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plasma_birds: 2014

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plasma_birds
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plasma_birds: 2014

#1

Post by plasma_birds » December 23rd, 2013, 8:32 am

JANUARY

FILMS
Fitzcarraldo (1982) Werner Herzog - 8/10
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980) Les Blank - 5/10
Nukie (1988) Sias Odendal & Michael Pakleppa - 5.5/10
Nosferatu - Phantom der Nacht (1979) Werner Herzog - 9/10
Roller Blade (1986) Donald G. Jackson - 9.5/10 [R]
Speed Racer (2008) Lana Wachowski & Andy Wachowski - 8.5/10 [R]
In the Mouth of Madness (1995) John Carpenter - 9/10 [R]
Experiment Perilous (1944) Jacques Tourneur - 6.5/10
Death Machines (1976) Paul Kyriazi - 5.5/10
Dawn of the Gods from Atlantis (1989) Elia the Prophet - 8/10
Tokkaekko (2002) Kawatani Hideo - 8/10
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) Russ Meyer - 7/10
Supervixens (1975) Russ Meyer - 5.5/10
Americana (1983) David Carradine - 7.5/10
Deutschland bleiche Mutter (1980) Helma Sanders-Brahms - 8/10
Ngwuruogu (2003) Amayo Uzo Philips - 6/10
L'altro inferno (1980) Bruno Mattei - 9/10
Shocking Dark (1990) Bruno Mattei - 8/10
Rats - Note di terrore (1984) Bruno Mattei - 8/10
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) David Lynch - 9/10
The Black Crystal (1991) Mike Conway - 8.5/10
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) William A. Wellman - 7.5/10
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) John Carpenter - 9/10 [R]
Iguana (1988) Monte Hellman - 7/10
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) Christopher Landon - 3.5/10
Il Boss (1973) Fernando Di Leo - 8.5/10
Binglang (2006) Yang Heng - 7/10
Doctor Strain the Body Snatcher (1991) Michael Cornejo & LaMonte Fritts - 7.5/10
Lumaban ka, Satanas (1983) Efren C. Piñon - 6.5/10
Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare (1987) John Fasano - 6.5/10
Times Square (1980) Allan Moyle - 8/10
De wisselwachter (1986) Jos Stelling - 7/10
Yoiyami semareba (1969) Jissôji Akio - 8/10
Material (2009) Thomas Heise - 5.5/10
Ghost Dad (1990) Sidney Poitier - 6/10 [R]
Lejos de los árboles (1972) Jacinto Esteva - 7.5/10
Mikreh Isha (1970) Jacques Katmor - 7.5/10

BOOKS
From the Ashes of Angels: The Forbidden Legacy of a Fallen Race (1997) Andrew Collins - 8/10

TV SERIES
Jam (2000) Chris Morris - 9.5/10
Watashi ga motenai no wa dô kangaetemo omaera ga warui! (2013) Ônuma Shin - 6.5/10
Twin Peaks (1990-1991) David Lynch & Mark Frost - 8/10

STATS
FEATURES: 30
SHORTS: 1
REWATCHES: 5
BOOKS: 1
TV SERIES: 3

FEBRUARY

FILMS
Shin seiki Evangelion Gekijō-ban: Air/Magokoro o, kimi ni (1997) Anno Hideaki & Tsurumaki Kazuya - 10/10 [R]
Quatre nuits d'un rêveur (1971) Robert Bresson - 10/10 [R]
Menschen am Sonntag (1930) Robert Siodmak, Curt Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, & Fred Zinnemann - 9/10
Ins Blaue hinein (1929) Eugen Schüfftan - 4.5/10
Repo Man (1984) Alex Cox - 8/10
Il pianeta azzurro (1981) Franco Piavoli - 9/10
Une collection particulière (1973) Walerian Borowczyk - 7/10
Aramesh dar Hozur Deegaran (1973) Naser Taghavi - 7.5/10

BOOKS
Remembering Satan: A Tragic Case of Recovered Memory (1994) Lawrence Wright - 6/10

TV SERIES
Shin seiki Evangelion (1995-1996) Anno Hideaki - 9.5/10 [R]

STATS
FEATURES: 5
SHORTS: 2
REWATCHES: 3
BOOKS: 1
TV SERIES: 0
Last edited by plasma_birds on February 7th, 2014, 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#2

Post by plasma_birds » December 23rd, 2013, 8:33 am

TOP 100: 2014 EDITION

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION]
Last edited by plasma_birds on December 23rd, 2013, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#3

Post by plasma_birds » January 7th, 2014, 1:12 am

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Fitzcarraldo (1982) Werner Herzog - 8/10

I hadn't seen this until now which is a shame because it truly is marvelous. It's a pretty enormous movie on all levels, and I sort of feel I'm doing it a disservice by being brief, but whatever. This is a film about the power, good and bad, of the human spirit in excess. It's about the line between madness and passion, and of course there's a self-reflexive element knowing Herzog's devotion to the creation of this film. Though that's a subject I personally need to examine more myself since I haven't seen Burden of Dreams or anything like that yet. However, its expanse and ambition is brilliant. Not my favorite Herzog, but it's quite excellent and obviously is a film that means a lot in the context of his career.

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Nosferatu - Phantom der Nacht (1979) Werner Herzog - 9/10

Stunningly gothic, ethereal, delirious, and all those other words. Herzog seems like a strange person to be the perfect addition to Bram Stoker but somehow he is. And wow, Adjani. I know Stoker described Lucy as being beautiful but surely never on this level!

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Nukie (1988) Sias Odendal & Michael Pakleppa - 5.5/10

A bit too long and slow to be as unintentionally hilarious as the other most famous E.T. knockoff from 1988, Mac and Me, but it's a fine addition to the can-you-sit-through-this-shit movie canon.



I'm on a Twin Peaks marathon right now, trying to finally do my duty and see all of that. So no movies until I finish that! Loving it so far though, definitely one of Lynch's best accomplishments.

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#4

Post by plasma_birds » January 12th, 2014, 3:57 am

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Experiment Perilous (1944) Jacques Tourneur - 7/10

The presence of Hedy Lamarr and directing of Jacques Tourneur already assured me that this would at least be worth watching, and it really is pretty good! It's adapted from a gothic novel and you can tell because Tourneur translated this brilliantly with tons of dark rain, spooky shadows, and confusing peoples' actions. The cinematography is full of . Hedy Lamarr gives a great performance and is gorgeous as always, although seeing her dressed up like a Victorian doll instead of the modern, vivacious woman she normally plays. Here she's sort of a victim, but that doesn't mean her performance isn't dynamic and powerful. Maybe painting her as a helpless princess isn't the right way, because she does have a way of being as outspoken as Lamarr always is, it's just a more sort of reserved performance/character than usual.

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Death Machines (1976) Paul Kyriazi - 5.5/10

Goddamn, this is a piece of shit but it's fun. "Madame Lee" recruits the Black Death Machine, White Death Machine, Asian Death Machine, three badass mofos that you don't want to cross. And they… do some shit. They kick ass for vague reasons and apparently act pretty heroic. Essentially from that setup it just becomes a series of horrible 70s action cliches, hilarious death scenes, and basically a lot of goofy bullshit and horrible told plot strands. Far from the best of its kind and I wouldn't recommend it immediately, but I had a pretty good time with this trash. The score is also pretty great, and oddly mismatched. It's this weird, sickening moogy synth which sounds, strangely enough, more like a precursor to the theme of The Abomination than anything.

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Dawn of the Gods from Atlantis (1989) Elia the Prophet - 8/10

Some crazy-ass proto-Ancient Aliens bullshit but with way more bad video effects. Love how it doesn't even attempt to prime us for its bullshit, it just jumps into some EONS AGO, BEINGS FROM BEYOND THE STARS CREATED THE EARTH stuff listing a ton of stuff that's never explained and based on nothing. It's not just about being created by aliens, it seems like everything makes its way into this. There's a bunch of new age garbage about the fall of Atlantis, soul reincarnation, hollow earth theory, chakras and higher consciousness, ancient alien artifacts, cults of Osiris and Pythagorus, masonic world order, etc. This insanityis the only information outside of the CG torrent I can find on the internet which tells you more than enough. More cuckoo bullshit than you can believe spewing in a pretty much constant hour-long torrent sounding like all the most silly parts of the doctrines of Ignatius L. Donnelly, Andrew Collins, amateur /x/ psychonauts, crackpot deep web conspiracy theorists, Boyd Rice, and the eternals from Zardoz mixed together into one big shit milkshake. I wanted to try to understand the premises of this movie just so I could laugh even harder but tbh I can't make heads of tails of whatever it's trying to say. All I know is that it's completely hilarious and makes Giorgio A. Tsoukalos sound like Thucydides. Also, the music… the fucking music.

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Tokkaekko (2002) Kawatani Hideo - 8/10

This is some craaaazy stuff. The plot is something about mothers helping their daughters via stupid-looking robots that speak in gibberish. Also the girls' fathers are played by mannequins with drawn-on mustaches. And they look like they live on the set to Japanese BARNEY. It's not even just funny for its batshit insanity, there's some actual intentional funniness too. But it's mostly just so bizarre and crazy in a uniquely Japanese way that it's incredible.

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Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) Russ Meyer - 7.5/10

My first Meyer and I guess it's what I expected. Lots of silly exploitation, 60s kitsch, and cleavage. I do have to admit that the setting of this film is kind of interesting, the way he strips everything down to the middle of the desert, as if to view lust, intimidation, and "female excess" for lack of a better term in a completely pure, undistracted way. Not sure if Meyer was thinking that hard though haha.

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Supervixens (1975) Russ Meyer - 5.5/10

Much campier and raunchier than Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and often much funnier, though probably not as definitive and less consistent as one singular-minded piece.

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Americana (1983) David Carradine - 7.5/10

A spectacular piece of sun-dried heartland small town love whose title expresses the film's style and "mission" perfectly. The plot is extremely simple, only detailing a Vietnam vet drifter who chooses to repair a broken-down carousel in a tiny Kansas town. But through this small plot Carradine is able to show a lot of touching and memorable little encounters and other "plotless" moments that mean a lot. A really wonderful representation of small town America in a way that doesn't really exist anymore.

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#5

Post by CMT » January 12th, 2014, 4:05 am

Your film choices are always so interesting to read, I can never guess what your going to watch next. Do you have some sort of system?

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#6

Post by plasma_birds » January 12th, 2014, 4:17 am

CMT on Jan 11 2014, 09:05:39 PM wrote:Your film choices are always so interesting to read, I can never guess what your going to watch next. Do you have some sort of system?
Thanks! For whatever I watch next I usually just keep a list of everything I have downloaded/on DVD, randomize the list of them on RANDOM.org and go with whatever #1 is (and sometimes more by that director if I have more and feel like doing complimentary watches), so it tends to stay pretty eclectic.

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#7

Post by plasma_birds » January 14th, 2014, 7:53 am

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Deutschland bleiche Mutter (1980) Helma Sanders-Brahms - Germany, Pale Mother - 8/10

Hans and Lene marry under the reign of Hitler the day before World War II breaks out, and Hans is immediately sent to the battlefront. This triggers a string of tragic disconnection and buried anguish. I heard a friend of mine once have some trouble with this film because it was too styleless, in his words. I can sort of see what he meant but I'd disagree. I'd say it's very classical in style but it does have a voice of its own. I think it's kind of interesting actually, it's sort of like using the aesthetics of a time so severe and classicist in a film that ends up criticizing it. But maybe I'm reading too much into that since there are some great points in here that use more "modern" techniques like wavering cameras that go in and out of focus. But it is generally pretty classical, like a classicist painting or piece of baroque music. And very well done!

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Ngwuruogu (2003) Amayo Uzo Philips - The Python - 5.5/10

Man, fuck Sembène, Amayo Uzo Philips is obviously Africa's greatest auteur. The trailers for these movies are always way better than the actual films, but this still had some truly astounding editing skills. It has almost nothing to do with a python though, it's 70% bickering about Christianity vs. native African religions, as most of these films are.

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L'altro inferno (1980) Bruno Mattei - The Other Hell - 9/10

This be hella rad. Probably Mattei's best film which says a lot. It's also probably his "best" if you know what I mean even though I hate distinctions like that. A great piece of nunsploitation with a horror bent, meaning that there's a possession element in it, which I always enjoy. It's a bit cheesier than other nunsplo pieces but it's still a really wonderfully made film. The imagery may look a bit cheaper in the way that Mattei's films usually do but he manages to milk the convent for all its worth in terms of that atmosphere spooky, strict discipline and demonic corruption that the best of nunsplo has. Also it's Mattei so you can bet the editing is incredible. I've also never seen stigmata in a nunsplo piece before so it was nice to see that as a nice touch. It gives me hope that horror touches in pieces like this will be more prevalent since I think it's the perfect mix. Plus the soundtrack for this film is funky as fuck and somehow inappropriate but just right.

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Shocking Dark (1990) Bruno Mattei - 8/10

This movie is all over the place, being named in its alternate title after Terminator but resembling Alien more than anything else. But it's a Mattei film so it has some incredible acting and incredibly strange editing. It's about soldiers so you can bet there's some sub-Reb Brown level actors shouting out lines like HEY GREASEBALL! on the regular. It's lovely.

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Rats - Notte di terrore (1984) Bruno Mattei - Rats: The Night of Terror - 8/10

Well what do you say about this? Another ripoff of several films, this one bringing both Mad Max style post-apocalyptic bikers and man-eating rats into the mix. Lots of rats! Enough for them to inspire a night of terror. Anyway, it's the general deal you can expect from Mattei complete with totally strange attempts at replicating what Americans sound like, a badass black woman named Chocolate, and some great shots of rotting corpses that echo my main man Fulci. It makes me quite interested in Mattei's more gory work since the gore in this one is exquisite, Hell of the Living Dead will be watched before too long!

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) David Lynch - 9/10

It's an essential piece to the Twin Peaks mythos and I'm happy to have finally seen it. Definitely the pinnacle of the whole franchise, and probably even Lynch's career as a whole tbh.

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#8

Post by plasma_birds » January 22nd, 2014, 7:18 am

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The Black Crystal (1991) Mike Conway - 8/10

The title screen has the title in quotation marks… WHY? Also the credtis look like they were edited on with the VHS camcorder itself. Also the film is awful. Awful in the most hilarious way, of course. Not to be confused with the classic fantasy film starring Bowie, The Black Crystal is about Will, some guy driving through Southern Arizona who picks up a hitchhiker, that is until he's ran off the road and the hitchhiker is killed by a group of scruffy bikers. He then meets a girl who's supposed to be a sexy goth girl but looks more like a dissheveled meth addict with bad 80s hair. Soon Will becomes involved with an occult society bent on the possession of a secretive source of power… THE BLACK CRYSTAL. It's a massive piece of shit and a very enjoyable one, full of cheap SOV cinematography, horrible acting, and bad writing ("When I get out of this… you are going to suffer EXQUISITELY!!"). It's a marvel, definitely underrated.

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Iguana (1988) Monte Hellman - 7/10

A sailor with a lizard-like deformity on his face is nicknamed "iguana" and is treated like shit because of it. So he chucks deuces and stars living on the Galapagos Islands by himself and declares war on humanity. This is a weird fucking movie (and apparently as weird as the story is it's based on a real guy), but as a Hellman film it adds a really poetically nuanced yet rustic style to its treatment of genre. It's not his best film but it's pretty interesting. It's definitely not as realistic as his others and is removed in kind of a dreamlike fantasy landscape, but his cinematography and directing style is quite handsomely graceful, as usual.

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Il Boss (1973) Fernando Di Leo - 8.5/10

Great Eurocrime/mafia piece from Di Leo, who I'll certainly look further into after this. Tons of gruff tuffguiz in snappy suits, thick bushy moutstaches, and over-masculine balls of grease. Definition of sleazy, manly, meatdick 70s Europe, and it rules.

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Binglang (2006) Yang Heng - 7/10

Very strong contemplative/stillcore piece. Since I've recently felt like I've seen everything the genre has to offer, it's great that there's still great ones like this left. It's about a group of delinquent slackers on the hunan who spend their days sleeping, getting drunk, getting in fights, scammin fo da pu$$y, and hangin in the internet cafe. It reminds me a bit of the vibe going on with Rebels of the Neon God actually, but a bit more "redneck" and with a far less romantic, more bleak feeling as only a dGenerate filmmaker can represent.

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Doctor Strain the Body Snatcher (1991) Michael Cornejo & LaMonte Fritts - 7.5/10

Incredible, incredible piece of SOV goodness which seems like the perfect bridge between vintage low-budget awful horror and modern low-budget awful horror. A meeting point between Criminally Insane and Vampiyaz if you will. The titular "Doctor Strain" is a 90s Dr. Frankenstein who tries to create new beings from dead bodies and attempts to bring alchemy back to the forefront of science and integrate it with science and biology (the amount of times he says "cell structures" in this film…). His rantings about pseudoscience bullshit are alone worth watching it for, especially when aided by a horribly lazy, stupid, and awfully mixed score. There's some bullshit effects here but the shit dialogue and horrible acting is what makes this one. Best line: "WELL, my little skeptical friend… prepare yourself for GOD SCIENCE!"

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#9

Post by plasma_birds » February 7th, 2014, 4:02 am

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Quatre nuits d'un rêveur (1971) Robert Bresson - 10/10 [REWATCH]

Remains one of Bresson's most heartbreaking films and also one of his most "human" in the sense that it's readily and easily approachable by almost any audience. The use of flashbacks is interesting especially, it's what I noticed most upon this watch.

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Menschen am Sonntag (1930) Robert Siodmak, Curt Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, & Fred Zinnemann - People on Sunday - 9/10

What to say about this one? It's gorgeous, I love it. It's always refreshing to see Weimar Berlin divorced from the all-encroaching political context it's surrounded in first of all, and it certainly helps that this film simply BREATHES and SHINES gorgeousness through every frame. In the twilight era of silents it both captures everything great about them and seems to go forward, perfectly encapsuling that gray area between writing and documentary in a way that is spontaneous and endlessly free and warm in a way no fiction could be.

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Repo Man (1984) Alex Cox - 8/10

Imbued with that sun-drenched scuzzy 80s punk feeling I love and love even better when it's applied to good films like this one. Dunno what else to say except it makes me THROW DAT SHIT UP.

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Il pianeta azzurro (1981) Franco Piavoli - Blue Planet - 9/10

Piavoli's purest attempt at doing away with story entirely to just focus on creating gorgeous imagery and linking it together ingeniously to create a world with a sense of space and time, even in a film as comparatively abstract as this one. My logic would dictate this his best movie and it might just be… still need to decide if I prefer this or Nostos: Il ritorno though. As a very "natural" director who is always able to insert his camera seamlessly into the environment as though it itself were a force of nature as old as the air, as if his films are organic enough to have existed before all of humanity itself had. Naturally, a "nature documentary" would be a perfect fit for him, but I would have trouble calling this a documentary. It's more like a poem as would be envisioned by those living before humanity and society itself had occurred, open to the world for the first time with the eyes of babies. Somewhat like what Brakhage had envisioned but with an "adult" enough sensibility to recognize forms and the sort of "fullness" of environments (at least in a more concrete and traditional way than Brakhage).

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Une collection particulière (1973) Walerian Borowczyk - 7.5/10

A look at the vintage erotic collection of certainly one of the world's greatest porn aficionados. We see a lot of novelty toys, more "useful" toys, photos, etchings, etc. Certianly not one of his greatest or one of his with the most lasting impact, but it's a charming little film showing a great wealth of views of eroticism throughout the ages, as showcased by an understandably enthusiastic Borowczyk.

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Aramesh dar Hozur Deegaran (1973) Naser Taghavi - Tranquility in the Presence of Others - 7.5/10

A fascinating film, full of heartbreak and sadness in a really downplayed, daily way. There's really an impressive attention paid to the poetry of domesticity in this work, paying a lot of attention to close, intimate framing and closeups as well as very small details of the environment, also often revealed through closeups.

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Shin seiki Evangelion (1995-1996) Anno Hideaki - Neon Genesis Evangelion - 10/10 [REWATCH]
26 Episodes

It's transcendent, cathartic, whatever dumb words you want to use. Sounds cliche but it gets to me and overwhelms like few other works have. Be it film, music, television...

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Shin seiki Evangelion gekijô-ban: Air/Magokoro wo, kimi ni (1997) Anno Hideaki & Tsurumaki Kazuya - The End of Evangelion - 10/10 [REWATCH]

Then there's this…

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Aku no hana (2013) Nagahama Hiroshi - Flowers of Evil - 8/10
13 Episodes

The first thing you inevitably notice about this series is its unique rotoscoped animation which can be a little off-putting but ultimately works well for its dark, paranoid atmosphere. And I'm not joking about that either, there's barely a moment's relief from the oppressively heavy and crushing nature of this one, even during the scenes of HIGH SCHOOL BROS HAVIN FUN. This is underlined by the constant ambient drone in the background of pretty much the whole show. I dig that quite a bit though since I've always had a preference for horrific or psychologically damning anime series. The opening theme doesn't fit the show and kind of sucks ass though. However the ending one, while it doesn't match the show's tone at all, weirdly works in its own way.

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#10

Post by plasma_birds » February 10th, 2014, 11:53 am

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Sayedat al-aqmar al-sawdaa (1971) Samir A. Khouri - The Lady of the Black Moons - 8/10

Sexploitation from Lebanon! Its unique point in history with a lack of censorship in a Middle Eastern country makes it intriguing enough, but the film itself is great enough to warrant attention apart from that. Love the sexy, decadent imagery which recalls concubines of Caligula's court, only with a beautifully Middle Eastern flair that makes it more unique. Or something I dunno. This review SUXXX. But this movie's cool. Who would have thought Lebanon would make the closest thing to Radley Metzger I'd seen from another country? (Though it's very unique too). Also cute Middle Eastern gurlz w/out clothes :O : )

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Härlig är jorden (1991) Roy Andersson - World of Glory - 8/10

This might be even better than Songs from the Second Floor, just a great synthesis of Andersson's style of bleak and absurd humor. Everyone says it but he really is the most purely Swedish filmmaker in the world, for reasons that are hard to articulate. And this is just coming from a dumbs American, I'm sure Swedes find about a thousand more things distinctly relatable! While the only other film I've seen by Andersson is the aforementioned Songs…, this is even more stunningly grim. In the way it tells its story it's like one of those Wes Anderson montages where the characters introduce themselves and their surroundings talking directly to the camera in a lot of quickly edited locations, only if it was a hundred times more dark and hopeless in both content, style, and even imagery (the colors are SO fucking muted!). But even then there's some great little moments of humor.

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The Mack (1973) Michael Campus - 6/10

Gotta get in some blaxploitation for black history month and all. Not the best of its kind but a decent entry in the genre.

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Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958) Frank Tashlin - 8/10

Probably Tashlin's apex. Silly and gorgeous as can be. It's probably his most balanced and melodic blend of silly slapstick and sentimentality that pushes us over the edge but never too far. He integrates the comedy into the feelies so well here in a way that really is on another level. Great stuff, time to see Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?.

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Shirley: Visions of Reality (2013) Gustav Deutsch - 8/10

Completely, utterly different in style from the Film ist. films but fascinating and beautiful in its own right. The film is an attempt to recreate Edward Hopper's tableaus in a cinematographic context, and it succeeds brilliantly. While entirely different, it also seems to represent Deutsch in a way: working with past visual material and expressions to create new things. He just uses the frame and perspectives of Hopper's paintings instead of clips from silent films.

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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (2000) Jim Jarmusch - 7/10

Maybe it's just the Wu-Tang-esque gangsta Eastern mysticism that I have a weakness for, but I really liked this.

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Amplified Gesture (2009) Phil Hopkins - 6/10

Not the most "cinematic" documentary or however you want to say it since it's pretty much just talking heads but even if it doesn't have a ton of value as a film it's a really cool look at a scene I dig and hearing some of these guys and gals speak is really revealing and cool.

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Some Call It Loving (1973) James B. Harris - 9/10

The story of Sleeping Beauty as re-imagined in one of the most dreamlike and magically sad films in all of 70s Americana. A girl has slept for years and is a figure at a carnival, until she is bought by a lonely man. All the shots of the film have a wonderful magic to them, like the long-worn pages of a fairy tale. It's strange but very touching, reminding me a lot of Octavia, another strange and hairy film in a similar vein, this one just being a little less surreal. This is still a masterpiece though, all fans of hidden Americana gems need to take note.

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Bad Magic (1998) John Polonia & Mark Polonia - 7.5/10

Total piece of shit about a guy whose brother dies and decides to get back at the gang who dun it by learning voodoo and placing spells on them. I think I got dumber watching it. Since I just watched Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai this had an extra dose of humor because the narration here kind of sounds like that of Jarmusch's film, but acted 100x worse. There's a thousand shitty films like this (inner city-set horror about guys that get in contact with supernatural forces) and this one isn't particularly special but it is one of the better ones out there. Hilarious shit.
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#11

Post by plasma_birds » March 10th, 2014, 1:03 am

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Innerspace (1987) Joe Dante - 8/10

This opening creds imagery on some Commingled Containers shit you feel me. But yeah, this is incredibly, incredibly fun and charming… can't wait to watch it again honestly.

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Wake of the Red Witch (1948) Edward Ludwig - 7.5/10

As a big fan of sea exploration in film, I was really taken with this. But that's not the only reason it's a very good film either. It has a lot of perfect imagery with some really effective pans/zooms and the scenes have this perfect flow for something adventurous, quick paced without being too much of a rush. There's even some interesting perspective on imperialism tossed in from time to time if you can get behind the rather politically incorrect (and absurdly shitty looking) white guys in "native" skin makeup (ah the fascinating paradoxes of classical Hollywood race relations). Dig!

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Get Down Grand Funk aka Mondo Daytona (1968) Frank Willard - 4/10

Mondo style documentary about a bunch of pothead teens in the 60s at spring braaaaayyyk. Very little of it actually has to do with the Grand Funk Railroad. Kind of shitty but the skeezball narration can be fun.

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Crime Wave (1985) John Paizs - 9/10

One of Paizs's biggest interests is obviously the reinterpretation of and calling back to old, campy works of old, especially the plucky naiveté of classic Hollywood, and he uses these for far more than just hilarity. It's wonderful how he uses his self-aware, self-consciously "quirky" style to create a real sense of beauty and the nostalgiac processes of creativity. Yes, this film is spectacular in several ways.

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V temnote (2004) Sergei Dvortsevoy - In the Dark - 7/10

While I took enough French in high shcool to be able to decipher part of these subtitles, much more than the Russian, the lack of English here leaves me a bit lost, maybe even… in the dark, you could say (brb killing self for that joke). At the same time, while I feel I'm losing at least a bit of the film's effect, I get the feeling that nothing said in the film is its most drastically important aspect either. The film is a look at an old, blind man who makes string baskets with only one companion: a white cat. It's quite sad and touching, and Dvortsevoy's unassuming filmmaking style takes after the likes of Alain Cavalier in his "devotional", almost haiku-like attention to details on a tiny level.

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Tulpan (2008) Sergei Dvortsevoy - 6.5/10

Another beautiful film from Dvortsevoy though one completely different from In the Dark, and that's appropriate as it's set in the remote deserts of Kazakhstan, completely different from the rest of the world. It has a bit of that docudrama appearance which is charming given how incredible the area surrounding these characters are. It's such a fascinating area that one doesn't need to put much of an invented narrative in it for the central Kazakh area to be incredibly interesting. But it does have its own charms even if it's a bit "normal" in terms of its editing, pacing, etc.

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The Skateboard Kid (1993) Larry Swerdlove - 7/10

OMGGG what the FUCK is that theme. It's the most BODACIOUSLY 90s thing ever… kind of like this movie. Unparalleled unintentionally 90s family shitsack hilarity.

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La taranta (1962) Gianfranco Mingozzi - 7.5/10

Absolutely fascinating ethnographic look at religious ecstasy and other less rational, physical actions of the religious in Italy. Not a masterpiece but a really quite excellent little doc.

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Yi boh lai beng duk (1996) Herman Yau - The Ebola Syndrome - 6.5/10

This is a brutal one. Love how it's so nihilistic and dark though, almost to really silly levels. Pretty bleak and graphic shit, but I dug it.

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Milano odia: La polizia non può sparare (1974) Umberto Lenzi - Almost Human - 8.5/10

Holy shit, Milan and Strindberg! The hotness is off da chartz. This is also just an awesome dose of Italian police sleaze. Lots of tuffguyz with scuzzy mustaches and long hair, poppin' busta-ass cops and just generally not taking shit from the 5-0. Nothing I'm saying is very worthwhile but this really is one of the best Eurocrime films around. It's just perfectly directed, with no touch out of order and everything in it completely needed. Organic.

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Avetik (1992) Don Askarian - 8.5/10

Well, Askarian can certainly be traced to his fellow Armenian Parajanov, but Tarkovsky is an even more obvious counterpart. In some ways it seems to combine them; Parajanov's surreal tableaus and Tarkovsky's sensual, hypnotic pacing and use of natural, almost alchemical elements of earth (and occasionally camera movements, to an extent, although it's a lot more static). But there's definitely a very high level of originality here. There's something fairy tale like about the proceedings in addition to their bizarre poetic and mystical images. But it's produced with this pacing that really defies us from getting swept up in a pure world of dreams. It's a wonderful, wonderful film so check it out plz.

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The Scar (1948) Steve Sekely - 9/10

This fucking ruled, one of the better more obscure noirs I've seen. Don't know why it is that the best noirs are always "The ____" but they are and that's why I'm gonna go ahead and keep calling this The Scar even though Hollow Triumph seems slightly more common. Anyway, this is a beautiful film. Full of the most perfect details in its camerawork and lighting. Basically all I can ask for a noir to be. Yeah, this is essential.

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Ikebukuro West Gate Park (2000) Tsutsumi Yukihiko - 6/10
11 episodes

This was pretty fun although the main plot has a way of losing me. The real strength of this series is its weird and quirky side characters, especially Watanabe who's intimidating as hell.
Last edited by plasma_birds on March 10th, 2014, 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

plasma_birds
Posts: 172
Joined: Nov 02, 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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#12

Post by plasma_birds » April 10th, 2014, 12:56 pm

Everything I've seen since last posting here, which is a lot:

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Poor Pretty Eddie (1975) Richard Robinson & David Worth - 7.5/10

Beautiful, offbeat little film that definitely transcends its hick horror tropes. The word here is atmosphere. The dreamy, detached, and cryptic imagery and tone is what makes this film great. There's this ghostly air of faded glory and empty dreams that permeates through every shot of this old, decrepit cabin and I adore it. During some of the longer concert scenes this can wobble a little but it always stays suitably creepy.

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Le notti del terrore (1981) Andrea Bianchi - Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror - 8/10

Fuck is up with Peter Bark and his existence. He's definitely one of the biggest charms of this movie but it'd still be great without him. The zombies are awesome and gross and it's especially bizarrely beautiful watching them march in the daytime with that weird progressive electronic-ass score. The sex is also suitably sleazy and explicit.

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Tôkyô tawâ: Okan to boku to, tokidoki, oton (2007) Matsuoka Joji - Tokyo Tower: Me, Mom, and Sometimes Dad - 6.5/10

Charming, sometimes very funny, sometimes very sad, but overall I wasn't blown away. Not bad though. I was also in a really shit mood when I watched this so take my impression of it as you will.

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Air Force (1943) Howard Hawks - 6.5/10

This is a good example of the strength of Howard Hawks, where what could be a simple YEAH KILLIN DEM JAPS piece of war propaganda ends up revealing a lot about the human condition through those several really touching and intimate conversations that define Hawks's style. What could be the absolute least interesting film ever made to me actually becomes something I can enjoy. I have certain personal hangups about it which are completely related to me and not the film itself, but when someone as talented as Hawks directs I can certainly put some of those aside. Maybe my least favorite Hawks out of what I've seen but it's not a bad film by any means, its context is simply extremely problematic (one of my least favorite words ever, but whatever I have to use it).

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Les sièges de l'Alcazar (1989) Luc Moullet - 9/10

This is definitely a film about cinephiles for cinephiles, about the art and love of movies and the nostalgia of their temporary screenings for those who would appreciate them, which is a beautiful microcosm for a lot of Moullet's cinema in general. Intellectual splendor without pretension. One of his best films, undoubtedly.

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Valparaiso, Valparaiso (1971) Pascal Aubier - 8/10

Well, without subtitles there's a lot I can't comment on with certainty. But from what I captured, this is full of some of the most distinctively French humor I've seen, at least of its time. In some ways Aubier seems similar to Moullet in the way he gets a lot out of strange imagery, but his cinema is more mobile, satirical, brash. But this is all relative because it's so lyrical. I think even more than Moullet Aubier shows the meeting point of genre cinema and new wave… but I also saw this subless so I'm probs talking out of my ass on all of this.

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Pather Panchali (1955) Satyajit Ray - 8.5/10

Probably the best Ray movie I've seen, canonization be damned. It absolutley burts with humanity and warmth. I think almost more than anything else I've seen by him this really excels in its simplicity and "pure" nature, but in a kind of rough way. There's nothing in the film that doesn't need to be there, yet it still feels very natural and has the fingerprints of a human in its poetry.

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Winchester '73 (1950) Anthony Mann - 8/10

I have to be a bit contrarian and say that out of the four Mann/Stewart westerns I've seen, this might be my least favorite. That said, it's still pretty stern competition and continues the great tradition that all these films have. He definitely can still film Western landscapes beautifully without color. The shootout at the end is great too, just as good as the climactic moments of the others. It was just everything before which, while still awesome, fell short by the thinnest hair. Etc., etc. The only other thing I had written was "I don't agree with the native american stereotypes durrrrr…" but I don't want to insult you guys's intelligence with the obvious.

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Vampire's Kiss (1988) Robert Bierman - 7.5/10

I never thought Cage's performance in The Wicker Man could be outdone in hilarity, but this one has to get credit as his best hour for me because unlike in that film, it's obvious that the man knew what he was doing here.

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Il conformista (1970) Bernardo Bertolucci - The Conformist - 8/10

Only other Berto I've seen is La Luna but it doesn't feel appropriate to compare this to that one. This is a very classical film in style, full of baroque 30s-style Italian majestic settings. Anyway, it's amazing. I promise I'll write more again some day.

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Wei si li zhi lao mao (1992) Lam Ngai Kai - The Cat - 7/10

The Cat… such an unassuming name for one of the silliest movies I've seen in a while. Although its alternate title The 1000 Years Cat is a bit more suitably ridiculous. Well, it's by the great Lam Ngai Kai, so obviously it's a work of quality. I can't believe it took me so long to see something else by him when Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is obviously one of the greatest masterpieces of cinema. And as soon as that motherfucking Golden Harvest logo flashes on I'm already giddy. So what's this about? Well, Wikipedia sums it up well enough when it says "a cat from outer space teams up with a young girl and an old man to fight a murderous alien that possesses people", but that's only part of it. Now, this isn't quite as much of a constant stream of ridiculousness as Riki-Oh, but it has its best moments which are as great as that film's best moments. It's less gory and gross and more whimsical and full of editing tricks, like Hausu kind of. There's a gross alien sewer monster (?) thing though. Anyway, I wish this whole movie was more like its final 30 minutes but it's still pretty cool.

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Vamos a matar, compañeros (1970) Sergio Corbucci - Compañeros - 9/10

Absolute classic, this has everything you could want from a spaghetti western, first of all being its amazingly catchy and awesome theme song. From then on is a parade of sweaty, greasy motherfuckers making squinty faces in the swealtering heat and somewhere behind that a narrative of revolution and justice. In some ways Corbucci's method could be compared to Leone's, but I'm more fond of Corbucci because this film is just so much tighter but at the same time it seems more animated and alive. Ya I said it. Endlessly exciting, beautiful, and just badass in the purest sense of the word. Not to mention Iris Berber, who I'd go so far as to say is the sexiest girl I've seen yet in a western, spag or otherwise. FU Claudinale.

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Il grande silenzio (1968) Sergio Corbucci - The Great Silence - 9/10

No less fantastic than Compañeros, the only advantage that one has for me is somewhat of a less expected setting and story by incorporating the Mexican Revolution into its plot, making for somewhat of a change from the more American-inspired values of spaghetti westerns. That said, this one has its own brand of unconventionality, beginning of course with its opening scene: a cowboy's journey through a snowy valley! This is what a lot of the film ends up looking like, and like Day of the Outlaw or The Outcasts of Poker Flat, it instantly has an effect comparable to Dante's ninth circle of making everything more miserable and bleak by zapping everything with life out and making things frozen and immobile, and this is especially strong in the field of the spaghetti western which is often bogged down (wonderfully!) with more stylistic elements of the genre. Also it has Kinski! So yes, another great, great film from Corbucci. I can't really pick this or Compañeros, both are awesome and it'd change with my mood everyday.

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Drive-In Massacre (1977) Stu Segall - 5.5/10

Yep, this is everything I hoped it would be from the title. Really sleazy and cheap. Not special either, but at least it felt good for the time being because I really wanted to watch something like this.

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Bad Bizness (2003) Jim Wynorski - 4.5/10

Lol, such a piece of shit. Girls in a strip club are offed by some mystery killer and a sexy detective has to solve the case. Master P is billed as the top actor but don't get excited, he barely appears. He's hilarious whenever he's onscreen though. Some of the rest of it is funny too. Some is just boring as hell, but whatever.

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Terror 2000: Intensivstation Deutschland (1992) Christoph Schlingensief - 8/10

Very interesting film. A guy has to smuggle a Polish family into just-reunified Germany and they're both kidnapped. So then a policeman has to look into the crazy and depraved depths of the German nation to find some answers. It's a really batshit crazy movie, full of violence and cruelty displayed in the most garish and silly stylistic methods you could imagine. It's totally ridiculous, like if John Waters and Werner Schroeter had a baby. Plus Udo gives an awesome performance.

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above: an accurate summary of this film's mood

Ponette (1996) Jacques Doillon - 9/10

With La Drôlesse and this, I definitely think Doillon is a wonderful, beautiful filmmaker who's incredibly in tune to the stranger parts of human coping and attachment. Only this one looks at a girl and her mother instead of a romantic relationship like in La Drôlesse. We see the titular young girl whose mother dies and leaves her alone with her father. The situation finds a perfect balance between being moving and touching and remaining in the perfectly non-romantic style that Doillon excels at. Working with a child so young is an interesting step for Doillon because she actually cries and expresses herself unlike the detached, somewhat Bressonian, blank, enigmatic adults he fills his world with. It seems that death does that to little Ponette, pushes her world from a child's to an adult's while still her body is still so young. Her responses become more strange as does the world she must respond to. Her responses, as adultishly "confusing" as they are, also have this wonderful way of balancing childlike naïvité with adult regression. Also, the cinematography is gorgeous, full of that dark blue shade, and its pacing is melodic and incredible.

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All the Lines Flow Out (2011) Charles Lim Yi Yong - 8/10

Interesting film that is short and simple, but at the same time contains a lot of different kinds of imagery. It's pretty much all related to water though, in some way or another. Water, plants, and the relation of man to them. The main symbol that anchors the film is a large storm drain, whose lone, natural presence is interfered with by various raincoated men (in a particularly fascinating, dancelike long static shot where they interfere like alien gods). This leads into imagery of the city, and finally words at the end. It's kind of a poem about man, water, nature, and civilization, but one with a weirdly cold and unromanticized beauty to it. Think this is also my first movie from Singapore, woo.

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8213: Gacy House (2010) Anthony Fankhauser - 3.5/10

A sometimes pretty hilariously bad Paranormal Activity ripoff, but a lot of it is just boring. It would have the advantage of seeming more like an actual tape due its awful pacing and cheap look were it not for the horrible, horrible, horrible "acting" on display.

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The Bottom of the Bottle (1956) Henry Hathaway - 7.5/10

This opens with an uncommon view of Arizona, a torrential downpour turning the sun-drenched border town of Nogales into a series of sumptuous blues. Maybe an appropriate introduction for a film about people with dark pasts and secrets trying to live unnoticed. Our main story is about this guy, Patrick, living in Nogales whose ex-alcoholic brother surprises him with a visit and needs to secretly cross the border to help his fam out in Mexico. Only problem is the river is over-flooded and dangerous to cross so he's fucked. Patrick has to help him out secretly and keep him away from dat licka in the meantime. It's pretty cool. Nothing amazing (although there's one scene of Patrick fighting with his wife which is just a marvelous scene… that part's amazing) but I was pretty enthralled.
Last edited by plasma_birds on April 10th, 2014, 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

plasma_birds
Posts: 172
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Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

#13

Post by plasma_birds » May 17th, 2014, 1:52 am

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Proshchay, Amerika! (1949) Aleksandr Dovzhenko - Farewell, America! - 7/10

It truly does speak well of Dovzhenko's talent in his ability to make pure propaganda into poetry, but this film is even more incredible because it seems more seeped in socialist realism but doesn't let its lack of dynamic editing sap it of all aesthetic power. It does seem a stranger, less distinctly Dovzhenkoian work and it's probably my least favorite of what I've seen but there's a great sense of restraint and classicism to it that makes it a lot easier to hang one's hat on than other propaganda works in what appears to be this time when Russian cinema was absolutely in the shitter. It's also pretty funny to see America attacked for a lot of problems that could probably also apply to the Soviet Union, not to say that I don't think they were also prevalent in America at the time. Apparently a lot of this was also inspired by a true story of a woman who defected to the Soviet Union from America though, making it all even more interesting.

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Natsukashi no kao (1941) Naruse Mikio - A Face from the Past - 6/10

An interesting look at Japan's imperialist ideals in the middle of WWII, this film probably being Naruse's most obvious studio-driven war story I've seen so far. But there's some very Naruseian elements here too. It's very idealistic in a way his films rarely are but the true darkness and nostalgic elements of subject matter makes me think there might be something almost sarcastic about his treatment of it. It's certainly only material for Naruse obsessives like me but if you are one this is about as solid as a half-hour Naruse short can be.

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Der weiße Teufel (1930) Alexandre Volkoff - The White Devil - 8/10

Some of the worst quality I've ever seen on a rip but the film shines through and Mozzhukhin!! He's not the only great thing about this film though. It reminds me in some ways of Le Lion des Mogols in its treatment of czarist intrustion in muslim Chechnnya, though it's not quite as masterful, a bit more traditional of a silent action film. Still, it's incredibly solid.

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L'iguana dalla lingua di fuoco (1971) Riccardo Freda - The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire - 7/10

Doesn't live up to that name, but it's a pretty good, quite sleazy and violent giallo.

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Beware! Children at Play (1989) Mik Cribben - 6/10

Similar to every other "creepy kids take over a town" movie you've seen except this one ends with the creepy little fuckers being slaughtered! Plus it's way more goofy, being Troma and all. Good stuff, generally. Troma's one of the only companies where intentionally bad stuff like this works, a bit at least.

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Körhinta (1956) Fábri Zoltán - Merry-Go-Round - 7.5/10

Overt sentimentality and mild propaganda doesn't crush this work, it's a solid example of classical Hungarian cinema. There's some cool, very romantic and lush imagery of carnivals in the film too which is something I always love. Not Cœur fidèle level but about as great as I could ask for. Fábri's direction isn't fantastically characteristic outside of that but it's he's really really excellent at soft focuses in closeups, which adds kind of a dreamy quality to the pastoral imagery. Yeee.

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Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (1990) Damian Lee - 7/10

Omg this is so ridiculous. Jesse Ventura plays some galactic guardian who has to chase down his former partner on earth and it just gets so dumb, dumb, dumb from there on. Perfect horrible sci-fi turdball. Out of everything stupid in this movie though (the plot, the performances, the horrible action, the fucking title), the music is by far the worst and most hilarious. I swear the score for this thing goes from cock rock solos to spooky B-movie ambient to smooth jazz with very little concern for coherence and it's great.

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Powwow Highway (1989) Jonathan Wacks - 5.5/10

There's a lot of ethnic identities that it's hard to see represented in non-ethnogrpahic film and Native Americans are always one I'm wishing to see more by. But despite that little point of fascination I won't pretend there's much going on with this. The setting is great though, I'd like to see something a little less orthodox done with it.

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Faust (2011) Aleksandr Sokurov - 7.5/10 [35mm]

It's a bit like Sokurov on autopilot, taking all the themes and styles he's done before and just kind of doing them in a streamlined way. But it's still a very good, maybe even great film, just not a masterpiece by Sokurov standards. It continues that great feeling of being lost in an empty, haunted museum that every other piece in the tetralogy has.

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The Center of the World (2001) Wayne Wang - 3/10

Sucked.

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Cry for Me, Billy (1972) William A. Graham - 8/10

This is a really mean and sad western about a group of Natives getting fucked over and a cowboy who falls in love with a Native girl only to be ostracized and attacked by his compadres. It's a beautiful film though, full of really tragic emotions and great natural imagery.

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Angel City (1977) Jon Jost - 6.5/10

This isn't Jost's best film but I think it's one of his cooler more essay-ish films (I need to watch Speaking Directly again). It's full of great old worn VHS imagery of Los Angeles, and Jost as usual knows how to make great use of landscape and imagery although this film is less of a landscape/painterly based film and uses its imagery more abstractly and self-awarely to create essayish distance rather than the more enveloping style of pure fiction films like The Bed You Sleep In. Good stuff.

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Tsuburo no gara (2004) Yamada Masafumi - 7.5/10

A young patient and nurse awake in a hospital room with no memories and the young man experiences a number of disquieting illusions and flashbacks. This is a great film in the Japanese cyberpunk tradition, and it could be compared to Tetsuo: The Iron Man in some obvious ways (closeups of machinery and sweaty motherfuckers) but there really is a different sensibility at work here. The muted, dark blue color palatte has more of a miserable, cold and sterile feeling than the industrial, thrusting inferno that makes up Tetsuo. The mood is also more still, frozen in uncomfortable, machinelike time. Rad.

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Milyang (2007) Lee Chang-dong - Secret Sunshine - 6.5/10 [digital projection]

Good but what's with Korean movies and dat melodrama? Lee can handle it competently unlike someone like Kim Ki-duk but it's like bro just make a movie where someone don't die/get raped/lose an arm/blast themselves/cap someone goddam.

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Northern Lights (1978) John Hanson & Rob Nilsson - 9/10 [35mm]

Like the grainy 'n' gritty B&W realism of Killer of Sheep presenting the austerity of a melancholy European filmmaker like Bergman (one shot str8 up sucks Persona's cock) but also with that optimistic sense of memoir relating historical ambition that perhaps only an American immigrant can best capture. It's amazing for that reason plus it shows a real forgotten episode of history (and for completists like me who want to see a film set in every American state this is a great one to watch for North Dakota).

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A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (2013) Ben Rivers & Ben Russell - 9/10 [35mm]

Well, I suppose it's appropriate for Ben Russell and Ben Rivers to collaborate since I always used to get their names mixed up (and sometimes still do in my less proud moments). And what a special collaboration it is. Both filmmakers are fully present and fully integrated so it's not a case of "spot Rivers and spot Russell". The organic, texture-seeking sensual imagery of Rivers, which seems so much like how I wish Malick's films were (not necessarily wordless, but in a state where the words present are "invisible" and as transparent as anything else) is fully enmeshed into the attention of time and its relation to the human body that characterizes Russell. To characterize greatly from the couple of Rivers shorts and one Russell feature I've seen, Rivers makes films about landscapes from the perspectives of human narratives and Russell makes films about human narratives from the perspectives of landscape. Not a perfect analogy but it's a useful tool to use because those two narratives and perspectives become wholly enmeshed in this film. And from both of the two comes a masterpiece of poetic, personal, post-anthropology. Indeed, it's a film that has value not just as experimental cinema but as a perfect representation of the act of the 2013 anthropological record. We're far past any hope of establishing a "comprehensive" and "objective" view of a community from any one anthropoligst, so we should make records as experimental, sensual, fragmentary, and abstract as Rivers and Russell do. Anyway, that's just a bit of my own pseudo-intellectualization. Amazing film.

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Two Years at Sea (2011) Ben Rivers - 9/10

This fukkn rules too. More of Rivers's fantastic ability to define a person solely through the landscape and nature surrounding them. It deserves better than this shitty write-up but whatever.

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Yoidore tenshi (1948) Kurosawa Akira - Drunken Angel - 8/10 [digital projection]

One of Kurosawa's absolute best films. And not just for that incredible Kasagi cameo!

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Deadlock (1970) Roland Klick - 7.5/10

Cool and trippy revisionist western from Germany with a Can soundtrack! Not quite amazing or on the highest level of Euro westerns but it's good proof that countries besides Italy can make good westerns.

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Middle of the Moment (1995) Werner Penzel & Nicolas Humbert - 8/10

A beautiful and unique film which really gives a new meaning to anthropological poetry, observing the diverse ideas of nomadic life all around the world, from farmers in Niger to strange circus gypsies in some French-speaking country. It's a beautiful little ode to the nature of transcience filmed in unassumingly pretty black and white. Some of the best of the farming parts are on some proto-La quattro volte shit. There are no subtitles because the film doesn't need them. Words do not exist in this film, all speech is of sounds. I've also never seen a camel pup before but this film taught me that they make really fucking weird noises.

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Relics: Einstein's Brain (1994) Kevin Hull - 6.5/10

The entry on CG summarizes this better than I can but this movie is so bizarre in its existence. It's apparently a "scientific" documentary (the idea of this being educational is kind of funny since it's so odd even though I guess it's not very inaccurate) about an eccentric Japanese mathematics professor shuffling around the US and gets in everyone's business looking for Einstein's preserved brain, the location of which is currently mysterious. It's funny in an awkward and just purely INEXPLICABLE way. I feel privileged to have seen something like this. One of the most characteristic Cinemageddon movies ever.

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Run for Cover (1955) Nicholas Ray - 8/10

Another great Ray film, albeit not one that's as TRANSGRESSIVE or whatever the word is as some of his other stuff. Not that they need to be to be great films.

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Daehakno-yeseo maechoon-hadaka tomaksalhae danghan yeogosaeng ajik Daehakno-ye Issda (2000) Nam Ki-woong - Teenage Hooker Became Killing Machine in Daehakroh - 8/10

K just as soon as I was bitching about the excess of melodrama in Korean cinema this comes along and proves how that generalization definitely can be transcended. This is a strange movie that occupies a little slimy place between dreamy surrealism and graphic sleaze. It's not just ridiculous and silly like the title would apply, although there are some pretty goofy moments. It's what it sounds like: A teenage hooker is killed and rebuilt into a cyborg. It's weird and claustrophobic as hell. Like Gaspar Noé by way of Matthew Barney, except not shitty.

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Sonatine (1993) Kitano Takeshi - 7/10

First Kitano, believe it or not. I was surprised how much I liked it. Pretty restrained in style but there are some moments of tiny beauty. It's a movie which has a lot of greatness and character hidden in what looks bland on the surface. Grrl was a qt pie do.

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Blind Fury (1989) Phillip Noyce - 5.5/10

Really stupid and pretty fun, though far from the apex of stupid badass action movie comedy things.

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Dalpaengee eui byeol (2011) Yi Seung-jun - 7.5/10

This film is wonderfully delicate and sensual. And there's one sense in particular that it appeals to which is touch. A fully intentional and appropriate move because the film centers on a deaf-mute. It's really quite amazing how through all these closeups of hands, attention to the feeling of light, and communication through expression we can FEEL this film on a very physical level. Not a masterpiece but a really quite impressive look at two very strange but beautiful people.

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El ojete de Lulú (1986) Jesús Franco - Lulu's Talking Ass - 5/10

Today's Spanish word of the day: "Cabrona". So yeah this is the most straight-up porno I've seen from Franco, value as a film comparatively nil. The thing that gives it its quirky title and saves it from being pure porn is that the main character Lulú's asshole narrates to us between sex scenes and explains its "sexual awakening" and how it was jealous of her pussy for getting all the action. This is funny if you have the sense of humor of a third grader. Skip it, my rating is generous because some scenes were pretty hot. Romay definitely chubbed up a bit since Doriana Gray. Ordinarily I can definitely dig thick girls so this isn't a problem but she really looked better waifish. :(

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Gone to Earth (1950) Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger - 8/10

Wow this is a GAWJUSS film, some of the Archers' best work and it doesn't deserve to be so hidden. The storyline is isn't so interesting, it's just about a loner girl who lives in the English countryside and marries a minister, but then another dude wants her. It does have an interesting touch because she's kind of an animal-friending, spellcasting gypsy girl, which makes it very tough that she's marrying a religious guy and is in the care of two stodgy mofukkas. But yeah, I guess it's appropriate how connected she feels to nature because this film celebrates nature in all its glory. The countryside of the isles has never looked more cozy and rosy, though not without its troubles. Makes you yearn for the glory of a fatherland you've never had.

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Kono mado wa kimi no mono (1994) Furuyama Tomoyuki - This Window Is Yours - 7.5/10

This is much more obscure than I anticipated, was hard to find info about it online. A really great film though. It's about a kind of couple who are showing hints of the beginnings of their "more than friends" phase who end up living as neighbors one summer. It's the definition of a sweet film, full of little heartwarming moments of friendship bound up in a very nostalgic and idealistic, though not unrealistic summery Japanese countryside.

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Geomen tangyi sonyeo oi (2007) Jeon Soo-il - With a Girl of Black Soil - 8/10

I've had this downloaded for so long that my expectations may have raised a bit too high but I think it'll grow on me too. Regardless, it's an excellent film. It's a fascinating response to the general melodramatic unfoldings in Korean cinema by taking a desperate situation and playing it extremely flatly. Some of the best child acting ever too, damn.

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Bloody Harvest (1992) James I. Nicholson - 6/10

Once you get used to the abysmal quality (definitely top five worst rips I've ever watched), this is some good trash. Plot is about some college buttfarts who break down in the desert and wind up on an ancient Indian burial ground… with killer scarecrows! It's really stupid, as you could guess. I had fun, I basically love watching any old shitty VHS-rip-only horror movie like this whether it's good or not.

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Inventario balcanico (2000) Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi - 9/10

Well, what's there to say except that if it was possible for me to love Gianikian and Lucchi even more this film did it. Just as good as most of their stuff. The footage is all from the Balkans and shot between the 10s and the 30s. There's some pretty incredible footage of street merchants, naval machinery, overhead city views, etc. but of course it's the incredible way Gianikian and Lucchi render them as channeled spirits or tantric hymns that makes the film what it is. It's hard to say exactly what differentiates this from any of their others, but that's no problem. There's also some really weird trancey music at parts which is completely different from the other Gianikian/Lucchi scores I know but works really eerily in a way… Watched their short Nocturne after this too and it was okay but it was mostly new footage. :/ Didn't really feel like them.

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Young Adult (2011) Jason Reitman - 5.5/10

What right does a film from the director and writer of Juno have to be this non-shitty? Infuriating!

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The Legend of Atlantis: Dawn of the Gods from Atlantis (1989) Elia the Prophet - 8/10 [R]

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The Legend of Atlantis: The Secret Brotherhood of Atlantis (1989) Elia the Prophet - 8/10

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The Legend of Atlantis: The Secret Prophecies of the Apocalypse (1989) Elia the Prophet - 7/10

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The Legend of Atlantis: The Return of the Light Masters from Atlantis (1989) Elia the Prophet - 7.5/10

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The Legend of Atlantis: The Battle of Armageddon (1989) Elia the Prophet - 7.5/10

Watching all of these back to back made me feel like my brain was melting…

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#14

Post by plasma_birds » May 24th, 2014, 11:31 pm

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The Lady Vanishes (1938) Alfred Hitchcock - 6/10

Pretty fun and funny at times but I wasn't taken with it all the way. Definitively "Eh, it's ok".

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Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker (1938) Leni Riefenstahl - Olympia Part 1: Festival of the Nations - 8.5/10

A virile, strong, powerful film. The kind of film that brings power and imperial might back to forefront of art in the classic Roman tradition. But it's not just that, which is typical of Nazi propaganda, there's depth and beauty in these images.

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Olympia 2. Teil - Fest der Schönheit (1938) Leni Riefenstahl - Olympia Part 2: Festival of Beauty - 8.5/10

As the title would make you think, this one is really where the lyrical, romantic imagery comes to fruition. This is where we get the Greek gods cavorting in some of Riefenstahl's most energetic, gorgeous, POWERFUL camerawork. Glorious.

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Un fiume di dollari (1966) Carlo Lizzani - The Hills Run Red - 7.5/10

Great spag which is obviously a really early one in the phenomenon because of how much more similar it is to classical westerns of Hollywood than the paradigm that others in its genre would later establish, despite having its obvious allegiances and nods to influential figures like Leone. Some really incredible shootout scenes here, full of taut energy and great cinematography. Great underrated Morricone score as well on this one. I'm normally not a huge fan of Morricone's western work (I still like it, it's just not mindblowing to me or anything), but the main theme of this one has really stayed with me.

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Leonard Part 6 (1987) Paul Weiland - 7/10

Immediately 100000x funnier than any of the Austin Powers movies. Moral of the story: Vegatarians are subhuman. This claims that the "story" was written by Cosby but I think that story was just 90 minutes of him snorting coke off the asses of 19-year-old Venezuelan supermodels, which was filtered into this.

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Chuck E. Cheese in the Galaxy 5000 (1999) David Orr - 7/10

Surprising levels of sexual tension.

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Ask Max (1986) Vincent McEveety - 6/10

I'm sorry Jeff Cohen, I know you've lost a lot of weight, but you'll be Chunk for the rest of your life. You could become president and you'll be President Chunk.

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El espanto surge de la tumba (1973) Carlos Aured - Horror Rises from the Tomb - 7.5/10

This doesn't seem to get much respect which is too bad because it really is a pretty cool 70s Eurosleaze horror. A warlock and his bitch get slaughtered in the 15th century and some modern swankmasters from Paris go to their grave and do some psychic summoning. It's not utterly unique, great, or transcendent but it's suitably creepy and outdid my expectations for its background. Some enjoyable creepy atmospheres of k00l Eurodudez n Eurochickz in a house over the weekend having to deal with DA DEVIL and whatnot. Plus some really great gore from time to time.

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Valkoinen peura (1952) Erik Blomberg - The White Reindeer - 8/10

How could I not love this? Nordic shamans and reindeer witches plus it's all set in the deepest and most remote snow and cold with a haunting soundtrack. This is one of the landscapes I adore absolute most in film, and this film does wonders with it, not to mention the story is fine even ignoring how gorgeous it is. So great, I have no clue why I wasn't more hyped for this given how impossible it would be to go wrong.

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Spine (1986) John Howard & Justin Simmonds - 5/10

Much like 555 this is one of those reeeeallly awful looking SOV pieces where the plot is nothing more than THERE'S A MURDERER AND COPS TRY TO CATCH HIM with extended scenes of trash talk in offices and faux-snuff torture. But this is even less special than 555 because it doesn't have the number gimmick or that amazing decapitation scene. It's stupid and exactly what I hoped it would be.

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Blow Out (1981) Brian De Palma - 8.5/10

The only other De Palma I'd seen was Carrie and that movie is fine but this proves he can be a truly awesome director. Gorgeously frantic camerawork, lurid colors, alienating angles, frenzied editing with touches like split screens, and a storyline full of scuzz elevated to high forms of artistry. So yeah, great shit and I'm looking forward to more vintage De Palma.

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Edogawa Ranpo ryôki-kan: Yaneura no sanposha (1976) Tanaka Noboru - Watcher in the Attic - 9/10

Even better than Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market, this is one of the absolute high points of the Roman porno series and of pinku in general, and proves with ease that Tanaka at his best is easily on the level of people like Wakamatsu and Suzuki. Like those two, the film goes beyond normal confines of pinku and is able to use bizarre setups to analyze the nature of perversion and voyeurism. This film especially has a very defined sense of place, that place being a very strange boarding house where desperate, hedonist lust is the prevailing ambient emotion.
The story is about the titular "watcher", a tenant who spends his time spying on others through holes who one day sees the owner of the house commit a murder and must do likewise to prove himself as a worthy partner. It's a bit like In the Realm of the Senses the way it analyzes the nature of two perverse and obsessive figures, although those in Watcher in the Attic are far more enigmatic and surreal. The ending is perfection.
Watch this if you are at all interested in pinkus, and even for those uninterested I think this has tons of potential to turn people onto the genre because of how little import the actual sex in this movie is. It's not that there's not much sex in it (though it is less so in comparison to a lot of other pinkus, and more subtle as well), just that it's even more obvious that every scene of humping serves the narrative and atmosphere above all. The same could be said of a lot of other pinku greats like Wakamatsu, but I feel like the actual sex is especially delicate here. Etc., etc., it's great!

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Sakigake!! Kuromati Kôkô (2003-2004) Sakurai Hiroaki - Cromartie High School - 7.5/10
26 episodes

This show's ridiculousness is only matched by the straightfacedness it presents it with. It's a total classic. I've heard the English dub is on Golden Boy levels of hilarious, I need to check it out.
Last edited by plasma_birds on May 26th, 2014, 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#15

Post by plasma_birds » May 28th, 2014, 2:20 am

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Carny (1980) Robert Kaylor - 6.5/10

Cool piece of forgotten Americana. Busey and his gang of carnival mainstays travel across the country with a girl who wants to escape her small town. It's not amazing but there's a lot of nice scenes and the whole thing has that great "world away from a world" feeling that all good films about carnivals should have.

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Dance of Darkness (1989) Edin Velez - 8/10

Another look at Japan from Mr. Velez but more focused on one particular subject. That said, its style makes extensive use of his layered, collagelike style that makes for a unique ability to make indirect, somewhat intertextual commentary. It's closer to a documentary, having talking heads at times (though quite literally talking heads as what he does is hover these heads over varied other images in his typical style!) and an overall investigation toward Butoh. It takes the style of something like Meaning of the Interval and uses it to not only recreate that hallucinatory mishmash of Japanese cultural detritis but also educate, and that's really wonderful. I love Velez and I especially love Butoh so this couldn't have gone wrong.

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Xin qi long zhu (1991) Chen Chun-liang - Dragonball: The Magic Begins - 7.5/10

The effects here are incredible… The whole movie is pretty hilarious, intentionally and unintentionally, and probably the best thing related to the whole franchise tbh. Also all the girls in this movie are insane cute wtf, including the one playing Goku.

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South of Hell Mountain (1971) Louis Leahman & William Sachs - 8/10

One of those weird movies that drifts between a bunch of genres. It looks like some kind of revisionist western drama at first, but the bizarre jew's harp that keeps playing along with the weird, alienating angles and camerawork that have very little western tradition tied to them make it clear that this is a unique work. Basically what happens is a father and son rob some miners and make a break for the Canadian border but end up stopping at a house where a mother and her daughter are… from there on it gets really strange and creepy.
The whole movie has a weird feeling, like a detached legend as told through a nightmare, which reminds me of José Ramón Larraz's Symptoms a lot actually. Though this one is a bit more hairy and playful, full of weird scenes whose stylistic relation to the rest of the film is somewhat of a mystery, yet miraculously the whole movie remains consistent and one object despite its strange variances inside. And did I mention how many gorgeous shots there are in it? Would be awesome to see this one in better quality because of that but of course the faded VHS quality adds to it in spades.
Last edited by plasma_birds on May 28th, 2014, 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#16

Post by plasma_birds » May 28th, 2014, 3:55 am

Here's a list I made of my 20 favorite TV shows. As you can tell I am easily entertained by juvenile bullshit and don't watch much TV in general.

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20. No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys' Fault I’m Not Popular! (2013)
12 episodes

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19. Zenryokuzaka (2005- )
? episodes

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18. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2010)
13 episodes

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17. Ikebukuro West Gate Park (2000)
11 episodes

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16. Seinfeld (1989-1998)
180 episodes

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15. Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (2007-2010)
50 episodes

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14. Angela Anaconda (1999-2002)
65 episodes

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13. Cromartie High School (2003-2004)
26 episodes

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12. Xavier: Renegade Angel (2007-2009)
20 episodes

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11. The Diary of Tortov Roddle (2003)
6 episodes

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10. Golden Boy (1995)
6 episodes

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9. Flowers of Evil (2013)
13 episodes

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8. Moomin (1990-1992)
104 episodes

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7. Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (2006)
6 episodes

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6. Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
30 episodes

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5. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
156 episodes

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4. The Eric Andre Show (2012- )
? episodes

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3. Brass Eye (1997-2001)
7 episodes

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2. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996)
26 episodes

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1. Jam (2000)
6 episodes
Last edited by plasma_birds on May 28th, 2014, 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#17

Post by XxXApathy420XxX » May 28th, 2014, 3:59 am

Fuck yes Jam
My father didn’t have the skill of a professional cameraman. The result? Avant-garde cinema.

RateYourMusic | ICheckMovies | Letterboxd

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#18

Post by plasma_birds » June 10th, 2014, 1:05 am

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Quixote (1965) Bruce Baillie - 9/10

The one Baillie masterpiece I hadn't seen. And oh yeah, this some good shit. It's not his best film, and its style is a bit more energetic and more connected to traditional avant-garde styles than usual, but it's pretty interesting. It uses what looks more like stock sounds and footage, although there's no mistaking Baillie's personal filmmaking when it appears. The film especially picks up once it breaks into color about a third of the way through, where a lot of shots are on some Quick Billy shit. Baillie again is one of those directors, like Ben Russell for example, who is talented at making everything seem like an aspect of nature and oneness, and he goes even beyond this by reducing humanity to a rhythm of lights, even without explicit "abstraction", just simple shots that are transformed by unorthodox sensuality and editing. With this, even the (beautifully handled) 60s civil rights-themed political framework of this can't defeat the ultimate effect of this film: falling into eternal oneness.

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La Nuit la plus longue (1965) José Bénazéraf - 8/10

Sexy and crazy. Actually reminds me a lot of La donna del lago; "arthouse"-ish treatment of an exploitative genre with a lot of weird scenes full of uncomfotrable silence and cold black and white.

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Disco Godfather (1979) J. Robert Wagoner - 6.5/10

This isn't a very good movie at all, but oh my god it's funny. It's a ridiculous story of a retired cop turned disco godfather who has to save his nephews from DA EVILS OF PCP!! So his course of action is to hunt down all them lowlifes on the street who're peddling it once and for all! It's just as stupid as it sounds. Not the upper echelon of blaxplo silliness (a lot of the dance scenes drag on too long) but very funny and entertaining for all the rightest of wrong reasons. The ending is especially weird and unexpected. This would be an instant 9/10 at least if it was a disco remake of The Godfather though.

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Romanze in Moll (1943) Helmut Käutner - 7.5/10

A very lovely German film which goes a long way to prove that oppressive governmental regimes did not sap artistry out of Germany the same way socialist realism did to the USSR under Stalin. The cinematography in this movie is stellar, very ocmparable to people like Ophüls in the way it uses ornately decorated rooms to beautifully reflect and frame characters with some great camera movements.

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Zelyonyy slonik (1999) Svetlana Baskova - Green Elephant - 6.5/10

Another movie I remember from OMG MOST BR00TAL SOUL-RAPING GORY MOVIES EVER MADE lists when I used to seek those out. And you'd know it because it opens with a warning that says "Please get old folks, children and pregnant women away from the screen". The film is handheld in the uncomfortable faux-snuff tradition, although it's a bit odd since there's no "cameraman" present in the story. The story is about two criminals in a really disgusting, dark, cramped prison. One of them seems crazy and won't stop ranting, the other one is getting annoyed by all that. It's not a great film by any means, only a good one, but all in all it's a pretty interesting study of tension and hatred. Really exhausting by the end.

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Ohara Shôsuke-san (1949) Shimizu Hiroshi - 8/10

Shimizu! And Iida Chôko! What else to say about this film? The only difference here is that it's based on a kind of archetypical, legendary Japanese character (but set in what appears to be modern day). Other than that, it's the typically relaxed and sunny comedy one can depend on Shimizu for. This one seems to have a bit of added commentary on westernization of Japan though, or at least unavoidably situate itself within that surrounding culture (late 40s Japan after all).

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Strangers in Paradise (1984) Ulli Lommel - 8/10

Not the Jarmusch film, this is 80s VHS musical bizarreness of the highest calibre. Not even sure what this is supposed to be. Something about a guy from Third Reich-era Germany who gets transported to some weird goth version of the 80s and becomes employed by a bunch of EVIL OLD CROTCHETY WHITEMEN with brainwashing computers and the cool goth kids have to defeat them with the power of new wave or… some shit. It's a fucking mess and it's beautiful. Pinhead, this movie is for you.

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Azumanga Daioh (2002) - 6.5/10
26 episodes

I remember around 2005 when I was going through puberty and liking girls and I was also a weeb fucktard and my friend had a poster for this show at his house and I just stared at it in love for hours and watched the same five episodes of this on YouTube about 10 times because the whole series wasn't there yet because YouTube still sucked and good god I was pathetic. It's a fine series I guess but I only watched it for "closure" since being a NEET deadweight over the summer gives me uncomfortable memories of those times.

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#19

Post by plasma_birds » June 14th, 2014, 8:02 am

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The Sphinx (1933) Phil Rosen - 6/10

A mute man has been charged with murder with many witnesses to speak on his behalf, though their reports claim that he was talking… Is he a murderer? Not an amazing film, but an impressive little early noirish precode which I had a good time with. Some cool talking motherfuckers. At one point the chick the main detective is tryin' to mack on says "I wouldn't marry you if you were the last man in the world!" and he adds "Baby, if I were the last man in the world, I say you wouldn't marry me, you'd be run over in the stampede!" and I came an ocean. It's not a great film by any means. The story is pretty cool but the direction is bland and it's mostly just medium-length shots of people standing around desks. But it's almost one of those films you don't WANT to be great. The amateurness and hidden quality of it is what makes it so interesting.

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Le jour se lève (1939) Marcel Carné - 8.5/10

Out of all the special little time and space niches in cinema history, one of the absolute most seductive will always be France of the 30s to me, at least the French 30s that directors like Carné and Grémillon convey. It's this beautiful world full of shadows, lightpost-illuminated roads, glazed cameras, and desperate romance. This film is especially a marvelous and baffling entity. How can a film with a story so soaked in regret, anguish, and doom be this uplifting and joyful? Carné I suppose. This is in fact the first film by him I've seen cuz I'm a shithead but I'm hungry for more.

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Les Anges du péché (1943) Robert Bresson - Angels of Sin - 8/10

Since Bresson may indeed be my favorite director, it's as surprising to me as anyone else that I hadn't seen this until now. Maybe it was because Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne was a bit mediocre compared to his other films, but I think more than anything it's just because knowing that I'll truly and utterly be done with his career is a difficult thought to bear (though there is one short I haven't seen…). But what a wonderful film it is, far superior to Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, though maybe it's just the nuns making me think so. I also feel like this has more hints of Bressonian techniques. They're very subtle, yes, but there are some scenes here which cut off or remove important actions in a way somewhat reminiscent of later Bresson. I may indeed be projecting a bit much on it, but I felt that way. Great film any way though.

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The Headless Eyes (1971) Kent Bateman - 6.5/10

It's about a creepazoid guy with an eyepatch who has a collection of beautiful girls' eyes. Certainly not a completely terrible enough film to be in the bottom depths of cheap 70s horror schlock since there are quite a few good/legitimately creepy elements but it's a bit too cheesy and uneven to be very excellent. That said, if you like that kind of shoddy 70s horror atmosphere this is probably one of the best and I'd straight up call it a very good film. It kind of reminds me of The Last House on Dead End Street because it has this horribly claustrophobic and nightmarish feeling, where every shot looks like it's been raped in an alleyway. Only this one is a lot more amateurish in style, which has a charm in its own way. Scuzzballs inquire within.

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Agries kalogries (1986) Makis Antonopoulos - 8/10

OMG… OMG…… By far the DUMBEST nunsploitation movie I've seen yet, and you'll know that as soon as you hear the theme they nabbed for it. I won't spoil it but my mouth straight dropped when I heard that shit. I never knew how many cheesy, stupid movies from Greece existed but CG again proves how the same land that birthed Homer and Pindar later gave us people like Makis Antonopoulos who clearly put those hacks to shame. No subs unfortunately, but even without them I can tell that this movie is about 20 kinds of stupid and silly. Thus, great. Not a very extreme nunsplo film but it's full of that dirty, depraved sense of omg naughtiness, with a big dose of added SOV horseshit. Beautiful.

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Schramm (1994) Jörg Buttgereit - 4.5/10

A somewhat more self-consciously "experimental" (or "arthouse" or whatever) feature than Nekromantik but it has the same amateur and grimy feeling. I think it's much less charming overall though. In fact in kind of sucks. Meh.

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Small Gods (2007) Dimitri Karakatsanis - 4.5/10

I wasn't really paying attention to the story here. It's pretty standard except for the cinematography, which is a great enough example of ShallowFocusHandheldMutedColorsCore for the film to endear itself to me a bit. Otherwise meh/10.

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À tout prendre (1963) Claude Jutra - 8.5/10

Completely different from Mon once Antoine, but an equally beautiful film. This is often called a French Canadian Shadows and not without reason, but the style of this film has more of a new wave swing. It's more yé-yé and less jazz. It's not without its downs in mood but overall it's just so sunny, beautiful. The fleetingness of the love and eventual downfalls that this film keeps in mind keep it from having only one emotion, but overall this is a film so full of amour, so full of youthful energy.

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Kamouraska (1973) Claude Jutra - 9/10

Images: Michel Brault? Oh shit, u know what dat means. Beautiful, gorgeous imagery. Though the imagery in this movie, in part due to its setting, is less mobile and kinetic and more meticulously arranged like a baroque painting. Strangely enough some of the way this treats history reminds me of Sokurov, though with memory that's more melancholic and wistful than hallucinatory and nightmarish. It's still a somewhat weak comparison though because Jutra has his own sense of beauty here. Delicate and refined, sad, happy, grand. This film is incredible.

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Serial Experiments Lain (1998) - 9/10
13 episodes

No apologies for the weebery anymore, this show is incredible. It seems comparing this to Evangelion is appropriate in some ways despite them both being "advanced" level cherry poppers for people who normally aren't into animu. But I'll refrain. This is a powerfully unnerving show that I can get lost in. I love the slow, uncomfortable pace and in fact I love the dated and weird-looking technology. It does just the opposite of taking me out of the show, it puts me in a strange new place. It's gonna sound hyperbolic but what this show actually reminds me a lot of is the feeling of Satô Hisayasu's films (minus the sexual depravity).

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#20

Post by plasma_birds » July 9th, 2014, 11:53 pm

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Footlight Parade (1933) Lloyd Bacon - 9/10

It is very important to realize that this is a really good film outside of the Berkeley choreography. Clearly the dance/performance scenes are the biggest attraction and defining picture but it's not like the film is nothing without them. It's not a masterpiece without those scenes. It's a very charming and funny look at show business and the stresses and joys that accompany the whole process. But then as for the Berekeley scenes… what's there to say that nobody else has? Pretty much nothing except that they are some of the most incredible and advanced examples of dance in film ever. I gush over all of them, but especially "Shanghai Lil"… Orientalism has never been sexier!

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Nanayomachi (2008) Kawase Naomi - 8/10

It seems a bit more "typical" than some of Kawase's other works but it's still unmistakably here. Like other films like Shara it's amongst the greatest of handheld intimate "contemplative" filmmaking in da modern day. The story is a little different from her other works. There's more of a sense of alienation and being a lone observer (natural for a film about a character alone in a new country) rather than the sense of home that her other films have so strongly.

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Zenka onna: koroshi-bushi (1973) Mihori Atsushi - Criminal Woman: Killing Melody - 7.5/10

Yeah the chances of me not liking any pinky violence film starring Ike Reiko are astronomically small so I don't need to say much here. This isn't a particularly stunning example, but you can't argue with the cool, swaggering badassery on display here. I still haven't seen Sex and Fury… probably should have watched that instead but whatevs, this was great.

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The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972) Dick Richards - 7.5/10

This is a really cool revisionist western, without as much of that overtly dark edge that a lot of other post-50s revwesterns adopt. It has a real sense of dreams and ambition, about a young farmhand who wants to become a cowboy. That isn't to say this film is so plucky that it's free of genuineness and emotional resonance. It's beautiful and full of great scenery, charming character dynamics, and just a general sense of adventure in the face of cynicism.

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Le clair de terre (1970) Guy Gilles - 8/10

Such gorgeous cinematography, in a really simple but perfect way. Every shot is simple without especially dynamic camera angles or whatever, but the palette and is consistently incredible, the framing is handsome and lyrical, and the editing especially sticks out. This film is exquisite at weaving together varied rhythms in its editing, but probably at its best during the rapid montages of close images of everyday objects, street views, emotive faces, beautiful landscapes, and other things but keeping them all themed dynamically. It's a lot like Godard's late 70s/early 80s films but with more brisque wanderlust and less commentary or subtext.

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The Eye in the Triangle (1990) Robert Anton Wilson - 7/10

Don't know if this is a "film" per se but it's a really wonderful lecture from Mr. Wilson. He drifts between new age mystic to cultural commentator to goofy stand-up comic with one hell of a New York accent and never seems to land on one, but they're all extremely entertaining and hilarious. After about nine minutes of opening jokes he opens his discussion of the Western Hermetic tradition with "So, you know the earth is hollow of course…" so you know that this is going to be a quality lecture. I'd so love to hang with this dude. Listen to it if you have nothing else to do, it's fun even if you're not interested in the occult.

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Knossos: Lost Capital of Atlantis (1979) Bianka Dadswell - 7/10

It's cool to see a documentary on the subject which isn't total bullshit (though there's probably still some bullshit lurking around here). I'm not convinced Atlantis has any meaning outside of an allegory but this doc makes a pretty good argument for Knossos being the mythical place. All that bull imagery… MOLOCH MOTHERFUCKER. BOHEMIAN GROVE IS A MINOAN CHILD SACRIFICE REPTILE LANDING PAD 666.

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The Search for Atlantis (1996) Sarah Marris - 7.5/10

Another very respectable documentary which takes kind of an objective look at theories instead of Ancient Aliens level (which I still fucking love for unintentional hilarity, srsly get some friends over and watch that show… best time I've ever had). Good stuff overall, though I'm not sure how dated any of this info is. Outside of CG there's pretty much zero info about this thing online…

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The Viking Serpent: Secrets of the Celtic Church of Norway, Their Serpent Worship and Sacred Pentagram Geometry (2008) Philip Gardiner - 4.5/10

Did you even see that title? Yes this is bullshit of the highest degree. I didn't even learn any #RARE Annunaki levitation secrets.

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Secrets of the Serpent (2007) Philip Gardiner - 5.5/10

More shit from Gardiner. Seemed a bit more factual but I'm still incredibly skeptical and would need to see more sources. Reminds me of Andrew Collins's book on the Nephilim which talks a lot about serpent cults. It's fun stuff to listen to and imagine to though, this one in particular is much more enjoyable than the previous one. In fact, a lot of what he's getting at seems like something I've always thought. But then he mentions the Da Vinci code theory and it shits the bed. Still entertaining though. WTF is up with using all the heavy metal on the soundtrack though??? I know they're Nordic but that was so ridiculous.

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Schwarze Sonne - Mythologische Hintergründe des Nationalsozialismus (1998) Rüdiger Sünner - Black Sun: The Mythological Background of National Socialism - 8/10

Pretty interesting look at the relationship between Third Reich Nazism and the occult, the startling connection of which is rarely explored by historians in serious depth. This one isn't a bunch of bullshit either, this is the real deal. So maybe the final result isn't that Atlantean giants built a Wotan race of übermesnch in 26000 BC but this remains cool stuff. Not a film with a ton of real cinematic value but for someone as interested in this stuff as me it was absolutely invigorating and interesting. I can tell that I'm going to come back to this one for research over and over again…

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Life Is Cheap… But Toilet Paper Is Expensive (1989) Wayne Wang - 8.5/10

Wayne Wang's career certainly went to shit later, but this is still a very unique, funny, and supremely bizarre entity in cinema. Like a late 60s era Godard at his most satirical but through the eyes of Asian-American diaspora. But with way more gore. But there's a lot more than just Godardian style to it as well, this is a really unique film on all accounts. It plays a lot with the absurd feeling that is natural when someone "Chinese" but born in America visits their "home country" but barely speaks a word. It seems absurd, but Hong Kong is an absurd place. The world is an absurd place. So we might as well laugh about it. That's what I got from this at least, it's an amazing film.

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I tre volti della paura (1963) Mario Bava - Black Sabbath - 6.5/10

Ramps up the 60s shlock a bit but this is still some extremely solid work from Bava. Not sure why I put this one off for so long, I guess anthology films can just be kinda eh. This one's really good though. Tons of awesome, sumptuous, gothy sets and some sp00kky shit going on within them. Best story is probably the second one which is how I like vampire stuff to be; totally creepy old Russian manors with evil things crawling around outside in the wind. Aw yeah. I think Bava feels the same because it's definitely the longest.

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Mamma Roma (1962) Pier Paolo Pasolini - 7.5/10

Maybe it's before Pasolini really developed his style but regardless this is one of the finer works of Italian neorealism. But there are hints at uniquely Pasolinian touches as well, with his special attention to vulgarity and the division of social classes that causes imagined boundaries between people. Stuff like that. Good!

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Glitterbug (1994) Derek Jarman - 6/10

A collection of Jarman's Super-8 recordings with a nice score by Eno. Nothing particularly exceptional but there are some cool scenes and overall it has a nice atmosphere. Some moments are on some Chumlum/Mekas shit, although most of it isn't. But it's still cool.

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Apocalypse Now (1979) Francis Ford Coppola - 5/10

Someone last year at university was talking about this and said "Wait, you haven't seen Apocalypse Now? YOU of all people should have seen it!". Then his girlfriend said "that is such a GUY movie". Well, here you go. There are some undoubtedly cool parts to this but I wasn't overly impressed. I wish I could explain more why, I just thought it didn't go far enough for me in its psychological direction I guess. I'm really not trying to be 2 contrarian 4 y'all 2 handle, I went into it with an open mind. If I was just trying to be as contrarian as possible my entire review would just be Strike Commando > Apocalypse Now (trufax though).

Also I don't like The Doors very much, sorry.

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Zítra vstanu a opařím se čajem (1977) Jindřich Polák - Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea - 8/10

Wow, this is crazy and stupid and hilarious in a lot of ways. I don't even know where to start. So basically it's about a group of old Nazis in the 70s (when else could it be with that fucking awesome disco soundtrack) who plan to use a time machine to help Hitler win WWII. But that's only the start to a plethora of absurd and very funny scenes of pure nonsense. A film that only Czechoslovakia could make…

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Philosophy of a Knife (2008) Andrey Iskanov - 6/10

This film is incredibly frustrating. In general, it seems strained between being a very factual and sombre documentary, an exploitative gore film, and a strange recreation of history with Guy Maddin-style “age” added to recreated footage. This actually works pretty well because it makes it extra eerie when you’re not sure where the archival footage begins and ends. But the problem isn’t with any of those things, all three of those styles could make a great film. However, when historical fact gets sacrificed in a film so concerned with showing us the “real” history of Unit 731, it becomes a glaring flaw.

I’m not an expert on this period but I really do doubt a lot of the “research” that went into these recreations because of how dramatic and cinematic they are. Iskanov isn’t quite a great enough director to pull off blending documentary and fiction well enough for this to not seem awkward and amateurish. They’re kind of cool scenes in themselves but there’s so much dissonance with the historical parts that the film totally fails in that regard and what is otherwise a pretty cool dreamy gore extravaganza gets totally ruined. It’s a real shame because Unit 731 is a story that has a lot of potential and should be more explored since it’s one of the most tragic and horrid episodes of WWII in the East. It deserves either a very well-researched documentary, a great narrative, or a very imaginative experimental recreation, and not a mediocre hodgepodge of all three.

Now, the film’s non-documentary parts are actually pretty good if you don’t view it from the perspective of historical authenticity. They are really are quite exquisitely uncomfortable and beautifully disturbing, but the film betrays their potential by putting them in a historical framework. If only Iskanov would have abandoned the idea of trying to wedge an objective view of WWII into the film and just decided to make a beautifully eerie, expressionistic film about Unit 731 and its horrors that wasn’t necessarily 100% historically accurate, this would be great. There’s also some fascinating and absolutely horrifying archival footage that could remain, but I will admit that they kinda just make me wish Gianikian and Lucchi made a film on the subject, that would be incredible. More than anything those long interviews just need to be cut out, they’re interesting on their own but completely ruin the flow of the film.

It’s too bad, this film could have been great. However, the one thing that can’t be denied it that this movie has one of the most badass themes ever made, oh my god I love that thumping industrial punishment.

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Kill la Kill (2013-2014) - 7/10
24 episodes

An unmistakable work of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s. I have mixed feelings on him but ultimately I consider myself a fan. Roujin hit the nail on the head in noting that his work can feel a bit too hollow, despite the talent and distinctiveness underlying it all. But I understand at the same time that shows like the ones he makes aren’t supposed to deal with anything “deep” in the stereotypical meaning of the word. They’re about adrenaline and intensity, and oh my god do they deliver. If you want to see constant screaming, motion, titties, and surreality, Imaishi is that niche’s undisputed master. And sometimes I need that.

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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007) - 7/10
27 episodes

My friend is a huge Hiroyuki Imaishi fan and he was in town for the weekend so we marathonned through this whole series in two days, which was fun but made all of my senses hurt by the end. It's a pretty good show, maybe Imaishi’s best actually. But after two Imaishi series in a row I'm about done with this action mecha shit, next time I watch an animu I’m gonna need some really girly shôjo romansu. Next I'm gonna watch Kimi ni todoke and I look forward to soaking my Pocky with tears to it.
Last edited by plasma_birds on July 9th, 2014, 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

plasma_birds
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#21

Post by plasma_birds » July 13th, 2014, 11:17 am

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La Perle (1929) Henri d'Ursel - 8/10

For one thing this has absolutely one of the best scores I've ever heard for a silent. It's a perfect fit: Eerie, lyrical, grim, and very dreamy. This movie is gorgeous and sexy. Lurv it.

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Malu tianshi (1937) Yuan Muzhi - 8.5/10

Zhou Xuaaaaan!! =DD This is a great example of the highs that Chinese silent film can reach and it's a shame so many of these are in such bad condition. As bad as Japan's early film preservation has been these seem to get even less serious restoration. But these films are brilliant. They pack in so much melodrama into such human and quiet moments. There's something jazzy and very free about this filim, despite its tragic and very enormous weight. Like a lot of 30s films of the east, you can really sense the era of the 20s fading in charms and a lot of seriousness crashing down, but full of much more playfulness and cheer than you see in the west. I love it. And yeah, Zhou Xuan singing on screen is absolutely a joy. I wish I could spoke Chinese so I could follow along.

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Beauty #2 (1965) Andy Warhol - 7.5/10

I'm generally mixed on Warhol's filmmaking but this is a standout. Edie Sedgwick and Chuck Wein sit on a bed and talk. A lot of their conversation is hard to understand or follow. Wein fucks around tries to piss her off/fuck her. She gets mad. They're probably both high. It's cool.

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The Telephone Book (1971) Nelson Lyon - 9/10

A beautiful piece of ultra-cheap Americanalienation from the lost scraps of the early 70s. The expert use of physical environments, set pieces, props, and other imagery to reflect on the sexual and emotional disattachment of its characters. The influence this must have had on people like Rappaport can't be overstated. Never has the playful and silly been so absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching in its portrayal of loneliness. 10 SCORCHING WHITE LIGHTS OF MU/10.

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The Adventures of Frontier Fremont (1976) Richard Friedenberg - 7.5/10

Ain't there just something great about watching a VHS rip of something this old and decayed and obscure? This is a silly and cheesy movie but there's something beautiful about it. This is a swell movie about Dan Haggerty becoming a one-with-nature mountain man. I like it because the story is pretty minimal, and wilderness isolation movies are always fun. Cute baby animals are another plus.

Also this was apparently released by "Sunn Classic Pictures", so its new official name is The Adventures of FrO)))ntier FremO)))nt.

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Monzetsu!! Dondengaeshi (1977) Kumashiro Tatsumi - Painful Bliss: Final Twist - 7.5/10

Kumashiro is seriously becoming an amazing director the more I watch him. It might open with TITTIES IN YO FACE but don't let that make you think that there isn't a lot of serious thought behind this film. All things considered Kumashiro may not make works as wholly subversive and transcendent as some of his pinku auteur peers do, but as far as solid genre-adhering works of art, it's hard to beat his consistency. Also Tani Naomi is in it <3.

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Pickled Punk (1993) Yamaoka Hideo - 9/10

Kind of like the Japanese version of Greg Hanec's Downtime or early Jost or something, but more experimental and concerned with inner thoughts. But like that film, there are a lot of absurd little looks at daily life as shown through the routine actions of ordinary people. But it also involves 90s punks in Japan! It's really silly and fun, but also extremely creative and original. The punk-influenced late 80s/early 90s in Japan really is a special place for cinema… probably the best Japanese cinema has ever been since the decline of the 70s new wave. And this is a spectacular example of why.

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Jeanne la Pucelle I: Les batailles (1994) Jacques Rivette - Joan the Maid 1: The Battles - 9/10

After Ne touchez pas la hache I wasn't sure how I felt about Rivette directing a historical film but this is an absolute masterpiece. The credits alone with the director name Rivette and that haunting music got me giddy, and it's only augmented by Sandrine Bonnaire (who else would be more perfect to play Jeanne?) and William Lubtchansky on da cam. On some levels this film is similar to works like Lancelot du Lac in the way it takes a story full of legend and romanticization and tries to make it incredibly realistic and downplayed, although while this is certainly not as playful a film as much of his earlier work, Rivette is not nearly as austere as Bresson. It sounds so simple but I really do think it can be such a powerful thing to do, to take an iconic figure of history and realize them as human. He also chooses to add some interview segments which does even more to distance us from the mythical quality. All of the film together makes this a great example of Rivette using elliptical, indirect aesthetics to completely deconstruct and recreate a well-known historical episode.

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Jeanne la Pucelle II: Les prisons (1994) Jacques Rivette - Joan the Maid 2: The Prisons - 9/10

More of the above, just as great as the first one and pretty much the same movie. Not much to say about this one that you can't say about the first one except that it focuses more on expert indoor composition and mise-en-scène rather than the muck and outside of the first.

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Gut-Pile (1997) Jerry O'Sullivan - 4/10

It's about a hunter who shoots another hunter accidentally and buries him instead of calling da feds. Then sometime later his titular gutpile comes back to haunt the murderer!! It isn't even entertaining, most of it is empty filler. It's one of those stupid, horrible-looking video horror movies from around the turn of the century which was obviously made on zero budget and even less imagination. They aren't unintentionally funny or anything, but for whatever reason I love watching movies like this. More than three in a row can be a bit much though…

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Tabula Rasa (2005) Sébastien Cros - 9/10

A beautiful work in the grand tradition of directors like Tscherkassky and Fruhauf. An uncomfortable buzzing underlines a lot of imagery, full of quick flashes, deteriorated splotches, and eerie darkened/inverted imagery. I love it.

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Kimi ni todoke (2009-2010) - 8.5/10
25 episodes

What a heartwarming show. Its plot sounds like nothing special: a shy and unpopular girl becomes friends with a popular guy in school and finds her social world expanding and facing the ups and downs that come with this. But the simplicity of this setup is what makes it such a great show. Almost all the show consists of is giving characters room to breathe and grow, and it does so delicately, gracefully, and subtly hilariously. Gr88 sissycore animu.
Last edited by plasma_birds on July 13th, 2014, 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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