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Showing posts from March, 2014

Dune (1984) ***1/2

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I've never read the book(s), though I'd like to someday, but I've come to appreciate the film, in all its strangeness and despite its flaws, more and more with each viewing.

Godzilla (Gojira) (1954) ***

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I know it's a "classic", but I've always found it a bit clunky, boring and cheesy. It's just as melodramatic as anything by Kurosawa(whom I don't necessarily love every film by), Kobayashi and other legendary Japanese directors, but with inferior technique, ham-fisted, heavy-handed "message movie" dialogue (delivered poorly often times) and distractingly dated effects.

I recognize its cultural impact, but I can't pretend to think it's an excellent film because it's expected of me. Also, I'm just not really into kaijuKING KONG being an exception (and it doesn't technically count), which, in my opinion has better FX and was released 21 years before GOJIRA.

Here Comes The Devil (2012) ***

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What a frustrating film. So much about it is good or has/had potential. Parts of the score are excellent. But its schizophrenic nature, occasional poor sound mixing and dodgy FX work against it. I'm still giving it *** because it was well-made overall. But they hype surrounding this film is a bit much and not entirely deserved in my opinion.

The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears (2013) ****1/2

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This may well have beaten out THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL as my favorite film of the year. I need a second viewing of both though.

Even stranger, gorier (some scenes were incredibly intense and uncomfortable) and more Lynchian than AMER. Amazingly, I think AMER actually makes more sense. I can't pretend to have followed the "plot" (which involves a man looking for his missing wife, among lots of other bizarre shit) exactly, but as long as you can buy into art for art's sake, you will love this film.

Need I say visually stunning? I would liken this filmgoing experience (part of the Boston Underground Film Festival) with that of seeing BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW(which I described as "2001 meetsEraserhead meets The Man Who Fell To Earth meets Amer meets THX 1138 meets Cronenberg meets Coscarelli meets Vangelismeets Tangerine Dream", 2 years ago, which I saw as part of the Independent Film Festival Boston. And just look at the gorgeous poster (which I'm dying t…

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) ****

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GREMLINS 2 is to GREMLINSas THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2is to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and in this case, in my opinion, a better sequel to its original.

The Wicker Man - The Final Cut (1973) ***1/2

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Second viewing and I still don't quite get why this film is so "worshiped".

Focus On Film: Episode 15 - June 2014 Criterion Titles

Focus On FilmEpisode 15 is up!
Download the MP3 HERE.

In this episode: June 2014 Criterion Collection Titles AnnouncementBest/Worst Of The Month AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL(1972), ME AND ORSON WELLES (2008), KING OF THE HILL(1993), BUFFALO '66 (1998)"Criterion Most Wanted"
"Focus On Film Theme" & other music: Daniel Sardella

The Driver (1978) ****1/2

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Without doubt, some of the best car chase sequences I've ever seen, amidst a cool, calm and collected slowburner.

Darkman (1990) ***1/2

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The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1945) ****

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Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974) ****

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The Killer Inside Me (2010) ****1/2

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My third time watching this and each time my star rating went up a half star. One of the most accurate adaptations of a novel I've ever seen.

Jim Thompson 'The Killer Inside Me' (1952) ****1/2

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My third and favorite Jim Thompson book so far. To steal the cover quote by Stanley Kubrick: "probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered." Thompson wrote the dialogue for Kubrick's THE KILLING and the screenplay for the director's PATHS OF GLORY.

I have not seen the 1976 film version of 'The Killer Inside Me', but I think the 2010 versionis excellent and it is an incredibly accurate adaptation of the novel (literally every page is translated).

Amer (2009) ****1/2

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Recommended if you enjoy hypersensitivity, minimal dialogue, extreme close-ups, over-accentuated sound design, Mario Bava, close-ups of eyes, absence of narrative, Gialli, beautiful brunettes, creepy dudes, Alejandro Jodorowsky, "artsy-fartsy" films, fetishistic close-ups of female anatomy in sundresses, David Lynch.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) ***

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The Getaway - Unrated Version (1994) **1/2

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Planes, Trains And Automobiles (1987) ***1/2

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The Danman Top 100 Films

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After I (finally) finished watching all of the AFI Top 100 Films recently, I decided to take it upon myself to attempt the seemingly impossible task of creating my own top 100 films.

Picking out the 100 films was tough, but I set some criteria for myself:

1. I had to currently own the film. Naturally, this means that there are absolutely films that are missing from the list that would have been included (DOUBLE INDEMNITY, DIE HARD and PREDATOR spring to mind, just off the top of my head), so substitutions were made. My reasons for not owning some of the films at the moment are varied and may include availability on Blu-ray.

2. I tried to limit the number of titles I chose by the same director. This was more difficult. Initially I thought that I should only include 1 title per director but that proved impossible (I mean, Kubrick, PTA, Wes Anderson, the CoenBros., Spielberg - c'mon!). A sub-criteria I made for myself was to only include 1 title by any given director in my T…

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) ****1/2

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I was wavering between a 4-star a 4 1/2-star rating for this film in my mind for some time, but decided to settle on ****1/2 because I think a repeat viewing will make me appreciate it even more. Because the first time I see a Wes Anderson film I'm usually just along for the ride and grinning almost throughout and the second (and subsequent) viewings are when I'm catching more dialog and nuances. And, unfortunately, there was a problem with the DCP for this film, so the audience I was with had to wait over an hour to restart the film where it had left off when it had issues (it was worth it).

It can be said that I am firmly in Wes Anderson's camp and have been since his second feature RUSHMORE(still my favorite of his) was released on home video. I think his style is all his own and I'm OK with him making very similarly-styled films. Only a couple of his films (THE DARJEELING LIMITEDand MOONRISE KINGDOM) have struck me as being somewhat inferior to his other work, tho…

An American Hippie In Israel (Ha-Trempist) (1972) **

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Throne Of Blood (Kumonosu-jô) (Spider's Web Castle) (1957) ****

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Faust (1926) ***1/2

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Barton Fink (1991) ****

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Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) *****

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The Underneath (1995) ***

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King Of The Hill (1993) ****

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Bad Day At Black Rock (1955) ****

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I was really impressed with this one. John Sturges directed 2 straight-up classics (that I've seen) - THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960) &  THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963), but also a film, NEVER SO FEW(1959), that was too much like propaganda for me. Additionally, I need to see JOE KIDD (1972) one of these days because Elmore Leonard wrote the screenplay.

Getting back to BAD DAY, this is a gritty western/noir with a "man's man" cast and excellent dialog.

Intolerable Cruelty (2003) ****

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This film, along with BARTON FINK, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE and A SERIOUS MANare the most underrated Coen Bros. films in my opinion.

The dialog is sharp as a tack (watch the video below). Clooney is perfect. The character names are ridiculous and fun (as in HUDSUCKER). Picture a modern version of HIS GIRL FRIDAYand other screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s. Don't be fooled by the lame poster and the way the film was marketed. This is pure Coens.

The Visitor (Stridulum) (1979) ***

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After The Thin Man (1936) **** [Nick & Norathon Pt. 2]

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Titanic (1997) **

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Corruption (1968) ***

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The Getaway (1972) ***1/2

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