Cinema: Army of Darkness at Plaza Theatre the 8th of last month and Texas Chainsaw Massacre the 22nd of this month. TCM reminded me of movies from the Drive-In Cult Classics collection that I had picked up back in 2011. At times, the movie was a crazy assault to the senses: abrasive soundtrack, exaggerated malevolence. Guardians of the Galaxy at the beginning of the month (!!!). Must go see it again.
Music: The Musical Box performing Selling England by the Pound at Variety Playhouse the 24th of last month. Great follow up to seeing them do Lamb Lies Down on Broadway January of last year. Was blown away when the lead singer started the narrative that I knew would lead in to Supper's Ready. Really just a wow night, and ended at The Vortex in L5P with death metal fans from a show at the Star Bar.
Travels: Lake Tullahoma, TN the weekend of July 18th. Fourth annual trip to St. George Island the end of July. Second semi-annual trip to Lake Keowee the weekend of August 15th.
Started new job in Buckhead on the 4th! Commute is now Marta and reading or Vespa-ing on nice days.
The Tree of Life [ 5/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. This was the most beautiful film I've seen in many many years. It had a wildly unusual structure with a long, non-narrative first third that weighed against the subsequent narrative sections and gave them a context that would've otherwise not existed. The family scenes took up the bulk of the latter two thirds with Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and their three sons giving stunning performances. The overall style reminded me of Tarkovsky's Mirror.
Centurion [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. Silly 10th Century romp with Romans attacking Picts in England or thereabouts. Minor commentary on the hubris of invading empires; lots of blood. After watching Black Death (a better film), I've been wanting more in this genre.
Trip With the Teacher [ 1/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. Continuing the Drive-In Cult Classics collection. Notable for the over-the-top villain (ACT) and two very uncomfortable rape scenes. The bad was boring; the very bad was too infrequent. Still, I was mesmerized at times by the dialog and 70s-ness, and people seem to love this inscrutable catfight scene:
Cold Weather [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. What an odd and wonderful mood this sets up. The three leads--brother, sister, and brother's friend--had very natural relationships on screen. Conversations were quirky and believably realistic, with humor that for the most part wasn't put on. Highly recommended.
Fright Night [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. I didn't remember much from the original, so Lisa&I re-watched it a couple of years back. It's difficult to replicate a movie that was very of-its-time, but this remake succeeds with a good cast and that silly premise. Good, not great.
A bit of mid-70s softcore porn from Drive-In Cult Classics Volume 1. Probably what passed for Cinemax at the time. Angel Tompkins (as said teacher) saves the film in a few scenes while Jay North (Dennis the Menace) was just odd as the 18-year-old who is afraid to have sex with her. Awesome jazz flute throughout the soundtrack. Enjoy House of Self-Indulgence's more detailed review.
Thai martial arts flick. An autistic 14-year-old sallies out to collect from her sick mother's debtors. A vehicle for lead JeeJa Yanin to show off her skills. Many scenes were supposed to be split-screened to show her against those she was imitating (Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee), but sadly the company couldn't get the rights to include the clips. This movie continues my accidental foray into Female Bad-assery, paired with Nyx in God's War and Hanna. The Teacher canceled them all out, feminist-wise.
Went to see The Hangover on Friday [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. Enjoyable slapstick and a good end of week movie to veg out to. I fixed my laptop over the weekend. It had stopped displaying when I would hook it up to our Bravia and so there were no Netflix or AMC b-movies streamed over the last two weeks. Fix was a mix of FN-key toggling and NVIDIA config. As usual, I have no idea how it went wrong.
Upon its return, we finished watching the outrageous Tokyo Gore Police [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] from Netflix! Highly recommended bit of over the top that I'm sure, without even looking, Tarantino was indebted to when making Kill Bill. Japan has replaced the police force with a private force that hunts down mutant/fetishistic killers called Engineers. Hose-spurting dismemberments ensue. The DVD or soundtrack may be a future purchase. Also watched The Undead from AMC. It was an almost worthless Roger Corman flick. Two "doctors" hypnotize a prostitute in modern day to reveal her past lives. The bulk of the film was some scattered story of her unjustly accused of being a witch several hundred years prior. Most of AMC's b-movies have been very entertaining. Except for the D-cup hottie that played the head witch in the past, this was painful. Also on Netflix was Outsourced [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. A nice enough comedy of an American manager sent to India to train his and his coworkers' replacements. I wanted to like it more, and it was OK, but there were some oddities (the romance was introduced abruptly, the characters were only moderately likable) that bothered me. Resolution was done well though.
[ updated 7 May 2011 ]
Went to the drive-in on Sunday to see Viva Las Vegas! (I don't expect anyone to believe this, but when I told one of my coworkers their reply was: what's that movie about?). TCM is showing movies at drive-ins throughout August for $1/carload. We ate fried chicken (fingers) and drank PB&B martinis (peanut butter and banana). The movie was basically a travel ad for Vegas and an exercise video with Ann-Margaret, but it was fun to cheer on the hero with the rest of the crowd.
Earlier this week, Trakovsky tweeted about The Auteurs movie web site. A good selection of classic, foreign, and independent cinema from $0 to $5 a viewing. My first film was Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. I put a quick review on their site; here it is:
First movie I've watched from this director.
More of a formalist study than a dramatic one. The individual scenes are composed as microcosms emphasizing a primary theme. People occupy the same space and yet never connect. Each character's actions and language (or lack) are almost undecipherable to those they wish to communicate with. Distance is emphasized by showing the actors through windows, mirrors, TV monitors, and even a decorative waterfall.
At times a bit too stylish-for-style's-sake, and some of the manic improvised scenes don't quite work, but overall a beautiful and funny film.
What they have in their catalog is wonderful; what they don't have is infuriating. I hope they get the rights to more.
Catching up on the past couple of months, for Future-Scott:
So busy bitching that I lost track of where I've been.
Wednesday, we had intended to so see March of the Penguins (my nieces give it four thumbs up) and ended up re-routing to 97 Astoria to celebrate Alicia and Dan's house closing. And because I'm such a shut-in, I goofed off here and missed all of the fun, so after all of that I guess I did nothing. No wait! Lisa picked me up and we went on a successful search for the new-and-cool Slice down in Castleberry Hill. We felt a little out of place at first (ifyouknowwhatImean), but it's nice and laid back and had a good DJ--not too loud. Lisa says best pizza ever.
Last night was The Brothers Grimm and The Skeleton Key at the Starlite Drive-in to celebrate another Robert's b-day. There was a slight emergency room related incident--everyone's OK--which kinda dowsed the rest of the evening.
And I have an interview next Tuesday! Look at me, Mr. Going To An Interview, Mr. Trying To Get a Job. Woop-de-doo!