What If We Remade “I Confess”… But Sleazy?: And more movie notes

Wow, guys, this is a lot. Strap in.A Cottage on Dartmoor: British silent revenge flick; very grabby with the intercutting and the emotional intensity; ends with quite poignant scene of forgiveness. Forgiveness, rather than reunion, as the climax of a love story.Laura: Noir (although the noir style mostly doesn't kick in until late) and mostly standard, although I liked how pleasant and undefensive the career-woman scenes were. There's a specific kind of relationship here, the man who … [Read more...]

Taking the Rough with the Smooch: Movie notes

A couple quick hits before we move to our main event, viz. a trip back in time to Gay 1986.Habit: Do you like artsy bisexual '90s vampire movies, but found Nadja too cold, The Addiction too smart, and everybody too good-looking? Boy do I have a film for you. Habit follows a startlingly disheveled and run-down dropout type (writer/director/star Larry Fessenden) as he meets a cute early-'90s chick at a party and begins to wonder why people are disappearing. The direction is really sharp--the … [Read more...]

All Their Wars Are Merry: Short movie reviews

In the order in which I saw them.Specter of the Rose: Utterly whackadoo noirish thing by Ben Hecht, set in the world of ballet. You'd think I'd love it! But the acting is just not great, and the main characters are wafer-thin. If you're more willing than I was to succumb to the pasteboard melodrama of it all you might love this. There is one truly great line: "If we jailed all the people I dislike, the world would become a pensive vacuum."Hunger: Intense, complex Bobby Sands/Maze prison … [Read more...]

NO SURFERS: “Tuff Turf” (1985 at Its 1985iest)

So they told me that James Spader and Robert Downey, Jr., in their misspent youth, once played semipunk delinquent BFFs. They did not have to tell me more.Tuff Turf (dir. Fritz Kiersch, and now I want to know why I don't know this name already) is sort of John Hughes high-school class-war romance (only not annoying like John Hughes movies always eventually are), in the Reseda version of the school from Class of '84. Gangs prowl and switchblades bristle, but instead of CO84's howling anger … [Read more...]

File Under Sacred Music: Movie Notes

Daisies: A mid-'60s Czech feminist romp, and incredibly enjoyable from the first frame to the last. The costumes and set designs are all about childlike fun; the overall ethos is, "Eat dessert first!"Victor Morton points out the way this film is women's lib, not women's rights, and like all purely liberatory gestures it can't be justified--and Daisies itself acknowledges that! It cheerfully admits that it's unsustainable and gratuitous, utopian in the fullest sense, a Candyland and not a … [Read more...]

I Don’t Believe in Modern Love (But I Do Love “Modern Manners”)

Recently revisited Modern Manners: An Etiquette Guide for Rude People, my favorite PJ O'Rourke. I think what makes it work is the mix of elements. It's mostly corny humor, like the extended segment on food fights ("Use a raw oyster to show someone what a French kiss would be like if she'd married a reptile"). There's also a lot of witticism: a lot of peppy, preppy cynicism. But mixed into all that there is just enough genuine insight (the bit about how modern people have replaced love with … [Read more...]

Movie Must-Watch Notes: Abuse of Power Comes as a TOTAL Surprise!

OK, first of all I have to tell you that I saw Tickled and I want you to go see it without knowing much about it. I went in knowing that it was a documentary about "competitive endurance tickling" and the filmmaker uncovers... something? a weird thing? the story is weirder than it sounds? So I assumed it would be a story about a subculture, maybe about how we build community or identity off of inexplicable and sometimes sad things.NOPE. It starts out very, very funny, and the humor is … [Read more...]