Good weekend to all of you.This week I have been reflecting on eight years of delving into European genre and exploitation cinema: giallo, Italian horror, peplum, poliziotteschi, Lesbian vampires, and a lot more. It has been a satisfying, and sometimes obsessive, cinematic journey, bringing some of the best memories of the last decade. With everyday life taking over more and more, it is harder to find the energy to devote to movies on that scale. I can also sense my tastes beginning to shift. With these thoughts, I was inspired to watch a couple films I had not yet gotten around to. EUGENIE (1970) – This Jess Franco production exemplifies the blending of arthouse cinema and genre and exploitation elements that first caught my attention with SUSPIRIA. Franco is no Argento, though. I admit to being a Franco fan, and this film comes from his best period. Beyond the smut (there is plenty of that), there are artful shots and sequences that, when combined with a terrific score from Bruno Nicolai, create a genuine sense of beauty and atmosphere. The pace is glacial, which alternately hurts and enhances the film. Jess Franco would become a hack, but he was still striving for some artistry in 1970.FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (1970) – On the trashier end of the European genre movie spectrum is this film Mario Bava made as a director-for-hire. With an awful script and almost no money, it is to Bava’s credit that the film is watchable. His skill as a cameraman shines through all of the mediocrity. Maybe those zooms are a little too zealous, however. There is some black humor to engage the viewer, but the aspect that is most appealing is the actresses. They all look great, with Edwige Fenech standing out the most. Her dance at the beginning of the film is the highlight of FIVE DOLLS.Needing to get out a for a night, I went to a theater to see THE FLORIDA PROJECT. I was drawn in from the first moment the kids came up on the screen. The film is a good example of letting the images tell the story. Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of the motel manager is beautifully nuanced, being stern when required while still being sympathetic to the plight of the residents. The way the humor of the kids’ adventures tempers the harshness of the characters’ lives reminds me Chaplin’s THE KID.None of these films were on my agenda starting the week, but plans frequently change. I might get to FAT CITY or THE BOOGEYMAN this weekend. Netflix also just sent me the original BLACK CHRISTMAS. Choices to make.
You should really watch Fat City. Great movie.
It is on my DVR. I will definitely get to it.
Boogeyman and Black Christmas is a fantastic double feature. Save BC for 2nd though for the snowy, nighttime atmosphere.
Did a four-movie marathon in my local theater the other day, with The Eternal Road, Loving Vincent, Murder on the Orient Express and The Foreigner.The Eternal Road (Ikitie) is an excellent Finnish historical drama about Finnish immigrants in the Soviet Union in the 1930's, looking for the promised land and finding only oppression. It's probably the best-looking Finnish film I've ever seen and the story is compelling (it's based on a real story). I'd recommend it if it ever goes international.Loving Vincent is a gorgeous movie (it's an animation done entirely in oil paintings), so much so that the it takes away from the story a bit. I was left admiring the look and didn't pay that much attention to what was actually going on.I was surprised how much I engaged with Murder on the Orient Express, seeing how I already knew the solution to the mystery. The movie looks great, the ensemble does fine work and the plot moves at a pace. I even liked Branagh's Poirot, even though I'm still partial to David Suchet, having watched him in the role for years.And The Foreigner is exactly the kind of movie I'd expect to read about in a future Redboxing article. A thriller straight from the 90's with people mostly telling each other things they already know beause they need to get the exposition out of the way. Oh, and it's based on a book called The Chinaman, which they presumably changed because that's not a great title in 2017. But they still managed to use the word "chinaman" in dialogue about half a dozen times.Also caught up with 2017 movies I missed, with Split, The Founder and Free Fire, all of which were fine.Oh, and Jurassic Park on Blu-ray in 3D, because why not.
i'm actually watching Jurassic Park tonight at my friend's place. it's been a while. and we're not watching it because of the trailer for the new one. it was just time for a rewatchi really liked Free Fire, though the trailer was a bit misleading.i really want to see Murder On The Orient Express, but i'll have to wait for VOD
Die Another Day: Yes, I like this one. I like Pierce Brosnan, Rosamund Pike and Halle Berry. I like there’s a guy with expensive acne. I like the ice castle. I like the invisible car that barely serves any purpose. And I love lasers from the sky.Kick Ass: I loved this movie since the first time I saw it. I like how it turns the superhero genre on its head while still being a love letter to the genre.Kingsman The Secret Service: Same as with Kick Ass. Love every minute of it. And the ending is one of the greatest in recent years.Jabberwocky: Terry Gilliam is one of my favorite directors. This one is his solo directing debut and it shows, navigating between two kinds of movie. Not quite Monty Python, not quite what Gilliam became. Still a very fun and inventive movie, elevated by the great Criterion Collection edition that came out recently.Doc Hollywood: Fun, charming and unpretentious comedy with Michael J Fox at the top of his game.The Secret Of My Success: Another cute one. Bit of a lull around the middle, but the maestro/sex scene is well worth the price of admission alone.Mother!: Well, it didn’t disappoint. Not the kind of movie that you love or hate, you just think about it and discuss it. A weird movie, assault to the sense, packed to the gills with metaphors and analogies. Can’t wait to revisit it.Wanted: the one that made me discover James Mcavoy. it's a ridiculous movie, with ridiculous action, but no less than any Fast And Furious and Jurassic Park. Yes the curving bullet is silly, but so is an invisible island packed with amazon women.
Jabberwocky! Haven't seen that in ages. Or thought about it. Might be time to revisit.My memory of it is that it's pretty dull, apart from that one scene of a messenger reading an announcement in the town square and a drummer (played by Neil Innes I think) constantly interrupting him. I remember thinking that scene was hilarious.
Jabberwocky is definitely not the best movie around. Gilliam is still looking for his voice, but it's worth it just to see where the man started.everything with the announcer is funny. i liked when he interrupt the king with his interminable description of his glory.
I enjoyed the experience of MOTHER! for the same reason. Is the film trying to express something or purely an exercise in being as strange as possible? It strikes me as doing a little of both. I give Aronofsky credit for making a deliberately cryptic film in today's Hollywood. The question is whether it will affect his creative freedom for future projects.
You are reminding me that Michael J. Fox did have a good run in movies during the '80s. The Secret Of My Success was a staple on cable at the time. There were the Back to the Future films, of course. Teen Wolf was a big hit. I do not remember Doc Hollywood being a bad film, either. One of those big city professional in the country types of stories.
Dunkirk: Nolan restrains himself to an hour 45 mins and still manages to make it feel like a four hour movie. Geeez, so boring.One of Us: Cult infiltration sub-genre film. Plays like a TV movie of the week and not in a good way. VHS Forever? Psychotronic People: Documentary about the VHS boom in the UK. People talk and talk and talk about how special their VHS collections are. It's like a 90 minute show and tell. Really bad. Trifecta of shitty films last night, hoping tonight is better!
Ugh, thank you. Dunkirk was the most bored I was in a theater all year. I don't understand the love for it at all, but... *grumble* I'm happy if people enjoy it.
I have watched a couple of docs on the VHS era- REWIND THIS! and ADJUST YOUR TRACKING - that I liked. With a relatively limited subject, I think there is not much fresh ground left for documentaries to cover.
Agree with both of you. I've seen those other docs too, they are "fine".
I attended a screening of ADJUST YOUR TRACKING in Pittsburgh when its directors were taking the film around the country. This was probably four years ago. I had the chance to ask them a couple of questions. Afterwards there was a sale of VHS tapes. Thinking about it now, that was a great night out.
That sounds like a blast!
There are tons of movies I "have to" watch for all the year-end hoopla, but tonight I just wanted something familiar and comfortable. So after a few minutes of standing in front of my movie collection, I put on the DVD of The Distinguished Gentleman.It's a movie I saw in the theater with my older brother at ten years old and understood probably half of the jokes, but it's weirdly stayed with me and I've seen it enough times to have whole scenes memorized. It's not like it's anything special or one of Eddie Murphy's best, but I just find it strangely comforting and easy to watch. I'll do the "homework" some other day.
Nothing wrong with a comfort film, Mikko. Considering how many films you have absorbed recently, a familiar favorite seems appropriate. I get in that kind of mood sometimes.
A Finnish film just showed up on Netflix. Have you seen DEVIL'S BRIDE, Mikko?
No, I never saw it, but I remember seeing the trailer a bunch when it came out in theaters here last year. Didn't look half bad, just never got around to seeing it.
Jeepers creepers 3: Fun as fuck to me cause it's ridiculous. The "BEATINGU" truck has now become the equivalent to the Tall Man's orbs from Phantasm. Some great kills, crazy over acting (intentionally?) and a throwback to not caring how silly the plot is made this a really fun watch.
I'm 30 minutes into The Meyerowitz Stories. Struggling. Has anyone seen it? Worth sticking it out?
Ohhh, thanks, we chose El Camino Christmas over that. So far, it's cool.
Turned out to be pretty bad. Almost spiritless, not funny, and pretty boring. Skip it.
Yeah I didn't dig Meyerowitz Stories. Just not my thing like most Baumbach movies. I like Greenberg and Frances Ha and those keep me giving his work a chance.
Same here. I love Frances Ha, like Greenberg, but i have yet to like any other Baumbach film
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I watched While You Were Sleeping! I liked it! (Not sure I've ever not liked a movie with Sandra Bullock). It didn't seem complicated, it felt really typical of its genre in most ways. I wonder how so many similar movies don't get it right when While You Were Sleeping made it seem so easy.I've been thinking about Emma Thompson' and Ang Lee's SEnse & Sensibility, which I do sort of often, as if it takes on new meaning for me every few years. I think I look up to Elinor Dashwood now because she's just...such a good person, it's insane, and even though the stakes are so against her because she's a woman, she STILL does the right thing, at her own sacrifice. My new fav scenes are when Elinor's talking to Edward, basically telling him there's nothing to forgive because even though it crushed their dreams, he was doing what he had to do, being a man of his word (to another woman). She's just so humble to not make him wrong, and so gracious to see the good in him for what he did. She's like a saint.And the other scene - when Marianne has that same kind of moment, when she humanizes the guy who broke her heart. She's the one who provides understanding about Willoughby and reconciles his character. Even though he's a monster for a moment, by the end, I kind of feel sorry for Willoughby but I also respect that he was doing what he felt he had to do, too. (Maybe not everyone will see Willoughby that way, but I super relate to him. I can love someone but I'm not unrealistic- there are other things in life besides romance). I love this story so much because nothing about it is black and white. On the surface, if you look at the cultural context, it would seem the women are all victims and the men are all bad guys. But it does justice for its women by acknowledging that cultural context, yet not simplifying things down to those terms.
I have watched adaptations of all of Jane Austen's novels. The one story I was not able to connect with was Sense And Sensibility. From a BBC adaptation from the 1980s to the film you discuss, it completely leaves me cold. The mid-1990s adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are the ones I remember liking the most. I was a Masterpiece Theater fanatic back then.
That's cool, Casual! My dad is also a big fan of that mid 90's Pride & Prejudice. I didn't care for the BBC's Sense & Sensibility either, though. Emma Thompson's is actually the only Austen I like. I think in a lot of the other movies all I wonder is if the women will get married. In this one I don't think about that, I just want to watch them individually and interact together because they're so funny. "I meant something less mournful, dearest" ;) It may make some difference that I've seen this one thousands of times. Did you like Becoming Jane with Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy?
Like most films made over the past decade, Becoming Jane is one that I missed. The past couple of years I have tried to be better about catching up with films that are more current than the 1970s and 1980s films I tend to watch.That Pride and Prejudice adaptation was extremely popular at the time. The A&E channel showed it frequently for several years. I believe the casting was a major factor in its success. While some of the actors were a little older than the characters they played (Jennifer Ehle), each person fit into his or her role. Mr. Collins is a little scary, actually, even in the book.
You didn't miss much. Except James McAvoy.
I'm really looking forward to the John Brinkley movie with Robert Downey Jr. I just heard Brinkleys story for the first time today on the Reply All podcast.For those who don't know it already - the guy claimed he could cure male impotence by sewing goat testicles into human scrotums, and made millions doing it during the depression. He was a con man who believed HIS OWN cons and in that and many other ways, was just like DT. Which is why this is becoming a popular story this year. Cannot wait to see the movie!
It was Father's Day here in Finland a few weeks ago, and it reminded me of a story about how awesome my dad is. Didn't think to write about it here then, but I will now.I don't remember which movie it was, but as a little kid I was (briefly) obsessed with one particular animated movie. The only drawback was that the VHS we owned was spoken in English with Finnish subtitles, and I was too young to understand either. So my dad would sit with me and read the subtitles to me as I was watching the movie over and over again. When I couldn't get enough of the movie, he eventually recorded his narration on a cassette so I could watch the movie when he wasn't home.Something just made me think of that story again today and for some reason I wanted to share. I love my dad.
That is a friggin' awesome story. Thanks for sharing.
Just a heads up that most of Damon Packard's films are on Amazon Prime now. For those who know my "Brahm" stuff, he directed the 3 videos for my last album and is an underground indie, cult film director who is criminally overlooked. He's not for everyone but certainly has his own voice. His film "Reflections of Evil" made waves years ago. I recommend that, "Foxfur" and the short "Dawn of an Evil Millennium"
i felt kind of mellow this weekend, so i watched a few 'easy' movie that i was familiar with.Jurassic Park: that movie hold up better than most, if not all, blockbusters of today. this is near perfection.Dunkirk: some people don't like it here. i love it. i like the simplicity of the story. i like that it's basically the second half of a big war movie. i like the parralel editing, which can be confusing at times, i admit. i think it adds to the experience if you can stick with it and pay attention. some won't simply like it.Total Recal (2012): it is what it is. as a remake, it's wrong. as a surface level action flick, i think it works. its biggest mistake is to have that title. it should be a decent B-movie.Gladiator: another one that's nothing more than what it appears to be. to me, the movie is very entertaining. Full Metal Jacket: not exactly an easy movie, but one that i'm very familiar with. Stanley Kubrick is arguably the greatest director of all time and this movie is only one more proof as to why. Stargate: another guilty pleasure of mine (i have a lot of them). i always liked this movie. i loved the mythology it created and eventually explored in the tv series (which i wish would come out on blu-ray). plus, Kurt Russel.
Finished the weekend with some classic 1950s sci-fi. IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, directed by Jack Arnold, is a surprisingly intelligent story of humans and aliens and encountering each other. It is a great film all around.