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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 29, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 29, 2020

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Post by sol » July 19th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Which Films Did You See Last Week?

Please share with us which films you saw last week. It would be great if you could include some comments on each film. It would be awesome if you could also take some time to comment on everyone else's viewings. Unfortunately, it has reached the point where it is no longer viable for me as host to comment on everyone else's viewings every week (especially since some people like to use the weekly thread to log their viewings and nothing else). I am always keen to promote movie discussion though, so if you comment on my own viewings, I will comment on yours at my earliest convenience.

Please also note that this is intended as a movie discussion thread, not a large image posting thread. Having too many large images makes this thread difficult to navigate through. If you wish to include more than five images in a reply, please use spoiler tags - [spoiler][/spoiler] - to hide extra images.

This is what I saw:

★★★★ = loved it /// ★★★ = liked it a lot; ~7/10 /// ★★ = has interesting elements; ~6/10 /// ★ = did very little for me; ~5/10 and lower

The Wrong Road (1937). Disillusioned by how difficult it is to get rich by making an honest living, a young couple steal $100 000, hide it and confess to the crime, prepared to spend a stint in jail to "earn" a small fortune in this fascinating crime drama. The film benefits from an intriguing premise built on some thought-provoking satire; maybe the world does indeed favour those who commit crimes rather than those who work hard? The psychology of the protagonists is great too - "we earned that money!" - and there is some neat lethargic dissolve editing, especially after they are sentenced. Made when the Production Code was in full effect, the film unfortunately veers towards a simplistic 'crime does not pay' ending and some of the parts towards the end are plain preachy. There are also a few convenient coincidences, but this mostly works very well. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Blood Feast (1963). Several young women are killed by an Egyptologist keen on making a ritual sacrifice in this Herschell Gordon Lewis horror film. Often considered to be a pioneer splatter film, Lewis mounts many memorable ghastly effects as his female victims are killed in a variety of ways, though whether the film has much going for it beyond the blood and gore is debatable. For a film clocking in at just over an hour, it is remarkably slow paced with little of note happening in between the kills. Mal Arnold is also insanely over-the-top as the killer, sprouting hair and eyebrows that look like they were spray-painted in silver. Things do get interesting towards the end as Arnold convinces an unsuspecting young woman to reenact a ritual with him, and the film has some okay sets and costumes, but the splatter effects are by far the best thing on offer here. (first viewing, online) ★★

Gas-s-s-s (1970). Subtitled "It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It", this is one of those comedies where the title is the funniest thing about it. The premise sounds okay as a group of peace-loving hippies discover just how difficult it is to create a better world when a mysterious gas kills off everyone over twenty-five. The stakes are always super low though (nobody every seems panicked despite social disarray and rampant rape) and with the gas leak occurring in the first ten minutes, the film never really establishes the disenchantment that the hippies have with the older folks around them before they disappear. There are some bright moments here and there with heavenly voices and so on, but this would have been more interesting had it focused on actual kids coping with no parents rather than young adults getting up to mischief. (first viewing, DVD) ★

The Hecklers (1975). Canada's history of political cartoons is captured in this documentary that interviews both cartoonists and politicians. The film also splices in a number of cartoons, some of which are made to move, while others feature voices in place of speech bubbles. The title comes from what one cartoonist states, "you're a heckler basically" - although the documentary argues that cartoonists are more important than that, exposing alcoholism and political contradictions out in the open, since "a cartoon well done is worth a thousand pictures". With stories of cartoonists whose houses were fire-bombed and recollections of received angry letters and so on, the documentary pulls in a lot of different directions and does not always evenly flow. It also ends abruptly. The project is, however, engaging from start to finish and often quite amusing. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Regeneration (1987). Leaving flowers on a grave, a Vancouver man remembers how his friend was brought back to life in a bizarre science experiment in this nifty sci-fi comedy. In the film, a machine is built that can recognise and reproduce the mind and soul of a person based on a photograph alone as "a photo is a record of human appearance"; the only catch is that the person has to exist in a robot that looks like Number 5 from Short Circuit. There are some fascinating scenes early on as the dead man has to prove who he really is and some poignant ones as he later struggles to "be treated as a human being". The ending is abrupt and the middle section is messy with a poorly paced fishing trip and a random robbery, but the whole things looks fantastic with several striking images, in particular a couple of spirals reflected in the scientist's glasses. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Carpenter (1988). Believing that she is merely suffering from delusions again, a former mental patient turns a blind eye as her carpenter kills would-be rapists and other men who annoy her in this pitch black comedy. Sometimes credited as a horror or fantasy film, the movie for the most part keeps it nice and ambiguous as to what is happening - whether she is imagining the carpenter while doing the killings herself or whether he is really a serial killer beneath his polite and sincere exterior. In fact, the old-fashioned politeness that Wings Hauser brings to the role makes him a very dynamic character - one capable of extreme acts of violence while also able to gently tell our protagonist to just go upstairs and get some sleep within the same minute. The film falls apart a bit towards the end when it erases its all ambiguity, but this is interesting stuff. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Uranium (1990). Mining of uranium (as well as radium) in Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories is the subject of this intriguing Canadian documentary. The film is very critical of the practice, how it pollutes the local environment, how it has led to a documented rise of birth defects in mining areas and how few local jobs it creates despite Canada being - at least at the time - the world's single largest exporter of uranium. The project could have perhaps done with more archive footage (the few newsreels included are fascinating) and less talking head footage, but this very interesting from start to finish as we learn about how the practice dates back to the 1930s with Canadian radium used in the Hiroshima bombs. The film also gives voice to advocates of nuclear energy, though it is hearing from the upset native people that packs the biggest punch. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Fun (1994). Intrigued by two teenage girls who have committed a horrible crime without a clear motive, a reporter and a lawyer separately interview the girls to try to get to the bottom of the story in this fascinating crime drama. While some plot summaries give it away, it is not until the second half of the film that their exact crime is revealed and the mysteriousness certainly adds to the experience as it becomes mostly about the respective interviewers trying to get their subjects to open up. Another great technique is the use of colour for the flashbacks of the girls meeting and bonding, with only black and white for the present day scenes when the girls are no longer experiencing a high from the crime they committed purely for fun. The second half of the film is somewhat less effective once the crime is revealed and shown, but this is still engaging stuff. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Breakup.com (2008). Running a website in which he films one night stands and the cruel but humorous ways he can think to tell the ladies to get lost afterwards, a Vancouver playboy gets more than he bargained for when he recruits two acquaintances to drum up business in this quirky comedy. Woody Jeffreys is excellent in the lead role with his deadpan reactions as he tells his dates things like "it's not you - it's your body" when breaking up. He also has some intriguing sociopathic qualities, bringing to mind American Psycho's Patrick Bateman at times with his detachment to everyone's feelings around him. The film features lots of zany bits and pieces too, such as a clip for "Hamlet in the Hood". Things teeter a tad towards the end and the film concludes on a bit of a low note, but this is generally engaging with great supporting characters. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Uh-Oh Show (2009). Written and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, this late career offering from the Wizard of Gore director is just as effective as his best early efforts with plenty of sharp satire despite the director's own claim that none of his films are art. The satirical target here is audience bloodlust with the film revolving around the titular television program - a game show in which contestants get amazing prizes if they win, but risk having body parts dismembered if they lose. While all of the sweeping shots of cheering audience members lapping up the violence are enough to send a chill down the spine, equally as unsettling are the contestants themselves who weigh up that it is worth risking a limb or an eye for a chance at a million dollars. The acting is mostly lousy and the ending is kind of predictable, but this is generally electric stuff. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Wrecked (2010). Waking up in a crashed car at the bottom of a ravine with no memory of who he or how he got there, a stressed out man tries to free himself from the wreck in this confined space thriller. While the single location here might bring to mind Phone Booth or ATM, this is nowhere near as intense because there is no malicious external force confining him there. Mike Flanagan's Gerald's Game is probably the best comparison piece given that Adrien Brody's protagonist hallucinates here too, though his hallucinations are less dynamic than in the Flanagan film and play out more like dreams. While Brody comes to wonder if he might be a fugitive, there is actually very little driving the plot to the point that it becomes repetitive before halfway in. The final few minutes certainly pack a punch at least and Brody does do desperation well. (first viewing, online) ★

Gone by Dawn (2016). Told that they cannot legally do anything when their friend is raped by their sleazy manager (since she accepted money for it), two strippers team up with their friend to teach their manager a lesson in this revenge film with a difference. While the acting is not exceptional, the film mounts some very human and three dimensional characters and the whole rape scene is handled well with close-ups on her face the whole time to emphasise how awful it is. Some of the ways in which they torture the manager are darkly comical too, while the way each of the three women vary in how far they are prepared to go makes them more dynamic than the average victims set on revenge. The film is beset by a very abrupt ending and a weirdly upbeat montage as they prepare their revenge scheme, but this is pretty great for a film made on a budget. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Monster (2016). Stuck on an outskirts highway after their vehicle crashes in the middle of the night, a quarreling mother and daughter begin to believe that some sort of monster is lurking in the darkness in this horror movie from Canada. The film looks divine, shot in super-low lighting with the obscured features of the monster making the beast all the more daunting; Ella Ballentine is also solid as the daughter who constantly has to parent her immature mother. The film is, however, weighed down by so bluntly shoehorning the mother/daughter angle into the plot and making it about how their dark highway experience forces them to bond. The flow of the movie is interrupted at several points by flashbacks to their past fights and arguments; when the movie manages to stay in the immediacy of what it is happening though, it is moderately effective. (first viewing, online) ★★

Da 5 Bloods (2020). Returning to Vietnam to recover stolen loot that they buried half a century earlier, four African American ex-soldiers are met with unforeseen challenges in this Spike Lee joint. This is not a subtle film with prominent Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump messaging, but it is rather engaging if a little bloated. The first hour actually plays out close to a comedy with the ex-soldiers having fun upon reuniting and reminiscing. The second half is more like intense thriller though, with Lee acknowledging the influence of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with a similar line about "stinking badges". Throughout, there is also a suggestion that Vietnam has never fully recovered from the war fought there, and with unexploded mines and traps still throughout its jungles, Lee grimly captures how much the war still literally and metaphorically resonates. (first viewing, online) ★★★

REVISIONS

Stereo (1969). Made on a low budget and filmed entirely on a university campus, David Cronenberg makes great use of his limited locations, which look foreboding in stylish in black and white and expressionistic lighting in this pseudo-documentary. The notions at hand fascinating too, with terms such as "omnisexuality" and "three-dimensional sexuality" flung about as the narrator describes how sexual energy can be transferred telepathically. Upon second viewing, Stereo seems messier, partly about sexuality but also partly about creating telepathic folk through images of strong violence, though this of course intriguingly prefigures Scanners and Videodrome to come. With lots of silent bouts, this sometimes feels as amateurish as Crimes of the Future, but everything looks so divine in stark black and white that this is easier to appreciate. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★

Shivers (1975). Medical experimentation takes the spotlight in this David Cronenberg film about a genetically bred parasite, designed to replace artificial organs, which gets out of control, breads and infects several individuals. While the mounting body count and creepy parasite alone make this an engaging horror flick, it is the ambiguous effects of the parasite that are thought-provoking. Modified to be an aphrodisiac by a mad scientist, are the parasites merely sexually liberating their victims? The high-rise apartment setting is also excellent, especially given how all the horror contradicts the promises of the opening advertisement for the apartment complex. Topped off with sublime slow and foreboding music arranged by Ivan Reitman of all people, this is a perfectly atmospheric look at infection spread that feels oh-so-relevant in the Covid-19 climate. (fourth viewing, DVD) ★★★★

The Brood (1979). While the intriguing near-Forbidden Planet level psychological depth of The Brood is only revealed in the final twenty minutes, the overall film works well as Cronenberg sublimely mixes a touching father-daughter relationship story with body horror aesthetics. The film could also be read as a metaphor for custody battles in divorce with the protagonist literally terrified of what his wife seems to be doing to their daughter. Not all of the finer details of the plot add up, but it is an atmospheric experience as usual for Cronenberg, boasting one of Howard Shore's best scores. There are also several striking images throughout, from an autopsy in pink filters to all of the angular shots of 'the brood' with faces obscured, to that iconic shot of Samantha Eggar (fantastic as always here) revealing the unexpected beneath her dress. (fourth viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★★

Scanners (1981). Fresh as ever after seven viewings, Scanners is more than just a film about telepathy, telekinesis, popping veins and exploding heads. Repeat viewings reveal increasing layers about humanity and what it is means to be human, with a suggestion that the so-called "scanners" might just be the next step in the human evolutionary chain. An art therapy subplot is very good too (perhaps Cronenberg hinting about his own need to make films) with some amazing sculptures. Most surprising of all is how darkly comic the whole thing is; the "see, I told you - no fireworks" scene cracks me up every time. Add in brooding, near operatic Howard Shore music, awesome sound effects (for all the overlapping voices), chilling dissolve edits and a curious colour red motif, and Scanners is a typically atmospheric Cronenberg ride. (seventh viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★★

Cosmopolis (2012). At first glance Cosmopolis seems to be a tale of a young man doing weird and random things while rambling about various topics. Repeat viewing serve the film very well and by a third viewing it becomes clear that it is tale of a man engineering his downfall, to paraphrase what he is told. Mystified at how his mathematical prediction that the Yuan would fall backfired, our protagonist assumes that there is something wrong with him, and when he afterwards learns that his prostate is "asymmetrical", he takes it as a sign. The apocalyptic backdrop further supports his self-diagnosis and after all, "whether I imagine a thing or not, it is real to me" as he is also told. If less atmospheric with blander performances than the average Cronenberg film, this sits well against his genre ventures into hallucinations and warped perceptions. (third viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Videodrome (1983). There is nothing real outside our perception of reality, is there? Eleven viewings later and still as fresh as ever, Videodrome is quite possibly the best film ever made about the relationship between viewers and what they view. The film's most iconic image is James Woods sticking his head inside a television set during a hallucination - an image that very much embodies what it feels like to be totally immersed in a film or a television program: the tendency to forget that one is sitting in a living room or cinema and totally lose oneself in a movie is something quite transcendental, something quite hallucinatory, and as Professor O'Blivion says in the film, "whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it". After all, when you remember a very vivid part of something watched on television, do you remember the television set itself and other stuff in the room or only that which is on the television set?

While these ideas alone render Videodrome a fascinating motion picture, what really gives an edge is the constant brooding mood and atmosphere throughout, carried through largely by Howard Shore's ominous score, but also all the darkened images of the protagonist's apartment, only illuminated by the flicker of the television screen. James Woods makes for a great protagonist too; a self-proclaimed video pirate who eventually becomes an easily manipulated pawn by delving into human depravity on screen - and "why would anyone watch a scum show like Videodrome?" to quote a key character in the film. Indeed, this is also a movie about what we watch and how we react to what we see. There is a great line about receptors in the brain being particularly opened by seeing certain images. Above all else though, this is an acute portrait of a lonely and frustrated man getting lost along what would seem to otherwise be a road to self-discovery. (eleventh viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★★

OtherShow
The Roaring Road (1919). Assembling his own car out of junkyard parts, a motoring enthusiast enters a big race hoping to win the competition, as well as the hand of his rival's daughter in marriage, in this silent comedy starring Wallace Reid. The plot is pretty thin and the film relies too heavily on lengthy newspaper clippings and telegrams/letters to fill in finer details, but the whole thing is well paced and energetic for what it is. Theodore Roberts is particularly fun to watch as his hotheaded rival, nicknamed The Bear and even shown as one through a nifty dissolve-over at the start of the film. The story does go downhill a bit after the first race with Reid somehow winding up in jail and a race-against-time to break him out in order that he can win another race, but this is a fairly amusing tale of fast cars, first loves and placing love ahead of racing in life. (first viewing, online) ★★

Terror Island (1920). Notable for featuring one of Harry Houdini's rare on-screen performances, this adventure movie casts him as a submarine inventor who has to use his powers of escape to outwit some hostile 'savages' on an island with buried treasure. Fast-forward a century later and the film's racially insensitive depiction of the island natives is pretty hard to swallow, but even with that pushed to the side, this is not a particularly great film. There are some interesting dissolve effects early on, but the narrative is extremely weak and is mostly built around Houdini getting a chance to perform stunts including going underwater. As per mostly early 20s silents, the title cards are also overly descriptive and sometimes interrupt the flow of the action, but the whole thing is quite watchable at least between the exotic locations and underwater photography. (first viewing, online) ★

Blast-Off Girls (1967). Without any splatter or gore, this non-horror film from Herschell Gordon Lewis feels moribund throughout; it is also about a boy band rather than a girl band (contrary to the title) and anyone expecting girls in a state of undress will be disappointed. The plot has a decidedly average band trying to retain their autonomy while working with a manager who is pretty obviously taking them for a ride. He does eventually get a bit of a comeuppance, but it is hard to feel for the band members and their passionate dislike of their manager when they seem foolish working with him in the first place. There are a few zany touches throughout, including Colonel Sanders dancing and bopping around. Some of the costuming is decent too, but as a curio it is debatable whether even the director's most ardent fans will find anything of interest here. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Corpse Eaters (1974). Boasting a moody synth score and some quite graphic gore and violence, this Canadian B-movie constantly feels like it should be better than it is. Stylish as the film is though, the plot is a mess, mainly about four youths who accidentally summon the dead back to life when performing a Satanic ritual for fun, yet bookended by scenes involving morticians processing their bodies. A nifty film could have been made out of the premise of funeral home directors having to make victims of zombie mauling look half-human again, but the focus is definitely on the youths here, none of whom are three dimensional or interesting enough for one to really care when a hoard of zombies put their lives in mortal danger. The film also ends on a somewhat abrupt note, though clocking in at around an hour long, it at least never outstays its welcome. (first viewing, online) ★

Deadly Harvest (1977). Food shortages in the wake of global cooling (yes... not warming) lead to much marauding and pitiful human behaviour in this bleak speculative Canadian film set in the near future. It is a decent premise, and one that has surprising relevancy in Covid-19 panic buying times, and yet the film mostly feels like a collection of good ideas as opposed to a cohesive narrative. None of the characters are particularly well developed and the whole thing has a distinct melodramatic air with lines such as "prepare for survival, not death" thrown around. Several events along the way are nevertheless engaging as we see humanity at its worst in desperate times: a young girl assaulted to get to her pet cow, a wedding interrupted by those after supplies, everybody having to cover up their food so that it is not stolen and so on. Bleak times indeed. (first viewing, online) ★★

Gas (1981). Far better than the similarly titled Roger Corman film, this Canadian comedy offers a sharper satire, with consumer behaviour and panic buying as the main targets. The plot involves false rumours of a fuel shortage spreading, something that causes everybody to go out and fill up their vehicles unnecessarily whenever they can, which in turn leads to an actual fuel shortage. As we see how everyone from gasoline moguls, to radio hosts to amateur and professional journalists deal with the crisis, the film presents a plethora of main characters that we get to know in little depth. The comedy style also varies between in the individual threads, which at times makes this feel uneven, but from slapstick pratfalls to Three Stooges poking and slapping, the film reflects well a panic buying culture much more relevant in 2020 than 1981 with the Covid-19 crisis. (first viewing, online) ★★

Ghostkeeper (1982). Stranded at a seemingly abandoned ski lodge in snowy outskirts Alberta, three friends begin to suspect that they are not alone in this Canadian horror film. The setting (exteriors and interiors) is excellent, and as many have pointed out, this has a bit of a Shining vibe with the eerie large building surrounded by snow, yet this vibe is as interesting as the movie gets. Despite some promises early on about the legend of the wendigo being explored, there is nothing supernatural here; the plot also introduces some very ludicrous twists and turns as it progresses before arriving at a conclusion that is well filmed but which is fairly easy to see coming. None of the three main characters are particularly engaging either; they do have a bit more dimension than the average slasher victims, but even calling this a slasher feels like an overstatement. (first viewing, online) ★

Oddballs (1984). Widely recognised as an attempt to cash in on the success of Meatballs and often disparaged for it, this fellow Canadian summer camp movie actually stands up better overall. While there is no Bill Murray on hand, the film features much creative humour while never becoming trite and sentimental like Meatballs does. The humour is admittedly hit-and-miss overall with some particularly lame cartoon style sound effects and pratfalls, but the subtitles that conflict with what a couple of characters saying are very funny. Same goes for a flashback sequence that keeps getting interrupted by other flashbacks. For all its jokes, the film never develops three dimensional characters, but the kids are at least relatively fun to follow around and there is a good running gag involving a developer's son who keeps screwing up his father's evil plans. (first viewing, online) ★★

One Night Only (1986). Keen on making a quick buck, a group of college-age girls decide for "one night only" to host a special party for the local hockey team in this Canuck sex comedy. The premise is not a lot to write home about, but everything is assembled with plenty of energy and enthusiasm. Of particular note are some pranks involving lobsters, the born-again Christian uncle of the lead hostess who is hot on her trail, and a local pimp who spends most of the time bumping into things as he tries to work out why so much action is going down without his involvement. Some of the sex games are surprisingly zany too, including a tunnel of legs that ends in a hockey player trying to resolve his Oedipal complex. The film also does well keeping the nudity scarce and discreet as the focus of the film is girls and their ambition to make a dime with their venture. (first viewing, online) ★★

My Pet Monster (1986). Turned into a fluffy monster by cursed museum statue, a young boy asks his sister for help and they try to turn him back while evading the pursuit of a half-mad exhibition curator in this Canadian family comedy. The siblings never feel in any real danger with Colin Fox more goofy than threatening as the museum curator and there is also some nonsense involving a dog show. Alyson Court is simply adorable as the precocious sister though and the transformation effects, with glowing skulls and flashing blue lights, are very decent for a movie made on a budget. The film also mounts the occasional unexpected laugh, such as from making a prize-winning poodle faint. The monster mythology (what causes him to turn back and forth) could have been better developed, but for a brief feature aimed at a young market, this is not half-bad. (first viewing, online) ★★

Power Games (1989). Wargame training goes awry for a group of young adults when they walk into forest booby traps in this Canadian thriller. With a native guide who keeps insisting they are trespassing on sacred land, the film has something going for it with the mystery of whether spirits or something more human is out to get them. There is also some initial confusion over whether a distress call is real or part of the exercise. That is, however, the very extent to which film is a satire. Shot in low lighting, the majority of the movie consists of characters scurrying around in the dark, none of whom are likeable or three dimensional. Some good music leads to a few sporadic intense moments, but it is often hard to care. Also, it is a bit creepy that the platoon's lecherous sergeant is the most interesting character since he is the only one with a distinct personality. (first viewing, online) ★

Scary Movie (1991). Not to be confused with the Wayan genre spoof of the same name, this involves a young man who has trouble convincing everyone around him that the fake deaths in a carnival haunted house are real and the work of an escaped mental patient. It is an idea with promise with a subtle suggestion that the protagonist is merely spooked from watching John Carpenter's Halloween one too many times. This agenda doesn't really carry through; it is never quite a film about a guy whose overactive imagination is driven crazy by scary movies; the title really has little bearing on the plot other than as a slightly inaccurate description since this is rarely scary. Unfortunately, it is seldom funny too. There are a few good lines and some ghoulish gorging on fake blood, but this mostly feels like a wasted opportunity with a rather obvious conclusion. (first viewing, online) ★

Death Junction (1994). Framed for stealing from his supplier, a small-time drug dealer has to lie low while attempting to clear his name in this Canadian action thriller. While the low budget of the movie often shines through, the film mounts several decent action sequences with more kickboxing than the average Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle. In fact, it is quite refreshing to see a North American film about gang violence that focuses more on close combat rather than gunplay. This novelty aside though, there is little remarkable about the film and with so many Hitchcockian wrong man thrillers out there, only the fact that this one is Canadian with kickboxing really distinguishes it. There is also some turf war dilemma between Canadian and Jamaican drug dealers, but this mostly remains in the backdrop as the protagonist tries to prove his innocence. (first viewing, online) ★

Bottom Fodder (2007). Hired to clean the derelict tunnels underneath an abandoned hospital, a group of utility workers are hunted by a half-rat mutated man in this Canadian horror film. The film benefits from a genuinely creepy-looking monster and eerie sets, but it does not have a lot else going for it. The mutant is actually a scientist forced to take an experimental serum without the antidote, but the film is never really about medical research. The workers were also planning to pillage the hospital and steal old medical equipment to on-sell, yet their horrific experiences never feel like a comeuppance for planning to rob the place since their plans are pretty much forgotten once they enter the tunnels. Taken as a simple catalogue of scares and grisly attacks (a ripped-off chin is particularly effective), this passes the time okay but hardly resonates afterwards. (first viewing, online) ★

Smash Cut (2009). Dedicated to "the art of Herschell Gordon Lewis", who the filmmakers even bring into introduce their movie with a warning, the plot here concerns a low budget horror director who finds grisly a way to get much more realistic effects in his movies. With the blood of victims siphoned while they are still breathing and so on, this makes a nice love letter to the Wizard of Gore director. It is also often funny with some of its deadpan line delivery ("At the harpoon store.") and as a satire there is much to like as the filmmakers send up the bloodlust of contemporary audiences. The film is not especially well acted, and the music varies a lot in effectiveness, but it looks pretty great with vivid reds, purples, blues and oranges. There is also an excellent silent film within. Certainly, this is a lot more worthwhile than its reputation would suggest. (first viewing, online) ★★

Monster Brawl (2011). Various monsters and horror villains wrestle one another in fights to the death, hoping to be crowned the ultimate monster in this bizarre monster movie variant. The film is engaging to begin with due to its sheer uniqueness with some of the craziest wrestling matches imaginable as the monsters use all sorts of superpowers and weapons to get an advantage since all of the matches have no set rules. As the film progresses though, the matches become rather dull though because of this; there is little tension since the opponents can all conjure up whatever they want to win rather than having to persevere and battle it out. The lack of rules also leads to chaos rather than creativity with the various killing methods. We are never given much opportunity to care for any of the characters or have any stakes in who we want to win. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★

From Beneath (2012). Swimming in a lake in the middle of nowhere, a young man is bitten by a mysterious creature and begins to hallucinate about things crawling on and under his skin in this low budget horror film from Canada. The film is not especially well acted but it is quite creepy with lots of disquieting music, gliding camerawork and some very decent makeup effects for a movie made on a budget. There is also an overhanging of mystery of what happened to the sister of the victim's girlfriend who lives in a farmhouse near the lake but who appears to have vanished. Somewhat less successful are the film's attempts to make everything metaphorical for commitment and the boyfriend's fear of saying "I love you". Taken as a mere body horror film crossed with an unsettling outskirts location though and this is definitely engaging while it lasts. (first viewing, online) ★★

Feed the Gods (2014). Searching for their birth parents, two brothers are drawn to a small town full of superstitious locals who dislike tourists in this Sasquatch film that tries to do something different. While the promotional posters make it quite clear that this is a Bigfoot movie, it is not until an hour in that is clear that this what the locals are so scared of, and it is even further in before we get a good glance at the creature (which might be for the best since it is less scary when we do see it). This narrative choice though means that the entire first hour relies on the mystery of what is going on to keep things chugging along, and there is not quite enough originality in this to last a full hour. We do get to know the main characters fairly well at least though; neither are particularly likeable but they are far more three dimensional than the average horror flick protagonists. (first viewing, online) ★

Debug (2014). Arriving on a derelict spacecraft where they have been tasked with debugging and rebooting the computer operating system, six hackers find the job challenging when the computer system fights back in this Canadian sci-fi film set in the future. The whole thing sounds like a 2001: A Space Odyssey horror variant and in many ways it is, though the filmmakers never capture the intensity Kubrick established. Having the artificially intelligent computer manifest itself as a zany Jason Momoa makes it less scary than HAL's disembodied voice, and when the climax comes down to Momoa physically fighting other human-form computer programs, Tron springs to mind in the worst possible way. The interior and exterior sets look magnificent and there are a couple of effective hallucination sequences, but most of the film feels extremely generic. (first viewing, online) ★

Bite (2015). Clearly influenced by Cronenberg's The Fly, this Canadian horror film involves a young woman who gradually transforms into something else after an infected bite from an unknown creature gradually worsens. While the found footage style first seven minutes are irksome, the first half of the movie generally works better than the second half that skips several stages of her transformation and gives too much focus to dull supporting characters trying to find out why she has become a hermit. The film features some amazing imagery throughout though, with gooey bodily afflictions that rival the best makeup work in Cronenberg's oeuvre. Great accentuated sound effects too. Thematically everything also works well with the affliction mirroring her anxieties of getting married and perhaps becoming a mother at an age when she is not yet ready. (first viewing, online) ★★
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Onderhond
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#2

Post by Onderhond » July 19th, 2020, 12:36 pm

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Not the best week. A lot of catching up lesser films. Some very old Sono, some Academy favorites and a bunch of official 30+ minute shorts.


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01. Hot Gimmick: Girl Meets Boy [Hotto Gimikku: Garu Mitsu Boi] by Yûki Yamato (2019)
If you read the manga, beware. Yamato didn't set out to make a simple manga adaption, instead she wanted to make cinema. The tropes of the genre are exaggerated, the cinematography is lush, the soundtrack an interesting update of classical pieces and the editing ... well, the editing is simply to die for. This was awesome.

02. 3.5* - Relic by Natalie Erika James (2020)
Psychological horror film that transforms human suffering into actual demons. Not exactly a novel concept, a lot hinges on the execution in these films, so props to James for making it work as well as it does here. It's not a film without faults, but at its best it's one of the better horror films I've seen in a while. It's no surprise that Relic is a slowburner, relying on atmosphere and tension to keep its audience engaged. The first half of the film doesn't have too much actual horror, but moody cinematography and a killer soundtrack make sure that there's a constant feeling of dread and unease. Performances are solid, the build-up is perfect, the only problem is the pre-finale, which tries to ramp up the tension but doesn't quite get there. Luckily the ending sets things right again. Not a masterpiece, the film isn't quite distinguished enough for that, but a fine horror film that sits proudly next to peers like The Babadook.

03. 3.5* - Pinocchio by Matteo Garrone (2019)
Garrone has a way with fantasy and it shows in this latest adaptation of Pinocchio. This is far removed from the Disney adaptation and it's all the better for it. Garrone remains much closer to the original story, which means the film does get quite dark at times (like most original fairy tales), but I don't think most kids will have a problem with it. The production design is very nice, reminiscent of 80s/90s fantasy, blending costumes and CG to create a weird and mysterious world that looks a bit like our own, but at the same this isn't anything like it. What the film sometimes lacks in technical prowess is made up for in creativity and practical effects. Benigni returns as Pinocchio's father, a risky move after his own version flopped tremendously in 2002, but with a better director at the helm he fits in perfectly. The rest of the cast is nice too (but please watch this in Italian), the soundtrack is fine and while a little long and fragmented, the film never ceased to amaze. A very pleasant surprise.

04. 3.5* - I Lost My Body by Jérémy Clapin (2019)
A French animation that has been getting some positive critiques. It's not difficult to see why, though not everything here worked for me. Clapin's aspirations are sky-high and it's nice to find a director who isn't willing to settle for safe and predictable, but in the end the film just isn't quite as moody as it tried to be. The art style is decent but not all that attractive. Luckily the animation is nice, with cool camera angles, good use of CG and some very impressive and memorable moments (the highway/umbrella scene for example). It's the soundtrack that jumps out though, very atmospheric and not afraid to take center stage. The structure of the film is less successful, with a mediocre twist halfway through and some very heavy-handed (pun intended) symbolism. Clapin wants too much here, it would've been better if he'd simply given the story and his characters some room to breathe. He shows promise though, so looking forward to seeing what he does with his next film.

05. 3.0* - University of Laughs [Warai no Daigaku] by Mamoru Hoshi (2004)
University of Laughs presents an epic battle between a grumpy censor and a spirited play writer. The censor doesn't understand comedy at all and wants to see a more upright play, while the play writer is working against a deadline and is doing his best to please the censor as well as his theater group. Most of the film is set in a single, bleak and uninviting room, where the back and forth between these two characters happens. There are some scenes outside too, yet they are scarce. Hoshi really didn't make it easy on himself, but some cinematic tricks help him to keep the film from becoming stale, even though it still ends up being a little too long. Yakusho and Inagaki both turn in very solid performances, Yakusho in particular is clearly having a lot of fun here. The pacing is slow but the film never really lags or gets boring, even when the story and outcome are quite predictable. If only it could've been a bit shorter, but as it is, it's still a solid, entertaining film.

06. 3.0* - Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku [Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii] by Yuichi Fukuda (2020)
Fukuda's latest is a rather typical look at otaku love. Every so often one of these films pops up, delving into otaku culture and detailing the social awkwardness these people have to deal with on a daily basis. It rarely turns out to be great cinema, not even Fukuda can do anything to change that. It's not that he didn't give it a fair try, the pleasant mix of romance, musical and comedy shows a lot of promise, but that's par for the course. Quirky but loveable characters, fun (and surprisingly well done) musical interludes and a fair dosage of comedy give the film a perfect start. Sadly, Fukuda can't quite keep it up. The romance is a little too basic and predictable, the comedy fades away during the second half and two hours is simply too long. Apart from cutting it a little shorter or turning it into a downright parody, there's not much Fukuda could've done I'm afraid. This niche simply doesn't allow for much leeway.

07. 3.0* - Dark Story of a Japanese Rapist [Zoku Nihon Bôkô Ankokushi: Bôgyakuma] by Koji Wakamatsu (1967)
If there ever was a descriptive title for a film, it must've been Dark Story of a Japanese Rapist. You get exactly what the title promises, and with Koji Wakamatsu behind the camera you can rest assured it isn't just straight-forward horror or simple titillation. This was quite the effective drama. The main character of this film may be a rapist, he's also an extremely tragic figure. That's not going to be a very popular take/angle, but there's definitely some merit in telling the story this way. While his victims remain empty shells for the most part, Wakamatsu takes his time to paint a strong picture of the perpetrator. No colors this time around, apart from a handful of monochrome shots. The stark black and white cinematography is fitting though and weighs on the film. The soundtrack is fine too, the runtime perfect and the finale very fitting. A good film from Wakamatsu, but make sure you come prepared.

08. 3.0* - The Seashell and the Clergyman by Germaine Dulac (1928)
An odd little film. First of all, make sure you get the restored version because it's about 13 minutes longer than earlier versions. And even though these extra minutes probably won't help to clear up the narrative, I don't think there's much that deserves to be cut, so it would be a real shame to miss out on the full experience. Credited as a big inspiration for Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou, it's one of the earliest surrealist films out there. And Dulac's work is impressive. There's no lack of memorable scenes, intriguing stages and oddball moments here. Strong visuals help to set a perfect mood, that carries the film with ease. The score is somewhat problematic though, as the longer version doesn't have the most fitting music. Earlier versions (like Luigi Morleo's work) are better, but they don't fit the longer runtime. It's no doubt the trickiest part of rating these classic silent shorts, but regardless of the quality of the soundtrack, there's plenty here that hasn't lost its charm.

09. 2.5* - The Confidence Man JP: Romance by Ryô Tanaka (2019)
Japanese series-based movies are rarely great, though there are a couple of exceptions. Sadly this isn't one of them. While the film starts off very promising and has a couple of things going for it, it completely falls apart during the second half and drags itself to a very unsatisfying finale. The setup is nice enough though. A group of spirited con men are looking for a big fish to have some fun with. Their eye falls on a Hong Kong mogul, a mysterious person who pretty much controls every faction who has any power in Hong Kong. And thus starts their plan to steal a purple diamond from her. There's a bit of overacting, but the colorful cinematography and upbeat atmosphere make for an amusing first part. But then the twists come ... and keep on coming. And then even more twists. And none of them are very good, they just feel forced and constructed. It makes for a rather dull second half that takes out all the fun.

10. 2.5* - Spenser Confidential by Peter Berg (2020)
A very typical Wahlberg vehicle. He plays another rough but just hero who is willing the save the day, even though the world he lives in isn't doing him any favors. The film is directed by Peter Berg, whose work tends to be pretty decent, but a little uneven and rarely hides something outstanding. The story is very basic. Wahlberg is a former cop who took the fall when he tried to do the right thing. After 5 years in prison, he plans to reboot his life, but the secrets of his past are catching up with him before he manages to escape. Together with his buddies he goes after the people who put him in prison all these years ago. It's nothing special and that's exactly how Berg directs the film. It looks inconspicuous, the music sounds bland, performances are rather plain and the plot is terribly predictable. As a thriller, the film fails to engage, luckily the ending is a bit more action-packed, thogh that's hardly enough to make this a stand-out.

11. 2.5* - Ju-on: Origins [Ju-On: Noroi No Le] by Shô Miyake (2020)
I rarely watch mini-series, but since I've seen all the Ju-on films I figured I could handle six short episodes. The franchise is also pretty series-friendly, as the original films too were very fragmented and haphazard. That same structure is still here, though Origins isn't quite as episodic as I expected it to be. They pretty much made a longer Ju-on film with more focus on story. Lately the franchise has been struggling, so some fresh ideas were definitely welcome, but I don't think more plot and fewer scares were really the kind of innovations I was looking for. But that's what happens when you go the mini-series route I guess. Performances were okay and there were a couple of cool horror scenes, but they are few and far between. The rest feels like filler that doesn't really add much to the existing Ju-on universe. The biggest problem is that the series isn't even all that scary, it's just a little edgier. Not a terrible mini-series, but it didn't rekindle the Ju-on franchise.

12. 2.5* - BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee (2018)
A pretty straightforward film by Lee's standards. BlacKkKlansman is the story of a young but passionate black cop who infiltrates the KKK and uses a white (Jewish) stand-in for his face to face confrontations. Based on a biographical book, Lee sticks closely to the genre conventions. That's a nice and easy way to honor the work of Stallworth, but it also makes for a slightly duller film. You don't need to know the history to predict how it all pans out and without Lee's stylistic flourish it's little more than a plot moving from beginning to end, at a pretty consistent pace. Performances are nice though and while predictable, it's still quite fun to see how it all comes together. BlacKkKlansman isn't a bad film, it's just a little basic and by the numbers. The references to BLM and America's current political climate at the end of the film don't do much to change that.

13. 2.5* - Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado by Cristina Costantini, Kareem Tabsch (2020)
It's somewhat interesting to watch a documentary about a world-famous cult figure without having the faintest clue who that man is. Of course documentaries love to put their subjects on a pedestal, even so it's clear that Walter Mercado is more than just a local legend. And Mucho Mucho Amor gives a good, compact rundown of his life. Mercado looks like a very sweet, well-meaning and endearing man, at the same time he's completely ridiculous and over-the-top. Not even so much because of his flamboyant appearance, but the crap he sells is not really something that warrants intercontinental fame. I think the world would be better off without this kind of baseless positivity and spirituality. The documentary itself is nice enough. The talking heads aren't always that interesting, but there are enough fun interludes, the pacing is decent and overall it seems to give a pretty solid impression of the brand that is Mercado. Don't expect anything critical or in-depth, but it's a good introduction for those who've never heard of the man.

14. 2.0* - Abnormal Blood [Nihon Bôkô Ankokushi: Ijôsha no Chi] by Koji Wakamatsu (1967)
This wasn't Wakamatsu's best. The subject (an exploration of the lineage of a serial rapist) is right up Wakamatsu's alley, but Abnormal Blood goes for a somewhat dramatic and narrative approach. Personally I prefer it when he takes a more experimental route, because that's where Wakamatsu's real strength lies. Abnormal Blood is part of a trilogy, of which I haven't seen the other parts. Maybe things feel more like a whole after seeing the remaining entries, but as a stand-alone film it felt a bit aimless and disjointed. It's also quite short considering the scope of the undertaking, at just 75 minutes. The usual switches between color and black and white are nice enough, Wakamatsu's camera work is interesting and even though it's a more narrative -focused film, the film still feels relatively vibrant and emotional. The ending is pretty cool, but not enough to redeem the entire film. This one is for Wakamatsu completists.

15. 2.0* - The 6th Day by Roger Spottiswoode (2000)
A mediocre sci-fi thriller that deploys Schwarzenegger as if he had landed in a regular 80s action flick. The tone of the film is a bit messy and the action, sci-fi and thriller elements don't really work very well together, but separately there are some decent scenes that at least kept me interested. Schwarzenegger is Schwarzenegger. He's a bulky dude that can't act very well, but he has presence and charm. He's a great action hero, but as a family man who has to discover the truth about a clone that has taken over his life, he inevitably struggles. His casting makes about as much sense as Bullock's casting in The Net. The 6th Day is not a very good film, but at least the pacing is decent and there are some solid action scenes. Even though it's almost two hours long, it doesn't drag or get boring. It's just a shame they didn't put a little more effort into the sci-fi elements, because the setup was interesting enough. Spottiswoode just isn't a good enough director to do something nice with it.

16. 2.0* - Wayne's World by Penelope Spheeris (1992)
Somehow I'd never seen this film before, then again I was never really into rock/metal, so Wayne's World was never part of my scene. Seeing it now, that probably wouldn't have mattered much, because the level of metal is extremely Hollywood-safe and the film is really nothing more than a goofy comedy. Myers and Carvey are two simpletons who host their own little TV-show. They do it just for fun, but when a big shot introduces himself they get suckered into a shady business deal. They guy isn't just after some quick bucks though, he also has an eye on Myers' girlfriend, who fronts her own rock band. There are a few decent jokes, but the metal parody feels a bit lazy and timid. The drama that surfaces in the second half isn't really necessary either and even though the film has a limited runtime, it does start to drag after a while. It's not terrible, but nothing I'd want to see again or would wholeheartedly recommend.

17. 2.0* - I Am Sono Sion! [Ore Wa Sono Sion Da!] by Sion Sono (1985)
A very early documentary from Sion Sono, where he turns the camera on himself. Don't expect to be informed though, it's really just Sono going crazy with a camera and experimenting away. It's as crazy as you'd expect an early Sono to be, though you have to wonder whether this was ever meant to be released. Image and sound quality are absolutely terrible. The grainy cinematography, fuzzy image quality and haphazard camera work are no doubt due to the poor equipment and Sono's own inexperience, some will consider it part of the charm, but I'm not a big fan. It just comes off as very amateurish. Still, Sono's potential is already clearly visible. There are some strange stop motion bits, exaggerated sound, a lot of random weirdness and Sono himself clowning around. It's an interesting film for fans of the man's work, or people who love crazy and experimental documentaries, just don't expect anything polished.

18. 2.0* - Love [Ai] by Sion Sono (1986)
Another early Sono short, where he once again features as the lead character. This time he's madly in love (hence the title), though I'm not sure if it matters all that much. These films seem to follow a pretty fixed structure, where Sono is basically filming his young, hyperactive self. The technical qualities are poor and amateurish, the image quality is extremely grainy, the camera work is rough and the use of the soundtrack is very basic. Half of the time it's just Sono himself shouting things at the camera, the other half are some random scenes that hardly connect to the broader whole. But there's a lot of energy and even though individual scenes don't really impress, the whole is vibrant and alive. It does offer an interesting window in Sono's mind and fans of the man's work will have an easy time connecting the dots, as a stand-alone work it isn't quite as interesting though.

19. 2.0* - Manchester by the Sea by Kenneth Lonergan (2016)
A drama with a capital D. Manchester by the Sea is the kind of film that is sure to do well with arthouse and academy fans, as it neatly ticks off all the boxes a typical prize film needs. It's no doubt a fine recommend if that's your thing, but it's also more than little by the numbers and not really the kind of film I'm generally after. Performances are good, but most of the characters are rather one-note. They're all struggling really hard with serious drama from their pasts, but none of it is very gripping and when the drama keeps piling up it becomes pretty numbing. In the end, the harder Lonergan tried to make me care, the less I actually did. Visually it's very drab, with dull colors, a sullen setting and functional camera work. The soundtrack isn't very interesting either, the runtime is excessive and the pacing is pretty slow, which is okay if the drama works, but it really didn't for me. It's not a terrible film, but there's nothing here that made me glad I watched it.

20. 2.0* - The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes by Stan Brakhage (1971)
Not sure I'd call it one of Brakhage's more accessible films, but it's definitely one of his least abstract ones. If you like Brakhage's style of filming and editing, but aren't taken with the abstract images that exemplify his work, you may want to give this film a chance. Be sure to read up about it up front though. The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes is an unflinching autopsy documentary. There's a ton of dead bodies, often very mangled ones, that get examined. A lot of it involves cutting up the remains and cleaning up the mess afterwards. These are not pretty pictures and will probably be considered very shocking by many. But, as the title of the film explains, that's pretty much the point. It's just a shame that Brakhage refuses to add a soundtrack to his work and that film simply can't substitute the real deal, which takes away some shock effect of this documentary. This comes from a longtime horror fan though, so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.

21. 2.0* - Four Riders [Si Qi Shi] by Cheh Chang (1972)
It's not the first time I complain about a Cheh Chang film in a contemporary setting, I'm sure it won't be the last either. Though I will say, Four Riders feels a lot like heroic bloodshed avant-la-lettre, so Chang probably does deserve some credits there. Sadly the execution is pretty flat and not at all heroic. It's almost too clean and neat, which isn't ideal for an action film. It's nice that Chang tries to incorporate some social critique for example, but it feels out of place and ends up slowing things down unnecessarily. The action scenes are decent, but nothing too spectacular and too far apart to keep the film interesting. The bottom line is that Chang doesn't do serious very well. He's at his best when martial arts heroes are flying around while taking revenge on some illustrious bad guy. Four Riders is a film that tries to tackle a little extra, but ends up poorer for it. I wouldn't be surprised though if John Woo considers this one of his favorites.

22. 1.5* - Hell or High Water by David Mackenzie (2016)
A very run-of-the-mill and pedestrian modern western. Two brothers go on a bank robbing spree, two cops take it upon themselves to try and capture them. It's a story we've seen a million times already, so it was up to director Mackenzie to make it special. Instead, he just stuck to conventions. There's a little drama to try and justify the robberies, a little action to create something that looks like a finale, but it's mostly just two cops trying to catch two criminals. The Texas setting is drab and unappealing, the characters that inhabit these places are little more than the usual stereotypes. Visually boring, a fitting but unattractive soundtrack and performances that feel too sullen and heavy for this type of film. It just oozes mediocrity, apart from the performance of Jeff Bridges, which was just ridiculously bad. At least they didn't drag it out too long, but it's a very unmemorable affair that got way more attention than it deserved.

23. 1.5* - Family Romance, LLC by Werner Herzog (2019)
Herzog goes to Japan to make a film about a company that hires out actors, who become hired friends and/or family members for a day. It's not really a novel concept, but Herzog's documentary-style offers a new approach and the fact that the lead actor is also doing this job in real life adds a little intrigue. Sadly the film itself is quite poor. Herzog feels lost in Japan and apart from some template shots (like Shibuya Crossing) ends up giving off a very touristy vibe. The film looks quite ugly, the music is ill-fitting and because of the form I expected Herzog's voice to pop up and give commentary on the story. The performances are quite poor too and the fragmented setup doesn't really add much. It's a failed experiment that might've worked better as an actual documentary rather than a feature film. It's weird that Herzog didn't see this himself, as he's quite fond of making documentaries. Not good at all.

24. 1.5* - The River by Pare Lorentz (1938)
A short and classic documentary about the Mississippi River. It sounds like a somewhat dull subject (and it is), so this is probably only going to appeal to people who enjoy history and a little geography. It might've been a cool school doc once, but I guess the information is too outdated for that now. So what can you say about rivers? That they flood the land once in a while, that they create jobs and are useful for farming, transportation and generating electricity. This documentary goes through all the usual angles, but doesn't offer many surprises along the way. It also feels a bit like propaganda, probably because early human intervention aggravated the flooding, and they needed the people back on board for further work on the river. It's all a bit pointless now, apart from a glimpse in the past and some nice shots of the river.

25. 0.5* - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip by Walt Becker (2015)
The fourth and (hopefully) final part in this dreadful franchise. Not much effort went into this one either and it's clear we've finally hit rock bottom. Some tired old plot about a looming marriage and two sets of "kids" who don't like the prospect of living together. They devise a plan to stop the wedding, but of course lots of things go wrong. This is basically a road movie, because "road chip" was a pun they hadn't used yet. At least it allows for some change in scenery and characters, but it doesn't really help when everyone they meet up with is terribly annoying, including some haphazard bad guy who mistakes bad acting for comedy. I won't spoil the ending (hah), but it's safe to say there aren't many surprises here. There's no growth in the characters, the pop music is still hideous and the chipmunks simply aren't funny. Might be good if you want to add to your kids ADD or when you're completely out of sugar, but as a film it's extremely dire.

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#3

Post by peeptoad » July 19th, 2020, 1:30 pm

Hi sol,

I've seen a few of the Cronenbergs, plus two others of yours. I liked Blood Feast more than you did, but not much. Wizard of Gore is my fav HGL I think. Shivers and Videodrome are the best of Crone's imo… and yeah Gas sucked; it's a weak spot on Corman's CV.

Blood Feast (1963) 6
Gas-s-s-s (1970) 3
Shivers (1975) 9
The Brood (1979) 7
Scanners (1981) 8+
Videodrome (1983) 9


mine-
La collectionneuse (1967) 8
Ma nuit chez Maud (1969) My Night at Maud's 7
Le genou de Claire (1970) Claire's Knee 7+
L'amour l'après-midi (1972) Love in the Afternoon 7
Batman Begins (2005) 7+*
Tha Dark Knight (2008) 8*
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 8

I finished Rohmer's Moral Tales and liked La collectionneuse best. That one is a mild favorite for me. None of his others in that set were close, but they were all good. Also remembered I hadn't seen the last of Nolan's Batman films and felt the other two needed a rewatch. Indeed I did enjoy both more the second time. The second was the best of the three though I liked Bane a lot as the supervillain in the finale. That scene when he kicks the shit out of Batman was a little hard to watch actually. I must be getting soft. :down:

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Lilarcor
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#4

Post by Lilarcor » July 19th, 2020, 2:02 pm

Hi there!

@Sol: Agree with your comments regarding Da 5 Bloods.It's a refreshing take on Vietnam but it is perhaps a little too crammed with ideas? Would not be surprised if it was chopped to pieces in the editing room.
SpoilerShow
I think the father-daughter relation in particular was way too underdeveloped and the moment when they find the gold didn't make much sense from a narrative tension perspective.
Will have to check out that Uranium documentary, looks promising.

@Onderhond: For me the silence in The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes means that there's no reassuring voice or sound to the images, there is no "escape" from the image. However, I think the silence would work even better in the cinema, from my experience from watching other silent experimental work in such a setting. Because then the silence is deafening and it almost becomes hard to breathe.


What I saw:

Elena and Her Men (Jean Renoir, 1956)
In a film were plot doesn't matter in the slightest, Ingrid Bergman is having fun talking French and joking around around other handsome people playing politicians. While the political commentary isn't biting, it's not without its merits told in this very light way. Great Technicolor, enjoyable watch. 7/10

The Assistant (Kitty Green, 2019)
Talking about what case this film is about is possibly a spoiler but never explicitly told, however I will avoid saying anything about it. The film probably works even better not knowing what it is going into it, although it is very obvious after a while what real life case it is about (the hint is in the exterior shots). That being said, Julia Garner is perfect for this role as an assistant and the film has a eerie feel to it that works. Watching Julia Garner go through her work day is very interesting despite having a job that is "boring" in many ways. But there is a pleasure to watching her be skilled at her job, even if we are not explained exactly what she does at all times. But the film makes good use of showing and not telling. A couple continuity issues with some of the equipment (screens that don't go into power saving modes for instance), but not a big deal. While I haven't worked as an assistant, I do recognize environments here such as the windowless and miserable looking kitchen design from working at an office, spot on. Matthew Macfadyen is a treasure, love him in HBO's Succession and he does not disappoint in a crucial scene here. 7/10

Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
One of those huge cultural milestone films that I have not seen before, a bit surprised with this film about two men riding on their bikes across American landscapes. I did not even know Jack Nicholson was in this, and he is the highlight for me next to the LSD trip sequence which truly transforms the mood of Easy Rider to not be so "easy" anymore. Jack Nicholson's monologue at the campfire is poignant still today, which is also quite chilling. 7/10

Staying Vertical (Alain Guiraudie, 2016)
Maybe I am conditioned by his films, but I believe Guiraudie has this special gift for depicting horny people and their horny intentions without the characters saying much. Although this is the most provoking film I have seen by him, all sexual interactions feel "earned". It is quite liberating to see - and also exciting to some extent. Like Bruno Dumont, Guiraudie picks some very interesting faces here to tell a very queer story that is quite serious despite crazy twists and turns (again, feeling earned). That Old Dream That Moves is still my favorite of his for its gentle look at homosexual vibes and romancing at the masculine workplace, but this is the film to really dig deep into. 7/10

Nabat (Elchin Musaoghlu, 2014)
I've been casually trying to watch a film from every country from around the world since 2012, now the time came to Azerbaijan. Nabat is the story of an older woman and her daily life in the war zone Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. I've come to expect excellent cinematography from films from the countries in Central Asia (at least until they start using early forms of digital video cameras frequently), and this is no different - it is actually quite stunning using an Arri Alexa to capture some truly memorable motifs. I particularly appreciate a few camera movements here focusing on our protagonist Nabat walking down the hill, the camera following her, the hill "moving" to create a scene transition in the background. Excellent stuff. Unfortunately I was not grabbed by the film beyond its technical achievements, but I wish I had seen this one in a cinema. 6/10

Doctor Glas (Mai Zetterling, 1968)
I watched two other Mai Zetterling films earlier this month which have both been very rewarding (Loving Couples and Night Games) and decided to continue exploring this very talented and interesting filmmaker. Doctor Glas is about a doctor who wants to help out a girl stuck in a miserable relationship with a clergyman, following how this doctor is combating his mixed impulses. Like other Zetterling films this is focused on internal strife, psychological problems and sexual impulses while also saying something about male privilege and issues for women in society. A running theme in all three films I have seen directed by Zetterling is pregnancy and abortion. Doctor Glas is similar to the previous films I've seen in that it is very ambitious in its filmmaking, not afraid to experiment, and I feel they are quite unique within Swedish film history. Definitely taken some inspiration from Ingmar Bergman's early 1960s work as well as Bunuel, but no copycat. By this point in 1968, Zetterling has become really good at capturing a connection between dreamed, thought and "real life" within the films, as well how an "open" society such as Sweden at the time in reality is a very strict, controlled society under the surface. I am sure that the scenes showing the emotions that people are processing within them in this society must have been quite powerful to audiences back then as it is now, realizing that you are not alone with having conflicting, "wrong" thoughts in a society that does not allow it. 7/10

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#5

Post by sol » July 19th, 2020, 2:37 pm

peeptoad wrote:
July 19th, 2020, 1:30 pm
Hi sol,

I've seen a few of the Cronenbergs, plus two others of yours. I liked Blood Feast more than you did, but not much. Wizard of Gore is my fav HGL I think. Shivers and Videodrome are the best of Crone's imo… and yeah Gas sucked; it's a weak spot on Corman's CV.

Blood Feast (1963) 6
Gas-s-s-s (1970) 3
Shivers (1975) 9
The Brood (1979) 7
Scanners (1981) 8+
Videodrome (1983) 9
Oh yeah - The Wizard of Gore really impressed me when I watched it for the first time last year. Such biting satire regarding complacent audiences and so on who believe everything is a cheap effect, and I was really hoping to find something else equally as good with the HGL run that I did this week. Blood Feast was definitely a disappointment in that regard, though I kept reminding myself that it was a 1963 film that I was watching with such grisly effects, even if such effects are a bit commonplace nowadays. The one HGL that I found that seemed the closest to The Wizard of Gore is The Uh-Oh Show if you think you can stomach it. For a comedy, it is pretty darn disturbing (maybe more than Bane taking on Batman, I don't know, I haven't seen Rises) but such a great spiritual successor to The Wizard of Gore with audiences cheering on as live human beings are slaughtered before their eyes.

I'm glad that I am alone in being underwhelmed by Gas-s-s-s; your rating matches mine. I thought you might like it because you're into counterculture films. Actually, I am too to a degree, but yeah, this one was a mess, and also yes, unusually so for Roger Corman whose output is almost entirely above average or better in my books.

The Brood was a grower for me. I only gave it a 7 the first time myself. Samantha Eggar is really great in the film though, so utterly vulnerable and human despite all the changes happening to her, and Howard Shore's music score is fantastic. Then again, it always is for Cronenberg. And some creepy "kids" performing kills as well.

Add The Fly and History of Violence into the mix alongside Shivers and Videodrome and that's a solid Cronenberg top 4 for me. ;)

Yours:

I already related this to the forum users who I do the podcast with, but it is fun anecdote to repeat: When I was growing up, I really wanted to see Claire's Knee but I couldn't get hold of it. Fastforward fifteen years and now I could probably track it down but I no longer want to. Back then, the story of a man falling in love with a woman's knee sounded fascinating. In the era of #MeToo, it just sounds creepy.

I saw Nolan's first Batman film theatrically and thought it was pretty decent. Saw the sequel on an aeroplane flight (maybe not ideal conditions) and I thought it was decent too, but way below the hype, which was still big at the time. They might be interesting to rewatch with all the hyped died down. Oh, and also in light of Joker, since Joaquin Phoenix provided us with complex and multi-layered Joker that Heath Ledger simply was not capable of delivering in a performance that consisted entirely of surface charisma and nothing beneath. I'm still a little annoyed that he won the Oscar for such a one dimensional performance, though of course I loved in Brokeback Mountain et al and he definitely left us too soon.

Lilarcor wrote:
July 19th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Hi there!

@Sol: Agree with your comments regarding Da 5 Bloods.It's a refreshing take on Vietnam but it is perhaps a little too crammed with ideas? Would not be surprised if it was chopped to pieces in the editing room.
SpoilerShow
I think the father-daughter relation in particular was way too underdeveloped and the moment when they find the gold didn't make much sense from a narrative tension perspective.
Will have to check out that Uranium documentary, looks promising.
Agreed about Da 5 Bloods being overstuffed with ideas. There was so much more I have could written about if I wanted to write a longer-than-usual review. The film is also sort of an alternate take on Apocalypse Now right down to Lee reusing the Wagner music, then there are the cleverly done, change-of-aspect-ratio flashbacks in which the older characters play themselves because that's how they remember themselves...

Regarding what you've placed under spoilers, I agree about the daughter. I don't know about the gold. I think I liked when it happened; things just kept getting propelled in interesting directions. I am very into films that start as one thing and evolve into something else and I thought Da 5 Bloods did this rather well, if messily, while remaining true to an idea early on mentioned that the war has never really ended.

Oh, and you can legally stream the Uranium documentary for free on the NFB website - https://www.nfb.ca/film/uranium/ - though I should probably mention that I am big into nuclear films in general (and films about expose to radiation, c.f. Into Eternity; Radium City), so I might be biased in my estimation of the film.

Yours:

I liked Easy Rider more upon revision, though Electra Glide in Blue with Robert Blake (which tells a similar tale from the side of the law) is still ten times better to my mind. I also prefer Lost in America to Easy Rider, even knowing that Rider was the influence for the Brooks film.

Seen nothing else of yours this week, but I have been meaning to give some of those Mubi releases a go before they expire. Some probably have expired already. Ah well. Nice to see you contribute here, and hopefully we'll get you podcasting again if I can convince the others to give the green light to a Michael Snow podcast. ;)
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#6

Post by Lilarcor » July 19th, 2020, 3:41 pm

Thanks for the link to Uranium sol! I have a bit of a research interest in mining as depicted in films, so I am pretty sure I'd find some interest in the film at least.

Haven't watched those films with similarities to Easy Rider unfortunately. I'm guessing part of Easy Rider's charm is that it was a little movie that went big at the box office at the time, as well as the myths around it and the soundtrack (which sometimes is a little too on the nose).

Snowpodcast would be excellent, especially if his latest film Cityscape becomes available.

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#7

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » July 19th, 2020, 3:46 pm

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TeleVoid (Michael Boydstun, 1997) 6/10

青年の海 四人の通信教育生たち / Sea of Youth / Seinen No Umi (小川紳介/Shinsuke Ogawa, 1966) 5/10

Dream No Evil / Now I Lay Me Down to Die / The Faith Healer (John Hayes, 1970) 6/10

It has to be lived once and dreamed twice (Rainer Kohlberger, 2019) 7/10

Kaldalon (Dore O., 1971) 7/10

Lawale (Dore O., 1969) 7+/10

过年 / The Spring Festival (黄健中/Jian-zhong Huang, 1991) 5+/10
suffering in vainShow
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Godzilla: King of the Monsters 3D (Michael Dougherty, 2019) 6-/10

mother! (Darren Aronofsky, 2017) (2nd viewing) 9/10

Kyoto 京 / 日本の心 / Kyoto: Heart of Japan (市川崑/Kon Ichikawa, 1969/1970) (2nd viewing) 8+/10


shorts

directed by HHK Schoenherr / Hans Helmut Klaus Schönherr (and family):
Unten im Fuchsloch auf dem Kaltacker im Emmental (1979) 6/10
Ich hasse, ich liebe Film (1979) 5/10
Kleinbürgerliches Dracula-Idyll am Familientisch (1970) 5/10
Malfilm (1967) 7/10
Sonate: Graubild/Fraubild/Blaubild & Weisskader (1968) 6+/10

directed by Barbara Meter:
Stretto (2003) 6/10
Ariadne (2005) 6/10
Kade / De kade / Quay (2003) 5+/10
Sculptures for a Windless Space (1995) 3/10

directed by Jakobois:
Rumeurs Saint-Maur (1986) 5/10
Passage du désir (1988) 4/10
Pluie de roses (à Rose Lowder) / A Rain of Roses (To Rose Lowder) (1984) 5/10

Uluru (Alberte Pagán, 2018) 5+10

Extratos (Sinai Sganzerla, 2019) 5+/10

The Handeye: Bone Ghosts (Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy AKA OJOBOCA, 2012) (rewatch?) 6+/10

TDF Really Works (Ari Aster, 2011) 4+/10

Three Dots & Sandra of the Tulip House or How To Live in a Free State (segment) (Joachim Koester & Matthew Buckingham, 2001) 4/10

Glimpses of Florida (James A. FitzPatrick, 1941) 5/10

Love, Death & Robots: Sonnie's Edge (Dave Wilson & Gabriele Pennacchioli, 2019) 2/10

Love, Death & Robots: Three Robots (Víctor Maldonado & Alfredo Torres, 2019) 2/10

Love, Death & Robots: The Witness (Alberto Mielgo, 2019) 6/10

Love, Death & Robots: Ice Age (Tim Miller, 2019) 2/10

Love, Death & Robots: Fish Night (Damian Nenow, 2019) 4/10

Love, Death & Robots: Zima Blue (Robert Valley, 2019) 6/10

Ex-memoriam (beriou, 1993) 7+/10

Limbes (beriou, 1996) -

I Have A Radio (David Lynch, 2020(?)) 3+/10


series

ゲ–ムセット Machu Picchu / Gēmusetto Machu Picchu (created by Maxime Simonet, 2019) 6+/10

Kant für Anfänger (Werner Kiefer, written by Ralf Ludwig; 2004) 5+/10
Ep1 "Metaphysik": 6, Ep2 "Kopernikanische Wende": 6, Ep3 "Verstand und Sinne": 5, Ep4 "Grenzüberschreitung": 5, Ep5 "Zielpunkt Vernunft": 5

Kant, Sophie und der kategorische Imperativ (Carolin Otto, written by Ralf Ludwig; 2006) 6-/10
Ep1 "Ethik und Pflicht": 5, Ep2 "Legalität und Moralität": 6, Ep3 "Hypothetisch oder kategorisch": 6, Ep4 "Maximen auf dem Prüfstand": 6, Ep5 "Freiheit und Sittlichkeit": 5+


music videos

Juju: Vertrau mir (2020)

Lindemann: Wer Weiß Das Schon

Lindemann: Hänsel Und Gretel Knebel


other

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1344 - Joseph Ledoux (2019) 5/10

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1155 - Henry Rollins (2018) 6+/10

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1255 - Alex Jones Returns! (2019) 7+/10

Lindemann: Frau & Mann (Official Making Of) (Anton Shirokih, 2020)


didn't finish

Sivapuranam / The Strange Case of Shiva (Arun Karthick, 2015) [38 min]
どん底 / The Lower Depths / Donzoko (Akira Kurosawa, 1957) [19 min]
Android (Aaron Lipstadt, 1982) [17 min]
The Book of Eli (The Hughes Brothers, 2010) (would-be rewatch) [c.50 min]


notable online media

top:
12 Year Old Terrarium - Life Inside a closed jar, Over a decade in isolation
Creating a Woodland Stream Ecosphere (With PARASITE!)
[YT channel "PowerfulJRE" (JRE Toon]
[60 fps] Views of Tokyo, Japan, 1913-1915
A Theory On Consciousness That Could Change EVERYTHING!
Joe Rogan Is The Ultimate Ladies Man
Manifestations of Shiva - Motivation from Cat Shanti Om
rest:
[Peter Schiff on JRE - clips]
Lindemann - Knebel / Live in Moscow, VTB Arena / 15.03.2020
Will Smith gets his Soul CRUSHED
an open letter to our forgotten ancestors TRAILER


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#8

Post by prodigalgodson » July 19th, 2020, 7:23 pm

Been spending more time filming and editing and less time watching movies lately, but the discovery of Mettler made this a fantastic week of viewings nontheless:

Picture of Light (Peter Mettler, 1994) 10/10

A quest to capture the aurora borealis as poetic and mythic as Stalker or Aguirre. Some of the most profound fusion of commentary and imagery in film. Aspirational.

Balifilm (Peter Mettler, 1997) 8/10

A shimmering study of Balinese music and dance so unique it's hard to evaluate...the live score (recorded back in Canada with a bule Gamelon ensemble), is fantastic (excusing the odd cliche choice). There's a beautiful harmony between the performances and how they're edited and presented on film. I can't wait for the Indo film industry to take off in full.

Petropolis: Aerial Perspetives on the Alberta Tar Sands (Peter Mettler, 2009) 9/10

An ecological horror story commissioned by Greenpeace that could have been another high school biology time-filler, but instead offers some of the most evocative image crafting in documentary history. Damn it's nice to find a new favorite in Mettler! (His team deserves a lot of credit here too, especially the camera operator and editor.)

Eastern Avenue (Peter Mettler, 1985) 7/10

Not the most compelling exemplar of Mettler’s eye shot-for-shot, but the cumulative effect, especially complemented by the soundtrack, is hypnotic. The "shake it all up with lime and coconut" chant may be running on a loop in my brain for a while.

Gambling, Gods, and LSD (Peter Mettler, 2002) 10/10

A monumental globetrotting poem about humans and the world we live in; as close to my ideals of composition and editing as anything I've seen.

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#9

Post by prodigalgodson » July 20th, 2020, 3:08 am

Your guys' (so far):

sol
Gas-s-s-s 6 - saw this on matthewscott's recommendation (it's one of his favorites, or was), and though it's far from my favorite, I like Corman's approach to independent filmmaking enough to find this pretty dang watchable for what it is
Da 5 Bloods 5 - a total mess, but with some cool moments and a great performance from Delroy Lindo
Cosmopolis 8 - I remember it being an extremely vivid unsettling experience, with the acting not so much bland as purposely stilted (though to what end I'm not sure); made me want to read some DeLilo
Videodrome 9 - my favorite Cronenberg by a good margin, one of the most evocative renderings of a nightmare on film; I should watch it again
cool that you've been rewatching these Cronenbergs; I need to see more from him, but I actually rewatched eXistenZ last night, which I enjoyed again but forgot to mention

hond
Dark Story - boy, between Oshima and Wakamatsu, the Japanese new wave sure loved humanizing rapists
The Seashell and the Clergyman 8 - enjoyed this a lot when I was first getting into experimental film, but don't remember many details now
BlacKkKlansman 7 - well told, but I can see how it would be too straightforward; I enjoyed it a lot but just found it a little anticlimactic
The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes 8 - liked it okay the first time, loved it the second time on film; definitely the highlight of the little trilogy it's part of
Hell or High Water 8 - I think its popularity is largely due to it being one of the first major genre films to deal with the devastation of middle America post-2008; I like this kind of stories anyhow, but I especially loved the characterizations and the irony of
SpoilerShow
buying the land the bank had essentially stolen from them its own money they stole
, a plot turn that's both novel to me and apropos of the times
I had no idea Sono started making films in the 80s

toad
La collectionneuse 10 - my favorite Rohmer too, and probably his most aesthetically pleasing
My Night at Maud's 9 - another favorite, loved the characters and the philosophical bent
Claire's Knee 7 - great photography, interesting ideas, kind of creepy perspective
Love in the Afternoon 4 - a lot of people love this, and I usually love Rohmer, but I just found it plain and dull; maybe worth another shot
Batman Beings 7 - one of the better superhero origin stories
The Dark Knight 9 - pretty spectacular entertainment
The DarK Knight Rises 6 - some good moments, but a disappointing finale

lil
Elena and Her Men 8 - don't remember much other than loving the imagery and feel and thinking like many Renoir gems it's underrated
Easy Rider 6 - Hopper's directed a few great movies, but I found this one had aged a bit poorly; some great moments though, like the two you mentioned, or the hippy paranoia in the restaurant

pda
mother! 6 - not quite my cup of tea but a cool experience for sure

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#10

Post by Onderhond » July 20th, 2020, 8:18 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
July 20th, 2020, 3:08 am
Dark Story - boy, between Oshima and Wakamatsu, the Japanese new wave sure loved humanizing rapists
Well, sometimes you have to humanize humans :)
prodigalgodson wrote:
July 20th, 2020, 3:08 am
The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes 8 - liked it okay the first time, loved it the second time on film; definitely the highlight of the little trilogy it's part of
Also re:Lilarcor. Don't think I've seen the other films yet, but I'm randomly going through Brakhage's work. Can't say I've really enjoyed/be impressed by any of it so far, then again I really feel his films lack a soundtrack. Regardless of his intentions and wants, for me the images aren't captivating enough to work on their own and the effect is dulled.
prodigalgodson wrote:
July 20th, 2020, 3:08 am
I had no idea Sono started making films in the 80s
Well, it's mostly just a young kid experimenting with a camera, but the fact that it's so personal and raw does make it interesting to see. Only if you like/love the work of Sono though.

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#11

Post by sol » July 20th, 2020, 9:04 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
July 20th, 2020, 3:08 am
sol
Gas-s-s-s 6 - saw this on matthewscott's recommendation (it's one of his favorites, or was), and though it's far from my favorite, I like Corman's approach to independent filmmaking enough to find this pretty dang watchable for what it is
Da 5 Bloods 5 - a total mess, but with some cool moments and a great performance from Delroy Lindo
Cosmopolis 8 - I remember it being an extremely vivid unsettling experience, with the acting not so much bland as purposely stilted (though to what end I'm not sure); made me want to read some DeLilo
Videodrome 9 - my favorite Cronenberg by a good margin, one of the most evocative renderings of a nightmare on film; I should watch it again
cool that you've been rewatching these Cronenbergs; I need to see more from him, but I actually rewatched eXistenZ last night, which I enjoyed again but forgot to mention
Quite interesting how polar opposite our takes on Gas-s-s-s seem to be; I actually found it borderline unwatchable, and have only seen two other films this year that I disliked more than the Corman movie. :unsure:

Oh yeah, I ran out of room to mention Delroy Lindo's performance; a highlight of Da 5 Blood for sure with those great monologues towards the end.

Purposely stilted or not, there is definitely something off about the acting in Cosmopolis. Luckily, the dialogue is amazing, and yes, it is quite a vivid portrait of an obsessed man bringing about his own demise.

I have seen every single feature length film that David Cronenberg has directed, and most of the more than once. He's probably my favourite living director, and of course he helmed my favourite film of all time. What's so great about almost all of his films is how well they work as mood pieces; forget the great ideas and thought-provoking dialogue, and almost all of them would still be enthralling to watch. And all of them are worthwhile except for Fast Company - even the heavily flawed likes of A Dangerous Method.

Yours:

While its impact lessened for me a tad on rewatch, I still think eXistenZ is a pretty amazing film. It has my favourite final line of the decade and I have always thought of it as a spiritual successor to Videodrome, only this time reality/game becomes blurred as opposed to reality/hallucination.

Yeah, Picture of Light is pretty great; agree thoroughly with your comment on how well the images and commentary go together. Seen nothing else from you this week, and indeed nothing else from Mettler. I know that Gambling is available in Mubi's library but it's three hours long...
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#12

Post by peeptoad » July 20th, 2020, 12:25 pm

sol wrote:
July 19th, 2020, 2:37 pm
Oh yeah - The Wizard of Gore really impressed me when I watched it for the first time last year. Such biting satire regarding complacent audiences and so on who believe everything is a cheap effect, and I was really hoping to find something else equally as good with the HGL run that I did this week. Blood Feast was definitely a disappointment in that regard, though I kept reminding myself that it was a 1963 film that I was watching with such grisly effects, even if such effects are a bit commonplace nowadays. The one HGL that I found that seemed the closest to The Wizard of Gore is The Uh-Oh Show if you think you can stomach it. For a comedy, it is pretty darn disturbing (maybe more than Bane taking on Batman, I don't know, I haven't seen Rises) but such a great spiritual successor to The Wizard of Gore with audiences cheering on as live human beings are slaughtered before their eyes.

...

Yours:

I already related this to the forum users who I do the podcast with, but it is fun anecdote to repeat: When I was growing up, I really wanted to see Claire's Knee but I couldn't get hold of it. Fastforward fifteen years and now I could probably track it down but I no longer want to. Back then, the story of a man falling in love with a woman's knee sounded fascinating. In the era of #MeToo, it just sounds creepy.

I saw Nolan's first Batman film theatrically and thought it was pretty decent. Saw the sequel on an aeroplane flight (maybe not ideal conditions) and I thought it was decent too, but way below the hype, which was still big at the time. They might be interesting to rewatch with all the hyped died down. Oh, and also in light of Joker, since Joaquin Phoenix provided us with complex and multi-layered Joker that Heath Ledger simply was not capable of delivering in a performance that consisted entirely of surface charisma and nothing beneath. I'm still a little annoyed that he won the Oscar for such a one dimensional performance, though of course I loved in Brokeback Mountain et al and he definitely left us too soon.
Lol, on your anecdote involving Claire's Knee ... if the age gap between the two is what initially drew you into the story there are films that do that aspect better imho.

I have not seen The Uh-Oh Show yet, but I will get to it one day. Even with some garnering lower ratings I have enjoyed every single HGL flick I have seen so far to some extent; even his non-gore stuff has some qualities that draw me in, whether it be music, style, tone, or just some sort of retro-kitsch that is visible in some way. The Wizard of Gore had most or all of those that hit the mark for me. Two Thousand Maniacs! and Color Me Blood Red aren't bad either. The former has the best theme song ever...HGL even provided some of the vocals, for cripe's sake. Moonshine Mountain is kind of interesting as far as non-horror efforts go. Gotta love a guy who made his own brand of films and, when threatened by major studio infiltration, moved right back to his advertising/direct marketing career. That reminds me of Vincent Gallo a bit... filmmaker and air conditioner installation all in one fell swoop. No job is too low for a pay check!

eta. Batman. I kind of recently rekindled a romance I had with Batman when I was in grade school; that's partly why I decided to watch the Nolan films and maybe why I wimped when Batman got ass-handed by Bane. It's not all that bad, but he almost gets broken in half. Ugh. Batman and Spider Man are really the only two Marvel and DC superheros I like and I don't really like the direction Spidey went in post-2000, so I am stuck with the Bat I guess. Still need to check Joker...

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#13

Post by sol » July 20th, 2020, 1:53 pm

peeptoad wrote:
July 20th, 2020, 12:25 pm
Lol, on your anecdote involving Claire's Knee ... if the age gap between the two is what initially drew you into the story there are films that do that aspect better imho.
No... it's just what I heard about the film... a guy falling in love, not with a girl but her knee. Sounded intriguing to my 14-year-old self.
peeptoad wrote:
July 20th, 2020, 12:25 pm
I have not seen The Uh-Oh Show yet, but I will get to it one day. Even with some garnering lower ratings I have enjoyed every single HGL flick I have seen so far to some extent; even his non-gore stuff has some qualities that draw me in, whether it be music, style, tone, or just some sort of retro-kitsch that is visible in some way. The Wizard of Gore had most or all of those that hit the mark for me. Two Thousand Maniacs! and Color Me Blood Red aren't bad either.
Yeah, still need to see those. :unsure:
peeptoad wrote:
July 20th, 2020, 12:25 pm
Batman and Spider Man are really the only two Marvel and DC superheros I like and I don't really like the direction Spidey went in post-2000, so I am stuck with the Bat I guess. Still need to check Joker...
I don't really like any superheroes, but Joker was better than average because it focused on the human side of the villain, not the megalomaniacal supervillainy. A tad overhyped but a solid film nonetheless.
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