Bluebottle Jr.'s Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Return
The Return(2004)
½

Sometimes you finally see something that was a real source of controversy 25 or 30 years ago and it loses a lot. Watching "Deep Throat" 20 years after the fact you wonder how it caused all the fuss it did, since there have been thousands of sexier and often better porn films since. "Pink Flamingos" stands the test of time. I just saw it for the first time and even though it's 33 yearsold, it's still every bit the sick, grotesque and demented outrage it ever was.

It became most famous for Divine eating dog shit at the end (which is just as gross as you'd imagine) but there's plenty of other jaw-dropping stuff, sex that involves two chickens being rubbed between the lovers' bodies, police being clubbed to death and eaten, the legendary Edie "The Egg Lady" Massey, baby-selling, cross-dressing, murder, contortionists. This puppy was one of a kind. The so-called outlaws today like Kevin Smith would never have the guts to make something this just plain wrong.
And I saw it on Starz On Demand cable! This movie has explicit sex scenes they wouldn't let the Playboy or Spice Channels get away with, but somehow "Pink Flamingos" has passed into the realm of "art" and it gets shown uncut. This was even a 25th Anniversary Edition that had John Waters showing deleted scenes at the end! Well I guess it isn't like anything a sane person would call a sex film. Something this bizarre yet focused has to be a work of art. There's nothing else to call it. This is the damnedst thing to come out of Baltimore since the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

Plain Dirty
Plain Dirty(2003)
½

I've been going through what I hope to be permanent changes lately. This means my priorities have been different and I haven't been going out to rent movies, relying on whatever my cable system serves up. After a few weeks I've discovered that approach doesn't get it. There's some good stuff on cable but precious little of the really way out, bizarro films I enjoy. So I went to Video Americain today and lived up to my profile by getting two movies that have never even been released in this country, Larry Clark's "Ken Park" and Peter Greenaway's "The Baby Of Macon".

I saw a real whopper this morning, "Report To The Commissioner". I remember this film coming out with a lot of ballyhoo in the Seventies but nobody remembers it today, and with good reason, it's stupid. It's a bizarre story about undercover work gone horribly wrong and the resultant coverup, but there is a fatal flaw, the wog-boggling lead performance of Michael Moriarity who acts like a pre-Raphaelite flower child when he's supposed to be a rookie cop. It's ludicrous overacting and it's no wonder he spent several years doing Larry Cohen exploitation movies after this. The plot was strange in a couple of ways as well but a better lead actor and director might have worked out of it all. Instead we get two ludicrous chase scenes as padding, one with Moriarity chasing a black guy in boxer shorts over rooftops and one of a legless street beggar careening through Manhattan like a skateboarder!
Some good actors here despite all that, Yaphet Kotto, Hector Elizondo, Vic Tayback, William Devane and Richard Gere as a pimp (!). There's an oddconnection knowing that twenty years later Moriarity and Kotto would be working in two excellent TV cop shows, Moriarity inder control as prosecuting attorney Ben Stone in "Law And Order" and Kotto as LT Giardella on "Homicide: Life On The Street".

Ju-on 2 (Ju-on: The Grudge 2)

...and I've got some catching up to do. I've seen my usual assortment of WTF movies over the past week. "Pulse", which I saw on cable under the name "Octane", was a strange thriller about a single mother whose teenage daughter gets picked up by a vampiric cult while driving on the highway. The mother tries to get her back with the help of a trucker whose sister fell victim to the same cult. There is nice atmosphere in this but the camera is dizzly hyperactive and the entire thing seems creepier than it needs to be. The best thing about it is Madeline Stowe playing the mother. She is stone cold gorgeous, another beautiful, mature actress who can't get a look in from the blind, deaf and dumb slugs that run A-List Hollywood.

I had heard vague but good things about "I'm Not Scared" and they were justified. This is an Italian thriller about a young boy in a rural village who discovers a boy chained up in a hole, eventually stumbling onto a kidnapping plot that involves his entire town, including his parents. This was good stuff, the acting, the suspense, everything worked here. I'm amazed more people haven't discovered this film. There would have been plenty of raves about it if they had.

Speaking of suspense I saw the original Japanese version of the film "Ju-On: The Grudge" and it was well done but after seeing both versions of "The Ring" it had an air of been there, done that. You can only see so many crawling female ghosts before the bit gets old. Judging from this and other recent Japanese horror films I've heard about that country seems to be as hung up on revenge-seeking ghosts as our horror movies used to be on teen-killing psychos.

I'd never seen one of Claude Lelouch's films before but I'd heard they weren't so hot, mostly cloying romances that just went on too long for no good reason. I wanted to see his "And Now Ladies And Gentlemen" because I was interested in the female lead, Patricia Kaas, a French cabaret singer I like. She was beautiful and a pretty good actress but the film lived down to Lelouch's reputation, a romance involving a jewel thief and a lounge singer that was just too slow, too contrived and too bloody long. A story about two people supposedly dying from brain tumors should have been enough but he had to throw in some goofy bull about a jewel robbery that drew out the thing beyond endurance.

But talk about endurance...Hoo boy! I couldn't believe what I endured in sitting through something called "Slaves Of The Realm" last night. I didn't expect much because the lead actress was Rena Mero, better known as Sable, former WWE ring decoration and bitchy showpiece. She played a high priestess in some kind of sword and sorcery tale about beautiful young noblewomen captured and made to work in a silver mine by an evil princess who is also trying to hook up her brother, the King, with one of them to produce an heir.
This thing was shot on video in the Czech Republic and is full of beautiful Czech actresses dressed either in revealing sheaths or black leather bondage duds, no bad thing in itself but bizarrely, the movie isn't the sort of sexed up softcore Seduction Cinema sort of piece you would expect. There is a little nudity, but not nearly as much as the situation suggests and no real sex scenes. Insanely the story is played straight, this despite its obviously miniscule budget and bottom drawer acting. Worst of all it's incredibly padded with every action and plot point repeated over and over. There is endless footage of the captives working in the mines and the villainess has six (!) practice swordfights shown in full before she has the climatic one with Mero. Supposedly this bomb was only 99 minutes but I swear it felt like two hours. I wasn't that thrilled about the Super Bowl but I can't believe I missed most of it to watch this dog.

Octane (Pulse)

...and I've got some catching up to do. I've seen my usual assortment of WTF movies over the past week. "Pulse", which I saw on cable under the name "Octane", was a strange thriller about a single mother whose teenage daughter gets picked up by a vampiric cult while driving on the highway. The mother tries to get her back with the help of a trucker whose sister fell victim to the same cult. There is nice atmosphere in this but the camera is dizzly hyperactive and the entire thing seems creepier than it needs to be. The best thing about it is Madeline Stowe playing the mother. She is stone cold gorgeous, another beautiful, mature actress who can't get a look in from the blind, deaf and dumb slugs that run A-List Hollywood.

I had heard vague but good things about "I'm Not Scared" and they were justified. This is an Italian thriller about a young boy in a rural village who discovers a boy chained up in a hole, eventually stumbling onto a kidnapping plot that involves his entire town, including his parents. This was good stuff, the acting, the suspense, everything worked here. I'm amazed more people haven't discovered this film. There would have been plenty of raves about it if they had.

Speaking of suspense I saw the original Japanese version of the film "Ju-On: The Grudge" and it was well done but after seeing both versions of "The Ring" it had an air of been there, done that. You can only see so many crawling female ghosts before the bit gets old. Judging from this and other recent Japanese horror films I've heard about that country seems to be as hung up on revenge-seeking ghosts as our horror movies used to be on teen-killing psychos.

I'd never seen one of Claude Lelouch's films before but I'd heard they weren't so hot, mostly cloying romances that just went on too long for no good reason. I wanted to see his "And Now Ladies And Gentlemen" because I was interested in the female lead, Patricia Kaas, a French cabaret singer I like. She was beautiful and a pretty good actress but the film lived down to Lelouch's reputation, a romance involving a jewel thief and a lounge singer that was just too slow, too contrived and too bloody long. A story about two people supposedly dying from brain tumors should have been enough but he had to throw in some goofy bull about a jewel robbery that drew out the thing beyond endurance.

But talk about endurance...Hoo boy! I couldn't believe what I endured in sitting through something called "Slaves Of The Realm" last night. I didn't expect much because the lead actress was Rena Mero, better known as Sable, former WWE ring decoration and bitchy showpiece. She played a high priestess in some kind of sword and sorcery tale about beautiful young noblewomen captured and made to work in a silver mine by an evil princess who is also trying to hook up her brother, the King, with one of them to produce an heir.
This thing was shot on video in the Czech Republic and is full of beautiful Czech actresses dressed either in revealing sheaths or black leather bondage duds, no bad thing in itself but bizarrely, the movie isn't the sort of sexed up softcore Seduction Cinema sort of piece you would expect. There is a little nudity, but not nearly as much as the situation suggests and no real sex scenes. Insanely the story is played straight, this despite its obviously miniscule budget and bottom drawer acting. Worst of all it's incredibly padded with every action and plot point repeated over and over. There is endless footage of the captives working in the mines and the villainess has six (!) practice swordfights shown in full before she has the climatic one with Mero. Supposedly this bomb was only 99 minutes but I swear it felt like two hours. I wasn't that thrilled about the Super Bowl but I can't believe I missed most of it to watch this dog.

Lemora - A Child's Tale of the Supernatural

Well I'm going to try again to keep this thing up if I don't do anything else except talk about movies. That will be easier because Netflix has a sick load of choices.

Of what I've seen lately, I liked "Nine Songs" better than most people. Explicit sex in a film doesn't bother me. I think it's a lot more honest than most of the beat around the bush crap they do in mainstream movies. "The Harmonists" turned out to be really moving. The dog was "Busting", a cop movie from the Dirty Harry school starring Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as grubby cops fighting the system. The plot was typically illogical, stacking the deck against the pair in ludicrous ways, but the real killer was Peter Hymas' direction. The man was addicted to hallways. Every second shot in the movie seemed to be a tracking shot down a long highway. Robert Blake was second banana in this but looking at his performance it was easy to believe this was his audition for "Baretta".

La Captive
La Captive(2003)
½

(...and if you can finish that, you're even older than I am.)

None of that silly French-bashing around here. It's just that I've seen two very odd French films, in addition to "Baise-Moi", "The Piano Teacher", "Weekend" , "The Man On The Train" and all the other odd French films I've ever seen. Both of these were by women directors.

First was Claire Denis' "Trouble Every Day" about a woman who's sort of a vampire/cannibal. She eats her lovers during sex. There's no real gore, just a lot of smeared blood but you get the picture. A guy, presumably her ex-lover, spends the movie trying to find her. During the movie he jerks off lest he himself get sexually worked up and start snacking on his new bride. It should surprise no one to learn that this gentleman is played by Vincent Gallo. There is a score by Tindersticks that helps make this film palatable instead of just freaky.

"La Captive", directed by Chantal Ackerman, is marginally less creepy. Here a young man has an obsessive relationship with his girl friend. He is jealous of the time she spends with her female friends and follows her at night when she goes out. Sex consists of humping against her with his pajamas on. They almost part, she seems to come back to him but Boyfriend finally loses her to the good old Endless Sea.

Both dark but creepliy profound. It's what you'd expect from the country that gave the world Sartre, Godard and Duchamp.

Club Dread
Club Dread(2004)
½

So here we are at March 13th, the day I turn 50. Overall I should be really depressed right now considering the lack of stuff I've accomplished in my life but since I think I finally have things figured out and know the direction I shuld go in, I don't feel too bad. I just have to hold on until I go to my little retreat at the end of April. I notice there are a lot of gorgeous, sexy women who have their birthdays around now like Sharon Stone, Nina Hartley and Dana Delaney who turns 49 today. I'm at least in very good company.
One thing is that there's still an awful lot of important films I haven't seen. At my age I should be farther along and I'll be working on that from this point on.

The most confounding film I've seen lately has been "Broken Lizard's Club Dread". I had been wanting to check these guys out but now I'm confused as to what I saw. This wasn't a spoof of slasher movies so much as a slasher movie with jokes. It didn't help that the entire cast played the script so seriously the humor mainly fell flat even when it was obvious. Now I probably have to see "Super Troopers" to try to figure out these guys.

I don't watch much porn these days but I saw a good one last night, "Dark Chambers" starring Marilyn Chambers. It's a 2000 film so Marilyn is a bit bigger than she was in her "Green Door" days but she's still unbelievably sexy. There was a good variety of female looks in the movie as well, Asia Carrera, cute and hot as ever, another old-timer Erica Boyer also packing a few more pounds but still enthusiastic and a woman I saw for the first time, Lauren Montgomery. a strikingly beautiful blonde with puffy natural breasts. The movie was directed by Veronica Hart who's really learned how to shoot sex scenes for maximum effect, espcially the orgy scene at the end of the picture.

Later today, I'll celebrate after a fashion by eating out, then come back home and watch "Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders", which hopefully will be as mind-blowing as I've heard.

The Rocking Horse Winner

Lately I've been catiching up on a TV mini-series I vaguely remembered from the earlt 90's called "The Wild Palms". I haven't made up my mind about it yet. It's a science fiction piece with cyberpunk themes set in 2007 that deals with things like Virtual reaility and the so-called Japanese takeover of Western culture that either didn't happen in the way pictured here or didn't happen at all. The setting looks distressingly clean and aniseptic compared to the real 2007 and there are some obvious homages to David Lynch and the then-current Twin Peaks, like Robert Morse as a lounge singer who looks like he's about to morph into Dean Stockwell singing "A candy-colored clown they call the Sandman..." at any time. It generally has a good cast with people like Dana Delany, Robert Loggia, Kim Cattrall, Brad Dourif, David Warner and Bebe Neuwirth but I don't know about Jim Belushi of all people as the hero. There's a reason why his career has boiled down to starring on a "fat slob" TV sitcom. I haven't decided if I'll bother with the second disc of this thing or not.

I've also dug out my collection of The Phil Silvers Show to finish watching and it's fun to watch how that show evolved. In the early episodes it's just Sgt. Bilko as the archetypal con man fleecing everyone with impunity but later episodes get weirder and weirder starting I guess with the famous one where a monkey gets enlisted into the Army and has to be court-martialed to get him out. From there it's out to shows about Doberman being hypnotized to think he's in love with Colonel Hall's wife and Bilko trying to get some phenom pitcher a tryout with the Yankees. The supporting cast is fascinating to watch historically. This set includes appearances from Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis alll of whom, of course, were important parts of Nat Hiken's next show, Car 54, Where Are You? There are also very early TV appearances by Dick Van Dyke and Alan Alda.
The funniest thing is the makeup of the platoon. To the the credit of the producers Bilko's platoon always seemed to include one black soldier but for "Doberman's Sister", where the plot called for the soldiers to all take each other's sisters on dates, a secomd black soldier mysteriously showed up because no way back then could the black soldier have dated one of his white buddies' sisters. Then again they simply could have had no black actors on that episode, so it was cool they did it that way.

Homicidal
Homicidal(1961)

Lately I've been catiching up on a TV mini-series I vaguely remembered from the earlt 90's called "The Wild Palms". I haven't made up my mind about it yet. It's a science fiction piece with cyberpunk themes set in 2007 that deals with things like Virtual reaility and the so-called Japanese takeover of Western culture that either didn't happen in the way pictured here or didn't happen at all. The setting looks distressingly clean and aniseptic compared to the real 2007 and there are some obvious homages to David Lynch and the then-current Twin Peaks, like Robert Morse as a lounge singer who looks like he's about to morph into Dean Stockwell singing "A candy-colored clown they call the Sandman..." at any time. It generally has a good cast with people like Dana Delany, Robert Loggia, Kim Cattrall, Brad Dourif, David Warner and Bebe Neuwirth but I don't know about Jim Belushi of all people as the hero. There's a reason why his career has boiled down to starring on a "fat slob" TV sitcom. I haven't decided if I'll bother with the second disc of this thing or not.

I've also dug out my collection of The Phil Silvers Show to finish watching and it's fun to watch how that show evolved. In the early episodes it's just Sgt. Bilko as the archetypal con man fleecing everyone with impunity but later episodes get weirder and weirder starting I guess with the famous one where a monkey gets enlisted into the Army and has to be court-martialed to get him out. From there it's out to shows about Doberman being hypnotized to think he's in love with Colonel Hall's wife and Bilko trying to get some phenom pitcher a tryout with the Yankees. The supporting cast is fascinating to watch historically. This set includes appearances from Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis alll of whom, of course, were important parts of Nat Hiken's next show, Car 54, Where Are You? There are also very early TV appearances by Dick Van Dyke and Alan Alda.
The funniest thing is the makeup of the platoon. To the the credit of the producers Bilko's platoon always seemed to include one black soldier but for "Doberman's Sister", where the plot called for the soldiers to all take each other's sisters on dates, a secomd black soldier mysteriously showed up because no way back then could the black soldier have dated one of his white buddies' sisters. Then again they simply could have had no black actors on that episode, so it was cool they did it that way.

Summer Stock
Summer Stock(1950)
½

Lately I've been catiching up on a TV mini-series I vaguely remembered from the earlt 90's called "The Wild Palms". I haven't made up my mind about it yet. It's a science fiction piece with cyberpunk themes set in 2007 that deals with things like Virtual reaility and the so-called Japanese takeover of Western culture that either didn't happen in the way pictured here or didn't happen at all. The setting looks distressingly clean and aniseptic compared to the real 2007 and there are some obvious homages to David Lynch and the then-current Twin Peaks, like Robert Morse as a lounge singer who looks like he's about to morph into Dean Stockwell singing "A candy-colored clown they call the Sandman..." at any time. It generally has a good cast with people like Dana Delany, Robert Loggia, Kim Cattrall, Brad Dourif, David Warner and Bebe Neuwirth but I don't know about Jim Belushi of all people as the hero. There's a reason why his career has boiled down to starring on a "fat slob" TV sitcom. I haven't decided if I'll bother with the second disc of this thing or not.

I've also dug out my collection of The Phil Silvers Show to finish watching and it's fun to watch how that show evolved. In the early episodes it's just Sgt. Bilko as the archetypal con man fleecing everyone with impunity but later episodes get weirder and weirder starting I guess with the famous one where a monkey gets enlisted into the Army and has to be court-martialed to get him out. From there it's out to shows about Doberman being hypnotized to think he's in love with Colonel Hall's wife and Bilko trying to get some phenom pitcher a tryout with the Yankees. The supporting cast is fascinating to watch historically. This set includes appearances from Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis alll of whom, of course, were important parts of Nat Hiken's next show, Car 54, Where Are You? There are also very early TV appearances by Dick Van Dyke and Alan Alda.
The funniest thing is the makeup of the platoon. To the the credit of the producers Bilko's platoon always seemed to include one black soldier but for "Doberman's Sister", where the plot called for the soldiers to all take each other's sisters on dates, a secomd black soldier mysteriously showed up because no way back then could the black soldier have dated one of his white buddies' sisters. Then again they simply could have had no black actors on that episode, so it was cool they did it that way.

Yes
Yes(2005)

Lately I've been catiching up on a TV mini-series I vaguely remembered from the earlt 90's called "The Wild Palms". I haven't made up my mind about it yet. It's a science fiction piece with cyberpunk themes set in 2007 that deals with things like Virtual reaility and the so-called Japanese takeover of Western culture that either didn't happen in the way pictured here or didn't happen at all. The setting looks distressingly clean and aniseptic compared to the real 2007 and there are some obvious homages to David Lynch and the then-current Twin Peaks, like Robert Morse as a lounge singer who looks like he's about to morph into Dean Stockwell singing "A candy-colored clown they call the Sandman..." at any time. It generally has a good cast with people like Dana Delany, Robert Loggia, Kim Cattrall, Brad Dourif, David Warner and Bebe Neuwirth but I don't know about Jim Belushi of all people as the hero. There's a reason why his career has boiled down to starring on a "fat slob" TV sitcom. I haven't decided if I'll bother with the second disc of this thing or not.

I've also dug out my collection of The Phil Silvers Show to finish watching and it's fun to watch how that show evolved. In the early episodes it's just Sgt. Bilko as the archetypal con man fleecing everyone with impunity but later episodes get weirder and weirder starting I guess with the famous one where a monkey gets enlisted into the Army and has to be court-martialed to get him out. From there it's out to shows about Doberman being hypnotized to think he's in love with Colonel Hall's wife and Bilko trying to get some phenom pitcher a tryout with the Yankees. The supporting cast is fascinating to watch historically. This set includes appearances from Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis alll of whom, of course, were important parts of Nat Hiken's next show, Car 54, Where Are You? There are also very early TV appearances by Dick Van Dyke and Alan Alda.
The funniest thing is the makeup of the platoon. To the the credit of the producers Bilko's platoon always seemed to include one black soldier but for "Doberman's Sister", where the plot called for the soldiers to all take each other's sisters on dates, a secomd black soldier mysteriously showed up because no way back then could the black soldier have dated one of his white buddies' sisters. Then again they simply could have had no black actors on that episode, so it was cool they did it that way.

This Is England
½

It isn't often when I get two movies from Netflix I don't like, but this is one of those times. "Volver" was just bland but "A Hole In My Heart"...wow.

This was a Swedish film about a moody Goth teen who holes himself up in his bedroom while his father makes crude porn in the rest of their apartment with two other people. The darkness and ugliness of this film was overwhelming. The weird soundtrack and cutting didn't bother me but the misogyny was too much. Everyone in this film seemed to enjoy brutalizing everyone else. It presented as negative and nasty a view of the human race as I've ever seen. Even "Waiting For Godot" which I saw last night was more optimistic. Never mind showing the ugliest view of sex and relationships imaginable. I can't imagine anyone over the age of 30 with any kind of relationship to other people finding anything worthwhile in this.

Hål i mitt hjärta, Ett (A Hole In My Heart)

It isn't often when I get two movies from Netflix I don't like, but this is one of those times. "Volver" was just bland but "A Hole In My Heart"...wow.

This was a Swedish film about a moody Goth teen who holes himself up in his bedroom while his father makes crude porn in the rest of their apartment with two other people. The darkness and ugliness of this film was overwhelming. The weird soundtrack and cutting didn't bother me but the misogyny was too much. Everyone in this film seemed to enjoy brutalizing everyone else. It presented as negative and nasty a view of the human race as I've ever seen. Even "Waiting For Godot" which I saw last night was more optimistic. Never mind showing the ugliest view of sex and relationships imaginable. I can't imagine anyone over the age of 30 with any kind of relationship to other people finding anything worthwhile in this.

Volver
Volver(2006)

Sometimes some things just don't move you. Pedro Almodovar is like that for me. I've tried watching a few of his films but they didn't stay with me. I tried watching "Volver" last night and the same thing. I appreciate the craft of the movie and Penelope Cruz was sexy as hell but the story did nothing for me. It was like a Spanish version of one of those "all gals together" Southern Gothic plays.

After that I went to something COMPLETELY different..."Handjobs Across America 3". Much to my chagrin, I rather enjoyed it. It was a bunch of actual amateur sex scenes strung together and not the usual pro porn glitz. The best scene was of a wife happily and enthusiastically jacking off her husband while using a toy on herself at the same time. The woman looked natural and was obviously having fun. The next best one involved a little tanned blonde who was so cute you wish she was doingn something else besides a handjob.

Today I finally went to a theatre for the first time in months and saw "This Is England" which was terrific. I hadn't realized it was by the director of "Dead Man's Shoes" which I loved. I also saw trailers for "King Of California" and "The Darjeeling Limited" that convinced me I'm better off dealing with Netflix rather than waiting for stuff to come to the theatres.

The Tall T
The Tall T(1957)
½

I take back what I said about The Hitchhiker. The last two episodes I saw dratically improved my opinion of the series. They were stories with Brad Davis playing a sleazy TV host who follows decadent young rich kids around and another about a hitwoman on vacation. They were nasty and unpredictable and the last one in particular had an end twist worthy of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The only feature I've seen has been "Baba Yaga", a weird comic book-derived thriller from Italy that starred Carroll Baker. It was OK if dated.

I should mention one other wog-boggling thing I've encountered lately. I viewed a disc called "Treasures Of Black Cinema" which seemed to be some kind of TV series that crammed four "race films" from the 40's onto one disc. They were all various genres with different stars, a gangster movie starring Ralph Cooper, an old horror movie with Nina Mae McKinney and a Herb Jeffries western. They were all pretty cheap and rudimentary but still entertaining but the fourth one made my eyes bug out.
It was a comedy starring Mantan Moreland but instead of any of the all-black films he made, they showed an old Monogram film where he was paired with Frankie Darro as a comedy team. Moreland was the only black actor in this and he acquitted himself well. The kicker was one scene where Darro was in blackface adn doing a Negro accent! How the heck did something like that slip onto a "Black Cinema" series? Why didn't they just trot out the original Amos & Andy or the Two Black Crows? Sheesh! Richard Roundtree did the introductions for these films. I wonder if he had any idea what he was involved with.

Ladies They Talk About
½

I take back what I said about The Hitchhiker. The last two episodes I saw dratically improved my opinion of the series. They were stories with Brad Davis playing a sleazy TV host who follows decadent young rich kids around and another about a hitwoman on vacation. They were nasty and unpredictable and the last one in particular had an end twist worthy of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The only feature I've seen has been "Baba Yaga", a weird comic book-derived thriller from Italy that starred Carroll Baker. It was OK if dated.

I should mention one other wog-boggling thing I've encountered lately. I viewed a disc called "Treasures Of Black Cinema" which seemed to be some kind of TV series that crammed four "race films" from the 40's onto one disc. They were all various genres with different stars, a gangster movie starring Ralph Cooper, an old horror movie with Nina Mae McKinney and a Herb Jeffries western. They were all pretty cheap and rudimentary but still entertaining but the fourth one made my eyes bug out.
It was a comedy starring Mantan Moreland but instead of any of the all-black films he made, they showed an old Monogram film where he was paired with Frankie Darro as a comedy team. Moreland was the only black actor in this and he acquitted himself well. The kicker was one scene where Darro was in blackface adn doing a Negro accent! How the heck did something like that slip onto a "Black Cinema" series? Why didn't they just trot out the original Amos & Andy or the Two Black Crows? Sheesh! Richard Roundtree did the introductions for these films. I wonder if he had any idea what he was involved with.

Wrong Move (Falsche Bewegung)
½

I take back what I said about The Hitchhiker. The last two episodes I saw dratically improved my opinion of the series. They were stories with Brad Davis playing a sleazy TV host who follows decadent young rich kids around and another about a hitwoman on vacation. They were nasty and unpredictable and the last one in particular had an end twist worthy of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The only feature I've seen has been "Baba Yaga", a weird comic book-derived thriller from Italy that starred Carroll Baker. It was OK if dated.

I should mention one other wog-boggling thing I've encountered lately. I viewed a disc called "Treasures Of Black Cinema" which seemed to be some kind of TV series that crammed four "race films" from the 40's onto one disc. They were all various genres with different stars, a gangster movie starring Ralph Cooper, an old horror movie with Nina Mae McKinney and a Herb Jeffries western. They were all pretty cheap and rudimentary but still entertaining but the fourth one made my eyes bug out.
It was a comedy starring Mantan Moreland but instead of any of the all-black films he made, they showed an old Monogram film where he was paired with Frankie Darro as a comedy team. Moreland was the only black actor in this and he acquitted himself well. The kicker was one scene where Darro was in blackface adn doing a Negro accent! How the heck did something like that slip onto a "Black Cinema" series? Why didn't they just trot out the original Amos & Andy or the Two Black Crows? Sheesh! Richard Roundtree did the introductions for these films. I wonder if he had any idea what he was involved with.

Accident
Accident(1967)

I take back what I said about The Hitchhiker. The last two episodes I saw dratically improved my opinion of the series. They were stories with Brad Davis playing a sleazy TV host who follows decadent young rich kids around and another about a hitwoman on vacation. They were nasty and unpredictable and the last one in particular had an end twist worthy of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The only feature I've seen has been "Baba Yaga", a weird comic book-derived thriller from Italy that starred Carroll Baker. It was OK if dated.

I should mention one other wog-boggling thing I've encountered lately. I viewed a disc called "Treasures Of Black Cinema" which seemed to be some kind of TV series that crammed four "race films" from the 40's onto one disc. They were all various genres with different stars, a gangster movie starring Ralph Cooper, an old horror movie with Nina Mae McKinney and a Herb Jeffries western. They were all pretty cheap and rudimentary but still entertaining but the fourth one made my eyes bug out.
It was a comedy starring Mantan Moreland but instead of any of the all-black films he made, they showed an old Monogram film where he was paired with Frankie Darro as a comedy team. Moreland was the only black actor in this and he acquitted himself well. The kicker was one scene where Darro was in blackface adn doing a Negro accent! How the heck did something like that slip onto a "Black Cinema" series? Why didn't they just trot out the original Amos & Andy or the Two Black Crows? Sheesh! Richard Roundtree did the introductions for these films. I wonder if he had any idea what he was involved with.

Stand Up and Cheer!

Much to my surprise I'm doing this again. In my current circumstances I don't have much else to do. I just had to move hurriedly. This house is only a fifteen minute drive from my previous one but it feels like the other side of the moon. There are very few stores within walkng distance and the only bus route that passes by does not operate on weekends. Plus a taxi ride to the nearest Metro station would cost in the $30-40 range. I can't get to any music or video stores with any ease. And to top it off I can only get basic cable with no uncut movie channels. Thank God for Netflix. Otherwise I would be going crazy by now. I'll probably buy a car again a few months from now but for the time being this sucks.

I've watched a few things in my diminished conditions but not much. "Carlton Brown Of The F.O." was a lesser Boulting Brothers satire about British foreign policy in the 50's that hasn't worn well and basically wastes the talents of Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers. "Stand Up And Cheer" was Shirley Temple's debut feature which I had first seen many years ago. It was a lot shorter and lighter on plot than I realized before. The musical numbers were OK but you could see this was a pretty cheap affair compared to other 30's musicals. Happly it was uncut so Stepin Fetchit's scenes were left in but so was a amazing bit by two comics named Mitchell and Durant literally throwing themselves around an office which I didn't remember at all.

Currently I'm making my way through a bunch of TV shows. There's the third season of "The Simpsons" which I own and which finally has made me see how good that series has been at its peak. In lesser animation, there's "The Milton The Monster Show", a forgotten cartoon show from the 60's with passable animation and the kind of humor that relies mostly on funny voices like a cowboy who talks like Buddy Hackett and an Indian with an Irish accent. It's nowhere neat the quality of Roger Ramjet, Beany And Cecil, Rocky And Bullwinkle or any of the other classics but it's passable and has the occasional good joke.
Then there's "The Hitchhiker" which was HBO's try at a thriller anthology a decade before "Tales From The Crypt". It was produced by the same company that did "Tales From The Darkside" and so far looks predicatably cheap although one episode "Homebodies" had a bit of style. I was stunned though to see Geraldine Page turn up in one episode.

Hopefully I'll keep this up for a while this time and not pussy out in a few weeks...

A Raisin in the Sun
½

Much to my surprise I'm doing this again. In my current circumstances I don't have much else to do. I just had to move hurriedly. This house is only a fifteen minute drive from my previous one but it feels like the other side of the moon. There are very few stores within walkng distance and the only bus route that passes by does not operate on weekends. Plus a taxi ride to the nearest Metro station would cost in the $30-40 range. I can't get to any music or video stores with any ease. And to top it off I can only get basic cable with no uncut movie channels. Thank God for Netflix. Otherwise I would be going crazy by now. I'll probably buy a car again a few months from now but for the time being this sucks.

I've watched a few things in my diminished conditions but not much. "Carlton Brown Of The F.O." was a lesser Boulting Brothers satire about British foreign policy in the 50's that hasn't worn well and basically wastes the talents of Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers. "Stand Up And Cheer" was Shirley Temple's debut feature which I had first seen many years ago. It was a lot shorter and lighter on plot than I realized before. The musical numbers were OK but you could see this was a pretty cheap affair compared to other 30's musicals. Happly it was uncut so Stepin Fetchit's scenes were left in but so was a amazing bit by two comics named Mitchell and Durant literally throwing themselves around an office which I didn't remember at all.

Currently I'm making my way through a bunch of TV shows. There's the third season of "The Simpsons" which I own and which finally has made me see how good that series has been at its peak. In lesser animation, there's "The Milton The Monster Show", a forgotten cartoon show from the 60's with passable animation and the kind of humor that relies mostly on funny voices like a cowboy who talks like Buddy Hackett and an Indian with an Irish accent. It's nowhere neat the quality of Roger Ramjet, Beany And Cecil, Rocky And Bullwinkle or any of the other classics but it's passable and has the occasional good joke.
Then there's "The Hitchhiker" which was HBO's try at a thriller anthology a decade before "Tales From The Crypt". It was produced by the same company that did "Tales From The Darkside" and so far looks predicatably cheap although one episode "Homebodies" had a bit of style. I was stunned though to see Geraldine Page turn up in one episode.

Hopefully I'll keep this up for a while this time and not pussy out in a few weeks...

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie)
½

Much to my surprise I'm doing this again. In my current circumstances I don't have much else to do. I just had to move hurriedly. This house is only a fifteen minute drive from my previous one but it feels like the other side of the moon. There are very few stores within walkng distance and the only bus route that passes by does not operate on weekends. Plus a taxi ride to the nearest Metro station would cost in the $30-40 range. I can't get to any music or video stores with any ease. And to top it off I can only get basic cable with no uncut movie channels. Thank God for Netflix. Otherwise I would be going crazy by now. I'll probably buy a car again a few months from now but for the time being this sucks.

I've watched a few things in my diminished conditions but not much. "Carlton Brown Of The F.O." was a lesser Boulting Brothers satire about British foreign policy in the 50's that hasn't worn well and basically wastes the talents of Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers. "Stand Up And Cheer" was Shirley Temple's debut feature which I had first seen many years ago. It was a lot shorter and lighter on plot than I realized before. The musical numbers were OK but you could see this was a pretty cheap affair compared to other 30's musicals. Happly it was uncut so Stepin Fetchit's scenes were left in but so was a amazing bit by two comics named Mitchell and Durant literally throwing themselves around an office which I didn't remember at all.

Currently I'm making my way through a bunch of TV shows. There's the third season of "The Simpsons" which I own and which finally has made me see how good that series has been at its peak. In lesser animation, there's "The Milton The Monster Show", a forgotten cartoon show from the 60's with passable animation and the kind of humor that relies mostly on funny voices like a cowboy who talks like Buddy Hackett and an Indian with an Irish accent. It's nowhere neat the quality of Roger Ramjet, Beany And Cecil, Rocky And Bullwinkle or any of the other classics but it's passable and has the occasional good joke.
Then there's "The Hitchhiker" which was HBO's try at a thriller anthology a decade before "Tales From The Crypt". It was produced by the same company that did "Tales From The Darkside" and so far looks predicatably cheap although one episode "Homebodies" had a bit of style. I was stunned though to see Geraldine Page turn up in one episode.

Hopefully I'll keep this up for a while this time and not pussy out in a few weeks...

Carlton Browne of the F.O.

Much to my surprise I'm doing this again. In my current circumstances I don't have much else to do. I just had to move hurriedly. This house is only a fifteen minute drive from my previous one but it feels like the other side of the moon. There are very few stores within walkng distance and the only bus route that passes by does not operate on weekends. Plus a taxi ride to the nearest Metro station would cost in the $30-40 range. I can't get to any music or video stores with any ease. And to top it off I can only get basic cable with no uncut movie channels. Thank God for Netflix. Otherwise I would be going crazy by now. I'll probably buy a car again a few months from now but for the time being this sucks.

I've watched a few things in my diminished conditions but not much. "Carlton Brown Of The F.O." was a lesser Boulting Brothers satire about British foreign policy in the 50's that hasn't worn well and basically wastes the talents of Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers. "Stand Up And Cheer" was Shirley Temple's debut feature which I had first seen many years ago. It was a lot shorter and lighter on plot than I realized before. The musical numbers were OK but you could see this was a pretty cheap affair compared to other 30's musicals. Happly it was uncut so Stepin Fetchit's scenes were left in but so was a amazing bit by two comics named Mitchell and Durant literally throwing themselves around an office which I didn't remember at all.

Currently I'm making my way through a bunch of TV shows. There's the third season of "The Simpsons" which I own and which finally has made me see how good that series has been at its peak. In lesser animation, there's "The Milton The Monster Show", a forgotten cartoon show from the 60's with passable animation and the kind of humor that relies mostly on funny voices like a cowboy who talks like Buddy Hackett and an Indian with an Irish accent. It's nowhere neat the quality of Roger Ramjet, Beany And Cecil, Rocky And Bullwinkle or any of the other classics but it's passable and has the occasional good joke.
Then there's "The Hitchhiker" which was HBO's try at a thriller anthology a decade before "Tales From The Crypt". It was produced by the same company that did "Tales From The Darkside" and so far looks predicatably cheap although one episode "Homebodies" had a bit of style. I was stunned though to see Geraldine Page turn up in one episode.

Hopefully I'll keep this up for a while this time and not pussy out in a few weeks...

Open Water
Open Water(2004)
½

[size=3]Only two films have ever unnerved me so much they actually made me shake. One was "King Of New York". The other I saw over the weekend. It was "Open Water".[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]This is the film about a couple who go scuba diving on vacation and end up getting stranded in the middle of a shark-infested ocean. A lot of internet types have put this movie down and frankly I think they're out of their damn minds. The picture sneaks up on you, being comic at first, then suspenseful, then something else altogether by the end. I think a lot of people don't like this film because it breaks a cardinal rule of mainstream movie making. It follows its situation to its logical conclusion. [/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]Almost every movie plot turns on some contrivance, like a conindence or chance meeting, to set its plot in motion and provide an ending. If they were real situations, there would be a milllion to one chance of the movie result ever happening. In the real world James Bond and Indiana Jones would have been killed a hundred times over from all their crazy adventures or at least crippled for life. In the comics realm, exposure to a radioactive spider would have most likely killed Peter Parker not turn him into Spider-Man and that gamma bomb blast would have incinerated Bruce Banner, not change him into the Hulk.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Open Water" has the balls to follow real world logic. You think this couple will eventually be rescued at some dramatic point, especially when boats and helicopters start searching for them. It isn't until the final seconds of this film when you finally realize that ain't happening. No happy endings here, folks. What happens is exactly what you think would happen if you were stuck for 24 hours in a shark-infested ocean. The only other film I ever saw break this rule was a spaghetti western called "The Great Silence" and that was a shock as well. That's probably why some don't like this movie. It's too much like real life.[/size]

Paranoia 1.0
Paranoia 1.0(2004)
½

[size=3]Only two films have ever unnerved me so much they actually made me shake. One was "King Of New York". The other I saw over the weekend. It was "Open Water".[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]This is the film about a couple who go scuba diving on vacation and end up getting stranded in the middle of a shark-infested ocean. A lot of internet types have put this movie down and frankly I think they're out of their damn minds. The picture sneaks up on you, being comic at first, then suspenseful, then something else altogether by the end. I think a lot of people don't like this film because it breaks a cardinal rule of mainstream movie making. It follows its situation to its logical conclusion. [/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]Almost every movie plot turns on some contrivance, like a conindence or chance meeting, to set its plot in motion and provide an ending. If they were real situations, there would be a milllion to one chance of the movie result ever happening. In the real world James Bond and Indiana Jones would have been killed a hundred times over from all their crazy adventures or at least crippled for life. In the comics realm, exposure to a radioactive spider would have most likely killed Peter Parker not turn him into Spider-Man and that gamma bomb blast would have incinerated Bruce Banner, not change him into the Hulk.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Open Water" has the balls to follow real world logic. You think this couple will eventually be rescued at some dramatic point, especially when boats and helicopters start searching for them. It isn't until the final seconds of this film when you finally realize that ain't happening. No happy endings here, folks. What happens is exactly what you think would happen if you were stuck for 24 hours in a shark-infested ocean. The only other film I ever saw break this rule was a spaghetti western called "The Great Silence" and that was a shock as well. That's probably why some don't like this movie. It's too much like real life.[/size]

I Love Your Work

[size=3]Not the best of times these days. I'm bummed because Tower Records is finally giving up the ghost. As usual, I ran into one message board where the resident weenys were complaining that the stores' prices were too high for CDs and DVDs but you could at least buy porn cheap. Attitudes like that are what killed this company. In a world where people seem to be getting more and more narrow-minded and get hostile at being exposed to anything new, Tower was still naive enough to carry everything under the sun, not just a great selection of rock, but blues, classical, soundtracks, jazz, African, reggae and any other genre you could think of. [/size]
[size=3] I've bought many an album and CD at that store, usually something I couldn't find anywhere else. Just this week alone as the "going out of business" signs went up, I could still find rare stuff: Ayetet Rose Gottlieb, Robin Holcomb, Orchestre Nationale de Jazz, Harry Partch, Vince Martin, The Ides Of March, Carla Bozulich. And there are plenty of wonderful things still there, some of which will probably gather dust until I come back over the next few weeks, Stone The Crows, The Beautiful South, Big Mama Thornton, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Nina Simone, Alan Skidmore, Mickey Katz, Morton Feldman, John Martyn, Boris, Anthony Coleman, Serge Gainsbourg, yards of John Cage and Elliott Carter, Red Foley, Candye Kane, Gong, even a mix CD featuring Double Dee & Steinski. Damn!...universes of sound only a few music fanatics like me are intersted in hearing. There's one wonderful store left in DC that still carries exotic music, Melody Records but considering the entire chain...the world just got a little bit colder.[/size]

Show Me
Show Me(2005)

[size=3]Not the best of times these days. I'm bummed because Tower Records is finally giving up the ghost. As usual, I ran into one message board where the resident weenys were complaining that the stores' prices were too high for CDs and DVDs but you could at least buy porn cheap. Attitudes like that are what killed this company. In a world where people seem to be getting more and more narrow-minded and get hostile at being exposed to anything new, Tower was still naive enough to carry everything under the sun, not just a great selection of rock, but blues, classical, soundtracks, jazz, African, reggae and any other genre you could think of. [/size]
[size=3] I've bought many an album and CD at that store, usually something I couldn't find anywhere else. Just this week alone as the "going out of business" signs went up, I could still find rare stuff: Ayetet Rose Gottlieb, Robin Holcomb, Orchestre Nationale de Jazz, Harry Partch, Vince Martin, The Ides Of March, Carla Bozulich. And there are plenty of wonderful things still there, some of which will probably gather dust until I come back over the next few weeks, Stone The Crows, The Beautiful South, Big Mama Thornton, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Nina Simone, Alan Skidmore, Mickey Katz, Morton Feldman, John Martyn, Boris, Anthony Coleman, Serge Gainsbourg, yards of John Cage and Elliott Carter, Red Foley, Candye Kane, Gong, even a mix CD featuring Double Dee & Steinski. Damn!...universes of sound only a few music fanatics like me are intersted in hearing. There's one wonderful store left in DC that still carries exotic music, Melody Records but considering the entire chain...the world just got a little bit colder.[/size]

The Fury
The Fury(1978)

[size=3]Not the best of times these days. I'm bummed because Tower Records is finally giving up the ghost. As usual, I ran into one message board where the resident weenys were complaining that the stores' prices were too high for CDs and DVDs but you could at least buy porn cheap. Attitudes like that are what killed this company. In a world where people seem to be getting more and more narrow-minded and get hostile at being exposed to anything new, Tower was still naive enough to carry everything under the sun, not just a great selection of rock, but blues, classical, soundtracks, jazz, African, reggae and any other genre you could think of. [/size]
[size=3] I've bought many an album and CD at that store, usually something I couldn't find anywhere else. Just this week alone as the "going out of business" signs went up, I could still find rare stuff: Ayetet Rose Gottlieb, Robin Holcomb, Orchestre Nationale de Jazz, Harry Partch, Vince Martin, The Ides Of March, Carla Bozulich. And there are plenty of wonderful things still there, some of which will probably gather dust until I come back over the next few weeks, Stone The Crows, The Beautiful South, Big Mama Thornton, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Nina Simone, Alan Skidmore, Mickey Katz, Morton Feldman, John Martyn, Boris, Anthony Coleman, Serge Gainsbourg, yards of John Cage and Elliott Carter, Red Foley, Candye Kane, Gong, even a mix CD featuring Double Dee & Steinski. Damn!...universes of sound only a few music fanatics like me are intersted in hearing. There's one wonderful store left in DC that still carries exotic music, Melody Records but considering the entire chain...the world just got a little bit colder.[/size]

Marnie
Marnie(1964)

[size=3]Due to a friend's unfortuante idea (Never try to install DSL on a 1998 PC) my computer was out of commission for a while but I have seen a boatload of movies lately. Herewith the highlights:[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" - A musical comedy that has been unfairly overlooked. It's funny, classy and Robert Morse is a terrific lead.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid" - Revisionist shenanignans about the old West, in particular the last raid of the James-Younger Gang. In this version Jesse James (Robert Duvall) is a treacherous Bible-thumping killer. Fun but I have a feeling "The Long Riders" came closer to the truth.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Innocent Lies" - creepy British thriller about the sicko offpsring of a Nazi-sympathizing noblewoman. Another picture that suggests brother-sister incest is rampant among the English upper classes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Bright Young Things" - Why are Evelyn Waugh novels so hard to get right on screen? This Stephen Fry adaptation of the 1930 novel "Vile Bodies" hits the right note of sarcasm until the end which bizarrely ratchets the story up to World War II and reunites the young lover leads in a reversal of almost every point made earlier in the movie in order to get a "crowd-pleasing" happy ending. Yuck![/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Marnie" - This Hitchcock film deserves a better reputation. I think it suffered because he made it right after "Psycho" and "The Birds" and people were disappointed to see him doing a relatively tame romance about a compulsive thief instead of more way-out murders. Nevertheless this is a good movie outfitted with plenty of Hitchcock tricks and Tippi Hedren gives a great perfornance.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Ellie Parker" - A very nice surprise. Naomi Watts in a small independent film about a luckless actress in Hollywood. The entire movie is show on videotape and Watts shows mucho guts in letting extreme closeups be taken of her without makeup. Then again she is blessed with a strong face and clear skin.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Silver Hawk" - Those bloated, self-important American comic book movies could learn a lot from this sleek Hong Kong tale. Michelle Yeoh plays a motorcycle-riding superhero out to stop the usual madman-taking-over-the-world plot. The movie flies with action, setting aside just enough time to sketch out characters and relationships. No overdone stunts, no stupid dirtbag humor, no mopey subplots, just a slick and tight barrel of fun that doesn't last much over 90 minutes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World" - This may be a work of genius. It's certainly Albert Brooks' best film since "Lost In America". It's just slightly off center with subtle humor and Brooks makes himself a wonderful patsy as he goes to India and Pakistan on a government-sponsored mission to find out what makes Muslims laugh. His skewed sense of humor is at its best here.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I also had the rare joy yesterday of seeing something I never knew existed, two short Hal Roach comedies from World War II that spoofed Adolf Hitler. These pictures showed the Axis partners as slapstick clowns with an actor named Bobby Watson playing Hitler, Joe Devlin playing Mussolini and in George E. Stone and Johnny Arthur trading off playing a stereotypical Japanese general. (One of the signs that Japanese military leaders like Tojo and Yamamoto never became representative villains the way Hitler did.) Watson seems to have made something of a career out of playing Hitler and Devlin resembled in an uncanny way both Jack Oakie as the Mussolini figure from "The Great Dictator" and Curly Howard from the 3 Stooges. The films were goofy and strangely like elongated versions of the Stooges' Hitler shorts.[/size]

Bright Young Things
½

[size=3]Due to a friend's unfortuante idea (Never try to install DSL on a 1998 PC) my computer was out of commission for a while but I have seen a boatload of movies lately. Herewith the highlights:[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" - A musical comedy that has been unfairly overlooked. It's funny, classy and Robert Morse is a terrific lead.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid" - Revisionist shenanignans about the old West, in particular the last raid of the James-Younger Gang. In this version Jesse James (Robert Duvall) is a treacherous Bible-thumping killer. Fun but I have a feeling "The Long Riders" came closer to the truth.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Innocent Lies" - creepy British thriller about the sicko offpsring of a Nazi-sympathizing noblewoman. Another picture that suggests brother-sister incest is rampant among the English upper classes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Bright Young Things" - Why are Evelyn Waugh novels so hard to get right on screen? This Stephen Fry adaptation of the 1930 novel "Vile Bodies" hits the right note of sarcasm until the end which bizarrely ratchets the story up to World War II and reunites the young lover leads in a reversal of almost every point made earlier in the movie in order to get a "crowd-pleasing" happy ending. Yuck![/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Marnie" - This Hitchcock film deserves a better reputation. I think it suffered because he made it right after "Psycho" and "The Birds" and people were disappointed to see him doing a relatively tame romance about a compulsive thief instead of more way-out murders. Nevertheless this is a good movie outfitted with plenty of Hitchcock tricks and Tippi Hedren gives a great perfornance.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Ellie Parker" - A very nice surprise. Naomi Watts in a small independent film about a luckless actress in Hollywood. The entire movie is show on videotape and Watts shows mucho guts in letting extreme closeups be taken of her without makeup. Then again she is blessed with a strong face and clear skin.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Silver Hawk" - Those bloated, self-important American comic book movies could learn a lot from this sleek Hong Kong tale. Michelle Yeoh plays a motorcycle-riding superhero out to stop the usual madman-taking-over-the-world plot. The movie flies with action, setting aside just enough time to sketch out characters and relationships. No overdone stunts, no stupid dirtbag humor, no mopey subplots, just a slick and tight barrel of fun that doesn't last much over 90 minutes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World" - This may be a work of genius. It's certainly Albert Brooks' best film since "Lost In America". It's just slightly off center with subtle humor and Brooks makes himself a wonderful patsy as he goes to India and Pakistan on a government-sponsored mission to find out what makes Muslims laugh. His skewed sense of humor is at its best here.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I also had the rare joy yesterday of seeing something I never knew existed, two short Hal Roach comedies from World War II that spoofed Adolf Hitler. These pictures showed the Axis partners as slapstick clowns with an actor named Bobby Watson playing Hitler, Joe Devlin playing Mussolini and in George E. Stone and Johnny Arthur trading off playing a stereotypical Japanese general. (One of the signs that Japanese military leaders like Tojo and Yamamoto never became representative villains the way Hitler did.) Watson seems to have made something of a career out of playing Hitler and Devlin resembled in an uncanny way both Jack Oakie as the Mussolini figure from "The Great Dictator" and Curly Howard from the 3 Stooges. The films were goofy and strangely like elongated versions of the Stooges' Hitler shorts.[/size]

Ellie Parker
Ellie Parker(2005)
½

[size=3]Due to a friend's unfortuante idea (Never try to install DSL on a 1998 PC) my computer was out of commission for a while but I have seen a boatload of movies lately. Herewith the highlights:[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" - A musical comedy that has been unfairly overlooked. It's funny, classy and Robert Morse is a terrific lead.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid" - Revisionist shenanignans about the old West, in particular the last raid of the James-Younger Gang. In this version Jesse James (Robert Duvall) is a treacherous Bible-thumping killer. Fun but I have a feeling "The Long Riders" came closer to the truth.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Innocent Lies" - creepy British thriller about the sicko offpsring of a Nazi-sympathizing noblewoman. Another picture that suggests brother-sister incest is rampant among the English upper classes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Bright Young Things" - Why are Evelyn Waugh novels so hard to get right on screen? This Stephen Fry adaptation of the 1930 novel "Vile Bodies" hits the right note of sarcasm until the end which bizarrely ratchets the story up to World War II and reunites the young lover leads in a reversal of almost every point made earlier in the movie in order to get a "crowd-pleasing" happy ending. Yuck![/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Marnie" - This Hitchcock film deserves a better reputation. I think it suffered because he made it right after "Psycho" and "The Birds" and people were disappointed to see him doing a relatively tame romance about a compulsive thief instead of more way-out murders. Nevertheless this is a good movie outfitted with plenty of Hitchcock tricks and Tippi Hedren gives a great perfornance.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Ellie Parker" - A very nice surprise. Naomi Watts in a small independent film about a luckless actress in Hollywood. The entire movie is show on videotape and Watts shows mucho guts in letting extreme closeups be taken of her without makeup. Then again she is blessed with a strong face and clear skin.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Silver Hawk" - Those bloated, self-important American comic book movies could learn a lot from this sleek Hong Kong tale. Michelle Yeoh plays a motorcycle-riding superhero out to stop the usual madman-taking-over-the-world plot. The movie flies with action, setting aside just enough time to sketch out characters and relationships. No overdone stunts, no stupid dirtbag humor, no mopey subplots, just a slick and tight barrel of fun that doesn't last much over 90 minutes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World" - This may be a work of genius. It's certainly Albert Brooks' best film since "Lost In America". It's just slightly off center with subtle humor and Brooks makes himself a wonderful patsy as he goes to India and Pakistan on a government-sponsored mission to find out what makes Muslims laugh. His skewed sense of humor is at its best here.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I also had the rare joy yesterday of seeing something I never knew existed, two short Hal Roach comedies from World War II that spoofed Adolf Hitler. These pictures showed the Axis partners as slapstick clowns with an actor named Bobby Watson playing Hitler, Joe Devlin playing Mussolini and in George E. Stone and Johnny Arthur trading off playing a stereotypical Japanese general. (One of the signs that Japanese military leaders like Tojo and Yamamoto never became representative villains the way Hitler did.) Watson seems to have made something of a career out of playing Hitler and Devlin resembled in an uncanny way both Jack Oakie as the Mussolini figure from "The Great Dictator" and Curly Howard from the 3 Stooges. The films were goofy and strangely like elongated versions of the Stooges' Hitler shorts.[/size]

Fei ying (Silver Hawk)

[size=3]Due to a friend's unfortuante idea (Never try to install DSL on a 1998 PC) my computer was out of commission for a while but I have seen a boatload of movies lately. Herewith the highlights:[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" - A musical comedy that has been unfairly overlooked. It's funny, classy and Robert Morse is a terrific lead.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid" - Revisionist shenanignans about the old West, in particular the last raid of the James-Younger Gang. In this version Jesse James (Robert Duvall) is a treacherous Bible-thumping killer. Fun but I have a feeling "The Long Riders" came closer to the truth.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Innocent Lies" - creepy British thriller about the sicko offpsring of a Nazi-sympathizing noblewoman. Another picture that suggests brother-sister incest is rampant among the English upper classes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Bright Young Things" - Why are Evelyn Waugh novels so hard to get right on screen? This Stephen Fry adaptation of the 1930 novel "Vile Bodies" hits the right note of sarcasm until the end which bizarrely ratchets the story up to World War II and reunites the young lover leads in a reversal of almost every point made earlier in the movie in order to get a "crowd-pleasing" happy ending. Yuck![/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Marnie" - This Hitchcock film deserves a better reputation. I think it suffered because he made it right after "Psycho" and "The Birds" and people were disappointed to see him doing a relatively tame romance about a compulsive thief instead of more way-out murders. Nevertheless this is a good movie outfitted with plenty of Hitchcock tricks and Tippi Hedren gives a great perfornance.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Ellie Parker" - A very nice surprise. Naomi Watts in a small independent film about a luckless actress in Hollywood. The entire movie is show on videotape and Watts shows mucho guts in letting extreme closeups be taken of her without makeup. Then again she is blessed with a strong face and clear skin.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Silver Hawk" - Those bloated, self-important American comic book movies could learn a lot from this sleek Hong Kong tale. Michelle Yeoh plays a motorcycle-riding superhero out to stop the usual madman-taking-over-the-world plot. The movie flies with action, setting aside just enough time to sketch out characters and relationships. No overdone stunts, no stupid dirtbag humor, no mopey subplots, just a slick and tight barrel of fun that doesn't last much over 90 minutes.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]"Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World" - This may be a work of genius. It's certainly Albert Brooks' best film since "Lost In America". It's just slightly off center with subtle humor and Brooks makes himself a wonderful patsy as he goes to India and Pakistan on a government-sponsored mission to find out what makes Muslims laugh. His skewed sense of humor is at its best here.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I also had the rare joy yesterday of seeing something I never knew existed, two short Hal Roach comedies from World War II that spoofed Adolf Hitler. These pictures showed the Axis partners as slapstick clowns with an actor named Bobby Watson playing Hitler, Joe Devlin playing Mussolini and in George E. Stone and Johnny Arthur trading off playing a stereotypical Japanese general. (One of the signs that Japanese military leaders like Tojo and Yamamoto never became representative villains the way Hitler did.) Watson seems to have made something of a career out of playing Hitler and Devlin resembled in an uncanny way both Jack Oakie as the Mussolini figure from "The Great Dictator" and Curly Howard from the 3 Stooges. The films were goofy and strangely like elongated versions of the Stooges' Hitler shorts.[/size]

Childstar
Childstar(2005)
½

[size=3]Months ago, I saw a Japanese anime on Cartoon Network called "Super Milk-Chan". It was a surreal comedy about a tempermental five-year-old superhero who takes orders from a president who looks like a relative of Zippy The Pinhead. The drawing looked more like something out of a kid's storybook than the usual anime stuff. It tried to be different but it didn't really work. It was more odd than funny. I found out that the Adult Swim versions were edited, so I put the DVD version in my Netflix queue. I got the first disc yesterday but I really didn't expect much. [/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] Wrong again.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I laughed myself sick over this stuff. The uncensored Milk Chan has the heroine cussing up a storm and the English writing and dubbing is a lot more manic than the other version. That added edge pushes this over the top in the best way. The show has farting robots, divorcing cockroaches, a president so dumb he launches a nuclear missle on himself when he isn't boasting about his sexual prowess, money bearing the likeness of the Olsen Twins, truly demented work. The DVD even includes some behind-the-scenes humor from the English language cast as they record the dialogue. [/size]
[size=3] This is a rare time when Adult Swim has to make do with a PG version of anything. The real "Super Milk Chan" is brilliant.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] I had another pleasant surprise yesterday. Milos Forman's first American film, "Taking Off" miraculously showed up on the Sundance Channel. This was released in 1971 and was part of the wave of experimental "youth" films that proliferated in Hollywood in the wake of "Easy Rider''s success. The main story followed a suburban couple, with Buck Henry as the husband, looking for their missing daughter, but there was also a running thread of young people singing at an audition for, I suppose, some kind of stage show. I was watching this and wondering if any unknowns who later became famous were in the picture, whne all of a sudden who shows up singing a folksong but Kathy Bates! She was listed as "Bobo Bates" in the credits but it was definitely her. Except for her face being a little thinner she looked the same as she does today. [/size]
[size=3] That was only the first act. The next singer was easily recognizable. It was Carly Simon, singing the heck out of some dope song that I don't think ever showed up on any of her records. This would have been about the time her first record came out so seeing her seemed logical once you thought about it. [/size]

Haack: The King of Techno
½

[size=3]Months ago, I saw a Japanese anime on Cartoon Network called "Super Milk-Chan". It was a surreal comedy about a tempermental five-year-old superhero who takes orders from a president who looks like a relative of Zippy The Pinhead. The drawing looked more like something out of a kid's storybook than the usual anime stuff. It tried to be different but it didn't really work. It was more odd than funny. I found out that the Adult Swim versions were edited, so I put the DVD version in my Netflix queue. I got the first disc yesterday but I really didn't expect much. [/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] Wrong again.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I laughed myself sick over this stuff. The uncensored Milk Chan has the heroine cussing up a storm and the English writing and dubbing is a lot more manic than the other version. That added edge pushes this over the top in the best way. The show has farting robots, divorcing cockroaches, a president so dumb he launches a nuclear missle on himself when he isn't boasting about his sexual prowess, money bearing the likeness of the Olsen Twins, truly demented work. The DVD even includes some behind-the-scenes humor from the English language cast as they record the dialogue. [/size]
[size=3] This is a rare time when Adult Swim has to make do with a PG version of anything. The real "Super Milk Chan" is brilliant.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] I had another pleasant surprise yesterday. Milos Forman's first American film, "Taking Off" miraculously showed up on the Sundance Channel. This was released in 1971 and was part of the wave of experimental "youth" films that proliferated in Hollywood in the wake of "Easy Rider''s success. The main story followed a suburban couple, with Buck Henry as the husband, looking for their missing daughter, but there was also a running thread of young people singing at an audition for, I suppose, some kind of stage show. I was watching this and wondering if any unknowns who later became famous were in the picture, whne all of a sudden who shows up singing a folksong but Kathy Bates! She was listed as "Bobo Bates" in the credits but it was definitely her. Except for her face being a little thinner she looked the same as she does today. [/size]
[size=3] That was only the first act. The next singer was easily recognizable. It was Carly Simon, singing the heck out of some dope song that I don't think ever showed up on any of her records. This would have been about the time her first record came out so seeing her seemed logical once you thought about it. [/size]

Clash by Night

[size=3]Months ago, I saw a Japanese anime on Cartoon Network called "Super Milk-Chan". It was a surreal comedy about a tempermental five-year-old superhero who takes orders from a president who looks like a relative of Zippy The Pinhead. The drawing looked more like something out of a kid's storybook than the usual anime stuff. It tried to be different but it didn't really work. It was more odd than funny. I found out that the Adult Swim versions were edited, so I put the DVD version in my Netflix queue. I got the first disc yesterday but I really didn't expect much. [/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] Wrong again.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I laughed myself sick over this stuff. The uncensored Milk Chan has the heroine cussing up a storm and the English writing and dubbing is a lot more manic than the other version. That added edge pushes this over the top in the best way. The show has farting robots, divorcing cockroaches, a president so dumb he launches a nuclear missle on himself when he isn't boasting about his sexual prowess, money bearing the likeness of the Olsen Twins, truly demented work. The DVD even includes some behind-the-scenes humor from the English language cast as they record the dialogue. [/size]
[size=3] This is a rare time when Adult Swim has to make do with a PG version of anything. The real "Super Milk Chan" is brilliant.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] I had another pleasant surprise yesterday. Milos Forman's first American film, "Taking Off" miraculously showed up on the Sundance Channel. This was released in 1971 and was part of the wave of experimental "youth" films that proliferated in Hollywood in the wake of "Easy Rider''s success. The main story followed a suburban couple, with Buck Henry as the husband, looking for their missing daughter, but there was also a running thread of young people singing at an audition for, I suppose, some kind of stage show. I was watching this and wondering if any unknowns who later became famous were in the picture, whne all of a sudden who shows up singing a folksong but Kathy Bates! She was listed as "Bobo Bates" in the credits but it was definitely her. Except for her face being a little thinner she looked the same as she does today. [/size]
[size=3] That was only the first act. The next singer was easily recognizable. It was Carly Simon, singing the heck out of some dope song that I don't think ever showed up on any of her records. This would have been about the time her first record came out so seeing her seemed logical once you thought about it. [/size]

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

[size=3]I was out of commission movie-wise for a few days because my TV set finally went out on me. It served me well for 16 years so I can't complain. I got a 15" flat screen set from Wal-Mart. It was a challenge to hook up but I finally got it done although it looks like the VCR side of the DVD player will not be working.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I've seen a plethora of movies and other stuff. I saw Val Lewton's long lost movie, "The Ghost Ship". It was more a thriller than a horror movie but it was still very good with a really creepy performance by Richard Dix as a mad sea captain. "Julie Johnson" was a nice film about a North Jersey housewife who discovers she has a great aptitude for mathematics and starts out a new life because of it, even to the point of leaving her husband and beginning an affair with her best friend. Courtney Love was the best friend and she showed she's a believable actress and hot to boot, when she can stay clean and sober.[/size]
[size=3] I saw the Wallace And Gromit feature and it was just as wonderful as I thought it would be. I loved the little side jokes that only a British audience would get, like the quick appearance of the Art Garfunkel single "Bright Eyes", a big hit in England that came from the film "Watership Down".[/size]
[size=3] There were two really weird films I saw. One was "Don't Touch The White Woman", a 1974 French-Italian satire that played out the short western career of George Custer up to the Little Big Horn in modern day France, with all the actors in authentic calvary gear. There were enough references to President Nixon to make it clear this was a spoof on Vietnam, but where else could you see Marcello Mastroianni playing Custer and Ugo Tonazzi playing his Indian scout?[/size]
[size=3] The other bit of weirdness was "The Fat Spy", some bizarre combination of beach party movie and spy spoof that starred Jack E. Leonard, an insult comic who predated Don Rickles, in dual roles along with Phylllis Diller, Brian Donlevy and surely the only reason this movie made it to DVD, Jayne Mansfield. The movie made no bloody sense and worse, wasn't even funny.[/size]
[size=3][/size]

Touche pas ā la femme blanche (Don't Touch the White Woman!)

[size=3]I was out of commission movie-wise for a few days because my TV set finally went out on me. It served me well for 16 years so I can't complain. I got a 15" flat screen set from Wal-Mart. It was a challenge to hook up but I finally got it done although it looks like the VCR side of the DVD player will not be working.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I've seen a plethora of movies and other stuff. I saw Val Lewton's long lost movie, "The Ghost Ship". It was more a thriller than a horror movie but it was still very good with a really creepy performance by Richard Dix as a mad sea captain. "Julie Johnson" was a nice film about a North Jersey housewife who discovers she has a great aptitude for mathematics and starts out a new life because of it, even to the point of leaving her husband and beginning an affair with her best friend. Courtney Love was the best friend and she showed she's a believable actress and hot to boot, when she can stay clean and sober.[/size]
[size=3] I saw the Wallace And Gromit feature and it was just as wonderful as I thought it would be. I loved the little side jokes that only a British audience would get, like the quick appearance of the Art Garfunkel single "Bright Eyes", a big hit in England that came from the film "Watership Down".[/size]
[size=3] There were two really weird films I saw. One was "Don't Touch The White Woman", a 1974 French-Italian satire that played out the short western career of George Custer up to the Little Big Horn in modern day France, with all the actors in authentic calvary gear. There were enough references to President Nixon to make it clear this was a spoof on Vietnam, but where else could you see Marcello Mastroianni playing Custer and Ugo Tonazzi playing his Indian scout?[/size]
[size=3] The other bit of weirdness was "The Fat Spy", some bizarre combination of beach party movie and spy spoof that starred Jack E. Leonard, an insult comic who predated Don Rickles, in dual roles along with Phylllis Diller, Brian Donlevy and surely the only reason this movie made it to DVD, Jayne Mansfield. The movie made no bloody sense and worse, wasn't even funny.[/size]
[size=3][/size]

The Great White Hype
½

[size=3]I was out of commission movie-wise for a few days because my TV set finally went out on me. It served me well for 16 years so I can't complain. I got a 15" flat screen set from Wal-Mart. It was a challenge to hook up but I finally got it done although it looks like the VCR side of the DVD player will not be working.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]I've seen a plethora of movies and other stuff. I saw Val Lewton's long lost movie, "The Ghost Ship". It was more a thriller than a horror movie but it was still very good with a really creepy performance by Richard Dix as a mad sea captain. "Julie Johnson" was a nice film about a North Jersey housewife who discovers she has a great aptitude for mathematics and starts out a new life because of it, even to the point of leaving her husband and beginning an affair with her best friend. Courtney Love was the best friend and she showed she's a believable actress and hot to boot, when she can stay clean and sober.[/size]
[size=3] I saw the Wallace And Gromit feature and it was just as wonderful as I thought it would be. I loved the little side jokes that only a British audience would get, like the quick appearance of the Art Garfunkel single "Bright Eyes", a big hit in England that came from the film "Watership Down".[/size]
[size=3] There were two really weird films I saw. One was "Don't Touch The White Woman", a 1974 French-Italian satire that played out the short western career of George Custer up to the Little Big Horn in modern day France, with all the actors in authentic calvary gear. There were enough references to President Nixon to make it clear this was a spoof on Vietnam, but where else could you see Marcello Mastroianni playing Custer and Ugo Tonazzi playing his Indian scout?[/size]
[size=3] The other bit of weirdness was "The Fat Spy", some bizarre combination of beach party movie and spy spoof that starred Jack E. Leonard, an insult comic who predated Don Rickles, in dual roles along with Phylllis Diller, Brian Donlevy and surely the only reason this movie made it to DVD, Jayne Mansfield. The movie made no bloody sense and worse, wasn't even funny.[/size]
[size=3][/size]

The Alley Cats
½

Every once in a while you see one of those movies that make you go DAMN!! and it's even cooler when you're not expecting it. I just saw one and it was an adaptation of a Shakespearean tragedy where everybody lived!

I've known about "All Night Long" for a long time. It's a 1961 British version of Othello set in the jazz world, which is a very logical setting when you think about it, at a wedding anniversary party. I wanted to see it mainly because it had Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, and Tubby Hayes playing in it. It all played out as usual with the Othello figure, a black bandleader strangling his wife and seemingly killing the Cassius figure by knocking him over a stair rail. The Iago figure, played by Patrick McGoohan, had been found out and was about to be strangled by "Othello" himself when all of a sudden the Desdemona figure, bruised and torn but not dead, pops up and screams "Stop!". Othello then stiffly examines his wife, goes back to Cassius who's also still breathing and being cradled by his girlfriend and begs his forgiveness. He then walks out into the night like a zombie with his wife calling his name and running after him.

Remeber the year this was made, 1961. That was a tiime when interracial marriage was a taboo subject both in America and Britain and frowned upon
by mainstream society, although it was an accpeted part of life in the jazz world. It made a far more powerful statement in that context for Othello and Desdemona's love to survive Iago's evil scheme. Added to that was the fact that "Cassius" is played by future Henry VIII, Keith Michell and that his girlfriend was black.

The only white married couple in the movie are "Iago" and his wife who aren't exactly the pucture of happiness. She is the one who rats him out and at the end as "Iago", played brilliantly as a complete snake by Patrick McGoohan, sits alone after everyone else has left the party, mechanically playing his drums his wife comes to take him home and he spits out nothing but contempt and hatred for her and the entire world.

When you talk about an interracial couple, especially in the Sixties, the "love conquers all" bit takes on much deeper meeaning. Having the leads survive may change Shakespeare but he never conceived of a world like the one this movie took place in. I don't even know the names of most of the actors in this picture, just McGoohan, Michell and Richard Attenborough, but it was amazing. That final shot of "Othello" and "Desdemona" walking along a pier in the night [u]together[/u] destroyed me. Once again, alll I can say is DAMN!!

Bad Timing
Bad Timing(1980)
½

I watched the movie "Bad Timing" when it came out in theaters back in 1980. I remember little about it. I may have dozed off during the screening. I did that a lot back in those days. I do remember I didn't think much of it. In the intervening years I've seen a lot of positive comment on the film, so I watched it again last night to see if I had missed something the first time.

I didn't. I still don't like the damn thing.

"Bad Timing" is an early film by Nicholas Roeg (Where has he been lately?) about an obssessive sexual relationship between a college professor and a beautiful young woman in Vienna. The female star of this movie is Theresa Russell who would eventually marry Roeg. She is great. This is the best performance I've ever seen from her, sexy, volatile, primal. Lord knows how she got to be a B-movie perennial with the stuff she shows here. The main problem is the male lead. Out of all the actors possible Roeg for some unearthly reason cast Art Garfunkel, as in Simon and Garfunkel.

At the time Garfunkel was making a name for himself as an actor, having starred in the movie "Carnal Knowledge" with Jack Nicholson. He was good in that film, but there he was serving as the mellow contrast to Nicholson's restless macho energy. This time he was supposed to be a jealous, unreasonable, control freak who at the end goes into brutal denial about his girlfriend's suciide attempt. Nicholson himself would have made a meal out of this part. With Garfunkel there is no there there. He is as expressive as a block of wood and he is massively outacted by Russell, Denholm Elliott and Harvey Keitel who has a weirdly written part as a police inspector. Garfunkel is maddeningly inert and kills any belief in the picture stone cold dead.

This tells me I should trust my instincts more often.

The Man Without a Past
½

I watched the movie "Bad Timing" when it came out in theaters back in 1980. I remember little about it. I may have dozed off during the screening. I did that a lot back in those days. I do remember I didn't think much of it. In the intervening years I've seen a lot of positive comment on the film, so I watched it again last night to see if I had missed something the first time.

I didn't. I still don't like the damn thing.

"Bad Timing" is an early film by Nicholas Roeg (Where has he been lately?) about an obssessive sexual relationship between a college professor and a beautiful young woman in Vienna. The female star of this movie is Theresa Russell who would eventually marry Roeg. She is great. This is the best performance I've ever seen from her, sexy, volatile, primal. Lord knows how she got to be a B-movie perennial with the stuff she shows here. The main problem is the male lead. Out of all the actors possible Roeg for some unearthly reason cast Art Garfunkel, as in Simon and Garfunkel.

At the time Garfunkel was making a name for himself as an actor, having starred in the movie "Carnal Knowledge" with Jack Nicholson. He was good in that film, but there he was serving as the mellow contrast to Nicholson's restless macho energy. This time he was supposed to be a jealous, unreasonable, control freak who at the end goes into brutal denial about his girlfriend's suciide attempt. Nicholson himself would have made a meal out of this part. With Garfunkel there is no there there. He is as expressive as a block of wood and he is massively outacted by Russell, Denholm Elliott and Harvey Keitel who has a weirdly written part as a police inspector. Garfunkel is maddeningly inert and kills any belief in the picture stone cold dead.

This tells me I should trust my instincts more often.

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

[size=3]I was watching part of the Walt Disney Treasures set, [u]On The Front Lines[/u] and it occured to me that the Disney cartoons have gottten a bum rap over the years. A lot of that is the company's fault. Walt Disney stopped making cartoon shorts in 1952 and never showed those pieces outside of the various Disney TV shows. Meanwhile the competition, especially Warner Brothers sell syndicated packages of their cartoons all over the country and generations of kids get to know and love that work. [/size]
[size=3] [/size][size=3] Make no mistake a lot of the other stuff is funnier particularly most of the Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Road Runner magic at Warners and Tex Avery's insane masterpieces for MGM. But dammit! A lot of Disney cartoons had merit. A lot of Donald Duck stuff is good and the Goofy cartoons from the 40's and 50's are inspired. Some of those Goofy sports cartoons compare favorably to anything Chuck Jones was doing at the time.[/size]
[size=3] Watching the best Disneys, you appreciate the craft of the work and realize that the company was great at using cartoons for other purposes than belly laughs. The set I saw included a lot of World War II propaganda cartoons. "Der Fuhrer's Face" may be the best WWII cartoon of all and the wartime "Chicken Little" turned the idea of the usual jolly little movie cartoon on its head.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] I also saw an interesting documentary called "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obssession". It was about a Los Angeles cable channel from the 70's and 80's that specialized in showing art minded American and foreign films, more specifically about the main programmer, Jerry Harvey, who was obssessed with movies but ultimately killed his wife and himself.[/size]
[size=3] The curious part was hearing all these critics and directors talk about the rare films that only Harvey had the vision to show. I was seeing most of those films when they first came out. Hell, "Berlin Alexanderplatz" played on PBS. Maybe he was the only guy in Los Angeles showing this stuff but the East Coast wasn't exactly Podunk U.S.A. Altman, Visconti, Peckinpah, Herzog, Laura Antonelli's stuff, it all played here.[/size]
[size=3] I will admit that the movie mentioned a few films even I hadn't heard of, a WWII story called "Overlord", a French comedy called "Le Magnifique" and a Klaus Kinski film, "The Most Important Thing Is To Love". Those never got over here.[/size]

Saved!
Saved!(2004)

[size=3]I was watching part of the Walt Disney Treasures set, [u]On The Front Lines[/u] and it occured to me that the Disney cartoons have gottten a bum rap over the years. A lot of that is the company's fault. Walt Disney stopped making cartoon shorts in 1952 and never showed those pieces outside of the various Disney TV shows. Meanwhile the competition, especially Warner Brothers sell syndicated packages of their cartoons all over the country and generations of kids get to know and love that work. [/size]
[size=3] [/size][size=3] Make no mistake a lot of the other stuff is funnier particularly most of the Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Road Runner magic at Warners and Tex Avery's insane masterpieces for MGM. But dammit! A lot of Disney cartoons had merit. A lot of Donald Duck stuff is good and the Goofy cartoons from the 40's and 50's are inspired. Some of those Goofy sports cartoons compare favorably to anything Chuck Jones was doing at the time.[/size]
[size=3] Watching the best Disneys, you appreciate the craft of the work and realize that the company was great at using cartoons for other purposes than belly laughs. The set I saw included a lot of World War II propaganda cartoons. "Der Fuhrer's Face" may be the best WWII cartoon of all and the wartime "Chicken Little" turned the idea of the usual jolly little movie cartoon on its head.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] I also saw an interesting documentary called "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obssession". It was about a Los Angeles cable channel from the 70's and 80's that specialized in showing art minded American and foreign films, more specifically about the main programmer, Jerry Harvey, who was obssessed with movies but ultimately killed his wife and himself.[/size]
[size=3] The curious part was hearing all these critics and directors talk about the rare films that only Harvey had the vision to show. I was seeing most of those films when they first came out. Hell, "Berlin Alexanderplatz" played on PBS. Maybe he was the only guy in Los Angeles showing this stuff but the East Coast wasn't exactly Podunk U.S.A. Altman, Visconti, Peckinpah, Herzog, Laura Antonelli's stuff, it all played here.[/size]
[size=3] I will admit that the movie mentioned a few films even I hadn't heard of, a WWII story called "Overlord", a French comedy called "Le Magnifique" and a Klaus Kinski film, "The Most Important Thing Is To Love". Those never got over here.[/size]

The Big Fix
The Big Fix(1978)
½

[size=3]I was watching part of the Walt Disney Treasures set, [u]On The Front Lines[/u] and it occured to me that the Disney cartoons have gottten a bum rap over the years. A lot of that is the company's fault. Walt Disney stopped making cartoon shorts in 1952 and never showed those pieces outside of the various Disney TV shows. Meanwhile the competition, especially Warner Brothers sell syndicated packages of their cartoons all over the country and generations of kids get to know and love that work. [/size]
[size=3] [/size][size=3] Make no mistake a lot of the other stuff is funnier particularly most of the Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Road Runner magic at Warners and Tex Avery's insane masterpieces for MGM. But dammit! A lot of Disney cartoons had merit. A lot of Donald Duck stuff is good and the Goofy cartoons from the 40's and 50's are inspired. Some of those Goofy sports cartoons compare favorably to anything Chuck Jones was doing at the time.[/size]
[size=3] Watching the best Disneys, you appreciate the craft of the work and realize that the company was great at using cartoons for other purposes than belly laughs. The set I saw included a lot of World War II propaganda cartoons. "Der Fuhrer's Face" may be the best WWII cartoon of all and the wartime "Chicken Little" turned the idea of the usual jolly little movie cartoon on its head.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] I also saw an interesting documentary called "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obssession". It was about a Los Angeles cable channel from the 70's and 80's that specialized in showing art minded American and foreign films, more specifically about the main programmer, Jerry Harvey, who was obssessed with movies but ultimately killed his wife and himself.[/size]
[size=3] The curious part was hearing all these critics and directors talk about the rare films that only Harvey had the vision to show. I was seeing most of those films when they first came out. Hell, "Berlin Alexanderplatz" played on PBS. Maybe he was the only guy in Los Angeles showing this stuff but the East Coast wasn't exactly Podunk U.S.A. Altman, Visconti, Peckinpah, Herzog, Laura Antonelli's stuff, it all played here.[/size]
[size=3] I will admit that the movie mentioned a few films even I hadn't heard of, a WWII story called "Overlord", a French comedy called "Le Magnifique" and a Klaus Kinski film, "The Most Important Thing Is To Love". Those never got over here.[/size]

Three Colors: White (Trois Couleurs: Blanc)

[size=3]I was watching part of the Walt Disney Treasures set, [u]On The Front Lines[/u] and it occured to me that the Disney cartoons have gottten a bum rap over the years. A lot of that is the company's fault. Walt Disney stopped making cartoon shorts in 1952 and never showed those pieces outside of the various Disney TV shows. Meanwhile the competition, especially Warner Brothers sell syndicated packages of their cartoons all over the country and generations of kids get to know and love that work. [/size]
[size=3] [/size][size=3] Make no mistake a lot of the other stuff is funnier particularly most of the Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Road Runner magic at Warners and Tex Avery's insane masterpieces for MGM. But dammit! A lot of Disney cartoons had merit. A lot of Donald Duck stuff is good and the Goofy cartoons from the 40's and 50's are inspired. Some of those Goofy sports cartoons compare favorably to anything Chuck Jones was doing at the time.[/size]
[size=3] Watching the best Disneys, you appreciate the craft of the work and realize that the company was great at using cartoons for other purposes than belly laughs. The set I saw included a lot of World War II propaganda cartoons. "Der Fuhrer's Face" may be the best WWII cartoon of all and the wartime "Chicken Little" turned the idea of the usual jolly little movie cartoon on its head.[/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3] I also saw an interesting documentary called "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obssession". It was about a Los Angeles cable channel from the 70's and 80's that specialized in showing art minded American and foreign films, more specifically about the main programmer, Jerry Harvey, who was obssessed with movies but ultimately killed his wife and himself.[/size]
[size=3] The curious part was hearing all these critics and directors talk about the rare films that only Harvey had the vision to show. I was seeing most of those films when they first came out. Hell, "Berlin Alexanderplatz" played on PBS. Maybe he was the only guy in Los Angeles showing this stuff but the East Coast wasn't exactly Podunk U.S.A. Altman, Visconti, Peckinpah, Herzog, Laura Antonelli's stuff, it all played here.[/size]
[size=3] I will admit that the movie mentioned a few films even I hadn't heard of, a WWII story called "Overlord", a French comedy called "Le Magnifique" and a Klaus Kinski film, "The Most Important Thing Is To Love". Those never got over here.[/size]

Rope
Rope(1948)

I worked my way back here finally. I've seen a mess of stuff in the last few months. Highlights include one of the British "Carry On" comedy series, "Carry On Dick", "Zoot Suit" the Latino musical which turned out to be killer stuff, "Juggernaut", a forgotten offshoot from the Disaster Movie era about bombs on an ocean liner that was excellent, the tricky Hitchcock thriller, "Rope" and last night a big pleasant surprise, "God's Little Acre".
All I knew about this movie was that it was one of those old "crazy hillbilly" stories but this one was first class all the way. Anthony Mann was the director, Elmer Bernstein did the score (and foreshadowed both his "Hallelujah Trail" and "Walk On The Wild Side" work) and Robert Ryan acted his ass off as the patriarch of the family. The supporting cast was a who's who of future TV stars, Tina Louise, Jack Lord, Vic Morrow, Buddy Hackett and Michael Landon as an albino (!). Even Aldo Ray showed up and gave a good performance.

Incident at Loch Ness

I worked my way back here finally. I've seen a mess of stuff in the last few months. Highlights include one of the British "Carry On" comedy series, "Carry On Dick", "Zoot Suit" the Latino musical which turned out to be killer stuff, "Juggernaut", a forgotten offshoot from the Disaster Movie era about bombs on an ocean liner that was excellent, the tricky Hitchcock thriller, "Rope" and last night a big pleasant surprise, "God's Little Acre".
All I knew about this movie was that it was one of those old "crazy hillbilly" stories but this one was first class all the way. Anthony Mann was the director, Elmer Bernstein did the score (and foreshadowed both his "Hallelujah Trail" and "Walk On The Wild Side" work) and Robert Ryan acted his ass off as the patriarch of the family. The supporting cast was a who's who of future TV stars, Tina Louise, Jack Lord, Vic Morrow, Buddy Hackett and Michael Landon as an albino (!). Even Aldo Ray showed up and gave a good performance.

Nine Lives
Nine Lives(2005)

I worked my way back here finally. I've seen a mess of stuff in the last few months. Highlights include one of the British "Carry On" comedy series, "Carry On Dick", "Zoot Suit" the Latino musical which turned out to be killer stuff, "Juggernaut", a forgotten offshoot from the Disaster Movie era about bombs on an ocean liner that was excellent, the tricky Hitchcock thriller, "Rope" and last night a big pleasant surprise, "God's Little Acre".
All I knew about this movie was that it was one of those old "crazy hillbilly" stories but this one was first class all the way. Anthony Mann was the director, Elmer Bernstein did the score (and foreshadowed both his "Hallelujah Trail" and "Walk On The Wild Side" work) and Robert Ryan acted his ass off as the patriarch of the family. The supporting cast was a who's who of future TV stars, Tina Louise, Jack Lord, Vic Morrow, Buddy Hackett and Michael Landon as an albino (!). Even Aldo Ray showed up and gave a good performance.

God's Little Acre
½

I worked my way back here finally. I've seen a mess of stuff in the last few months. Highlights include one of the British "Carry On" comedy series, "Carry On Dick", "Zoot Suit" the Latino musical which turned out to be killer stuff, "Juggernaut", a forgotten offshoot from the Disaster Movie era about bombs on an ocean liner that was excellent, the tricky Hitchcock thriller, "Rope" and last night a big pleasant surprise, "God's Little Acre".
All I knew about this movie was that it was one of those old "crazy hillbilly" stories but this one was first class all the way. Anthony Mann was the director, Elmer Bernstein did the score (and foreshadowed both his "Hallelujah Trail" and "Walk On The Wild Side" work) and Robert Ryan acted his ass off as the patriarch of the family. The supporting cast was a who's who of future TV stars, Tina Louise, Jack Lord, Vic Morrow, Buddy Hackett and Michael Landon as an albino (!). Even Aldo Ray showed up and gave a good performance.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story

I've been watching stuff. It just that it starts to all whiz past after a while. Maybe in a couple of days I'll be into something that might slow my speed down and help me finally enjoy life.

Steve Coogan is my new comedy hero. "Tristam Shandy" was clever and funny but not a slam dunk like his Alan Partridge stuff. "Shaun Of The Dead" was funny enough to make me wonder why I've avoided it for so long. The killer was "Downfall", a heavyweight study of Hitler's last days. I may see some John Hubley cartoons tonight.

Downfall (Der Untergang)

I've been watching stuff. It just that it starts to all whiz past after a while. Maybe in a couple of days I'll be into something that might slow my speed down and help me finally enjoy life.

Steve Coogan is my new comedy hero. "Tristam Shandy" was clever and funny but not a slam dunk like his Alan Partridge stuff. "Shaun Of The Dead" was funny enough to make me wonder why I've avoided it for so long. The killer was "Downfall", a heavyweight study of Hitler's last days. I may see some John Hubley cartoons tonight.

Shaun of the Dead

I've been watching stuff. It just that it starts to all whiz past after a while. Maybe in a couple of days I'll be into something that might slow my speed down and help me finally enjoy life.

Steve Coogan is my new comedy hero. "Tristam Shandy" was clever and funny but not a slam dunk like his Alan Partridge stuff. "Shaun Of The Dead" was funny enough to make me wonder why I've avoided it for so long. The killer was "Downfall", a heavyweight study of Hitler's last days. I may see some John Hubley cartoons tonight.

Z
Z(1969)
½

I've been watching stuff. It just that it starts to all whiz past after a while. Maybe in a couple of days I'll be into something that might slow my speed down and help me finally enjoy life.

Steve Coogan is my new comedy hero. "Tristam Shandy" was clever and funny but not a slam dunk like his Alan Partridge stuff. "Shaun Of The Dead" was funny enough to make me wonder why I've avoided it for so long. The killer was "Downfall", a heavyweight study of Hitler's last days. I may see some John Hubley cartoons tonight.

Fat City
Fat City(1972)
½

I might have rated "Across 110th Street" higher but the film suddenly conked out on On Demand just when it was reaching the climax. Maybe I'll rent it one day to see how it turned out although obviously Tony Franciosa wasn't long for this world.

Outisde of that, eh! "Fitzcarraldo" was mostly notable for showing a smiling Klaus Kinski, a very rare sight especially in a Herzog film. Evidently though he was his usual tyrannical self on the set. I'll have to see "Burden Of Dreams one day and get the real skinny. "Flower Of Evil" was typical Chabrol and "Fat City" did its job, but presented a really bleak, no hope life.

The Flower of Evil
½

I might have rated "Across 110th Street" higher but the film suddenly conked out on On Demand just when it was reaching the climax. Maybe I'll rent it one day to see how it turned out although obviously Tony Franciosa wasn't long for this world.

Outisde of that, eh! "Fitzcarraldo" was mostly notable for showing a smiling Klaus Kinski, a very rare sight especially in a Herzog film. Evidently though he was his usual tyrannical self on the set. I'll have to see "Burden Of Dreams one day and get the real skinny. "Flower Of Evil" was typical Chabrol and "Fat City" did its job, but presented a really bleak, no hope life.

Across 110th Street
½

I might have rated "Across 110th Street" higher but the film suddenly conked out on On Demand just when it was reaching the climax. Maybe I'll rent it one day to see how it turned out although obviously Tony Franciosa wasn't long for this world.

Outisde of that, eh! "Fitzcarraldo" was mostly notable for showing a smiling Klaus Kinski, a very rare sight especially in a Herzog film. Evidently though he was his usual tyrannical self on the set. I'll have to see "Burden Of Dreams one day and get the real skinny. "Flower Of Evil" was typical Chabrol and "Fat City" did its job, but presented a really bleak, no hope life.

Fitzcarraldo
Fitzcarraldo(1982)

I might have rated "Across 110th Street" higher but the film suddenly conked out on On Demand just when it was reaching the climax. Maybe I'll rent it one day to see how it turned out although obviously Tony Franciosa wasn't long for this world.

Outisde of that, eh! "Fitzcarraldo" was mostly notable for showing a smiling Klaus Kinski, a very rare sight especially in a Herzog film. Evidently though he was his usual tyrannical self on the set. I'll have to see "Burden Of Dreams one day and get the real skinny. "Flower Of Evil" was typical Chabrol and "Fat City" did its job, but presented a really bleak, no hope life.

Saw
Saw(2004)

Of what I saw over the weekend, "D.E.B.S." was a pleasant surprise. I don't why it was so looked down on when it was released. It was a cute little mix of teen romance and spy spoofery. The fun part was that it wasn't over the top like the Austin Powers movies, but subtle. And of course to my twqisted mind, the lesbian romance didn't hurt either. Damn, Jordana Brewster is pretty.

The other film that really affected me for very different reasons was "Y Tu Mama Tambien". The thing about this was the hidden plotline of a woman discovering that she has just a few weeks to live and deciding to leave her husband to go to the beach with two joyriding teens. It's the idea of not really living until you're faced with immiment death that gets me. God knows I haven't lived and I had another health scare today. I hope I can do something about going towards some kind of happiness this week. By any account, my time is running out.

D.E.B.S.
D.E.B.S.(2004)

Of what I saw over the weekend, "D.E.B.S." was a pleasant surprise. I don't why it was so looked down on when it was released. It was a cute little mix of teen romance and spy spoofery. The fun part was that it wasn't over the top like the Austin Powers movies, but subtle. And of course to my twqisted mind, the lesbian romance didn't hurt either. Damn, Jordana Brewster is pretty.

The other film that really affected me for very different reasons was "Y Tu Mama Tambien". The thing about this was the hidden plotline of a woman discovering that she has just a few weeks to live and deciding to leave her husband to go to the beach with two joyriding teens. It's the idea of not really living until you're faced with immiment death that gets me. God knows I haven't lived and I had another health scare today. I hope I can do something about going towards some kind of happiness this week. By any account, my time is running out.

Y Tu Mama Tambien
½

Of what I saw over the weekend, "D.E.B.S." was a pleasant surprise. I don't why it was so looked down on when it was released. It was a cute little mix of teen romance and spy spoofery. The fun part was that it wasn't over the top like the Austin Powers movies, but subtle. And of course to my twqisted mind, the lesbian romance didn't hurt either. Damn, Jordana Brewster is pretty.

The other film that really affected me for very different reasons was "Y Tu Mama Tambien". The thing about this was the hidden plotline of a woman discovering that she has just a few weeks to live and deciding to leave her husband to go to the beach with two joyriding teens. It's the idea of not really living until you're faced with immiment death that gets me. God knows I haven't lived and I had another health scare today. I hope I can do something about going towards some kind of happiness this week. By any account, my time is running out.

Rashômon
Rashômon(1951)

Of what I saw over the weekend, "D.E.B.S." was a pleasant surprise. I don't why it was so looked down on when it was released. It was a cute little mix of teen romance and spy spoofery. The fun part was that it wasn't over the top like the Austin Powers movies, but subtle. And of course to my twqisted mind, the lesbian romance didn't hurt either. Damn, Jordana Brewster is pretty.

The other film that really affected me for very different reasons was "Y Tu Mama Tambien". The thing about this was the hidden plotline of a woman discovering that she has just a few weeks to live and deciding to leave her husband to go to the beach with two joyriding teens. It's the idea of not really living until you're faced with immiment death that gets me. God knows I haven't lived and I had another health scare today. I hope I can do something about going towards some kind of happiness this week. By any account, my time is running out.

It's a Gift
It's a Gift(1934)

After all this time, "Carnal Knowledge" still works. It's sad how much of that film still applies. As for "Cursed", it wasn't really putrid just stupid and predictable.

Cursed
Cursed(2005)

After all this time, "Carnal Knowledge" still works. It's sad how much of that film still applies. As for "Cursed", it wasn't really putrid just stupid and predictable.

Carnal Knowledge
½

After all this time, "Carnal Knowledge" still works. It's sad how much of that film still applies. As for "Cursed", it wasn't really putrid just stupid and predictable.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

A huge surprise last Friday. I've been reading blather about Wes Andeson for a long time but never believed the hype. I tried watching "Bottle Rocket" twice but got bored and turned it off halfway through both times. I tried sitting through "Royal Tenenbaums" once and bailed after five minutes. His stuff was just too arch and self-conciously clever for me. Then last Friday I tuned in "The Life Aquatic" for the hell of it. A couple of hours I sat there delighted. I loved this movie. Anderson's dialogue was subtly off-center and the cast did wonders with it, especially Bill Murray who deadpanned his way through this thing like a champ, Jeff Goldblum who had his best role in a dog's age, and Willem Dafoe who did a hell of a job channelling Peter Lorre. Heck, even Owen Wilson was bearable. What gets me is that most reviews from Anderson fans were lukewarm about this movie. That I don't get.

Something else that has been a pleasant surprise lately, Showtime's [u]Masters Of Horror[/u] series. Horror anthologies are nothing new even ones done by big time directors. Not all the episodes of this series that I've seen have been that good, but two have been amazing, John Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns" and Joe Dante's "Homecoming". These episodes were the best things these directors have done in a long time.
Carpenter's was a brutal punch in the gut about a seedy film buff tracking down a film that supposedly turns its viewers into crazed killers. This was brilliantly creepy, had just enough gore to unnerve you and a sense of grandiose evil that is far beyond all the derivate spook, slasher and zombie movies out there.
Dante's picture was a very timely piece of satire that looked at one question: The soldiers killed in battle whom politicians always eulogize in the most patriotic of terms, what would they say about their deaths if they came back to life? Dante told that story in ruthless fashion as befits our times. He even threw in an Ann Coulter stand-iin who I'm happy to say, got shot in the head.

Method
Method(2004)

A huge surprise last Friday. I've been reading blather about Wes Andeson for a long time but never believed the hype. I tried watching "Bottle Rocket" twice but got bored and turned it off halfway through both times. I tried sitting through "Royal Tenenbaums" once and bailed after five minutes. His stuff was just too arch and self-conciously clever for me. Then last Friday I tuned in "The Life Aquatic" for the hell of it. A couple of hours I sat there delighted. I loved this movie. Anderson's dialogue was subtly off-center and the cast did wonders with it, especially Bill Murray who deadpanned his way through this thing like a champ, Jeff Goldblum who had his best role in a dog's age, and Willem Dafoe who did a hell of a job channelling Peter Lorre. Heck, even Owen Wilson was bearable. What gets me is that most reviews from Anderson fans were lukewarm about this movie. That I don't get.

Something else that has been a pleasant surprise lately, Showtime's [u]Masters Of Horror[/u] series. Horror anthologies are nothing new even ones done by big time directors. Not all the episodes of this series that I've seen have been that good, but two have been amazing, John Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns" and Joe Dante's "Homecoming". These episodes were the best things these directors have done in a long time.
Carpenter's was a brutal punch in the gut about a seedy film buff tracking down a film that supposedly turns its viewers into crazed killers. This was brilliantly creepy, had just enough gore to unnerve you and a sense of grandiose evil that is far beyond all the derivate spook, slasher and zombie movies out there.
Dante's picture was a very timely piece of satire that looked at one question: The soldiers killed in battle whom politicians always eulogize in the most patriotic of terms, what would they say about their deaths if they came back to life? Dante told that story in ruthless fashion as befits our times. He even threw in an Ann Coulter stand-iin who I'm happy to say, got shot in the head.

The Funeral
The Funeral(1996)

The "Black Sunday" I saw was the Mario Bava-Barbara Steele classic. It was corny in spots especially the music, but Bava's talent showed all over the place. I alos saw Abel Ferrara's "The Funeral". It's a gloomy movie but it stays with you and good old Chris Penn gets to outact a cast full of badasses like Christopher Walken and Vincent Gallo.

I also saw a few episodes of the recent Outer Limits revival and the 80's version of the Twilight Zone. There is one Zone story so far, "Nightcrawlers", a William Friedkin piece about a Vietnam vet at a roadside diner, that is as scary as anything on the orignal show. The Outer Limits stuff was good too but the main thing I remember about that is Alyssa Milano's breasts.:D

Black Sunday
Black Sunday(1960)

The "Black Sunday" I saw was the Mario Bava-Barbara Steele classic. It was corny in spots especially the music, but Bava's talent showed all over the place. I alos saw Abel Ferrara's "The Funeral". It's a gloomy movie but it stays with you and good old Chris Penn gets to outact a cast full of badasses like Christopher Walken and Vincent Gallo.

I also saw a few episodes of the recent Outer Limits revival and the 80's version of the Twilight Zone. There is one Zone story so far, "Nightcrawlers", a William Friedkin piece about a Vietnam vet at a roadside diner, that is as scary as anything on the orignal show. The Outer Limits stuff was good too but the main thing I remember about that is Alyssa Milano's breasts.:D

Häxan (Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages) (The Witches)
½

I've seen quite a few varied things lately. I'd heard all sorts of things about Neil Young's "Greendale" project, but it turned out to be really good. As a narrative, the movie didn't make much sense, but as a song cycle, it kicked ass with Neil and Crazy Horse in great form.

I've seen two very strange thigns in the last few days. The first was a Japanese cartoon called "Super Milk Chan". This was the most disorienting, bizarre thing I'd seen for a while. The art style was much thicker and more primary than most anime, and the plot, such as it is, was a bunch of barely connected non-sequiters between a five year old "super hero", some sort of president who barely seems comptent, and a creaky robot. I'm not sure what to think about it but damn if there aren't eight DVDs worth of this mess available. I'll see at least one just to find if this insanity runs throughout the series.

This morning I saw a film which no doubt looked completely normal when it was released in 1930 but seems like something out of the Fifth dimension in 2005, a jungle picture called "Golden Dawn". This movie was an operetta set among British soldiers stationed in Africa during World War I and one particular guy who was in love with a native girl who was not all that she seemed...in spades.
What was weiird here? For openers, how about a "native" girl who is not only obviously white but has supposedly lived in the jungle all her life but doesn't even have a light tan. The hero is Walter Woolf King who would later be the villain in "A Night At The Opera", there are all sorts of music hall style song and dance numbers including one of those creepy tunes where a woman sings about a man who will prove his love for her by socking her in the chops. Then most whacked out of all, there is ace bad hat Noah Beery shoe polished up as a bullying black villain and sporting an accent that sounds like he's planning to meet the Kingfish at the Mystic Knights of the Sea lodge hall. When Paul Robeson did stuff like this, you could get into it but this? Hoo-hah!

Neil Young - Greendale
½

I've seen quite a few varied things lately. I'd heard all sorts of things about Neil Young's "Greendale" project, but it turned out to be really good. As a narrative, the movie didn't make much sense, but as a song cycle, it kicked ass with Neil and Crazy Horse in great form.

I've seen two very strange thigns in the last few days. The first was a Japanese cartoon called "Super Milk Chan". This was the most disorienting, bizarre thing I'd seen for a while. The art style was much thicker and more primary than most anime, and the plot, such as it is, was a bunch of barely connected non-sequiters between a five year old "super hero", some sort of president who barely seems comptent, and a creaky robot. I'm not sure what to think about it but damn if there aren't eight DVDs worth of this mess available. I'll see at least one just to find if this insanity runs throughout the series.

This morning I saw a film which no doubt looked completely normal when it was released in 1930 but seems like something out of the Fifth dimension in 2005, a jungle picture called "Golden Dawn". This movie was an operetta set among British soldiers stationed in Africa during World War I and one particular guy who was in love with a native girl who was not all that she seemed...in spades.
What was weiird here? For openers, how about a "native" girl who is not only obviously white but has supposedly lived in the jungle all her life but doesn't even have a light tan. The hero is Walter Woolf King who would later be the villain in "A Night At The Opera", there are all sorts of music hall style song and dance numbers including one of those creepy tunes where a woman sings about a man who will prove his love for her by socking her in the chops. Then most whacked out of all, there is ace bad hat Noah Beery shoe polished up as a bullying black villain and sporting an accent that sounds like he's planning to meet the Kingfish at the Mystic Knights of the Sea lodge hall. When Paul Robeson did stuff like this, you could get into it but this? Hoo-hah!

Golden Dawn
Golden Dawn(1930)

I've seen quite a few varied things lately. I'd heard all sorts of things about Neil Young's "Greendale" project, but it turned out to be really good. As a narrative, the movie didn't make much sense, but as a song cycle, it kicked ass with Neil and Crazy Horse in great form.

I've seen two very strange thigns in the last few days. The first was a Japanese cartoon called "Super Milk Chan". This was the most disorienting, bizarre thing I'd seen for a while. The art style was much thicker and more primary than most anime, and the plot, such as it is, was a bunch of barely connected non-sequiters between a five year old "super hero", some sort of president who barely seems comptent, and a creaky robot. I'm not sure what to think about it but damn if there aren't eight DVDs worth of this mess available. I'll see at least one just to find if this insanity runs throughout the series.

This morning I saw a film which no doubt looked completely normal when it was released in 1930 but seems like something out of the Fifth dimension in 2005, a jungle picture called "Golden Dawn". This movie was an operetta set among British soldiers stationed in Africa during World War I and one particular guy who was in love with a native girl who was not all that she seemed...in spades.
What was weiird here? For openers, how about a "native" girl who is not only obviously white but has supposedly lived in the jungle all her life but doesn't even have a light tan. The hero is Walter Woolf King who would later be the villain in "A Night At The Opera", there are all sorts of music hall style song and dance numbers including one of those creepy tunes where a woman sings about a man who will prove his love for her by socking her in the chops. Then most whacked out of all, there is ace bad hat Noah Beery shoe polished up as a bullying black villain and sporting an accent that sounds like he's planning to meet the Kingfish at the Mystic Knights of the Sea lodge hall. When Paul Robeson did stuff like this, you could get into it but this? Hoo-hah!

Busting
Busting(1974)

Well I'm going to try again to keep this thing up if I don't do anything else except talk about movies. That will be easier because Netflix has a sick load of choices.

Of what I've seen lately, I liked "Nine Songs" better than most people. Explicit sex in a film doesn't bother me. I think it's a lot more honest than most of the beat around the bush crap they do in mainstream movies. "The Harmonists" turned out to be really moving. The dog was "Busting", a cop movie from the Dirty Harry school starring Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as grubby cops fighting the system. The plot was typically illogical, stacking the deck against the pair in ludicrous ways, but the real killer was Peter Hymas' direction. The man was addicted to hallways. Every second shot in the movie seemed to be a tracking shot down a long highway. Robert Blake was second banana in this but looking at his performance it was easy to believe this was his audition for "Baretta".

9 Songs
9 Songs(2005)

Well I'm going to try again to keep this thing up if I don't do anything else except talk about movies. That will be easier because Netflix has a sick load of choices.

Of what I've seen lately, I liked "Nine Songs" better than most people. Explicit sex in a film doesn't bother me. I think it's a lot more honest than most of the beat around the bush crap they do in mainstream movies. "The Harmonists" turned out to be really moving. The dog was "Busting", a cop movie from the Dirty Harry school starring Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as grubby cops fighting the system. The plot was typically illogical, stacking the deck against the pair in ludicrous ways, but the real killer was Peter Hymas' direction. The man was addicted to hallways. Every second shot in the movie seemed to be a tracking shot down a long highway. Robert Blake was second banana in this but looking at his performance it was easy to believe this was his audition for "Baretta".

The Harmonists

Well I'm going to try again to keep this thing up if I don't do anything else except talk about movies. That will be easier because Netflix has a sick load of choices.

Of what I've seen lately, I liked "Nine Songs" better than most people. Explicit sex in a film doesn't bother me. I think it's a lot more honest than most of the beat around the bush crap they do in mainstream movies. "The Harmonists" turned out to be really moving. The dog was "Busting", a cop movie from the Dirty Harry school starring Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as grubby cops fighting the system. The plot was typically illogical, stacking the deck against the pair in ludicrous ways, but the real killer was Peter Hymas' direction. The man was addicted to hallways. Every second shot in the movie seemed to be a tracking shot down a long highway. Robert Blake was second banana in this but looking at his performance it was easy to believe this was his audition for "Baretta".

Combats de femme (Un amour de femme, A Woman's Love)

[font=Garamond][size=3]So I'm going to try this journal thing one more time. I joined Netflix yesyerday so at least I'll have a steady stream of movies to watch. The most bizarre DVD I've seen lately is a little number called "Pupperts Who Kill". This is a Canadian cable show with slight ties to the venerable "Red Green Show". It's about four sicko puppets, a teddy bear who's a slut, a Cabbage Patch type doll who can snap at any moment and start picking off people from an apartment window with a telescopic rifle, a ventriloquist's dummy whose ventriloquists keep meeting with fatal accidents and a dog who used to work on a kiddie show and has become a complete thug. They all live in a halfway house with their counselor and they are every bit the perverted little desparadoes they sound like.[/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3] This show points out something I've noticed about Canadian humor. All the Canadian shows I've seen, "Puppets", "Red Green", "Kids In The Hall", "SCTV", tend to be slightly more relaxed than their closest American counterparts like "The Simpsons" and "South Park". It's a more mature kind of raunch if that makes sense. The American shows always seem to pride themselves on being rebellious and "edgy" and throwing out a lot of pop culture references. You don't see that as much in the Canadian shows. They seem like they are more relaxed and taking their insanity in stride. The Kids In The Hall act like they cross-dress all the time. The Red Green crew is a bunch of lazy malcontents and petty crooks. The puppets don't even try to be cocky and hip. They're just unrepentantly evil little bastards. [/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3][/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3]I've also been going after CDs like there's no tomorrow, specializing in really underground "rock" people: No Neck Blues Band, Mum, Flying Saucer Attack, Dead Can Dance, Fire Engines, Lightning Bolt, The Fall, Tara Jane O'Neil, Toby Driver. I'm really turning into a slut about this stuff (the only thing I can be a slut about these days). I plan on doing a Brazil - France parley of Gal Costa and Jane Birkin CDs as soon as I finish this.[/size][/font]

Buena Vista Social Club

[font=Garamond][size=3]So I'm going to try this journal thing one more time. I joined Netflix yesyerday so at least I'll have a steady stream of movies to watch. The most bizarre DVD I've seen lately is a little number called "Pupperts Who Kill". This is a Canadian cable show with slight ties to the venerable "Red Green Show". It's about four sicko puppets, a teddy bear who's a slut, a Cabbage Patch type doll who can snap at any moment and start picking off people from an apartment window with a telescopic rifle, a ventriloquist's dummy whose ventriloquists keep meeting with fatal accidents and a dog who used to work on a kiddie show and has become a complete thug. They all live in a halfway house with their counselor and they are every bit the perverted little desparadoes they sound like.[/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3] This show points out something I've noticed about Canadian humor. All the Canadian shows I've seen, "Puppets", "Red Green", "Kids In The Hall", "SCTV", tend to be slightly more relaxed than their closest American counterparts like "The Simpsons" and "South Park". It's a more mature kind of raunch if that makes sense. The American shows always seem to pride themselves on being rebellious and "edgy" and throwing out a lot of pop culture references. You don't see that as much in the Canadian shows. They seem like they are more relaxed and taking their insanity in stride. The Kids In The Hall act like they cross-dress all the time. The Red Green crew is a bunch of lazy malcontents and petty crooks. The puppets don't even try to be cocky and hip. They're just unrepentantly evil little bastards. [/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3][/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3]I've also been going after CDs like there's no tomorrow, specializing in really underground "rock" people: No Neck Blues Band, Mum, Flying Saucer Attack, Dead Can Dance, Fire Engines, Lightning Bolt, The Fall, Tara Jane O'Neil, Toby Driver. I'm really turning into a slut about this stuff (the only thing I can be a slut about these days). I plan on doing a Brazil - France parley of Gal Costa and Jane Birkin CDs as soon as I finish this.[/size][/font]

Basquiat
Basquiat(1996)
½

[font=Garamond][size=3]So I'm going to try this journal thing one more time. I joined Netflix yesyerday so at least I'll have a steady stream of movies to watch. The most bizarre DVD I've seen lately is a little number called "Pupperts Who Kill". This is a Canadian cable show with slight ties to the venerable "Red Green Show". It's about four sicko puppets, a teddy bear who's a slut, a Cabbage Patch type doll who can snap at any moment and start picking off people from an apartment window with a telescopic rifle, a ventriloquist's dummy whose ventriloquists keep meeting with fatal accidents and a dog who used to work on a kiddie show and has become a complete thug. They all live in a halfway house with their counselor and they are every bit the perverted little desparadoes they sound like.[/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3] This show points out something I've noticed about Canadian humor. All the Canadian shows I've seen, "Puppets", "Red Green", "Kids In The Hall", "SCTV", tend to be slightly more relaxed than their closest American counterparts like "The Simpsons" and "South Park". It's a more mature kind of raunch if that makes sense. The American shows always seem to pride themselves on being rebellious and "edgy" and throwing out a lot of pop culture references. You don't see that as much in the Canadian shows. They seem like they are more relaxed and taking their insanity in stride. The Kids In The Hall act like they cross-dress all the time. The Red Green crew is a bunch of lazy malcontents and petty crooks. The puppets don't even try to be cocky and hip. They're just unrepentantly evil little bastards. [/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3][/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3]I've also been going after CDs like there's no tomorrow, specializing in really underground "rock" people: No Neck Blues Band, Mum, Flying Saucer Attack, Dead Can Dance, Fire Engines, Lightning Bolt, The Fall, Tara Jane O'Neil, Toby Driver. I'm really turning into a slut about this stuff (the only thing I can be a slut about these days). I plan on doing a Brazil - France parley of Gal Costa and Jane Birkin CDs as soon as I finish this.[/size][/font]

Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

The above shows how weird my movie tastes are. In "Hero" you could tell that mainland China had a hand in the production with its emphasis on the group over the individual but it was still a ravishing film. The "Glenn Gould" film was fascinating, "Repo Man" was as cool as ever and "This Man Must Die" was typical downbeat, fatalistic Chabrol. It's hard to believe that 30 years later, Sean Penn could take the same premise and create an entirely different kind of movie in "The Crossing Guard", not as good but different.

Repo Man
Repo Man(1984)

The above shows how weird my movie tastes are. In "Hero" you could tell that mainland China had a hand in the production with its emphasis on the group over the individual but it was still a ravishing film. The "Glenn Gould" film was fascinating, "Repo Man" was as cool as ever and "This Man Must Die" was typical downbeat, fatalistic Chabrol. It's hard to believe that 30 years later, Sean Penn could take the same premise and create an entirely different kind of movie in "The Crossing Guard", not as good but different.

Hero
Hero(2004)
½

The above shows how weird my movie tastes are. In "Hero" you could tell that mainland China had a hand in the production with its emphasis on the group over the individual but it was still a ravishing film. The "Glenn Gould" film was fascinating, "Repo Man" was as cool as ever and "This Man Must Die" was typical downbeat, fatalistic Chabrol. It's hard to believe that 30 years later, Sean Penn could take the same premise and create an entirely different kind of movie in "The Crossing Guard", not as good but different.

This Man Must Die (Que la bęte meure)

The above shows how weird my movie tastes are. In "Hero" you could tell that mainland China had a hand in the production with its emphasis on the group over the individual but it was still a ravishing film. The "Glenn Gould" film was fascinating, "Repo Man" was as cool as ever and "This Man Must Die" was typical downbeat, fatalistic Chabrol. It's hard to believe that 30 years later, Sean Penn could take the same premise and create an entirely different kind of movie in "The Crossing Guard", not as good but different.

Sin City
Sin City(2005)
½

Well, I saw Sin City and seriously, the comics are much better. I thought there might be problems with this. Robert Rodrugiez got so involved in his hiptechnological advances he forgot he was making a movie. Transplanting a comic's dialogue to the screen isn't a good idea when what sounds good in print turns out stiff and unbelievable when said by actors. This thing was so obsessed with looking cool it never came to life. It acutally makes me wonder about the whole wisdom of this comic book movie craze. Can any movie effects match the wacked out grandeur of Jack Kirby's cosmic scenes, Steve Ditko's double-jointed bodies or Gene Colan's crazy-angled nightmares. Most super-heroes look downright silly when represented in the flesh and this proves that stylized noir cops are no fun either.

Gigantic
Gigantic(2002)
½

Well, I saw Sin City and seriously, the comics are much better. I thought there might be problems with this. Robert Rodrugiez got so involved in his hiptechnological advances he forgot he was making a movie. Transplanting a comic's dialogue to the screen isn't a good idea when what sounds good in print turns out stiff and unbelievable when said by actors. This thing was so obsessed with looking cool it never came to life. It acutally makes me wonder about the whole wisdom of this comic book movie craze. Can any movie effects match the wacked out grandeur of Jack Kirby's cosmic scenes, Steve Ditko's double-jointed bodies or Gene Colan's crazy-angled nightmares. Most super-heroes look downright silly when represented in the flesh and this proves that stylized noir cops are no fun either.

Layer Cake
Layer Cake(2005)

The first three here were all good ones. "Card Player" was the best Dario Argento film I've seen in a while and Mike Figgis' "Hotel" was strange but fun. I'm planning to rent Sin City tomorrow but I'm a little wary of that one. I've just watched "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" and that reminded me how shallow Robert Rodriguez's films can be.

Il Cartaio (The Card Player)

The first three here were all good ones. "Card Player" was the best Dario Argento film I've seen in a while and Mike Figgis' "Hotel" was strange but fun. I'm planning to rent Sin City tomorrow but I'm a little wary of that one. I've just watched "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" and that reminded me how shallow Robert Rodriguez's films can be.

Hotel
Hotel(2003)
½

The first three here were all good ones. "Card Player" was the best Dario Argento film I've seen in a while and Mike Figgis' "Hotel" was strange but fun. I'm planning to rent Sin City tomorrow but I'm a little wary of that one. I've just watched "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" and that reminded me how shallow Robert Rodriguez's films can be.

Once upon a Time in Mexico
½

The first three here were all good ones. "Card Player" was the best Dario Argento film I've seen in a while and Mike Figgis' "Hotel" was strange but fun. I'm planning to rent Sin City tomorrow but I'm a little wary of that one. I've just watched "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" and that reminded me how shallow Robert Rodriguez's films can be.

Infernal Affairs (Mou gaan dou)

When my job sent me to Atlanta, the Oklahoma City bombing happened. Two weeks after I went to a conference in Miami, 9/11 happened. This week I go to Boston and New Orleans gets submerged. Maybe they should stop sending me places.

The most striking feature about Boston is that the city has more good-looking women than any one place I've ever seen and since most of them have similar body and facial structures, most probably aren't college students, they're locals. Of course all this had me hating life immensely. It ain't good seeing that many lovely ladies when your own private life is so hopeless. Well, I'm home now and maybe I can figure out what my obssessions with sex workers and lesbians mean. Maybe I'll even watch some movies. I haven't forgotten about my 100 Best Movies list even I have done nothing with it.

Of Mice and Men

When my job sent me to Atlanta, the Oklahoma City bombing happened. Two weeks after I went to a conference in Miami, 9/11 happened. This week I go to Boston and New Orleans gets submerged. Maybe they should stop sending me places.

The most striking feature about Boston is that the city has more good-looking women than any one place I've ever seen and since most of them have similar body and facial structures, most probably aren't college students, they're locals. Of course all this had me hating life immensely. It ain't good seeing that many lovely ladies when your own private life is so hopeless. Well, I'm home now and maybe I can figure out what my obssessions with sex workers and lesbians mean. Maybe I'll even watch some movies. I haven't forgotten about my 100 Best Movies list even I have done nothing with it.

Body Count
Body Count(1997)

When my job sent me to Atlanta, the Oklahoma City bombing happened. Two weeks after I went to a conference in Miami, 9/11 happened. This week I go to Boston and New Orleans gets submerged. Maybe they should stop sending me places.

The most striking feature about Boston is that the city has more good-looking women than any one place I've ever seen and since most of them have similar body and facial structures, most probably aren't college students, they're locals. Of course all this had me hating life immensely. It ain't good seeing that many lovely ladies when your own private life is so hopeless. Well, I'm home now and maybe I can figure out what my obssessions with sex workers and lesbians mean. Maybe I'll even watch some movies. I haven't forgotten about my 100 Best Movies list even I have done nothing with it.

The Opposite of Sex

Not too movie mad these days. I'm more jazzed right now about the fact that a Keef Hartley Band album I've wanting to get my hands on for over 20 years just came out on CD. :D

"9 Songs" and "The Aristocrats", two movies I actually want to see are coming out this weekend so I may go to one of those. Then again I can go always go over to Video Americain in Takoma Park and pick up all manner of weird shit.

I have noticed in going over message boards here and on other sites that my tastes are a bit different than a lot of other net people, not just because I'm older, but because I'm waaay different. For that reason I'm going to be putting together a list of my 100 favorite movies soon. For here, not the forums because I don't know how to do all that still frames stuff they do. Still it should be a bit unique. I can already guarantee that Kevin Smith's movies will be nowhere near the list.:down:

Bad Company
Bad Company(1972)

Not too movie mad these days. I'm more jazzed right now about the fact that a Keef Hartley Band album I've wanting to get my hands on for over 20 years just came out on CD. :D

"9 Songs" and "The Aristocrats", two movies I actually want to see are coming out this weekend so I may go to one of those. Then again I can go always go over to Video Americain in Takoma Park and pick up all manner of weird shit.

I have noticed in going over message boards here and on other sites that my tastes are a bit different than a lot of other net people, not just because I'm older, but because I'm waaay different. For that reason I'm going to be putting together a list of my 100 favorite movies soon. For here, not the forums because I don't know how to do all that still frames stuff they do. Still it should be a bit unique. I can already guarantee that Kevin Smith's movies will be nowhere near the list.:down:

Devil in a Blue Dress

Not too movie mad these days. I'm more jazzed right now about the fact that a Keef Hartley Band album I've wanting to get my hands on for over 20 years just came out on CD. :D

"9 Songs" and "The Aristocrats", two movies I actually want to see are coming out this weekend so I may go to one of those. Then again I can go always go over to Video Americain in Takoma Park and pick up all manner of weird shit.

I have noticed in going over message boards here and on other sites that my tastes are a bit different than a lot of other net people, not just because I'm older, but because I'm waaay different. For that reason I'm going to be putting together a list of my 100 favorite movies soon. For here, not the forums because I don't know how to do all that still frames stuff they do. Still it should be a bit unique. I can already guarantee that Kevin Smith's movies will be nowhere near the list.:down:

Pink Flamingos

Sometimes you finally see something that was a real source of controversy 25 or 30 years ago and it loses a lot. Watching "Deep Throat" 20 years after the fact you wonder how it caused all the fuss it did, since there have been thousands of sexier and often better porn films since. "Pink Flamingos" stands the test of time. I just saw it for the first time and even though it's 33 yearsold, it's still every bit the sick, grotesque and demented outrage it ever was.

It became most famous for Divine eating dog shit at the end (which is just as gross as you'd imagine) but there's plenty of other jaw-dropping stuff, sex that involves two chickens being rubbed between the lovers' bodies, police being clubbed to death and eaten, the legendary Edie "The Egg Lady" Massey, baby-selling, cross-dressing, murder, contortionists. This puppy was one of a kind. The so-called outlaws today like Kevin Smith would never have the guts to make something this just plain wrong.
And I saw it on Starz On Demand cable! This movie has explicit sex scenes they wouldn't let the Playboy or Spice Channels get away with, but somehow "Pink Flamingos" has passed into the realm of "art" and it gets shown uncut. This was even a 25th Anniversary Edition that had John Waters showing deleted scenes at the end! Well I guess it isn't like anything a sane person would call a sex film. Something this bizarre yet focused has to be a work of art. There's nothing else to call it. This is the damnedst thing to come out of Baltimore since the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

Suds
Suds(1920)

Sometimes you finally see something that was a real source of controversy 25 or 30 years ago and it loses a lot. Watching "Deep Throat" 20 years after the fact you wonder how it caused all the fuss it did, since there have been thousands of sexier and often better porn films since. "Pink Flamingos" stands the test of time. I just saw it for the first time and even though it's 33 yearsold, it's still every bit the sick, grotesque and demented outrage it ever was.

It became most famous for Divine eating dog shit at the end (which is just as gross as you'd imagine) but there's plenty of other jaw-dropping stuff, sex that involves two chickens being rubbed between the lovers' bodies, police being clubbed to death and eaten, the legendary Edie "The Egg Lady" Massey, baby-selling, cross-dressing, murder, contortionists. This puppy was one of a kind. The so-called outlaws today like Kevin Smith would never have the guts to make something this just plain wrong.
And I saw it on Starz On Demand cable! This movie has explicit sex scenes they wouldn't let the Playboy or Spice Channels get away with, but somehow "Pink Flamingos" has passed into the realm of "art" and it gets shown uncut. This was even a 25th Anniversary Edition that had John Waters showing deleted scenes at the end! Well I guess it isn't like anything a sane person would call a sex film. Something this bizarre yet focused has to be a work of art. There's nothing else to call it. This is the damnedst thing to come out of Baltimore since the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

Man Bites Dog
½

Sometimes you finally see something that was a real source of controversy 25 or 30 years ago and it loses a lot. Watching "Deep Throat" 20 years after the fact you wonder how it caused all the fuss it did, since there have been thousands of sexier and often better porn films since. "Pink Flamingos" stands the test of time. I just saw it for the first time and even though it's 33 yearsold, it's still every bit the sick, grotesque and demented outrage it ever was.

It became most famous for Divine eating dog shit at the end (which is just as gross as you'd imagine) but there's plenty of other jaw-dropping stuff, sex that involves two chickens being rubbed between the lovers' bodies, police being clubbed to death and eaten, the legendary Edie "The Egg Lady" Massey, baby-selling, cross-dressing, murder, contortionists. This puppy was one of a kind. The so-called outlaws today like Kevin Smith would never have the guts to make something this just plain wrong.
And I saw it on Starz On Demand cable! This movie has explicit sex scenes they wouldn't let the Playboy or Spice Channels get away with, but somehow "Pink Flamingos" has passed into the realm of "art" and it gets shown uncut. This was even a 25th Anniversary Edition that had John Waters showing deleted scenes at the end! Well I guess it isn't like anything a sane person would call a sex film. Something this bizarre yet focused has to be a work of art. There's nothing else to call it. This is the damnedst thing to come out of Baltimore since the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

Trouble Every Day (Gargoyle)
½

(...and if you can finish that, you're even older than I am.)

None of that silly French-bashing around here. It's just that I've seen two very odd French films, in addition to "Baise-Moi", "The Piano Teacher", "Weekend" , "The Man On The Train" and all the other odd French films I've ever seen. Both of these were by women directors.

First was Claire Denis' "Trouble Every Day" about a woman who's sort of a vampire/cannibal. She eats her lovers during sex. There's no real gore, just a lot of smeared blood but you get the picture. A guy, presumably her ex-lover, spends the movie trying to find her. During the movie he jerks off lest he himself get sexually worked up and start snacking on his new bride. It should surprise no one to learn that this gentleman is played by Vincent Gallo. There is a score by Tindersticks that helps make this film palatable instead of just freaky.

"La Captive", directed by Chantal Ackerman, is marginally less creepy. Here a young man has an obsessive relationship with his girl friend. He is jealous of the time she spends with her female friends and follows her at night when she goes out. Sex consists of humping against her with his pajamas on. They almost part, she seems to come back to him but Boyfriend finally loses her to the good old Endless Sea.

Both dark but creepliy profound. It's what you'd expect from the country that gave the world Sartre, Godard and Duchamp.

Steamboat Bill Jr.
½

Of these pictures, "Steamboat Bill" proved once again that Buster Keaton may have been the greatest of all physical comedians and "Time Of The Wolf" turned out to be merely okay for a post-apocalypse movie. Isabelle Huppert is one of my all-time favorite actresses but she had too little to do.

The impressive one was "Golden Balls" (AKA "Huevos De Oro"). This was the first film I've ever seen by Spanish director Bigas Luna. Luna is supposed to have a weird take on sexual matters and he lived up to his billing. This movie concerned a man with big dreams about being a builder who marries a banker's daughter to help achieve them while keeping a girlfriend on the side. Needless to say, he's on top of the world for a while but eventually things go badly and he ends up crippled and down and out in Miami under the thumb of another woman who is cuckolding him with his best friend (no less than Benecio Del Toro). It's not as slapstick as Almodovar but still funny in a dark way with plenty of nudity from four (count 'em, four) lovely Spaish actresses.

Johnny English

Of these pictures, "Steamboat Bill" proved once again that Buster Keaton may have been the greatest of all physical comedians and "Time Of The Wolf" turned out to be merely okay for a post-apocalypse movie. Isabelle Huppert is one of my all-time favorite actresses but she had too little to do.

The impressive one was "Golden Balls" (AKA "Huevos De Oro"). This was the first film I've ever seen by Spanish director Bigas Luna. Luna is supposed to have a weird take on sexual matters and he lived up to his billing. This movie concerned a man with big dreams about being a builder who marries a banker's daughter to help achieve them while keeping a girlfriend on the side. Needless to say, he's on top of the world for a while but eventually things go badly and he ends up crippled and down and out in Miami under the thumb of another woman who is cuckolding him with his best friend (no less than Benecio Del Toro). It's not as slapstick as Almodovar but still funny in a dark way with plenty of nudity from four (count 'em, four) lovely Spaish actresses.

Time of the Wolf

Of these pictures, "Steamboat Bill" proved once again that Buster Keaton may have been the greatest of all physical comedians and "Time Of The Wolf" turned out to be merely okay for a post-apocalypse movie. Isabelle Huppert is one of my all-time favorite actresses but she had too little to do.

The impressive one was "Golden Balls" (AKA "Huevos De Oro"). This was the first film I've ever seen by Spanish director Bigas Luna. Luna is supposed to have a weird take on sexual matters and he lived up to his billing. This movie concerned a man with big dreams about being a builder who marries a banker's daughter to help achieve them while keeping a girlfriend on the side. Needless to say, he's on top of the world for a while but eventually things go badly and he ends up crippled and down and out in Miami under the thumb of another woman who is cuckolding him with his best friend (no less than Benecio Del Toro). It's not as slapstick as Almodovar but still funny in a dark way with plenty of nudity from four (count 'em, four) lovely Spaish actresses.

Huevos de oro (Golden Balls)

Of these pictures, "Steamboat Bill" proved once again that Buster Keaton may have been the greatest of all physical comedians and "Time Of The Wolf" turned out to be merely okay for a post-apocalypse movie. Isabelle Huppert is one of my all-time favorite actresses but she had too little to do.

The impressive one was "Golden Balls" (AKA "Huevos De Oro"). This was the first film I've ever seen by Spanish director Bigas Luna. Luna is supposed to have a weird take on sexual matters and he lived up to his billing. This movie concerned a man with big dreams about being a builder who marries a banker's daughter to help achieve them while keeping a girlfriend on the side. Needless to say, he's on top of the world for a while but eventually things go badly and he ends up crippled and down and out in Miami under the thumb of another woman who is cuckolding him with his best friend (no less than Benecio Del Toro). It's not as slapstick as Almodovar but still funny in a dark way with plenty of nudity from four (count 'em, four) lovely Spaish actresses.

The Man on the Train (L'homme du train)

Well, I'm seeing movies. I'm just forgetting about updating this thing.

My last DVD trip was to Blockbuster, where I saw once again that perception rarely equals reality. I can't speak for every Blockbuster in the United States, but for a mega-chain that supposedly frowns on individual choice, this particular store certainly had a lot of independent and foreign films. There were in particular a lot of Spanish-lanuage and Asian stuff, which should come as no surprise considering how many Latino and Asian people live in this area. The [i]real[/i] surprise was how many gay and lesbian videos were there. Supposedly that's the kind of thing Blockbuster would never, ever carry. Obviously someone's been telling fibs.

I got one of the lesbian films, "Make A Wish", which is probably the first lesbian slasher film on record. It was pretty good too allowing for the miniscule budget. The actors were good and the ending didn't insult your intelligence for once. They even left a few subtleties in the plot. And on top of all that there were even a couple of sex scenes.:D

My Summer of Love

Well, I'm seeing movies. I'm just forgetting about updating this thing.

My last DVD trip was to Blockbuster, where I saw once again that perception rarely equals reality. I can't speak for every Blockbuster in the United States, but for a mega-chain that supposedly frowns on individual choice, this particular store certainly had a lot of independent and foreign films. There were in particular a lot of Spanish-lanuage and Asian stuff, which should come as no surprise considering how many Latino and Asian people live in this area. The [i]real[/i] surprise was how many gay and lesbian videos were there. Supposedly that's the kind of thing Blockbuster would never, ever carry. Obviously someone's been telling fibs.

I got one of the lesbian films, "Make A Wish", which is probably the first lesbian slasher film on record. It was pretty good too allowing for the miniscule budget. The actors were good and the ending didn't insult your intelligence for once. They even left a few subtleties in the plot. And on top of all that there were even a couple of sex scenes.:D

Make a Wish
Make a Wish(2002)
½

Well, I'm seeing movies. I'm just forgetting about updating this thing.

My last DVD trip was to Blockbuster, where I saw once again that perception rarely equals reality. I can't speak for every Blockbuster in the United States, but for a mega-chain that supposedly frowns on individual choice, this particular store certainly had a lot of independent and foreign films. There were in particular a lot of Spanish-lanuage and Asian stuff, which should come as no surprise considering how many Latino and Asian people live in this area. The [i]real[/i] surprise was how many gay and lesbian videos were there. Supposedly that's the kind of thing Blockbuster would never, ever carry. Obviously someone's been telling fibs.

I got one of the lesbian films, "Make A Wish", which is probably the first lesbian slasher film on record. It was pretty good too allowing for the miniscule budget. The actors were good and the ending didn't insult your intelligence for once. They even left a few subtleties in the plot. And on top of all that there were even a couple of sex scenes.:D

Ken Park
Ken Park(2002)
½

Well, I wanted "out there" and Boy, I got it! Peter Greenaway's "The Baby Of Macon" was okay, mainly a restatement of things he's said before about man's cruelty in the form of an Elizabethan play-within-a-play. Then you get to the end where he has the lead actress gang raped and the dead body of a child cut apart. You can see why nobody picked it up for distribution over here.

"Ken Park" was a bit stronger. This movie had me saying "What the fuck am I watching?" over and over again. It was about a group of California teens who have troubled relations with their parents...which is a gross understatement. One kid is having sex with his girlfriend's mom, another has his drunken father try to perform oral sex on him, a third treats his grandparents like crap and eventually stabs them both to death and the girl of the group has her father catch her in bed with a boy. Then he flips out and starts taking her to be her dead mother.
The creepiest part is that all the sexual parts are graphically shown. Director Larry Clark is notorious for having teenaged sex scenes in his movies but this time he teeters right on the edge of explicit. There are oral sex scenes and genital gropings that look extremely real and at one point, we're even treated to the sight of the grandparent-killer jacking off...to full completion.
After all this the sight of the girl and the two remaining guys havimg casual three-way sex together at the end seems like a relief. In a way that's the point. You can see how these kids are betrayed by the people who are supposed to love and protect them, and their bonding is the only respite they have. For all its creepiness, the damn movie makes sense.
I was amazed they found actors willing to do the sex stuff. I recognized the molesting father from other roles and the mother who spreads for and gropes her daughter's boyfriend is a former professional tennis player who has done other movies. Grabbing a kid's genitals and being eaten out on camera obviously didn't fase her.
I say "kid" advisedly. Obviously all these young actors are of legal age. Otherwise Larry Clark would be in jail right now. Nevertheless when you consider the furor Vincent Gallo caused for showing far less in "The Brown Bunny", it's obvious that "Ken Park" will never see the official light of day in the US.

Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood
½

Well, I wanted "out there" and Boy, I got it! Peter Greenaway's "The Baby Of Macon" was okay, mainly a restatement of things he's said before about man's cruelty in the form of an Elizabethan play-within-a-play. Then you get to the end where he has the lead actress gang raped and the dead body of a child cut apart. You can see why nobody picked it up for distribution over here.

"Ken Park" was a bit stronger. This movie had me saying "What the fuck am I watching?" over and over again. It was about a group of California teens who have troubled relations with their parents...which is a gross understatement. One kid is having sex with his girlfriend's mom, another has his drunken father try to perform oral sex on him, a third treats his grandparents like crap and eventually stabs them both to death and the girl of the group has her father catch her in bed with a boy. Then he flips out and starts taking her to be her dead mother.
The creepiest part is that all the sexual parts are graphically shown. Director Larry Clark is notorious for having teenaged sex scenes in his movies but this time he teeters right on the edge of explicit. There are oral sex scenes and genital gropings that look extremely real and at one point, we're even treated to the sight of the grandparent-killer jacking off...to full completion.
After all this the sight of the girl and the two remaining guys havimg casual three-way sex together at the end seems like a relief. In a way that's the point. You can see how these kids are betrayed by the people who are supposed to love and protect them, and their bonding is the only respite they have. For all its creepiness, the damn movie makes sense.
I was amazed they found actors willing to do the sex stuff. I recognized the molesting father from other roles and the mother who spreads for and gropes her daughter's boyfriend is a former professional tennis player who has done other movies. Grabbing a kid's genitals and being eaten out on camera obviously didn't fase her.
I say "kid" advisedly. Obviously all these young actors are of legal age. Otherwise Larry Clark would be in jail right now. Nevertheless when you consider the furor Vincent Gallo caused for showing far less in "The Brown Bunny", it's obvious that "Ken Park" will never see the official light of day in the US.

The Baby of Mâcon

Well, I wanted "out there" and Boy, I got it! Peter Greenaway's "The Baby Of Macon" was okay, mainly a restatement of things he's said before about man's cruelty in the form of an Elizabethan play-within-a-play. Then you get to the end where he has the lead actress gang raped and the dead body of a child cut apart. You can see why nobody picked it up for distribution over here.

"Ken Park" was a bit stronger. This movie had me saying "What the fuck am I watching?" over and over again. It was about a group of California teens who have troubled relations with their parents...which is a gross understatement. One kid is having sex with his girlfriend's mom, another has his drunken father try to perform oral sex on him, a third treats his grandparents like crap and eventually stabs them both to death and the girl of the group has her father catch her in bed with a boy. Then he flips out and starts taking her to be her dead mother.
The creepiest part is that all the sexual parts are graphically shown. Director Larry Clark is notorious for having teenaged sex scenes in his movies but this time he teeters right on the edge of explicit. There are oral sex scenes and genital gropings that look extremely real and at one point, we're even treated to the sight of the grandparent-killer jacking off...to full completion.
After all this the sight of the girl and the two remaining guys havimg casual three-way sex together at the end seems like a relief. In a way that's the point. You can see how these kids are betrayed by the people who are supposed to love and protect them, and their bonding is the only respite they have. For all its creepiness, the damn movie makes sense.
I was amazed they found actors willing to do the sex stuff. I recognized the molesting father from other roles and the mother who spreads for and gropes her daughter's boyfriend is a former professional tennis player who has done other movies. Grabbing a kid's genitals and being eaten out on camera obviously didn't fase her.
I say "kid" advisedly. Obviously all these young actors are of legal age. Otherwise Larry Clark would be in jail right now. Nevertheless when you consider the furor Vincent Gallo caused for showing far less in "The Brown Bunny", it's obvious that "Ken Park" will never see the official light of day in the US.

Report to the Commissioner

I've been going through what I hope to be permanent changes lately. This means my priorities have been different and I haven't been going out to rent movies, relying on whatever my cable system serves up. After a few weeks I've discovered that approach doesn't get it. There's some good stuff on cable but precious little of the really way out, bizarro films I enjoy. So I went to Video Americain today and lived up to my profile by getting two movies that have never even been released in this country, Larry Clark's "Ken Park" and Peter Greenaway's "The Baby Of Macon".

I saw a real whopper this morning, "Report To The Commissioner". I remember this film coming out with a lot of ballyhoo in the Seventies but nobody remembers it today, and with good reason, it's stupid. It's a bizarre story about undercover work gone horribly wrong and the resultant coverup, but there is a fatal flaw, the wog-boggling lead performance of Michael Moriarity who acts like a pre-Raphaelite flower child when he's supposed to be a rookie cop. It's ludicrous overacting and it's no wonder he spent several years doing Larry Cohen exploitation movies after this. The plot was strange in a couple of ways as well but a better lead actor and director might have worked out of it all. Instead we get two ludicrous chase scenes as padding, one with Moriarity chasing a black guy in boxer shorts over rooftops and one of a legless street beggar careening through Manhattan like a skateboarder!
Some good actors here despite all that, Yaphet Kotto, Hector Elizondo, Vic Tayback, William Devane and Richard Gere as a pimp (!). There's an oddconnection knowing that twenty years later Moriarity and Kotto would be working in two excellent TV cop shows, Moriarity inder control as prosecuting attorney Ben Stone in "Law And Order" and Kotto as LT Giardella on "Homicide: Life On The Street".

LD 50 Lethal Dose

I've been going through what I hope to be permanent changes lately. This means my priorities have been different and I haven't been going out to rent movies, relying on whatever my cable system serves up. After a few weeks I've discovered that approach doesn't get it. There's some good stuff on cable but precious little of the really way out, bizarro films I enjoy. So I went to Video Americain today and lived up to my profile by getting two movies that have never even been released in this country, Larry Clark's "Ken Park" and Peter Greenaway's "The Baby Of Macon".

I saw a real whopper this morning, "Report To The Commissioner". I remember this film coming out with a lot of ballyhoo in the Seventies but nobody remembers it today, and with good reason, it's stupid. It's a bizarre story about undercover work gone horribly wrong and the resultant coverup, but there is a fatal flaw, the wog-boggling lead performance of Michael Moriarity who acts like a pre-Raphaelite flower child when he's supposed to be a rookie cop. It's ludicrous overacting and it's no wonder he spent several years doing Larry Cohen exploitation movies after this. The plot was strange in a couple of ways as well but a better lead actor and director might have worked out of it all. Instead we get two ludicrous chase scenes as padding, one with Moriarity chasing a black guy in boxer shorts over rooftops and one of a legless street beggar careening through Manhattan like a skateboarder!
Some good actors here despite all that, Yaphet Kotto, Hector Elizondo, Vic Tayback, William Devane and Richard Gere as a pimp (!). There's an oddconnection knowing that twenty years later Moriarity and Kotto would be working in two excellent TV cop shows, Moriarity inder control as prosecuting attorney Ben Stone in "Law And Order" and Kotto as LT Giardella on "Homicide: Life On The Street".

Shattered Glass
½

I've been going through what I hope to be permanent changes lately. This means my priorities have been different and I haven't been going out to rent movies, relying on whatever my cable system serves up. After a few weeks I've discovered that approach doesn't get it. There's some good stuff on cable but precious little of the really way out, bizarro films I enjoy. So I went to Video Americain today and lived up to my profile by getting two movies that have never even been released in this country, Larry Clark's "Ken Park" and Peter Greenaway's "The Baby Of Macon".

I saw a real whopper this morning, "Report To The Commissioner". I remember this film coming out with a lot of ballyhoo in the Seventies but nobody remembers it today, and with good reason, it's stupid. It's a bizarre story about undercover work gone horribly wrong and the resultant coverup, but there is a fatal flaw, the wog-boggling lead performance of Michael Moriarity who acts like a pre-Raphaelite flower child when he's supposed to be a rookie cop. It's ludicrous overacting and it's no wonder he spent several years doing Larry Cohen exploitation movies after this. The plot was strange in a couple of ways as well but a better lead actor and director might have worked out of it all. Instead we get two ludicrous chase scenes as padding, one with Moriarity chasing a black guy in boxer shorts over rooftops and one of a legless street beggar careening through Manhattan like a skateboarder!
Some good actors here despite all that, Yaphet Kotto, Hector Elizondo, Vic Tayback, William Devane and Richard Gere as a pimp (!). There's an oddconnection knowing that twenty years later Moriarity and Kotto would be working in two excellent TV cop shows, Moriarity inder control as prosecuting attorney Ben Stone in "Law And Order" and Kotto as LT Giardella on "Homicide: Life On The Street".

The Killing Club
½

Not seeing movies as frequently as I used to since other things are occupying my time. From what I have seen "Spartan" is top-flight David Mamet with his usual mid-film twist and nice work from Val Kilmer and "Revengers Tragedy" continues the now-common practice of setting an Elizabethan tragedy in some dystopian future but at least this time it was an unfamiliar play.

"Mayor Of The Sunset Strip" was intersting if a little manipulative chroncling the life and career of LA rock scene king Rodney Bingleheimer. It was good on the musical side of his story but it got a bit manipulative when showing his relationship with his family and a female friend he called the "love of his life" but who considered herself just a friend. Another odd thing was that the film suggested that Rodney's day as a DJ and musical kingmaker was past since kids were into techno and rap now instead of the straight up trock and roll he loves. I don't know when this film was made but of course thanks to the likes of The Strokes, The Killers and Franz Ferdinand among others, rock is back in the saddle among the hipsters so Rodney is today as relevant as ever.

And then there's "The Killing Club". How often do you see a movie fall apart right in front of your eyes? It starts promisingly as a dark comedy about three women who accidently get into the business of killing obnoxious men, but it quickly crashes and burns. Despite the rising body count around these ladies, only one policeman appears in only one scene, a lot of scenes are taken up with tedious scenes of bickering and to top it all, it ends with the one determined "killer" played by Traci Lords chasing her chickened-out partners through a construction site. They get away and that's it! She seemingly never tries to contact or attack the women again even though she knows where they both live. The next scene is six months later. One of the other women has happily written a book about the entire experience (!?) and Lords is lastly shown taking a taxi ride somewhere in Arizona. The thought of any character actually being punished for the three deaths caused during the movie, as you would see in any other picture, doesn't seem to have occured to anyone this time.

Revengers Tragedy

Not seeing movies as frequently as I used to since other things are occupying my time. From what I have seen "Spartan" is top-flight David Mamet with his usual mid-film twist and nice work from Val Kilmer and "Revengers Tragedy" continues the now-common practice of setting an Elizabethan tragedy in some dystopian future but at least this time it was an unfamiliar play.

"Mayor Of The Sunset Strip" was intersting if a little manipulative chroncling the life and career of LA rock scene king Rodney Bingleheimer. It was good on the musical side of his story but it got a bit manipulative when showing his relationship with his family and a female friend he called the "love of his life" but who considered herself just a friend. Another odd thing was that the film suggested that Rodney's day as a DJ and musical kingmaker was past since kids were into techno and rap now instead of the straight up trock and roll he loves. I don't know when this film was made but of course thanks to the likes of The Strokes, The Killers and Franz Ferdinand among others, rock is back in the saddle among the hipsters so Rodney is today as relevant as ever.

And then there's "The Killing Club". How often do you see a movie fall apart right in front of your eyes? It starts promisingly as a dark comedy about three women who accidently get into the business of killing obnoxious men, but it quickly crashes and burns. Despite the rising body count around these ladies, only one policeman appears in only one scene, a lot of scenes are taken up with tedious scenes of bickering and to top it all, it ends with the one determined "killer" played by Traci Lords chasing her chickened-out partners through a construction site. They get away and that's it! She seemingly never tries to contact or attack the women again even though she knows where they both live. The next scene is six months later. One of the other women has happily written a book about the entire experience (!?) and Lords is lastly shown taking a taxi ride somewhere in Arizona. The thought of any character actually being punished for the three deaths caused during the movie, as you would see in any other picture, doesn't seem to have occured to anyone this time.

Mayor of the Sunset Strip
½

Not seeing movies as frequently as I used to since other things are occupying my time. From what I have seen "Spartan" is top-flight David Mamet with his usual mid-film twist and nice work from Val Kilmer and "Revengers Tragedy" continues the now-common practice of setting an Elizabethan tragedy in some dystopian future but at least this time it was an unfamiliar play.

"Mayor Of The Sunset Strip" was intersting if a little manipulative chroncling the life and career of LA rock scene king Rodney Bingleheimer. It was good on the musical side of his story but it got a bit manipulative when showing his relationship with his family and a female friend he called the "love of his life" but who considered herself just a friend. Another odd thing was that the film suggested that Rodney's day as a DJ and musical kingmaker was past since kids were into techno and rap now instead of the straight up trock and roll he loves. I don't know when this film was made but of course thanks to the likes of The Strokes, The Killers and Franz Ferdinand among others, rock is back in the saddle among the hipsters so Rodney is today as relevant as ever.

And then there's "The Killing Club". How often do you see a movie fall apart right in front of your eyes? It starts promisingly as a dark comedy about three women who accidently get into the business of killing obnoxious men, but it quickly crashes and burns. Despite the rising body count around these ladies, only one policeman appears in only one scene, a lot of scenes are taken up with tedious scenes of bickering and to top it all, it ends with the one determined "killer" played by Traci Lords chasing her chickened-out partners through a construction site. They get away and that's it! She seemingly never tries to contact or attack the women again even though she knows where they both live. The next scene is six months later. One of the other women has happily written a book about the entire experience (!?) and Lords is lastly shown taking a taxi ride somewhere in Arizona. The thought of any character actually being punished for the three deaths caused during the movie, as you would see in any other picture, doesn't seem to have occured to anyone this time.

Spartan
Spartan(2004)

Not seeing movies as frequently as I used to since other things are occupying my time. From what I have seen "Spartan" is top-flight David Mamet with his usual mid-film twist and nice work from Val Kilmer and "Revengers Tragedy" continues the now-common practice of setting an Elizabethan tragedy in some dystopian future but at least this time it was an unfamiliar play.

"Mayor Of The Sunset Strip" was intersting if a little manipulative chroncling the life and career of LA rock scene king Rodney Bingleheimer. It was good on the musical side of his story but it got a bit manipulative when showing his relationship with his family and a female friend he called the "love of his life" but who considered herself just a friend. Another odd thing was that the film suggested that Rodney's day as a DJ and musical kingmaker was past since kids were into techno and rap now instead of the straight up trock and roll he loves. I don't know when this film was made but of course thanks to the likes of The Strokes, The Killers and Franz Ferdinand among others, rock is back in the saddle among the hipsters so Rodney is today as relevant as ever.

And then there's "The Killing Club". How often do you see a movie fall apart right in front of your eyes? It starts promisingly as a dark comedy about three women who accidently get into the business of killing obnoxious men, but it quickly crashes and burns. Despite the rising body count around these ladies, only one policeman appears in only one scene, a lot of scenes are taken up with tedious scenes of bickering and to top it all, it ends with the one determined "killer" played by Traci Lords chasing her chickened-out partners through a construction site. They get away and that's it! She seemingly never tries to contact or attack the women again even though she knows where they both live. The next scene is six months later. One of the other women has happily written a book about the entire experience (!?) and Lords is lastly shown taking a taxi ride somewhere in Arizona. The thought of any character actually being punished for the three deaths caused during the movie, as you would see in any other picture, doesn't seem to have occured to anyone this time.

Owning Mahowny
½

"The Hole" is a creepy little British thriller about four college students who get trapped in a WWII bomb shelter. I really liked it when I saw it, but the more I thought about it the more I realized there were monstrous holes in the plot. The entire movie turns on a scheme that the likes of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot would have seen through in a second, but the clueless cops in this movie are taken in completely. The most pertinent fact...The door only locked from the inside.
Otherwise "Nightmare Before Christmas" turned out to be the best Christmas show I've seen since "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Owning Mahowny" was the story of a bank manager who embezzled big time to feed his gambling addiction and Philip Seymour Hoffman was great in the lead.

The Hole
The Hole(2001)

"The Hole" is a creepy little British thriller about four college students who get trapped in a WWII bomb shelter. I really liked it when I saw it, but the more I thought about it the more I realized there were monstrous holes in the plot. The entire movie turns on a scheme that the likes of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot would have seen through in a second, but the clueless cops in this movie are taken in completely. The most pertinent fact...The door only locked from the inside.
Otherwise "Nightmare Before Christmas" turned out to be the best Christmas show I've seen since "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Owning Mahowny" was the story of a bank manager who embezzled big time to feed his gambling addiction and Philip Seymour Hoffman was great in the lead.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

"The Hole" is a creepy little British thriller about four college students who get trapped in a WWII bomb shelter. I really liked it when I saw it, but the more I thought about it the more I realized there were monstrous holes in the plot. The entire movie turns on a scheme that the likes of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot would have seen through in a second, but the clueless cops in this movie are taken in completely. The most pertinent fact...The door only locked from the inside.
Otherwise "Nightmare Before Christmas" turned out to be the best Christmas show I've seen since "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Owning Mahowny" was the story of a bank manager who embezzled big time to feed his gambling addiction and Philip Seymour Hoffman was great in the lead.

Betty Blue (372 le Matin)
½

We haven't heard anything about French director Jean-Jacques Beneix over here for a long time. He had one big hit, "Diva", did a couple more movies, then silence as far as I know. Now I can guess why. The guy just ain't all that.
I saw his film, "Betty Blue", last night and Yikes! What could have been a nice little romantic drama went horribly wrong. He stuffs in incident after incident between his two lovers without moving the plot along an inch, then near the end throws in an armored car robbery with the flimiest of connections to the plot. The actual ending tries to be tragic but just comes off creepy and odd especially compared to a similar climax done far more effectively in "Million Dollar Baby". Self-indulgent, much? This guy comes off as the French Michael Cimino.

This morning I saw a quirky little comedy that was much, much better, "The Big Empty". It starred Jon Favreau as an out of work actor hired to deliver a blue suitcase to a guy named Cowboy at a dusty truckstop. It was funny and weird in a good way with a plot that sucked you in even as it started involving aliens, homicidal boyfriends and big Indians. Very good cast, too, Favreau, Joey Lauren Adams, Rachael Leigh Cook, Kelsey Grammer, Gary Farmer, Sean Bean and an unrecognizable Daryl Hannah. (I swear I thought she was Rene Russo).

The Big Empty

We haven't heard anything about French director Jean-Jacques Beneix over here for a long time. He had one big hit, "Diva", did a couple more movies, then silence as far as I know. Now I can guess why. The guy just ain't all that.
I saw his film, "Betty Blue", last night and Yikes! What could have been a nice little romantic drama went horribly wrong. He stuffs in incident after incident between his two lovers without moving the plot along an inch, then near the end throws in an armored car robbery with the flimiest of connections to the plot. The actual ending tries to be tragic but just comes off creepy and odd especially compared to a similar climax done far more effectively in "Million Dollar Baby". Self-indulgent, much? This guy comes off as the French Michael Cimino.

This morning I saw a quirky little comedy that was much, much better, "The Big Empty". It starred Jon Favreau as an out of work actor hired to deliver a blue suitcase to a guy named Cowboy at a dusty truckstop. It was funny and weird in a good way with a plot that sucked you in even as it started involving aliens, homicidal boyfriends and big Indians. Very good cast, too, Favreau, Joey Lauren Adams, Rachael Leigh Cook, Kelsey Grammer, Gary Farmer, Sean Bean and an unrecognizable Daryl Hannah. (I swear I thought she was Rene Russo).

The Attic Expeditions

I enjoy weird movies, the more involved and unpredictable the better. Tarkovsky, no problem. Lynch, bring it on. Rivette, Godard, Waters, I'll take it all.
But the other night I saw a film that baffled me. I wasn't sure if it was intelligent or a cockeyed mess. It was something called "The Attic Expeditions", a horror movie about a man who murders his fiancee during some kind of Satanic ritual and wakes up four years later in a hospital. He is sent to a sort of halfway house for crazy people where he meets other strange folks and bizarre, bloody stuff starts to occur, some of it involving a trunk in the attic that has a flight of stairs inside it.
You're never quite sure what's real and imaginary in this movie. The protagonist is being constantly observed by the director of the hospital but he seems to be watching the guy in the house at the same time we see him on an operating table with electrodes attached to his exposed brain. I haven't even mentioned the dungeon inside the trunk or the reappearance of the dead girlfriend. There are a couple of my favorite actors making this at least humorous, Seth Green and Jeffrey Combs, but what the hell is going on? Damned if I know.
Haven't seen much since I've been staying away from the video stores but I was really moved by "Hilary And Jackie". I know this movie was an also-ran in the year end prestige sweepstakes when it was first released but it deserved better, and Emily Watson should have gotten a bunch of Best Actress Oscar votes for her work. This one inspires me to go out and look for some of Jacqueline Du Pre's CDs, like I needed another reason to buy music.
I will be grabbing something at Potomac Video tomorrow. I may look for a movie called "Lawn Dogs" that I hear is good. (Actually I'll be looking for it because I read that Angie Harmon has a nude scene in it.)

A Good Night to Die

I enjoy weird movies, the more involved and unpredictable the better. Tarkovsky, no problem. Lynch, bring it on. Rivette, Godard, Waters, I'll take it all.
But the other night I saw a film that baffled me. I wasn't sure if it was intelligent or a cockeyed mess. It was something called "The Attic Expeditions", a horror movie about a man who murders his fiancee during some kind of Satanic ritual and wakes up four years later in a hospital. He is sent to a sort of halfway house for crazy people where he meets other strange folks and bizarre, bloody stuff starts to occur, some of it involving a trunk in the attic that has a flight of stairs inside it.
You're never quite sure what's real and imaginary in this movie. The protagonist is being constantly observed by the director of the hospital but he seems to be watching the guy in the house at the same time we see him on an operating table with electrodes attached to his exposed brain. I haven't even mentioned the dungeon inside the trunk or the reappearance of the dead girlfriend. There are a couple of my favorite actors making this at least humorous, Seth Green and Jeffrey Combs, but what the hell is going on? Damned if I know.
Haven't seen much since I've been staying away from the video stores but I was really moved by "Hilary And Jackie". I know this movie was an also-ran in the year end prestige sweepstakes when it was first released but it deserved better, and Emily Watson should have gotten a bunch of Best Actress Oscar votes for her work. This one inspires me to go out and look for some of Jacqueline Du Pre's CDs, like I needed another reason to buy music.
I will be grabbing something at Potomac Video tomorrow. I may look for a movie called "Lawn Dogs" that I hear is good. (Actually I'll be looking for it because I read that Angie Harmon has a nude scene in it.)

Hilary and Jackie
½

I enjoy weird movies, the more involved and unpredictable the better. Tarkovsky, no problem. Lynch, bring it on. Rivette, Godard, Waters, I'll take it all.
But the other night I saw a film that baffled me. I wasn't sure if it was intelligent or a cockeyed mess. It was something called "The Attic Expeditions", a horror movie about a man who murders his fiancee during some kind of Satanic ritual and wakes up four years later in a hospital. He is sent to a sort of halfway house for crazy people where he meets other strange folks and bizarre, bloody stuff starts to occur, some of it involving a trunk in the attic that has a flight of stairs inside it.
You're never quite sure what's real and imaginary in this movie. The protagonist is being constantly observed by the director of the hospital but he seems to be watching the guy in the house at the same time we see him on an operating table with electrodes attached to his exposed brain. I haven't even mentioned the dungeon inside the trunk or the reappearance of the dead girlfriend. There are a couple of my favorite actors making this at least humorous, Seth Green and Jeffrey Combs, but what the hell is going on? Damned if I know.
Haven't seen much since I've been staying away from the video stores but I was really moved by "Hilary And Jackie". I know this movie was an also-ran in the year end prestige sweepstakes when it was first released but it deserved better, and Emily Watson should have gotten a bunch of Best Actress Oscar votes for her work. This one inspires me to go out and look for some of Jacqueline Du Pre's CDs, like I needed another reason to buy music.
I will be grabbing something at Potomac Video tomorrow. I may look for a movie called "Lawn Dogs" that I hear is good. (Actually I'll be looking for it because I read that Angie Harmon has a nude scene in it.)

Walk on Water

I enjoy weird movies, the more involved and unpredictable the better. Tarkovsky, no problem. Lynch, bring it on. Rivette, Godard, Waters, I'll take it all.
But the other night I saw a film that baffled me. I wasn't sure if it was intelligent or a cockeyed mess. It was something called "The Attic Expeditions", a horror movie about a man who murders his fiancee during some kind of Satanic ritual and wakes up four years later in a hospital. He is sent to a sort of halfway house for crazy people where he meets other strange folks and bizarre, bloody stuff starts to occur, some of it involving a trunk in the attic that has a flight of stairs inside it.
You're never quite sure what's real and imaginary in this movie. The protagonist is being constantly observed by the director of the hospital but he seems to be watching the guy in the house at the same time we see him on an operating table with electrodes attached to his exposed brain. I haven't even mentioned the dungeon inside the trunk or the reappearance of the dead girlfriend. There are a couple of my favorite actors making this at least humorous, Seth Green and Jeffrey Combs, but what the hell is going on? Damned if I know.
Haven't seen much since I've been staying away from the video stores but I was really moved by "Hilary And Jackie". I know this movie was an also-ran in the year end prestige sweepstakes when it was first released but it deserved better, and Emily Watson should have gotten a bunch of Best Actress Oscar votes for her work. This one inspires me to go out and look for some of Jacqueline Du Pre's CDs, like I needed another reason to buy music.
I will be grabbing something at Potomac Video tomorrow. I may look for a movie called "Lawn Dogs" that I hear is good. (Actually I'll be looking for it because I read that Angie Harmon has a nude scene in it.)

Sons of the Desert

Last night, Turner Classic Movies trumped whatever I was planning to do by capping a full day of Laurel and Hardy films with the showing of their two masterpieces, "Way Out West" and "Sons Of The Desert". Nothiing beats watching Stan and Ollie foul things up. That was followed by their Oscar-winning short, "The Music Box". Seeing these films again for the hundredth time, I was struck about how their features seem to split into two styles. There are the more realistic films, like "Sons Of The Desert" and "Block Heads" where they just play two schnooks beset by wives, work and other mundane demons. The other is more fantasy-based where they're plopped down in some fanciful setting and the humor is more fantastic. Stuff like "The Devil's Brother", "Swiss Miss" and subtly "Way Out West" fit into this.
I was surprised to see this time that the bass in the cowboy singing group that accompanies them on their little dance number in "Way Out West" was none other than Chill Wills!

This morning I saw something very different, the Neve Campbell film "When Will I Be Loved". At first I thought director James Toback was meandering so much, he'd lost the thread completely. (Cameos for Lori Singer and Mike Tyson?) but by the end, the film did make sense in its portrayal of a very manipulative young woman. Most critics didn't like it but those guys are prudes anyway. I thought the film was a really interesting character study, then again I think Neve Campbell is one of the most beautiful actresses around and seeing her nude and very sexy in this made my day.
Next up I have a Takeshi Kitano film and something odd starring the late John Ritter to watch.

When Will I Be Loved
½

Last night, Turner Classic Movies trumped whatever I was planning to do by capping a full day of Laurel and Hardy films with the showing of their two masterpieces, "Way Out West" and "Sons Of The Desert". Nothiing beats watching Stan and Ollie foul things up. That was followed by their Oscar-winning short, "The Music Box". Seeing these films again for the hundredth time, I was struck about how their features seem to split into two styles. There are the more realistic films, like "Sons Of The Desert" and "Block Heads" where they just play two schnooks beset by wives, work and other mundane demons. The other is more fantasy-based where they're plopped down in some fanciful setting and the humor is more fantastic. Stuff like "The Devil's Brother", "Swiss Miss" and subtly "Way Out West" fit into this.
I was surprised to see this time that the bass in the cowboy singing group that accompanies them on their little dance number in "Way Out West" was none other than Chill Wills!

This morning I saw something very different, the Neve Campbell film "When Will I Be Loved". At first I thought director James Toback was meandering so much, he'd lost the thread completely. (Cameos for Lori Singer and Mike Tyson?) but by the end, the film did make sense in its portrayal of a very manipulative young woman. Most critics didn't like it but those guys are prudes anyway. I thought the film was a really interesting character study, then again I think Neve Campbell is one of the most beautiful actresses around and seeing her nude and very sexy in this made my day.
Next up I have a Takeshi Kitano film and something odd starring the late John Ritter to watch.

Way Out West
Way Out West(1937)

Last night, Turner Classic Movies trumped whatever I was planning to do by capping a full day of Laurel and Hardy films with the showing of their two masterpieces, "Way Out West" and "Sons Of The Desert". Nothiing beats watching Stan and Ollie foul things up. That was followed by their Oscar-winning short, "The Music Box". Seeing these films again for the hundredth time, I was struck about how their features seem to split into two styles. There are the more realistic films, like "Sons Of The Desert" and "Block Heads" where they just play two schnooks beset by wives, work and other mundane demons. The other is more fantasy-based where they're plopped down in some fanciful setting and the humor is more fantastic. Stuff like "The Devil's Brother", "Swiss Miss" and subtly "Way Out West" fit into this.
I was surprised to see this time that the bass in the cowboy singing group that accompanies them on their little dance number in "Way Out West" was none other than Chill Wills!

This morning I saw something very different, the Neve Campbell film "When Will I Be Loved". At first I thought director James Toback was meandering so much, he'd lost the thread completely. (Cameos for Lori Singer and Mike Tyson?) but by the end, the film did make sense in its portrayal of a very manipulative young woman. Most critics didn't like it but those guys are prudes anyway. I thought the film was a really interesting character study, then again I think Neve Campbell is one of the most beautiful actresses around and seeing her nude and very sexy in this made my day.
Next up I have a Takeshi Kitano film and something odd starring the late John Ritter to watch.

Rick
Rick(2004)
½

Going to my aunt's for Easter dinner today, I got stuck watching most of "Head Of State", the Chris Rock comedy where he runs for President. That reminded me why I avoid most "urban" comedies like the plague.
This thing was demeaning and trashy in a way that makes "Song Of The South" and "Amos & Andy" look like the collected works of James Baldwin. According to movies like this, every black person in America listens to nothing but hip-hop, does the Electric Slide and dresses in tracksuits. In a scene where black people take over Rock's campaign headquarters, they take down pictures of George Washington and Ronald Reagan and put up pictures of...no, not Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, pictures of Mary J. Blige and Allen Iverson. That's it. Our heroes are soul singers and basketball players, not statesmen, scientists or any other black person who's trying to create a better world. Movies like this make you think the rest of us don't give a shit about improving ourselves. It's not just unfunny, it's disgusting.
Then again this movie's contempt for people went farther than just blacks. Stephanie March is a beautiful blonde actress who played the part of a prosecuting attorney on "Law And Order: SVU" for several years. What does "Head Of State" cast her as? A high-class hooker.

Fortunately the other movies I've seen lately have been a lot better, all on the Sundance Channel by happenstance. "The Girl On The Bridge" and "Madame Bovary" had great performances from Daniel Auteuil and Isabelle Huppert respectively, but the real kicker was "Rick". This was an updated version of the story of the opera "Rigoletto", a nice change from watching "Hamlet" or "Carmen" get modernized again. It had an air of nightmarish dread worthy of "The Twilight Zone" and Bill Pullman was great in the lead role.

This week I don't know if I'll get back to renting DVDs or not. And then there's "Sin City"...:D

Girl on the Bridge (La Fille sur le Pont)

Going to my aunt's for Easter dinner today, I got stuck watching most of "Head Of State", the Chris Rock comedy where he runs for President. That reminded me why I avoid most "urban" comedies like the plague.
This thing was demeaning and trashy in a way that makes "Song Of The South" and "Amos & Andy" look like the collected works of James Baldwin. According to movies like this, every black person in America listens to nothing but hip-hop, does the Electric Slide and dresses in tracksuits. In a scene where black people take over Rock's campaign headquarters, they take down pictures of George Washington and Ronald Reagan and put up pictures of...no, not Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, pictures of Mary J. Blige and Allen Iverson. That's it. Our heroes are soul singers and basketball players, not statesmen, scientists or any other black person who's trying to create a better world. Movies like this make you think the rest of us don't give a shit about improving ourselves. It's not just unfunny, it's disgusting.
Then again this movie's contempt for people went farther than just blacks. Stephanie March is a beautiful blonde actress who played the part of a prosecuting attorney on "Law And Order: SVU" for several years. What does "Head Of State" cast her as? A high-class hooker.

Fortunately the other movies I've seen lately have been a lot better, all on the Sundance Channel by happenstance. "The Girl On The Bridge" and "Madame Bovary" had great performances from Daniel Auteuil and Isabelle Huppert respectively, but the real kicker was "Rick". This was an updated version of the story of the opera "Rigoletto", a nice change from watching "Hamlet" or "Carmen" get modernized again. It had an air of nightmarish dread worthy of "The Twilight Zone" and Bill Pullman was great in the lead role.

This week I don't know if I'll get back to renting DVDs or not. And then there's "Sin City"...:D

Madame Bovary

Going to my aunt's for Easter dinner today, I got stuck watching most of "Head Of State", the Chris Rock comedy where he runs for President. That reminded me why I avoid most "urban" comedies like the plague.
This thing was demeaning and trashy in a way that makes "Song Of The South" and "Amos & Andy" look like the collected works of James Baldwin. According to movies like this, every black person in America listens to nothing but hip-hop, does the Electric Slide and dresses in tracksuits. In a scene where black people take over Rock's campaign headquarters, they take down pictures of George Washington and Ronald Reagan and put up pictures of...no, not Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, pictures of Mary J. Blige and Allen Iverson. That's it. Our heroes are soul singers and basketball players, not statesmen, scientists or any other black person who's trying to create a better world. Movies like this make you think the rest of us don't give a shit about improving ourselves. It's not just unfunny, it's disgusting.
Then again this movie's contempt for people went farther than just blacks. Stephanie March is a beautiful blonde actress who played the part of a prosecuting attorney on "Law And Order: SVU" for several years. What does "Head Of State" cast her as? A high-class hooker.

Fortunately the other movies I've seen lately have been a lot better, all on the Sundance Channel by happenstance. "The Girl On The Bridge" and "Madame Bovary" had great performances from Daniel Auteuil and Isabelle Huppert respectively, but the real kicker was "Rick". This was an updated version of the story of the opera "Rigoletto", a nice change from watching "Hamlet" or "Carmen" get modernized again. It had an air of nightmarish dread worthy of "The Twilight Zone" and Bill Pullman was great in the lead role.

This week I don't know if I'll get back to renting DVDs or not. And then there's "Sin City"...:D

Head of State

Going to my aunt's for Easter dinner today, I got stuck watching most of "Head Of State", the Chris Rock comedy where he runs for President. That reminded me why I avoid most "urban" comedies like the plague.
This thing was demeaning and trashy in a way that makes "Song Of The South" and "Amos & Andy" look like the collected works of James Baldwin. According to movies like this, every black person in America listens to nothing but hip-hop, does the Electric Slide and dresses in tracksuits. In a scene where black people take over Rock's campaign headquarters, they take down pictures of George Washington and Ronald Reagan and put up pictures of...no, not Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, pictures of Mary J. Blige and Allen Iverson. That's it. Our heroes are soul singers and basketball players, not statesmen, scientists or any other black person who's trying to create a better world. Movies like this make you think the rest of us don't give a shit about improving ourselves. It's not just unfunny, it's disgusting.
Then again this movie's contempt for people went farther than just blacks. Stephanie March is a beautiful blonde actress who played the part of a prosecuting attorney on "Law And Order: SVU" for several years. What does "Head Of State" cast her as? A high-class hooker.

Fortunately the other movies I've seen lately have been a lot better, all on the Sundance Channel by happenstance. "The Girl On The Bridge" and "Madame Bovary" had great performances from Daniel Auteuil and Isabelle Huppert respectively, but the real kicker was "Rick". This was an updated version of the story of the opera "Rigoletto", a nice change from watching "Hamlet" or "Carmen" get modernized again. It had an air of nightmarish dread worthy of "The Twilight Zone" and Bill Pullman was great in the lead role.

This week I don't know if I'll get back to renting DVDs or not. And then there's "Sin City"...:D

Pyrokinesis
Pyrokinesis(2003)
½

So now that Miramax is down for the count, all the movies they've been keeping off the shelf in the last few years are going to come out. If "Prozac Nation" is any indication of the overall quality of what they've been afraid to show, those fools deserved to go out of business.
"Prozac Nation" is a great movie. It has the best acting I've ever seen Christina Ricci do and by the way, she looks more attractive than she ever has before. It must be the reddish-blonde hair. Her performance as a college student who's perpetually falling apart is really powerful and Jessica Lange is very good as her mother, although with her blonde hair and Nordic features, she looks about as Jewish as Robert Redford. I'm flabbergasted the Weinsteins didn't have the cojones to at least give this picture a chance in theatres.

Other than that, Matt Dillon's "City Of Ghosts" was impressive. The basic story was familiar but with the exotic Cambodia-Thailand setting, all around good performances and Dillon's moody direction, it worked fine.

As for "The Big Bounce", gawd! If the title hadn't already been taken, they could have called this movie "The Big Sleep" it was so boring. And who in their right mind thinks Owen Wilson is leading man material? He looks like he grew up worshiping Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli character from "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" and his voice is an irritating monotone mumble I can barely stand listining to. There should be a law that this goof can't be on screen for longer than five minutes at a time.

The Big Bounce

So now that Miramax is down for the count, all the movies they've been keeping off the shelf in the last few years are going to come out. If "Prozac Nation" is any indication of the overall quality of what they've been afraid to show, those fools deserved to go out of business.
"Prozac Nation" is a great movie. It has the best acting I've ever seen Christina Ricci do and by the way, she looks more attractive than she ever has before. It must be the reddish-blonde hair. Her performance as a college student who's perpetually falling apart is really powerful and Jessica Lange is very good as her mother, although with her blonde hair and Nordic features, she looks about as Jewish as Robert Redford. I'm flabbergasted the Weinsteins didn't have the cojones to at least give this picture a chance in theatres.

Other than that, Matt Dillon's "City Of Ghosts" was impressive. The basic story was familiar but with the exotic Cambodia-Thailand setting, all around good performances and Dillon's moody direction, it worked fine.

As for "The Big Bounce", gawd! If the title hadn't already been taken, they could have called this movie "The Big Sleep" it was so boring. And who in their right mind thinks Owen Wilson is leading man material? He looks like he grew up worshiping Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli character from "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" and his voice is an irritating monotone mumble I can barely stand listining to. There should be a law that this goof can't be on screen for longer than five minutes at a time.

City of Ghosts

So now that Miramax is down for the count, all the movies they've been keeping off the shelf in the last few years are going to come out. If "Prozac Nation" is any indication of the overall quality of what they've been afraid to show, those fools deserved to go out of business.
"Prozac Nation" is a great movie. It has the best acting I've ever seen Christina Ricci do and by the way, she looks more attractive than she ever has before. It must be the reddish-blonde hair. Her performance as a college student who's perpetually falling apart is really powerful and Jessica Lange is very good as her mother, although with her blonde hair and Nordic features, she looks about as Jewish as Robert Redford. I'm flabbergasted the Weinsteins didn't have the cojones to at least give this picture a chance in theatres.

Other than that, Matt Dillon's "City Of Ghosts" was impressive. The basic story was familiar but with the exotic Cambodia-Thailand setting, all around good performances and Dillon's moody direction, it worked fine.

As for "The Big Bounce", gawd! If the title hadn't already been taken, they could have called this movie "The Big Sleep" it was so boring. And who in their right mind thinks Owen Wilson is leading man material? He looks like he grew up worshiping Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli character from "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" and his voice is an irritating monotone mumble I can barely stand listining to. There should be a law that this goof can't be on screen for longer than five minutes at a time.

Prozac Nation
½

So now that Miramax is down for the count, all the movies they've been keeping off the shelf in the last few years are going to come out. If "Prozac Nation" is any indication of the overall quality of what they've been afraid to show, those fools deserved to go out of business.
"Prozac Nation" is a great movie. It has the best acting I've ever seen Christina Ricci do and by the way, she looks more attractive than she ever has before. It must be the reddish-blonde hair. Her performance as a college student who's perpetually falling apart is really powerful and Jessica Lange is very good as her mother, although with her blonde hair and Nordic features, she looks about as Jewish as Robert Redford. I'm flabbergasted the Weinsteins didn't have the cojones to at least give this picture a chance in theatres.

Other than that, Matt Dillon's "City Of Ghosts" was impressive. The basic story was familiar but with the exotic Cambodia-Thailand setting, all around good performances and Dillon's moody direction, it worked fine.

As for "The Big Bounce", gawd! If the title hadn't already been taken, they could have called this movie "The Big Sleep" it was so boring. And who in their right mind thinks Owen Wilson is leading man material? He looks like he grew up worshiping Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli character from "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" and his voice is an irritating monotone mumble I can barely stand listining to. There should be a law that this goof can't be on screen for longer than five minutes at a time.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
½

I did see "Valerie and Her Week Of Wonders" a few days ago. It wasn't quite as out there as I'd been led to believe but it was pretty good for a movie that was about vampires, metaphors for budding sexuality, incest and related stuff.

This weekend I'm going to refrain from going to the video store. There's a growing stack of DVDs in my bedroom collecting dust, and I'm going to dig a few of those out. I did but them to watch after all. There's also a comedy festival in town I'd like to check out this weekend.

The big cultural event for me this week though happened yesterday with the release of the Free America collection, 15 CDs of 1970-71 avant garde jazz recorded in France by some of the giants of the budding American scene of the time. Some of these guys barely recorded anything else at all and quite a few are sadly not with us anymore. I got three of these yesterday, CDs by Frank Wright, Alan Shorter and Emergency, each one rare as hen's teeth. I'd also like to grab the titles by Paul Bley, Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Clifford Thornton, Mal Waldron, the Anthony Braxton solo set and maybe all three Art Ensemble Of Chicago CDs.

The Tarnished Angels

So here we are at March 13th, the day I turn 50. Overall I should be really depressed right now considering the lack of stuff I've accomplished in my life but since I think I finally have things figured out and know the direction I shuld go in, I don't feel too bad. I just have to hold on until I go to my little retreat at the end of April. I notice there are a lot of gorgeous, sexy women who have their birthdays around now like Sharon Stone, Nina Hartley and Dana Delaney who turns 49 today. I'm at least in very good company.
One thing is that there's still an awful lot of important films I haven't seen. At my age I should be farther along and I'll be working on that from this point on.

The most confounding film I've seen lately has been "Broken Lizard's Club Dread". I had been wanting to check these guys out but now I'm confused as to what I saw. This wasn't a spoof of slasher movies so much as a slasher movie with jokes. It didn't help that the entire cast played the script so seriously the humor mainly fell flat even when it was obvious. Now I probably have to see "Super Troopers" to try to figure out these guys.

I don't watch much porn these days but I saw a good one last night, "Dark Chambers" starring Marilyn Chambers. It's a 2000 film so Marilyn is a bit bigger than she was in her "Green Door" days but she's still unbelievably sexy. There was a good variety of female looks in the movie as well, Asia Carrera, cute and hot as ever, another old-timer Erica Boyer also packing a few more pounds but still enthusiastic and a woman I saw for the first time, Lauren Montgomery. a strikingly beautiful blonde with puffy natural breasts. The movie was directed by Veronica Hart who's really learned how to shoot sex scenes for maximum effect, espcially the orgy scene at the end of the picture.

Later today, I'll celebrate after a fashion by eating out, then come back home and watch "Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders", which hopefully will be as mind-blowing as I've heard.

Sin noticias de Dios (Don't Tempt Me)

So here we are at March 13th, the day I turn 50. Overall I should be really depressed right now considering the lack of stuff I've accomplished in my life but since I think I finally have things figured out and know the direction I shuld go in, I don't feel too bad. I just have to hold on until I go to my little retreat at the end of April. I notice there are a lot of gorgeous, sexy women who have their birthdays around now like Sharon Stone, Nina Hartley and Dana Delaney who turns 49 today. I'm at least in very good company.
One thing is that there's still an awful lot of important films I haven't seen. At my age I should be farther along and I'll be working on that from this point on.

The most confounding film I've seen lately has been "Broken Lizard's Club Dread". I had been wanting to check these guys out but now I'm confused as to what I saw. This wasn't a spoof of slasher movies so much as a slasher movie with jokes. It didn't help that the entire cast played the script so seriously the humor mainly fell flat even when it was obvious. Now I probably have to see "Super Troopers" to try to figure out these guys.

I don't watch much porn these days but I saw a good one last night, "Dark Chambers" starring Marilyn Chambers. It's a 2000 film so Marilyn is a bit bigger than she was in her "Green Door" days but she's still unbelievably sexy. There was a good variety of female looks in the movie as well, Asia Carrera, cute and hot as ever, another old-timer Erica Boyer also packing a few more pounds but still enthusiastic and a woman I saw for the first time, Lauren Montgomery. a strikingly beautiful blonde with puffy natural breasts. The movie was directed by Veronica Hart who's really learned how to shoot sex scenes for maximum effect, espcially the orgy scene at the end of the picture.

Later today, I'll celebrate after a fashion by eating out, then come back home and watch "Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders", which hopefully will be as mind-blowing as I've heard.

The Big Knife

Well, I'm finally back after spending a week in LA on business. My main impression was that the city doesn't live up to its own hype. It seemed dirty and too impersonal to me. The city blocks in the downtown area where I was staying were humongous and didn't seem intended for a lot of walking, the subway, where evidently you buy tickets and ride through the honor system, was creepy and West Hollywood, the one area that I got to explore, just looked small with a lot of houses and shops just thrown together with no rhyme or reason. Okay, I didn't do a lot of exploring becuase I was sick all week but still Philadelphia, New Orleans and San Francisco all came off with a lot more personality and humanity than LA.

I seem to be one of the few people who think that "Million Dollar Baby" deserved its Oscars. Scorsese? Hey, let them give him his "lifetime achievement" Oscar for a [i]good[/i] film, OK? Haven't seen many movies. I did like "Runaway Jury" for its classy Gene Hackman performance and "The Big Knife" may have been melodramatic, but it was still effective, especially Rod Steiger's volcanic scenery chewing as the evil stuido boss. I did see more "Law And Order" episodes while I was gone than I ever want to in one week again. I saw the premiere of the new "Trial By Jury" show and it was as weird as the goofiest L&O shows of the past three years. The story was about a dead actress but the script made several references that equated actresses with whores. Alternative defense theories were mentioned but never pursued and strangest of all, the "he's guilty" kicker was when the jury learned that the defendant had three dogs put to sleep. Incredibly the show's creator, Dick Wolf, wrote this. Boy, does he have strange ideas!

Mamma Roma
Mamma Roma(1962)

Well, I'm finally back after spending a week in LA on business. My main impression was that the city doesn't live up to its own hype. It seemed dirty and too impersonal to me. The city blocks in the downtown area where I was staying were humongous and didn't seem intended for a lot of walking, the subway, where evidently you buy tickets and ride through the honor system, was creepy and West Hollywood, the one area that I got to explore, just looked small with a lot of houses and shops just thrown together with no rhyme or reason. Okay, I didn't do a lot of exploring becuase I was sick all week but still Philadelphia, New Orleans and San Francisco all came off with a lot more personality and humanity than LA.

I seem to be one of the few people who think that "Million Dollar Baby" deserved its Oscars. Scorsese? Hey, let them give him his "lifetime achievement" Oscar for a [i]good[/i] film, OK? Haven't seen many movies. I did like "Runaway Jury" for its classy Gene Hackman performance and "The Big Knife" may have been melodramatic, but it was still effective, especially Rod Steiger's volcanic scenery chewing as the evil stuido boss. I did see more "Law And Order" episodes while I was gone than I ever want to in one week again. I saw the premiere of the new "Trial By Jury" show and it was as weird as the goofiest L&O shows of the past three years. The story was about a dead actress but the script made several references that equated actresses with whores. Alternative defense theories were mentioned but never pursued and strangest of all, the "he's guilty" kicker was when the jury learned that the defendant had three dogs put to sleep. Incredibly the show's creator, Dick Wolf, wrote this. Boy, does he have strange ideas!

Tartuffe
Tartuffe(1925)
½

Well, I'm finally back after spending a week in LA on business. My main impression was that the city doesn't live up to its own hype. It seemed dirty and too impersonal to me. The city blocks in the downtown area where I was staying were humongous and didn't seem intended for a lot of walking, the subway, where evidently you buy tickets and ride through the honor system, was creepy and West Hollywood, the one area that I got to explore, just looked small with a lot of houses and shops just thrown together with no rhyme or reason. Okay, I didn't do a lot of exploring becuase I was sick all week but still Philadelphia, New Orleans and San Francisco all came off with a lot more personality and humanity than LA.

I seem to be one of the few people who think that "Million Dollar Baby" deserved its Oscars. Scorsese? Hey, let them give him his "lifetime achievement" Oscar for a [i]good[/i] film, OK? Haven't seen many movies. I did like "Runaway Jury" for its classy Gene Hackman performance and "The Big Knife" may have been melodramatic, but it was still effective, especially Rod Steiger's volcanic scenery chewing as the evil stuido boss. I did see more "Law And Order" episodes while I was gone than I ever want to in one week again. I saw the premiere of the new "Trial By Jury" show and it was as weird as the goofiest L&O shows of the past three years. The story was about a dead actress but the script made several references that equated actresses with whores. Alternative defense theories were mentioned but never pursued and strangest of all, the "he's guilty" kicker was when the jury learned that the defendant had three dogs put to sleep. Incredibly the show's creator, Dick Wolf, wrote this. Boy, does he have strange ideas!

Runaway Jury
Runaway Jury(2003)

Well, I'm finally back after spending a week in LA on business. My main impression was that the city doesn't live up to its own hype. It seemed dirty and too impersonal to me. The city blocks in the downtown area where I was staying were humongous and didn't seem intended for a lot of walking, the subway, where evidently you buy tickets and ride through the honor system, was creepy and West Hollywood, the one area that I got to explore, just looked small with a lot of houses and shops just thrown together with no rhyme or reason. Okay, I didn't do a lot of exploring becuase I was sick all week but still Philadelphia, New Orleans and San Francisco all came off with a lot more personality and humanity than LA.

I seem to be one of the few people who think that "Million Dollar Baby" deserved its Oscars. Scorsese? Hey, let them give him his "lifetime achievement" Oscar for a [i]good[/i] film, OK? Haven't seen many movies. I did like "Runaway Jury" for its classy Gene Hackman performance and "The Big Knife" may have been melodramatic, but it was still effective, especially Rod Steiger's volcanic scenery chewing as the evil stuido boss. I did see more "Law And Order" episodes while I was gone than I ever want to in one week again. I saw the premiere of the new "Trial By Jury" show and it was as weird as the goofiest L&O shows of the past three years. The story was about a dead actress but the script made several references that equated actresses with whores. Alternative defense theories were mentioned but never pursued and strangest of all, the "he's guilty" kicker was when the jury learned that the defendant had three dogs put to sleep. Incredibly the show's creator, Dick Wolf, wrote this. Boy, does he have strange ideas!

Trader Horn
Trader Horn(1931)
½

I'm currently watching a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Marathon on TV but I have the sound off and I'm listening to Amina Claudine Myers. Talk about TV better seen than heard.:D

(Elle MacPherson, oh my god!)...Uh, where was I? Oh yeah I was going to talk about "Trader Horn" This is the grandaddy of all jungle films that didn't involve Tarzan, a 1931 film with Harry Carey as a grizzled jungle trader who sets out to bring an American girl who's lived her entire life in the jungle back to civilization. The dated parts of a movie like this are obvious, especially in the way the native tribes are discussed, but when you overlook all that, you see a film that is still pretty entertaining. The kicker is that this movie was really shot in Africa, and from the looks of it, Carey and future Cisco Kid, Duncan Renaldo, were actually dodging leopards, lions and other long-legged beesties. A charging rhino and leopard are actually killed on screen and some lions do their thing in making lunch out of an unfortuante wildebeest. (Blond models in the desert, oh my. That girl isn't wearing a thong, She's got a string between her cheeks!) Carey speaks in a weird Bibical, puritan dialect but he's convincing. This being an early talkie, there was also an eye-opening dose of nudity. Most of the tribeswomen walked around topless, of course (prefiguring National Geographic's jungle photos making that magazine the Playboy of its day) but even Edwina Booth, playing the Great White Goddess of this picture, walked around in a feathered outfit almost as skimpy as some of these swinsuits I'm watching. Side views of her often left little to the imagination. One unfortunate side effect of this film was that Booth became sick from her time in the jungle and either died or was seriously ill for the rest of her life. I forget which but I do remember she never made another film after this.

I should have looked at the IMDB first. It turns out Booth was sick with fever for six years after making the film but she eventually recovered and lived until 1991.

Jingi naki tatakai (Battles Without Honor and Humanity)(The Yakuza Papers)(War Without a Code)

We should really thank Quentin Tarantino for either directly or indirectly getting a lot of wilder foreign films released over here on home video. The five-film series "The Yakuza Papers" is supposed to be one of the inspirations for "Kill Bill" and last night I saw the first part of the set, "Battles Without Honor And Humanity". It was difficult keeping all the characters straight in the early going, but a very good gangster film eventually emerged. It didn't have the epic dimensions of American productions like "The Godfather" or "The Sopranos" but there was a lot of double and triple crossing and quick, frequent bursts of violence with that unique brassy music that dominates so many vintage Japanese genre pieces. I shouldn't have been surprised at the quality, because I checked the on-disc filmography of the director, Kenji Fukasaku, and it tunred out he also made the amazing "Battle Royale". This film didn't quite have the amazing juxtaposition of brutality and humor that classic did, but it was still quality work. I will be going further into this series.

Today I looked at a Something Weird double feature with a druggy theme, "Alice In Acidland" and "Smoke And Flesh". The first looked like a California production and was essentially a sex film with a bad acid trip tacked onto the end. "Smoke And Flesh" seemed to be a New York movie and had a lot of black and white softcore sex too but it also had some bizarre parts like one guy decorating his girl's naked body with whipped cream, a "sex novel" author who looked like little Jackie Wright from the old Benny Hill shows and encouraged other men to have sex with his wife while he watched. Just seeing a close-up of this guy's face would enough to deflate a hard-on. The strangest bit was the movie following a masked motorcyclist around threough the credits and for the first five minutes of the movie. You think he's the center of the movie but later on he delivers some pot to a party, takes off his mask and is never seen again.
The DVD also included a short that sold the aphrodisiac properties of marijuana with testimony coming from none other than John Holmes himself! In this movie he was dressed like an insurance salesman and played an office executive who is turned on to the wonders of weed by his secretary and screws her in gratitude. The movie also contained the profound line "Marijuana is the best sexual stimulant since they invented the 12-inch penis, and a lot easier to find." Yeah, well I guess so, but who is "they" and it's a little strange to hear about the scarcity of 12-inch penises in a movie where John Holmes appears.

The Triplets of Belleville
½

We should really thank Quentin Tarantino for either directly or indirectly getting a lot of wilder foreign films released over here on home video. The five-film series "The Yakuza Papers" is supposed to be one of the inspirations for "Kill Bill" and last night I saw the first part of the set, "Battles Without Honor And Humanity". It was difficult keeping all the characters straight in the early going, but a very good gangster film eventually emerged. It didn't have the epic dimensions of American productions like "The Godfather" or "The Sopranos" but there was a lot of double and triple crossing and quick, frequent bursts of violence with that unique brassy music that dominates so many vintage Japanese genre pieces. I shouldn't have been surprised at the quality, because I checked the on-disc filmography of the director, Kenji Fukasaku, and it tunred out he also made the amazing "Battle Royale". This film didn't quite have the amazing juxtaposition of brutality and humor that classic did, but it was still quality work. I will be going further into this series.

Today I looked at a Something Weird double feature with a druggy theme, "Alice In Acidland" and "Smoke And Flesh". The first looked like a California production and was essentially a sex film with a bad acid trip tacked onto the end. "Smoke And Flesh" seemed to be a New York movie and had a lot of black and white softcore sex too but it also had some bizarre parts like one guy decorating his girl's naked body with whipped cream, a "sex novel" author who looked like little Jackie Wright from the old Benny Hill shows and encouraged other men to have sex with his wife while he watched. Just seeing a close-up of this guy's face would enough to deflate a hard-on. The strangest bit was the movie following a masked motorcyclist around threough the credits and for the first five minutes of the movie. You think he's the center of the movie but later on he delivers some pot to a party, takes off his mask and is never seen again.
The DVD also included a short that sold the aphrodisiac properties of marijuana with testimony coming from none other than John Holmes himself! In this movie he was dressed like an insurance salesman and played an office executive who is turned on to the wonders of weed by his secretary and screws her in gratitude. The movie also contained the profound line "Marijuana is the best sexual stimulant since they invented the 12-inch penis, and a lot easier to find." Yeah, well I guess so, but who is "they" and it's a little strange to hear about the scarcity of 12-inch penises in a movie where John Holmes appears.

Million Dollar Baby

It's been a long time since a movie made me cry. I saw "Million Dollar Baby" today. Tears were flowing out of me by the end.
I have no interest in "The Aviator" and "Sideways" cannot possibly be better than this picture, so "Million Dollay Baby" is hands down the best film of last year foir me. Just thinking about it makes me emotional. Really it's not so much a film about boxing as a film about love, the love you search for when the people who are supposed to love you don't and the love for another person that overcomes all sense of right and wrong. Screw the "Scorsese is overdue" crap. Clint Eastwood richly deserves the Best Director Oscar and though Best Actor is going to Jamie Foxx by acclamation, Eastwood's performance here shouldn't be overlooked. It's the best acting I've ever seen from him. And Hilary Swank...my God. Everytime I think of her trussed up in that hospital bed I want to cry again. That young lady is about to win her second Best Actress Oscar. How bloody good do you have to be to turn out movies like this and "Mystic River" back to back in your 70's?

Last night I looked at most of "The Human Stain". I couldn't take any more after an hour. The movie tried to cover too much ground too quickly and never felt real for a minute. The casting didn't help either. A dead sexy Nicole Kidman as an abused wife and Anthony Hopkins as a light-skinned black man? Right, and I'm Mister Ed.

I also looked at the Popeye cartoon collection I rented. It wasn't quite as bad as I expected. Some of the cartoons were brain dead and unfunny but some had a few laughs. One thing for sure, I didn't realize before how cheap and empty looking 60's television cartoons were. People owe Hanna-Barbera something of an apology. They were not the only ones doing repetitive limited animation back then.
Actually five different groups produced the Popeye cartoons. One group, led by director Seymour Kneitel, was the one closest to the style of the 50's Popeye theatrical work, just cheaper and more far fetched. (In one of these, Popeye and Olive are menaced by an evil wheel of cheese. I am not making this up.) Another group was done by Larry Harmon who was far more famous for his Bozo the Clown cartoons and his stuff had Popeye acting like Bozo. Gene Deitch's work, at least the two shown here, were more adventure cartoons and nothing really special. The one sample from Bob Bemiller was negligible.
The good stuff came from Jack Kinney's unit. These cartoons were occasionally pretty funny, if sometimes odd. They had situations like Wimpy blown up to giant size to sell to a circus, and a jungle cartoon with Olive shooing awway a friendly tiger and Brutus trapped by an amorous flower. They also used all the pop culture signifiers of the time like television commercials, the suburbs, beatniks, abstract art and a few were fairy tale parodies in the vein of Jay Ward's sainted "Fractured Fairy Tales". The main problem with this group was that the plots could be really random and the cartoons often faded out with no real ending. Sometimes they didn't even let Popeye take his spinach.

The Human Stain

It's been a long time since a movie made me cry. I saw "Million Dollar Baby" today. Tears were flowing out of me by the end.
I have no interest in "The Aviator" and "Sideways" cannot possibly be better than this picture, so "Million Dollay Baby" is hands down the best film of last year foir me. Just thinking about it makes me emotional. Really it's not so much a film about boxing as a film about love, the love you search for when the people who are supposed to love you don't and the love for another person that overcomes all sense of right and wrong. Screw the "Scorsese is overdue" crap. Clint Eastwood richly deserves the Best Director Oscar and though Best Actor is going to Jamie Foxx by acclamation, Eastwood's performance here shouldn't be overlooked. It's the best acting I've ever seen from him. And Hilary Swank...my God. Everytime I think of her trussed up in that hospital bed I want to cry again. That young lady is about to win her second Best Actress Oscar. How bloody good do you have to be to turn out movies like this and "Mystic River" back to back in your 70's?

Last night I looked at most of "The Human Stain". I couldn't take any more after an hour. The movie tried to cover too much ground too quickly and never felt real for a minute. The casting didn't help either. A dead sexy Nicole Kidman as an abused wife and Anthony Hopkins as a light-skinned black man? Right, and I'm Mister Ed.

I also looked at the Popeye cartoon collection I rented. It wasn't quite as bad as I expected. Some of the cartoons were brain dead and unfunny but some had a few laughs. One thing for sure, I didn't realize before how cheap and empty looking 60's television cartoons were. People owe Hanna-Barbera something of an apology. They were not the only ones doing repetitive limited animation back then.
Actually five different groups produced the Popeye cartoons. One group, led by director Seymour Kneitel, was the one closest to the style of the 50's Popeye theatrical work, just cheaper and more far fetched. (In one of these, Popeye and Olive are menaced by an evil wheel of cheese. I am not making this up.) Another group was done by Larry Harmon who was far more famous for his Bozo the Clown cartoons and his stuff had Popeye acting like Bozo. Gene Deitch's work, at least the two shown here, were more adventure cartoons and nothing really special. The one sample from Bob Bemiller was negligible.
The good stuff came from Jack Kinney's unit. These cartoons were occasionally pretty funny, if sometimes odd. They had situations like Wimpy blown up to giant size to sell to a circus, and a jungle cartoon with Olive shooing awway a friendly tiger and Brutus trapped by an amorous flower. They also used all the pop culture signifiers of the time like television commercials, the suburbs, beatniks, abstract art and a few were fairy tale parodies in the vein of Jay Ward's sainted "Fractured Fairy Tales". The main problem with this group was that the plots could be really random and the cartoons often faded out with no real ending. Sometimes they didn't even let Popeye take his spinach.

House of the Dead

Well, I had to do it. I had to see if Internet punching bag Uwe Boll was as bad a director as everyone said, so I watched "House Of The Dead" last night. Good God All Mighty! The stories were true.
This talentless hack makes Ed Wood look like John Ford. That wretched movie (And I use the term loosely) was the crappiest pile of inept, random, cliched, brain dead trash I've seen in years. Zombies that multiplied like rabbits, lame jokes, video gane clips used for special effects, people who miraculously walked without even a limp after having holes shot through their legs, Clint Howard doing his interpretation of Elisha Cook dressed as the Gordon's Fisherman. This was jaw-droppingly bad. The actors do the "It's quiet out there". "Yeah, too quiet." bit. Hapless college kids become expert swordsmen in the blink of an eye. I've never seen so much sheer cluelessness packed into one movie before.
The scary part about this is that Boll is graduating upwards to bigger-budgeted sucking. This movie was full of unknown actors (who if they are smart will leave this picture off their resumes) with the only two recognizable faces being Howard and German actor Jurgen Prochnow playing a Macho Man boat captain. In his current opus, "Alone In The Dark", Boll puts bear grease underneath the sliding careers of several familiar names, Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff and Tara Reid. (Tara Reid! Have you no shame, Sir?) In his next desecration of the video game world, "Bloodrayne", he unbelievably works with Sir Ben Kingsley, a titled actor and an Oscar winner! Sir Ben is getting divorced. He must have needed the money for lawyers. He just better hope the Queen never sees this bomb.

Over the next few days, I'll be trying to wash that foul taste out of my mouth with a few oddball rentals, the first four chapters of the silent French serial, "Les Vampires", "Nightmares Come At Night", a horror title from reliable Euro wackjob Jess Franco, "Rushmore" so I can finally see what Wes Anderson is all about and the first disc of a collectiion of Popeye cartoons that were made for TV in the Sixties. I vaguely remember these cartoons as being pretty lame and animation buffs despise them, so masochist that I am I had to check them out again for myself. Also some of these were directed by famous animator Gene Deitch and I want to see if his work here is as odd as his Tom And Jerry cartoons.

I'm Not Scared (Io non ho paura)

...and I've got some catching up to do. I've seen my usual assortment of WTF movies over the past week. "Pulse", which I saw on cable under the name "Octane", was a strange thriller about a single mother whose teenage daughter gets picked up by a vampiric cult while driving on the highway. The mother tries to get her back with the help of a trucker whose sister fell victim to the same cult. There is nice atmosphere in this but the camera is dizzly hyperactive and the entire thing seems creepier than it needs to be. The best thing about it is Madeline Stowe playing the mother. She is stone cold gorgeous, another beautiful, mature actress who can't get a look in from the blind, deaf and dumb slugs that run A-List Hollywood.

I had heard vague but good things about "I'm Not Scared" and they were justified. This is an Italian thriller about a young boy in a rural village who discovers a boy chained up in a hole, eventually stumbling onto a kidnapping plot that involves his entire town, including his parents. This was good stuff, the acting, the suspense, everything worked here. I'm amazed more people haven't discovered this film. There would have been plenty of raves about it if they had.

Speaking of suspense I saw the original Japanese version of the film "Ju-On: The Grudge" and it was well done but after seeing both versions of "The Ring" it had an air of been there, done that. You can only see so many crawling female ghosts before the bit gets old. Judging from this and other recent Japanese horror films I've heard about that country seems to be as hung up on revenge-seeking ghosts as our horror movies used to be on teen-killing psychos.

I'd never seen one of Claude Lelouch's films before but I'd heard they weren't so hot, mostly cloying romances that just went on too long for no good reason. I wanted to see his "And Now Ladies And Gentlemen" because I was interested in the female lead, Patricia Kaas, a French cabaret singer I like. She was beautiful and a pretty good actress but the film lived down to Lelouch's reputation, a romance involving a jewel thief and a lounge singer that was just too slow, too contrived and too bloody long. A story about two people supposedly dying from brain tumors should have been enough but he had to throw in some goofy bull about a jewel robbery that drew out the thing beyond endurance.

But talk about endurance...Hoo boy! I couldn't believe what I endured in sitting through something called "Slaves Of The Realm" last night. I didn't expect much because the lead actress was Rena Mero, better known as Sable, former WWE ring decoration and bitchy showpiece. She played a high priestess in some kind of sword and sorcery tale about beautiful young noblewomen captured and made to work in a silver mine by an evil princess who is also trying to hook up her brother, the King, with one of them to produce an heir.
This thing was shot on video in the Czech Republic and is full of beautiful Czech actresses dressed either in revealing sheaths or black leather bondage duds, no bad thing in itself but bizarrely, the movie isn't the sort of sexed up softcore Seduction Cinema sort of piece you would expect. There is a little nudity, but not nearly as much as the situation suggests and no real sex scenes. Insanely the story is played straight, this despite its obviously miniscule budget and bottom drawer acting. Worst of all it's incredibly padded with every action and plot point repeated over and over. There is endless footage of the captives working in the mines and the villainess has six (!) practice swordfights shown in full before she has the climatic one with Mero. Supposedly this bomb was only 99 minutes but I swear it felt like two hours. I wasn't that thrilled about the Super Bowl but I can't believe I missed most of it to watch this dog.

And Now Ladies & Gentlemen

...and I've got some catching up to do. I've seen my usual assortment of WTF movies over the past week. "Pulse", which I saw on cable under the name "Octane", was a strange thriller about a single mother whose teenage daughter gets picked up by a vampiric cult while driving on the highway. The mother tries to get her back with the help of a trucker whose sister fell victim to the same cult. There is nice atmosphere in this but the camera is dizzly hyperactive and the entire thing seems creepier than it needs to be. The best thing about it is Madeline Stowe playing the mother. She is stone cold gorgeous, another beautiful, mature actress who can't get a look in from the blind, deaf and dumb slugs that run A-List Hollywood.

I had heard vague but good things about "I'm Not Scared" and they were justified. This is an Italian thriller about a young boy in a rural village who discovers a boy chained up in a hole, eventually stumbling onto a kidnapping plot that involves his entire town, including his parents. This was good stuff, the acting, the suspense, everything worked here. I'm amazed more people haven't discovered this film. There would have been plenty of raves about it if they had.

Speaking of suspense I saw the original Japanese version of the film "Ju-On: The Grudge" and it was well done but after seeing both versions of "The Ring" it had an air of been there, done that. You can only see so many crawling female ghosts before the bit gets old. Judging from this and other recent Japanese horror films I've heard about that country seems to be as hung up on revenge-seeking ghosts as our horror movies used to be on teen-killing psychos.

I'd never seen one of Claude Lelouch's films before but I'd heard they weren't so hot, mostly cloying romances that just went on too long for no good reason. I wanted to see his "And Now Ladies And Gentlemen" because I was interested in the female lead, Patricia Kaas, a French cabaret singer I like. She was beautiful and a pretty good actress but the film lived down to Lelouch's reputation, a romance involving a jewel thief and a lounge singer that was just too slow, too contrived and too bloody long. A story about two people supposedly dying from brain tumors should have been enough but he had to throw in some goofy bull about a jewel robbery that drew out the thing beyond endurance.

But talk about endurance...Hoo boy! I couldn't believe what I endured in sitting through something called "Slaves Of The Realm" last night. I didn't expect much because the lead actress was Rena Mero, better known as Sable, former WWE ring decoration and bitchy showpiece. She played a high priestess in some kind of sword and sorcery tale about beautiful young noblewomen captured and made to work in a silver mine by an evil princess who is also trying to hook up her brother, the King, with one of them to produce an heir.
This thing was shot on video in the Czech Republic and is full of beautiful Czech actresses dressed either in revealing sheaths or black leather bondage duds, no bad thing in itself but bizarrely, the movie isn't the sort of sexed up softcore Seduction Cinema sort of piece you would expect. There is a little nudity, but not nearly as much as the situation suggests and no real sex scenes. Insanely the story is played straight, this despite its obviously miniscule budget and bottom drawer acting. Worst of all it's incredibly padded with every action and plot point repeated over and over. There is endless footage of the captives working in the mines and the villainess has six (!) practice swordfights shown in full before she has the climatic one with Mero. Supposedly this bomb was only 99 minutes but I swear it felt like two hours. I wasn't that thrilled about the Super Bowl but I can't believe I missed most of it to watch this dog.

Secret Window
½

As long as Stephen King lives, there'll be somebody around who'll try to make a buck by dramatizing his writing. Considering what's happened with Gene Rodenberry it'll probably even go on long after he's dead. Every short story the man ever wrote seems to be working its way to the screen. Never mind if he took ideas from that story and later worked them into a novel that's already been filmed, the movie will still get made.

Case in point: "Secret Window". For the first half this movie works pretty well. Johnny Depp plays a reclusive author going through a divorce who is confronted by a weird-eyed Southerner played by John Turturro who claims he ripped off one of his stories. It goes along fine for a while. Depp is fun, Turturro is creepy and there's nice atmosphere to the work. Then they pull the big reveal, tell you what's really going on and all you can say is "Oh no!" The film pulls the one stunt you hoped it would avoid and to make it worse it unashamedly rips off another King story that was turned into a very well-known movie some years ago. (Hint: It's "The Shining".) That ending bummed me out so much I dismissed the entire movie. It just seemed like a cheap solution even if did mostly make sense within the plot.

I had a chance to see a much different sort of film curiousity earlier in the week. Marilyn Miller was a big Broadway star of the 20's. She is mentioned in all Broadway musical histories but forgotten today probably because her work is very hard to see. She only made three films in 1930-31 and then died in 1936. TCM showed one of her films Friday night, "Sunny", the film version of one of her stage hits. Watching this was very interesting.
It's a hard movie to digest with modern eyes. The plot is fluffy stuff about a circus performer who finds romance among Bright Young Things, the kind of material we know today only from its parodies, from P. G. Wodehouse pumping it full of comic genius and the Marx Brothers tearing the entire form to shreds. It's weird seeing the real thing with jokes that don't have the customary fast paced rhythms of screwball comedy and stock characters who just aren't funny.
Whatever mdade Marlilyn Miller a star doesn't translate too well into this film but you can see glimpses. She was a very lovely woman with a good operatic voice and was very proficient in tap and ballet dancing. I don't know why she stopped making films so suddenly but it's too bad she left before musicals threw off their proscenium arch shackles in the mid 30's. It might really been something to see her trade steps with Fred Astaire or replace the clunky Ruby Keeler in "42nd Street". Alas, that is one of those things we'll never know about.

Daredevil
Daredevil(2003)
½

I'm a longtime comic book fan but I haven't been too thrilled about the recent spate of comic book movies. It's a given that a two-hour movie can't flesh out a charaacter or situation the way twenty years of monthly continuity can so you're going to lose a lot of the books' depth no matter what. Happily a few of these pictures have been made by people talented enough talented enough to translate the essence of the books' stories to film, specifically the X-Men and Spider-Man films, but then there's all the other mishagoss by people who haven't got a clue like "The Punisher", "The Hulk" and "Elektra". I finally saw one of the second group last night, "Daredevil" and I'm here to tell you that mediocrity is alive and well in Hollywood.

The movie is based on Frank Miller's classic Elektra-Kingpin-Bullseye saga which catapulted the book from the second tier to becoming one of the hottest books in the industry. The problem is that the perpretrator of the movie, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson, gutted everything that was cool and epic about the original story and replaced it with stupid Hollywood contrivance. In other words, Elektra, once a cold-blooded assassin suddenly becomes a pampered daddy's girl who happens to be a martial arts expert and gets skewered by Bullseye in her first fight. Then there's the usual incoherent MTV-style editing in the fight scenes, tired Hong Kong style fight choreography, unfunny comic relief from Jon Favreau, Colin Farrell twitching like he's on a heroin jag (Will somebody remind me why this runt is supposed to be The Next Big Thing?) and the one bit that really drove me crazy, Elektra and Matt Murdock fighting in a playground WITH THE BLIND MURDOCK IN HIS STREET CLOTHES DOING KUNG FU MOVES THAT WOULD MAKE JET LI JEALOUS IN A BUSY NEIGHBORHOOD IN BROAD DAYLIGHT!! They make a big deal at the end about Ben Urich writing a story exposing Murdock as Daredevil the deleting it, but if the dummy's going to show off like that, why bother?

For all that the movie wasn't all bad. For all the grief Ben Affleck gets, he was pretty good in the lead and he showed real chemistry with Jennifer Garner two years before he officially became her boyfriend and when he was still allegedly hanging with Jenny Of The Big Butt. Some of the visual effects were okay, there was a little of the always welcome Joey Pants and Michael Clarke Duncan's Kingpin deserved to be in a better movie.
Still you can't get past all the lame stuff, the way Daredevil's origin suddenly became virtually a carbon copy of the Batman origin in Tim Burton's movie, or the fact that Murdock, a poor orphan in Hell's Kitchen, grew up to go through law school and have a snazzy New York apartment tricked out like the Batcave, with no explanation of how he paid for all that. I guess it was neat that they named a lot of characters after people who worked on the Daredevil comic like Stan Lee, David Mack, Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita, Frank Miller and Bill Everett but where was the dap for Wally Wood and Gene Colan whose art was the best thing about the book until Miller came along. And why the devil was there a character named after Jack Kirby? To my knowledge he never drew Daredevil. Of course that part was played by everyone's favorite overrated slacker dweeb filmmaker, Kevin Smith so why did it have to make sense?

Seeing this makes me want to avoid the Punisher, Hulk and Elektra movies at all costs and that goes for this summer's Fantastic Four opus. The geniuses behind that one screwed with Doctor Doom's character so you know from the jump it's going to smell.

Twentynine Palms
½

I just heard the news about Johnny Carson. Wow. It's hard not to think that one of the last remaining avatars of class and intelligence in TV is gone. He was one of the all-time giants in TV comedy.:(

I was going to post about the "Space Ghost Coast To Coast, Season 2" DVD. That show was the beginning of what is known as the Adult Swim brand of animated humor. One online review of this set said that this show has lost someof its appeal over the years and been outpaced by the likes of "Sealab 2021" and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". I don't think so. "Space Ghost" had a random sense of the surreal that none of the successive shows, good as they are, can match. I've seen some old episodes on Comcast On Demand and they were as insanely strange and funny as ever. However I also watched the first four episodes of this particular set last night and overall they weren't the best. One had a long riff on Hal the computer from "2001" that was a bit predictable and another had the enormous handicap of using Carrot Top as a guest star, but was partially salvaged by a long, nutso rant from a cow at the end.
Then there was the fourth episode, the reason I picked up this set, "Sharrock".
I fell in love with this show from the start because someone had the imagination and good taste to have Sonny Sharrock do the theme music. Sharrock was a guitarist who played on jazz records, but what he played wasn't your normal jazz guitar. It was a totallly crazed and tripped-out blend of slide guitar blues, New Thing noise, psychopathic soul and kamakaze string bending. He spent a lot of his recorded career working with musicians like Herbie Mann and Pharoah Sanders before doing his own brilliant over-the-top records and spent some time in a jazz-noise supergroup called Last Exit.
Sharrock died of a heart attack in 1994 and this particular episode of "Space Ghost" was a tribute to him. The jokes faded into the background as Sharrock's hell-raising improvisations with drummer Lance Carter took over for most of the show's 15 minutes, rocking out viciously at the end in what Space Ghost called "The Ghost Planet National Anthem". Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth showed up under an assumed name as the supposed guest and in one of the disc's extras, he performs his own feedbacked, overdriven salute to Sharrock. Somebody else may grumble at this diversion but Lord, I love this stuff. What Sharrock plays here is as nasty as any of his other recorded music and I have to admire the producers for having the humility to let music take over their comedy show this way.

The Rundown
The Rundown(2003)
½

I just heard the news about Johnny Carson. Wow. It's hard not to think that one of the last remaining avatars of class and intelligence in TV is gone. He was one of the all-time giants in TV comedy.:(

I was going to post about the "Space Ghost Coast To Coast, Season 2" DVD. That show was the beginning of what is known as the Adult Swim brand of animated humor. One online review of this set said that this show has lost someof its appeal over the years and been outpaced by the likes of "Sealab 2021" and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". I don't think so. "Space Ghost" had a random sense of the surreal that none of the successive shows, good as they are, can match. I've seen some old episodes on Comcast On Demand and they were as insanely strange and funny as ever. However I also watched the first four episodes of this particular set last night and overall they weren't the best. One had a long riff on Hal the computer from "2001" that was a bit predictable and another had the enormous handicap of using Carrot Top as a guest star, but was partially salvaged by a long, nutso rant from a cow at the end.
Then there was the fourth episode, the reason I picked up this set, "Sharrock".
I fell in love with this show from the start because someone had the imagination and good taste to have Sonny Sharrock do the theme music. Sharrock was a guitarist who played on jazz records, but what he played wasn't your normal jazz guitar. It was a totallly crazed and tripped-out blend of slide guitar blues, New Thing noise, psychopathic soul and kamakaze string bending. He spent a lot of his recorded career working with musicians like Herbie Mann and Pharoah Sanders before doing his own brilliant over-the-top records and spent some time in a jazz-noise supergroup called Last Exit.
Sharrock died of a heart attack in 1994 and this particular episode of "Space Ghost" was a tribute to him. The jokes faded into the background as Sharrock's hell-raising improvisations with drummer Lance Carter took over for most of the show's 15 minutes, rocking out viciously at the end in what Space Ghost called "The Ghost Planet National Anthem". Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth showed up under an assumed name as the supposed guest and in one of the disc's extras, he performs his own feedbacked, overdriven salute to Sharrock. Somebody else may grumble at this diversion but Lord, I love this stuff. What Sharrock plays here is as nasty as any of his other recorded music and I have to admire the producers for having the humility to let music take over their comedy show this way.

The Station Agent

I just heard the news about Johnny Carson. Wow. It's hard not to think that one of the last remaining avatars of class and intelligence in TV is gone. He was one of the all-time giants in TV comedy.:(

I was going to post about the "Space Ghost Coast To Coast, Season 2" DVD. That show was the beginning of what is known as the Adult Swim brand of animated humor. One online review of this set said that this show has lost someof its appeal over the years and been outpaced by the likes of "Sealab 2021" and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". I don't think so. "Space Ghost" had a random sense of the surreal that none of the successive shows, good as they are, can match. I've seen some old episodes on Comcast On Demand and they were as insanely strange and funny as ever. However I also watched the first four episodes of this particular set last night and overall they weren't the best. One had a long riff on Hal the computer from "2001" that was a bit predictable and another had the enormous handicap of using Carrot Top as a guest star, but was partially salvaged by a long, nutso rant from a cow at the end.
Then there was the fourth episode, the reason I picked up this set, "Sharrock".
I fell in love with this show from the start because someone had the imagination and good taste to have Sonny Sharrock do the theme music. Sharrock was a guitarist who played on jazz records, but what he played wasn't your normal jazz guitar. It was a totallly crazed and tripped-out blend of slide guitar blues, New Thing noise, psychopathic soul and kamakaze string bending. He spent a lot of his recorded career working with musicians like Herbie Mann and Pharoah Sanders before doing his own brilliant over-the-top records and spent some time in a jazz-noise supergroup called Last Exit.
Sharrock died of a heart attack in 1994 and this particular episode of "Space Ghost" was a tribute to him. The jokes faded into the background as Sharrock's hell-raising improvisations with drummer Lance Carter took over for most of the show's 15 minutes, rocking out viciously at the end in what Space Ghost called "The Ghost Planet National Anthem". Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth showed up under an assumed name as the supposed guest and in one of the disc's extras, he performs his own feedbacked, overdriven salute to Sharrock. Somebody else may grumble at this diversion but Lord, I love this stuff. What Sharrock plays here is as nasty as any of his other recorded music and I have to admire the producers for having the humility to let music take over their comedy show this way.

The Thing
The Thing(1982)
½

I now have a lot more respect for John Carpenter. I've liked some of Carpenter's movies but I never cared for "Halloween"" and I never saw what made him a horror master to some people. Then this morning I saw his version of "The Thing". Now I get it.
This film was superb. It was gritty, tense and brilliantly acted. So many movies since have messed up this men-against-monster formula. They emphasized the gore too much, treated the story like a joke or did something else stupid. This baby was letter perfect, the atmosphere, Ennio Morricone's music, the use of shadows so you never saw the monster in a bright light, everythig was just right.
Now Carpenter's student film, "Dark Star", looks like the father of an entire school of horror. "The Thing"'s setting was a government camp in the Antarctic but the main motif of a tired crew chasing a monster through dark, cluttered corridors comes right out of "Star", the same motif that a more direct "Dark Star" descendant, "Alien", uses.

Other than that this weekend I saw Billy Wilder's classic comedy, "The Fortune Cookie" again, this time concentrating on Jack Lemmon's subtle, multi-faceted performance and Walter Matthau's hilarious breakout role. There was also "Northfork", a surreal but affecting mix of sprituality and weirdness revolving around the efforts to clear out the population of a town that is going to be displaced by a lake.

The last two things I read have been [u]Ocean Of Sound[/u], a wide-ranging discussion of ambient music by British musician David Toop, and one of my favorite magazines, [u]The Wire[/u] , a British mag that covers the outer reaches of music in all genres, this issue with features on the new Finnish muscal underground and a long dissertation on the power of The Riff, which to these guys comes from everyone from The Seeds and The Stooges all the way to Terry Riley, Captain Beefheart and Carla Bley. Reading all of this heady stuff reminds me how much incredible culture there is out there far beyond the cheesy crap we get flooded with by mainstream TV, film, and music.

The Fortune Cookie

I now have a lot more respect for John Carpenter. I've liked some of Carpenter's movies but I never cared for "Halloween"" and I never saw what made him a horror master to some people. Then this morning I saw his version of "The Thing". Now I get it.
This film was superb. It was gritty, tense and brilliantly acted. So many movies since have messed up this men-against-monster formula. They emphasized the gore too much, treated the story like a joke or did something else stupid. This baby was letter perfect, the atmosphere, Ennio Morricone's music, the use of shadows so you never saw the monster in a bright light, everythig was just right.
Now Carpenter's student film, "Dark Star", looks like the father of an entire school of horror. "The Thing"'s setting was a government camp in the Antarctic but the main motif of a tired crew chasing a monster through dark, cluttered corridors comes right out of "Star", the same motif that a more direct "Dark Star" descendant, "Alien", uses.

Other than that this weekend I saw Billy Wilder's classic comedy, "The Fortune Cookie" again, this time concentrating on Jack Lemmon's subtle, multi-faceted performance and Walter Matthau's hilarious breakout role. There was also "Northfork", a surreal but affecting mix of sprituality and weirdness revolving around the efforts to clear out the population of a town that is going to be displaced by a lake.

The last two things I read have been [u]Ocean Of Sound[/u], a wide-ranging discussion of ambient music by British musician David Toop, and one of my favorite magazines, [u]The Wire[/u] , a British mag that covers the outer reaches of music in all genres, this issue with features on the new Finnish muscal underground and a long dissertation on the power of The Riff, which to these guys comes from everyone from The Seeds and The Stooges all the way to Terry Riley, Captain Beefheart and Carla Bley. Reading all of this heady stuff reminds me how much incredible culture there is out there far beyond the cheesy crap we get flooded with by mainstream TV, film, and music.

Within Our Gates

Since American Movie Classics has turned to crap and i can't get the Fox Movie Network, I'm coming to see more and more how special the Turner Movie Classics channel is. The variety of material they show, in addition to familiar old films, is amazing, cartoons, silents, newsreels, Yiddish films, musical shorts. I was reminded last night of how special the network is when I saw a movie called "Within Our Gates" there.
This film, a 1920 silent, is actually in the National Film Registry because it's historically significant as the oldest surviving feature directed by an African-American, Oscar Micheaux, who had a long career directing films for black audiences.
How is the movie? That's a little complicated. As you might imagine the film was made on a tiny budget but that doesn't really show. The production values are no better or worse than any surviving programmer of that time. The problem is Micheaux's direction. He tries to pack so many plots into one movie, the result leaves you dizzy. One story starts, then another barely connected one takes its place. Flashbacks can be momentary or they go into yet another barely related tale. The editing is so choppy you barely know who is doing what where and to whom at any given time. These problems exist not only in this film but in later Micheaux talkies I've seen.
I've seen him described as "the black Ed Wood", but that is really unfair. Micheaux was not some enthusiastic but incompetent bungler who only wanted to tell sleazy exploitation and horror stories. His films had the sort of serious purpose any black artist would have had in the early 20th Century, exposing the problems and issues facing black Americans. If you just look at certain sequences in "Within Our Gates" instead of trying to digest the whole, you see that he could build a powerful bit of drama out of these troubles.
I won't try to describe the convoluted plot but it concerns in part the struggles of the small percentage of educated blacks of that time to give the rest of their people the opportunity to learn to read and write and have a real education. It blasts the whites who wanted to keep black people docile and ignorant so they could be taken advantage of and also a crooked black preacher who shucks and jives before the whites and tells his congregation that not getting an education will keep them "pure" and help them get to Heaven quicker.
Later in the film, Micheaux takes on a far greater evil, lynching. This was a terrifying problem throughout the South and sometimes in other parts of the U. S. in the first half of the 20th Century. There were Southern communities where whites would hang black men and women from trees on the basis of any sort of imagined slight or insult, no to mention actual crimes. In some cases a mob would pick on some unlucky soul who had done nothing more than cross their path and string him up.
When Micheaux deals with this,he doesn't mess around. In the film a black sharecropper is wrongfully accused of murdering the landowner he works for. When a mob catches up with him, they hang both him [color=black][u]and[/u] his wife who'd been accused of nothing and set fire to their bodies. There's also the character of a shifty black servant who is the one that fingers the sharecropper. The mob hangs him just for the hell of it. While all this is going on another white man is trying to rape the couple's adopted daughter, the heroine of the movie.[/color]
If nothing else Micheaux knows how to create a powerful image. Just seeing ropes thrown over a crossbeam or dangling feet is enough to get the message across. Watching the heroine fight with her attacker, I remembered the reversed scenario in the technically brilliant but morally disgusting "Birth Of A Nation" where brutish ex-slaves were trying to ravish white Southern womanhood and the "gallant" Ku Klux Klan rode to the rescue. I have a feeling that Micheaux was thinking about that movie when making this and saying to his audience "Damn that 'heroic white knights' bull. [u]This[/u] is what's really happening." Unfortunately Mcheaux's film only reached black audiences and they already knew the truth (though I was surprised to see so many white actors in the film. In the black films of the sound era you never saw any whites.).
In the end maybe Oscar Micheaux couldn't tell a coherent story from beginning to end but he could make one hell of a point.

Napoleon Dynamite
½

I've seen three very interesting movies in the last couple of days. First I finally caught up with "The Full Monty". I know I'm probably one of the last people in the English speaking world to see this movie but it turned out to be as good as advertised, very funny of course but with an undercurrent of tragedy in how the closing of the steel factories and loss of work had really emasculated the lead characters, so much so that the only way they could escape from their misery for a while to be male strippers for one night, and even then you knew things were still going to be crap for them the next day.

Then I saw or rather, experienced, "Napoleon Dynamite". There are movies that self-conciously try to be weird and funny (Calling Kevin Smith.) and movies that are strange and hopelessly bent from the word go. "Napoleon Dynamite" is so out there it seems to have dropped in from an alternate universe. Where do you start? The hero with his red Chia-Pet perm and "sweet" moon boots? His equally nerdy brother who spends his time chatting with women on the internet but by film's end, is going off to Detroit with a beautiful black woman decked out like an authentic hoodie rat? Uncle Rico, the tupperware and breat enhancement pills salesman with the Scott Baio haircut? The pet llama? The way half the characters in the movie seem to walk around in a stoned daze? I was laughing at this thing from the first minute and didn't stop until the closing wedding sequence by which time the sight ofNapoleon riding a horse across the countryside to present as the happy couple's honermoon car seems perfectly logical This movie is the offspring of a shotgun marriage between David Lynch and Buster Keaton and I loved it. Certain other directors' movies about rambling stoners can't hold a candle to it.

Then Sautrday morning I ran across an unexpected gem on TCM, "No Name On The Bullet", a 1959 Audie Murphy western that was very unconventional. In fact transported to another setting like an outer space colony, it would have made a nifty episode of The Twilight Zone.
Murphy played a hired killer who one day rides into a small town and checks into the hotel, giving no indication of why he's there. The fun part is he almost doesn't need to do anything else. Everyone in town knows he's an assassin and those with a shady past freaks out, thinking he's been hired to kill them. Before the movie ends, there's a suicide, a gunfight and a bunch of dead bodies, none of it directly caused by Murphy. In fact though he does shoot and wound a couple of characters, Murphy's character doesn't kill anyone in the film.
There are some obvious themes about the dirty secrets in people's pasts and fear leading to hysteria, but those are never stated explicitly. Instead Murphy and the movie's one heroic character, a doctor, have conversations about guilt, punishment and the inevitability of death. At the end of the film, Murphy rides off with his gun arm broken andhis dialogue gives the strong suggestion that the next time he's in a gunfight he expects to lose.
Heavy stuff and I'm really surprised this movie hasn't seem to have gotten any attention among film buffs. It's very well made and a bold statement for its day, a time when Red baiting and the Hollywood Blacklist were still around and it wasn't cool to go on about paranoia and the dark side of American life.

No Name on the Bullet

I've seen three very interesting movies in the last couple of days. First I finally caught up with "The Full Monty". I know I'm probably one of the last people in the English speaking world to see this movie but it turned out to be as good as advertised, very funny of course but with an undercurrent of tragedy in how the closing of the steel factories and loss of work had really emasculated the lead characters, so much so that the only way they could escape from their misery for a while to be male strippers for one night, and even then you knew things were still going to be crap for them the next day.

Then I saw or rather, experienced, "Napoleon Dynamite". There are movies that self-conciously try to be weird and funny (Calling Kevin Smith.) and movies that are strange and hopelessly bent from the word go. "Napoleon Dynamite" is so out there it seems to have dropped in from an alternate universe. Where do you start? The hero with his red Chia-Pet perm and "sweet" moon boots? His equally nerdy brother who spends his time chatting with women on the internet but by film's end, is going off to Detroit with a beautiful black woman decked out like an authentic hoodie rat? Uncle Rico, the tupperware and breat enhancement pills salesman with the Scott Baio haircut? The pet llama? The way half the characters in the movie seem to walk around in a stoned daze? I was laughing at this thing from the first minute and didn't stop until the closing wedding sequence by which time the sight ofNapoleon riding a horse across the countryside to present as the happy couple's honermoon car seems perfectly logical This movie is the offspring of a shotgun marriage between David Lynch and Buster Keaton and I loved it. Certain other directors' movies about rambling stoners can't hold a candle to it.

Then Sautrday morning I ran across an unexpected gem on TCM, "No Name On The Bullet", a 1959 Audie Murphy western that was very unconventional. In fact transported to another setting like an outer space colony, it would have made a nifty episode of The Twilight Zone.
Murphy played a hired killer who one day rides into a small town and checks into the hotel, giving no indication of why he's there. The fun part is he almost doesn't need to do anything else. Everyone in town knows he's an assassin and those with a shady past freaks out, thinking he's been hired to kill them. Before the movie ends, there's a suicide, a gunfight and a bunch of dead bodies, none of it directly caused by Murphy. In fact though he does shoot and wound a couple of characters, Murphy's character doesn't kill anyone in the film.
There are some obvious themes about the dirty secrets in people's pasts and fear leading to hysteria, but those are never stated explicitly. Instead Murphy and the movie's one heroic character, a doctor, have conversations about guilt, punishment and the inevitability of death. At the end of the film, Murphy rides off with his gun arm broken andhis dialogue gives the strong suggestion that the next time he's in a gunfight he expects to lose.
Heavy stuff and I'm really surprised this movie hasn't seem to have gotten any attention among film buffs. It's very well made and a bold statement for its day, a time when Red baiting and the Hollywood Blacklist were still around and it wasn't cool to go on about paranoia and the dark side of American life.

The Full Monty

I've seen three very interesting movies in the last couple of days. First I finally caught up with "The Full Monty". I know I'm probably one of the last people in the English speaking world to see this movie but it turned out to be as good as advertised, very funny of course but with an undercurrent of tragedy in how the closing of the steel factories and loss of work had really emasculated the lead characters, so much so that the only way they could escape from their misery for a while to be male strippers for one night, and even then you knew things were still going to be crap for them the next day.

Then I saw or rather, experienced, "Napoleon Dynamite". There are movies that self-conciously try to be weird and funny (Calling Kevin Smith.) and movies that are strange and hopelessly bent from the word go. "Napoleon Dynamite" is so out there it seems to have dropped in from an alternate universe. Where do you start? The hero with his red Chia-Pet perm and "sweet" moon boots? His equally nerdy brother who spends his time chatting with women on the internet but by film's end, is going off to Detroit with a beautiful black woman decked out like an authentic hoodie rat? Uncle Rico, the tupperware and breat enhancement pills salesman with the Scott Baio haircut? The pet llama? The way half the characters in the movie seem to walk around in a stoned daze? I was laughing at this thing from the first minute and didn't stop until the closing wedding sequence by which time the sight ofNapoleon riding a horse across the countryside to present as the happy couple's honermoon car seems perfectly logical This movie is the offspring of a shotgun marriage between David Lynch and Buster Keaton and I loved it. Certain other directors' movies about rambling stoners can't hold a candle to it.

Then Sautrday morning I ran across an unexpected gem on TCM, "No Name On The Bullet", a 1959 Audie Murphy western that was very unconventional. In fact transported to another setting like an outer space colony, it would have made a nifty episode of The Twilight Zone.
Murphy played a hired killer who one day rides into a small town and checks into the hotel, giving no indication of why he's there. The fun part is he almost doesn't need to do anything else. Everyone in town knows he's an assassin and those with a shady past freaks out, thinking he's been hired to kill them. Before the movie ends, there's a suicide, a gunfight and a bunch of dead bodies, none of it directly caused by Murphy. In fact though he does shoot and wound a couple of characters, Murphy's character doesn't kill anyone in the film.
There are some obvious themes about the dirty secrets in people's pasts and fear leading to hysteria, but those are never stated explicitly. Instead Murphy and the movie's one heroic character, a doctor, have conversations about guilt, punishment and the inevitability of death. At the end of the film, Murphy rides off with his gun arm broken andhis dialogue gives the strong suggestion that the next time he's in a gunfight he expects to lose.
Heavy stuff and I'm really surprised this movie hasn't seem to have gotten any attention among film buffs. It's very well made and a bold statement for its day, a time when Red baiting and the Hollywood Blacklist were still around and it wasn't cool to go on about paranoia and the dark side of American life.

The Truth About Demons

I couldn't wait. I read the "30 Porn Star Portraits" this morning. People that have done books like this in the past usually have had some agenda rising out of their own sexual hangups and haven't gone any farther than presenting the stereotypical impressions of porn, photographing a bunch of sad-faced blondes with big boobs and Ron Jeremy. This book was way different. It presented portraits of a group of confident, clear-eyed people who looked at peace with what they do, even when photographed naked. The pictures covered an entire gamut of faces, blacks, whites, Asians, girls just starting in the business, retired legends, men who do gay porn, women with big breasts, women with tiny breasts...and Ron Jeremy. (I guess they just couldn't do without him.)

In essays by promiment figures and short bios written by the performers themselves, a lot of different reactions to porn are presented. That led me to thinking about my own reaction. which besides the expected arousal, is actually admiration. I could care less what others think. I admire the hell out of women like Janine, Ginger Lynn and Nina Hartley for being able to get in front of a camera and do what they do. It's a kind of courage and self-awareness I wish I had. That goes for any sex worker, including strippers and escorts. Yes there are a lot of horror stories behind many of those folks but in those I've encountered I've also seen a comfort level with their being that the so-called "normal" people who denounce them only wish they had.

I'm still coming to grips exactly with what triggers my respect. Is it the freedom to go around naked? Whatever it is they are in a place I wish I was. Approaching the age of 50, I have to admit I've never really figured out what I want to do with my life. I have talents like writing and being able to analyze things, but I've never had any clear plans or goals. Everywhere I go in this world I feel like I don't really belong there. I don't talk to people, not because I'm shy, but becuase I feel like nobody would underestand me. I'm scared to confront a lot of my feelings myself. I do know I terribly miss the intimacy and joy of loving and being loved. I long for the simple touch of another person and I worry myself into a deep depression because I have little prospect of ever having that. Sometimes when I watch porn I feel like that's my one connection to the world. After all, a lot of the things we worry about and talk about everyday just boil down to bullshit in the long run. At the core there is that longing to connect with another person both physically and emotionally. The ladies who put that example out there for us, instead of the more accepted parts of our culture which are all about killing, revenge and hate, are shining stars to me. If Nina Hartley were the head of NOW or had some influence in Washington, this would be an infinitely better world.

Images
Images(1972)
½

The damnest things show up on cable. Last night, I saw Images, an obscure Ingmar Bergman imitation by Robert Altman from 1972. That film mainly reinforced what a beautiful woman Susannah York is. Today I ran into a curiousity called Tenage Millionaire from 1961. The plot was about a happy-go-lucky rich kid who cuts a record on a goof and finds it becoming a big hit. It was really an excuse to play a lot of rock songs of the day. Jimmy Clanton, a real would-be teen idol , played the millionaire and there were appearances by a lot of cool comic actors from the time, the ever-fluttery Zasu Pitts, ex-boxer Rocky Graziano, and Maurice Gosfield, a comic who was famous for playing Pvt. Doberman on "The Phil Silvers Show" who looked like the Michelin Man gone flat. The movie also frequently stopped for completely unrelated performances by various singers including some guys still famous today, Dion, Chubby Checker twisting for all he's worth and the hippest sumbitch in the universe, Mr. Jackie Wilson.

I've also recently seen a horror film called Nine Lives, a British slasher movie that evidently never heard of Scream because it does all the young-people-evaading-killer tropes dead seriously. This movie also has the dubious pleasure of featuring Paris Hilton who fortunately gets killed first. As you might expect she reads her lines in a dead monotone and somebody needs to teach her about voice projection because she says her lines in a virtual whisper. It's unbelievable that other people have been stupid enough to sign her up for movie roles.

I just got a book I ordered on Amazon called "XXX 30 Porn Star Portraits". The cover has a nude Jenna Jameson with her arms crossed, looking confidently at the camera and the back says that the other portraits include some of my old favorites like Sharon Mitchell, Nina Hartley, Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn. I have a feeling I'm going to have a lot to say about this book after I read it.