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 Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom 
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Grae Drake, the whore-hungry head of Rotten Green Tomatoes, happens to be a Trump supporter. I saw her explain this to FOX News' Greg Gargamel Gutfeld. The McConaughssance is long over, swallowed in fool's gold and dark towers. The darkness is winning. Rama has rejected us because we appointed an emo ambassador in Tom DeLonge. The Nazis are Barbies. I'm ready for the inevitable geno-forming Akira Clouds on Mars.

We've finally found the worst film of all time.


Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:43 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Grae Drake, the whore-hungry head of Rotten Green Tomatoes, happens to be a Trump supporter. I saw her explain this to FOX News' Greg Gargamel Gutfeld. The McConaughssance is long over, swallowed in fool's gold and dark towers. The darkness is winning. Rama has rejected us because we appointed an emo ambassador in Tom DeLonge. The Nazis are Barbies. I'm ready for the inevitable geno-forming Akira Clouds on Mars.

We've finally found the worst film of all time.


I hardly find it surprising that a gaping cunt of a senior editor who works for a gaping cunt of a website supports a gaping cunt of a president.

And Tom DeLonge can be American Ambassador for Crying Under His Blanket for all I care.

Seriously, this world is just hilariously awful. Thank God I didn't choose this year to quit drinking.


Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:32 am
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This movie is so good it upsets me to think about how many people it probably discouraged from ever trying to make a movie.

Why bother if you can't make Love Exposure?


Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:53 pm
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Not a fan of Love Exposure. Isn't it like 4 hours long? It was 2 hours too long.


Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:02 pm
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ski petrol wrote:
Not a fan of Love Exposure. Isn't it like 4 hours long? It was 2 hours too long.


:down:


Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:41 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
Grae Drake, the whore-hungry head of Rotten Green Tomatoes, happens to be a Trump supporter.


*Googles*

she is?


Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:57 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

This movie is so good it upsets me to think about how many people it probably discouraged from ever trying to make a movie.

Why bother if you can't make Love Exposure?


I've liked all of his movies (that I've seen) but this is one of my favorites. Felt half as long as it actually is.

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Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:32 am
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ski petrol wrote:
Not a fan of Love Exposure. Isn't it like 4 hours long? It was 2 hours too long.
It should've been 6


Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:21 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

:down:


Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of Sion Sono and I think Noriko's Dinner Table is a masterpiece. That's also a long one (3 hours) and I love Why Don't You Play In Hell? But I just couldn't get into Love Exposure. Do try and see Noriko's though. Excellent stuff.


Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:05 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:

*Googles*

she is?

Search your heart. You know it to be true.

(I can't find the specific video clip, but, man, she sure likes to go on FOX a lot.)


Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:33 am
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It's tempting after seeing this film, with a sexy 25 year old Willem DaFoe, to imagine an alternate universe where DaFoe had chosen to capitalize on his dangerous charisma and completely dominate the 80s, eradicating the competition of Mickey Rourke or Eric Roberts (much less poseurs like Sean Penn, Nic Cage or Johnny Depp) or anyone else of his generation of razor-edge young actors. Then, though, having thought for more than 90 seconds, the inevitable realization is that DaFoe would have suffered mightily from that path, and likely condemned to the same run of the mill DTV junk that those two have been mired in. Even a late-career comeback would have been hollow. No, the truth is that DaFoe was entirely right to choose the integrity of character work over the brass ring of marquee idol, and it may seem strange now when DaFoe is mostly known for his demonic visage but The Loveless makes clear that he had the stuff to drive the little girls wild.

This is Kathryn Bigelow's debut film. It's technically a collaboration with Monty Montgomery, a frequent David Lynch co-hort, but since Monty never directed another film, I'm giving the due to Bigelow here. As far as 80s nostalgia for the 50s goes, it's one of the least glossy and stylized. Compare to Outsiders, Streets of Fire or Eddie and the Cruisers, and it's low budget finds strength in the more physically authentic detail, where you can smell the ashtrays and axle grease. It's pretty blandly a retread of The Wild One, but plot is mostly irrelevent so who cares? Here, the young amour, Marin Kantor (another 80s actress who seems to have unfortunately disappeared since), has a lot more issues than could have been explored in a 50s biker flick.

Everything falls apart pretty quickly at the end, one of the few places where the amateurism becomes evident. It's hard to knock a young filmmaker who yet has a clue how to end a movie, so it's hardly a worthy deterrent. The ride through the first hour is enough to satisfy.

For anyone wondering about, eh, DaFoe's more virile capacity (stop acting like you're not), the film carefully choreographs a nude scene to avoid any sudden appearances that might alarm viewers too much, but there is one ass-shot of DaFoe, and frankly his gigantic testicles simply cannot avoid swinging into frame between his legs. I honestly have no idea where he finds the room.


Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:07 am
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I really like Loveless. I don't really view it so much as a Wild Ones homage (even if it is, maybe simply because I don't like that one all that much) but more as a fleshing out of Scorpio Rising, where the whole world is just a diner shaped limbo where nothing ever moves much past postures, switchblades and pouty faced greasers. Does it amount to much beyond the 50's artifice it coats itself in like pomade? Not particularly, but like Scorpio Rising, it just exudes this fatalistic cool which can only lead towards death, and no one seems to care.


Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:02 am
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crumbsroom wrote:
I don't really view it so much as a Wild Ones homage (even if it is, maybe simply because I don't like that one all that much)

Wild Ones isn't great, easily the worst of Brando's initial spurt, but its iconic status makes it seem more significant than it really is. I mostly like it more because I always think of Belushi's take on the role (his favorite Brando to imitate). I saw a list recently of 50s films and both Waterfront and Wild One was on it, but no Streetcar? I'd put Zapata and Young Lions easily ahead of it as well.

crumbsroom wrote:
like Scorpio Rising, it just exudes this fatalistic cool which can only lead towards death, and no one seems to care.

The irony, though, is that the real violence in the town is coming from the old rednecks and abusive fathers and such. The bikers may look like sin, but they have a much more stern moral sense (as macho as it is) that sheds any hypocrisy with which to hide their inner perversions. Death only results from one of these things in the film.


Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:08 pm
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Speaking of Brando, anybody here a fan of One-Eyed Jacks? Saw it recently and liked it a lot. Some really strong visual storytelling (especially considering it's the only thing Brando ever directed) and the Criterion transfer is a beaut.

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Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:09 pm
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Rock wrote:
Speaking of Brando, anybody here a fan of One-Eyed Jacks? Saw it recently and liked it a lot. Some really strong visual storytelling (especially considering it's the only thing Brando ever directed) and the Criterion transfer is a beaut.


Just watched it yesterday. I've been trying to put my feelings towards it into words, but considering how many movies I've been trying to articulate my feelings on as of late, most of them hopelessly, I haven't quite got anything yet. I really liked it though and think the general criticisms towards it are irrelevant considering how much I think it gets right.


Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:30 pm
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Rock wrote:
Speaking of Brando, anybody here a fan of One-Eyed Jacks? Saw it recently and liked it a lot. Some really strong visual storytelling (especially considering it's the only thing Brando ever directed) and the Criterion transfer is a beaut.

I have to admit, I wouldn't consider it Criterion-worthy. I haven't seen it some time, and at the time I was still under the impression that Kubrick may have shot a couple scenes (he didn't, I've learned), so maybe I wrote off some of the film's better looking scenes for that.

I was also disappointed to learn, several years after I first saw it, that the awesome opening tracking shot in Spartacus was actually shot by Anthony Mann before Stanley got hired.


Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:33 pm
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And who's the new girlfriend, Rock?


Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:35 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
And who's the new girlfriend, Rock?

Sharon Stone.

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Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:40 pm
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Rock wrote:
Sharon Stone.

No shit? That must be some Stardust Memories-era picture. I never recognize her in that.


Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:42 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
I have to admit, I wouldn't consider it Criterion-worthy. I haven't seen it some time, and at the time I was still under the impression that Kubrick may have shot a couple scenes (he didn't, I've learned), so maybe I wrote off some of the film's better looking scenes for that.


For me this is exactly the sort of thing I want from Criterion. Restoring obviously important or obvious masterpieces is noble and essential in its own right, but this is the kind of beautiful semi-misfire that really benefits from having a Criterion brand. The instinct of many who just put this on without much consideration might find the films awkward pacing, and seemingly missing scenes to make it not worth much thought. It is flawed, and it doesn't all come together entirely, but as I'm sure you'd agree, that's hardly always the end game of every great or good film. The film is a mismatched quilt of fantastically dramatic moments, mythic location shooting, unknowable and tortured characters and some really good performances by the entire cast (come on Marlon Brando, Slim Pickens, Timothy Carey, Karl Malden, Ben Johnson and the unfortunately never to be realized Pina Pellicer), all of which make it rise above unresolved endings, unmotivated choices by characters, occasionally limp moments and its seemingly deliberate unwillingness to pay off a few of the key drama's it sets up. It's also simply a historically important film just by the fact that Marlon Brando directed it, and seemingly went crazy doing so.

Also, it should obviously be taken as a compliment to mistake many of the images in this film as having been shot by Kubrick, but there are just so many of them over the course of the film that, you'd nearly have to assume Kubrick was on set for most of the shoot for that to be the case. Of course, it's possible you haven't seen the restoration, which is supposedly an enormous improvement over what's been circulating all of these years. It's a really incredible looking movie, and one of the better ones I've seen in the genre, which already has a huge number of beautiful ones.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:34 am
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crumbsroom wrote:
Also, it should obviously be taken as a compliment to mistake many of the images in this film as having been shot by Kubrick, but there are just so many of them over the course of the film that, you'd nearly have to assume Kubrick was on set for most of the shoot for that to be the case. Of course, it's possible you haven't seen the restoration, which is supposedly an enormous improvement over what's been circulating all of these years. It's a really incredible looking movie, and one of the better ones I've seen in the genre, which already has a huge number of beautiful ones.

I wonder if Kubrick may have "donated" a few shot ideas during their preliminary talks over the project.

I saw the standard VHS pan/scan version, so no doubt I need to upgrade my viewing.

Also, probably a good warning for the noobs like Popcorn or Slentert, but at the time I saw the film, I was working at a video store and taking home every Antonioni, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Melville, Oshima and whatever else from the foreign section, watching masterpieces on a nearly daily basis. In this climate, it becomes too tempting to write off the merely good or interesting films, and this is a trap that novice viewers fall into. Then again, I also saw Deadfall around this time, so you just never never know.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:29 am
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I talk about much of what happens in this movie, and so this may be a SPOILER rich 'review'. But since over the course of this 2 1/2 hour movie, about 7 things happen, it's hard to talk about it without telling nearly everything that transpires. So tread at your own caution. Of course, there also isn't a really great reason to watch this movie anyways, so...

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The opening scenes of Knightriders find Ed Harris waking suddenly from a dream. He is stark naked in the woods. He looks small and shivery. Skittish even. Wandering down to a river he wades his bare bottom down into the water for a little morning self flagellation. Since Ed Harris is a serious actor, he self flagellates quite seriously. Then, gearing up in his Armoured Suit of Larping, he jumps on his motorbike and is off down the highway, roaring through the morning like a giant Be-Knighted nerd.

It is a curious beginning to the film. I can only imagine that Ed Harris probably does not want this to be the scene chosen to be played during his inevitable In Memorium segment at the Oscar. This should of course be his Creepshow Disco- Dance, which Romero probably only imagined he could coax out of the esteemed actor once he saw what he was willing to do for the integrity of Knightriders.

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The first half hour of the movie plays like a long, disjointed and uninvolving action scene. Ed Harris meets all of his other Larper friends, of whom he is their King (his crown is cute and regal and brings out his eyes), and thus begins their hobby of jousting on motorbikes. They have a devouring audience of bellowing American blobs, that eat hotdogs and get mustard on their face as they cheer them on, and wonder amongst themselves if it is all fake like wrestling. Of course it isn’t. Ed Harris means business when on his bike with his Styrofoam joust. Amongst the disbelieving crowd will be Stephen King, consistently looking as if he is mid fart. It really is astonishing to think a complete sentence ever emerge out from this lunkhead.

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It will turn out that one of the early (very mild) pleasures of this film will be picking out all of the bit players that have featured in small roles in many other Romero films (Creepshow, Day and Dawn of the Dead), of which King is one. So many faces to recognize. So many actors names nearly impossible to Google since most both began and ended their careers in early 80's Romero films. Like Warner Shook, whose specialty appears to be catty gay men (both in and out of the closet…versatility!!)

There will also be something vaguely interesting about the film once it becomes clear that what is going on with Ed Harris’ Medieval Time Troupe is that they are some sort of cult who is shunning the world of money and modernity. They have integrity Dammit. Ed Harris won’t even give some puke kid an autograph, because he ain’t no fucking sell out. He Larps for the integrity of it. And if he dies Larping, out in some mall parking lot for the amusement of mouth breathers drenched in their man boob sweat, so be it. Unfortunately for the film though, what these characters are aiming for other than some kind of vague sense of integrity in their Medeival Spandex is never really explored. We are just meant to believe that what they want is important because Ed Harris never smiles about anything.

A peculiarity of the film starts to emerge around the first hour and a half mark (this baby runs two and a half hours) when we realize there are no villains in the film. Sure, there are leagues of menacing Black Knights (one played by Tom Savini, another Romero regular), but they really aren’t so menacing when they take off their helmets. Their really all friends and their jousting battles are all just for fun. Hell, who could be afraid of Tommy baby once he dons his Savini Bikini. The ladies, that’s who.

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So, without a sense of real purpose, and no villains, the only obstacle the group seem to need to tackle over its long run time is griping about money and whether or not they want to franchise the whole endeavor. There are briefly warring factions over this which threated to split up the Knightriders for good, especially when during a particularly heated argument Ed Harris loses it when he finds his not so pious Friar Tuck cavorting with the Pizza Lady, and doing horrible things with the goop of melted cheese.

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Tantrums ensue. Ed Harris flexes his screamy acting muscles which he keeps as a secret weapon in his gizzards. In no time, the group splits, and those looking for the big bucks in the jousting market are on the road. Within two or three scenes though, everything will quickly be resolved, and those Black Knights that abandoned the group will return once they realize after one afternoon of being courted by sleazy LA bigshots that they couldn't handle the ensuing Corey Feldman levels of fame. It went right to their heads, and before they can even sign their contract, they erupt into a silly, bed jumping hotel brawl. Pillowfights may or may not occur.

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Returning to their King with their tails between their legs, Ed Harris will weep so loudly for joy that his friends are back that the movie will continue for another hour or so to sate him. This last stretch will consist mostly of jousting which, due to Romero’s standard leaden skills at editing, he will end up making all of these battles appear to be people riding by on motorcycles in every direction, inter-cut with scenes of breast plates being lightly tapped by plastic broad swords and maces. This amounts to some truly underwhelming drama, especially as characters you can't recognize in their costumes flop to the ground in a quiet clatter of tin foil armor. Romero really needs to stay away from any kind of frantic action like this because he always seems to get lost. Unfortunately for this movie, it doesn't trade well in either any of the ideas he brought to the script or any particularly striking lo-fi images, which really are his best skills in filmmaking, so we find ourselves hoping that the jousts will amount to something, but they never do. Beyond the movies overall goofy charm (which has some value), nearly all of it rings entirely hollow.

Since, I’ve already talked about much of this film, I guess won’t want to spoil how it ends. But it is obviously going to be as solemn and serious as a sad medieval clown moping in a graveyard when it all wraps up, just in case you weren't aware that you just saw some serious shit here.

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:40 pm
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So did Knightriders the movie come out before Knightrider the show?

PS - That sad clown moping has a serious crotch.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:00 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
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Man, with that shot, how can this not be one the greatest movies ever made?

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:10 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
I talk about much of what happens in this movie, and so this may be a SPOILER rich 'review'. But since over the course of this 2 1/2 hour movie, about 7 things happen, it's hard to talk about it without telling nearly everything that transpires. So tread at your own caution. Of course, there also isn't a really great reason to watch this movie anyways, so...

Image


Ha!
An old favorite of mine I've revisited not that long ago, I had a very different reaction to the film than it seems you did.
I found it, over several viewings between the ages of say 11 and 40 years old, haunting and kind of beautiful, almost the perfect example of what a low-budget film that doesn't aspire to great art can be when art still, perhaps accidentally, takes place.
I don't even feel any need to defend any aspect of the film, to me, it's strong enough to speak for itself, one of Romero's best and better than a couple of his more well-known works.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:11 pm
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Stu wrote:
Man, with that shot, how can this not be one the greatest movies ever made?

It actually is.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:12 pm
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Rock wrote:
Speaking of Brando, anybody here a fan of One-Eyed Jacks? Saw it recently and liked it a lot. Some really strong visual storytelling (especially considering it's the only thing Brando ever directed) and the Criterion transfer is a beaut.

We have a bar here in New Orleans named One-Eyed Jacks after that specific film.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:19 pm
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Wooley wrote:
Ha!
An old favorite of mine I've revisited not that long ago, I had a very different reaction to the film than it seems you did.
I found it, over several viewings between the ages of say 11 and 40 years old, haunting and kind of beautiful, almost the perfect example of what a low-budget film that doesn't aspire to great art can be when art still, perhaps accidentally, takes place.
I don't even feel any need to defend any aspect of the film, to me, it's strong enough to speak for itself, one of Romero's best and better than a couple of his more well-known works.


I did warm up to it over time. I found the first 45 or so minutes absolutely painful and I dreaded the fact that there was so much left to slog through. The middle section though definitely has enough strangeness and weird digressions that I can't say I ultimately disliked it. I can almost understand you calling it beautiful, even though it definitely never got there for me. I would say that I might mildly approve of this film but with serious reservations (one of these being an absolutel need to massively cut down of the endless joust scenes which are repetitive and terribly shot--even low budget films need to find a way to energize their action scenes and I expect more from a legit director). The best part of the film though is the last few scenes with Harris, which I didn't talk about because I was getting bored of spewing about it, realizing I had already talked too much. So...sad clown summed it up for me.

Because of its goofy charms though I can see how some could fall under its spell.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:22 pm
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Stu wrote:
Man, with that shot, how can this not be one the greatest movies ever made?


It was in moments like that where I wished I could jump on board. If it had condensed its best parts and delved deeper into its wonkier elements, fleshing some of its side characters out more, it could have been a contender.

I'll grant that I like it better than The Crazies though.

Hopefully if I ever rewatch it (err....) I'll manage to see the heart that Wooley sees.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:29 pm
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It should also be stated, regarding my personal bias', that with the exception of NotLD and Creepshow, that I have never liked a Romero film on first watch. I've always found something unpleasantly clunky about his presentation, and movies that are now huge favourites of mine, particularly Martin, I thought were dreadful upon initial contact.

So take my snark with reservations.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:39 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
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Yes, yes. This Romance. This Spirit. Don't hate the game, player.

I'll surrender the point about the film's length, it had no business exceeding about 100 minutes or so. But Ed Harris? Naw, he was committed! All of your criticisms here amount to most of what I love about the actor. Does it result in camp here? Absolutely, at times. I'm not going to insult Ed as if he would have been unaware of this. Yea! through the valley of camp rides this pale steel horse....

The villain is obviously capitalism, crumbs. Duh. That's why it made so much money!


Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:46 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
But Ed Harris?


Don't mistake my ribbing of Ed Harris as not having some appreciation for his intensity. It's just kind of a hilarious intensity considering how cavalierly everyone else around him seems to be taking the movie.

At 100 minutes I still think I would have had issues with the movie, but it would have allowed what was good about it to crystallize into something I would have been kinder on. I'm generally forgiving with films that can at least offer me a handful of interesting scenes, as long as it is offering me something unique. And Knightriders is unquestionably unique. It gets points for that. But at 2 and a half hours Romero is forcing me to take the film seriously, which was never going to happen.

I imagine if I ever had dared to watched the 2 and a half hour directors cut of Boardinghouse, not even it could have escaped my mockery.

Romero ranked (I've still quite a few to see)

1) Martin
2) Night of the Living Dead
3) Creepshow (could be swapped with NotLD, depending on the day)
4) Dawn of the Dead (it took a long time, but it finally ranks above Day with me)
5) Day of the Dead
6) Knightriders
7) Creepshow 2
8) The Crazies
9) Monkey Shines (I actually don't remember much of this, but I know I wasn't very interested in it...is it Crazies bland though? Not sure)


Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:45 pm
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The movie is a tad long, but I really like Harris and the general dynamic with the different members of the troupe. I also didn't mind the roughness of the motorcycle jousts as I found it added to the movie's scrappy charm.

Also, Romero rankings:

Dawn of the Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Day of the Dead
Creepshow
Knightriders
Land of the Dead
Martin

"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" from Two Evil Eyes
The Crazies
Diary of the Dead

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:49 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

Romero ranked (I've still quite a few to see)

1) Martin


Correct.

It's also got a great director's commentary.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:11 am
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Spending your Friday night having a film spend four hours imperceptibly moving you towards an inevitable emotional devastation is weekending the crumbsroom way. For a movie to remain so still and unblinking for such a long time, while Tawainese rock and roll, first loves, gang violence, political oppression, the love of community, domestic breakdowns and every tiny moment in between slide past the frame becomes unbearably beautiful and sad and awe inspiring. I might never recover.

What this last week has taught me is that there needs to be an abundance of more four hour movies out there. They clearly have the room to do what other movies plainly can't.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:14 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
No shit? That must be some Stardust Memories-era picture. I never recognize her in that.
If that's the case, then Rock may want to find a new one, to keep it from being associated with this...

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:28 pm
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Nah, I think I'm good.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:29 pm
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Heh, just teasing you, Rock.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:34 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
Romero ranked (I've still quite a few to see)

1) Martin
2) Night of the Living Dead
3) Creepshow (could be swapped with NotLD, depending on the day)
4) Dawn of the Dead (it took a long time, but it finally ranks above Day with me)
5) Day of the Dead
6) Knightriders
7) Creepshow 2
8) The Crazies
9) Monkey Shines (I actually don't remember much of this, but I know I wasn't very interested in it...is it Crazies bland though? Not sure)


1) Night of the Living Dead (sorry to be boring, but it is what it is)
2) Creepshow
3) Dawn of the Dead
4) Martin (all of these are on my top 100 horror)
...
5) Day of the Dead
6) Knightriders
7) Monkey Shines (I actually like this one)
8) Land of the Dead
9) Season of the Witch
....
....
10) Two Evil Eyes (Romero half)
11) The Crazies
12) The Dark Half
13) Bruiser
14) Diary of the Dead


Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:30 pm
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Night of the Living Dead happens to be my favorite horror film of all time. What a masterwork. In second place would have to be The Shining.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:54 pm
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Watching Face to Face is like becoming cornered in a conversation with a 21 year old Goth who has a story for every scar on their arm. Repetition is inevitable, no matter how many sleeves they may have to roll up, or how creative they became with embossing their skin. There also seems a feeling that this is all coming out much too easy. You barely know them. Can we at least introduce ourselves first?

Dr. Jenny is the emo haircut of all Bergman’s characters. You almost can see Bergman flipping his hair out of his eyes as he scribbles down yet another childhood trauma for her to monologue on. While the despondency of a character in one of his films should hardly come as a surprise to anyone familiar, there is a shorthand employed in the creation of Jenny that he rarely seems so willing to take. This may be a result of the fact that Face to Face is a shortened version of a considerably longer teleplay. But there is such a blandness to the evocation of despair on display here that housing these scenes that remain in a greater context hardly seems it would enlighten his writing here. Jenny frequently speaks as if she was left in the woods, and not raised by wolves, but instead simply bided her time reading paraphrased excerpts from his better works until someone arrived to rescue her.

This is not to blame Liv Ullmann’s portrayal of the character. She’s always good and she commits right to the ugliness of her character here. Nor is it to say that the film isn’t at times compelling enough viewing beyond the scripts leaden direness. There are definitely affecting scenes involving her senile grandfather, her initial breakdown over an attempted rape, and images from a nightmarish purgatory she repeatedly dreams of. It’s simply that none of these decent things are quite enough to tease out the light or the humanity in this character beyond the fists she pounds against doors or the fits of uncontrollable sobbing. Generally Bergman can get right down to the horror in the soul of his wretched, disregarded, pitifully mortal characters. But in Face to Face, it seems he’d just prefer to adorn his focal character in the linguistic equivalent of black eye makeup and a Marilyn Manson lunchbox.

Pretty close to the bottom of all of his films for me, of which I love almost all.

6/10


Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:37 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
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It's tempting after seeing this film, with a sexy 25 year old Willem DaFoe, to imagine an alternate universe where DaFoe had chosen to capitalize on his dangerous charisma and completely dominate the 80s, eradicating the competition of Mickey Rourke or Eric Roberts (much less poseurs like Sean Penn, Nic Cage or Johnny Depp) or anyone else of his generation of razor-edge young actors. Then, though, having thought for more than 90 seconds, the inevitable realization is that DaFoe would have suffered mightily from that path, and likely condemned to the same run of the mill DTV junk that those two have been mired in. Even a late-career comeback would have been hollow. No, the truth is that DaFoe was entirely right to choose the integrity of character work over the brass ring of marquee idol, and it may seem strange now when DaFoe is mostly known for his demonic visage but The Loveless makes clear that he had the stuff to drive the little girls wild.

This is Kathryn Bigelow's debut film. It's technically a collaboration with Monty Montgomery, a frequent David Lynch co-hort, but since Monty never directed another film, I'm giving the due to Bigelow here. As far as 80s nostalgia for the 50s goes, it's one of the least glossy and stylized. Compare to Outsiders, Streets of Fire or Eddie and the Cruisers, and it's low budget finds strength in the more physically authentic detail, where you can smell the ashtrays and axle grease. It's pretty blandly a retread of The Wild One, but plot is mostly irrelevent so who cares? Here, the young amour, Marin Kantor (another 80s actress who seems to have unfortunately disappeared since), has a lot more issues than could have been explored in a 50s biker flick.

Everything falls apart pretty quickly at the end, one of the few places where the amateurism becomes evident. It's hard to knock a young filmmaker who yet has a clue how to end a movie, so it's hardly a worthy deterrent. The ride through the first hour is enough to satisfy.

For anyone wondering about, eh, DaFoe's more virile capacity (stop acting like you're not), the film carefully choreographs a nude scene to avoid any sudden appearances that might alarm viewers too much, but there is one ass-shot of DaFoe, and frankly his gigantic testicles simply cannot avoid swinging into frame between his legs. I honestly have no idea where he finds the room.


Saw this last year and I pretty much agree. The film meanders a bit with no apparent plot structure, and the climax feels forced. Still, I thought the film was still enjoyable in its amateurish-ness (the short length helps, but what would Dafoe know?) and most of the performances were solid.

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Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:06 am
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As Lon listens on the porch with his grandfather to the lonesome sound of whippoorwills calling out to eachother in the night, he realizes he has never seen one with his own eyes before. He has no idea what they even look like. When he hears the clatter of a train passing through the small cattle ranch town he lives in, rushing towards places he has likely never seen, he remarks it is the kind of sound that cuts right through him. And as the housekeeper he has developed a not so boyish crush on asks him why it is he would ever possibly sleep in the 'raw’ when she has lain out a perfectly fine pair of pajamas for him, his wondering about all of the things he has never seen turns to her, and with a mostly harmless grin, asks what it is she sleeps in. He is only seventeen, with a face that makes him appear even younger, and so she swats him away mildly for his flirtation, telling him to never mind that. Whatever she sleeps in is behind a locked door.

This stands in stark contrast to his hell raising uncle, Hud, who sees little reason for such things as wondering what about anything that is not near enough for him to grab. He likely has never thought about what a whippoorwills looks like, or where those trains are going, and if he really wanted to know what that housekeeper wore to sleep, he’d just bust that locked door down himself.

The world of this film explores the space that exists between these two characters. The audiences vantage point will mainly be from the place where Lon is watching from, staring into the future towards the eventual adulthood that can’t possibly yet foresee, but also possibly directly towards Hud, whose belligerent charm, and drunken womanizing ways, seem to bring forward a tempting form to the whippoorwill of his future. We see that there is something good about the boy now, but there is a shadow of Hud’s possible influence just beneath. We can see a trace of this in that grin he gives Alma the housekeeper as he wonders about her laying beneath her bedsheets, maybe nude, maybe wearing one of those nightdresses that are cut up high. The eagerness in which he joins in on a foolish barfight with his uncle. The openness with which he hopes to get into his good graces.

Standing watch over the future of Lon is Homer, the patriarch of the ranch, and moral center of the film. A good man to the core--principaled, humble, self sacrificing, courageous and openly contemptuous of the immorality of his son, Hud--, he warns Lon of the worries such men as this pose to the world as they know it. “Little by little the look of the country changes because of the men we admire". It is an austere statement as they stand in the barren open landscape of their slowly dwindling cattle farm, a place still not quite desolate enough to withstand the influence of the craven modern world, or the Hud’s it creates.

The simple family drama between nephew, uncle, grandfather, housekeeper and the America that surrounds them from all sides, is both a drama of tiny gestures in a tiny home in the middle of the lonesome American planes, as well as a cry of despair from a way of life that may be about to be swallowed whole. Understated, almost biblically beautiful performances and dialogue, crisp and evocative photography and a mood that evokes both youthful hope and encroaching despair, Hud is a near perfect film.

9.5/10


Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:09 am
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There's a long standing heated debate among Paul Newman fans as to whether Hud, The Hustler or Cool Hand Luke reigns as his supreme performance. Luckily, we have all three, and they show why Paul Newman is the goddamn man of that decade.


Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:47 pm
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I have not seen Hud, although Newman-wise, I did see The Left-Handed Gun recently, which was pretty groovy (both the film and his performance in it).

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Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:01 pm
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Rock wrote:
I have not seen Hud, although Newman-wise, I did see The Left-Handed Gun recently, which was pretty groovy (both the film and his performance in it).

Is that Arther Penn's debut? "Pretty groovy" is about right. So many good ones - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, Hombre. And if Steve McQueen ever directed a film, I'm sure it wouldn't have been as good as Rachel, Rachel.


Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:01 pm
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[quote="Jinnistan"]Image

Never heard of this one but it just screams "fun" to me. That, and the love for anything Kathryn Bigelow makes me embarrassed here.


Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:32 pm
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A double feature of Dennis Hopper films from his period of heaviest drug use, an era which saw him crop up in a variety of small, mostly European films that have become difficult to impossible to find. So rare that the posters below happen to be the largest images available on Google at the moment. These two films are very different stylistically, and in terms of their relative artistic success, but both of them manage to be almost essentially Dennis Hopper films, films which seem to inhabit his signature brand of psychosis and which feature varied gears of his pathological method.

Image

Tracks (1977 - dir. Henry Jaglom) - 8.5/10

Henry Jaglom has long been a nearly forgotten American director, although the Criterion inclusion of his long-sought A Safe Place (previously only available as a Z Channel bootleg) in the Nicholson/Rafelson box-set has helped to raise his profile somewhat. Tracks is his follow-up to that film, and continues to show his faux-verite style, substituting a series of largely conversational scenes for narrative plot and blending in increasingly experimental character improvisations and juxtopositions. This style really isn't much more unusual for someone like Godard, but it was virtual suicide for an American. Here, Jaglom uses the base character of Hopper as a Vietnam veteran returning the casket of a fellow soldier back home, and the setting of a cross-country train ride for his conversational interactions with such familar faces as Dean Stockwell, Taryn Powers (a revelation here compared to Eye of the Tiger), Zack Norman, Sally Kirkland, Albert Ryder and, curiously uncredited, Richard Romanus.

Hopper looks ill throughout much of the film, and the major acting awards go to the actresses who try hard not to look creeped out by his intense staring and lizard kisses. All of this is fine in context, as the film chronicles Hopper's slow dissolution into manic paranoia, the infantilization and psychological fracturing caused by the trauma of war being convincingly portrayed. (There's a lot of stories about Hopper from a variety of film shoots about his obsession with nostalgic non-sequiturs during takes.) The film increasingly gets more unhinged as his grip slips, until we get some vintage Dennis froth towards the end for a frighteningly sardonic resolution.

This isn't a film for all tastes, as should be obvious, but it is a special film, and likely a more accurate artifact of post-Vietnam trauma than its contemporaries like Coming Home or Rolling Thunder. And probably Deer Hunter too, but the relative budget and formal restraints keep me from taking that comparison too seriously.


Image

Bloodbath (1979 - dir. Silvio Narizzano) - 6/10

This film goes beyond the skillet of the surreal psychosis in Tracks into a flame of delirious incoherency. It is not a very good film, and only "special" for those with a perverse penchant for drug-rot. Also, anyone who's ever fantasized about a spin-off of Hopper's cameraman from Apocalypse Now will likely not find a better candidate (even down to his shitty taste in kitchy lounge shirts).

The film is allegedly about a small Spanish island with a number of decadant rich, and Hopper, who are all lost in some kind of ill-conceived ideal of freedom. Aside from Hopper, the only other interesting character is Carroll Baker, playing a washed-up actress, who manages to shift from amusing to pathetic in ways that really deserved its own (better) film to explore her character. Hopper, for his part, stays stoned throughout the film, constantly entertaining poorly articulated religious hallucinations, and always on the cusp of freaking out, man. Scenes of his shooting up are superimposed with images of Christ-like military executions, aerial combat and doves flying. The quintessential scene in the film occurs towards the end when, after yet another nonsensical symbolic montage, Hopper addresses the camera dead-on with a plea, "You don't understand, do ya?!?! Looking in the mirror has Fucked Me Up!!!!!" He then falls into the hallucinated breasts of his mother where we get down to some really profound proto-Frank Boothisms.

Anyway, some bullshit about a Manson-like cult, very little actual bloodshed (aside from a rather unfortunate scene with a gay man and a bull) and even less evidence of bathing.

The grim is aided considerably by the fact that this print (from Prime) is horribly dark with VHS blur and muted sound, sometimes rendering Hopper's stoned mutterings unintelligible. Somehow it still feels like an essential Hopper experience, an important snapshot of his very lost period in these years before he finally cleaned up in the early 80s. Like a fever dream of his various obsessions and desperations of pleasures long anesthetized, it is not pleasant but uniquely Dennis Hopper.


Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:47 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
only "special" for those with a perverse penchant for drug-rot


Hello. Even newly clean and sober, this is still my jam. Even if it may not be any good. Need a taste somehow.

I'm not assuming either of these have DVD releases though, right. I've never even heard ghostly whispers of either of them.

You've seen The Last Movie, right. I've always had the place where I get my movies tease me that this is going to come in, but never does. That and Marcel Marceau's "Shanks". It's almost like he doesn't think he could rent the shit out of a movie about a mime and corpse puppets.


Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:51 am
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John Dumbear wrote:
Never heard of this one but it just screams "fun" to me. That, and the love for anything Kathryn Bigelow makes me embarrassed here.


If moping around a diner in homoerotic leather is your idea of 'fun', you may be right.


Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:53 am
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