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JahSonic 2003 jan Blog

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2003, Jan 31; 14:37:
  • Miami Blues (1990) - George Armitage [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This movie managed to stay under almost everyone's radar screen, and this is truly a shame. This is a quirky, unorthodox, and unpredictable film with potent acting and a very intriguing story. It's a compelling and intelligent film that is very funny and yet quite sad. The movie came and went before Alec Baldwin emerged as a (sometimes) legitimate star. And he's really at his best, acting opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh, who delivers one of her trademark credible and powerful performances. Alec Baldwin portrays an ex-con who has just been released from a prison in Florida, and it doesn't take long before he's returning to his criminal ways. Early in the film Alec intentionally breaks the thumb of a Harry Krishna follower at the airport, who proceeds to die as a result of the trama. At this point, a detective (aptly and humorously portrayed by Fred Ward) begins investigating and pursuing Baldwin. Ward doesn't have enough evidence to arrest Baldwin, but he is pretty certain he's got the right man. An interesting and funny cat-and-mouse game follows. Baldwin makes his living by stealing from other criminals, mostly by robbing muggers just after they have robbed someone. Midway through the film Baldwin obtains a detective's badge and proceeds to impersonate a police officer, which allows him to more easily apply his trade and opens the way for several hysterical scenes. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a prostitute who, after a tryst with Baldwin, ends up falling in love and living with him. The dynamic between these two characters occupies a central role in this film, and it is both convincing and interesting. As the film progresses, it becomes obvious that Baldwin is battling himself and facing large changes and challenges within himself. While continuing to impersonate a police officer while robbing people, it becomes obvious that he begins to internalize the persona and seems to think of himself as a protector of others. While this film is frequently violent, comic and funny, it is tinged with a very serious edge that meanders into areas of human longing, sadness and loss. This film unfolds slowly, but is compelling and funny every step of the way. Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance is poignant and provides emotional ballast, but Baldwin's performance borders on being gut-wrenchingly good. The heaviness and self-consciousness that often accompany his later performances are nowhere to be found. This film is daring, orginal and intelligent...and a lot of fun along with way. Hopefully the new DVD edition will allow it to surface on radar screen's everywhere. R. Werth for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 14:32:
  • The Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Roger Corman [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    The Masque of the Red Death (1964) is Roger Corman's, and most people's, choice as the best of the Edgar Allan Poe pictures. Masque offers the expected creepy atmosphere and violence against peasants, plus metaphysical ponderings and pointed satanic cruelty. (Corman was operating as much under the influence of Ingmar Bergman as of Edgar Allan Poe.) Nicolas Roeg's color cinematography and Daniel Haller's elaborate production design would be stellar in any Hollywood A-movie; the mono-colored rooms of the prince's castle are a startling effect. Vincent Price is in fine fettle as Prince Prospero, the devil-worshipping sadist who throws lavish parties while the countryside is ravaged by the plague.
    The Premature Burial (1962) substitutes Ray Milland in the usual Price role. He's a snarky landowner (with a sideline in art--dig those mod paintings) haunted by the fear of being buried alive. This single-minded focus limits the film, but it also adds to the smothering sense of anxiety that prevails throughout its unhealthy scenario. Luscious Hazel Court is Milland's new missus, and old-school cameraman Floyd Crosby proves his facility for photographing women in a classical style. Lots of cobwebs-on-candelabra in the customary Corman-Poe manner, with special emphasis on Milland's crypt, with its supposedly foolproof exit schemes. --Robert Horton for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 14:24:
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1960) - Roger Corman[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Shot in two days by legendary B-movie king Roger Corman (Gouse of Usher, The Raven), this 1960 cult classic inspired a long-running off-Broadway musical, filmed in 1986 with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. Employed by Skid Row florist Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles), the hapless Seymour Krelboined (Jonathan Haze) discovers that the weird Venus Flytrap hybrid he is raising not only thrives on blood, but also talks! Soon Audrey, Jr., named after his beloved co-worker (Jackie Joseph), is bellowing "FEED ME!", forcing poor Seymour to provide a series of unwilling "entrees"; Corman regular Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood) co-stars. The young Jack Nicholas has a hilarious early role as a masochistic dental patient, Wilbur Force, while screenwriter Charles B. Griffith provides the voice of Audrey, Jr., and makes an unbilled cameo as a burglar. From the Back Cover [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 14:17:
  • Interiors (1978) - Woody Allen [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Although indisputably a film by Woody Allen, Interiors is about as far from "a Woody Allen film" as you can get--and maybe more people could have seen what a fine film it is if they hadn't been expecting what Allen himself called "one of his earlier, funnier movies." An entirely serious, rather too self-consciously Bergmanesque drama about a divorcing elderly couple and their grown daughters, it is slow, meditative, and constructed with a brilliant, painterly eye. There is no music--a simple effect that Allen uses with extraordinary power. In fact, half the film is filled with silent faces staring out of windows, yet the mood is so engaging, hypnotic even, that you never feel the director is poking you in the ribs and saying, "somber atmosphere." Diane Keaton, released for once from the goofy ditz stereotype, shines as the "successful" daughter. Some of the dialogue is stilted, and it's hard to tell whether this is a deliberate effect or simply the way repressed upscale New Yorkers talk after too many years having their self-absorption sharpened on the therapist's couch. Fanatical, almost childish self-regard is the chief subject of Allen's comedy--it's remarkable that in this film he was able to remove the comedy but leave room for us to pity and care about these rather irritating people. --Richard Farr [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 14:09:
  • The Howling (1981) - Joe Dante[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A graduate of Roger Corman's school of low-budget ingenuity, Joe Dante gained enough momentum with 1978's Piranha to rise to the challenge of The Howling, and he brought along Piranha screenwriter John Sayles to cowrite this instant werewolf classic. Makeup wizard Rob Bottin was recruited to create what was then the wildest onscreen transformation ever seen. With Gary Brandner's novel The Howling as a starting point, Sayles and Dante conceived a werewolf colony on the California coast, posing as a self-help haven led by a seemingly benevolent doctor (Patrick Macnee), and populated by a variety of "patients," from sexy, leather-clad sirens (among them Elisabeth Brooks) to an old coot (John Carradine) who's quite literally long in the tooth. When a TV reporter (Dee Wallace) arrives at the colony to recover from a recent trauma, the resident lycanthropes prepare for a howlin' good time.
    Dante handles it all with equal measures of humor, sex, gore, and horror, pulling out all the stops when the ravenous Eddie (Dante favorite Robert Picardo, later known as the Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager) transforms into a towering, bloodthirsty werewolf. (Bottin's mentor Rick Baker would soon raise the makeup ante with An American Werewolf in London.) As usual, in-jokes abound, from characters named after werewolf-movie directors, amusing cameos (Corman, Sayles, Forrest J. Ackerman), and hammy inserts of wolfish cartoons and Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." It's best appreciated now as a quintessential example of early-'80s horror, with low-budget limitations evident throughout, but The Howling remains a giddy genre milestone. --Jeff Shannon for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:58:
  • Hollywood Boulevard (1976) - Joe Dante, Allan Arkush [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This film is one of my all time favorite slices of cheese. It's from the heyday of Roger Corman's New World Pictures and features many of that stock company, like Paul Bartel, Dick Miller, Mary Woronov, etc.
    Two guys from Corman's trailer cutting department, Joe Dante and Allan Arkush, had a great idea: Cut action scenes from various New World Productions, add some comical footage, T&A, action, slasher mystery and a song by country rock legends Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, mix and stir and you have a wildly entertaining film. It's also one of the cheapest features ever produced by New World.
    The story concerns an aspiring starlet, played by the beautiful Candice Rialson, who arrives in Hollywood to seek fame and fortune. After a blundering robbery attempt by buffonish thieves who tricked her, she meets agent Walter Paisley (Dick Miller, using the same name as his character from Corman's classic, A Bucket of Blood), and becomes a stuntwoman for Miracle Pictures ("If it's a good picture, it's a miracle"), a thinly disguised parody of Corman's low budget grindhouse production company, New World. She then becomes a Miracles big star, and wacky filmmaking ensues. Not to mention a behind-the-scenes killer, adding mysterious spice to the events.
    This film is a lot of fun, worthy of many repeated viewings. At least for me. There are lots of industry in-jokes and gentle satire aimed at Roger Corman himself. It's never taken too seriously and every scene of it is delightful fun, especially for fans of Corman's particular brand of guerilla movie making. My only complaint is that Hollywood Boulevard 2 isn't included on the same disc. It's just as funny and entertaining as the first one. Here's hoping it will be among the next releases by Corman's New Concorde Home Video. Mark J. Sieber for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:50:
  • The Conversation (1974) - Francis Ford Coppola [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Bleak and mysterious, Francis Ford Coppola's taut masterpiece about responsibility, privacy, alienation, and paranoia is part Hitchcockian thriller, part grim character study. Hackman plays Harry Caul, a guarded wreck of a human being whose profession as the world's greatest surveillance expert has detached him from everyday reality. Though a topnotch voyeur, amorally earning his living by bugging other people's conversations and selling the tapes to clients, Caul keeps his own life fiercely private. He has no friends, just associates in the wiretapping business, all of whom he distrusts; his love life consists of apathetic sex with what could be any woman; his apartment contains three locks but few possessions. His indifference to life extends to his attitude about his job: though he's a wiretapping genius, he accepts no responsibility for what harm his work might produce--it's merely work ... until now.
    While on his latest assignment, Caul breaks his own code and becomes immersed in the latest conversation he's taped. While piecing together fragments of a lunchtime conversation (Coppola dazzles us with his repeated fetish for technology here), something stirs Caul and he begins projecting his own misery onto the discussion. He finally discerns that some evil plot may occur because of his work and is forced into the moral dilemma of whether to turn in the tapes.
    Ultimately, Coppola's cynical, complex script doesn't just condemn Caul for his foolish discovery of his own conscience; it shatters him into a million pieces, during an unforgettable final image. Allusions to Watergate are impossible to ignore, and the movie is still one of the most devastating, important films in '70s American cinema. --Dave McCoy for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:45:
  • Hi, Mom! (1970) - Brian De Palma [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Robert De Niro has played many odd ball characters in his day and perhaps none more so than Jon Rubin, in Brian De Palma's Hi,Mom! The movie begins with De Niro renting a run down apartment in the city where he can begin his new career. This career, he has decided, will be in the adult film industy. He tries to convinces a smut producer to give him a budget to film his neighbors in the buiding across from him. Eventually, he agrees so using a telephotolens De Niro begins recording their every move. Unfortunatly his targets(who have no idea they are being watched) are not very interesting. So De Niro begins to date a girl in the building he has noticed is lonely in an attempt to spice up his video. However, this does not pan out and De Niro's porn career is over. He turns his camera in for a television. This leads him to take a role in a play called Be Black Baby playing a police officer. It is being put on by some black radicals to illustrate to white people what it would be like to be black in contemperary America. The play is shocking and probably the most interesting part of the film. After the play is over De Niro returns to the girl from the building across from him and the movie ends in a melodramatic and bizarre fasion. This movie is definatly worth watching. This film put Brian De Palma on the map, and De Niro shows flashes of the brilliance that in years to come would create so many classic characters. - for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:39:
  • The Party (1968) - Blake Edwards [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Though this film is a relatively minor one in the massive canon of Peter Sellers, it has moments of absolute hilarity. Written and directed by Blake Edwards, one of Sellers's most fertile collaborators, the film stars Sellers as a would-be actor from India (let them try to get away with that today) who is a walking disaster area. After ruining a day's shooting as an extra on a film, he finds himself unintentionally invited to a big Hollywood party. That's pretty much it as far as plot goes, but Edwards and Sellers know how to milk a simple idea for an unending string of slapstick gags. The result is a film that is episodic and sketchy, but also frequently loony in an inspired way. --Marshall Fine for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:37:
  • Harold and Maude (1971) - Hal Ashby [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Black comedies don't come much blacker than this cult favorite from 1972, and they don't come much funnier, either. It seemed that director Hal Ashby was the perfect choice to mine a mother lode of eccentricity from the original script by Colin Higgins, about the unlikely romance between a death-obsessed 19-year-old named Harold (Bud Cort) and a life-loving 79-year-old widow named Maude (Ruth Gordon). They meet at a funeral, and Maude finds something oddly appealing about Harold, urging him to "reach out" and grab life by the lapels as opposed to dwelling morbidly on mortality. Harold grows fond of the old gal--she's a lot more fun than the girls his mother desperately matches him up with--and together they make Harold & Maude one of the sweetest and most unconventional love stories ever made. Much of the earlier humor arises from Harold's outrageous suicide fantasies, played out as a kind of twisted parlor game to mortify his mother, who's grown immune to her strange son's antics. Gradually, however, the film's clever humor shifts to a brighter outlook and finally arrives at a point where Harold is truly happy to be alive. Featuring soundtrack songs by Cat Stevens, this comedy certainly won't appeal to all tastes (it was a box-office flop when first released), but if you're on its quirky wavelength, it might just strike you as one of the funniest movies you've ever seen. --Jeff Shannon for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:23:
  • Five Easy Pieces (1970) - Bob Rafelson [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This subtle, existential character study of an emotionally distant outcast (Nicholson) forced to confront his past failures remains an intimate cornerstone of American '70s cinema. Written and directed with remarkable restraint by Bob Rafelson, the film is the result of a short-lived partnership between the filmmaker and Nicholson--the first was the zany formalist exercise, Head, while the equally impressive King of Marvin Gardens followed Five Easy Pieces. Quiet and full of long, controlled takes, this film draws its strength from the acutely detailed, nonjudgmental observations of its complex protagonist, Robert Dupea--an extremely crass and frustrated oil worker, and failed child pianist hiding from his past in Texas. Dupea spends his life drinking beer and sleeping with (and cheating on) his annoying but adoring Tammy Wynette-wannabe girlfriend, but when he learns that his father is dying in Washington State, he leaves. After the film transforms into a spirited road movie, and arrives at the eccentric upper-class Dupea family mansion, it becomes apparent that leaving is what Dupea does best--from his problems, fears, and those who love him. Nicholson gives a difficult yet masterful performance in an unlikable role, one that's full of ambiguity and requires violent shifts in acting style. Several sequences--such as his stopping traffic to play piano, or his famous verbal duels with a cranky waitress over a chicken-salad sandwich--are Nicholson landmarks. Yet, it's the quieter moments, when Dupea tries miserably to communicate and reconcile with his dying father, where the actor shows his real talent--and by extension, shows us the wounded little boy that lurks in the shell of the man Dupea has become. --Dave McCoy for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:19:
  • The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck (1967) - Roman Polanski [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    One of Roman Polanski's more overt comedies, this 1966 monster spectacle stars Jack MacGowran and Polanski as a clunky but heroic pair of vampire killers. Called upon to rescue the beautiful and buxom daughter (Sharon Tate) of an innkeeper from a Draculalike bloodsucker, the duo muddle through all sorts of scrapes, the most intense being a scene in which a room full of dancing vampires realize the human interlopers are the only ones in the room who are reflected in a mirror. Scary and funny, the film has some unforgettable set pieces, a terrific score, one of the few records of Tate's extraordinary beauty, and vibrant performances. Not exactly Polanski in a relaxed mode, but clear evidence of his estimable skills as a director of both brilliance and polish. --Tom Keogh for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:13:
  • Evil Dead (1982) - Sam Raimi [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    In the fall of 1979, Sam Raimi and his merry band headed into the woods of rural Tennessee to make a movie. They emerged with a roller coaster of a film packed with shocks, gore, and wild humor, a film that remains a benchmark for the genre. Ash (cult favorite Bruce Campbell) and four friends arrive at a backwoods cabin for a vacation, where they find a tape recorder containing incantations from an ancient book of the dead. When they play the tape, evil forces are unleashed, and one by one the friends are possessed. Wouldn't you know it, the only way to kill a "deadite" is by total bodily dismemberment, and soon the blood starts to fly. Raimi injects tremendous energy into this simple plot, using the claustrophobic set, disorienting camera angles, and even the graininess of the film stock itself to create an atmosphere of dread, punctuated by a relentless series of jump-out-of-your-seat shocks. The Evil Dead lacks the more highly developed sense of the absurd that distinguish later entries in the series--Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness--but it is still much more than a gore movie. It marks the appearance of one of the most original and visually exciting directors of his generation, and it stands as a monument to the triumph of imagination over budget. --Simon Leake for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:08:
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask (1972) - Woody Allen [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A collection of vignettes, loosely based on the book by Dr. David Rueben, written and directed by Woody Allen, Everything contains some very funny moments. It's easy to forget that the cerebral Allen excelled at the type of broad, Catskill, dirty jokes and visual gags that run amok here. It's also remarkable how dirty this 1972 movie really was--bestiality, exposure, perversion, and S&M get their moments to shine. The Woody Allen here, who appears in many of the sketches, is a portent of the seedy old Allen of Deconstructing Harry. Although the final bit, which takes place inside a man's body during a very hot date, is hilarious, most of Everything feels like the screen adaptation of a '70s bathroom joke book. Still, a must for Allen fans. --Keith Simanton for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 13:02:
  • Eureka (1981) - Nicolas Roeg [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Anyone expecting conventional storytelling from director Nicolas Roeg will be disappointed by this tale of fate, wealth, greed, and obsession, but if you're familiar with Roeg's work, you'll know that Eureka deserves a place among such equally puzzling Roeg films as Walkabout, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Insignificance. Indeed, with its esteemed cast, international locations, and enough thematic ambition to keep things vitally intriguing, Eureka qualifies as Roeg's last grand effort; after this, Roeg settled for more workmanlike projects, abandoning the kind of daring (if not altogether successful) filmmaking that Eureka represents. This is ostensibly the story of a Klondike prospector (Gene Hackman) who strikes it rich, only to fear that his daughter (played by Roeg's wife, Theresa Russell) and son-in-law (Rutger Hauer) are scheming not only for his wealth but his very soul. Greedy investors (Joe Pesci, Mickey Rourke) are also swooping down for Hackman's fortune, but this is no overblown episode of Dallas or Dynasty. In Roeg's hands--and through the lens of Roeg's mesmerizing camera--Eureka explores Hackman's connection to unexplained supernatural forces, to nature itself, and perhaps even to the continuum of the universe. Which is to say, this is a confounding and convoluted film by any "normal" standard, and by any measure it can hardly be considered a masterpiece. And yet, those mysterious forces are oddly compelling, and Roeg focuses their energy in this strange but beautiful film, reminding us why respected actors would readily contribute to his vision. --Jeff Shannon for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 12:46:
  • Dressed to Kill (1980) - Brian De Palma [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    To condemn Dressed to Kill as a Hitchcock rip-off is to miss the sheer enjoyment of Brian De Palma's delirious 1980 thriller. Hitchcockian homages run rampant through most of De Palma's earlier films, and this one's chock-full of visual quotes, mostly cribbed from Vertigo and Psycho. But De Palma's indulgent depravity transcends simple mimicry to assume a vitality all its own. It's smothered in thickly atmospheric obsessions with sex, dread, paranoia, and voyeurism, not to mention a heavy dose of Psycho-like psychobabble about a wannabe transsexual who's compelled to slash up any attractive female who reminds him--the horror!--that he's still very much a man.
    Angie Dickinson plays the sexually unsatisfied, fortysomething wife who's the killer's first target, relaying her sexual fantasies to her psychiatrist (Michael Caine) before actually living one of them out after the film's celebrated cat-and-mouse sequence in a Manhattan art museum. The focus then switches to a murder witness (De Palma's then-girlfriend Nancy Allen) and Dickinson's grieving whiz-kid son (Keith Gordon), who attempt to solve the murder while staying one step ahead (or so they think) of the crude detective (Dennis Franz) assigned to the case. Propelled by Pino Donaggio's lush and stimulating score, De Palma's visuals provide seductive counterpoint to his brashly candid dialogue, and the plot conceals its own implausibility with morbid thrills and intoxicating suspense. If you're not laughing at De Palma's shameless audacity, you're sure to be on the edge of your seat. for --Jeff Shannon [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 12:36:
  • Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) - Susan Seidelman [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This likeable, feminist screwball comedy about several incidents of mistaken identity is remembered more as the film that made Madonna a movie star. She's flip, hip, and energetic as Susan, the wild tramp with whom bored, suburban New Jersey housewife Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) becomes obsessed after reading of her sexual conquests in the personal ads. Of course, since Madonna essentially played herself, the role's hardly a stretch. Director Susan Seidelman presents a series of zany incidents too complicated to recount, but the result is that Roberta swaps lifestyles with her fixation to explore New Wave culture on New York's Lower East Side. It's territory Seidelman knew well as her more offbeat, indie debut, Smithereens, reveled in the same setting. But where Smithereens took a more edgy approach to its characters, Susan is a fairy tale romantic comedy, and eventually becomes as conventional as the suburban characters it mocks by settling conflicts with predictable Hollywood formulae. Still, there's much to be enjoyed. The film's at its funniest when juxtaposing New York hip and New Jersey suburbia, like when Arquette's straight, suit-and-tie husband dances with Madonna in a punk club. The performances, too, are engaging, especially Arquette and Aidan Quinn, playing a romantic film projectionist who becomes her grubby Prince Charming. --Dave McCoy for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 12:16:
  • Don't Look Now (1973) - Nicolas Roeg [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now once seemed radically new with its kaleidoscopic imagery, dreamlike editing, and willingness to let mystery be mysterious on several levels of reality/illusion--plus art-house darling Julie Christie in a long, nude love scene! Nowadays, this 1974 adaptation of a Daphne du Maurier ghost story looks almost classical. Following the drowning of their child in England, Laura (Christie) and John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) have come to dank, eternally dying Venice, where he is supervising the restoration of a moldering church and she is either slipping into or climbing out of madness with the help of a pair of creepy spinster sisters, one of whom can "see" even though blind. John may share this psychic power, though he resists accepting it as the canals fill with murder victims, surface realities turn shimmery as water, and a red-coated figure--the daughter's ghost?--keeps flickering in the corner of our vision. Though surreal and perplexing, the film does eventually add up, and the ending remains a real throat-grabber. --Richard T. Jameson for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 12:11:
  • Demon Seed (1977) - Donald Cammell [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    A mind altering and disturbing story of a smarty pants computer that stops at nothing in it's quest to become human. Low-tech special effects work in the movie's favor by creating a very human and tangible situation of banal horror. Julie Christie is great as a woman who is held hostage and raped by an artificial intelligence in her wired home. Fritz Weaver as her estranged, scientist husband is also pretty good. The direction of Donald Cammell is a psychedelic and trippy mix of Nicolas Roeg and Stanley Kubrick. If you liked the David Cronenberg's re-make of The Fly, try this. One warning, this is not a new print and it looks a little tired. Let's hope a DVD version is on it's way. - Kevin Guyer for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 11:56:
  • Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) - Joseph Sargent [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Many snicker at the size of colossus, especially in comparison to the supercomputers of today; but in 1970 it was state of the art and more complex than any other system ever created. The movie is great. Colossus and his Soviet built friend Guardian quickly notice each other. Colossus then begins sharing mathmatical information with Guardian and the to develope an inter-system language (which is pretty much just random binary code... but that's okay) that the scientists that created the two computers cannot understand. Eventually, the two computers use threats of total human destruction to take over the world. My favorite scen is when an attempt to overload the Colossus system is attempted, and the computer orders the execution of the two men who planned it. The two are ordered to be shot and their bodies to remain in Colossus's view for 24 hours and then cremated. This film entered a new form of Cold War enemy into film; an enemy that is indestructable, all powerful, super intelligent, and that worst of all is completely emotionless. The announcement to the world made by the two combined systems (Colossus-Guardian) is particularly chilling. The movie is great, though somewhat outdated by our current technology; but the fact that the technology is outdated doesn't effect the mood of the film at all. In my opinion, the enormous size of Colossus makes it even more frightening (it's built in a hollowed out mountain). I recomend this film to any lover of Cold War Scifi or just of suspence and scifi in general. Definately deserving of a Widescreen DVD remaster (along with Soylent Green... but one can only ask for so much). anonymous for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 11:45:
  • Castaway (1987) - Nicolas Roeg [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    This film just about cured me of my annual February fantasies about escaping from our bleak winters. Those who consider this a standard male fantasy film about sharing a desert island with a beautiful young woman weren't paying much attention. It does start out that way, paunchy, fifty something man advertises specifically for a pretty woman in her 20s to share the adventure for one year which he intends to write a book about. It rapidly blows up in his face. That they realistically portray this decidedly unheroic man facing his personal realities as he fails again and again to provide food, shelter, and be a source of sexual attraction to his increasingly frustrated, bored and literally starving young woman is what makes this movie stand out from the usual Hollywood "manly-man impresses woman right into bed" feature film. And it is a true story. At the end of the year together they go their separate ways happy never to have to see each other again. Interestingly, I hear the woman wrote the book and was published within months of leaving the island. I don't know if the man ever did. a viewer, [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 11:34:
  • Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? (1983) - Henry Jaglom [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Nobody mixes sexy and crazy like Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces, Nashville). Black plays Zee, a paranoid New Yorker whose boyfriend has just left her. So when Eli (Michael Emil) picks her up at a cafe, she goes along with it--despite his unfortunate comb-over haircut--and the two engage in a mismatched romance. Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? can be thought of as writer-director Henry Jaglom's version of Annie Hall, with two neurotics trying to find mutual ground for love. Though the movie sometimes gets bogged down in its extensive dialogue, there are moments when both the bickering and the flirting feel remarkably genuine. Black is dynamic and makes her erratic behavior not only convincing but sympathetic. Jaglom delves into the human psyche, sometimes at the expense of story momentum, but you have to admire his willingness to let characters reveal themselves at length. --Bret Fetzer for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 11:28:
  • Brainstorm (1983) - Douglas Trumbull [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Brainstorm is a fascinating but frustrating film, simply because it dabbles in greatness but fails to develop the fullest implications of its provocative ideas. It's a visually dazzling film with outstanding special effects; directed by veteran effects creator Douglas Trumbull, of 2001 fame; but too caught up in marvels of hardware and software at the expense of its characters, who remain interesting but dramatically two-dimensional. The story involves the development of a headset recorder that can replay one person's experiences--even their emotional states--into the mind of another. The device obviously invites corporate or military exploitation, and Cliff Robertson plays a ruthless executive determined to tap into its lucrative potential. But when a scientist (Louise Fletcher) records her own death experience with the device, along with incriminating evidence, the technology's inventor (Christopher Walken) must unlock the mysteries of his colleague's suspicious demise and the very nature of death itself. Punctuated by remarkable sequences from the perspective of those who use the mind-expanding headset, Brainstorm dares to reach for ambitious themes and innovative movie experiences, and that alone makes it eminently worthwhile. But with a conclusion that too literally interprets the afterlife experience with conventional angelic imagery, and a disappointingly thin role for Natalie Wood (who died while the film was still in production), the film strives for profundity and settles instead for an inspirational light show. --Jeff Shannon for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 11:16:
  • Body Double (1984) - Brian De Palma [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Even Brian De Palma's staunchest defenders had to swallow hard with this gaudily gory bauble of a thriller that is built around a gruesome (yet surprisingly wittily staged) stalking and murder involving a female victim and a killer with a giant power drill. This is De Palma at his most sensational, in a story about a B-movie actor with career problems (Craig Wasson) and a habit as a voyeur. He witnesses the aforementioned murder, then teams up with a porn actress (Melanie Griffith) to try and find the killer. De Palma has a blast going inside the porn film industry, and even films a pseudo rock video with one-hit wonders Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Wasson is an unlikely leading man, bland and pasty, but he's perfect in the role of a decidedly imperfect hero. --Marshall Fine for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 11:03:
  • Faster Pussycat Kill Kill (1965) - Russ Meyer [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Atypical Russ Meyer movie that features none of his exploitive trademarks but actually concentrates on characterizations of his three stars---the incomparable Tura Satana, sultry Haji, and way-out California girl Lori Williams. Great b&w photography as the girls(go-go dancers in a sleazy club) head out in wild sports cars into the desert in search of thrills. Well, they get 'em when Satana kills a guy and they abduct his screaming idiot girlfriend. They hide out at a desert ranch headed by a VERY weird father/son clan. Satana believes there's a lot of moola on the property somewhere and she aims to find it one way or another. Acting is above-average for a Meyer piece and the film is consistently watchable throughout. No nudity(except for some tasteful bare-back shots as they bathe after the desert incident) and the women are not stupid but tired of being used. This is a first-rate bona-fide cult classic right here and deserves a pristine transfer to DVD. mark norvell for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 10:54:
  • Belle de jour (1967) - Luis Buñuel [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A young Paris housewife, Séverine, grows bored with her stable husband. When she learns of the presence of a high-class brothel in her neighborhood, she quietly goes to work there--but only during the day, until five o'clock in the afternoon. This sublime 1967 film is one of the latter-day masterpieces of the Spanish-born director Luis Buñuel, whose career forms one of the greatest and boldest arcs in cinema. By the time of Belle de jour, Buñuel had become almost completely deadpan in his style, which not only leaves the motivation of Séverine a mystery (despite a few flashbacks to degradations of her youth), but also casts the entire plot in doubt. An old surrealist from the 1920s (when his first classic, Un chien andalou, was made in collaboration with Salvador Dali), Buñuel suggests that what we see may be real, or simply Séverine's imagination. Because he was the least pretentious of directors, Buñuel keeps his material playful, wicked, yet cutting. As Séverine, the impossibly lovely Catherine Deneuve uses her cool demeanor to great effect--she never breaks her deadpan, either. In 1995, after having been out of official circulation for years, Belle de Jour was re-released in America and became an unexpected art-house hit. --Robert Horton for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 10:23:
  • Bedazzled (1967) - Stanley Donen [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    When the Devil (Peter Cook) offers suicidal short-order cook Stanley (Dudley Moore) seven wishes, Stanley easily surrenders his soul. All of his wishes are granted, to the letter. Unfortunately, as each wish comes to life, the Devil--cheeky sod!--manages to slip some unexpected problem into the mix, ruining everything in a deliciously funny way. Bedazzled was made long before 10 and Arthur made Dudley Moore an unlikely movie star. It's a much purer expression of the off-kilter British humor that Moore and his writing partner Cook pioneered, humor that would lead to Monty Python's Flying Circus and other absurdist goofballs. Moore is charming enough, but what really makes Bedazzled work is Cook, who combines upper-class arrogance with a cheerful, even casual lunacy. Though he played character roles in movies like The Princess Bride and Black Beauty, he was never able to parlay his sneaky sense of humor into starring roles. Bedazzled is his outstanding triumph. Not only does the movie offer some sly commentary on Christian morality, it has a cameo with Raquel Welch as the embodiment of Lust. A classic. --Bret Fetzer for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 10:23:
  • Bananas (1971) - Woody Allen [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Woody Allen's second film as a director was a wild, unpredictable, and unlikely comedy about a product-tester named Fielding Mellish (Allen), who can't quite connect with the woman of his dreams (Louise Lasser, Allen's ex-wife). He accidentally winds up in South America as a freedom fighter for a guerrilla leader who looks like Castro. Once he assumes power, the new dictator quickly goes insane--which leaves Fielding in charge to negotiate with the U.S. The film is chockfull of wonderfully bizarre gags, such as the dreams Fielding recounts to his shrink about dueling crucified messiahs, vying for a parking place near Wall Street. Look for an unknown Sylvester Stallone in a tiny role--but watch this film for Allen's surprisingly physical (and always verbally dexterous) humor. --Marshall Fine for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 10:15:
  • Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) - Jimmy T. Murakami[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Twenty-first-century science fiction fans accustomed to special-effects orgies like The Matrix may snigger at the quaint, Flash Gordon-like spaceships in Battle Beyond the Stars. But executive producer Roger Corman's belated entry into the '70s sci-fi craze surpasses expectations with sharp performances and a witty script by John Sayles (his third for Corman, including 1978's Piranha). The story, lifted wholesale from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954), finds the dictator Sador (John Saxon) threatening the planet of Akira. Its pacifist inhabitants are no match for Sador's devastating weapon, the Stellar Converter, but young Shad (Richard Thomas) decides to fight back. Borrowing the ship of notorious mercenary Zed the Corsair, he recruits a band of mercenaries, each of whom has a personal reason to join the fight. Among them are a lizard-like humanoid (Morgan Woodward), an improbable space cowboy (George Peppard), a zaftig female warrior (Sybil Danning), and brooding killer-for-hire Gelt (Robert Vaughn, reprising his Magnificent Seven role). Battle's final showdown is somewhat anticlimatic, but the surprisingly stellar cast (which includes Sam Jaffe and Darlanne Fluegel) and the indie spunk of Sayles' script, with its light meditations on death and honor, will charm newcomers and repeat audiences alike. New Concorde's digitally remastered DVD features commentary by Sayles and Terminator 2 producer Gale Anne Hurd, Battle's assistant production manager. Oh, and those spaceships? Designed by Titanic director James Cameron. Still laughing? --Paul Gaita for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 10:10:
  • The Celebration (1998) - Thomas Vinterberg [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Rising to the challenge of Dogma 95's self-imposed restrictions on aesthetic freedom, Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration is a remarkable example of the way limits can give rise to creative opportunity. (Dogma 95 is a Danish filmmakers collective that also includes Lars von Trier, director of Breaking the Waves. The group crafted a manifesto in which its members vow to eschew special lighting, optical effects, props, and the visible imprint of a director's personality in order to attain higher truths yielded by characters.) The Celebration, shot with a small video camera and transferred to 35mm film, concerns a black-tie birthday gathering for a family patriarch, Helge (Henning Moritzen), which erodes into a battle after long-suppressed secrets are revealed and the chance to settle old scores presents itself. Among the grievances are an accusation of incest and the responsibility for the death of a child--gruesome stuff, but Vinterberg doesn't characterize the partying crowd's reaction in quite the way one might have expected. In fact, the whole of The Celebration is about unexpected perspectives and vantage points emerging from out of nowhere, largely due to Vinterberg's free hand at editing the film in such a way as to yank truth from every corner. This is a strong work that belies skepticism over Dogma 95's bare-bones trendiness, and is perhaps a harbinger of great work to come from Vinterberg. --Tom Keogh for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 09:26:
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) - Terry Gilliam [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    The original cowriter and director of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was Alex Cox, whose earlier film Sid and Nancy suggests that Cox could have been a perfect match in filming Hunter S. Thompson's psychotropic masterpiece of "gonzo" journalism. Unfortunately Cox departed due to the usual "creative differences," and this ill-fated adaptation was thrust upon Terry Gilliam, whose formidable gifts as a visionary filmmaker were squandered on the seemingly unfilmable elements of Thompson's ether-fogged narrative. The result is a one-joke movie without the joke--an endless series of repetitive scenes involving rampant substance abuse and the hallucinogenic fallout of a road trip that's run crazily out of control. Johnny Depp plays Thompson's alter ego, "gonzo" journalist Raoul Duke, and Benicio Del Toro is his sidekick and so-called lawyer Dr. Gonzo. During the course of a trip to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, they ingest a veritable chemistry set of drugs, and Gilliam does his best to show us the hallucinatory state of their zonked-out minds. This allows for some dazzling imagery and the rampant humor of stumbling buffoons, and the mumbling performances of Depp and Del Toro wholeheartedly embrace the tripped-out, paranoid lunacy of Thompson's celebrated book. But over two hours of this insanity tends to grate on the nerves--like being the only sober guest at a party full of drunken idiots. So while Gilliam's film may achieve some modest cult status over the years, it's only because Fear and Loathing is best enjoyed by those who are just as stoned as the characters in the movie. The DVD offers the film in its full 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio. --Jeff Shannon for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 08:41:
  • Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) - Carl Gottlieb, John Landis [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Contrary to popular rumor, this 1987 collection of comedy skits is not about a group of female employees from on a mission to the lunar surface. It's a series of unrelated spoofs and sketches designed to resemble an aimless night of TV channel-surfing, and the satirical targets include grade-Z science fiction films of the 1950s, sex films of the 1930s, hospital soap operas, and Playboy video centerfolds. There's a charity drive in which legendary bluesman B.B. King pleas for donations to help "Blacks Without Soul," and Ed Begley Jr. thinks he's the son of the Invisible Man, which would be fine if he weren't as visible as everyone else. The various sketches feature an all-star cast including Rosanna Arquette, Griffin Dunne, Carrie Fisher, Michelle Pfeiffer, the late Phil Hartman in an early role, and many others. It's strictly hit-or-miss, and many of the sketches fall flat, especially since the subjects being spoofed (the title sketch is a send-up of the actual 1954 movie Cat Women on the Moon) are funny enough without being satirized. Even though Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide describes most of the sketches as "astonishingly unfunny," this can be a very amusing movie if you're in the mood for a no-brainer with a lot of familiar Hollywood faces. Now a modest little cult film, it's the kind of disposable entertainment that maintains its appeal almost in spite of itself. --Jeff Shannon for [...]
    2003, Jan 31; 08:41:
  • After Hours (1985) - Martin Scorsese[1 VHS, Amazon US]
    This well-regarded cult film is a tense Kafka-esque tale concerning what happens to a likable computer guy who is in the wrong place at the wrong time in the city that never sleeps--New York. This is a New York infested with bizarre characters vividly brought to life by a once-in-a-lifetime cast. Griffin Dunne's wonderfully controlled comic performance as Paul Hackett is the glue that holds this increasingly surreal film together. Scorsese utilizes a full array of independent and underground film techniques, including special film speed manipulations, angles, and edits, deftly capturing the strange rhythms of an after-hours New York City. Many will find the jokes clever, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. Some, however, will find the film an excruciating series of staged circumstances setting up a sadistically cruel dark nightmare of horrors. And there are a few lines of dialogue so poorly written they remind you how unbelievable the thin story really is. But forgive the film these few lapses--overall it's a wild, surreal ride. The most offbeat character is the beehive-sporting, Monkee-obsessed neurotic played to perfection by Teri Garr. And the moment when Griffin Dunne uses his last quarter to play Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is" and dances with Verna Bloom while an angry mob searches SoHo for him is an inspired bit of lunacy. --Christopher J. Jarmick for [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 22:09:
  • The Razor's Edge (1984) - John Byrum [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    In my opinion, this is the most beautiful movie ever made. The mixture of humor and drama truly make it relative to real life. To watch Larry, a man on a journey to discover, not only himself, but also the meaning of Life, is what makes this movie special. What is remarkable is that the tragedy that Larry must face at the end is what actually leads to his final understanding of what the gift of life really is. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who appreciates the beauty that can be found in life, even during dark times. [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 19:58:
  • God Told Me To (1976) - Larry Cohen [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Cheapo horror director Larry Cohen followed up his modest success with the monster-baby classic "It's Alive" with this weakly realized ultra-cult flick. The main attraction is, I suppose, Cohen's apparent attempt to co-opt and cash in on every single type of '70s exploitation trend he could think of: demon movies, anti-establishment political paranoia thrillers, blaxploitation, cop flicks and sci-fi, flying saucer conspiracies. If he could have afforded an actor who knew how to high-kick, it probably would have been a kung-fu action film as well. Trouble is, even though there are interesting elements to the script, the film is so appallingly low-budget, sketchily written and poorly acted that it's difficult, in all honesty, to recommend it to any but the most devoted fans of trash culture. The strident antireligiousness and misogyny are both remarkable, particularly Cohen's graphic inserts of female genitalia that are as grotesque as they are gratuitous: no wonder you never heard of this film. There are a couple of choice cameos, though, particularly from actors who play various blank-brained murderers. Most significant celebrity sighting: Andy Kaufman as a robotic, hypnotized killer cop, and Sylvia Sidney as a traumatized retiree. Sleazy, semi-middle/lowbrow and resolutely trashy. - Joe Sixpack for [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 19:02:
  • Lies (1999) - Sun-Woo Jang [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Jang Sun Woo's highly controversial film chronicles the bizarre sexual relations of a 38 year-old man, J, and an 18 year-old student, Y, who is intent on losing her virginity before graduation. After the initial encounter, they embark on a sexual odyssey toward the realms of obsession and sadomasochism. No common love affair, theirs tests the limits of both body and mind. Intense desires drive them into a relationship that revolves around pain, pleasure and unavoidable lies. As J's sexual needs take on addictive dimensions, Y begins to draw back. Insecurities, doubts and indiscretions begin to weigh on a love that once knew no limits... - From the Back Cover [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 19:02:
  • The Beast (La bête) (1975) - Walerian Borowczyk [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Born in Poland Walerian Borowczyk is both known as a painter and a movie director. His first introduction to film was creating posters for Paris cinemas in the late 1950s, since then he has ,made over a dozen films, and has placed himself in a class by himself. Once a respected producer of fine art, he quickly became renown in the low brow community after releasing this film. This DVD has been a highly sought after film in the Borowczyk catalogue, and is considered by some to be "...the most controversial film of the decade". An insane adult reworking of 'The Beauty and the Beast' tale. Forbidden for over 25 years, its is only now finally available uncut in North America. This erotic fable was originally to be part of the Immoral Tales (1974) [Anchorbay Entertainment] anthology, yet was put aside due to it's controversial subject matter then later transformed into this film. Any arthouse crowd respect was probably lost within the first ten minutes of the film. The opening close-up of a horse's throbbing vagina gave me a bit of a shock, and I soon realized that I was in for a very interesting ride. The financially unstable son, Mathurin (Pierre Benedtti), and very rich, and horny Lucy Broadhurst (Lisbeth Hummel) are soon to be arranged in marriage at the failing Mathurin estate. The home is full of history relating to the families most famous ancestor, Romilda. Lucy immediately becomes fascinated with Romilda, and stumbles upon her diary. The tale is told of the day she was brutally attacked in the woods by a comical man / beast creature with a extra large penis. This scene is both shockingly powerful and hilariously funny all at once. Combining black humour, with graphic sexuality. "...And this beast, possessed of a giant phallus and an insatiable lust, set upon the beautiful young lady of the house. Two centuries later, the tale of the beast would return in the dreams of an American heiress contracted to carry the male descendant of the same crumbling artistocratic family and their secret..." Borowczyk's erotic masterpiece forbidden for many years is now available uncensored on DVD for the first time from Cult Epics. My mouth was left a gasp from beginning to end with this outrageous film, even without any extras it is well worth the purchase. Tony Crosgrey for [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 18:51:
  • Sisters (1973) - Brian De Palma [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Sisters is not Brian De Palma's first film, but in many ways it is the first Brian De Palma film, or at least the first to reveal (and revel in) his affinity with Hitchcock. A pre-Superman Margot Kidder struggles with a French-Canadian accent as an aspiring actress whose one-night stand leads to a homicidal morning-after. Jennifer Salt is a reporter with more moxie than tact or skill who sees the killing from her apartment window across the way. When the police fail to turn up any evidence of the crime, Salt investigates with a private eye (the hilariously relentless Charles Durning), uncovering the secret story of a pair of Siamese twins and a weaselly, stalker doctor. It's a mystery simmering in a stew of voyeurism, guilt, sex, and obsession. De Palma borrows from Rear Window, Psycho, and Vertigo (as well as Roman Polanski's Repulsion), and composer Bernard Herrmann quotes from his own Hitchcock scores (notably Psycho) for the unsettling music, but the result is more original than you might imagine. Laced with dark humor, inventive technique, and impressive technical precision (the split-screen sequences are breathtakingly effective), De Palma flexes his cinematic muscles with thrilling results, right down to the mordantly wry conclusion. De Palma graduated to big-budget thrillers, but this modest little production remains one of his sharpest, slyest, most engrossing films. Long available only in pallid video transfers, the Home Vision/Criterion letterboxed restoration is bright, clear, and beautiful. --Sean Axmaker [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 18:33:
  • Going Places (1974) Bertrand Blier [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Jean-Claude (Gerard Depardieu, in the role that made him an overnight star) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere) are two crude drifters who travel the French countryside in pursuit of petty crimes and wanton sex. But when their abduction of a frigid young beautician (Miou-Miou) becomes an exercise in frustration, they find sordid solace in a sex-starved ex-convict (the legendary Jeanne Moreau). Can two loveable but amoral brutes survive an increasingly strange spree of love, pain, responsibility, car theft and nymphomania? Isabelle Huppert co-stars in this groundbreaking and controversial comedy from writer/director Bertand Blier that shocked and delighted audiences worldwide. Also known as Les Valseuses (The Testicles), Going Places has now been restored from original French negative materials. - From the Back Cover [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 13:31:
  • Clube Da Esquina - Milton Nascimento [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser 2. Cais 3. O Trem Azul 4. Saidas E Bandeiras No. 1 5. Nuvem Cigana 6. Cravo E Canela 7. Dos Cruces 8. Um Girassol Da Cor De Seu Cabelo 9. San Vicente 10. Estrelas 11. Clube Da Esquina No. 2 12. Paisagem Da Janela 13. Me Deixa Em Paz 14. Os Povos 15. Saidas E Bandeiras No. 2 16. Um Gosto De Sol 17. Pelo Amor De Deus 18. Lilia 19. Trem De Doido 20. Nada Sera Como Antes 21. Ao Que Vai Nascer
    Milton Nascimento/Lo Borges "Clube do Esquina" (EMI Odeon, 1972) Nascimento's masterpiece. A 2-LP set covering a very wide range of styles, from folky space rock and tropicalia, to hints of jazz fusion. Includes some of his loveliest melodies and most memorable tunes, as well as trippy tracks which push the envelope a bit. Issued here as a single disc CD -- highly recommended. [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 11:32:
  • It's Alive! (1974) Larry Cohen [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    " It's Alive " is a part of a horror series directed by Larry Cohen, the sequels are " It Lives Again " and " It's Alive III : Island Of The Alive. " But before we get to those sequels, let's talk about this cult classic, of baby-time carnage!!
    I absolutely love this movie and its sequels, I once watched, I believe all three films on Monstervision, hosted by Joe Bob Briggs. It was ofcourse during the nightly hours. I was just captured and must say these flicks are certainly some of the great mid-night horror marathon movies. I don't give a damn how long ago they came out, these are cheese-ball, absolutely hilarious classics! The humour is, intentional or not, abundantly apart of the fun. This first one picks up with a normal man and his wife who have a baby, who turns out to be a monster baby. The man is John P. Ryan, and his wife, Sharon Farrell, two marvelous actors in this movie. The supporting cast is there too. The Rick Baker babies may look cheesy, but its all apart of the fun. Some of the funnest moments come when the baby is running amock, attacking, milk men, and all sorts of prey. Also the score, by Bernard Herrmann (Psycho) is perfect, absolutely perfect. His last score by the way before his death was " It Lives Again, " the remarkable sequel, which is even better, and keep a look out for the third picture too, not as good as 1 & 2, but still just a great fun time. Jesse Watts for [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 11:18:
  • Q (1982) - Larry Cohen [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Q is a Larry Cohen movie, so b-movie fans know what to expect - a kinetic, almost documentary visual style, characters that are witty and behave like human beings, James Dixon (Cohen's Dick Miller), and little surprises to keep the movie from becoming predictable. The basic plot has a rash of ritualistic murders linked to disappearances from rooftops in mid-town Manhattan (starting with the beheading of an Empire State Building window washer) leading to the discovery of a monster sized winged serpent. Jimmy Quinn, a struggling former junkie/hood played beautifully by Michael Moriarty (Law & Order), stumbles across the creature's nest in the Chrysler Building (NOT the Empire State Building as some think). After putting the creature to good use, Jimmy attempts to make a deal. Police Officers David Carradine and Richard Roundtree are not amused. For a bare bones disc (Q is presented in a widescreen 1:85:1 aspect ratio and that's it, no trailer, no commentary, nothing) this release is rather steep, but b-movie lovers will want it in their collection. Recommended. Chadwick H. Saxelid for [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 01:43:
  • Up in Smoke (1978) - Lou Adler, Tommy Chong[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Cheech & Chong's first cannabis comedy is also their best, a souvenir from the more carefree days before "Just Say No," when people did not feel so defensive about inhaling. In 1978, the prevailing spirit was more like "Just Say Blow." Even New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael liked it (the movie, that is), adding that it was "an exploitation slapstick comedy, rather than a family picture, such as Blazing Saddles or High Anxiety--which means that it's dirtier, wilder, and sillier." The story has to do with bumbling potheads Cheech & Chong searching for primo bud, while being tailed by a team of inept law-enforcement officers, led by Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach). Sample dialogue: When a cop pulls them over to ask if they are any illegal substances in his vehicle, Cheech replies: "Not any more, man." Up in Smoke is an irresistibly silly and charming movie that--despite, or perhaps because of, the national furor over drug use--plays today like a relic from a bygone era, a sweeter, more open, more innocent period in our history. --Jim Emerson for [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 01:43:
  • Fast Food Fast Women (2000) - Amos Kollek [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Louise Lasser and Robert Modicka put their hearts into the story of a 60-ish couple trying to make a go of it, regardless of his friends' ridicule and her low self-esteem. Their honest acting nearly gives this failed attempt at a Woody Allen-style episode of Friends needed humanity. The problem? Lasser and Modicka are not the lead actors in this film, whose tritely punning title is about the extent of writer-director Amos Kollek's wit. Anna Thomson is the ostensible heroine in this story about the denizens of a New York City diner and their romantic travails. The 35-year-old waitress, unlucky in life and love, seems such a candidate for long-term therapy that her unconventional outlook isn't so much profoundly sympathetic as simply pathetic. Kollek also stretches credulity by allowing a sex-show performer to melt at the badgering appearances of one of her "clients," the creepiest of the whole lot. --Kevin Filipski for [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 00:56:
  • sex, lies, and videotape (1989) - Steven Soderbergh[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Winner of the Palm d'Or and Best Actor awards at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, sex, lies, and videotape transformed the independent film industry and turned writer-director Steven Soderbergh into the envy of aspiring filmmakers everywhere. Sly, seductive, and coolly intelligent, the movie explores the sexual shenanigans and personal preoccupations of its four central characters, revolving around a selfish lawyer (Peter Gallagher) who responds to his wife by having an affair with her free-spirited sister (Laura San Giacomo). But when the lawyer's college roommate (James Spader) arrives for an unexpectedly extended visit, the neglected wife (Andie MacDowell) is surprisingly responsive to his seductive hobby of videotaping women as they describe their sexual fantasies. It's his way of compensating for impotence, but the curious wife considers this a sexual challenge, and Soderbergh turns sex, lies, and videotape into a fascinating chamber piece that puts a decidedly different spin on the consequences of infidelity. Balanced on a risky and finely tuned performance by Spader, the film delivers frisky passion and emotional intrigue, and yet much of its allure is found in the exchange of secrets and the hidden mysteries of sexual desire. --Jeff Shannon for amazon;com [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 00:45:
  • Communion (1989) - Philippe Mora [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Was author Whitley Strieber telling the truth about extraterrestrial visitations in his bestselling book, Communion? Perhaps no one can really prove or disprove it, making the enigma of Strieber himself more interesting than his allegations. That's precisely the angle taken by this film adaptation, in which Christopher Walken's richly eccentric performance becomes a fascinating portrait of something more important than rumors of alien abduction--that is, human resistance and surrender to transformation. The script does an end run around the deductive process and research Strieber employed in his book to substantiate his claims. Instead, the story concentrates on the impact of those experiences on Strieber's own psyche: the disbelief, the repressed memories, the mounting helplessness and futility as the years go by.
    Walken makes it all terribly compelling, from his childlike compliance to the diminutive aliens who turn up in his home at night to an unexpected story climax in which Strieber demystifies the little buggers on his own surprisingly comic terms. The supporting cast is terrific, including Lindsay Crouse as Strieber's concerned wife, Frances Sternhagen as a doctor, and Joel Carlson as Strieber's son. This is not an offering that panders to today's alleged abductees, but rather a study of a sole survivor who finds his peace on his own terms. --Tom Keogh [...]
    2003, Jan 30; 00:21:
  • After Life (1998) - Hirokazu Koreeda [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This unpretentious, endearing film is a modest triumph. Based on interviews with more than 500 people about the one memory they would choose to take with them to heaven, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda has modeled a unique blend of documentary and fiction that addresses the vagaries of memory but also what it means to make films. After Life transpires in a sort of way station where the dead must select one memory to be re-created on film and taken on with them forever, relinquishing everything else. Over the span of a week, a dedicated group of caseworkers tease out self-deceptions as well as real epiphanies from 22 different lives. An old woman remembers reuniting with her husband on a crowded bridge after World War II; a man recollects the breeze felt on a tram ride the day before summer vacation; a successful man faces his own treachery. Remembering becomes a courageous act in the casual exposition of this lovely film. --Fionn Meade for [...]
    2003, Jan 29; 16:04:
  • One Down - Material (1982) [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Track Listing 1. Take A Chance 2. I'm The One 3. Time Out 4. Let Me Have It All 5. Come Down 6. Holding On 7. Memories 8. Don't Lose Control 9. Busting Out This is Laswell and Beinhorn's foray into funky-pop, and synth dance moves. 'Course Material has been much more experimental in its day...taking it's cue form the 80's East Coast avant-punk, intellectual electronica and performance art as culture era. Look up Laurie Anderson, Phillip Glass, Blondie and David Byrne w/ Talking Heads, Art of Noise, etc, etc, etc..... [...]
    2003, Jan 29; 15:34:
  • Zombie - Fela Anikulapo-Kuti & The Egypt 80 Band [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Zombie 2. Mister Follow Follow 3. Observation Is No Crime 4. Mistake (Live At The Berlin Jazz Festival 1978)
    The theme shared by the four tracks on this re-release/compilation is: refusal to ignore contemporary reality and refusal to repress one's commentary. "Zombie" (1976) may still be the best-known and best-loved Fela track, with its jagged yet hypnotic instrumental structure and insouciant humor. Here it sounds better than ever before. Its original b-side, "Mr. Follow Follow", is not nearly as iconic, but its subtler charms include a senuous soprano saxophone line that is among Fela's most distinctive melodic statements. "Observation is No Crime" is an outtake from 1977 or '78 (mislabeled in the liner notes as a live track) which represents Fela's love of jazz arrangements with a big-band approach to the horn charts. The track's lack of momentum probably contributed to its relegation to obscurity. The final track here actually is a live one, from a 1978 Berlin jazz festival which in retrospect mirrors Dylan's riotous 1965-66 appearances, with a roar of disapproval greeting Fela's every instrumental move (he plays keyboards more hamfistedly than usual in response); the Africa 70, who would soon leave the bandleader en masse for reasons of pay and exhaustion after years of government harassment, solo inspiredly and play at peak energy, capping an amazing era in music and a fine collection. [...]
    2003, Jan 29; 14:33:
  • The Producers (1968) - Mel Brooks [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Mel Brooks's directorial debut remains both a career high point and a classic show business farce. Hinging on a crafty plot premise, which in turn unleashes a joyously insane onstage spoof, The Producers is powered by a clutch of over-the-top performances, capped by the odd couple pairing of the late Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, making his screen debut.
    Truly startling during its original 1968 release, The Producers does show signs of age in some peripheral scenes that make merry at the expense of gays and women. But the show's nifty cast (notably including the late Dick Shawn as LSD, the space cadet that snags the musical's title role, and Kenneth Mars as the helmeted playwright) clicks throughout, and the sight of Mostel fleecing his marks is irresistibly funny. Add Wilder's literally hysterical Bloom, and it's easy to understand the film's exalted status among late-'60s comedies. --Sam Sutherland for [...]
    2003, Jan 29; 12:54:
  • Danny Tenaglia - Choice, a Collection of Classics [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Cat Stevens - Was Dog A Doughnut 2. Imagination - Changes 3. Kris Coleman - Shine 4. Jus Friends - As One 5. Trilogy - Love Me Forever Or Love Me Not 6. Fierce Ruling Diva - You Gotta Believe 7. Vicky Martin - Not Gonna Do It 8. Mr. Lee - I Can't Forget 9. Nomad - I Wanna Give You Devotion 10. Christian Falk - Make It Right 11. Blaze Project - Elevation 12. Two Tons O' Fun - Just Us CD 2 1. Cloud One - Atmosphere 2. Mission Control - Outta Limits 3. Tony Cook - On The Floor 4. Hugh Masekela - Don't Go Lose It Baby 5. Sylvia Stryplin - Give Me Your Love 6. Adeva - Independent Woman 7. Loni Clark - Rushin' 8. Frankie Knuckles - The Whistle Song 9. Alicia Meyers - I Wanna Thank You 10. Uno Mas - Por Favor 11. Jomanda - Make My Body Rock
    2003, Jan 29; 12:38:
  • There's a Riot Goin' On - Sly & The Family Stone [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Tracklisting: 1. Luv N' Haight 2. Just Like a Baby 3. Poet 4. Family Affair 5. Africa Talks to You "The Asphalt Jungle" 6. Brave and Strong 7. (You Caught Me) Smilin' 8. Time 9. Spaced Cowboy 10. Runnin' Away 11. Thank You for Talkin' to Me Africa
    Certain albums both define a specific point in time and yet manage to be timeless. Such an album is There's A Riot Going On. After a few records of sexy, sunny, but never cavalier funk/pop, the twisted genius of Sly Stone turned dark, moody, reflective, angry, but no less funky for the contemplation. Stone created an album that spoke not only to the turmoil gripping America in 1971, but also to the chaos whirling around his increasingly druggy personal life. This is an album of dangerous beauty, where even the hit ("Family Affair") is guarded and haunting. --Amy Linden [...]
    2003, Jan 29; 10:45:
  • It's Your World [LIVE] - Gil Scott-Heron [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Tracklisting: 1. It's Your World 2. Possum Slim 3. New York City 4. 17th Street 5. Trane 6. Must Be Something 7. Home Is Where the Hatred Is 8. Bicentennial Blues 9. Bottle 10. Sharing
    There were two Gil Scott Heron treasures missing from my collection of CD's. "It's Your World" and "Bridges." Now if TVT can release "Bridges", my collection would be complete. I was lucky enough to have found "Reflections" and "Moving Target" when I visited London six years ago. "It's Your World " is a great combination of live and studio recordings that are a pure delite to listen too. No one writes lyrics like Gil Scott Heron. "New York City" and "Possem Slim" are polished jewels. I have heard about 6 different live versions of "The Bottle," but this one is my favorite. If your body has any rhythm in it, the percussions in this song will find it. I hope that we hear new recordings from Gil in the near future. The music industry needs high quality artists like him. This brother helped to shape my appreciation for artist like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. I discovered Jazz through Gil Scott Heron - and for that, I am truly grateful. It is great to hear this music again. Please release "Bridges" next!!!!!! - astandavis for [...]
    2003, Jan 29; 10:38:
  • Astral Weeks - Van Morrison [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Tracklisting: 1. Astral Weeks 2. Beside You 3. Sweet Thing 4. Cyprus Avenue 5. Way Young Lovers Do 6. Madame George 7. Ballerina 8. Slim Slow Slider
    Never mind that Van Morrison is one of the most indelible songwriters of the 20th century--take each album on its own terms. On 1968's seminal Astral Weeks, a twentysomething Van Morrison can be found belting his gospelly, bluesy vocals in just as fine a form as he would be 20 years hence. In the sociopolitical context of the times, the album cried out about such ubiquitous '60s themes as cultural oppression and social upheaval. But it is Morrison's vocal dexterity and passion that maintains such timeless appeal. Take tracks like "Madame George" or "Cyprus Avenue" and you'll find such beautiful mourning, it'll be clear why modern songwriter Sinéad O'Connor once publicly exclaimed: "Van Morrison should be friggin' canonized." --Nick Heil for [...]
    2003, Jan 28; 21:48:
  • Greetings From L.A. [IMPORT] - Tim Buckley [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Move with Me 2. Get on Top 3. Sweet Surrender 4. Nighthawkin' 5. Devil Eyes 6. Hong Kong Bar 7. Make It Right This is tremendous album. Buckley's voice was something else: he had a truly astonishing range, great control and timbre, and the ability to be both powerful and delicate. He was also a fine artist, who used his amazing voice more like a musical instrument. But just one note of correction: this album was NOT recorded live. It is a STUDIO album. Apart from the fact that there is no crowd noise whatsoever (even in between the tracks), the CD itself clearly states: "Recorded at Far Out Studios, Hollywood, CA"! For me, the two standout tracks are Sweet Surrender and Hong Kong Bar. The former is a simply amazing vocal performance. The latter is an acoustic number that is more reserved, but is quite emotional and touching. Move With Me, Get On Top and Devil Eyes and are all good. The weakest tracks are Nighthawkin' and Make It Right, but only because they seem almost ordinary compared to the others. Alistair Langford-Wilson for [...]
    2003, Jan 28; 21:17:
  • Decorative Arts 1930s & 1940s - Charlotte Fiell, Peter Fiell [1 book, Amazon US]
    TASCHEN's Decorative Art series spans the 20th century through the 1970s and carefully reproduces the best of Studio Magazine's Decorative Art yearbooks. Published annually from 1906 until 1980, the yearbook was dedicated to the latest currents in architecture, interiors, furniture, lighting, glassware, textiles, metalware, and ceramics, and remained on the cutting edge throughout its nearly eight-decade run. Since going out of print, the now hard-to-find yearbooks have been highly prized by collectors and dealers. Preserving the yearbooks' original page layouts, TASCHEN's Decorative Art books bring you an authentic experience of each decade's design trends and styles. The now complete [20s, 30s and 40s,50s, 60s, 70s, 80s] six-volume set is an essential addition to the comprehensive design library and the devoted collector will want them all.
    Decorative Art 1930s ~ 1940s - Decorative art in the 1930s and 40s experienced a great shift from the opulent Art Deco style to pared-down, pragmatic Modernism championed most notably by Le Corbusier and Richard Neutra. Modernism's economy and simplicity became more accepted as a rational response to a time of great economic hardship. From the end of the 1930s through the postwar period, cool Modernism was gradually replaced by the warmer and more human characteristics in, for example, the design work of Charles Eames and Alvar Aalto. natalierinkenbach for [...]
    2003, Jan 28; 21:02:
  • Play Misty for Me (1971) - Clint Eastwood [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Clint Eastwood (making his very assured directorial debut) is a poetry-spouting stud-muffin DJ stalked by a maniacally amorous fan after a misguided one-night stand in this enjoyably schlocky, undeniably effective film about good intentions gone murderously wacky. Although many of the very '70s trappings presented here may ultimately be too dated to be taken seriously (including a very self-indulgent jazz number and a hilariously gooey seduction number between Eastwood and Donna Mills), the core premise of infatuation taken out of bounds remains uncomfortably plausible--and was influential enough to be appropriated by one of the biggest hits of the '80s. (Here's a hint--it starred Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and a very unfortunate bunny rabbit). A well-staged and occasionally very frightening thriller worth watching for Jessica Walter's peerlessly unhinged performance alone. Frequent Eastwood collaborator Don Siegel (director of Dirty Harry, Coogan's Bluff, and The Beguiled, to name but a few) has a nice cameo as Murphy, the mustachioed, chess-playing bartender. --Andrew Wright for [...]
    2003, Jan 28; 20:48:
  • The RE/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids - Paul Spinrad [1 book, Amazon US]
    For popular culture mavens, there is really no substitute for the RE/Search series of guides and homages to various strange and wonderful components of the contemporary scene. In this volume, the subject is bodily fluids; fortunately (?) fluidity is not necessarily the same as liquidity here, as such chapter headings as "Feces," "Flatus," "Vomit," etc., attest. Lest the faint-of-stomach find these terms repellent, it must be noted that Spinrad's treatment of these subjects is detached and tasteful, so far as that is possible. Like previous RE/Search volumes (Incredibly Strange Music and Incredibly Strange Films, for instance), the book is both entertaining and informative. There is really no other place to find information on excreta in medicine and a biography of Thomas Crapper under the same cover with data from surveys of various personal excretory habits and a brief life of Joseph Pujol, the "Fartiste." The appended publications list and survey methodology and questionnaire comprise the icing on this, uh, cake. -Mike Tribby [...]
    2003, Jan 28; 20:40:
  • Wallace & Gromit - A Grand Day Out (1992) - Nick Park [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Nominated for an Academy Award in 1990, the first short-film adventure of Wallace & Gromit was this 24-minute comedy, created by clay animator Nick Park over a six-year period at the National Film & Television School in London, and at the Aardman Animation studios that Park boosted to international acclaim. In their debut adventure, Wallace and his furry pal Gromit find themselves desperate for "a nice bit of Gorgonzola," but their refrigerator's empty and the local cheese shop is closed for a holiday! Undeterred, Wallace comes up with an extreme solution to the cheese shortage: since the moon is made of cheese (we all know that's true, right?), he decides to build a rocket ship and blast off for a cheesy lunar picnic! Gromit's only too happy to help, and before long the inventive duo is on the moon, where they encounter a clever appliance that's part oven, part robot, part lunar skiing enthusiast ... well, you just have to see the movie to understand how any of this whimsical lunar-cy can make any sense! It's a grand tale of wonderful discoveries, fantastic inventions--and really great cheese! --Jeff Shannon [...]
    2003, Jan 28; 13:30:
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) - Tim Burton [1CD, Amazon US]
    Former animator Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Batman, Mars Attacks!) made his feature directorial debut with this delightful comedy, coscripted by the late Phil Hartman (who also appears briefly as a reporter). Wisely, they keep the story simple so as to concentrate on the characters: Pee-wee's most prized possession, his shiny new bicycle, is stolen, and he sets off on an obsessive cross-country journey, determined to recover it. Pee-wee's awkward and childish attempts to be cool and mature ("I meant to do that!!") are hysterical, as when he tells his girlfriend (Elizabeth Daly): "There's things about me you don't know, Dottie. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand.... I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel." Look for Saturday Night Live vet Jan Hooks in a hilarious bit as a tour guide at the Alamo. And beware of Large Marge! --Jim Emerson -- for [...]
    2003, Jan 27; 14:39:
  • Expansions - Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes [1CD, Amazon US]
    This particular album really brought Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes to the forefront of the "commercial " jazz scene in 1975. The infectious bass line and percussion interplay with the bongo and triangle still gets folks to groovin' here in [today]. Lonnie's brother Donald does his smooth vocals, Cecil McBee on bass, Lawrence Killian and Leopoldo on percussion along with Michael Carvin, Freddy Hubbard's brother David on reeds, and Art Gore's driving drumbeats, made Expansions a Jazz -fusion classic. [...], [...]
    2003, Jan 27; 13:41:
  • Piranha (1978) - Joe Dante [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Roger Corman produced this shameless Jaws rip-off at the height of the "nature gone wild" boom of American cinema and struck B-movie gold. Scripted by John Sayles and directed by Joe Dante, this tongue-in-cheek thriller stars Bradford Dillman (doing his best Rip Torn impression) as an antisocial mountain man and Heather Menzies as a rookie detective who race a school of mutant piranha downriver. Dante and Sayles provide the requisite blood and gore for this drive-in meat market: a kids' summer camp and a waterfront amusement park await the little beasties. Along the way, riverside retiree Keenan Wynn gets his ankles stripped clean, camp counselor Paul Bartel is chomped on the cheek by a hungry little bugger who takes to the air, and hordes of unlucky bathers are caught in the center of a feeding frenzy. What differentiates this little gem from the legion of similar knockoffs are the satirical swipes at military arrogance and crass commercialism, Dante's energetic enthusiasm, and the bursts of black humor: "Lost River Lake: Terror, horror, death. Film at 11." The culty cast also includes Invasion of the Body Snatchers's Kevin McCarthy as the hysterical scientist guarding the creatures, horror diva Barbara Steele as a devious government researcher, and longtime Corman regular Dick Miller as an unscrupulous entrepreneur ("Sir, the piranha are eating the guests"). The DVD features good-humored commentary by director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davison, who also narrate the 10 minutes of good-quality home-movie footage shot by Davison. There are also six minutes of outtakes. --Sean Axmaker [...]
    2003, Jan 27; 13:21:
  • Disco - Albert Goldman [1 book, Amazon US]
    A brilliant view of all that disco represented in the 70s - the explosion of sound, light, rhythm, drugs, clubs, celebrities and lifestyles of an era. For Goldman, discomania was just another outburst of what he called 'the buried life' - the underground tradition of primitive tribal religious rites, the Greek dionysiac cults and bacchanals. He therefore considered disco as a manifestation of the dancing sickness or the ever-renewing quest for ecstacy and transcendence. The difference with the rock experience was that the dancers themselves became the stars, instead of the performers up on stage. Goldman describes the scene from the perspective of a psychologist, sociologist, musicologist, anthropologist and participant, and it is this last view which makes this book such and excellent and highly readable document of an era. He talks about the personalities, the clubs, the producers and the music in an intelligent but engaging, almost chatty style. Disco genres and musicians like Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Cerrone, Alec Castandinos, Kraftwerk, Meco and others, and the Saturday Night Fever phenomenon. The black & white photographs enhance the enjoyment of reading, and the middle section holds stunning colour pics of disco fever in action, celebrities and musicians like Grace Jones. I think Goldman has succeeded well in preserving a lively and cinematic record of a happy era. It's also interesting to discover the roots of the techno-rave movement in these pages. Of course, the abundant varieties of today's House music have not only their roots, but their spirit as well, in good old disco. a reader for [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 23:56:
  • Expensive Shit/He Miss Road - Fela Anikulapo-Kuti & The Egypt 80 Band [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1975's Expensive Shit is paired on this new MCA reissue with He Miss Road, another Kuti release from that same year. The album's centerpiece, lead-off and title track was undoubtedly one of the most influential tracks to the Afro-beat movement, and to artists like the Talking Heads, who experimented with similar tribal rhythms on Fear of Music and their landmark album, 1980's Remain in Light. Its complex, bongo- centric percussion is tempered with funk guitar, discordant piano, and brass eruptions. And when, six minutes into the semi-improvisational, instrumental jam, Kuti awakens with a yowl and begins his political rant, he changes music forever. - Paul Cooper [...], [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 23:04:
  • Death Race 2000 (1975) - Paul Bartel [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Oh great American multitude and sports fans everywhere have I got a movie for you: Paul Bartel's 1975 cheap-o satire Death Race 2000. The national and celebrated sport in the year 2000 is the transcontinental death race where racers compete not only for speed, but for points too. For every pedestrian hit, points are earned, depending on age of course. And of course it's nothing like the year 2000 but it makes for a great flick. Frankenstein, Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, Calamity Jane, Matilda the Hun, and Nero the Hero are the five racers vying for points and place. Stallone is a standout as the villain. Hilarious stuff takes place throughout the race, from euthanasia day at the geriatric hospital to the "French" air attacks. The best lines have got to be: "Is that a grenade?" "No, a hand grenade." This Roger Corman production has become a cult favorite, rightfully so, and one of the best films of the seventies. Backlash007 for [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 22:45:
  • Eating Raoul (1982) - Paul Bartel [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    This is one of those movies that is enjoyable no matter how many times you watch it. Eating Raoul is Paul Bartel's second greatest film. Loaded with humor and fast paced it should not be missed by anyone. Paul Bartel's Best movie is 1972s Private Parts but this one is a very close second. I am also a Star Trek fan and are always on the lookout for early roles of Star Trek players, this one offers Robert Beltran (Chakotay of Star Trek Voyager) in the title role as Raoul and he played the part well. - Marc Black [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 22:19:
  • Life and Nothing But (1989)- Bertrand Tavernier [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Philippe Noiret turns in an unforgettable performance as a French Army Officer given the thankless task of not only uncoverning the identity of all the dead of the post World War One battlefields but also the shell-shocked who reveal not their names but only speak in phrases or silly songs. On top of all of that the powers that be come up with the idea of honoring an 'Unknown Solider' and ask our hero to provide one - an order that flies in the face of his assignment to return France's fallen sons to their loved ones. Also into Noiret's lap fall two women, one a humble teacher, the other a society lynchpin, who it becomes clear are searching for the same man. Noriet is no more impressed by the money or connections of the one than he is by the brass of the General Staff, but as a lonely man he finds himself increasingly drawn to her, but will his shy professionalism allow him to make a move? Wry humor and touching performances make this an important film that expresses the most depressing fact of all: Noriet cares more for the dead he must identify than their commanders cared about them when they were alive. - john lease for [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 19:38:
  • Ruthless People (1986) - David Zucker, Jerry Zucker[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A milestone comedy of the 1980s, Ruthless People delighted critics and audiences alike and set the tone of Hollywood comedies for years to come. Along with that other popular farce about wealthy Californians, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, this ingenious romp revived Bette Midler's career and launched Disney (by way of its subsidiary, Touchstone Pictures) into the lucrative production of R-rated comedies; it also ensured the star power of then-TV star Danny DeVito. Dale Launer became Hollywood's hot screenwriter du jour by cleverly reworking O. Henry's Ransom of Red Chief into a wicked tale of marital malice heightened by a bungled kidnapping. Midler is sublime as the victim of low-rent abductors ("I've been kidnapped by Kmart!"), and DeVito's the gleeful philanderer who refuses to pay ransom for his wife's unwanted return. With Anita Morris, Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater, and Bill Pullman among the plot-twisting schemers, the movie's so much fun that an eventual remake seems almost inevitable. --Jeff Shannon for [the kidnapped wife has a Memphis Group interior [...] [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 19:10:
  • Something Wild (1986) Jonathan Demme [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Jonathan Demme's sexy 1986 road comedy, a story about the liberation of a stuffed-shirt businessman (Jeff Daniels) by a free-spirited punkette (Melanie Griffith), looks better and better as the years go by. By dressing Griffith in a bowl-cut black wig and giving her character the resonant nickname Lulu, Demme establishes a clear link with G.W. Pabst's 1928 Louise Brooks melodrama Pandora's Box--except that in this case the influence of a sexual free spirit is not seen as malign or corrupting. The turning point comes when the girl's hard-edged manner is discarded along with the wig and the nickname: Lulu turns into Audrey, a touchingly vulnerable, fluffy blonde. Ray Liotta, making his first big splash as Audrey's ex-con ex-husband, a hot-wired collection of homicidal tics, personifies the menacing aspects of the "wild side" of life. The intensity of the final showdown between Daniels and Liotta startles some viewers, but it provides a needed catharsis. The film's glorious soundtrack album featuring David Byrne's peppy title track became a hit in its own right, and is still readily available. --David Chute for [...].
    2003, Jan 26; 18:48:
  • La Grande Bouffe (1973) - Marco Ferreri[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Marco Ferreri's greatest international success, "La Grande Bouffe" scandalized audiences when it was released in 1973. Audiences were shocked by its tale of four world-weary middle-aged men (superbly portrayed by Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Piccoli and Philippe Noiret) who decide to gorge themselves to death in one final orgiastic weekend full of gourmet food, call girls and a hefty, lusty schoolteacher. This blackly humorous parable of modern society's collapse won the Cannes Film Festival's International Critics Award. The New York Times called it "vulgar vaudeville on an epic scale...a mordant, chilling, hilarious dirty movie." Nearly 30 years later, it continues to challenge audiences' sensibilities and test the limits of shockability. [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 14:01:
  • Coup de Torchon - Bertrand Tavernier (1981) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    An inspired rendering of Jim Thompson's pulp novel Pop. 1280, Bertrand Tavernier's Coup de torchon (Clean Slate) deftly transplants the story of an inept police chief- turned-heartless killer and his scrappy mistress from the American South to French West Africa. Featuring pitch-perfect performances by Philippe Noiret and Isabelle Huppert, this striking neo-noir straddles the line between violence and lyricism with dark humor and visual elegance, perfectly captured by Criterion's glorious new anamorphic transfer. [...]
    2003, Jan 26; 10:11:
  • The Elephant Man (1980) - David Lynch [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    You could only see his eyes behind the layers of makeup, but those expressive orbs earned John Hurt a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of John Merrick, the grotesquely deformed Victorian-era man better known as The Elephant Man. Inarticulate and abused, Merrick is the virtual slave of a carnival barker (Freddie Jones) until dedicated London doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins in a powerfully understated performance) rescues him from the life and offers him an existence with dignity. Anne Bancroft costars as the actress whose visit to Merrick makes him a social curiosity, with John Gielgud and Wendy Hiller as dubious hospital staffers won over by Merrick. David Lynch earned his only Oscar nominations as director and cowriter of this somber drama, which he shot in a rich black-and-white palette, a sometimes stark, sometimes dreamy visual style that at times recalls the offbeat expressionism of his first film, Eraserhead. It remains a perfect marriage between traditional Hollywood historical drama and Lynch's unique cinematic eye, a compassionate human tale delivered in a gothic vein. The film earned eight Oscar nominations in all, and though it left the Oscar race empty-handed, its dramatic power and handsome yet haunting imagery remain just as strong today. --Sean Axmaker for [...]
    2003, Jan 25; 16:18:
  • Scratch(2001) Doug Pray [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    In the language of hip-hop, the MC raps on top of the beats. The DJ--or turntablist--supplies the beats. Doug Pray's lively documentary is a tribute to these unsung heroes of the "scratch." His approach is neither dry nor academic and is designed as much for the masters of the form as for the fans. Pray was also behind Hype!, which focused on the Seattle scene in the 1980s and 1990s. In his 2002 follow-up, he travels as far back as the 1970s (DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa) and roams the U.S. from New York (Gang Starr's DJ Premier) to the Bay Area (DJ Shadow, Q-Bert). After watching the film and grooving to the beat, you're likely to wonder if there's a soundtrack to accompany it. Fortunately, there is--Bill Laswell, producer of Herbie Hancock's seminal "Rockit," is behind a compilation featuring many of the same artists celebrated in Scratch. --Kathleen C. Fennessy for [...]
    2003, Jan 25; 12:24:
  • Hable con Ella - Talk to Her (Score) [SOUNDTRACK] [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Continuing the rewarding collaboration begun on 1995's The Flower of My Secret, composer Alberto Iglesias infuses director Pedro Almodóvar's 2002 meditation on love, obsession, and loss with a score of quiet, sophisticated grace. It ranges from the evocative Spanish guitar, violin, and vocal flourishes of "Hable con Ella" (showcasing contemporary flamenco stars Vincente Amigo and El Pele) and Brazilian vocalist Caetano Veloso's gorgeously spare rendition of the international hit "Cucurrucucu Paloma" to the Latin classicism of Ellis Regina and Tom Jobim's "Por Toda a Minha Vida" and a slate of moody string-driven, autumnal orchestral cues. The eight-minute "El Amante Menguante" for string quartet features compelling, almost playful modern flourishes while tracks like "Trincheras/Decadence" and the tense "A Portagayola" suggest a rewarding Spanish take on Hitchcockian romance and suspense. That it all meshes almost seamlessly with Purcell's closing "The Plaint: O Let Me Weep" is ample testimony to the transnational flavor and ever-subtle mastery Iglesias brings to bear here. --Jerry McCulley for [...]
    2003, Jan 25; 12:12:
  • The Royal Tenenbaums - Wes Anderson (2001) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    In a fitting follow-up to Rushmore, writer-director Wes Anderson and cowriter-actor Owen Wilson have crafted another comedic masterwork that ripples with inventive, richly emotional substance. Because of the all-star cast, hilarious dialogue, and oddball characters existing in their own, wholly original universe, it's easy to miss the depth and complexity of Anderson's brand of comedy. Here, it revolves around Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman), the errant patriarch of a dysfunctional family of geniuses, including precocious playwright Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), boyish financier and grieving widower Chas (Ben Stiller), and has-been tennis pro Richie (Luke Wilson). All were raised with supportive detachment by mother Etheline (Anjelica Huston), and all ache profoundly for a togetherness they never really had. The Tenenbaums reconcile somehow, but only after Anderson and Wilson (who costars as a loopy literary celebrity) put them through a compassionate series of quirky confrontations and rekindled affections. Not for every taste, but this is brilliant work from any perspective. --Jeff Shannon [...]
    2003, Jan 25; 12:04:
  • Gosford Park - Robert Altman(2001) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Gosford Park finds director Robert Altman in sumptuously fine form indeed. From the opening shots, as the camera peers through the trees at an opulent English country estate, Altman exploits the 1930s period setting and whodunit formula of the film expertly. Aristocrats gather together for a weekend shooting party with their dutiful servants in tow, and the upstairs/downstairs division of the classes is perfectly tailored to Altman's method (as employed in Nashville and Short Cuts) of overlapping bits of dialogue and numerous subplots in order to betray underlying motives and the sins that propel them. Greed, vengeance, snobbery, and lust stir comic unrest as the near dizzying effect of brisk script turns is allayed by perhaps Altman's strongest ensemble to date. First and foremost, Maggie Smith is marvelous as Constance, a dependent countess with a quip for every occasion; Michael Gambon, as the ill-fated host, Sir William McCordle, is one of the most palpably salacious characters ever on screen; Kristin Scott Thomas is perfectly cold yet sexy as Lady Sylvia, Sir William's wife; and Helen Mirren, Emily Watson, and Clive Owen are equally memorable as key characters from the bustling servants' quarters below. Gosford Park manages to be fabulously entertaining while exposing human shortcomings, compromises, and our endless need for confession. --Fionn Meade [...]
    2003, Jan 25; 11:59:
  • The Servant (1964) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Winner of three British Academy Awards including Best Actor to Dirk Bogarde. In this landmark drama of class struggle and moral decay, a pampered playboy (James Fox) acquires an elegant townhouse complete with a dedicated man servant (Dirk Bogarde). But when the young man's fiancée (Wendy Craig) becomes suspicious of the servant's intentions, he and his "sister" (Sarah Miles) thrust the household into a sinister game where seduction is corruption and power becomes the most shocking desire of all. The Servant marked the first of three brilliant film collaborations between director Joseph Losey and playwright Harold Pinter, and was nominated for eight British Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay. - From the Back Cover
    2003, Jan 25; 11:55:
  • The Night Porter - Criterion Collection (1974) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    For those who like their love stories dipped in decadence, Liliana Cavani's dark and disturbing 1974 drama--about a concentration camp survivor who fatefully comes face to face with her ex-Nazi captor and lover--has held up quite well over the years despite its sensationalistic tone. It helps that the mysterious, cobra-eyed Charlotte Rampling plays the survivor, Lucia, and that the unctuous and languid British actor, Dirk Bogarde, is former SS officer Max, a now-benign night porter at the Vienna hotel where the pair coincidentally collides. There is a haunted hollowness to these characters that resigns them to relive the sordid past that tragically binds them. Criterion's DVD offers the film in its best available condition, and the color has been restored to enhance its symbolic significance. The Night Porter uses landscape as character, and its desaturated tones evoke memory of the Holocaust and a shady 1950s Vienna plagued by post-World War II guilt. In fact, this is a film full of shadows and shame, and Max and Lucia are victims of this frightening world in which nothing can be trusted and around every corner lurk spies in their house of forbidden love. --Paula Nechak for [...]
    2003, Jan 25; 10:58:
  • A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion - Randy Thornhill [1 book, Amazon US]
    "Rape is an act of desperation, a confession of envy and exclusion. All men- even, I have written, Jesus himself- began as flecks of tissue inside a woman's womb. Every boy must stagger out of the shadow of a mother goddess, whom he never fully escapes....Women have it. Men want it. What is it? The secret of life..."(Vamps & Tramps p. 32) - Camille Paglia [...]
    2003, Jan 25; 10:33:
  • L.A. Story (1991) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Steve Martin wrote this film as a meditation on both love and Los Angeles (and then-wife Victoria Tennant). He plays a L.A. TV weatherman who finds himself conflicted about what to do with his life, both professionally and personally. As he works his way through a couple of relationships (including a very funny one with a frisky Sarah Jessica Parker, who talks him into colonic therapy), he discovers a L.A. freeway sign that gives him romantic advice. It helps him realize what he knows intuitively: that the British woman he is attracted to (Tennant) is the one he should pursue. A big cast (and lots of cameos) have fun with this witty (if slight) material and director Mick Jackson adds visual pizzazz. --Marshall Fine for [...]
    2003, Jan 24; 14:59:
  • Naga - Hajime Sorayama [1 book, Amazon US]
    Naga is one of the greatest works of Sorayama yet. Your collection of fantasy art is not complete without this selection. His realism and techniques are unparalled; I kept waiting for the pictures to come to life! The only problem I had with the book is that many of the pictures contain images of bondage and violence, which I disagree with - the victims were in every case female - but if you can look past that, the book itself is truly a work of art. - angelles for [...]
    2003, Jan 22; 16:00:
  • Gilles Berquet: La Solitude des Anges - Gilles Berquet [1 book, Amazon US]
    The photographs of Gilles Berquet present a fine sense of classic eroticism within a sexual and artistic contradiction. Working with "girl friends" rather than professional models, this collection depicts women captured in bondage ensembles and often in motion. The paradox is exposed in the expressions of the subjects, who exude an acute sense of sexual freedom and erotic breakthrough within their bondage costumes; it is the constraints themselves that seem to have set these women free. In his notes, Koharto Lizawa comments that "the women even appear to have tied themselves up . . . Berquet simply lent them a hand toward accomplishment of that desire." Classically realized in black and white, these images are sensual in nature with an underlying theme of sociosexual commentary. [...]
    2003, Jan 21; 15:58:
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971) - Stanley Kubrick [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Stanley Kubrick's striking visual interpretation of Anthony Burgess's famous novel is a masterpiece. Malcolm McDowell delivers a clever, tongue-in-cheek performance as Alex, the leader of a quartet of droogs, a vicious group of young hoodlums who spend their nights stealing cars, fighting rival gangs, breaking into people's homes, and raping women. While other directors would simply exploit the violent elements of such a film without subtext, Kubrick maintains Burgess's dark, satirical social commentary. We watch Alex transform from a free-roaming miscreant into a convict used in a government experiment that attempts to reform criminals through an unorthodox new medical treatment. The catch, of course, is that this therapy may be nothing better than a quick cure-all for a society plagued by rampant crime. A Clockwork Orange works on many levels--visual, social, political, and sexual--and is one of the few films that hold up under repeated viewings. Kubrick not only presents colorfully arresting images, he also stylizes the film by utilizing classical music (and Wendy Carlos's electronic classical work) to underscore the violent scenes, which even today are disturbing in their display of sheer nihilism. Ironically, many fans of the film have missed that point, sadly being entertained by its brutality rather than being repulsed by it. --Bryan Reesman [...]
    2003, Jan 21; 15:48:
  • Repo Man (1984) - Alex Cox [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A volatile, toxic potion of satire and nihilism, road movie and science fiction, violence and comedy, the unclassifiable sensibility of Alex Cox's Repo Man is the model and inspiration for a potent strain of post-punk American comedy that includes not only Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), but also early Coen brothers (Raising Arizona, in particular), Men in Black, and even (in a weird way) The X-Files. Otto, a baby-face punk played by Emilio Estevez, becomes an apprentice to Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a coke-snorting, veteran repo-man-of-honor prowling the streets of a Los Angeles wasteland populated by hoods, wackos, burnouts, conspiracy theorists, and aliens of every stripe. It may seem chaotic at first glance, but there's a "latticework of coincidence" (as Tracey Walter puts it) underlying everything. Repo Man is a key American movie of the 1980s--just as Taxi Driver, Nashville, and Chinatown are key American movies of the '70s. With a scorching soundtrack that features Iggy Pop, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and Suicidal Tendencies. --Jim Emerson [...]
    2003, Jan 21; 00:03:
  • New York Girls- Richard Kern [1 book, Amazon US]
    At first glance it is tempting to see Richard Kern as an imitator of Eric Kroll. This is hardly the case, but the comparison is inevitable. Both are New York photographers who specialize in fetish work, primarily photographing women. Both have a good sense of graphic imagery. In truth, though, the similarities end at the surface. Their intent and approach are radically different.

    Kroll has a strong background in commercial and fashion photography which gives his images a more glitzy, mainstream look. Kern came to New York and immediately fell in with the extreme sex crowd. He spent his early years publishing little, Xeroxed magazines and making short films with such dark stars as Lydia Lunch, Nick Zedd and Cassandra Stark. In a sense, "New York Girls," marks a shift closer to mainstream fetish work.

    These are harsh, revealing images. His color work reminds me a bit of Nan Goldin, but his black and white images are uniquely his own. The sexuality is blatant, sometimes erotic and sometimes not. There is a profound alienation in his images. These are people being sexual to and for themselves. They rarely meet the viewer's eyes. When they do face the camera it is to issue a challenge, to dare the viewer to cross the line into a solipsistic universe of tension and release.

    Many of the photographs are haunting. There seem to be layers of content that keep the viewer's attention for hours. If you haven't encountered Kern's work before or a looking for the right collection of fetish work you will find this and excellent introduction to photography's more challenging visions. - Marc Ruby for [...]

    2003, Jan 20; 15:54:
  • Bizarre: The Complete Reprint of John Willie's Bizarre, Vols. 1-26 edited by Eric Kroll [1 book, Amazon US]
    John Alexander Scott Coutts was born of British parents in Singapore. He studied in England, then moved to Australia. From there, he sent his designs to the US. Most of his work was published (under the pseudonym John Willie) between 1946 and 1959 in Bizarre magazine, which Willie also edited. His most famous stories were 'The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline', 'Pauline's Peril' and 'Hairbreadth Harry'. John Willie was a master of the bondage genre, and he created numerous works for private orders, which unfortunately have never been published. He retired to Guernsey, where he died in 1962. [...]
    2003, Jan 19; 20:43:
  • Fornasetti: Designer of Dreams (Piero Fornasetti)[1 book, Amazon US]
    When we discovered plates, chairs and other decorative gadgets from Fornasetti some years ago, we did not imagine, my wife and I, that a real artist lied behind all these creations. I was really impressed when I discovered in that book the beautiful face of the artist and when I learned that he would never create any more because he already passed away. Fornassetti art is mainly decorative. It pleased every body because it is an harmonius equilibrium between classical inspiration and to-day printing technologies. If you do not know where to buy furniture inspired by Fornasetti, buy this book and place it on a coffee table. Everybody will want to read it. - for [...]
    2003, Jan 19; 17:22:
  • Carlo Mollino: Polaroids - by Fulvio Ferrari, Napoleone Ferrari[1 book, Amazon US]
    Carlo Mollino (1905–1973) was one of the most inspired mid-20th-century architects and designers. In a career that spanned more than four decades, Mollino designed buildings, homes, cars, aircraft, women’s fashion, and theater sets. He was a renaissance man who sought to articulate movement and sensuality in his designs. Even more compelling are the magically surreal Polaroid images Mollino made in his Turin studio during the last 14 years of his life, seen here in the first-ever collection of Mollino’s carefully honed erotic photographs of women. From 1,500 works, the Ferraris have culled over 250 representative images in which Molino posed his models in evocative clothing, staged the backdrops, and finally, altered the photos with a microscopic paintbrush to attain his ideal view of the female form. Only a few of Mollino’s Polaroids have ever been viewed by the public. [...]
    2003, Jan 19; 15:22:
  • Motel Fetish - Chas Ray Krider, Chas Krider[1 book, Amazon US]

    "Taschen is this art vampire. He's going to bite me on the neck and my art is going to have immortality." - Chas Ray Krider (from an interview with Eric Kroll)

    A number of years ago I began to see distinctive layouts in Hustler's Leg World that got me nervous. The photographs were that good. Whoever it was had style and made the women his women. Krider women. Women I began to desire on a monthly basis. In the world of professional golf there is an expression "the world's greatest golfer not to win a major tournament." Chas Ray Krider was the world's greatest erotic photographer not to have a book.

    Thanks to TASCHEN we now have over 160 Krider images to pore over. To salivate over. Like a good film noir, he takes us to lustful places. Is it a crime scene or a sea of lust? These beautiful, languid women wait for whom? For me. For you. They play the "waiting game" beautifully. An ass in the air, a pair of crossed legs in nylons, all bathed in warm tones. A still life unstuck in time. So this is what goes on behind closed doors?

    Oh, I almost forgot. Alongside these many Midwest femme fatales is Dita, raven-haired icon. Not since Betty Page has a woman fleshed out so correctly a vintage girdle and bra ensemble.

    Enjoy. He takes you places where you only vaguely think you have been. - Eric Kroll, editor and pupil [...]

    2003, Jan 14; 20:42:
  • Dub Come Save Me - Roots Manuva [1 CD, Amazon US]
    From his idiosyncratic delivery and left-field lyrics to his rootsy basslines and thumping studio tinkerings, Mr. Manuva has always fancied himself something of a dubmeister, paying homage to his Jamaican roots. Here, he gets to explore his "mixing-desk-as-instrument" ethos to the max, reworking tracks from his recent Run Come Save Me into spectral shadows of their former selves, as well as presenting a few assorted rarities that didn't make it onto the LP. Cuts like "Highest Grade Dub" and "Brand New Dub" are direct descendants of the King Tubby-Augustus Pablo school of smoke-filled trickery, while "Tears" and "Revolution" are more '80s and hip-hop influenced, respectively, but come with deep and dirty dub signatures. Like everything Mr. Manuva turns his hand to, Dub Come Save Me is weirdly sophisticated and serves as an essential companion to the original long player. --Paul Sullivan [...] [...]
    2003, Jan 15; 21:42:
  • C'est Arrivé Pres de Chez Vous/Man Bites Dog - Criterion Collection (1992) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This Belgian satire (in French with English subtitles) is dark, dark, dark--but also right on the money in its sly sendup of the media's fascination with violence and its complicity therein. This mock documentary has a trio of filmmakers shooting a cinéma vérité feature about a garrulous serial killer who lets the film crew follow him around as he selects victims and then dispatches them. But at what point does filmmaking become participation? These hapless documentarians soon find out as their subject eventually pulls them into his world, including a gun battle with a rival film crew and their own criminal star. Gruesomely hilarious, with a deadpan wit that's hard to resist. --Marshall Fine [...], [...]
    2003, Jan 15; 01:24:
  • The Pledge - Sean Penn [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    [...] As in Sean Penn's previous work, this is an actors' piece. Nicholson plays Jerry with restlessness under his easy-going, smiling calm; his patient fisherman's heart leaps at every nibble while he casts for a murder suspect. And Del Toro, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave, and Mickey Rourke make striking impressions in their single-scene appearances. Penn is less concerned with the mystery than the emotional turmoil and Jerry's state of mind, interrupting moments of calm with jagged cuts and discomforting images (including some especially disturbing crime scene photos). Jerry's instincts and methods are sound and his sensitivity is real--he takes in a battered single mom (Robin Wright Penn) and her little girl, and develops a rewarding family life--but his passion for justice turns to unhealthy, destructive obsession. That's ultimately what we're left with at the conclusion of this often off-putting but ultimately fascinating film. The truth will not always set you free. --Sean Axmaker [...]
    2003, Jan 13; 22:59:
  • Women Filmmakers & Their Films (Women Filmmakers and Their Films) by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster (Editor), Amy L. Unterburger (Editor), Katrien Jacobs (Editor) [1 book, Amazon US]
    Katrien Jacobs is assistant professor in New Media at Emerson College. She studied at University of Maryland, College Park, where she wrote a Ph.D. thesis on dismemberment myths in '60s/'70s performance art. She has published several articles on pornography and new media art in journals such as Wide Angle and Cultural Studies, and is an emerging new media artist who carries out web-critiques involving the body, sound and performance art. A Ford Foundation Grant (-Ism, 1996) and Research and Learning Grant (Edith Cowan University, 1998) enabled her to conceptualize and carry out video/diversity teaching projects for students. Her documentary Joseph Beuys in America won a Rosebud Award in 1996 and was screened for PBS television and the American Film Institute. She is currently writing The Sound of One Hand Typing: Art, Sex and Netbook, a book covering new developments in porn undergrounds and sexuality on the Internet. [...]
    2003, Jan 12; 22:03:
  • Twin Peaks episodes 1-7 (complete first season except the pilot) [DVD, Amazon US]
    Twin Peaks devotees, who have kept the mystery alive on myriad Web sites, will jump at the chance to return to the spooky town that might just be the anti-Mayberry. Rarely syndicated, the Twin Peaks television series has lost none of its quirky and queasy power to get under your skin and haunt your dreams. So brew up a pot of some "damn fine coffee," dig into some cherry pie, and lose yourself in David Lynch and Mark Frost's murder mystery and soap opera, which unfolds, in one character's words, "like a beautiful dream and terrible nightmare all at once." Twin Peaks was a pop culture phenomenon for one season at least, until the increasingly bizarre twists and maddening teases so confounded audiences that they lost interest in just who killed Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). This series was a career peak for most of its eclectic ensemble cast, including Kyle MacLachlan as straight-arrow FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, Michael Ontkean as local Sheriff Harry S. Truman, Sherilyn Fenn as bad girl Audrey Horne, Peggy Lipton as waitress Norma Jennings, and Catherine Coulson as the Log Lady. Alumni enjoying current success include Lara Flynn Boyle ("The Practice"), as good girl Donna Hayward, and Miguel Ferrer ("Crossing Jordan"), hilarious as forensics expert Albert Rosenfield (who has absolutely no "social niceties"). This four-disc set contains the first season's seven episodes, minus, curiously, the series pilot. Newcomers will be scratching their heads over the "Previously on Twin Peaks" prologue, but an accompanying booklet sums up the story. Special features include episode introductions by the Log Lady (originally broadcast on Bravo), commentaries by assorted episode directors (but not Lynch), and features from the archives of the fanzine Wrapped in Plastic. --Donald Liebenson [...]
    2003, Jan 12; 21:40:
  • Imaging Her Erotics: Essays, Interviews, Projects - Carolee Schneemann [1 Book, Amazon US]
    From the perspective of today's art world, where "transgression" has become for many little more then a quick path to fame and notoriety, it is difficult to grasp the extraordinary bravery and daring of Carolee Schneeman, the pioneering performance artist whose career is lavishly documented in this volume. Decades before "The Body" became an object of safe academic discourse, Schneeman was putting hers on the line, creating a series of films, actions and performances perhaps most notably the majestically Dionysian Meat Joy of 1964 that have become touchstones not only in the history of performance art but also in the development of feminist aesthetics. By its very nature, performance is hard to capture between the covers of a book, but the quality and extent of the images presented here, while no substitute for having been there, capture events with an almost cinematic completeness. Also here in addition to a number of interviews and essays by such critics as David Levi-Strauss and Thomas McEvilley are a number of Schneeman's own writings, which include a description of a formative encounter with poet Charles Olson, whose patriarchal warning that classical drama died when "the c began to speak," Schneeman, with characteristic inventiveness, transforms into good career advice. In fact, from a spirited examination of Valerie Solanas to an elegy for slain colleague Ana Mendieta, Schneeman's writings form the book's core, and it is good to have them in one place. What emerges most powerfully from this book which also covers (with 150 illustrations) Schneeman's work in painting, photography and video is the artist's extraordinarily generous and questing personality. In an era when so much art seems directed at the audience with a sneer, Schneeman's Emersonian optimism and joie de vivre are both example and challenge. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. [...]
    2003, Jan 12; 13:09:
  • Maitresse (1976) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Drifter Olivier (Gérard Depardieu) lands in Paris and partners up on a friend's home invasion. Ostensibly they're breaking into the vacant flat of a vacationing old lady, but in reality it's the kinky dungeon of a high-class dominatrix with a powerful client list. The bearish Depardieu falls for the lithe professional, blonde Ariane (Bulle Ogier) in a black bob wig and dressed in tight leather and latex, and soon moves into her handsome flat while she plies her trade downstairs. Barbet Schroeder's kinky little slice of sexual decadence is initially titillating and erotic, but soon turns grotesque. Ariane's clients desire her domination but only as contracted: They control their abuse. The romance becomes a warped mirror of her career, Ariane allowing Olivier the appearance of control as he slides behind the driver's seat of her car, but setting the parameters of his dominance. Easygoing Olivier soon begins to simmer with frustration and jealousy, unable to comprehend her twisted world of sexual deviance, and attempts to "save" her from her lifestyle. Schroeder pushes the portrayal of S&M and bondage to the limits with graphic scenes of pain, torment, and mutilation, presented with a bland detachment that makes them all the more uncomfortable to watch. He brings that same dispassionate attitude to the romance, which results in an uninvolving yet undeniably fascinating story of a quirky affair. --Sean Axmaker [...]
    2003, Jan 10; 20:23:
  • United DJs of America, Vol. 18: DJ Tony Humphries [1CD, Amazon US]
    1. Can't Fake The Feeling - Applefunk feat. Alexis 2. Little Girl - Viola 3. Rescue Me - Sunkids feat. Chance 4. Never Knew - Blvd. East feat. Da Familee 5. Everything - Stephanie Cooke 6. Caves Of Altamira - E Man 7. Rise Up - Sunkids feat. Chance 8. Wonderful People - Dennis Freerer Presents Anthony Flanagan 9. Ain't Nithin' - Who's That? feat. Jackie Kemp 10. Could It Be You - Mazi feat. Donna Blakely 11. All The Things U R - 7th District Inc. feat. Janine Cross 12. Painkiller 2001 - Alliance DC 13. You Will Survive - Bobby & Steve Present Johnnie Fiori
    2003, Jan 05; 14:20:
  • Félicien Rops - Félicien Rops [1 book, Amazon US]
    He was a lover of the fantastic and the supernatural, and his themes are frequently Symbolist in kind. The devil, skeletons, the prostitute, and death are the Baudelairian accessories of his art. In fact, despite Péladan's appeals, Rops was not very interested in the Rose+Croix artists, and much more so in the mores of his time, in the singularities of the modern mind as it appeared in the spectacle of Parisian life. His libertine life and scandalous and erotic subjects made him infamous in his own lifetime. [...]
    2003, Jan 05; 14:20:
  • Risque Chic [1 book, Amazon US]
    "Good Times" and just about all other disco has been called fluffy, trivial, lacking musical integrity. But it was popular art that served as the banner of the counterculture. It brought together gays, blacks, Latinos, showbiz celebrities and street people. But that revolution and challenge to authority in the 1970's was rooted three decades earlier. - Marco Werman [...]
    2003, Jan 03; 22:59:
  • The Invention of Pornography, 1500-1800: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity by Lynn Avery Hunt (Editor) [1 book, Amazon US]
    Distributed by MIT Press. Ten essays trace the history and various uses of pornography in early modern Europe, offering historical perspective that sheds light on current issues of censorship. Among the themes is the linking of pornography as a literary practice with Western modernity and the democratization of culture [...]
    2003, Jan 03; 22:36:
  • The Deviant's Advantage: How Fringe Ideas Create Mass Markets by Ryan Mathews, Watts Wacker [1 book, Amazon US]
    Mathews and Wacker explain that, by definition, "deviant" and "deviance" refer to "someone or something operating in a defined measure away from the norm....[therefore] everything that is different is deviant." They go on to observe that positive deviance can be a "force for transformation" whereas negative deviance can be a "source of unspeakable evil." In the context of this volume, deviance "irrigates the imagination; offers an inexhaustible font of new ideas, products, and services; and in the end, is the source of all innovation, new market creation, and, for business, ultimately represents the basis of all incremental profit. Deviance equals innovation and innovation equals opportunity. Opportunity creates markets that in turn are destroyed by deviance." Mathews and Wacker assert that deviance follows a linear pattern: Fringe > Edge > Realm of the Cool > Next Big Thing > Social Convention > Cliché > Icon or Archetype or Oblivion. Robert Morris for [...]
    2003, Jan 03; 10:52:
    At last, an official site for all the wonderful wackies re-releases by the Basic Channel crew in Berlin. My brother has been collecting the hard-to-find originals over the last years and he also posted the complete discography at the my Wackies page. [...]
    2003, Jan 02; 23:11:
  • Blue Velvet (1986) - David Lynch [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    David Lynch peeks behind the picket fences of small-town America to reveal a corrupt shadow world of malevolence, sadism, and madness. From the opening shots Lynch turns the Technicolor picture postcard images of middle class homes and tree-lined lanes into a dreamy vision on the edge of nightmare. After his father collapses in a preternaturally eerie sequence, college boy Kyle MacLachlan returns home and stumbles across a severed human ear in a vacant lot. With the help of sweetly innocent high school girl (Laura Dern), he turns junior detective and uncovers a frightening yet darkly compelling world of voyeurism and sex. Drawn deeper into the brutal world of drug dealer and blackmailer Frank, played with raving mania by an obscenity-shouting Dennis Hopper in a career-reviving performance, he loses his innocence and his moral bearings when confronted with pure, unexplainable evil. Isabella Rossellini is terrifyingly desperate as Hopper's sexual slave who becomes MacLachlan's illicit lover, and Dean Stockwell purrs through his role as Hopper's oh-so-suave buddy. Lynch strips his surreally mundane sets to a ghostly austerity, which composer Angelo Badalamenti encourages with the smooth, spooky strains of a lush score. Blue Velvet is a disturbing film that delves into the darkest reaches of psycho-sexual brutality and simply isn't for everyone. But for a viewer who wants to see the cinematic world rocked off its foundations, David Lynch delivers a nightmarish masterpiece. --Sean Axmaker [...]
    2003, Jan 02; 22:37:
  • Cube (1997) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    If Clive Barker had written an episode of The Twilight Zone, it might have looked something like Cube. A handful of strangers wake up inside a bizarre maze, having been spirited there during the night. They quickly learn that they have to navigate their way through a series of chambers if they have any hope of escape, but the problem is that there are lethal traps awaiting if they choose their route unwisely. Having established some imaginative and grisly punishments in store for the hostages, cowriter and director Vincenzo Natali turns his attention to the characters, for whom being trapped amplifies their best and worst qualities. The film is, in fact, similar to a famous episode of Rod Serling's old television series, though Natali's explanation for why these poor people are being put through hell is a lot closer to the spirit of The X-Files. Cube has some solid moments of suspense and drama, and the sets are appropriately striking: one is tempted to believe at first the characters are lost inside a computer chip. --Tom Keogh [Don't believe the reviewers at amazon, excellent movie, best SF I have seen in a while] [...]
    2003, Jan 02; 17:43:
  • Raiding the Crates - DJ Spinna [1 CD, Amazon US]
    01:Brace/It Starts Inside 02:Butti 49/Brasilikum 03:Chuck Perkins/Jazz Funeral 04:Kevin Yost/Swinging 05:Blue Boy/Funky Friday 06:Iz + Diz/Down 4 U 07:A:Xus feat. Naomi Nsombi/Baghdad Cafe (Callin' U) 08:Dino & Terry/Croque Monsieur 09:F 'N' L/Sea Of Desire 10:Brother of Soul/Be Right There 11:Paul Hunter/Reflection 12:Deep Sensation/Don't Stop 13:Alton Miller/Time And Space 14:Dubtribe Sound System/El Regalo De Amor 15:F 'N' L/Besos De Los Angeles 16:Uptight Productions/Righteous Dub 17:Projekt: PM/Don't You Forget 18:A:Xus/When I Fall In Love 19:DJ Deep/Signature 20:Mutabaruka/Dis Poem '99 21:Pascal featuring Mr. Day/Hanging Around The Bee Tree 22:Kevin Yost/Natural High 23:Glenn Underground/City People 24:Ursula Rucker/Circe (Jazzanova Mix)
    2003, Jan 02; 11:50:
  • Abba - The Visitors [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Imagine me, recommending or wishing for an Abba album. Well, I just did, didn't I. Why? Because of a thread on the "I Love Music" board. My initial response was/is: "Why should I bother checking out a mainstream act like Abba?" But, hell, the tread has been on my mind since 24 hours and I was quite unsettled, which is a reason in itself to share my feelings about it. The recommendations for Abba on Amazon are nothing but other ABBA records, the music of ABBA does NOT connect and I still believe that the ABBA fanbase are musically lazy. [...]
    2003, Jan 01; 17:38:
  • Beau Pere (1981) - Bertrand Blier [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This daring and controversial film by Bertrand Blier (Too Beautiful For You, Get Out Your Handkerchiefs) pushes the lines between love, lust and morality. After the sudden death of his wife, Remy (Patrick Dewaere), a burnt out piano player, is forced to take care of his 14-year-old stepdaughter (Ariel Besse) who, unbeknownst to him, has fallen in love with him. The two grow closer and what begins as a relationship between a girl and a man, ends up being a relationship between a woman and a man.
    2002, Dec 31; 20:06:
  • No Agreement - Fela Anikulapo-Kuti & The Egypt 80 Band [1 CD, Amazon US]

    1. No Agreement 2. Dog Eat Dog

    Too many people have focused on the beautiful simplicity of the lyrics that make up the masterpiece No Agreement. And they would not be wrong. When Fela moans, 'My Mama talk, Your Papa talk', you know Baba 70 is feeling the pain for his people. Our ignorance...our ignorance. Yet it is Dog Eat Dog that even more of us have casually ignored simply because it is an instrumental. Dog Eat is an absolute masterpiece. Playing this track for the first time in 10 odd years was like the feeling you get when you unwrap delicious smelling moin-moin from its fresh green leaves. It is pure class. It is Baba at his band-leader best. It was recorded back in the days when he still had to vocally instruct Africa 70 but that notwithstanding it's still all about very tight musical arrangement. Improve the quality of your life and listen with intent. It would have got five stars but then what would you give Palava, Yellow Fever, BONN, Shuffering & Smiling, Unknown Soldier? You have to understand... - Abami Eda for [...]

    2002, Dec 31; 19:52:
  • Various Artists - Classic House Vol.1 - Mastercuts[1 CD, Amazon US]
    Rogers, Ce Ce - Someday (Original 12" Mix) (9.15) Knuckles, Frankie presents Satoshi Tomiie - Tears (feat. Robert Owen) (Original Classic Vocal Mix) (6.45) Night Writers, The - Let the music (Use you) (Original 12" Mix) (8.11) Bam Bam - Give it to me (Original 12" Mix) (5.41) Inner City - Big fun (Original Magic Juan 12" Mix) (7.39) Rosarioo, Ralphi feat Xavier Gold - You used to hold me (Original Kenny´s 12" Mix) (6.28) Knuckles, Frankie - Baby wants to ride (Full Length Mix) (5.53) Raze - Break 4 love (Original Vaughan Mason 12" Mix) (5.10) A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo ray (Original 12" Mix) (4.27) Ten City - Devotion (Original Bam Bam´s House 12" Mix) (7.39) Void, Sterling & Paris Brightledge - It´s alright (Original 12" House Mix) (6.34) Smooth, Joe Inc feat. Anthony Thomas - The promised land (Original 12" Mix) (4.52) [...]
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