that I’ve seen have the same fascinations; a string of grisly murders, an unlikely hero trying to get to the bottom of it, for starters. Don’t Torture a Duckling is a little more thoughtful than most. A small superstitious town in Southern Italy deals with the unsolved murders of several school-aged boys. The local police and a clever news reporter investigate. Unlike other giallo films that I’ve seen, rather than following one protagonist, Don’t Torture a Duckling follows several characters at different times. It’s the town that’s the focus; how they handle these tragedies, how everyone has blood on their hands. Fulci gives the film a genuine psychological element that makes it stand out among its peers. It’s interesting work and, like most murder-mysteries, very entertaining. It does, however, become a little hokey in parts, a little melodramatic.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-


Floating Weeds (1959, Directed by Yasujirō Ozu) Japanese 5

Starring Ganjirō Nakamura, Machiko Kyō, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Haruko Sugimura, Ayako Wakao

Image result for floating weeds 1959

(5-Okay Film)

Vibrant. Meandering. Monotonous.

A traveling theater troupe arrive at an idyllic town by the sea. Their leader reconnects with a former lover and their son that’s grown up without him. The leader’s mistress grows jealous, and schemes to get him back. Kayo, a young actress, gets wrapped up in this plot. This all sounds more overwrought than the film actually plays.  Introductions to foreign masters can be precarious to me. As my first Ozu film, I was impressed deeply by the visual design (color and his famous use of static shots). I was disappointed, however, by the general feeling of apathy I held towards its characters. The troupe leader, who I’ve read in other reviews is perceived as touching to most, is simply boorish to me.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-


The Magician (1958, Directed by Ingmar Bergman) Swedish 4

Starring Max Von Sydow,  Ingrid Thulin,  Gunnar Björnstrand, Naima Wifstrand, Bibi Andersson

Image result for the magician 1958

(4-Bad Film)

Boring. Pretentious. Rubbish.

A traveling troupe of magic performers land in a town where skeptics vow to expose them. Odd psychological games begin, but the film suffers from the renowned Bergman’s tendency towards incessant talking-about nothing. Though Bergman has films in his massive and heralded filmography that I admire, he has many more like this one that I find sleep-inducing. His insistence on talking rather than visualizing his ideas keeps me from embracing him.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-


The Mermaid (2016, Directed by Stephen Chow) Mandarin 6

Starring Deng Chao, Lin Yun, Show Luo, Zhang Yuqi

Image result for the mermaid 2016

(6-Good Film)

Goofy. Inspired. Crazy.

Completely bonkers update of the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the Little Mermaid, a beautiful young mermaid along with her suffering merpeople plot to assassinate the selfish billionaire playboy (Chao) responsible for polluting their home. Chow has developed his own comic style over a couple decades of filmmaking. This, his biggest hit, features his staples: over the top CGI, cartoonish violence, extremely broad humor, and an engaging hero. Audacious in its ridiculousness, I eventually became engaged in the film as it progressed.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-