Ian's Log

Discuss anything you want.
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snapper
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by snapper » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:39 pm

love Anjo. Osamu Takizawa's performance is incredible
Latest notable first-time viewings:

* The Sun in a Net / Uher
** The Seashell and the Clergyman / Dulac
The Tales of Beatrix Potter / Mills
* A Flood in Ba'ath Country / Amiralay
Times and Winds / Erdem
Most Beautiful Island / Asensio
* Japanese Girls Never Die / Matsui
* Birth Certificate / Różewicz
Bush Mama / Gerima
** Paris Is Burning / Livingston


TWEET1 | TWEET2 | FACE | BOXD | TUMBL1 | TUMBL2
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undinum
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by undinum » Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:37 pm

jade_vine wrote:I remember Jake Aesthete saying that the opening of this could be a Pasolini movie if it wasn’t for the amazing theme song and that was a nail on the fucking head.
My favourite is the opening of Last Chants for a Slow Dance = the driving scenes in Manos: the Hands of Fate (doubt that was jake tho)
I keep hoping I’ll find something legitimately funny, intentionally or not, by downloading random CG hijinx comedies from the 70s or 80s. This is because I am an idiot who really should know better by now.
Corvette Summer is pretty wonderful
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Pinhead
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Pinhead » Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:59 pm

undinum wrote: Corvette Summer is pretty wonderful
yep, I don't know how you go about random downloading but damnit, son, there're some great 80s flicks out there to be discovered randomly, i'd give you an example but then it wouldn't be a random download anymore so you're on your own, if you can't handle that pretending to be peter gabriel in this vid helped me through some rough times already and if it doesn't work out for you maybe try pretending you're kate bush instead :heart:

[youtube]VjEq-r2agqc[/youtube]
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:05 pm

Thanks for the tip-off! I've had my eye on that.

While we're on the subject, the all-time best Aesthete quote for me was when he was talking about Flesh for Frankenstein and said that The Spirit of the Beehive would have been far better if Ana had seen Morrissey's film instead of the original.
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:14 pm

Fuck, it's been a while, hasn't it?

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Utajo oboegaki (1941) Hiroshi Shimizu - 8.5/10 (Notes of an Itinerant Performer)

Amazing stuff, but that is to be expected with Shimizu. While it’s not terribly far in the past, being only in the late Meiji period, it does engage more historically which is a bit different for him. Perhaps appropriate for a film about an actress, this one seems more dramatic, more centered around progression as opposed to some of his other works. But make no mistake, it’s still composed of several individually powerful, yet serene moments of the everyday like those films.

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Miss Muerte (1966) Jesús Franco - 7/10 (The Diabolical Dr. Z)

My first experience with these early root works of Franco, but it’s a good film. It has some surprisingly outstanding goth/camp visuals which are what really push this above average, even if the rest falls behind it a bit. He’s definitely taken notes from the likes of Franju. Very little like his later works (though in some ways you see it, especially when he builds silent scenes of anticipation with solitary characters) and certainly not a masterpiece but it’s a surprisingly engaging work all the same. Also holy shit, dat ass on Estella Blain. I’d risk those nails of death for a crack at that.

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Návrat ztraceného syna (1967) Evald Schorm - 7/10 (Return of the Prodigal Son)

Unmistakably influenced by early French New Wave films in its rough, casual style of filming but with more of a hardened edge of bitterness. The imagery looks a little blander compared to some other Czech New Wave films but I think the apathy we see in these scenes reflects our main character’s disillusionment, and the imagery works well with this.

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Emmanuelle (1974) Just Jaeckin - 3.5/10

This sucks. The worst cliches of “erotic” French 70s shlock which is actually very tepid and non-sexy. Just watch something by Franco. The first and foremost problem is that this fucked up on the most essential element for any “erotic” film: lack of attractive people! Pretty much everyone here is very average, sorry to say it. Me and Jaeckin obviously just don’t see eye to eye on this. Outside of that though, Jaeckin’s sense of the erotic is very lame. There are some decently sexy scenes but nothing I haven’t seen better realized in other places. Tension is sucked out and any atmosphere is reduced to a softened, mushy blob. However, while I have little hope for the other “official” films in this series, I’m excited to see what directors like Joe D'Amato and Jesús Franco will later do with the character.

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Warlords of Atlantis (1978) Kevin Connor - 6/10

Fuck yeah Atlantiscore. Nothing particularly special but I’m such a fan of the Victorian-era Atlantis craze that I can’t not have some fun with this.

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El sexo está loco (1981) Jesús Franco - 8/10 (Sex Is Crazy)

Sex is crazy. What an appropriate title as this definitely gets my vote for weirdest Franco film. It begins with a bunch of aliens capturing and impregnating Romay and then it turns into everything from some kind of comedic spy thriller or a satanic horror, with pretty much every other scene seems like it could have come from a different movie. Plus there’s all kinds of oddness within the scenes, like dialogue or sound effects that seem to make no sense. Definitely a curiosity, but honestly I think this is one of his better latter-period films. The sheer wackiness of it makes it interesting to watch at the very least, but the individual scenes are pretty solid too, especially including one of the better lezbo scenes from his later career. Also I never thought there’d be an actress to rival Romay but the character of the “director’s girlfriend” in this movie was hella cute (though Romay would beat her with black hair plus she has more bomb-ass titties).

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Przesłuchanie (1982) Ryszard Bugajski - 7.5/10 (Interrogation)

This is a very intense film (duh). I can see why it might have caused a great degree of controversy in Poland upon release. I don’t have much experience with this Cinema of Moral Anxiety movement but this seems like an interesting example which suggests there was still some good film-making going on in the motherland when directors like Żuławski and Kieślowski were immigrating, even if it was being suppressed by the censors. You may notice I rarely comment on actors’ performances as one of the first things I notice, but Krystyna Janda here is absolutely harrowing in her depiction of a woman truly being broken. Overall cool stuff.

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The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984) John C. Broderick - 4.5/10

I for some reason always prefer these sword and sorcery flicks when they’re set on earth as opposed to another planet. Not sure why but that bit of being tied to history makes these much more enjoyable, even if they’re set in some totally bizarre timeline that has nothing to do with actual historical events. I think it has to do with also not bringing bullshit like Star Wars to mind. Anyway, there were fun parts but this was a big disappointment. I suppose I was expecting too much thinking of great works from Italian maestros like Fulci’s Conquest and Bava’s Knives of the Avenger. Broderick could have learned a lot from that side of the pond.

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Il nido del ragno (1988) Gianfranco Giagni - 7.5/10 (Spider Labyrinth)

Pretty interesting. Not a perfect film but there’s a lot of really wonderfully creepy moments that obviously have tremendous influence from people like Argento and Fulci. Like those two it uses incoherence in a special way to bring about a sense of unease and terror. While it doesn’t have atmosphere or setpieces as remarkable as those two, there’s a lot going for this film. The second half especially picks up where it becomes more of a crazy conspiracy with an ancient cult of evil beings, which as you should know checks a ton of my boxes. A worthy gem, I’ll probably bump this up to at least an 8 in time.

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Rokugatsu no hebi (2002) Shinya Tsukamoto - 6.5/10 (A Snake of June)

I’ve been skeptical of Tsukamoto’s non-Tetsuo work, especially when it’s not in black and white, but this cold blue suits him perfectly. The film itself is no Tetsuo, but it’s still solid. Honestly, the plot here is practically Tetsuo but with electricity. Well, it differs in a few ways, but it’s about a young couple being stalked by a weirdo. However, its sense of imagery and time is very different, and it’s far more psychological and quiet than physical. He really gets a lot of beautiful imagery out of this sickly dark blue technological cinematography. The biggest flaw, I think, is that his editing is on too similar of a speed to Tetsuo, so it moves a bit too fast. With the pounding industrial punishment replaced by an eerie silence here (well, when it’s not generic melodramatic music but that’s another quibble), this doesn’t fit its mood quite as well. Tsukamoto is best at directing movement, usually in relation to a very claustrophobic sense of the body. This is a bit of an issue when this film seems to demand more of a building of landscape and place unlike the chaos of Tetsuo where every setting might as well be the same cramped, mechanical box. Overall it’s a good movie, it would just be a much better one if its cinematography and style reflected each other more closely.

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Color Sound Frames (1974) Paul Sharits - 8/10 [16mm]
Rapture (1987) Paul Sharits - 6.5/10 [16mm]
Analytical Studies I: The Film Frame (1971-1976) Paul Sharits - 7.5/10 [16mm]

None of these were among Sharits's best works, but they all have their pluses. The first one was especially a standout.

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Tenebre (1982) Dario Argento - 9/10 [35mm]

It's a return to giallo, one of Argento's early genre fields, but you can tell his work on Suspiria and Inferno prepped him a lot to make this one extra bloody and intense, with some very delightful touches of surreal imagery. The ending especially is something that for a lot of directors would fuck up but Argento is able to make into something utterly twisted, sardonic, and chilling in his most perfect of ways.

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Le orme (1975) Luigi Bazzoni - 9/10 [35mm] (Footprints on the Moon)

I remember James called La donna del lago by Bazzoni a giallo Marienbad. Would that make this... a giallo Muriel, maybe?
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wigwam
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by wigwam » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:02 am

ye Footprints is cool
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undinum
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by undinum » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:29 pm

jade_vine wrote:Warlords of Atlantis (1978) Kevin Connor - 6/10
O hey the Motel Hell guy! You should def see that
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:36 pm

I'll try to do a top James CG pix weekend and knock out that and Corvette Summer!
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by JediMoonShyne » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:28 am

jade_vine wrote:Would that make this... a giallo Muriel, maybe?
I'd say that's quite fitting, yes! :D

I love that people are discovering this recently: http://corrierino.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... 6#p1151136
“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:14 am

I've been quite busy and that will only increase as my final projects are fast approaching. So if I watch much more this month it'll probably be mostly random nonsense I grabbed from CG (ok I know that's what I usually watch anyway but I mean the even more brainless stuff, like random instructional tapes and conspiracy docs).

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Der heilige Berg (1926) Arnold Fanck - 8.5/10 (The Holy Mountain)

These bergfilms are fantastic. But if the opening of this teaches us anything it’s that these Germans are as talented at filming water as snow. And grass! So yeah, Fanck is a master at filming pretty much all landscapes. Moral of the story: Bros before hoes, especially when you two are good enough bros to sit on mountains playing accordions. Yes, even when the ho in question is Riefenstahl.

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La battaglia di Maratona (1959) Bruno Vailati & Mario Bava - 6.5/10 (The Giant of Marathon)

Holy shit, I just downloaded this because it looked like some fun Greek hijinks. When I saw Jacques Tourneur’s name on the credits I shit my pants. Frankly, I don’t believe it and it looks like Italian Wikipedia doesn’t either so yeah, fuck that. Mario Bava was associate director though. Anyway, this is really really gay. Just like you want your Greeks to be! And it's quite good. Though admittedly, the fact that the “giant” of the title is not literal is somewhat of a shame. Still, this is full of muscly camaraderie and fair maidens. One of the better sword and sandal films I’ve seen out of the very few (obviously Fulci, Bava, and Cottafavi reign supreme).

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Vixen! (1968) Russ Meyer - 8/10

One of the better early Meyer films for sure, I'd say. This is certainly helped by Erica Gavin who is absolutely one of the biggest babes in any Meyer flick (big in a few ways). But yeah, it also helps that it's really legitimately funny just because of all the trash talk. Everyone knows Russ Meyer is at his best when his characters just berate and fuck each other for an hour and a half (I know that's all of his films, but it should be even more extreme!), and this film lives up to that impeccably. Plus it's just cool to see him work in an environment that isn't a desert.

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Kladivo na čarodějnice (1970) Otakar Vávra - 7/10 (Witchhammer)

This certainly has one hell of an opening sequence. Very kvlt. This whole movie is very kvlt. Unfortunately, the second half doesn’t live up to the first. How can you with all those witch titties I guess? Just a few too many scenes of old guys sitting around tables. Still a very good film over all though.

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El ataque de los muertos sin ojos (1973) Amando de Ossorio - 7.5/10 (Return of the Blind Dead)

As with the other film by Ossorio I saw, I feel like the directors he went on to influence are superior to him, but this one particularly I still found a lot to enjoy in. I think his mise-en-scène is more advanced here. The atmosphere was a lot more affecting to me, although maybe it’s just that I love these evil orderz of monkz. Also, there’s only a scene or two of gore, but they’re really really fantastic. That very last scene was also as effective as it was simple. So yeah, no masterpiece but big improvement I think.

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Maciste contre la reine des amazones (1974) Jesús Franco - 7.5/10 (The Lustful Amazons)

I enjoyed this quite a bit, even though it’s not by any means one of Franco’s standout works. It makes sense that he made it under another name as it seems like a fairly slipshod production, even for Franco. It doesn’t have a ton of relations with his other stuff. But it’s very fun. These stories about Amazons are always super fun and hot, and this one is no exception.

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Réfutation de tous les jugements, tant élogieux qu'hostiles, qui ont été jusqu'ici portés sur le film La Société du spectacle (1975) Guy Debord - 6/10

Makes me want to revisit The Society of the Spectacle because I only saw it in bad quality. This unfortunately seems like a much less engaging exercise, mostly because it starts solid with the found-footage Debord we love but then drifts into a bunch of boring speeches.

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The Hollow (1975) George T. Nierenberg - 8/10

This is a pure VHScore. A strange little artifact which seems to be about a group of inbred people in a mountain community who seem utterly removed from the modern world. They have very thick, strange accents. While it’s not as extreme a level, it’s a bit like Poto and Cabengo but with an entire settlement. Absolutely fascinating if you’re as interested in true outsiders as me.

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Motel Hell (1980) Kevin Connor - 7.5/10

In my experience, comedic slasher films rarely work. In fact, horror comedy rarely works in general. This is an exception. All the stuff with the dead in the garden is brilliant. This is a cool film because it uses doofy, ridiculous characters but ones that aren’t utterly hateful and spiteful. Not that I necessarily mind completely awful, annoying characters in the right context. Goofy as fuck but it for the most part gets it all right. It’s nice to see such a competent example of this style after watching so many botches ones. I was a little unsure near the beginning but the second half was all great and that ending was totally amazing, so I'll probably like this even more on revisit. The pig headed dude is also a fucking icon, no doubt. Thanks for the tipoff James! I moved Corvette Summer up in my Netflix queue so it's coming soon.

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Dinosaurs: Fun, Fact and Fantasy (1982) Clive Doig - 6/10

Every time I think I’ve found the most CG piece of film in existence, something new is unearthed. This is certainly up there. It’s a wonderfully cheap but at the same time totally charming piece for kids about dinos. It’s filled with wonderful stop motion and puppetry. And some utterly jaunty songs! Can’t speak for accuracy, there might be some less than stellar info. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very fun work.

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Simple Men (1992) Hal Hartley - 8/10

I've been skeptical about re-evaluating Hartley after I rather disliked the first film I saw by him, his short Theory of Achievement. But I was a very, very different person when I watched that four years ago (holy shit, it's been that long already?). I might need to revisit it, if only to oogle Löwensohn more. But I definitely liked this one. He really directs people in a unique way. Highly framed and unnatural, but in a way that brings about a lot of emotion. Strange, contorted, and because of it very humorous and clever emotion. I remember not liking Theory of Achievement because I was annoyed by the pretentious nature of the characters. Naturally, this wouldn't annoy me now since I've developed a love for films like The Last Days of Disco (holy shit just imagine if I saw THAT one back then, I would have annihilated it), but this film doesn't have that. At least, not in the same way. Any of that sort of humorous intellectualizing is tinged with a deep melancholy here which I find fascinating. Also, double-H seriously had one of the biggest bevies of gorgeous women he worked with of any director outside maybe Godard.

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undo (1994) Shunji Iwai - 6/10

I’ve had quite mixed feelings about the Iwai films I’ve seen thus far. I was fond of All About Lily Chou-Chou when I first watched it as a teen and felt all the feels, and while it’s still a film with many plusses for me (can’t get enough of that late 90s/early 00s disaffected Japanese techno youth), I’ve drifted far away from it in many other aspects. That said, I enjoyed this. I was by no means blown away, but it was cool. I think he’s a better director when focusing on the everyday and not trying to make really grand, massive statements into the human condition. Ironically, he probably does the latter more effectively when focusing on a really individual level like this. Nothing fantastic but there are cool parts.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:20 am

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Holiday (1938) George Cukor - 8/10

Classic stuff. Cukor takes the typical comedic 30s topic of differences in class and manners and really does something special with it. This has to be one of Hepburn’s best performances too.

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Io la conoscevo bene (1965) Antonio Pietrangeli - 7/10 (I Knew Her Well)

Sandrelli is barely legal here but like that’s gonna stop me from perving. This is a pretty good film too. It responds to the kind of modern alienation you see in someone like Antonioni but in a much lighter way. It’s no masterpiece for sure, but there’s a lot of fun here and the cinematography is especially extremely solid.

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Skräcken har 1000 ögon (1970) Torgny Wickman - 5.5/10 (Sensuous Sorceress)

For a Swedish movie from the 70s there weren’t as many hawt chix as you’d expect, sadly. Anyway, this might be mediocre but I love the color tone.

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In Search of the Wow Wow Wibble Woggle Wazzie Woodle Woo (1985) Barry Caillier - 4/10

Just as much of a mess as it sounds like. I really can’t believe this was made for children. I can’t believe it was made for anyone besides the writer and main star Tim Noah. The whole movie is pretty much him acting like a third-rate Pee-Wee Herman in a white room or with a bevy of strange video effects and terrible songs. Why did I watch this? Who knows.

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Liao zhai: Hua nong yue (1991) Lin Yi-hung - 6/10 (Liu Jai: Home for Intimate Ghosts)

That opening bit is the sickest thing I’ve seen in a while, like a pinku version of the hell scenes in Jigoku! Unfortunately, the rest of this is decent if less impressive. The story is about some cuck who finds a couple of two ghosts and they fuck a lot of random people in between spooky scenes of hauntings and exorcisms. Also once again gawbless HKMDb or I’d never be able to get any info on this thing lol.

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Bijitâ Q (2001) Takashi Miike - 6.5/10 (Visitor Q)

Ordinarily I am no great fan of Miike. But this is both nicely satirical of Japanese familial structures and just very darkly funny even if you don’t take that into account. Overall his style still lacks quite a bit but I had fun with this and felt like a sick fukkk doing so. It’s nothing too amazing though.

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Stemple Pass (2012) James Benning - 8.5/10

One shot (well, with variations of four seasons) but oh what a shot it is. What really makes it unique though is the narration, readings from the diaries of Ted Kaczynski (!). His connection to nature is really emphasized, which makes it interesting to view this pass of wilderness. Much like in Landscape Suicide, he uses these grim elements to make the landscape itself almost mourn and somehow seem full of silent bloodshed.

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Trop tôt, trop tard (1982) Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet - 9/10 (Too Early, Too Late)

Only famous Straub/Huillet that I still hadn’t seen. I’m a dumbass because this is top five material for them. Maybe even top three. Top one? Maybe not yet, but this is more than incredible. There isn’t much to say if you’re familiar with their style and the structure of this film. Well, there is, but I don’t think I’m in the best position to at the moment. I’ll have to think a lot more about this one. But it made a very nice companion piece with the Benning film I saw right before this one in terms of comparing the relationship text can have to landscape.

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Schwarze Sünde (1989) Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet - 8.5/10 (Black Sin)

One of their most underrated works I think. This is as solid as any of their Greek-based works but with a more miniature runtime. Fine, fine stuff.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by JediMoonShyne » Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:36 am

jade_vine wrote:Io la conoscevo bene (1965) Antonio Pietrangeli - 7/10 (I Knew Her Well)

Sandrelli is barely legal here but like that’s gonna stop me from perving. This is a pretty good film too. It responds to the kind of modern alienation you see in someone like Antonioni but in a much lighter way. It’s no masterpiece for sure, but there’s a lot of fun here and the cinematography is especially extremely solid.
Aw, I love this one! Definitely some thematic similarities with Antonioni, but a whole lot more accessible. Need to see more Pietrangeli, especially that Adua Blu.

Also, recently watched Schwarze Sünde for the thread. :heart:
“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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snapper
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by snapper » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:17 pm

I love that Pietrangeli film
Latest notable first-time viewings:

* The Sun in a Net / Uher
** The Seashell and the Clergyman / Dulac
The Tales of Beatrix Potter / Mills
* A Flood in Ba'ath Country / Amiralay
Times and Winds / Erdem
Most Beautiful Island / Asensio
* Japanese Girls Never Die / Matsui
* Birth Certificate / Różewicz
Bush Mama / Gerima
** Paris Is Burning / Livingston


TWEET1 | TWEET2 | FACE | BOXD | TUMBL1 | TUMBL2
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon May 18, 2015 12:08 pm

Been gone but done with spring semester at university. Time fo some movies.

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Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) F.W. Murnau - 7/10

While not as revolutionary as The Last Laugh or Sunrise nor as deeply complex in its fantastical imagery as Faust, this remains a classic piece of Murnau’s filmography. Lots of lovely gothic pictures, if with a bit less consistent pacing.

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La fille de l'eau (1925) Jean Renoir - 6.5/10 (Whirlpool of Fate)

Certainly not a particularly refined and mature work, but this is a very impressive beginning for Renoir. Already he has a realistic yet somehow approach to the the tragedies of French everyday life. The crazy dream sequence was really something special though (and something quite unusual for Renoir). Indeed, there are a few adventurous elements like this in the editing and style that, while being a bit uneven and creating less of a lean classicism than we are used to with Renoir, are engaging in their own right.

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Nana (1926) Jean Renoir - 7/10

Renoir still develops his voice here, but I see this one as certainly further along the line. It’s certainly a “big” film, with an extravagant runtime and extravagant settings, somewhat in the style of a contemporary like L'Herbier. He uses the circus as a place to contrast escapism with brutal problems of reality in a way emblematic of a number of films at this time (if comparatively briefly), but no less brilliantly.

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Sur un air de Charleston (1927) Jean Renoir - 6/10 (Charleston Parade)

A minor work of Renoir’s and an extremely strange one. Clearly, he was inspired by surrealist and dada filmmakers of the time like Man Ray for it. As such, it takes largely after their style and depicts a rather bizarre stroy where a little French girl Charleston dances with an guy in the year 2028 wearing blackface. There are UFOs and men in monkey suits and weird editing choices like negative footage or illogical pinhole moments. It’s not as refined as many other works of its kind or more characteristic works of Renoir’s, but I had a ton of fun with it even if the dancing scenes run a bit too long. 70 years before twerking videos Renoir was putting ass popping in slow motion.

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La Petite Marchande d'allumettes (1928) Jean Renoir - 8/10 (The Little Match Girl)

Well, you can guess the plot just by the name because for its time this is an image as old as time itself. But Renoir really is starting to develop his gentle engagement with the environment given the stunning landscapes here. They’re a bit more brash in their romantic desperation than he would later become, but they really are quite lovely. This is a marvelously delicate and heartbreaking film with an advanced ability to convey this through image alone. It really shows a height of the silent era and I think it’s extremely underrated in Renoir’s filmography. Maybe it’s the potentially corny content that throws people off, but this is anything but stale. Some of the imagery here is on the level of Epstein. I might be overrating this due to my admitted weakness for snowy silent landscapes (especially with dat faded lens!) but who curr this amazing.

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La Marseillaise (1938) Jean Renoir - 7.5/10

A bit overlong, but otherwise Renoir depicts the history of his country with more of a beautiful connection to it. He is, after all, one of the most French directors of history. This does happen to be a period of history I love seeing represented, so I am quite biased towards this one.

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Le testament du Docteur Cordelier (1959) Jean Renoir - 8/10 (The Doctor's Horrible Experiment)

This is very wonderful. The idea of the plot, a retelling of Jekyll and Hyde, seems strange for Renoir but handles it with a usual grace. The blend of the fantastical into everyday, classicist filmmaking reminds one a bit of Cocteau as well. But this is even more set in the French daily life that Renoir is so talented at.

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Le Caporal épinglé (1962) Jean Renoir - 7/10 (The Elusive Corporal)

Quite similar in both mood and story to Grand Illusion. While not quite as great as that, this is quite a funny and very very humane film.

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Les Enfants terribles (1950) Jean-Pierre Melville - 7/10

I wanted to completely finish the book first but eh, I’ve been saying I’m going to get back to it for years and years and now am having trouble even remembering it, so it’s about time I forget that and just watch. And it’s pretty kewl, though certainly Melville’s view of the environment is quite different than mine. He still manages to make it pretty cold and full of tension though, which is naturally the most important effect.

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Traité de bave et d'éternité (1951) Jean-Isidore Isou - 7/10 (Venom and Eternity)

Dat warning at the beginning. Bring the “discrepancy” on. Even before the imagery, the insane voodoo chants at the beginning are plenty to weed plebs out. Pure French lefty subversion at its most playful and inflammatory. I’m not totally in love with it (Isou’s imagery isn’t as captivating as someone like Vertov if we’re talking city image) but it still has a number of rather engaging moments.

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Tirez sur un pianiste (1960) François Truffaut - 6/10 (Shoot the Piano Player)

Only other Truffaut I’d seen is The 400 Blows, that’s how pleb I am. This was kinda fun but I think it’s really inferior to that. So I’m not a big fan so far of him but there are a lot more I want to see. For something the CriCo DVD describes as “drunk of the possibility of cinema,” this is rather aesthetically ordinary.

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Un posto iedeale per uccidere (1971) Umberto Lenzi - 8.5/10 (Dirty Pictures)

Lenzi has always been a god of sleaze so a film called Dirty Pictures certainly seems apt for him. Giallo from the man is an interesting idea and he pulls it off well. This is full of great sleazy lines like “You remember, I’m only half English… from the waist up!” BOOM. ITALIAN STEEL. Yeah, a lot of this plays out like the opening of films like Bava’s A Bay of Blood for the full length in tone, but that’s a good thing in Lenzi’s case as that’s his specialty. Some of the best scenes don’t even need gore and murder because of how great he is at creating scenes of hip young people having pervy parties. This actually creates quite an interesting plot where we see the murder from the murderers instead of the victims in an opposite style of a normal giallo, which is very fascinating. Also, there may not be any girls as iconic in their beauty as someone like Edwige Fenech, but Lenzi as usual scopes out some hawt chixxx.

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Overlord (1975) Stuart Cooper - 7.5/10

Love that archival footage. At its best it’s very similar to Blokada, if not quite as hypnotic and otherworldly as that one with a bit more ties to the real world. But it’s certainly quite an interesting film. There’s something to be really admired about the way Cooper ties his own shot images into history. I think aesthetically I’d like to see it a bit more unorthodox but this is still quite nice and I think is really ahead of its time. It anticipates directors like Guerín all the way back in the 70s. That ending is certainly something else.

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Corvette Summer (1978) Matthew Robbins - 7/10

These random 80s comedies are very hit or miss (w/e it’s 78 but it’s as much of an 80s movie in feel as you’ll ever see), often more miss than hit, but this has a lovely sense of nostalgia and warmth to it. This sense almost pervades the humor which makes it really worthwhile, though the ending was a bit too ordinary. Thanks James this was a lot of fun.

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My Own Private Idaho (1991) Gus Van Sant - 6/10

They’re both hunks, check please!

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Das goldene Tor (1992) Jürgen Reble - 9.5/10 (The Golden Gate)

Blown away beyond words as usual for Reble. You know what it is, lots of footage being taken over by chemicals and other damage. Absolutely incredible. It’s not quite as extreme in the “damage” as some of his other works, but oh my god this is Passion-tier. Can’t miss it. Also, Thomas Köner is on the audio so you know it’s gon be gud.

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Short Cuts (1993) Robert Altman - 6.5/10

+1 points for chemtrails WAKE UP. Lol no really, I wasn’t expecting much but really enjoyed this. There’s a lot of pathos in these strange little stories. Makes me want to read some Carver. Altman also gets some rather nice widescreen compositions out of the material. If John Ford is the most American director of the first half of the 20th century, Altman may be the most American of the second half. While this wasn’t on the standards of 3 Women, much less McCabe & Mrs. Miller, I dig what I’ve seen and should check out more.

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Pezhyazh (2003) Sergei Loznisa - 8/10 (Landscape)

In some ways, very similar to everything else by Loznitsa I’ve seen, but in other ways very different. There’s a higher structurality and formality distancing the techniques from the images in comparison to his other films. More explicitly than ever, as the title could have you guess, this is a film about the connection to the Russian landscape and the experience of viewing it. In the fascinating hour, we see a number of scenes slowly panned over that subtly reveal the deep connections of history and location to our both nature and the people who inhabit it. The cold detachment yet warm fascination with faces in crowds definitely predates his work in Maidan.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon May 25, 2015 3:25 am

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Phase Loop (1971) Guy Sherwin - 7/10
Sound Shapes (1972) Guy Sherwin - 7.5/10
Cycles (1973-2003) Guy Sherwin - 8.5/10
Newsprint (1972-2003) Guy Sherwin - 8.5/10
At the Academy (1974) Guy Sherwin - 8.5/10
Vowels & Consonants (2005-2006) Guy Sherwin - 8/10
Soundtrack (1977) Guy Sherwin - 8/10
Musical Stairs (1977) Guy Sherwin - 8/10
Railings (1977) Guy Sherwin - 8/10
Night Train (1979) Guy Sherwin - 7.5/10
Interval (1974-2007) Guy Sherwin - 7.5/10
Notes (1979-2007) Guy Sherwin - 7/10
Optical Sound (2007) Guy Sherwin - 7/10
Spirals (1974) Guy Sherwin - 8.5/10
Mobius Loops (2007) Guy Sherwin - 7.5/10
Cross Section #2 (1997-2007) Guy Sherwin - 7/10
Sound Cuts (2007) Guy Sherwin - 7.5/10

Sherwin is becoming a director I really appreciate. I've always liked guys like him or Robakowski who reduce film to nothing but intervals of time and perception on a level far more extreme than almost any other structuralists. The importance of sound for Sherwin is uncommon or an experimental director. Essentially, he has converted his filmed images into optical sound readings and played the two simultaneously, which anyone can imagine is fascinating. It's really interesting to me because it marks him as a different sort of filmmaker than one thinks of when hearing "experimental film" and makes me pause before describing experimental filmmaking as a filmmaking that places more importance on visuals. However, his films would not work if there were no visuals, so it's clearly a case where the two meld into one, perhaps on a level few other directors can lay claim to. There's something about the pure love of the image and use of time and material in structuralist film that is unbelievably charming. It almost makes them seem more like scientists than filmmakers, really putting the "experiment" in "experimental film" and Sherwin is one of the best examples of this. Really rewarding endeavors here.

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Le Quai des brumes (1938) Marcel Carné - 7.5/10 (Port of Shadows)

One of those many great films set in those tiny foggy seaside towns in France from this time. Just in terms of setting and imagery it’s more than enjoyable. But the story is quite touching as well. Gr8!

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Kumonosu-jô (1957) Akira Kurosawa - 8/10 (Throne of Blood)

You’d think that a simple story/setting transfiguration wouldn’t phase me, but I can’t help but be fascinated with the mere act of setting Macbeth in feudal Japan. It’s such a simple thing, but the way Kurosawa collapses western influence into something so classical and dear to the Japanese identity is really wonderful as a microcosm for his style in general. One of his best films by far. I’m truly impressed with how he carries the spirit of Shakespearean tragedy so thoroughly but understatedly. I also find the environment and sense of place in this film really wonderful. Some of his best work in that regard, as he manages to convey a lot through it instead of speech.

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Ganja & Hess (1973) Bill Gunn - 9/10

This film is utterly unique in style. Out of all the blaxploitation films I’ve seen (not many), I’ve rarely seen one trace back the engagement of black identity in a way this sincere and intelligent. And that identity isn’t something related to politics either, which is a notable difference. It’s something much more personal, going down to the very rhythms of the body itself. The horror element also seems to really root back to a “black” sense of horror rooted in voodoo-style curses instead of simply taking European styles (like Blacula) and using black actors.
The way Gunn makes this horror so atmospheric and effective in its cheapness reminds me somewhat of a black Jean Rollin or Jesús Franco, which is really something extraordinary and interesting compared to other blaxploitation flicks. The extreme sensuality and emotional messiness of the film makes it an even stranger beast though, like a lot of Cassavetes tossed into the writing. Or perhaps, more accurately, Charles Burnett. But more than those, it is marked by its erotic attention to the beauty (and deadliness) to be found in flesh and lust. That’s what would draw comparisons to those European exploitation masters, but there’s something different about this one. Something far more tragic and horrific, but gorgeous in its savagery.
What I love about blaxploitation is the utter revelry in everything beautiful and exquisite but also very anti-politically correct about blackness, and this film takes that to the point of surrealism. Anyway, ignore my comparisons, this is utterly unique. As a last note, the music too is a very interesting counterpoint. There’s few sleazy funk jams here, it’s mostly a selection of very old soul music at its most haunting or African tribal chants. The two seem to play off of each other, linking “modern” and “ancient” black experience (probably reading too much into that). This is a lovely final point adding to the overall effect of this work.

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La Tête de Normande St-Onge (1975) Gilles Carle - 8/10

I’ve seen Carle’s name everywhere. I’m fairly sure he’s one of the last famous Québec directors I hadn’t seen anything by. And dis sum good shyt boi. It has to be. You see Carole Laure’s snatch in the first three minutes after all. She really is a mega hottie, like the Canadian Fenech, or at least the Canadian Liljedahl. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s also then entered into a convent (if only briefly). Das hot. Anyway, the film itself is no slouch outside of this. Everyone knows about the alienation present in modern, gray, cold European cities, but it takes a lot of talent to draw alienation out of the sunny French Canadian countryside. Very strange and sad, often in ways that seem to go beyond logic. It also has music by Lewis Furey so this is just all around impressive.

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Local Color (1977) Mark Rappaport - 9/10

I don’t know why it took me so long to see another Rappaport after The Scenic Route. It was so good that I knew another one would take a lot out of me I guess. And yeah, this is absolutely incredible. Just as in that film, he has an impeccable ability to extract pure emotions out of people in spite of an environment almost totally alien in its artificiality. It’s rare to see something that manages to be self-aware but completely earnest in its own self-awareness but that style describes his films perfectly.

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Amazing World of Ghosts (1978) Winston Wheeler Dixon - 8.5/10

Oh man, looking up this Dixon guy a bit more shows that this is a big cut above the average bullshit paranormal documentary. I knew something was great after hearing his narration, where he thinks that all the mythological systems of the ancients were hilariously stupid but ghosts? Totes real bro. He’s a top tier nut but not a new agey type, more full of pseudoscience speculations. And he uses these to hunt ghosts here (well, more go on random ponderings in his narration about what THE BEYOND may hold). What begins, however, as mere ghostly photos and events soon gets really insane. He soon moves on to UFOs, Satanism, and all kinds of weird shit. Faux-documentaries that dipped into various unexplained phenomena were common in the 70s, but rarely ones as incoherent and bizarre as this. It’s seriously schizophrenic, it’s like he forgets he’s making a doc on ghosts and has to keep relating it back by saying shit like “…and whenever there is an outbreak of UFO sightings, there is an outbreak of ghosts reported as well.” You absolutely need to experience this one for yourself. If you only check out one of these crazy paranormal docs, make it this one. I think many will find it hilarious even if they aren’t normally into this stuff like me. This melted my mind in an hour and a half almost as much as the full 5 of The Legend of Atlantis. It’s like the most drugged-out, nonsensical Mondo film-cum-“documentary” I’ve ever seen. One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time.

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Gui da gui (1980) Sammo Hung - 9/10 (Encounters of the Spooky Kind)

After a fantastic opening scene, I thought that while this film was great and up to the usual Sammo standard, it wasn’t quite as great as I expected. But about halfway through it really picked up and then lead to perhaps the greatest ending scene in any of his films (srs). Most of the reason for this is that the film saves most of the great martial arts for later, but it’s well worth the wait and once that kicks in it becomes a top tier work of his.

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Perfect Strangers (1984) Larry Cohen - 8.5/10

Not quite as great as God Told Me To but they’re very different films. Well, kind of. In more ways they’re very similar. Cohen definitely seems like a guy who’s mapped his own space in cinema out quite well. He’s really wonderful at taking sleazy setups and settings and ends up finding a lot of ingenuity and meaning in them. Few directors capture anxiety and uncertainty in late 70s/80s America better than him. The nature of the acting is what some would call “bad” or “cheesy” at first, but I think it’s rather a very intentional attempt at creating a sense of displacement through the strange delivery, which is quite brilliant. This is added to by the beautiful and strange visual haze that coats everything, making the sleazy content further seem like some kind of removed dream.

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Jintai-mokei no yoru (1996) Hisayasu Satô - 8.5/10 (Night of Body's Model)

Haven’t watched any Satô in a while. I’m an idiot. This is another excellent work, and one far less connected to a typical pinku progression than his other works. There are few sexy or violent scenes, but otherwise this is more of at atmospheric look at social claustrophobic interaction in his typical style. Here we observe a young woman moving into an apartment and her interaction with neighbors, all of whom have strange habits and fetishes. As usual, this captures the modern anxiety of Japan in a fantastic way. What Wakamatsu visualized through the pinku for the Japanese unrest of the 60s, Satô does for the nation’s modern repression and alienation in the 80s and 90s.

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Intimacy (2001) Patrice Chéreau - 7.5/10

This is a very solid example of a specific sense of handheld Euro-alienation. Some of the flashback scenes were a little too overwrought for me with their DRAMATIC SLOWMO (and the generic breakbeat soundtrack at some parts is hilarious) but otherwise it’s very nice and conjuring a mood. The story is about a dead-end guy working in a bar who has a friend with benefits that he meets every week or so. Lots of scenes of aimless wandering and unfriendly landscapes with unsimulated sex scenes thrown in. That element is interesting actually; the film is a bit like the “New French Extremity” flicks but without the extremity if that makes sense. There’s explicit sex, but while it’s alienated as hell it’s not very dark or brutal. The title may refer to intimacy, but this sense of intimacy seems fraught with uncertainty and meaninglessness, which is what sort of drives this story. Nothing exemplary, but very nice all the same.

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Chi chu yu bi chu (2012) Mao Mao - 8/10 (Here, Then)

Well, it’s where THAT scene is from. So that’s certainly something. But the rest of the movie is similarly worthy. It doesn’t sound that unique based on the description of it being a series of images of indifferent monotony in Chinese youth, but Mao marks his own space in the arena of filmmakers like Jia and Li. He balances in a nice place between the most still directors like the latter and those using more jittery handheld movements. Therefore this is a rather mobile film but one with very finely crafted images in those moving moments. Plus lots of lovely stills. He even realizes some scenes with slow pans or zooms (most dramatically in the famous dancing scene) closer to something like Tarkovsky or another very European sense of the meditative, which is strange but incredibly interesting in the context of the other directors he is working after.
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Philosophe rouge
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Philosophe rouge » Mon May 25, 2015 3:35 am

I love Gilles Carle but haven't seen that one yet, have it ready at my disposal though
Everything around me is evaporating. My whole life, my memories, my imagination and its contents, my personality - it's all evaporating. I continuously feel that I was someone else, that I felt something else, that I thought something else. What I'm attending here is a show with another set. And the show I'm attending is myself. Fernando Pessoa

Live. Laugh. Love. - Freddy Krueger
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon May 25, 2015 3:43 am

It's certainly something else. There are some really surreal scenes mixed in that kind of blew my mind.

What Carle should I see next?
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Philosophe rouge » Mon May 25, 2015 4:53 am

my personal favourite is La vraie nature de bernadette
Everything around me is evaporating. My whole life, my memories, my imagination and its contents, my personality - it's all evaporating. I continuously feel that I was someone else, that I felt something else, that I thought something else. What I'm attending here is a show with another set. And the show I'm attending is myself. Fernando Pessoa

Live. Laugh. Love. - Freddy Krueger
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snapper
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by snapper » Mon May 25, 2015 1:27 pm

port of shadows! ganja & hess! pretty sure you're right about the ancient vs. modern blackness thing. gunn seems to be using the traumas of slavery, jim crow, segregation to echo the macabre backstories of folkloric vampires, like the way dracula was burnt alive only to come back as the prince of darkness. day is denied to these characters so they take to the night in a kind of atavistic rebellion

intimacy though, ew. that one's awful
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by snapper » Mon May 25, 2015 1:28 pm

idk about cheapie pinku. i've seen one Sato, Muscle, which was negligible but i just don't htink i'm primed as a viewer to get in to that kind of celluloid grime just for the aesthetic and mood. he did naked blood right? what of his would appeal most to a layman cinephile
Latest notable first-time viewings:

* The Sun in a Net / Uher
** The Seashell and the Clergyman / Dulac
The Tales of Beatrix Potter / Mills
* A Flood in Ba'ath Country / Amiralay
Times and Winds / Erdem
Most Beautiful Island / Asensio
* Japanese Girls Never Die / Matsui
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Bush Mama / Gerima
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon May 25, 2015 2:32 pm

snapper wrote:idk about cheapie pinku. i've seen one Sato, Muscle, which was negligible but i just don't htink i'm primed as a viewer to get in to that kind of celluloid grime just for the aesthetic and mood. he did naked blood right? what of his would appeal most to a layman cinephile
Hmmm. I'd say go for Love - Zero = Infinity. It was the first one that really hooked me. The one I just watched up there, Night of Body's Model, also has less of an emphasis on lewd scenes and might be a really good choice too.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:30 pm

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Intolerance (1916) D.W. Griffith - 7.5/10

I’m not a big fan of The Birth of a Nation and people always assume that it’s because of the racism. That’s not the case, I don’t factor that into my opinion of the film at all. I just think the pacing is poor and it’s overlong. That said, it’s grown on me and I now think it’s a decent film. This occasionally some of the same problems, but in much much smaller amounts. The intercutting between time periods I think really allows Griffith to balance all these periods more evenly. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads to the individual segments being spread a bit thin or being uneven. I sensed this especially in the modern tale, though maybe that’s bias because I think that Griffith’s style of filmmaking seems to be designed for the telling of ancient stories. This is why the Babylon story is especially incredible, some of the best set work he’s ever done. That segment on its own would be a strong 8.5 at least. Overall it’s still a very good film, just a bit overlong and inconsistent. One thing that’s for sure is that the fight scenes in this one are on another level from The Birth of the Nation. He sure as hell discovered how to make them compelling and awesome. And those revelries of the cult of Ishtar? Are there any images more mesmerizing in Griffith’s oeuvre? Seriously, the Babylon section on its own would probably be in my top 30 silent films.

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Broken Blossoms (1919) D.W. Griffith - 6/10

It’s quite an interesting development for Griffith to go from two films so massive to one so small in scale. Certainly this is a massive step forward in the use of intimate and romantic cinematic time and space. While I think this is a very uneven film with a lot less power than Intolerance, it likely had much more influence on the films I’ve come to love, and I can’t not enjoy that.

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I vitelloni (1953) Federico Fellini - 6/10

Meh, it’s decent but nothing compared with what Fellini will become. That said, there’s some pretty nice images he manages to pull out, acting as nice foreshadowing to the black and white setpieces of films like La Strada.

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Giulietta degli spiriti (1965) Federico Fellini - 7/10 (Juliet of the Spirits)

The setting is cool to see Fellini tackle, as he brings his talents to a domestic sphere rather than the more carnivalesque, city-wide engagements he normally does. I wouldn’t say it’s as successful as the other films he made with Masina, but it’s not as lame as something like Amarcord. This leaves it somewhere in the middle of Fellini’s filmography. The story is something very interesting to me, sort of like the feminine counterpart to the masculine journey through consciousness that is .

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Viridiana (1961) Luis Buñuel - 8/10

This is the style of Buñuel I truly adore most. While it’s been a long time since I’ve seen The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, I think that its silly faffing about, while occasionally quite amusing, doesn’t hit as hard and incredibly as these early works. This scatological affront to God and decency is wonderful and I can’t wait to check out other earlier films of his.

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Le Fantôme de la liberté (1974) Luis Buñuel - 7/10 (The Phantom of Liberty)

I’ve always thought The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie was an interesting but very unsuccessful experiment. But this is exactly what it was trying to be, meaning a successful stream of pure surrealist anarchy. I laughed lot during this, and that ending especially is indisputably genius. This is remarkable simply for the act that despite age it hasn’t become LOLSORANDUMXD pap, but has remained a very humorous and even strangely probing work. But it’s a good film apart from that as well. It’s still a work of its own after all these years, even in the realm of Buñuel. I’m not saying it’s an all-time favorite, but I think it’s perfect for what it is.

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Cet obscur objet du désir (1977) Luis Buñuel - 7/10 (That Obscure Object of Desire)

The dual actress is a great method, but sadly I felt that Buñuel’s atmosphere wasn’t as strong as a film like this deserved. But otherwise the story is pretty great and overall it’s good. The last third or so was especially cool.

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Les Vampires (1915) Louis Feuillade - 8/10

It takes a bit of time to get started, but once it does this is as fun and exciting as anything you’ll see. Feuillade’s sense of cinematography isn’t quite on the same level as I’ve seen in his short piece L’Agonie de Byzance, but he more than makes up for this with one of the most ludicrous, twisted crime stories ever committed to film, even to this day. I can definitely see the influence that serials like Feuillade’s must have had on Rivette when he decided to deconstruct and reinvent the entire style with Out 1. That’s not meant to be backhanded at all though, this is a great piece by all accounts.

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Hangover Square (1945) John Brahm - 9/10

The plot to this is one of the most dark and psychologically ahead-of-its-time I’ve seen in a noir. It’s about a composer who encounters a woman who tries to steal his newest song. He then blacks out… The dark and squalid atmosphere of desperation is on an absolutely impressive level. One of the best femme fatales in the genre, truly. She wrings this poor fucker dry and leaves him a broken, disheveled creature. What our main character is by the end of this film is as tragic as any noir you’ve seen. Fascinating stuff. Brahm’s cinematography is no slouch either, the shadow play here is exactly as powerful as you’d want for a story like this. One of the best noirs I’ve seen in a while.

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Oliver Twist (1948) David Lean - 5.5/10

I didn’t approach this with any expectations, but I can say that Lean has a better talent at constructing imagery than I thought. I think calling Lean an English Ford is appropriate enough given his rich composition and deep classicism, but this is unfortunately more stale for me than Ford’s work. Overall, not bad but not very special either.

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More (1969) Barbet Schroeder - 7/10

Is this the era when Ibiza started to become the European center of debauchery? This is pretty cool. 1969 is the perfect year for it because this is the kind of film that perfectly encapsulates the dying light of the 60s. All that drugged-up free love degenerates into an meaningless, purgatorial ennui.

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Le diable est parmi nous (1972) Jean Beaudin - 6.5/10 (Satan's Sabbath)

Nothing too special but this is a fun piece of Satanic sleaze. I dig the way it progresses really slowly and emptily. Tension really builds well out of the lack here. Serviceable for what it is.

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Dian tang lang (1980) Yip Wing-cho - 5.5/10 (Thundering Mantis)

The dubbing here can get kind of distracting since it’s not silly and weird in the way this dubbing normally is. A lot of the voices have English accents, for example. The film is certainly no kung fu classic, but there are some fairly solid fighting scenes.

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Keiko desu kedo (1997) Sion Sono - 8/10 (It's Keiko)

I’m not a great fan of Love Exposure, though I’ve somewhat grown in appreciation for it as of late. But this is certainly proof that Sono can make great films. The idea is fascinating, making use of several elaborate minimal shots of the same character and her environment. These aren’t minimal in the way of other “contemplative” Asian directors, as the time here is very much at the forefront of the viewer’s mind which makes it impossible to “lose” oneself in the image. It’s closer to something like Frampton in the context of a narrative, but infused with a lot of emotion in the act of time in a way that someone removed like Frampton is not. It’s fascinating, and anyone who isn’t convinced of Sono’s more energetic films shouldn’t be turned off of this. It’s odd that in its typically Japanese intimate poetics it evokes a lot of similar themes to the films of Naomi Kawase’s diary works while being completely opposite in aesthetic style.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:31 am

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A Dança dos Paroxismos (1929) Jorge Brum do Canto - 9/10

DAMN SON where the hell did this come from? I have no clue, but it’s clear evidence that the innovative editing of Russia and the lyrical beauty of France were far-reaching in their influence and rivaled with impeccable strength. The dedication at the beginning to L'Herbier makes a lot of sense, but the way Brum downplays narrative in favor of a kind of lyrical force recalls Epstein perhaps more closely. However, there’s something very unique in here as well. But there are even a few strange jump cuts, shaky camera pieces, etc. that hint toward Eisenstein, Vertov, or other more experimental directors. This is surprisingly one of the most advanced silents for its time I’ve seen along with Renard’s Balançoires. It’s a very strange little work which encapsulates everything that is beautiful and special about silent film in its twilight years.

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Rose Hobart (1936) Joseph Cornell - 8.5/10

Utterly beautiful. Not quite as mysterious as The Children Trilogy but it still has a glistening beauty to it, but one tinged with a sadness, like the fading of stardom into some dark nightmare. Cornell was unbelievably ahead of his time.

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The Battle of San Pietro (1945) John Huston - 6/10

This would be waaay better if it weren’t for the corny narration and music. I’d even call it something of an unseen gem if the music didn’t totally kill the mood. The imagery certainly shows that someone with an artistic eye was behind this, even if it’s somewhat propagandistic or at least overtly political in its content. Even though I’m sure there’s a ton of inserted dramatization into this, it’s still pretty surprising how dramatic and crazy the imagery is, as exciting with any fiction for sure. I imagine this sense of chaos was very inspiring for not only action directors but experimental filmmakers, so there’s more that’s worthwhile hidden in what deceivingly looks like a run of the mill piece of chest-beating.

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I Shot Jesse James (1949) Samuel Fuller - 7/10

Already with his first feature, Fuller is dissecting American myth. A very solid beginning for him. It’s no masterpiece, but it seems to be the perfect start to his commonly recurring themes.

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The Baron of Arizona (1950) Samuel Fuller - 8/10

This is an even more notable development of Fuller’s voice. His talents as a journalist before going into filmmaking really shine through in the way he manages to pick up on an obscure part of American history in a way that draws our attention back to the present with some timeless themes. Vincent Price is also in top form here, one of the best performances of his career which is as creepy as any of his horror endeavors. Next time some girl asks me who I am, I’m gonna say “I’m a wanderer like Cain, looking for a woman of my own.”

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The Steel Helmet (1951) Samuel Fuller - 8.5/10

It’s definitely hard for me to view this one without seeing it as a companion piece to Fixed Bayonets! from the same year. And it’s nearly of the same quality. As in that film, Fuller uses men abroad at war as a way to examine the psychological states of men back at the home front. I slightly prefer Fixed Bayonets!, but this is a really solid work. As usual, Fuller starts to pry behind the tuffguy exterior of soldiers to see their interior states. This is really wonderful stuff.

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Limelight (1952) Charles Chaplin - 5.5/10

Certainly a twilight work of Chaplin’s that while decent I wouldn’t say is quite as successful as his other stuff, namely for the fact that its length really pushes its content. I think The Great Dictator was something of an anomaly in terms of Chaplin doing well with speech though. At least I think his best depictions of romance are in the purely visual terms of films like City Lights. There’s just a lack of the MAGIC, man…

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Miyamoto Musashi (1954) Inagaki Hiroshi - 7/10 (Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto)

It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect: a massively streamlined version of a great Kurosawa style epic. That said, its story is rather compelling and overall it's just very fun. Not bad, not bad. I do have a weak spot for this kind of stuff. I enjoyed this probably a lot more than I should have since it's practically something like the Japanese Ben Hur, but fuck it weeaboo 4 lyf.

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Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijôji no kettô (1955) Inagaki Hiroshi - 7/10 (Samurai II: Duel at Ichijôji Temple)

Better than the first, here the drama is really picking up. Though it does move much slower. But I like that, there's a lot of tension.

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Miyamoto Musashi kanketsuhen: kettô Ganryûjima (1956) Inagaki Hiroshi - 7/10 (Samurai III: Duel at Ganryû Island)

These films definitely have a lot less swordplay than you'd expect and more DRAMA but it's well handled so I'm not complaining.

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Konkurs (1963) Miloš Forman - 6.5/10 (Audition)

I’m not familiar with Forman’s work in the US, but this shows that he certainly made some worthwhile stuff while still in Czechoslovakia for sure. It’s very similar to the new wave of France, more so than the other Czech new wave works I feel. However, it has a level of intimacy more divorced from France’s conscious political dialogue. It’s a bit more corny in music and stuff than a lot of the others which keeps it from being great, but we can see the typically Czech attention to daily life in its odd moments begin to develop. Overall it’s interesting if not a jewel of its scene.

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Seconds (1966) John Frankenheimer - 8.5/10

Creepy! After that amazing opening sequence it might take a bit to really get uneasy, but once it does tit just doesn’t let up. It’s funny that this came out the same year as The Face of Another because the two seem to respond to the horrors of modern social anxiety and the role identity plays in it, but in ways largely determined by their own country’s conventions (oppositionally). Of course, the themes here aren’t solely in terms of storyline. I’m sure everyone knows this, but the camera work in this film is phenomenal. The story, the tone, the cinematography, the editing… it all works to create a really claustrophobic, crazy film. Great stuff.

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The Elephant Man (1980) David Lynch - 6/10

In the past I’d heard this described as the least favorite Lynch film of Lynch fans and the favorite of non-Lynch fans. I have a somewhat middling opinion on Lynch so I suppose it’s unsurprising that my view of this falls somewhere in the middle. I will compliment the way it takes what could be a potentially quite cloyingly sentimental story and manages to make it moving in a very restrained and true way. However, I feel like there’s a lot of Lynchian indulgence being held back. Not that I’m a fan of his most wild and artificial surreal moments, but parts of it seem like it could veer off into some wonderful Eraserhead-style isolation but then slide back into something more conventional. Overall it’s a pretty decent film though. Certainly the cinematography is some of his best work.

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Wild at Heart (1990) David Lynch - 7/10

An utter mess, but one that I have a lot of love for. The 90s are among Lynch’s strangest but best period, as I see this having a lot of similarity to works like Lost Highway and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, two of his very best. It’s a lot less consistently successful than those two as sometimes the cheeky humor clashes with the darker elements, but it has that same interesting feeling. Lynch’s early works like Eraserhead seem more interested in creating an entirely new world, which is something I appreciate and truly love. But works like this one and the two above (and Blue Velvet for that matter) seem to use the world around us as a setting but slowly disintegrate it into a hellish nightmare, which is also quite nice. But those other two follow a more linear progression from normality down into insanity whereas this is like some kind of “normal” framework that just got mutilated entirely. That’s kind of what I mean when I call it a mess. But it’s a good film. It’s also really funny.

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Alligoria (1986) Kostas Sfikas - 8.5/10 (Allegory)

It’s really rare to see film where I have no clue what to compare it to. But this is one of them; an utterly unique specimen. The film tells the story of Christ via a number of still tableaus that the camera pans over in very slow shots. VERY slow shots. But don’t be mistaken, they’re not continuous like Russian Ark, nor does the point of the film seem to be consciously about the shots like Wavelength. The set pieces are absolutely fantastic. I could compare them to Oliveira, Parajanov, or Syberberg, but they are also very much their own. Very stark, but also very complex and not minimal. The slow pace makes each image a fascinating continuum, where the unbelievably slow progress is rendered back into this myth in a way that makes its space/time somewhat more understandable to us. But the tableaus are distant, like statues in a museum, but more transfixing and individualistic. The experience I had watching this really was like none I’ve quite had before, so I can’t recommend it enough.

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Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) Guy Maddin - 6.5/10

A very different work in the career of Maddin, that’s for sure. The silent film tint here is more that of early multicolored haze, but it even looks very different to those. The result is that its visual sense is much more unique, with less obvious referential basis in a particular era. Instead, it appeals in part to numerous cinematic senses while never really settling down on one. It takes after some fantastical Hollywood melodrama pieces like Minnelli or Lewin, but with a much less straightforward style. I do have one sort of issue with it though; I thought the pacing was a bit too fast for its atmosphere at times. The whole film is almost like a sort of montage, which is appropriate in some ways to have that dreamy incoherence, but parts move too fast for its dreamy feel for me. The constant dissolves are most guilty in this. That said, it’s a minor problem because overall it’s a good film, especially from a visual point. He raises kitsch to a level of pure surrealism, which is really wonderful. Sometimes I was tested with the really hammy acting, but I know that for Maddin this is part of his style so it didn’t bother me so much.

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A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains (2009) Diane Sawyer - 6/10

This is just some ABC doc I found on CG while randomly browsing poverty porn. Naturally, it's too much of a traditional doc for sure with cheesy music and everything, but the subject is so appealing to me that I honestly was loving every minute. Parts are a lot like the documentary parts of Gummo, but I wish it would let the people speak more for themselves. That along with less overt sentimentality. Still though, it’s a rather informative look at what is indeed “a hidden America” even if it’s just rote TV doc fare. When we think of US poverty we often think of areas like Mississippi or Arkansas, but the Appalachians really are where some of the most desperate conditions are.

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Who Killed Captain Alex? (2010) Nabwana I.G.G. - 6.5/10

Like the hipster douche that I am, I learned about Wakaliwood from the Vice doc. One of Godfrey’s more popular masterpieces it seems. And for good reason. While there’s the general filler you get with these kind of films, the fight scenes are really quite excellent. It took me a while to realize what’s happening because a lot of the film plays like an extended trailer with the same voice narrating so much, but once you fall into the flow it can be fun. Especially if you have the background and can imagine Godfrey and his crew’s process in creating this. That ending is something else.
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:42 am

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The General (1926) Buster Keaton - 8/10

One of my bigger blindspots and it was as great as I’d hoped. I still have a slight preference for Steamboat Bill, Jr. but this is probably the next greatest Keaton after that. One of his simplest works, but the simplicity allows for his visual comedy and prowess to come through stronger than ever. Gr8!

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Koibumi (1953) Kinuyo Tanaka - 8.5/10 (Love Letter)

So here’s Tanaka’s directorial debut, and it’s really something. You can certainly tell that she’s been influenced by Naruse, Ozu, Mizoguchi, and the other directors she’s worked with beforehand. Compared to some of their masterpieces, this comes across as a BIT generic and less daring in terms of story or mise-en-scène, but only in the slightest. And honestly, that’s pretty much the only bad thing I can say about it. And don’t get me wrong, like Ozu, this contains some rather interesting hints about life in Japan changing with the introduction of the West and its values. It’s a very beautiful depiction of a cetrain time and space that it seems Tanaka was just as fascinated with as the directors she worked under.

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Adieu Philippine (1962) Jacques Rozier - 7/10

Certainly this film is New Wave to the bone. It’s not a masterpiece in my opinion as it’s a bit rough around the edges and not devoted enough to its mood in the way later New Wave films can become, but I think it’s really important for its time. And, more notably, it’s a very enjoyable film. It especially picks up once the characters get to Corsica, where its free-wheeling and spirited mood becomes far more pungent.

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Gritos en la noche (1962) Jesús Franco - 6.5/10 (The Awful Dr. Orloff)

A typical decent if unexceptional early work of Franco’s. The mood isn’t as really huge and overwhelming as his other movies, so it has problems captivating my interest the entire time. But there are some really nice gothic settings and images, so it’s certainly not a bad watch.

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Geißel des Fleisches (1965) Eddy Saller - 7/10 (Torment of the Flesh)

I was mixed on my Krimi experience but this really is some great stuff. It’s about a guy who goes insane with desire whenever he sees hawt chix’ assez. Story of my life. It’s not great but it’s an interesting window into a whole world of sleaze that often gets ignored.

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Il dolce corpo di Deborah (1968) Romolo Guerreri - 7/10 (The Sweet Body of Deborah)

Definitely one of the earlier giallos, though not one that I’d say is on the same level of mastery as someone like Bava. Still, it’s a rather notable work in the early development of the genre’s convention and has some wonderful setpieces. Rich American tourists gettin’ slashed up in style. What more do you want?

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A Mulher de Todos (1969) Rogério Sganzerla - 7.5/10

A somewhat minor but still quite interesting Marginal work. The mood of it seems a bit more distant, lyrical. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still ruthlessly confrontational like all these films are.

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High Priestess of Sexual Witchcraft (1973) Beau Buchanan - 6/10

Sexy. Well, from what I can see in the blurry VHS quality. Pretty much no clue what happened here. It’s as the title says, some scenes of witchcraft and a lot of pointless scenes of people sitting in rooms or fucking. It’s ok.

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The Norseman (1978) Charles B. Pierce - 6/10

It’s cool to see the Viking expedition to America depicted because it’s something I haven’t really seen in a movie like this. And it’s fun for what it is. It’s REALLY meatheaded, but why would you want anything different? THis movie is full of fuckin rad action with big manly fuckin MEN shoving swords and arrows into each other for. FUCKCKC YEAAAH.

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Silver Bears (1978) Ivan Passer - 4/10

Sometimes funny. Mostly not.

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Hong Wending san po bai lian jiao (1980) Lo Lieh - 8.5/10 (Clan of the White Lotus)

Action choreography by Liu Chia-liang, and oh how you can tell. A bit of a rote storyline, but who cares? The action here is marvelous and it practically never stops. Just sweet fight scene after sweet fight scene. But don’t make a mistake, it’s by no means brainless. It’s deft and brilliant in its attention to movement. I fucking love this shit.

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Pandora’s Mirror (1981) Shaun Costello - 6/10

A sleazy X-rated picture about a chick named Pandora who buys a magical mirror that shows scenes of lust and satisfaction from all its past owners. Parts of this are really hot and it’s definitely one of the better of its kind but at the end of the day it’s nothing compared to something like Through the Looking Glass or Sayadian’s films. But still, somewhat of a pleasant surprise. The ending is rather creepy and great.

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Ars amandi (1983) Walerian Borowczyk - 9/10

Ovid + Borowczyk is a great meeting of minds, as certainly there are few men who are masters of the erotic on the same level as Walerian. Of course, this is a very loose adaptation of Ovid’s work, meant to mean a lot to Borow and his personal conception of the erotic, courtship, and love. As usual, his film pays deep attention to the humor, sensuality, and deep sense of gentleness in all moments of great and true passion, even in its most extreme throes. I’d compare this more than others to Contes Immoraux in the way he really creates an entire city of environments that just seem dripping with lust, but in a very beautiful and almost innocent, childlike way. It’s full of love but a love that is fragile and intimate. It’s fascinating. While the story is very different, it’s not dissimilar from what Ovid does with the depiction of Rome in his book. So yes, this is a fabulous meeting of two of the greatest minds in the history of western eroticism. How can I not love it?

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Mo (1983) Kuei Chih-hung - 9/10

Truly one of the craziest and most surreal things ever produced in the hallowed halls of Shaw Bros. Much as I love martial arts battles, something like this where every battle is one full of spells and magic is even more marvelous for me. It’s interesting that they choose Thailand as a place to set this when, from my knowledge, China has a much stronger history of the particularly mystical and esoteric style of Buddhism compared to the more austere Thai schools. But that really doesn’t matter, because this is amazingly lurid and bizarre in a way that has very little to do with any kind of Buddhism in reality, outside of some obvious influence of the imagery from their best tales of ghosts and hells. I feel in a way like I’ve been waiting for this one all my life and it struck me like an adamantine vajra from the palm of a bodhisattva.

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Vahşi Kan (1983) Çetin İnanç - 8/10

Lol

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The Zero Boys (1986) Nico Mastorakis - 6/10

It’s ok. It’s a mediocre slasher, but one thing that I think adds to it is that there’s actually a lot of attention payed to establishing the characters and making us interested in them. You’d want to see an entire film even if they didn’t start getting killed off (well, put in danger... this has a pretty low body count). Mastorakis’s best is still Nightmare at Noon though.

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Summer Job (1989) Paul Madden - 3/10

God, swimsuits sucked in the 80s, didn’t they?

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Island City (1994) Jorge Montesi - 6/10

Some stupid TV movie pilot for a show that never got made. I do really like watching these abandoned pilots just to see what could have been… They’re interesting artifacts. But yeah, even if they’re fun to watch, there’s no mistaking that this isn’t very great. But it is certainly very entertaining shit. Gotta love those early 90s computer effects. Its biggest problem is that it’s really tonally inconsistent. It can’t decide if it wants to be gritty and dramatic or cheeky and humorous, and it doesn’t balance the two very well. It also shows all the signs of something that was meant to be a TV series because it moves way too fast and has way too much clunky exposition. But that’s what’s sad; there’s a lot of potential here for something legitimately interesting. While this sounds generic, there are some really unique dynamics and plot points. The kid living in the virtual reality world is especially a great plot point, but it’s a shame that the film seems to flip between it being a genuine psychological craziness and a kind of goofy humor. Both could work great if they were fully realized. So while it’s extremely flawed, I have a big soft spot for this. I could look at those exterior shots of CGI City for hours.

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The Delta (1996) Ira Sachs - 7.5/10

Strangely, the movie I am most immediately reminded of by this is Mike Gibisser’s Finally, Lillian and Dan. They’re very different in mood, obviously, but their visual sense seems very similar. Must be that beautiful, dark, “quiet” 16mm. This definitely seems like an ahead-of-its-time precursor to “mumblecore” (hate that term), and it’s one of the best of that style by far. It seems like a great cross-section between the mumbly handheld young adults genre and the lonely American small town genre (ok it’s Memphis which isn’t that small but the feeling remains), which isn’t quite something I’ve seen before in this scene. It’s a really interesting specimen.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by JediMoonShyne » Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:54 pm

Still reading, reading. :heart:
“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Re: Ian's Log

Post by wigwam » Sat Jul 04, 2015 4:49 pm

jade_vine wrote: The Norseman (1978) Charles B. Pierce - 6/10

It’s cool to see the Viking expedition to America depicted because it’s something I haven’t really seen in a movie like this. And it’s fun for what it is. It’s REALLY meatheaded, but why would you want anything different? THis movie is full of fuckin rad action with big manly fuckin MEN shoving swords and arrows into each other for. FUCKCKC YEAAAH.

Silver Bears (1978) Ivan Passer - 4/10

Sometimes funny. Mostly not.
i have these downloaded, cant wait for Norsemen, will continue to put off Silver Bears I guess. I think I started it once, isn't there like a hot tub massacre at the beginning?

ditto Jedi
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:34 pm

wigwam wrote:
i have these downloaded, cant wait for Norsemen, will continue to put off Silver Bears I guess. I think I started it once, isn't there like a hot tub massacre at the beginning?

ditto Jedi
Yeah there is. I dunno, maybe you'll like it more than me. I might have been a bit harsh in my review, but overall I couldn't get into it very much. Curious what you'd think. It looks nice at the very least.
JediMoonShyne wrote:Still reading, reading. :heart:
:heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:19 am

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Thaïs (1917) Anton Giulio Bragaglia - 7.5/10

This is a piece of “futurist” cinema and oh my is it apparent from the very first shot. Imagine the expressionist setpieces of works like Wiene’s but with rigid, mechanical angularity and you have an idea what we’re looking at. Although it’s actually more chronologically accurate to say that the expressionists derived their style from this rather than the other way around. The story is a typical melodrama from this time, but the setpieces and stylistic choices make this one stand out. Shame it’s in poor quality for what seems like such a visually interesting film. Still, very impressive.

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I Married a Witch (1942) René Clair - 8/10

I’m new to Clair’s American period but if this is anything to go on, it’s just as wonderful as his French films. The story of this one is exactly as you’d think from its title: A young mayoral candidate is unwittingly paired with the incarnation of a witch who was burned at the stake by his ancestors hundreds of years ago. It’s really funny and cute, especially for the beautiful Veronica Lake, who plays the enchanted, devilish seductress role as well as it’s ever been.

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Le Vent d'est (1970) Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin - 8.5/10 (Wind from the East)

I hadn’t seen a new Godard in a long time so this was a great experience. In general, I’m not very well-versed on his 70s works and those made with the Dziga Vertov group. These are certainly among his most politically radical works, but as usual that’s hardly the most important element. Strangely, this one reminds me a bit of what Straub and Huillet did around the same time, with strange fragmentary scenes in the wilderness that perhaps reflect political displacement and general societal uncertainty. It uses this minimal style similar to the ancient Greeks to embody modern forms of thought. At least that’s what I got out of it.

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Vampyros lesbos (1971) Jesús Franco - 8.5/10

Another one to put in the “how the fuck hadn’t I seen it yet?” pile (lots of Francos like this I still need to actually). Gonna make a controversial judgement call and say that this might even be the sexiest Soledad has ever been. Ok, maybe not quite when you consider Eugénie de Sade, but certainly there are some of her most revealing outfits in this one. The story is kind of like Female Vampire only the character wants pussy instead of dick. It isn’t as great as Franco’s absolute masterpieces but as usual he creates some great images and fuckin #HAWT scenes inside them.

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La gatta in calore (1972) Nello Rossati - 8/10 (The Cat in Heat)

Quite a nice #RARE giallo. And it’s really unusual in terms of feeling. Its narrative is about a murder occurring during a wife cucking her husband but then regretting it because of the hysterics she is driven to. It’s really psychologically stimulating because of how minimal the setting is compared to other gialli. This really allows that sense of ennui to get deep under your skin.

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Dværgen (1973) Vidal Raski - 7.5/10 (The Sinful Dwarf)

This is nasty. Not necessarily nasty as in gross, but more as in mean-spirited. But it’s also really funny. It’s no masterpiece but I had a good enough time. Anyone else think this dwarf looks like a shrunken little Jack Black? Certainly he’s way better of an actor though.

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La rebelíon de las muertas (1973) León Klimovsky - 6.5/10 (Vengeance of the Zombies)

This has some great sp00py zombiez and it uses them in a great tradition related to non-western magic systems which is, after all, how they originated. I like it when movies do that kind of stuff. I really love the design of the zombies too, they’re a lot more pale and ghostly than the typical gory blood-dripping ones we see. Nothing incredible, but a solid entry in its scene.

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Visions (1977) Chuck Vincent - 6/10

Well, visions is right. Lots of visions of a composer fantasizing about having sex with women. It’s not that amazing but the simplistic nature combined with dreamy stuff makes it definitely a cut above the average for this kind of film. Lots of great scenes, even if they run too long to be truly great.

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Runaway Nightmare (1982) Michael Cartel - 8/10

Very strange, but pretty wonderful. The title is appropriate because this really does unfold like some kind of nightmare. As a friend pointed out to me, this is truly a work from an outsider figure with little to anything to do with mainstream culture, but also little with the “arthouse” scene of the 80s. Also in one scene it uses the exact same library music as in Dixon’s wonderful batshit crazy “documentary” Amazing World of Ghosts, which was a pleasant surprise.

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Kuai can che (1984) Sammo Hung - 8.5/10 (Wheels on Meals)

One of the most essential Sammo flicks I was still missing from my repertoire. As soon as you see those blocks on the title screen you know you’re in for some great shit. Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Jackie Chan? Holy trinity right there. The only downside is that it could have used a bit more Sammo as opposed to the other two, but this is hardly anything to hate on when in terms of filmmaking it’s one of the most perfectly paced/mannered in his career. I laughed a lot and the action scenes are all great. The whole last third or so especially had me alternating between being in stitches and getting HYPE.

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Kinbaku・SM・18-sai (1986) Shûji Kataoka - 7/10 (S&M Hunter)

A very silly and very enjoyable pinky comedy. It’s no masterpiece, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. I was laughing constantly, sick fukkk that I am.

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Ogenki Kurinikku: Tatte moraimasu (1987) Mototsugu Watanabe - 7/10 (Ogenki Clinic)

Another pinku, and another very funny one. This is worth watching even if you aren’t normally into these because it’s so funny. There’s even the obligatory amazingly sexy nun scene. Why did those fall out of fashion in Japan again? </3

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Der Lauf der Dinge (1987) Peter Fischli & David Weiss - 7/10 (The Way Things Go)

It’s not much more than a curiosity for the very impressive Rube Goldberg contraption, but hey, it’s really kewl. Enjoy it the way you do normie Facebook videos.

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Killing Spree (1987) Tim Ritter - 7/10

A guy gets cucked to the extreme and then KILLS THE BASTARDS. It’s too bad because its best moments are some of the best and most hilarious I’ve ever seen in a slasher, but it doesn’t sustain that through the whole runtime. Still, the rest is still entertaining and it’s very much worth watching.

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Reflections of Evil (2002) Damon Packard - 8.5/10

Seriously have no idea what to make of this thing, other than that I truly loved it. I laughed and cringed and was extremely confused. A friend said it best when the only thing I can think of to compare this to is something like Tim and Eric, but this is all the way back in 2002. It’s a bit like Period Piece in mood but the scatological humor is far less easily comprehensible. All I can say is that I’m so happy that even a veteran of cinematic degeneracy like me can find something that still confounds me this much with its strangeness.

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Vampiyaz (2004) John Bacchus - 6.5/10

It’s exactly what you’d hope it is. Very exciting. This is honestly great, without the general pacing problems you’d think amateur productions like this would normally have. And it’s full of amazing quotes.

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Eri Eri lema sabakutani (2005) Shinji Aoyama - 8/10 (My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?)

In some ways this is a strikingly different and strange work for Aoyama compared with Eureka, but in others it’s very familiar. Even though the story is fantastical and odd, the way it’s told is very familiar with Aoyama’s typical composition and use of gestures and landscapes to stand in for emotion. However, it does move much faster. But still, it all ends in the same way: seeing how individuals face up to the tragedies of modern Japan. But whereas Eureka’s salvation was in travel and re-framing life, this one is in making NOISE BRO.

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Studien zum Untergang des Abendlands (1979-2010) Klaus Wyborny - 8/10 (Studies for the Decay of the West)

Kind of like a feature-length Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis, so you can imagine how exhausting but wonderful that is.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by wigwam » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:21 pm

the headache I got from reflections of Evil was why I've always hated Tim and Eric as soon as I saw it

watched Norseman last night it was fun fun fun, thx Ian!
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:44 pm

wigwam wrote:the headache I got from reflections of Evil was why I've always hated Tim and Eric as soon as I saw it

watched Norseman last night it was fun fun fun, thx Ian!
Haha if you don't like the latter I'd imagine the former would be even worse. It gave me something of a headache too, but one I found rather enjoyable.

Nice! I'm glad you liked it. It's definitely everything a big, dumb, manly pseudo-historical action movie should be.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:15 am

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Roma città aperta (1945) Roberto Rossellini - 7.5/10 (Rome Open City)

Definitely one of the big ones of neorealism, and I’m quite fond of it. I’ve never been sure why, but even though I’m a complete atheist, religious stories make me more moved than anything else. So the elements of the churchgoers in this definitely affected me, even if there's some political background to their inclusion.

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Paisà (1946) Roberto Rossellini - 8/10 (Paisan)

While Germany Year Zero remains my favorite of this trilogy, this might encapsulate the wide-reaching affects of WWII that Rossellini sought after most comprehensively. Six stories and not one feels shortchanged. As usual, he has a great wealth of humanity under every interaction. It’s old news but Rossellini truly is one of the more humanist directors in cinema. The romantic stories here especially touched me deeply (especially the third, that broke my fucking heart). Something about that broken nature of romance is very beautifully tragic, especially when there’s the danger of it ending at any moment. But I won’t complain about the others by any means because they’re just as beautiful.

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Love Toy (1968) Doris Wishman - 6/10

Definitely a weird one, but sadly not a major standout. At least in comparison to the good gems I’ve been finding in the American retro porn scene as of late. But there’s something to this. Lots of tension and power plays in a domestic hell in a way that’s almost reminiscent of someone like Wakamatsu, if not nearly that good.

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Il dio serpente (1970) Piero Vivarelli - 6/10 (The Serpent God)

Another somewhat sexy, somewhat creepy, somewhat good Italian ball of scuzz. I think with the best potential this could have been something amazing, but I still enjoyed it.

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The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) Alan Gibson - 6.5/10

I’m no expert at Hammer stuff but this was ok.

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Traumstadt (1973) Johannes Schaaf - 8/10 (Dream City)

An interesting piece. It reminds me a bit of World on Wires with a similar feel if not necessarily a similar plot. It has that same weird sense of a utopian society crumbling at the breeches.

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Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti (1974) Jorge Grau - 7/10 (Let Sleeping Corpses Lie)

Nothing outstanding, but this is overall a pretty good time.

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Squadra volante (1974) Stelvio Massi - 7.5/10 (Emergency Squad)

Fucking GNARLY police flick from a lesser-known but nice Italian maestro. It starts out pretty slowly after the opening shootout, almost like it could be some normal “arthouse” film of the time, but the grittiness soon sets in for some really stellar gun action. That said there is a lot of simple angsting around and moping, which is done really interestingly. You definitely feel the emotional toll of this one.

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Starcrash (1979) Luigi Cozzi - 4/10

One of a host of Star Wars ripoffs. It sux. Though the sleaze is appreciated. Don’t let the name of the meatball who made this mislead you, it’s an American production rather than an Italian one. Sadly. An Italian audience would have wanted it way more sleazy, as it should be.

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Satah Se Uthata Aadmi (1980) Mani Kaul - 8/10 (Arising From the Surface)

A strange but very beautiful film. It has a lot of playing with the rhythms of time and movement. It’s like an essay film in style but not so much in effect. Its subject is the poet and his world, and like a modern poet its story is dissolved into a series of images and tableaus of time.

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Neon Nights (1981) Cecil Howard - 8/10

I’ve watched a ton of skeezy, blurry 70s porn, so now it’s time for some skeezy 80s porn. Not as blurry as this is a much better transfer (and that’s a bit of a relief… don’t get me wrong, I love the fuzz of the vintage stuff but after a while it can feel suffocating). Instead of the fuzziness, we get something just as dreamy but in a totally different way. Instead this is full of the ripe colors and popping sounds of the 80s. There’s a sense of poetry and grace to this even if that sounds weird considering it’s lethally sleazy, even by these standards (it opens with a guy fingering a girl’s asshole for fuck’s sake… a girl with a fantastic ass btw). There’s a weird sense of domestic alienation I like. But also a more romantic sense of desperation. It’s beautifully bitchy and petty, with a sense of innocent but deadly lust like that of ancient nymphs. But yeah, definitely one of the biggest standouts of this style I’ve seen in a while. I didn’t expect it to impress me this much at all. I guess one part of it is that the story here is waaaay hotter than the others I’ve been seeing recently, no doubt about that. Also, some VERY dedicated guy on IMDb wrote a scene-by-scene (!) synopsis of the whole film haha.

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The Peanut Butter Solution (1985) Michael Rubbo - 5/10

Kind of a funny curiosity like most of these obscure kids’ movies but not overall too interesting.

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Moh sun gip (1991) Tony Liu Jun-Guk - 7.5/10 (The Holy Virgin vs. The Evil Dead)

Pretty k00ky sp00ky!!! Anyway, god bless Cat III as usual, this is a bloody, gory, sexy mess and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Lyrisch nitraat (1991) Peter Delpeut - 7.5/10 (Lyrical Nitrate)

Pretty good stuff. It definitely makes me want to revisit Diva Dolorosa. However, I think that his works are still slightly inferior to other similar found-footage filmmakers because of too much of an insistence on narrative play as opposed to pure poetry in the image. But that isn’t a big complaint because this does have its ups, even if it’s more interesting for the footage itself than for how Delpeut uses it. Deutsch and Gianikian/Lucchi still make this pale in comparison but I’m too much of a junkie for this found stuff to not enjoy it.

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(Nama) tôchô ripôto: Chiwa (1993) Hisayasu Satô - 8.5/10 (Kyrie Eleison)

This is a typical example of Satô’s fascination with technology and the potential it has for alienation (in an already alienated culture). And it’s typically quite wonderful. Not much sex in this one all things considered. Instead there’s a lot of frigid, eerie scenes of modern life. Yes, just as great as I would expect.

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The Fourth Dimension (2001) Trinh T. Minh-ha - 8/10

I was quite fond of Shoot for the Contents, but this definitely a step above. For lack of a better term, it’s a bit like a video Sans Soleil, but also one made from a very different perspective. Not one of an “insider,” but of someone doing more direct engagement rather than the enigmatic travelogue of Marker. That doesn’t make it less of an interesting film though, although it is hard to compete with that film. But whatever, it’s a very different film with a very different sense of time. Trinh in this film blends more into the background, like a ghost haunting a documentary about Japanese life. All around it is very excellent.

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Movimentos Perpétuos: Cine-Tributo a Carlos Paredes (2006) Edgar Pêra - 8/10

Oo lah lah! Interesting stuff. I’d compare it a bit to Jonas Mekas and later to those like Schneemann but with a much more playful, carnivalesque atmosphere. A bit of Trying to Kiss the Moon in there too with the biographic element? I wouldn’t say it’s quite as strong as those but everyone knows that that’s strong company.

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Kuchisake-onna (2007) Kôji Shiraishi - 4/10 (A Slit-Mouthed Woman)

The character is great but this is very very ordinary.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:59 am

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Ôsaka no yadô (1954) Heinosuke Gosho - 8.5/10 (An Inn in Osaka)

Gosho is really one of the best at what he does. Ozu and Naruse are obvious comparison points, but he is less rigorous than the former and less tragic than the latter, but makes up for it with just as strong an undercurrent of melancholy smiles. Here he kind of dwells in the space that surrounds the characters in films like Ozu or Naruse’s but without latching onto as definite of a story. It’s interesting. There are plenty of daily struggles and stories here, though they have less of a dramatically centered nature. Not that this makes it better or worse, simply different. From what I’ve seen from Gosho, this is common to his style. It’s a bit close to what Shimizu does in his most narratively “decentered” films like Four Seasons of Children. On a side note though, the original Japanese title for this on Wikipedia and RYM translates is oddly different from the ordinary title which the film itself has. The other title translates to The Valley of Love and Death. Quite a dramatic title for this type of film, isn’t it?

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Dead Birds (1963) Robert Gardner - 8/10

One thing which of course colors any other Gardner film is the presence of Forest of Bliss. After seeing the masterful strokes employed therein, the idea of an ethnography with words from him seems disappointing automatically. However, there are clear advantages to learning more directly, especially about this rather interesting group. His sense of the beauty of nature and the human place in it is as strong as ever, and he as usual is wonderful at capturing a community in full.

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The Touch of Her Flesh (1967) Michael Findlay - 5.5/10

Some of these girls are unbelievably hot (that mixed-race chick we see getting freshened in the club makes the movie worth watching alone holy fuckk one of the most incredible bodies I’ve ever seen) but this is pretty average, outside of some surprisingly cool B&W cinematography at times.

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Ludwig (1972) Luchino Visconti - 8.5/10

My first official Visconti, but this is some great stuff. As an expansive biography reflecting the mental state of its subject, this is on the level of someone like Watkins or Syberberg in attention to the individual, though obviously in a completely different style. It might be more classical in style than those, but it really captures the way madness progresses in subtle yet effective turns. Very tragic yet very beautiful. Ludwig’s life in many ways imitated art, namely the grand Wagnerian tragedies he adored, and Visconti captures that well. But with more of a sense of reservedness and contemplation.

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Lo ammazzò come un cane… ma lui rideva ancora (1972) Angelo Pannacciò - 7.5/10 (Death Played the Flute)

An interesting spag. The dubbing is occasionally a bit mediocre (more so than usual to the point where it’s distracting), but this is easily forgiven because this is quite a fascinating piece. It’s VERY grim, one of the bleakest of its kind. And its style is interesting, some very nice use of loose, fluid, occasionally even handheld camera. It looks very rough and almost homemade, but that adds to the grit. The landscape is also interesting, much more green than I’m used to seeing in these.

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The Hot Box (1972) Joe Viola - 7/10

Sort of strange WIP film about some girls who get kidnapped by foreign revolutionaries while on vacation and then are forced to help them overtake the government. It’s nothing great, but there’s fun to it.

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Friendship’s Death (1987) Peter Wollen - 8/10

Another one of those movies that defines CG. Tilda Swinton in an early role plays an alien robot in the guise of a human female who meets a Scottish journalist in the middle of wartorn Jordan. They have a series of strangely touching dialogues. It may fall a bit into the ordinary “peaceful alien sees humans and is horrified by their potential for war” story, but it’s accomplished on a level worthy of Rod Serling. He really captures that sense of wonder and sorrow that The Twilight Zone did in a way I haven’t seen very often in cinema. Swinton’s performance here is absolutely one of her best, which is definitely a highlight here. Wollen doesn’t slack either though as this is directed with a great dreaminess. And even in the degraded VHS quality, you can tell that his cinematography is very good. One of those movies that makes digging through tons of crappy obscure CG duds all worth it.

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Dak ging to lung (1988) Yuen Woo-ping - 7/10 (Tiger Cage)

An exceedingly simple but equally effective HK crime thriller. There’s some pretty impressive shootouts and brawl scenes. The violence is consistent but only really gets crazy near the end, which was pretty awesome.

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Sai hak chin (1990) Yuen Woo-ping - 7/10 (Tiger Cage 2)

More of the same, pretty much. I sure ain't complaining! It's just about as good as its predecessor, full of lots of cool stuff. There aren't quite as many action scenes here but there are still a lot of adrenaline-packed shootouts. Yuen turns out to be almost as skillful of a choreographer at gunplay as he is at martial arts. Interestingly, he takes a very different approach, with a very different space and time (obviously these are going to be different from martial arts, and it's nice to see him adapt).

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La Belle Noiseuse (1991) Jacques Rivette - 8.5/10

It’s truly wonderful to know that there are still wells to tap into in the world of Rivette that I haven’t seen. It’s a clear latter-era Rivette, where he has more of a mellow refinery than the twists of his early stuff, but it retains the ability to cast an enigmatic spell over his story that makes us love him so much. His latter-era are actually something I need more experience with, but this is more than a promising venture. Also even if this was garbage, this much of Béart’s ass would make it a masterpiece because holy shit I was harder than diamond through most of this. Were I a painter, I too would waste my life away striving to paint dat azz with perfect accuracy.

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Voodoo Soup (1994) Greg Lewolt - 6/10

The opening title cards say all you need to know (grammatical errors retained):

In a small village, north of Hollywood California, lives a great master of the Voodoo arts. Using ancient recipes and secret massage oils he has gained the trust of the local Vampire Queen. In the streets homeless wolfmen buy his special soups, on the beach young vampires use his sunblock, and busty babes come from far and wide for his soothing herbal massage.

It’s silly and very bad but I have an interesting love for this kind of stuff. Nothing great but it feels like you’re in some weird cheap movie purgatory and that’s all you can ask for with this kind of stuff.

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Starship Troopers (1997) Paul Verhoeven - 6.5/10

People overuse “Freud would have had a field day” jokes, but Freud really would have had a field day if he could have seen Verhoeven’s films. I’ve always agreed with the notion that humans have a subconscious desire for totalitarian command, and Verhoeven exploits that part of the unconscious hilariously. However, what makes him special is not solely his ability for satire. Anyone can do that. What I’m attracted to is the way he manages to somehow undercut and satirize everything loveable about action cinema while still retaining everything that makes it great and relishing in it. Žižek would say he was “sustaining ideology,” but I doubt Verhoeven sees action traditions as a solely negative thing. He instead balances his films between a sardonic mockery and upholding action tradition to its most absurd, yet honest degree.

So why does this only get a 6.5? The sad part is, this film isn’t as successful as something like Total Recall, as the satirical elements are too on the nose for me (not that subtlety is a prerequisite, but it risks lapsing into preachiness). But it’s still a decent example of his talent.

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Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) Thom Andersen - 9/10

It’s a movie that I feel like I should have seen a long time ago, but at the same time it’s appropriate to wait for. Like Histoire(s) du cinéma, it’s one of those that you have to keep coming back to the more other films you view. But this is far more personal than Godard’s film, or at least “personal” in the way we think of it stereotypically, with a narration from one man’s point of view and more of a hymn to a place than a survey of the entire medium. Andersen’s views on cinema and life in general are spot-on and always thought-provoking. Even in its somber and sober narration, it’s a likeable and invigorating look. Truly, there are few movies which care about “place” as deeply as this one, which is something I’m always interested in. Also holy shit Woody Allen and his smarmy anti-West Coast shtick got BTFO here. He also has one of the most fascinating views of Blade Runner outside of Žižek. But those are just two of several great examples. I could go on about how many interesting observations are here. It’s definitely one of the best.

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The Surging Sea of Humanity (2006) Ken Jacobs - 7.5/10

An obviously minor work, but it’s almost because of its minor, unassuming status that it’s great.

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Below Sea Level (2008) Gianfranco Rosi - 7/10

I liked the Vice documentary about Slab City quite a bit, but at the end of the day it’s still a Vice doc. This is way better. Just looking at weirdos being weird but it’s quite a fun look at the community.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by JediMoonShyne » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:03 am

jade_vine wrote:Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) Thom Andersen - 9/10
Also can't believe I didn't see this earlier. So great.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:08 am

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Zolushka (1947) Nadezhda Kosheverova & Mihail Shapiro - 5.5/10

Decently nice setpieces, though they’re a bit too stiff in a way that doesn’t work well with the actors. The acting itself is really goofy, a bit too much for me. Ok I guess.

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The Lickerish Quartet (1970) Radley Metzger - 8.5/10

This is the third Metzger I’ve seen and by far the best. The opening is a fantastic comment on the nature of “reality” of a film more broadly and the “reality” of a sex act in a film more specifically. It’s a beguiling work lie his others, but this level of distance (as well as the nature of fantasy and dream of the film) push it into all kinds of more advanced, self-referential territories. The film reflects its content of sexual fantasy, but with an eye that is critical and ironic while being at the same time in love with itself. The father boasts about being able to put the film “in high speed and in reverse!” while the boy is disgusted at his control over the entire fantasy. It opens up all kinds of strange questions, like the x-rated version of The Man Who Left His Will on Film. Of course, there are less complex ways that this is an impressive film; it’s beautifully shot, the atmosphere and editing are bewitching, the sex scenes meld the beauty of the people into their surroundings perfectly, etc.

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The Toy Box (1971) Ronald Víctor García - 7.5/10

“If only I could fondle both my breasts at the same time and keep the vibrator going in and out.” What a tragedy. I’m quite into this as spank material because holy fuckkk these girls just have incredible bodies. As a film, it’s also pretty interesting if no masterpiece. Some really weird psychological games here that at the end becomes almost something like a sleazy porno version of The Beyond. It’s in the upper tier of these forgotten 70s sleazeporns. Apparently Something Weird had it as a double feature with Toys Are Not for Children, and while it isn’t as affecting as that film, it’s appropriate company. Cinephile rating: 7/10, boner rating: 8/10. I’ll even it out at 7.5/10.

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The Brotherhood of Satan (1971) Bernard McEveety - 7.5/10

This is some really cool stuff. One of the better Satanic Panic flicks I’ve seen in a while. What’s really great about it is the way the cult is a bunch of old people instead of just young punks. It really makes it seem like a deep-seated evil as opposed to just some shenanigans.

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Il sesso della strega (1973) Angelo Pannacciò - 7/10 (Sex of the Witch)

Pretty sp00kerific. Not as good at its genre as his spag Death Played the Flute was, but another interesting bit of atmosphere in its style that’s comparable.

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Jukti Takko aar Gappo (1974) Ritwik Ghatak - 7.5/10 (Reason, Debate and a Story)

Similar in quality to The Cloud-Capped Star for sure. This makes me want to check out more Ghatak. A lot of these parallel cinema I see as similar to Italian Neorealism, but Ghatak really is more minimal and stripped even than a lot of them. But at the same time his cinematography can be among the most creative, with Yoshida-style decentering. The ritual/dance scenes here are really interesting, showing ancient/modern India in parallel. He manages to communicate a lot without words. I was surprised just how little is spoken in this film, or at least at how much comes across with silent gazes, shots, etc. I don’t think he’s as fantastic as someone like Ray, but he’s a very great director all the same.

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Stridulum (1979) Giulio Paradisi - 7.5/10 (The Visitor)

This is a fucking weird mess of a movie, but in the best way. The poster, the plot summary on IMDb, the director’s American pseudonym, everything about it. But it’s a very calculated, meaningful mess. It progresses rather beautifully actually, and the cinematography is fantastic. One of the better “evil little child” movies.

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Zhong gui (1983) Yang Chuan - 7/10 (Seeding of a Ghost)

Spookt. Ending got really güd.

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Super Mouse and the Roborats (1989) Tony Y. Reyes - 6.5/10

Lol what the fuck is this. I promise you it’s nothing like you think it is. Filipino movies are as goofy and confusing as those weird HK horror comedy flicks. It’s not an amazingly funny or weird movie but it’s pretty good.

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Kaikan onanie: niizuma-hen (1993) Hisayasu Satô - 8/10 (Pleasure Masturbation: New Wife Version)

This is not Satô’s most powerful or interesting film. The story is a little light and silly, comparably. But there are some normal hallmarks of his style that make it a good work. It’s kind of like a mass-marketed, stripped version of his stuff, but still very nice. The best part is a scene where two people are fucking with a camera lens blocking the penetration, then the focus shifts to the tiny image of them captured in the camera eye in the foreground.

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Free to Go (Interlude) (2003) Andrew Noren - 7.5/10

Well, it’s not the most famous or well-regarded of Noren’s films, and it’s sad that those remain elusive because I want to see them more than about anything right now, but to keep on the positive side of things, this is a rather nice work. At a superficial level its editing style is comparable to early Tscherkassky in the way he deals with negative/positive imagery in fast motion, connected with the film material, but Noren works in a much less confrontational, more smooth and slow, manner. His work here at least is also very digitally based as opposed to the materiality of film. Tscherkassky was just the first director that came to mind, Standish Lawder might be another point of comparison, but in the color parts he really becomes his own here. One thing I do feel is that the lack of audio doesn’t suit this as well as a film by someone like Stan Brakhage or Phil Solomon. However, that’s a very minor thing. Overall, cool, but it just wets my appetite for one of his more well-known works…
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:26 am

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The Champ (1931) King Vidor - 8/10

Definitely the best film by Vidor I’ve seen. The story is about an old gambling boxer who’s getting along with his young son. There’s a lot of potential to become sappy, but it luckily never indulges too greatly. It’s a rather nice film which seems like an early example of what I remember sidehacker from TLC appropriately dubbed the “glue-sniffing” genre. It’s certainly pre-code through and through in the way it’s set in a world of ne'er-do-wells and scrappy drunks. That grit is something incredible about this one. It’s as affecting in its uneven mix of pathos and brutality as any pre-code.

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Jinsei no onimotsu (1935) Heinosuke Gosho - 8/10 (Burden of Life)

As far as shomin-geki goes, this is a fantastic entry in the genre, and interestingly on the lighter side of things, much like The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine. But I should be careful in using the word “light” because the family dynamics here are very pronounced, more so than some other shomin-geki films which seem to focus on class relations rather than familial structures. I’m currently amassing a collection of screencaps called “Asian Chic” featuring all the Japanese/Chinese artwork in fancy homes in America in the early 20th century but these films make me think that a “Western Chic” for contemporary Japan might be a nice counterpoint! If there’s one point in 20th century history I’d kill to travel back to, just for a few days, it would be Japan in the 30s.

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Easy Living (1937) Mitchell Leisen - 7.5/10

Utterly charming. Leisen does not have as advanced a visual sense as some other screwball directors, but he makes up for it with a very masterful sense of timing. Although, sometimes he sets up some rather humorous views of people in these massively illustrious settings and his visuals look fine. I don’t consider it a masterpiece, but it’s a rather solid example of its genre and its humor never has a dull moment which is impressive.

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Tabi yakusha (1940) Mikio Naruse - 8/10

Maybe it’s just because I haven’t seen a Naruse in way too long, but this definitely strikes me as a standout from his early/mid period. It’s definitely one of his lighter films, even in his 40s period which is overall marked by a greater lightness than the pessimistic melodramas that made his name. But it’s not without the attention to the beauty and impermanent emotions of everyday life that define a great Naruse film. While these might seem like lighter films, I think they have a truer sense of his style in that manner than the more Western-inspired films he made in the 30s, even if some of those are more successful overall. This however, holds its own more than enough.

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Sterne (1959) Konrad Wolf - 8/10 (Stars)

The story sounds cliche, maybe even a bit sappy: a Nazi officer falls in love with one of the Jewish girls he escorts. But this is handled rather expertly. The opening is especially haunting, as we have nothing but one quiet folksong with a lot of close-up images of grime, almost to set up the clandestine nature of the film’s main romance. Wolf is a rigorous classicist in his richly thought-through compositions, comparable to someone like Rosselini, but not without some rather innovative editing that seems to have pre-New Wave elements. He takes a rather mobile camera at some points which rather interestingly plays against his other very composed shots. A very interesting pivotal work that seems to perfectly reflect Europe transitioning from the classical to the modern. Strangely it both eulogizes the Holocaust into an ancient tragedy yet makes it accessible with an individual love story. A very fascinating film that I can see myself returning to.

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Marš, marš, tra-ta-ta! (1964) Raimondas Vabalas - 6.5/10

I will admit that my subs for this fucked up so a lot was lost on me but this is a very interesting thing produced in Lithuania during Soviet rule. It’s some kind of kooky satire with a lot of surreal imagery, something like a Lithuanian Birds, Orphans, and Fools, if not that good. A worthwhile curiosity if not much more.

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Un killer per sua maestà (1968) Federico Chentrens - 5.5/10 (The Killer Likes Candy)

This is really goofy. The title means exactly what you think it does: the killer here leaves candy wrappers at every murder scene. But it’s not awful. Nothing too interesting, but some of the cinematography is surprisingly nice. The opening scene is actually really effectively creepy and wonderfully edited. Sadly it gets pretty ordinary after that.

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Trog (1970) Freddie Francis - 3/10

Lolll wtfff is this. It’s Joan Crawford’s final film, first of all. And it’s about a group of explorers fighting a TROG. TROG means Troglodyte, but TROG is self-explanatory in sound. Pretty lame but the scenes with the TROG itself are hilarious. They start training it to be human but it’s just so clearly a dude in a monkey mask. Oh my god, what a stupid fucking movie. Sometimes it’s funny but skip it.

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Yojôhan fusuma no urabari (1973) Tatsumi Kumashiro - 7.5/10 (The World of Geisha)

What I love about this film (besides dat oldschool Japanese p()()nt@ng) is the way it expertly captures its time. It’s set in the early Meiji period, and you can tell. Our main character Shinsuke ignores the turmoils of Japan’s increasingly strained relationships with Russia and chooses instead to indulge in the loving care of geishas. He seems like the last remnant of Edo Japan, too scared to let all that was great about isolated Japan go but not ready to give up the West either. That mood of old Japan slipping through the country’s fingers after not 50 years is absolutely stunning. Best Kumashiro I’ve seen by far.

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Shiroi shôfu: Kashin no takamari (1974) Masaru Konuma - 7.5/10 (White Whore)

Konuma, like Noboru Tanaka, is one of those pinku guys who doesn’t seem as immediately grasping as someone like Wakamatsu, but careful watching shows them to be nearly on his level of exploring bizarre sexual dynamics. The plot of this one sounds a bit more crazy than it actually ends up, but that by no means hampers the film. It’s very slow and claustrophobic. There are shades of Satô in the predicament of a prostitute and her handicapped brother. A very interesting little work.

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Linda (1981) Jesús Franco - 7.5/10

Not a bad latter-day Franco at all, although parts seem to deviate from a lot of his hallmarks. Exchanging Bruno Nicolai for BOW CHICKA WOW music isn’t a great step, though luckily there are still some pretty decent soundtrack moments. If this was just some random porno I found looking around on MDID I’d think it was awesome, even if it’s not the best Franco. But it’s very wonderfully directed and just sexy as hell (there are nuns!). The first half or so is totally debased and the second half or so very coy and even cute. Overall, surprisingly good, as most underseen Francos seem to be.

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Stadt in Flammen (1984) Schmelzdahin - 8/10

It’s an early work in its style and thus is much simpler than some later works of Reble’s or those of another director like Carl E. Brown, but it’s already ready to play with all the other big boys in the field of cinematic chemical play by being very mysterious and enchanting. Gr8 stuff.

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Kai xin le yuan (1985) Michael Mak Dong-git - 6.5/10 (Isle of Fantasy)

Dis sum silly shit here boi. But it is very funny. A goofus salesman winds up on a desert island with some qt girls on a scout trip and has to get on good graces with them and their headmaster. But they’re also on a kooky island so some shenanigans go down. Man, Hong Kong has to be in the t5 goofiest film countries ever, but it would also probably be one of the strongest of that 5. I laughed a lot.

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Tôsatsu repooto: Insha! (1991) Hisayasu Satô - 8/10 (Turtle Vision)

Pure Satô right here. This is an interesting piece which seems to transition from his more “pure” porno works from the 80s into the more psychologically strange and twisted places he’ll go to in the 90s. As usual, technology and its perverse, alienating effects are used here in his skillful manner. I guess saying that is pretty cliched at this point, it’s like praising Ozu for his ability to convey family dynamics. But it’s still well-done enough to note, damn it! This one is very dark, visually. It seems to be a lot more removed from the characters than normal. Lots of overhead shots of industrial blues. Overall another very solid entry into Satô’s filmography.

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Nashan naren nagou (1999) Huo Jianqi - 9/10 (Postmen in the Mountains)

This reminds me more of early Hou than most contemporary directors on the mainland. Maybe it’s similar to Jia in some ways, but there’s too much nostalgia mixed in with the more traditionally minimalist style. Yet in story it’s still more minimal than most of Hou’s stuff, so it’s more mainland modern in that sense. But there are some strange quirks here, like Tarkovsky-esque slow zooms and handheld moments, that give it a bit of difference. Quite an interesting film which seems to act as a missing piece for a lot of interesting directors. And very touching!

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Wu wu mian (2015) Tsai Ming-liang - 8.5/10 (No No Sleep)

Tsai, Tsai, he’s my guy, if he can’t do it, don’t even try! (I think that’s how his name is pronounced). Anyway, this is a great continuation of the kind of digital stuff that he began developing in Journey to the West (this obviously being a sort of sequel to that). I’m very interested in what his next films end up looking like, because these experiments have a very different sense of time. Most obviously because the shots are longer, but there’s something more decentered and “de-narratived” in comparison to many of his past works. Stray Dogs is rather similar, but these shorts are most extreme at it. They are, however, completely logical in the context of his career.
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Perverted Hermit
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Perverted Hermit » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:27 pm

Does anyone know what the fuck happened to Mango? Cookie for anyone that knows.
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:06 am

Perverted Hermit wrote:Does anyone know what the fuck happened to Mango? Cookie for anyone that knows.
Haha who knows but now that he's gone I can use my real name without confusion :P

(Well, I guess that didn't stop all the Jakes)
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:36 am

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Frankenstein (1931) James Whale - 7/10

I often love to be a contrarian to the canon but I can't say I am here. This is as a classic. It's not one of the best films ever but if you like vintage cr33ps I don't see how you can really complain about it. I mean, ok, I could be pretentious and say that Dreyer accomplishes the atmosphere of this more perfectly in something like Vampyr, but it's apples to oranges. I'll admit that it's hard for me to really review the content of this one. It's so iconic that it's too baked into my subconscious for me to really properly examine, but just basing this off visuals, it's a great work.

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The Mummy (1932) Karl Freund - 5.5/10

The Egyptian imagery is very cool, but it’s sadly a film with too much imagery and not enough cinematography if that makes sense. It is tragically ordinary. I know I never shut up about it but White Zombie really makes a lot of these pale in comparison. Cute girl though.

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King Kong (1933) Ernest B. Schoedsack & Merian C. Cooper - 5/10

This is a film that blows its load on the Kong effects and didn’t bother to make the rest of itself very special or noteworthy. That said, it was light and enjoyable enough that I didn’t get bored; I just was never particularly impressed. I guess Kong’s island has some pretty cool atmosphere but there are plenty of films at this time being made that make it really pale in comparison. To be honest, I think the best scenes here are of Kong fighting the dinosaurs. They might be repetitive, but they really have a sense of barbarism that even today is frankly disturbing, making them quite a spectacle to behold. The setpieces in those scenes are also some of the best eyecandy in the film. Too bad the other scenes pale compared to those, and even those are nothing incredible.

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Bride of Frankenstein (1935) James Whale - 7.5/10

If I was going to be a contrarian though, it would have to be here, because I think this is superior to its predecessor. I suppose that isn't all that contrarian when you consider it because this is almost as well-loved as the other, but I still think this one shines a bit brighter. I think a lot of people see this as just a campy footnote, where it really has just as many beautiful Gothic shades of horror as the former.

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Kaidan: Kagami-ga-fuchi (1959) Môri Masaki - 7/10 (The Ghosts of Kagami Pond)

This is really nicely produced kaidan cinema right hurr. Of course I generally love these kinds of stories. The style looks a little bland at first and it’s certainly not as out there are something like Shura (which let’s be honest slays practically every other kaidan movie), but I think the minimal style of it actually is more than meets the eye and makes it a nicely chilling hour.

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Ďáblova past (1962) František Vláčil - 8/10 (The Devil's Trap)

I’ve seen White Dove and Valley of the Bees and liked both very much, but if you ask me this is Vláčil’s second best after Marketa Lazarová in quality. Like the best of his, it really captures the nature of desolation sweeping through Europe in the 17th century. When you see how awful the conditions were for pretty much the whole continent at that point, things like witch hunts don’t seem so unusual. And it really captures a sense of horror in it. Of course, that’s why I watched it for October. The imagery here would all hint at some kind of oncoming danger even if there wasn’t a story set against witch hunts. We don’t see any torture, but its presence is there in the background the whole time.

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Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie (1965) Wojciech Jerzy Has - 8.5/10 (The Saragossa Manuscript)

Truly, it is fitting that this film is being recognized for the fantastic film that it is now, because this is a striking triumph. It’s hard to know much of what to say about this one, more than most films I review. I’ve stopped and restarted this review a bunch of times and I know that I’m not quite going to get it right. The best way I can describe it is the modernist counterpoint to Andrei Rublev. Like that film (which isn’t a great comparison piece but it’s all I got with the epic length and fantastic composition), the central theme of this one is nothing more than the transformation of man’s intellect, the human compulsion toward knowledge and the deadly yet exciting pursuit of it. Very into this.

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Histoires extraordinaires (1968) Roger Vadim, Louis Malle, & Federico Fellini - 7.5/10

This has an incredible cast. But you’d kind of hope that for your omnibus spooks with three giants of the time. All three stories are excellent, perfectly capturing the nature of Poe’s stories as reimagined in a society of free love looking to the past, with all its lusts and death.

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Vargtimmen (1968) Ingmar Bergman - 8.5/10 (Hour of the Wolf)

Holy shit best Bergman? Top three at the very least. Honestly his style is really well-suited for horror so this isn’t a surprise. The cinematography is certainly some of his best. While it has some moments that I think keep it from being as perfectly paced and atmospherically balanced as something like The Silence which is still my favorite, there are other parts that I definitely haven’t seen matched in another one of his films yet.

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Edogawa Rampo zenshû: Kyôfu kikei ningen (1969) Teruo Ishii - 7.5/10 (Horrors of Malformed Men)

Ishii is one of those directors I’ve long meant to watch a film by, and if this is anything to go by, I should have gotten around to him way sooner. This is some very cool, strange stuff. Like a guro version of A Page of Madness. No masterpiece but I’m very glad I saw it. It also just makes me embarrassed to have not read anything by Edogawa though.

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La maldición de Frankenstein (1972) Jesús Franco - 9/10 (The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein)

I don’t like to be that big fat contrarian fuckface just for the sake of it but yeah this > Frankenstein. This is GAWJUSS. It really is one of Franco’s most beautifully shot films. I think even people who aren’t normally fans would have to admit that there are some great shots. Franco’s Dr. Frankenstein here is as unhinged and unique as Portabella’s Dracula, though in a very different style. Sort of like it though, he matches a sense of the classically Gothic with a film style that uses its own cheapness to evoke a sense of unsettling atmosphere. Even for him, this is a very bizarre film. t5 Franco at the very, very least.

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La nuit des étoiles filantes (1973) Jesús Franco - 8/10 (A Virgin Among the Living Dead)

Not my favorite of Franco’s more famous titles, but it’s still a great, great film so don’t think I have anything against it. It really picks up around halfway through, where it becomes more like a Rollin-style atmospheric horror, leading to one of his best endings. If this had a hottie like Soledad in its main role it would be masterpiece material.

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Vampyres (1974) José Ramón Larraz - 7.5/10

I do think this is comparable in a lot of ways to Franco, and not just in the obvious ways (being about supernatural lesbos). But I think Larraz’s atmosphere is sort of different. In some ways it’s more like Rollin in how slow and atmospheric it is, though certainly not to the level of intoxication that he accomplishes. Still, you can tell that the plot here occasionally gives way to some more atmosphere-centric styles, though I wish he indulged a bit more. Like a Rollin film, there’s not that much dialogue all things considered, which is impressive for this one because it’s a bit more plotted than the former director’s works. This isn’t as embedded to the very mood of the film as Larraz’s masterpiece Symptoms, but it’s quite solid all the same.

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Shivers (1975) David Cronenberg - 8/10

I still prefer The Brood a bit, but early Cronenberg > late Cronenberg if these two are anything to go by. He lost a lot of his directorial tools like mise-en-scène, cinematography, etc. The pacing is also more suited to its material. This had much more of an earthen horror to it as opposed to his later ones which get too removed for my taste. But enough talking about that, this is some great stuff. It really gets under your skin (lol) in the way that his early stuff is best at. “Body horror” at its purest.

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Sakura no mori no mankai no shita (1975) Masahiro Shinoda - 9/10 (Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees)

It’s not quite Himiko-tier, but this is by far Shinoda’s second best after that if you ask me. Of course, it’s somewhat similar in style. Not just in the way it deals with older Japan, but in the way it really notes the essential nature of the environment to the Japanese perception of life. In this case especially, to psychological states of unease. In some ways I really think Shinoda has a greater sense of connection to the past of Japanese aesthetics than many of the other ATG superstars, though of course that’s a feature of nearly all their works. But Shinoda especially seems to really be interested in how to bring essences of “Japan” into modern cinema, with this one a bit more connected to the Edo-era ghostly tradition whereas Himiko would be something more ancient and primordial. But both really capture the deadly beauty of the forest in a way that is central to Japanese aesthetics I think. Here there is more of an ukiyo-e sense of decentered, “landscaped” cinematography than the pure classicism of Himiko. Wonderful.

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Martin (1977) George A. Romero - 8/10

This is really a fantastic work. I have to say it’s making me look into Romero as more than just “that Dead trilogy guy.” This one has the cheaper, grittier quality of the first of the trilogy balanced with the mature story craft of the later ones. I’m especially impressed here by the scenes he has with little to no dialogue.

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Caniche (1977) Bigas Luna - 8/10

My first experience with Bigas Luna and this is really a fantastic, very unsettling piece. It’s about a sister and brother who live together (possibly incestuously) and who feed their poodle ill-gotten meat. It’s very scuzzy and seemingly off-the-cuff in the way some American grindhouse pictures are, but with more of an obvious sense of constructed composition in the imagery. It’s a very strange effect overall. Like Chabrol if he was a deranged hermit. It occupies that nice space where it’s surreal but only in a way that is believable to true life. What’s really interesting is that the fragmented nature almost seems to be from the perspective of the titular dog. Very fascinating stuff.

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The Driller Killer (1979) Abel Ferrara - 8/10

The opening says THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD and my god was it right. Half the creeps of this one come from the crazy sounds here. Of course, even without that, this is an incredible film. Ferrara’s biggest strength here is really capturing what grit is, what the scuzzy underbelly of society is like. But he does so in a way that, while cheaply made, is very mannered and precise. It is so precise that it comes across as natural and unaided by his hand.

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Virus - L'inferno dei morti viventi (1980) Bruno Mattei - 9/10 (Hell of the Living Dead)

It’s as foul-mouthed and scuzzy as you’d hope any Mattei film would be. God bless all he made, the world didn’t deserve a meatball as good as him. Better than Romero’s films (though not always as much of a direct ripoff as the name would suggest). Everything classic about him is here. Stellar day-for-nights, incredible stock footage, badass synth lines, tribal tits, etc. CHEKC IT OUT

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Qu mo jing cha (1990) Stephen Tung Wei - 7.5/10 (Magic Cop)

This is a really exciting, sometimes quite creepy film which is everything you want a ghostly HK romp to be. I would say it definitely is more on the action side than horror, but it’s really one of the most tightly shot and edited of its kind. It also stars Lam Ching-ying so you can be sure it’s gonna have a great performance. Very cool.

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The Addiction (1995) Abel Ferrara - 8.5/10

This is an AMAZING film. As far as vampire films that really capture what it would mean to be a vampire in the modern day, with all the grit and carnality, this is just as effecting as something like Trouble Every Day, even if its style is completely different. More Cypress Hill than Tindersticks. The way our main character is a philosophy student is really a nice touch because anything like vampirism is made more disturbing if a sense of diligent logic and skepticism still can’t reign it in. It really captures what it feels like to access a sense of ancient nihilism, a sense of human bloodlust that goes deeper than any philosophy. It captures a sense of urban horror in a way that makes a good balance against more traditional woodsy types for yr spooky shenanigans. Watch it and let the primeval chaos rise though your kundalini.

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Build Your Own Haunted House! (2000) Kelly Mann - 4.5/10

It wouldn’t be a month for me if I didn’t watch one of these instructional pieces of detritus, so here’s a Halloween-themed one. Not very impressive but these are always funny to see. This one actually has an IMDb page so I didn’t have to comb through the credits to find the director and year like I normally have to haha.

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Dark Harvest (2004) Paul Moore - 2.5/10

Nothing like a shit movie to start off October. I’ve always liked this kind of setting that seemed to start with Children of the Corn (at least in the modern era), but sadly it doesn’t seem that a really good movie has used it yet. Especially this one which is atrocious. Some of the acting here is truly mind-bogglingly bad. It gets kind of fun after the shit really starts going down and there’s gore and screams about halfway through, but the first half can get really boring. If this was better paced it would be somewhat entertaining as a bad movie but like it is I’d say skip it.

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Dark Harvest 2: The Maize (2004) Bill Cowell - 5/10

Holy shit. I didn’t think they could possibly make this any cheaper until I saw those Lucida Grande titles. But this one is also 100x more entertaining. This was hilarious. The iMovie effects made me lose my shit. I dunno if anyone else would find this funny, and to be honest I don’t even think I should have been because it gets kind of sluggish, but for one reason or another I couldn’t stop laughing. Though admittedly the last third or so gets a bit too long. Still, I had fun.

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Noroi (2005) Kôji Shiraishi - 6.5/10

I have always had a weak spot for this kind of film if done well, though sadly it’s rarely done well. But this is one of the better ones. It’s a lot better than the other Shiraishi movie I saw.

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Taxidermia (2006) Pálfi György - 7.5/10

I’m not sure exactly why this seems to be polarizing for people whose film taste I follow. I could understand that the content is pretty out there, and I could see that offending or annoying some more average filmgoers, but for cinephiles I’d think they’d be used to something so repulsive. Then again I imagine it’s not due to the content but how it’s stylistically presented. It is often quite goofy and I could see how that would annoy a lot of viewers. I actually agree to a degree because I wish it was played a bit more straight here rather than the way it is which can sometimes get a bit too cheesy for its own good. Again though, I’d think even if people weren’t into the style in full that there would be more room for mixed opinions than the rather polarizing nature this one has. But that’s what makes it an interesting film to me, even if one I’m not totally in love with (mostly just the sounds, this movie is too loud for its style). I remember Baylor from YMDb/TLC once compare this to Werckmeister Harmonies (!) in the way that both respond to the dissolution of communism in Hungary in imaginative and ultimately tragic ways, even if they are totally different in style. To be honest I see it. Throw a bit of Švankmajer in there too I suppose. Some interesting stuff overall, definitely.

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Història de la meva mort (2013) Albert Serra - 8.5/10

An interview with Serra mentioned the genesis of this film’s premise, which sounds a bit silly at first but makes a lot of sense: when screening Honor of the Knights in Romania, someone said that he should do the same with the story of Dracula. Serra doesn’t quite adapt Dracula wholesale, but works it into the story of Casanova for something quite interesting. It’s different and similar to hia previous films in equal measures. There’s a lot more dialogue, but he makes it seem very natural. As usual, his attention to setting and a very slow, enveloping sense of space is strong; luckily the dialogue does not stop this from happening. I think it’s a bit less strong in style than his previous two, but it’s very interesting in the way it deconstructs narrative into a succession of real time and space. Fascinating stuff that is perfectly following in Serra’s trajectory.

And last but not least...

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The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) Leo McCarey - 9.5/10 [35mm]

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:14
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MrCarmady
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by MrCarmady » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:10 am

I don't think that's contrarian at all, I think Bride is considered superior pretty much by anyone these days.
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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:20 pm

MrCarmady wrote:I don't think that's contrarian at all, I think Bride is considered superior pretty much by anyone these days.
Eh, you have a point there.
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:37 pm

jade_vine wrote:Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie (1965) Wojciech Jerzy Has - 8.5/10 (The Saragossa Manuscript)

Truly, it is fitting that this film is being recognized for the fantastic film that it is now, because this is a striking triumph. It’s hard to know much of what to say about this one, more than most films I review. I’ve stopped and restarted this review a bunch of times and I know that I’m not quite going to get it right. The best way I can describe it is the modernist counterpoint to Andrei Rublev. Like that film (which isn’t a great comparison piece but it’s all I got with the epic length and fantastic composition), the central theme of this one is nothing more than the transformation of man’s intellect, the human compulsion toward knowledge and the deadly yet exciting pursuit of it. Very into this.
Ah, nice. I've been meaning to see this for so long! Just bumped it up the queue.
Lazzaro felice - Cabin in the Sky - An Autumn Afternoon

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jade_vine
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:38 am

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Le Noël de poilu (1915) Louis Feuillade - 7/10

I have to say that while I prefer Les Vampires to this, I think Feuillade’s tinier works are more of the style that suits him, based on this and L’Agonie de Byzance. Especially the latter, which is his best film for me. However, I should see Tih Minh before I reserve final judgement. It is rather surprising that he creates such a tight sense of editing even when his style is so theatrical. This is a bit saccharine to compare with Byzance, but it remains fairly solid stuff.

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Cat People (1942) Jacques Tourneur - 8/10

Tourneur here is a master of finding the uncanny in the simple and familiar. Maybe that’s not a particularly original comment, but it really is great at creating a sense of horror while seeming completely non-horrific. That said, I wouldn’t say it’s Tourneur’s masterpiece.

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The Seventh Victim (1943) Mark Robson - 8/10

This is a wonderfully ghastly film, which for this sort of era is very grim and dark, even if it’s cloaked in what is at first a rather ordinary-looking style.

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The Curse of the Cat People (1944) Robert Wise & Gunter von Fritsch - 9/10

This, however, is far superior even to its more famous predecessor. But this is a somewhat unfair predecessor because this is a very different film. Stunningly different, even. However, it’s just as unique and strange of a specimen as its predecessor if not more so. The psychological realm of terror however gets shifted to the realm of a child rather than an adult, and perhaps in a way fitting of that feels much less easily resolved or explained. The cinematography too reflects this perfectly; beautiful and nostalgic but in a way that seems to contain something darker beneath its surface, sort of like The Night of the Hunter. Moments of what seems like perfectly innocent, almost cloying beauty, soon turn into something dark and off-kilter. This is most perfectly shown in the very first scene. It’s a sense of mystery that I can honestly say prefigures someone like Raúl Ruiz.

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Hiroshima mon amour (1959) Alain Resnais - 8/10

Well, what more can you say about it? I bet Teshigahara saw the opening scene of this before making Woman in the Dunes, or at least was similarly fascinated by the rhythms of the body (and I’m not just saying that because of Eiji Okada!). In fact, this is a film that really seems to have been as interesting and influential to the Japanese New Wave as the French, and I’m not just saying that because of its content. It’s quite fascinating how the memorial museum in Hiroshima itself is interacted with here. Even if the bombing was only 14 years ago, it already seems as ancient as the Kamakura era. It’s similar to what Resnais does in Night and Fog, but less explicitly political. Indeed, I think this is a film that resists the opportunity to indulge overly in political messages which is something I really appreciate. This is about the lives of two people and the effects of post-war modernity on consciousness.

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Et mourir de plaisir (1960) Roger Vadim - 7/10 (Blood and Roses)

The imagery is especially beautiful. The story can be a bit bleh but it’s always fun to look at at the very least. Nice one.

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Kaibyô Otama-ga-ike (1960) Ishikawa Yoshihiro - 7/10 (The Ghost Cat of Otama Pond)

This is what a kaidan story should be. Sumptuous widescreen with lush, almost garish, but very deep colors in the style of Nakagawa or Kobayashi at their best. The color is actually very similar to the ukiyo-e palette that this ghostly tradition was birthed on. I wouldn’t say it’s a masterpiece (nor would I say the other two directors’ films are either, actually), but it’s definitely a great example of its style and it carries its story pretty perfectly.

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The Birth of Magellan: Palindrome (1969) Hollis Frampton - 9/10

I haven’t been a big fan of the other Frampton films I’ve seen but this seals it that he’s a choice dude, at least when he wishes to be. I guess it’s no surprise that my favorite would be his most Brakhage-like though, haha. Of course, it’s mostly in the pacing that I think it’s Brakhage-like as the imagery is still very different.

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Simon, King of the Witches (1971) Bruce Kessler - 6/10

“My name is Simon, I live in a storm drain.” This is interesting. It's rather strange in style, like a Satanic panic film as directed by Mike Leigh. It’s definitely very slow and deliberate, not where I’d turn to for immediate scares and unease. But somehow that adds to the feeling. At first I think a lot of people would lament this as lacking atmosphere, but I think it has atmosphere for sure. It’s just that this atmosphere is very very different from what you might expect just looking at the name/poster/etc. However, don’t get me wrong, there are some really wonderful scenes of magic here. The ending especially has a sort of hallucinatory crossover into a magic plane which is really something else. This is definitely what the real witches and warlocks of society feel like to be around, so it captures that well. It’s not a great film by any means, but it's impressive in the way it uses its low budget for its own style. Ultimately though, not something I'm going to probably return to soon.
Note: this is kind of reverse-growing on me since I wrote that review as you can tell I sound more glowing in it than 6... not sure if my rating is too harsh but I'm just not feeling it.

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The Velvet Vampire (1971) Stephanie Rothman - 6/10

Basically a vampire movie but as set in the kind of rural Western US you'd expect a biker movie to take place in. Dumbass vampires going where they can get burned by the sun so easily and shit. Anyway, that premise sounds really cool and there are some stellar moments but overall I'd call it just alright. It's too bad because it really could have been something special, since the style it's made in is sort of like a Franco movie or something else a bit more delicate. But it doesn't cohere as well as it could, sadly. Still worth the watch, definitely.

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Ginchô wataridori (1972) Yamaguchi Kazuhiko - 7/10 (Wandering Ginza Butterfly)

A very simple Japanese gangster flick with a typical plot but none of that is a flaw because it is quite fun and there are even some quite interesting handheld shots. Far from incredible, but definitely worth watching, especially for everyone’s waifu Kaji who is as flawless as ever.

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Abigail’s Party (1977) Mike Leigh - 8/10

These early works of Leigh’s are really something special. I still prefer The Kiss of Death to this one by a bit but what’s special about this is the way it really pushes uncomfortable awkwardness to an art form. Its imagery isn’t quite as notable (it’s pretty much a filmed stage play, in fact it’s literally adapted from a stage play), but its construction is perfect. I didn’t think Bleak Moments could be outdone in terms of uncomfortable scenes, but this whole thing is like a 100 minute pitch that gets higher and higher in terms of unease. You expect this one to boil over and explode at any moment. One of the most uncomfortable movies ever made, there’s no doubt there.

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La bimba di Satana (1982) Mario Bianchi - 7/10

This is a strange, kooky piece of nunsploitation. That might not even quite be the right classification so much as just sleaze in a religious setting. At leas there’s very little about it that’s recognizable to nunsplo tropes. But hey, it has possessed nuns so I guess that’s as good a description as any. It’s a weird style, where most of the film just seems like people looking at each other longingly or questioningly with sleazy giallo music. It’s a strange little film but it’s decent. Not a masterpiece by any means, but more interesting than you’d expect.

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Ban xian jiang (1988) Do Hong-yue - 8/10 (Devil Sorcery)

A typical HK obscurity about a magic wizard dabbling in the black arts, but actually one of the better of its kind I’ve seen in a while. For being so cheaply made there are really some quite dazzling effects here, and the cheap nature just adds to the feeling of it as being something unearthed from the dankest crypts. Some of the scenes are creepy and gross enough to be like an Asian version of a lesser Fulci film almost. Yah it’s definitely kewl. I gotta see Ghost Hospital by this guy now, just for the name if nothing else.

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Crespià, the film not the village (2003) Albert Serra - 5/10

This is more of a doc before Serra actually developed his style. It’s interesting at parts but overall not too exciting. It definitely doesn’t have many bits of Serra outside of a few nicely composed shots.

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BNSF (2013) James Benning - 7.5/10

Benning's films really are becoming more and more extreme in simplicity. This is some pretty extreme stuff and probably the closest we'll get to the film mechanism dissolving and placing us back in nature. I have mixed feelings on it but there's something very nice about the experience. I have to say that I did watch it while multitasking though, as I think that's about the only way I could do it outside of a theatre.
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wigwam
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by wigwam » Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:27 pm

oh man getting zoned out during bnsf and then the trains scaring me was so amazing! but i dont blame you for the multitasking either, just dont do it on the forest sunset one you gotta take it all in

gotta see more early Leigh!
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:24 pm

wigwam wrote:oh man getting zoned out during bnsf and then the trains scaring me was so amazing! but i dont blame you for the multitasking either, just dont do it on the forest sunset one you gotta take it all in

gotta see more early Leigh!
Haha that sounds awesome. Some day... But yeah I haven't done it with any other Benning film yet, even Ruhr which has like a 70 minute shot at the end.
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Pinhead » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:07 pm

Simon, King of the Witches was always in my top 100, don't remember it but i reckon it pretty cool, see ya 8-)
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Pinhead » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:08 pm

i remember, he always went back to the drains, wish i could be in the drains
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Pinhead » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:09 pm

and he did magic, flick's a 9/10 for sure, see ya again
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by Pinhead » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:11 pm

you've a pretty poor post/film review ratio, gotta take care of that with some more see ya
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by jade_vine » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:43 am

Pinhead wrote:you've a pretty poor post/film review ratio, gotta take care of that with some more see ya
Lol believe me I know. I've been too lazy to format my reviews/screencaps (exams etc.) so too many build up. Will try for quality over quantity in the near future though (well, before finals). :-|
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Re: Ian's Log

Post by JediMoonShyne » Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:48 am

jade_vine wrote:Abigail’s Party (1977) Mike Leigh - 8/10

These early works of Leigh’s are really something special. I still prefer The Kiss of Death to this one by a bit but what’s special about this is the way it really pushes uncomfortable awkwardness to an art form. Its imagery isn’t quite as notable (it’s pretty much a filmed stage play, in fact it’s literally adapted from a stage play), but its construction is perfect. I didn’t think Bleak Moments could be outdone in terms of uncomfortable scenes, but this whole thing is like a 100 minute pitch that gets higher and higher in terms of unease. You expect this one to boil over and explode at any moment. One of the most uncomfortable movies ever made, there’s no doubt there.
Yes, love this one but it's not quite as good as some of the others. Very theatrical, as you say, though it's not just that; there's something exaggerated about it all that is unique to Leigh's work - right up to the most recent feature films. So many of these earlier TV works are like chamber plays, too, in that everything is confined to a single location or situation and things just get more awkward with no climax or resolution. It's like, a kettle simmering and then boiling over with no relief. Leigh's characters are pretty much the embodiment of adult insecurity, but I'd love to see him offset that from time to time with younger characters that still maintain some level of innocence. The protagonist in Happy Go Lucky is perhaps the most child-like of all his characters...
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