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 Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom 
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Jinnistan wrote:
Did I tell you I have Medusa's Touch on my list?


I hope you are excited by this. Don't listen to everyone laughing at you. They're all wrong.


Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:56 pm
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It's rad!

7.5/10


Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:58 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
7.5/10

aka The Sweet Spot


Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:06 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

This is the kind of wisdom I was looking for.

And is Victory that Pele movie? That's something people watch?

It's actually about Nazi prison-camp escape, but yes, Pele is in it and there is some soccer.


Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:10 pm
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Rock wrote:
Rhinestone has also been on my radar, as I refuse to believe it's as bad as its putrid reputation.

Oh, it's not good, but it's not like some movie that's not competently made or anything, and it has to be seen, it's just part of the deal.


Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:12 pm
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Wooley wrote:
It's actually about Nazi prison-camp escape, but yes, Pele is in it and there is some soccer.

And Michael Caine, folks. Not for nothing.


Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:27 am
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Crumbsroom, I'm gonna need you to explain A Double Tour to me because its greatness flew over my head, but in exchange, I will enclose my thoughts on Paradise Alley below (in short, it's good and its weaknesses are easier to overlook if you like Stallone's writing/directing style on the whole):

A lot better than its less than stellar initial reception would suggest. Yes, it’s clunky and uneven, but I think it’s a lot easier to appreciate now that we have a better handle on Sylvester Stallone’s artistic sensibilities. Like Rocky, this story of three brothers in postwar Hell’s Kitchen is situated somewhere between fable, neorealism and melodrama, although its much heavier on the latter and balances the three elements less elegantly than the other picture. The movie defines its neighbourhood through hissing steam, shadowy soundstages and deep red lighting in the bar scenes, the latter a touch borrowed from Mean Streets, and goes through that influence and almost reaches for Rocco and his Brothers in its study of brotherhood amid squalor. Stallone interestingly gives himself a fairly unsympathetic character, the brother in constant search of a fast buck, and the Rocky character is played by Lee Canalito (a professional boxer who did few movies but nails the poignancy of this character), the simple, genial giant exploited by Stallone who persuades him to enter a low rent professional wrestling circuit. (Several real life wrestlers also appear in the movie, including Terry Funk who plays a villain of sorts and choreographed the wrestling scenes.) Armand Assante plays the third brother, who initially seems the wisest but becomes the most heartless, a transition appealing in concept but clumsy in execution (it happens basically between two scenes). And in a way, that characterizes the whole movie, which has a lot of appealing elements that Stallone seems to savour but are held together less by narrative coherence than by his pulpy sensibilities. The ending is more upbeat than the material should inspire, yet seems true to Stallone’s vision. This is a man that ended the Cold War with a boxing match, so thinking that you could wrestle away your family problems this easily seems to come with the territory.

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Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:03 am
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Rock wrote:
Crumbsroom, I'm gonna need you to explain A Double Tour to me because its greatness flew over my head,


While I generally prefer my bold declarations of greatness to stand on their own, I will try and think of something better than that.

Give me a few weeks.

I find my appreciation for Chabrol hard to articulate.


Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:46 pm
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Crumb, you're a fan of Negativland, right?

There's a good documentary focusing on their DJ, Don Joyce, who facilitated their madness on the Berkeley radio show, Over the Edge. The film, How Radio Isn't Done, is good for illuminating this particular aspect of the group's manifestation, but I wish it had been more comprehensive look at the group, from Pastor Dick to David Willsaphone, both of whom make an appearance here but not proportionate to their founding status within the group.

Trolls before their time.



Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:33 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

While I generally prefer my bold declarations of greatness to stand on their own, I will try and think of something better than that.

Give me a few weeks.

I find my appreciation for Chabrol hard to articulate.


Definitely a number of SPOILERS for Double Tour below, and more than enough repetitious blurting by me since the only way I was going to respond to Rock's question was if I just started writing and let it just come out. Over thinking Chabrol leads me absolutely nowhere. And so does under thinking him too, but what can you do. I have once again chosen to take the easiest route.

So what you've got in a Double Tour is your standard cadre of stock whodunnit grotesques. The long married couple belittling themselves to pieces. The boorish son in law with bits of egg and grease all over his face, gulping wine down with breakfast. The creepy man-child, momma's boy furiously conducting orchestras along with the radio. The sex bomb maid teasing all of the men who stare up at her in her bedroom window. The mysterious friend who has been invited along. All well drawn characters, as stereotypical as many of them are. All supplying barbed lines of dialogue to articulate their disdain for one another ("She is my happiness" "Well, there's no reason to inflict that on me").

But Chabrol, unlike what many directors of known for suspense would do, is not interested in generating a claustrophobia around all of these characters who are trapped together. There is a perverse pastoral distance from them. They roam the countryside and lounge on their back patios, and we are allowed to get a sense of the size of their expansive middle class existence and how they are tantalizingly free, but yet seeming always choose to remain together in misery. Chabrol airs their dirty laundry outside in a fresh summer breeze. The style he will present all of this with is neither tense nor jarring to the viewer (at least not until the climax). It has a refined elegance like a woman who has been trained for better posture by walking around balancing books on her head, internally miserable and hostile to those watching, but outwardly graceful. Their is something coiled and ready to strike just beneath the surface.

When the murder eventually happens, their is a sense of both unavoidable eventuality about it, but mostly a feeling or irrelevance about the violence. It is initially committed off screen, with no particular build up, and little dramatic flair when the death is announced (those who care about the woman are few, those who do are mostly silent). It could almost feel like this movie is little more than a meat and potato mystery, with almost no mystery, few stakes and little suspense. But I enjoy the stylistic contradiction between this house full of standard suspects, and the almost ambivalence it will treat discovering who the murderer is.

But this isn't to say there isn't any pay off. The ultimate fight between Belomondo and the strange mother's boy Robert, thrashing in the water, pushing eachother into the mud, is a sudden moment of visceral catharsis in a movie that constantly seems concerned about manners. Then when we actually get to witness what happened to the victim, the long drawn out malevolence of the son explaining to his father's mistress how she ultimately makes him disgusted by himself ("An INSECT!") and his insufficient mother, plays as pitch perfect suspense in a film which seemed not to want to have anything to do with such standard trifles. The performance by Robert here is also startlingly creepy, truly unhinged, almost even too comically evil for even a movie filled with an endlessly mugging Belmondo. But regardless of these indulgences, he's become cemented in my mind as a great villainous performance, this boy caught in this awkward man's body trying to do justice to a mother he is worried is deservedly replaceable. This whole climax is wonderful, and then to have it conclude with an almost tragic final image of this boy/man walking off alone to turn himself in, after everyone in his family takes turns rejecting him, has an emotional resonance that sneaks up on you, especially considering it is towards the least likable of any of the characters.

It's a movie that I can see keeping many in the audience at a distance (and honestly, all of his movies kind of do this). But if you get into the rhythms of his subdued weirdness, I find him a really compulsively watchable director, and one that I will occasionally go on binges with.


Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:59 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
Crumb, you're a fan of Negativland, right?

There's a good documentary focusing on their DJ, Don Joyce, who facilitated their madness on the Berkeley radio show, Over the Edge. The film, How Radio Isn't Done, is good for illuminating this particular aspect of the group's manifestation, but I wish it had been more comprehensive look at the group, from Pastor Dick to David Willsaphone, both of whom make an appearance here but not proportionate to their founding status within the group.

Trolls before their time.



I actually had to check my collection to see if I had anything by them. I don't, though I had suspected I did.

I definitely asked you back on RT what records by them you'd recommend because there was a brief period where I could find a few of them at my local shop. By the time I had gone back though, they were all gone.


Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:00 pm
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I probably should give A Double Tour another go at some point, but Chabrol in general has just been too low key in terms of the characters he populates his films with to really work for me as suspense. But his style is also too elusive for me to even articulate a proper argument against, so maybe he wins this round.

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Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:52 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
I definitely asked you back on RT what records by them you'd recommend because there was a brief period where I could find a few of them at my local shop. By the time I had gone back though, they were all gone.

I couldn't tell you how common they are anymore. The most popular are the above Helter Stupid and Escape From Noise ("Car Bomb" was a college radio staple and is probably their most popular track) and were helped by SST distribution. Most of their stuff is either self-released or on semi-bootleg recordings from their Over The Edge radio show. These Guys Are From England and Who Gives a Shit is the best collection of their notorious run-in with U2's lawyers and Casey Kasem outtakes, meaning it's some of their best stuff. These three would be my first recommendations.


Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:10 am
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Rock wrote:
I probably should give A Double Tour another go at some point, but Chabrol in general has just been too low key in terms of the characters he populates his films with to really work for me as suspense. But his style is also too elusive for me to even articulate a proper argument against, so maybe he wins this round.


It's not a good sign for your future Chabrol appreciation if you think the characters in this one are also too low key. It's probably one of the more dynamic character based movies I've seen him do. Something, like the also great La Boucher which I just rewatched as well, is almost completely opaque when it comes to its characters, and its examination of their weird hang ups.

His style is extremely controlled and adverse to anything too flashy. But it is also extremely elegant and frequently beautifully composed. He just doesn't make too many attempts to call attention to anything. This elusivity of style for me is one of the turn ons. Very little seems to be really happening on the surface, but the films seem filled with mystery. Like in Boucher, there is so much going on in the heads of its characters and what motivates them, but Chabrol keeps almost all of it hidden. I guess it this all logically leads to why he is one of the French New Wavers who has seemed to have fallen by the way side over the years.


Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:27 am
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Sorry, to clarify, I don't think the characters here are low key, just his handling of them. If the characterizations in Le Boucher are more opaque, then it's possible it might work better for me as it could be more in sync with what I perceive as his style.

I dunno, I've given shittier filmmakers more chances, so I'm trying not to write off this guy.

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Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:15 am
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I don't know if I've written much on blaxploitation here at Corrie, but to restate my parameters for the genre, I try to stick to those films which were mor or less exclusively released to theaters in black neighborhoods (the "exploitation" part) and not counting such studio wide releases, like Shaft, Sounder, or Lady Sings the Blues, or such art house black films, like Killer of Sheep and Ganja & Hess, which were not shown in black theaters at all.

Here's a film that is a perfect representation of blaxploitation in its most positive aspects.


The Final Comedown (1972, dir. Oscar Williams)

Image


"White man, ain't you a bitch with your shit?"


Oscar Williams was one of the few black writer-directors in the genre, as the vast majority of blaxploitation was not made by black filmmakers. His best film, Five on the Black Hand Side, is one of the best 70s black comedies, alongside Cooley High, Car Wash and Uptown Saturday Night. This film is not a comedy.

Instead, Comedown aligns much more closely with Peebles' brand of guerrilla filmmaking, blatantly revolutionary and with an almost defiantly ugly aestheitc, natty underlit sets and poorly matched and rhymed edits which speak a certain technical ineptitude but which also reflects an impoverished, frustrated, disorientingly dull reality. The politics are not particularly deep. White people are either pigs or pawns, black people either criminals or toms. But the desolate entropy closely resembles the New Hollywood ethos. The final shot of bloody broken eggshells in the street may be more profound than Chinatown. And the excellent Grant Green jazz-funk soundtrack is the one area where the film doesn't pinch pennies.

Despite its technical ugliness, the film has a lot more heart and is more interesting than the more "entertaining" fare from Rudy Ray Moore or the Samuel Arkoff factory.


Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:25 am
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Aha! It looks like Billy Dee's white liberal girlfriend was John Milius' wife in real life. I'm sure he loved the picture.


Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:41 am
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Haven't seen The Big Comedown (or much Blaxploitation at all, really), but I do remember reading this entry on it in Mod Hip's old thread on the genre, if you're interested.

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Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:02 pm
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Stu wrote:
Haven't seen The Big Comedown (or much Blaxploitation at all, really), but I do remember reading this entry on it in Mod Hip's old thread on the genre, if you're interested.

Ooooh, gonna give that a read soon. The only one of those I've seen is The Mack, which is really good.

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"We're outgunned and undermanned. But you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind." - Mason Storm
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Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:58 am
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I think Abar is the only one there I haven't seen.

And about 3/4s of those posters.


Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:23 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
I think Abar is the only one there I haven't seen.

And about 3/4s of those posters.
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Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:07 pm
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The Slits: Here To Be Heard

This story behind the greatest of grrrl groups, the seminal Slits, is a fascinating look at the roots of British punk, the proto-hurricane of 1976, when multiple members of the group were in various associations with the germs of the Sex Pistols and the Clash. The Slits, however, were far from being, as they were originally marketed, the female Pistols. Rather than their American peers, like Suzi Quatro or The Runaways, The Slits had no intention of simply aping cock-rock aggression, instead developing their more hormonally appropriate permutation of spastic ecstasy, awkward and anxious but more prone to giddy excess than the bile and balls of punk's dead-end fury. Eventually, by the time they were on record, their love of dub and dope had further separated their hedonist delights from the more tuneless thrust of western civilization's decline. Alas, their tale is fraught with misadventure.

For the record, I'm a Viv man, myself.


Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:54 am
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