THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE (1959) -- Pretty faithful to GB Shaw's play set at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Can't remember when I've enjoyed Kirk Douglas as much. Lawrence Olivier is charming as General Burgoyne, and Burt Lancaster is well cast as the 'good' preacher brother to Kirk's self-professed Devil's Disciple. Kirk has all the good Shavian lines on convention, morality, power, etc. Enjoyed it a good deal!
Jim Sharman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975
Dan Warburton wrote:
Third date my wife and I went on was a triple feature of Freaks, Eraserhead, and a midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show with an audience that knew all the extra schtick.
Jim Sharman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975
jon abbey wrote:it's astounding, time is fleeting, madness takes its toll....
Ya darn tootin.. Wait until you see what other crazy stuff we've been watching lately!
Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Rainbow Thief, 1990
KGFT tribute to (RIP) Omar Sharif and (RIP) Christopher Lee. Peter O'Toole checked out a couple of years ago. But how did a film with those three giants in it (think Lawrence of Arabia, after all) manage to fall off the radar so spectacularly? Sure, it's not Grade A Jodo (but it's much better than the ill-fated Tusk), but it's often as visually stunning as The Magic Mountain, particularly the opening scenes with Christopher Lee serving bones to his dinner guests and caviar to his dogs. Unfortunately, Lee falls into a coma from which he never emerges – you might have too, if you'd ended up in the arms of the girls he invites to “entertain” him – and without him, much of the action that follows takes place in the sewers, where it gets pretty murky. The city above ground is Gdansk (though not named as such), but we don't see as much of it as we should. Instead, O'Toole and Sharif get VERY wet, one of them drowns (not spoiling) and the other dances off into the dusk with an Irish wolfhound the other bloke lost ages ago. So if you're expecting plot resolution, gah, forget it.
Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, Leviathan, 2012
As you see from the images above, this is as much a "documentary" about the fishing industry as Franju's Blood Of The Beasts is a "documentary" about abbatoirs.. Further reading, for you Francophones http://www.independencia.fr/revue/spip.php?article744
Bertrand Tavernier, Une semaine de vacances, 1980
Like his earlier L'Horloger de Saint Paul, whose lead character makes a brief cameo appearance here, this is as much about Tavernier's home town of Lyons as it is about Nathalie Baye's impending mid-life crisis. Script and acting (bravo Baye, Galabru and Noiret) as subtle and nuanced as Pierre-William Glenn's gorgeous cinematography.
Philippe de Broca, Le farceur, 1960
Until I came across this, I only knew of de Broca as the director of those entertaining if lightweight comedy action thrillers with Jean-Paul Belmondo. Maybe I should give them another spin. Of course, there's no way such a loopy tale of an eccentric dragueur's efforts to woo the gorgeous Anouk Aimée was ever going to get cough cough serious Cahiers-style crrritical acclaim, but I'm prepared to trade all 70s Godard and half of Truffaut for three minutes of this. Pierre Lhomme's filming is simply stunning – Anouk has never been lit so well, neither in Demy's Lola or Fellini's Otto e mezzo – and de Broca's camera moves are as elegant and elaborate as Max Ophüls. A joy, from start to finish. And Jean-Pierre Cassel can dance!
Jack Nicholson, Goin' South, 1979
I can see why many people could seriously hate this – if you don't like Nicholson's mannerisms, the inane grin and the pained, slightly adenoidal articulation, stay away, traveller – but I'm a sucker for strange 70s “postmodern” westerns, many of which (Hellman's first two, Arthur Penn's crazy Missouri Breaks) feature Jack. This one is decidedly odd at times, though; the pace is alarmingly leisurely, even during the (few) action sequences, and there are no surprises in the plot (you know she'll eventually fall for him, you know his shady gangster pals will reappear, you know they'll strike gold, and you know it'll all end happily ever after), so the pleasure of watching the movie is a question of enjoying the journey rather than worrying about the destination. And wondering what on earth John Belushi and Danny DeVito are doing in there.
Alain Corneau, La menace, 1977
Starts out great, but once Marie Dubois has checked out in style you wonder why Montand wanted to shack up with pretty but colourless Carole Laure - and the last fifteen minutes are bloody silly. I guess Corneau's Canadian producers wanted to get some Wages Of Fear heavy duty trucker action in there, but the plot becomes so preposterous it's almost funny. Jean-Francois Balmer's Columbo-like cop is good, though. Stylish, but rather lacking in substance. Try Série Noire instead
Werner Herzog, Land of Silence and Darkness, 1971
Forget Arthur Penn's Miracle Worker, even if Anne Bancroft is quite cute.. watching the amazing Fini Strauberger visit fellow deaf-blind folks is the real deal. Allow me quote from the page I swiped the above shots from:
“It’s very difficult to guess at the thoughts of our pupils, how they think, what they feel,” says one teacher, with great humility. Can a film claim any greater ambition? The institutionalized man who provides Herzog with something approaching a denouement is at once the object of our voyeurism and impervious to it, factors that play to our notions of pleasure as well as discomfiture as spectators. His momentary wandering in an arbored courtyard is seized upon by Herzog, perhaps opportunistically, as he reaches into the limbs of a tree, conferring the reality of both it and himself through contact. The tree of life appears, in the end, quite ordinary. The camera finally lingers on Straubinger, herself beneath the canopy, and one may be provoked by the realization that Herzog has revisited a sentiment laid forth by Rilke in another era, no less human:
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
—excerpted from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke
https://www.fandor.com/keyframe/the-mak ... d-darkness
Clive Barker, Nightbreed, 1990
Who'd a thunk David Cronenberg would be such a splendid screen villain. Ooops, I guess that's a spoiler, but in any case it doesn't take you long to work that out, and he's not the only bad guy in town. I'm not normally all that interested in horror fantasy stuff, but this one's not so bad - well, the Director's Cut isn't anyway. Never saw the Theatrical Version but if you did and want to know what the differences are, here goes:
Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg, Performance, 1970
I always used to think of this as a Nic Roeg movie, but having lately enjoyed some of Cammell's crazy later neo-gialli (White Of The Eye, Wild Side..), I see know why he should get first billing, and not just because C comes before R in the alphabet. This is the third time I've seen this, and I'm prepared to nail colours to the mast and put it in the Dan's Top 50 Favourite Films (whatever the other 49 are..). It's quite simply terrific: quite apart from influencing every other British gangster movie that followed it (and plenty from across the pond too), with its authentic East End hood cast (John "Moody" Bindon ended up being knifed to death, but Johnny "Harry Flowers" Shannon went on to a safer career, even appearing in Fawlty Towers..), it's spectacularly shot and edited, and the performances of James Fox and Mick Jagger deservedly legendary. Add to that the Borges brainfuck ending - who is that in the limo? - and Jagger's awesome "Memo from Turner" and you've got one hell of a great film.
Jean Eustache, Une sale histoire, 1977
"In A Dirty Story Jean Eustache presents the same story of storytelling twice: once in documentary fashion, filmed in 16mm black and white, and a second time in 35mm color with actors. Eustache invited his friend Jean-Noël Picq to sit down with a group of people to recount in detail how once, in the men’s room of a Parisian restaurant, he found a hole in the wall and peered through to a perfect view of the ladies’ room. In order to test his contention that the actor (Lonsdale) would prove more convincing than the real-life storyteller, Eustache placed the fictional version first. While the film never shows anything more shocking than a man talking, French censors gave the film an X rating, proving Eustache’s claim that “sex has nothing to do with morals, not even with aesthetics; sex is a metaphysical affair."
This from the Harvard Film Archive blurb.. except in the version I snatched (eh oui, I would willingly invest seriously in a decent reissue of all Eustache's films, but we may be waiting some time for that, Mr Judex) the first half with Lonsdale is in colour. Anyway, like many of the director's enigmatic short late films, there's enough here for an entire book - in fact, someone has written a book on it (Laurent de Sutter's Théorie du trou : Cinq méditations métaphysiques sur Une sale histoire de Jean Eustache). Blimey. And all that because of a hole.
Abel Ferrara, New Rose Hotel, 1998
Cyberpunk? Hm, maybe the William Gibson book it's based on is (haven't read him, I'm afraid), but this is one sorry ass film. Christopher Walken is so loopy you could swear you're listening to Kevin Pollak taking him off (and so bad in my opinion that he didn't deserve a screenshot.. in any case Asia Argento is prettier), and Dafoe doesn't get to do much either. The director totally runs out of ideas after about 70 minutes and spends the rest of the film splicing together flashbacks of the earlier (in)action. Some pro-Ferrara punters over at IMDb claim they are the same scenes shot from a different angle, and launch into some Baudrillardian nonsense about simulacra and whatnot, but I'll be damned if I'm going to sit through this one again to find out if it's true. Anyway, if you want to see Argento and Dafoe in a Ferrara film, you've got Go Go Tales instead (see reviews passim)