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Tales From My Netflix Queue

Comment on the Isthmus movie reviews, write one yourself, discuss upcoming flicks, recent DVDs, and other realms in the world of cinema.

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:26 pm

supaunknown wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
buckyor wrote:
Marvell wrote:Can't say I ever miss a rape scene, though. But that's just me.

A Clockwork Orange? Rosemary's Baby? Those are two that come immediately to mind.

Once Upon A Time In America always come to my mind first, perhaps because there are two.

C'mon, that broad in the jeweler scene was asking for it. Ah, Leone.

Irreversible? Did anyone actually see that?
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:43 pm

supaunknown wrote:Ah, Leone.


Frankie: Tell these guys the story about the pussy being insured. What is it? Tell these guys how you stumbled on this whole thing. Come on... Pussy insurance? The insurance pussies? Tell them that story.

Joe: Life is stranger than shit, that's all. It's a pisser. No big story.
I got this insurance agent -- this Jew kid named David. He conned me into every policy in the world. Every policy, name it: Dogs, house, wife, life, anything. I'm drinking with the boys one night, he comes in with his wife - a brunette with a nice ass who works for a jeweler - and he's still on the hustle, this guy.
So I wink at the guys, I say, "Look... the most serious policy, you don't have me covered for."
He goes, "What's that, Joe?"
"Cock insurance -- You make me a policy that when it don't work, I get a payment... and I'll write out a check now."
He thinks, and he says, "I don't know if the ac-tu-ality gauges govern this... but we can make a policy. But you gotta guarantee you're in good health now."
I says, "Look, leave her with me. Come back and see if it stands up. If it stands up, you know I'm in good health."
The jerk leaves her. I screw her. Not only that -- she likes it, and she blabs when her boss, the jeweler is shipping stones to Holland... where he keeps his stash in a drawer in the safe... everything. Can't ask for more, right? Except, one better: I never paid the first premium on the new cock policy.
Cock insurance. Life is funnier than shit.
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Postby supaunknown » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:56 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Irreversible? Did anyone actually see that?

I think Wags might've seen that on the medical release forms he signed last year.
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:15 pm

supaunknown wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:Irreversible? Did anyone actually see that?

I think Wags might've seen that on the medical release forms he signed last year.

Actually, the fact sheet provided by the hospital was emphatic that the procedure was reversible. The actual doctor, on the other hand, suggested to me that... well... not so much.

Oh, and I think you might need to wind your watch.
I'm coming up on my fourth wedding anniversary in August.
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Postby depinmad » Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:19 pm

i saw irreversible.

if you're gonna only see one rape scene, i guess that would be the one to see.
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Postby supaunknown » Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:54 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Oh, and I think you might need to wind your watch.
I'm coming up on my fourth wedding anniversary in August.

Such much? Wow. That's considered the "flower & fruit" anniversary. If Goodness is the flower I guess that makes you part eggplant.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:05 pm

I have discovered a fairly significant error in either my Foron Interbreeding Chart, or my Foron Face Card file.
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Postby Marvell » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:21 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:I have discovered a fairly significant error in either my Foron Interbreeding Chart, or my Foron Face Card file.


It's all a rich tapestry.

Forauna.
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Postby Marvell » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:07 pm

Saw Crimewave (aka The XYZ Murders) the other day. For those not in the know, this was a 1986 film, directed by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead franchise; Hercules/Xena franchise; Spiderman franchise; The Quick and The Dead) and co-written with the Coen Brothers.

Not, in last analysis, a very good film - but containing material that would later re-emerge in such films as Army of Darkness and The Hudsucker Proxy. The duo of 'exterminators' (played by Paul L. Smith and Blade Runner's Brion James) in particular seems a dry run for Raising Arizona's Gayle and Evelle Snoats.

Also saw Fulci's The House By the Cemetery. This is the first Fulci film I've seen, and it's clear there's some real talent amidst the tacky gore effects. Despite all the gratuitous ripping off of other, better movies (The Shining and The Omen most obviously), I have to hand it to Fulci - Dr. Freudstein is one of the great movie monsters, and Fulci's aggressive use of alienation techniques has a similar effect as in Full Metal Jacket - one's reasons for enjoying what you as a spectator are witnessing are made a central, explicitly moral aspect of one's 'enjoyment' of the film.

Seeing the patriarchal nuclear family literally ripped into pieces by the unrestrained, liberated id is pretty strong medicine - I understand how it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. And Fulci's willingness to toy with one of the basic rules of bourgeois film ethics - thou shalt not show a physically endangered child - is precisely what gives The House By the Cemetery its subversive charge. Despite all the brilliance of Jack Nicholson's performance as Jack Torrence, no one was ever really worried that Danny in The Shining would get out okay; compare that with Bobby Boyle, who may or may not make it out of the film alive, depending on one's interpretation of the end of the movie.

I don't know if I always agree with Fulci's ethics as an artist - he's a little too exploitative for my tastes (a trait he shares with Jodorowsky and the Roger Corman of G-a-s-s-s-s) - but it's pretty clear his heart is in the right place.

I.e. he's for good. As opposed to evil.
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Postby Marvell » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:48 pm

I seem to be on the Italian cinema tip - last night I finished watching Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist / Il Conformista.

I recognize that Bertolucci has a deserved reputation as a great filmmaker, but I don't think I've ever completely enjoyed any of his films - with the possible exception of his very early Before the Revolution. Granted I haven't seen even close to everything he's done, but what I have seen always leaves me feeling frustrated - his lapses in taste and judgment seem only augmented by the brilliance of what he does achieve.

Which in The Conformist is considerable - and hugely influential on other films more familiar to an American audience. Kim Arcalli's editing scheme - which attempts to mimic the temporally-fragmented experience of memory by the subjective mind - clearly anticipates and influences similar structures in The Godfather Part II and Once Upon a Time in America; while the incomparable Vittorio Storaro's cinematography (he would go on to shoot Apocalypse Now for Francis Ford Coppola as well as most of Warren Beatty and Bertolucci's later films) is never anything but jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Certainly it bears mentioning that the Coen brothers stole huge chunks of The Conformist - including specific visual images - and plopped them into Miller's Crossing (much like they did with Night of the Hunter and Raising Arizona, and The Long Goodbye and The Big Lebowski).

But there's a lot I didn't like about The Conformist, too. I understand that the imagery in the Rome sequences was intentionally absurdist and hyperbolic - that Bertolucci was trying to create a visual metaphor for the insane quality of life in a fascist society. But after a while it gets a little too on the nose - I could have done without the shot of the protagonist, taken through a window with a postcard of Laurel and Hardy pasted on it in the foreground; we get that he's a clown, already.

And I can certainly understand why Bertolucci staged the assassination of the Professor so as to echo the murder of Julius Caesar - this is a film about Italian fascism, after all. But it's such an obvious touch that it comes off as merely clever - not profound.

Which particularly grates, because Dominique Sanda's death scene, coming immediately afterwards, is profound - it conveys the all the horror that Bertolucci is after. It's a devastating sequence, and yet after that we've got a stupid, tacked on denouement that leaves you unconvinced that Bertolucci really knows what he's trying to say.

Bertolucci's handling of his female characters is also often crude, and since he wrote the script he really doesn't have any excuse. Among other things, he's got some really weird ideas about lesbians.

But that's Bertolucci for you. I went to see Little Buddha and, laughable as it was, I sat through the damn thing - Keanu Reeves and all - because all that silly quasi-Buddhism was so gosh darn purty. Likewise I endured all the sexual emptiness and ennui of The Sheltering Sky because the entire ass-numbing ordeal was redeemed by an unbelievable sequence - shot using actual moonlight - amidst the dunes of the Sahara.

I've got 1900 / Novecento coming up on my queue; I'll probably be equally enraged and enraptured by that one too.
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Postby Marvell » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:26 pm

Since this whole Netflix experiment started I've been working my way through the oeuvre of Nicholas Roeg, the cameraman turned director. The first Roeg film I saw was The Witches, at some hotel somewhere on cable - I thought it was great, one of the best children's films I've ever seen. And his reputation is as one of the great visual filmmakers of the 60's and 70's, which with my scopophilic bent is an easy sell. Finally, I had heard his films are marked by a frank exploration of psychology, sexuality and cultural taboos, without concern for petty bourgeois morals - making him, if not a kindred spirit, at least a fellow traveler.

I started with The Man Who Fell to Earth, which had many lovely moments but which was fatally incoherent and at least a half an hour overlong - I appreciated the scope of its ambition, but it wrote too many checks it simply could not cash.

Then, this week in short succession I saw Performance and Don't Look Now.

Performance held my attention better; partly because of the anticipation of seeing Mick Jagger in his signature film role. Danny Peary in his Cult Films chapter on Performance is very critical of Jagger's performance, but I disagree - I think he's often sensational, and is used sensationally by Roeg and his co-director (and screenwriter) Donald Cammell.

Both Peary and the various talking heads on the DVD's special features documentary stated that Jagger's character Turner was intended to be a in-touch with himself, peace-and-love alternate to the brutal, repressed Chaz; to me this interpretation is staggeringly wrong. In my opinion, Turner is clearly meant to be seen as an almost demonic figure (most notably in the ur-music video "Memo From Turner"); he toys with the desperate Chaz and evidences nothing but contempt and indifference to the other members of his household. Notably, when he reads from his manuscript that he supposedly retired to concentrate on it's terrible, portentous swill - I'm assuming that was intentional, but I may be giving Mr. Cammell too much credit. When Chaz finally puts the bullet of Truth through Turner's brain, becoming him in the process (yes, that's actually what happens), what I think we're supposed to take away from it is that the gangster and the rock star are not different sides of the coin but rather different manifestations of the same thing - the demonic, creative, destructive power of the Id. Existence before personality - Wallace Stevens' palm at the end of the mind.

Don't Look Back was, on the surface, more sedate. But no one since Hitchcock - maybe not even Hitchcock himself - has been able to pack so much sheer, unnerving dread into a film as Roeg did in Don't Look Back. The location photography of Venice is stunning, and the aggressive, witty use of color - the color red is used with an almost Pavlovian rigor to signify dis-ease - help make this film a treat for the eyes.

Does it all hang together? I think it does, but with these puzzle movies it's always inherently difficult to come to consensus. I read it as a fairly profound statement about the limits of rationality versus the power of intuition and spirit - but then, that's a fight I have a dog/god in; others, who settled that argument long ago, may find it simply baffling and, ultimately, cryptic to the point of tediousness.

If you're one of those people, don't ever rent Antonioni's The Passenger. Oh man would that be a bad idea.

So after all that high art and high-falutination I fluffed out my fro and caught the divine Pam Grier in Coffy. I was delighted to see the one and only Sid Haig's name roll by in the opening credits - and sure enough, His Sidness doesn't disappoint. And Alan Arbush (!) shows up as a Vegas racketeer horning in on 'the black mob's turf' - if you've always wanted to see Maj. Sidney Freedman sexually and racially degrading Pam Grier, this is your big chance.

About Pam Grier, what can you say? At this point she really wasn't much of an actress (her Jamaican accent is an embarrassment), but there's no disputing that she was a star - she looks fantastic, and has a raw vitality that explodes off the screen - another 70's icon, Bruce Lee, was also not much of an actor but an incredible screen presence.

And she will fuck a motherfucker up with a shotgun. Ho-lee Shit.
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Postby Bucky Goldstein » Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:29 pm

Irreversible? Did anyone actually see that?


ugly but brilliant. if anyone likes gaspar noe's work, check this movie out:

calvaire
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407621/[/code][/url]
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Postby depinmad » Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:33 am

Marvell wrote:Since this whole Netflix experiment started I've been working my way through the oeuvre of Nicholas Roeg, the cameraman turned director. The first Roeg film I saw was The Witches, at some hotel somewhere on cable - I thought it was great, one of the best children's films I've ever seen. And his reputation is as one of the great visual filmmakers of the 60's and 70's, which with my scopophilic bent is an easy sell. Finally, I had heard his films are marked by a frank exploration of psychology, sexuality and cultural taboos, without concern for petty bourgeois morals - making him, if not a kindred spirit, at least a fellow traveler.

I started with The Man Who Fell to Earth, which had many lovely moments but which was fatally incoherent and at least a half an hour overlong - I appreciated the scope of its ambition, but it wrote too many checks it simply could not cash.

Then, this week in short succession I saw Performance and Don't Look Now.

Performance held my attention better; partly because of the anticipation of seeing Mick Jagger in his signature film role. Danny Peary in his Cult Films chapter on Performance is very critical of Jagger's performance, but I disagree - I think he's often sensational, and is used sensationally by Roeg and his co-director (and screenwriter) Donald Cammell.

Both Peary and the various talking heads on the DVD's special features documentary stated that Jagger's character Turner was intended to be a in-touch with himself, peace-and-love alternate to the brutal, repressed Chaz; to me this interpretation is staggeringly wrong. In my opinion, Turner is clearly meant to be seen as an almost demonic figure (most notably in the ur-music video "Memo From Turner"); he toys with the desperate Chaz and evidences nothing but contempt and indifference to the other members of his household. Notably, when he reads from his manuscript that he supposedly retired to concentrate on it's terrible, portentous swill - I'm assuming that was intentional, but I may be giving Mr. Cammell too much credit. When Chaz finally puts the bullet of Truth through Turner's brain, becoming him in the process (yes, that's actually what happens), what I think we're supposed to take away from it is that the gangster and the rock star are not different sides of the coin but rather different manifestations of the same thing - the demonic, creative, destructive power of the Id. Existence before personality - Wallace Stevens' palm at the end of the mind.

Don't Look Back was, on the surface, more sedate. But no one since Hitchcock - maybe not even Hitchcock himself - has been able to pack so much sheer, unnerving dread into a film as Roeg did in Don't Look Back. The location photography of Venice is stunning, and the aggressive, witty use of color - the color red is used with an almost Pavlovian rigor to signify dis-ease - help make this film a treat for the eyes.

Does it all hang together? I think it does, but with these puzzle movies it's always inherently difficult to come to consensus. I read it as a fairly profound statement about the limits of rationality versus the power of intuition and spirit - but then, that's a fight I have a dog/god in; others, who settled that argument long ago, may find it simply baffling and, ultimately, cryptic to the point of tediousness.

If you're one of those people, don't ever rent Antonioni's The Passenger. Oh man would that be a bad idea.

So after all that high art and high-falutination I fluffed out my fro and caught the divine Pam Grier in Coffy. I was delighted to see the one and only Sid Haig's name roll by in the opening credits - and sure enough, His Sidness doesn't disappoint. And Alan Arbush (!) shows up as a Vegas racketeer horning in on 'the black mob's turf' - if you've always wanted to see Maj. Sidney Freedman sexually and racially degrading Pam Grier, this is your big chance.

About Pam Grier, what can you say? At this point she really wasn't much of an actress (her Jamaican accent is an embarrassment), but there's no disputing that she was a star - she looks fantastic, and has a raw vitality that explodes off the screen - another 70's icon, Bruce Lee, was also not much of an actor but an incredible screen presence.

And she will fuck a motherfucker up with a shotgun. Ho-lee Shit.




don't look now is a masterpiece. you might wanna go back and fix all your references to don't look BACK. different movie altogether.

also disagree about crimewave. that film is teeming with very funny and exciting sequences and ideas.
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Postby The Center Square » Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:43 am

A few things I learned via Netflix recently:

In the current US economic environment, investing in Jonathan Hart Industries is a smart move.

Joe Penny IS Nick Ryder I am not. Thank God.

Susan Tyrell, Solly Mosler... it's all the same in the dark.
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Postby boston_jeff » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:12 pm

Irreversible is excellent but disturbing, and I loved Don't Look Now, saw it right after my honeymoon where we visited Venice.
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