Fritz Wepper

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Le Dernier Combat Review


Very Good
In the wake of 1982's post-apocalyptic powerhouse The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) theaters were glutted with cheap imitations. Anyone with access to a desert, some leather, beaten up cars and a few prop guns could make a post-apocalyptic film. Theatergoers thrilled by the prospects of seeing another Road Warrior were suckered into bottom-of-the-barrel rip-offs like Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone and Warrior of the Lost World. But most missed Luc Besson's (La Femme Nikita) 1983 take on post-apocalyptic life.

Operatic, furious, and unrelenting, The Road Warrior is nearly devoid of humanity. It is a vision of a world where the only escape from maddening chaos is blinding speed - moving as fast as possible along a road with no ending, no future. And The Road Warrior captures that nihilistic bent wholly. Le Dernier Combat approaches the same chaos - civilization reduced to rubble, humanity profaned - and suggests that the only way out is order, not escape. Besson sees the same world but with a fanciful eye. (While Le Dernier Combat was begun in color, it is Besson's stunning use of B&W Cinemascope that lends the film its polished, big-budget look. The style is "cinema du look," vogue in the '80s relying heavily on aesthetics over depth, consumer fetishism and "window shopping.")

Continue reading: Le Dernier Combat Review

Cabaret Review


Good
Liza Minnelli's most famous work has her star as American singer Sally Bowles in 1930s Germany, where she falls for two men (including one bisexual) while trying to make ends meet singing at the Kit Kat Club, all while the Nazi rise to power builds around them. Much-lauded, Fosse's look at pre-Nazi Germany is pretty uneven and uninspired -- his work is far better when we're inside the Kit Kat Club where there's singing and dancing to be had. Also of note, the sound on this film is wretchedly bad to the point of near unwatchability. Originally based on the book Berlin Stories.
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