Monday, August 29, 2011

81) Blood Feast (1963), 82) Something Weird (1967), 83) Scum of the Earth (1963), 84) Goyokin (1969), 85) Smash Cut (2009), 86) Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) and 87) 2001 Maniacs (2005)

81) Blood Feast (1963) Dir: Herschell Gordon Lewis Date Released: July 6, 1963 Date Seen: March 10, 2011 Rating: 2/5

82) Something Weird (1967) Dir: Herschell Gordon Lewis Date Released: August 1967 Date Seen: March 10, 2011 Rating: 0.75/5

83) Scum of the Earth (1963) Dir: Herschell Gordon Lewis Date Released: October 8, 1963 Date Seen: March 11, 2011 Rating: 2.75/5

84) Goyokin (1969) Dir: Hideo Gosha Date Released: August 1969 Date Seen: March 12, 2011 Rating: 3/5

85) Smash Cut (2009) Dir: Lee Demarbre Not Yet Released Date Seen: March 13, 2011 Rating: 4/5

86) Two Thousand Maniacs (1964) Dir: Herschell Gordon Lewis Date Released: March 20, 1964 Date Seen: March 13, 2011 Rating: 1.75/5

87) 2011 Maniacs (2005) Dir: Tim Sullivan Date Released (DVD): June 21, 2006 Date Seen:  March 13, 2011 Rating: 3/5

This podcast is gonna come in handy later on...I hope. See to this Lewis-themed Bad Idea Podcast for more.



RV!: Taxi Driver (1976)

RV!: Taxi Driver (1976) Dir: Martin Scorsese Date Released: February 8, 1976 Date Seen: March 10, 2011 Rating: 4.5/5

I may be low-balling this one...again. See my piece for Thompson on Hollywood.

79) Outrage (2010)

79) Outrage (2010) Dir: Takeshi Kitano Not Yet Released Date Seen: March 9, 2011 Rating: 3.25/5

Eh, I enjoyed it mostly. See my piece on yakuza cinema for Capital New York.

78) Incendies (2010)

78) Incendies (2010) Dir: Denis Villeneuve Date Released: April 22, 2011 Date Seen: March 9, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5

I wrote most of a review for this. I plan on using it for when I rewatch the film and write it up for Slant Magazine. Watch this space.

77) Battle: LA (2011), 80) Potiche (2010) and RV!: Certified Copy (2011)

77) Battle: LA (2011) Dir: Jonathan Liebesman Date Released: March 11, 2011 Date Seen: March 8, 2011 Rating: 0.25/5

80) Potiche (2010) Dir: Francois Ozon Date Released: March 18, 2011 Date Seen: March 10, 2011 Rating: 4/5

RV!: Certified Copy (2011) Dir: Abbas Kiarostami Date Seen: March 11, 2011 Rating: 4.5/5

Battle: LA is tied with Big Mommas for worst movie of the year. So, so bad. See my reviews for Nomad Wide Screen.

76) Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976)

76) Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976) Dir: William Crain Date Released: January 1976 Date Seen: March 7, 2011 Rating: 2/5

Man, this was a long day. See my review for Slant Magazine...please!

75) Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010)

75) Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) Dir: Jimmy Maslon and Frank Hennenlotter Date Released (DVD): August 30, 2011 Date Seen: March 7, 2011 Rating: 2.75/5

Pas mal mai pas grand chose, as Lucky Pierre might say. See my review for Slant Magazine

74) The Clowns (1970)

74) The Clowns (1970) Dir: Federico Fellini Date Released: June 14, 1971 Date Seen: March 7, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

Minor Fellini but good all the same See my review for Slant Magazine.

73) Margin Call (2011)

73) Margin Call (2011) Dir: J.C. Chandor Date Released: October 21, 2011 Date Seen: March 7, 2011 Rating: 1.5/5

I saw a lot of crap this week. See my review for (you guessed it) Slant Magazine.

72) The Queen of Hearts (2009)

72) The Queen of Hearts (2009) Dir: Valerie Donzelli Not Yet Released Date Seen: March 6, 2011 Rating: 2/5

Meeeuh. No. See my review for Slant Magazine.

71) Service Entrance (2010)

71) Service Entrance (2010) Dir: Philippe Le Guay Not Yet Released Date Seen: March 6, 2011 Rating: 1.75/5

I didn't need to see The Help. I had gotten my fill of wrong-head movies about domestics and race relations according to Whitey from this shit heap. See my review for Slant Magazine.

70) Obsession (1976)

70) Obsession (1976) Dir: Brian De Palma Date Released: August 1, 1976 Date Seen: March 5, 2011 Rating: 4.25/5

After Phantom of the Paradise, this is the first of De Palma's films to really convince me of his status as a cinematic genius. Mesmerizing, really. And John Lithgow, holy shit.

68) The Man in the White Suit (1951)

68) The Man in the White Suit (1951) Dir: Alexander Mackendrick Date Released: April 1952 Date Seen: March 5, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5

My dad was right--once you've heard that certain fart-like sound effect (you know the one), you never can get it out of your head. Fantastic comedic timing and performances for a story that I don't was particularly well developed. Very funny.

67) Serie Noire (1979)

67) Serie Noire (1979) Dir: Alain Corneau Date Released: June 25, 1982 Date Seen: March 5, 2011 Rating: 4.25/5

Maybe 4.5/5. Maybe. See my review for Slant Magazine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

66) Mars Needs Moms (2011)

66) Mars Needs Moms (2011) Dir: Simon Wells Date Released: March 11, 2011 Date Seen: March 3, 2011 Rating: 2.75/5

....don't judge me. Just...just see my review for Slant Magazine.


62) The Sleeping Beauty (2010), 64) Deep in the Woods (2010) and 65) The Long Falling (2011)

62) The Sleeping Beauty (2010) Dir: Catherine Breillat Date Released: July 8, 2011 Date Seen: March 2, 2011 Rating: 4/5

64) Deep in the Woods (2010) Dir: Benoit Jacquot Not Yet Released Date Seen: March 2, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

65) The Long Falling (2011) Dir: Martin Provost Not Yet Released Date Seen: March 3, 2011 Rating: 3.25/5

Hon hon hon. See my round-up of worthwhile Rendez-vous with French Cinema titles at Capital New York.

61) Rango (2011), 63) Jane Eyre (2011) and 69) Black Death (2010)

61) Rango (2011) Dir: Gore Verbinski Date Released: March 4, 2011 Date Seen: February 28, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

63) Jane Eyre (2011) Dir: Cary Fukunaga Date Released: March 9, 2011 Date Seen: March 2, 2011 Rating: 2.25/5

69) Black Death (2010) Dir: Christopher Smith Date Released: March 11, 2011 Date Seen: March 5, 2011 Rating: 2/5

Had high hopes for all three films...at least me likey Rango. See my reviews for Wide Screen.

60) Where is the Friend's Home? (1987), RV!: The Taste of Cherry (1997) and RV!: Close-Up (1990)

60) Where is the Friend's Home? (1987) Dir: Abbas Kiarostami Date Released: ??? Date Seen: February 28, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

RV!: The Taste of Cherry (1997) Dir: Abbas Kiarostami Date Released: March 20, 1998 Date Seen: February 26, 2011 Rating: 4.5/5

RV!: Close-Up (1990) Dir: Abbas Kiarostami Date Released: December 31, 1999 Date Seen: March 1, 2011 Rating: 4.25/5

Watched and rewatched these for my Kiarostami profile for Wide Screen. Ok, now I get it.

58) Highway Patrolman (1991) and 59) Three Businessmen (1998)

58) Highway Patrolman (1991) Dir: Alex Cox Date Released: November 17, 1993 Date Seen: February 26, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

59) Three Businessmen (1998) Dir: Alex Cox Date Released: ??? Date Seen: February 27, 2011 Rating: 4/5

Both under-seen gems. Part of my research for my Alex Cox interview for Slant Magazine. I quite like how that interview turned out.

57) The Silence (2010)

57) The Silence (2010) Dir: Baran bo Odar Not Yet Released and Probably Never Will Be Date Seen: February 25, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

I need to rewatch this movie. Pretty badly, actually. I remember being deeply impressed with Odar's sense of space and the film's mournful, Memories of Murder-esque atmosphere. It doesn't have Bong's film's sense of humor but it does have its showmanship, scope and deep-seated empathy for its characters. The one thing holding me back from rating this higher is the way Odar tried to protect his protagonists a little too much from being uniquely associated with their sometimes despicable actions. It's a fascinating procedural though, one that also reminded me of the Martin Beck mysteries. Man. Man oh man. This would make for an AWESOME double feature with Jar City.

56) Drive Angry 3D (2011)

56) Drive Angry 3D (2011) Dir: Patrick Lussier Date Released: February 25, 2011 Date Seen: February 25, 2011 Rating: 3/5

I got my kicks. See my review for Slant Magazine.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

55) Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)

55) Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010) Dir: Andrew Lau Date Released: April 22, 2011 Date Seen: February 24, 2011 Rating: 2/5

Meh. Donnie Yen makes a better standee than he does an action star. See my review for Slant Magazine.

52) Top Floor, Left Wing (2010)

52) Top Floor, Left Wing (2010) Dir: Angelo Cianci Not Yet Released (Thank Goodness) Date Seen: February 23, 2011 Rating: 1.5/5

Pretty damn bad. The first of a couple of films this year that white-wash racism, apparently. See my review for Slant Magazine.

48) Far Cry (2008), 49) Venus in Furs (1969) and 51) Super Hornio Brothers (1993)

48) Far Cry (2008) Dir: Uwe Boll Date Released: December 17, 2008 Date Seen: February 19, 2011 Rating: 1/5

49) Venus in Furs (1969) Dir: Jesus Franco Date Released: September 9, 1970 Date Seen: February 19, 2011 Rating: 2.25/5

51) Super Hornio Brothers (1993) Dir: Buck Adams Date Released: Don't Know and I Don't Want to Know Date Seen: February 20, 2011 Rating: NOPE/5

Oh, this was painful. Listen to the second Bad Idea Podcast for all the dirty details.



47) Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011)

47) Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011) Dir: John Whitesell Date Released: February 18, 2011 Date Seen: February 18, 2011 Rating: 0.25/5

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the worst new movie of 2011. See my review for Slant Magazine.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

46) The Adjustment Bureau (2011), 53) Hall Pass (2011), 54) I Saw the Devil (2010) and RV!: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

46) The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Dir: George Nolfi Date Released: March 4, 2011 Date Seen: February 17, 2011 Rating: 2.25/5

53) Hall Pass (2011) Dir: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly Date Released: February 25, 2011 Date Seen: February 23, 2011 Rating: 1.5/5

54) I Saw the Devil (2010) Dir: Kim Ji-Woon Date Released: March 4, 2011 Date Seen: February 25, 2011 Rating: 4/5

RV!: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul Date Released: March 2, 2011 Date Seen: February 26, 2011 Rating: 4/5

Two duds and two veddy good'ns. Sounds about right. See my reviews of all four for Nomad Wide Screen.

45) I Only Want You to Love Me (1976)

45) I Only Want You to Love Me (1976) Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Date Released: April 1994 Date Seen: February 17, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

After seeing this, I started to really get into Fassbinder. See my piece for Slant Magazine.

44) Unknown (2011) and 50) Heartbeats (2010)

44) Unknown (2011) Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra Date Released: February 18, 2011 Date Seen: February 16, 2011 Rating: 3.25/5

50) Heartbeats (2010) Dir: Xavier Dolan Date Released: February 25, 2011 Date Seen: February 20, 2011 Rating: 2/5

Who'da thought? See my reviews of these two films and my second review of Of Gods and Men for Nomad Wide Screen.

42) Panic in Needle Park (1971) and 43) Scarecrow (1973)

42) Panic in Needle Park (1971) Dir: Jerry Schatzberg Date Released: July 1971 Date Seen: February 14, 2011 Rating: 4.25/5

43) Scarecrow (1973) Dir: Jerry Schatzberg Date Released: April 11, 1973 Date Seen: February 14, 2011

I can see both of these films rising in my estimation upon review. See my piece on Al Pacino in the '70s for Capital New York.

41) The Lady Hermit (1971)

41) The Lady Hermit (1971) Dir: Meng Hua Ho Date Released: ??? Date Seen: February 13, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5

Liked it a bit more at the time. But wow, what a great poster! See my review for Slant Magazine.

37) The Brown Bunny (2003), 38) Possession (1981), 39) Roman Holiday (1953) and RV!: Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980)

37) The Brown Bunny (2003) Dir: Vincent Gallo Date Released: August 27, 2004 Date Seen: February 11, 2011 Rating: 4/5

38) Possession (1981) Dir: Andrzej Zulawski Date Released: October 14, 1983 Date Seen: February 11, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

39) Roman Holiday (1953) Dir: William Wyler Date Released: August 27, 1953 Date Seen: February 12, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

RV!: Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980) Dir: Nicolas Roeg Date Released: October 1980 Date Seen: February 12, 2011 Rating: 4.5/5

A sample of the Spectacle Theater's Valentine's Day programming. See my first piece for Capital New York.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

RV!: We Are What We Are (2010) and 40) Vanishing on 7th Street (2010)

RV!: We Are What We Are (2010) Dir: Jorge Michel Grau Date Released: February 18, 2011 Date Seen: February 10, 2011 Rating: 2/5

40) Vanishing on 7th Street (2010) Dir: Brad Anderson Date Released: February 18, 2011 Date Seen: February 12, 2011 Rating: 2/5

Blargh. See my reviews of both of these clunkers for Nomad Wide Screen.


36) Cairo Station (1958)

36) Cairo Station (1958) Dir: Youssef Chahine Date Released: ??? Date Seen: February 9, 2011 Rating: 4/5

This one builds and builds until it gets really nasty. See my piece for Fandor's Keyhole blog.

35) America, America (1963)

35) America, America (1963) Dir: Elia Kazan Date Released: December 15, 1963 Date Seen: February 7, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

Not perfect but pretty damn good. See my DVD review for Slant Magazine.

34) Carancho (2010)

34) Carancho (2010) Dir: Pablo Trapero Date Released: February 11, 2011 Date Seen: February 7, 2011 Rating: 2.25/5

Meuh. See my review for Slant Magazine.

32) The Private Eyes (1981)

32) The Private Eyes (1981) Dir: Michael Hui Date Released: June 1977 Date Seen: February 5, 2011 Date Released: June 31, 1977 Rating: 3.75/5

No, I have no idea how the Hui brothers achieved time travel now that we know that that's a theoretical impossibility. But somehow, according to IMDB, they did it and released their movie in San Francisco four years before it was officially produced. What. The. Fuuuuuck.*

But wouldn't it be nice to imagine that that's how the Hui brothers rolled? I mean, The Private Eyes is a blast, a goofy lark full of fun sight gags, well-timed slapstick and even a martial arts scene where a swordfish is used as a weapon. Yeah. So why not cookie rocket, I mean time travel? After watching this movie, I'd believe anything you tell me about the Hui brothers. They're like the Hong Kong film scene's Chuck Norris.

*According to Google, they produced the film in 1976. But shhhh.


31) Red Planet Mars (1952) and 33) Invaders from Mars (1953)

31) Red Planet Mars (1952) Dir: Harry Horner Date Released: May 15, 1952 Date Seen: February 4, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5

33) Invaders from Mars (1953) Dir: William Cameron Menzies Date Released: April 22, 1953 Date Seen: February 5, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

Huh. I totally did not realize that Menzies was one of the many co-directors of Duel in the Sun. Wonder what he contributed to that infamous epic...

In any case, I find the Red Scare paranoia of both of these films to be fascinating. I love individual scenes and the over-all mood of Invaders from Mars in spite of how tacky some of the actors line-readings are and how stodgy the film is in general (strives for dream-like-ness and sometimes achieves it...but sometimes falls flat on its face, too). And I really enjoy the wild jingoism of the theological speculation in Red Planet Mars and consider its last 10 minutes to be an absolute hoot (it is however, as a rickety adaptation of a stage play, also very stiff on the whole and spends a lot of time setting the film's scenario up). Made me want to really dig into Atomic Age horror, like Them! and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein...

Monday, August 15, 2011

RV!: Cold Weather (2010), 28) Sanctum (2011), 29) Poetry (2010) and 30) The Other Woman (2009)

RV!: Cold Weather (2010) Dir: Aaron Katz Date Released: February 4, 2011 Date Seen: January 30, 2011 Rating: 4/5

28) Sanctum (2011) Dir: Alister Grierson Date Released: February 4, 2011 Date Seen: February 1, 2011 Rating: 3.25/5

29) Poetry (2010) Dir: Lee Chang-dong Date Released: February 11, 2011 Date Seen: February 2, 2011 Rating: 4.25/5

30) The Other Woman (2009) Dir: Don Roos Date Released: February 4, 2011 Date Seen: February 3, 2011 Rating: 2/5

Only one real clunker in the bunch. A good week in review. See my reviews for Nomad Wide Screen.

24) The Rite (2011)

24) The Rite (2011) Dir: Mikael Hafstrom Date Released: January 28, 2011 Date Seen: January 26, 2011 Rating: 1.75/5

Hopkins is fun. Everything else isn't. See my review for Slant Magazine.

23) Non-Stop (1996), 25) Postman Blues (1997), 26) Monday (2000) and 27) Drive (2002)

23) Non-Stop (1996) Dir: Sabu Date Released: November 2000 Date Seen: January 26, 2011 Rating: 3/5

25) Postman Blues (1997) Dir: Sabu Not Yet Released Date Seen: January 26, 2011 Rating: 3.25/5

26) Monday (2000) Dir: Sabu Not Yet Released Date Seen: January 30, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5

27) Drive (2002) Dir: Sabu Not Yet Released Date Seen: January 31, 2011 Rating: 3/5

I was planning on writing a lengthy piece on Sabu's blue-collar heroes and how his films' frantically kinetic pacing resembles Tony Scott's recent films (he even directed a short film that's directly inspired by Scott's The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 remake). But then I stopped writing for the New York Press. 
So that piece never happened and maybe never will happen. 

Still, with the exception of Drive, there's an image in each one of these films that encapsulated the film's mood or complicated it in ways that excited me in some way. In Monday, it's the elevator scene; in Postman Blues, it's the road-side denouement; in Non-Stop, it's the scene where the third man joins the chase. With Drive, Sabu rehashes a lot of familiar material but the film's amiable enough and features a slightly more refined meltdown-induced melodrama. All four films are exciting to varying to degrees. I may yet revisit these and write the piece I had wanted to. But for the moment, these singular images remain at the back of my mind.

22) Septien (2011)

22) Septien (2011) Dir: Michael Tully Date Released: July 6, 2011 Date Seen: January 25, 2011 Rating: 2.75/5

I appreciated this more for what it tried to do than for what it accomplished. Also, Tully is a terrific actor. I liked his performance a lot. See my review in the New York Press.

21) Ip Man 2 (2010)

21) Ip Man 2 (2010) Dir: Wilson Yip Date Released: January 28, 2011 Date Seen: January 24, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5

I prefer it to Ip Man but not by much. See my review for the New York Press.

20) Season of the Witch (2011)

20) Season of the Witch (2011) Dir: Dominic Sena Date Released: January 7, 2011 Date Seen: January 24, 2011 Rating: 2.5/5

Maybe it's because I was drinking cola-diluted Absente (it was my birthday, after all). But so help me Jabba, I maintain that Dominic Sena is a good action director. Yes, Witch's screenplay stinks and Nicolas Cage and Ron Perelman didn't spend nearly enough time wrestling with wolves, Satan, etc. But the draw bridge scene in this movie, like the scene in Whiteout where Kate Beckinsale is feeling her way around in the middle of a harsh snow storm using only a rope anchored by some stakes, is genuinely good. Perhaps it's just adequate-good and I'm blowing this whole let-us-sheepishly-give-due-praise-to-the-director-of-Swordfish thing out of proportion. But while watching Season of the Witch, I could have sworn that scene was qualification-less good. Like, good-good. That good. The good of good. Damn that Absente.

18) The Housemaid (2010) and 19) The Mechanic (2011)

18) The Housemaid (2010) Dir: Im Sang-Soo Date Released: January 21, 2011 Date Seen: January 23, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

19) The Mechanic (2011) Dir: Simon West Date Released: Date Seen: January 24, 2011 Rating: 1.5/5

The Housemaid is a surprisingly strong remake in spite of some problems I have with it. The Mechanic is shit. See my reviews of both at Nomad Wide Screen.

17) Hickey and Boggs (1972)

17) Hickey and Boggs (1972) Dir: Robert Culp Date Released: October 1972 Date Seen: January 22, 2011 Rating: 4/5

Veddy, veddy good. See my appraisal for the New York Press.

RV!: Dogtooth (2010)

RV!: Dogtooth (2010) Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos Date Released: June 25, 2010 Date Seen: January 21, 2011 Rating: 4.25/5

Ok, this may have gone slightly done in my estimation since I first saw it. But I still think it's the best film of last year. So damn good. See my piece for Slant Magazine.

16) The Living End (1992)

16) The Living End (1992) Dir: Gregg Araki Date Released: August 21, 1992 Date Seen: January 20, 2011 Rating: 3.75/5

Quite good. See my piece for the New York Press.

15) No Strings Attached (2011)

15) No Strings Attached (2011) Dir: Ivan Reitman Date Released: January 21, 2011 Date Seen: January 18, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5

Yeah, I liked it. What of it? See my review for Nomad Wide Screen.


14) Zenith (2010)

14) Zenith (2010) Dir: Vladan Nikolic Date Released: January 19, 2011 Date Seen: January 18, 2011 Rating: 2.5/5

I wanted to like this more, really I did. See my review for the New York Press.

13) Blind Fury (1989)

13) Blind Fury (1989) Dir: Phillip Noyce Date Released: March 1990 Date Seen: January 17, 2011 Rating: 2.75/5

Or, American Zatoichi, Starring Rutger Hauer as Zatoichi. See my review for the New York Press.