Friday, September 11, 2020

Hellraiser (1987)

In romance fiction, there is very little that could be considered conflict. Therefore, S&M is sometimes used as seasoning for an otherwise bland dish. Take out everything but the seasoning and you have Hellraiser.

This is one of those movies I watched in my college apartment before I realized the value of headphones. If you had passed my door late one night, you might have heard a mix of screams, rattling chains, and raspy moaning. A neighbor complained of me playing World of Warcraft. (A less lascivious assumption than could have been made.)

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Barbarella (1968)

Barbarella is an enchanting acid space opera and an icon of the 1960s. In the distant future when spacecraft are so advanced and so personal that they are almost literally powered by love, Jane Fonda saves the universe from Duran Duran’s doomsday machine.

The film was written as a lighthearted romp through space, a satire that never for one moment takes itself seriously. Though not emotionally impactful, watching the film gives a sense that the storytellers of the day were mildly optimistic about the future, with space liberation almost a certainty.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

Funky Forest: The First Contact is not an easy film to discuss. While some films are off-color, this film is slightly out of its mind. It is difficult to describe a plot that precisely summarizes any of it, let alone draw conclusions of what the film is “about”.

The charm of Funky Fores is that, in its live-action Japanese multi-director anthology form, there are a lot of things that are hard to fully comprehend. Yet, at the film’s core there is genuine emotion and character. It is something you feel more than understand, at times tasting with your mind rather than seeing with your eyes.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I Stand Alone (1998)

A number of 1990s independent films were criticized as being “too indie” or “too foreign”. Most of these criticisms came from the US and UK, where experimental style wasn’t a big thing yet. Nowadays, anything goes. Back in the ’90s, the slightest bit of style made a film “weird”.

Enter the mind of Gaspar Noé in 1991. He had just finished his short cinematic masterpiece Carne (loosely translated: “horse meat”). It was awesome. Seven years later, the film was reborn in feature form as I Stand Alone.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Hack though he is, Joel Schumacher can occasionally turn out an okay film. The Phantom of the Opera is less of a Batman-level war crime and more of a border skirmish, with an old boring book that nobody read on one side, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famed rock opera on the other.

Schumacher’s interpretation is mostly faithful to the Broadway show. The characters sing, the costumes are extravagant, and the physical acting is as operatic as you could ask for. In a word, the film is epic. Epic characters, epic drama, epic emotions.

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