As a semi-paranoid driver the idea of being terrorized by a tractor- trailer on an empty highway sounds terrifying to me. When I read the synopsis to Duel, I imagined a gripping thriller. And Duel is gripping, but there were no thrills. I believe the main reason is the chase is set in broad daylight, if this was set at night it would add a more isolated and vulnerable setting. Dennis Weaver was a convincing protagonist but his fear and paranoia were more spoken than needed, his physical acting didn't say enough. The film is still worth a watch due to the great concept, and decent execution (it was in no way boring, and could've been handled way worse), plus it's cool to see where Spielberg began.
The Lost Weekend is a cynical look at alcoholism, somewhat of a Billy Wilder 40s version of Leaving Las Vegas. The humor in the film is dry and dark, never laughed out loud but often smirked at the irony of the situations. Ray Milland plays Don Birnam, apparently there's two of them: the writer and the alcoholic. This film only shows the latter. This dark look at a still relevant addiction makes alcoholism truly terrifying, mainly thanks to Millands acting. However the very ending didn't seem to fit in, I feel something darker would accomplish more.
As far as the frw Wilders I've seen goes I'd rank this under The Apartment and Some Like it Hot, but above Sabrina. The fluid narration and great lead acting makes this a worth while film, but doesn't wrap itself into a great one.
Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, is shot in stunning black and white, fittingly set in a small German village shortly prior to World War I. The story is narrated by the most humanist and sincere character the school teacher, even though the themes of the tales hardly match his. The sadistic and cruel acts depicted usually involve the more noble people of the town and/or the children. Then there's more mysterious and crueler events, mainly the harsh torture of children. A common theme in the film is punishment, chiefly unjust punishment, it seems that the source of these vile acts is from some sort of punisher. The film keeps the audience guessing, trying to remember every small detail- and there are many- to solve the puzzle. The film towards the end goes through intense interrogations and build-up but ultimately leaves an open end. Very similar to Haneke's earliereffortCache (although The White Ribbon this is way more of a drama, than a thriller). The mystery shows how the audience, similar to the characters, is always searching for a scapegoat. Which makes sense that this film is set right before the first world war, even though it feels much more like a prequel to the second world war.
This is my second Peckinpah film, after viewing the masterpiece in Straw Dogs. Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia is far more underwhelming in its repetitive nature and lack of focus. The violence this film does a lot less for me than that of Straw Dogs, due to its one man kills six in seconds nature. And due to the never ending circle the story gets dull, and the film loses me early. Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia still has some technical accomplishments. Most notably the amazing cinematography. The use of mirrors is fantastic, and overall shot by shot this looks great. The cinematography actually highly makes up for the monotonous circular pacing, since it still makes the film interesting to view.