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This looks simultaneously like one of the most AWESOME and WORST things to have ever been given a budget.

And I'm going to have to see it someday.

Oh my, yes.

my_window_seat: (Alan Cumming)
Calling all serious film freaks - er, and just freaks, period -

I've taken to trusting [ profile] flemco's recommendation on things to see that are worth seeing. He recently posted about Shortbus, so that was what I picked to watch this evening.

If graphic and completely unsentimentalized treatment of sexuality is something you can not only stomach but find interesting, this is definitely a must-see for you.

Well, I have to qualify that statement a little. There is sentiment. There is sex. The two don't always go together in this film. Kinda like, you know, in real life.

But - sometimes they do. And sometimes they meet in very unexpected ways.

It's not a pretty film, although there are some pretty people and very beautiful moments in it. It's not porn, but there's a lot of very undisguised and very real sex going on in it. It's not a love story, although there are stories about love in it.

Hard to say what it is. Except that it's an exceptionally great piece of work.

Huh. wow.
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Wow. My brain ended up in a space where I didn't want it to be tonight. I just watched Avalon though, and it was the mind sponge I needed. Long, slow (to the point of painfulness at times), but absolutely saturated with eye and ear goodness. Filmed on location in Poland, directed by a Japanese manga-art specialist, with a score of pure choral ecstasy. I'm not a gamer by any means, but this was just - wow.

It's a simple story set in a sepia-toned, middle European future where people participate in battle simulation games as a substitute for what they aren't finding in the 'real' world. Of course there's an uber-secret illegal game with top level that a certain few are willing to risk turning themselves into vegetables to attain access to - because of course, the game is addictive and can turn the user's brain into Jello PuddingTM if they screw up once they're there - hence the attraction, one assumes. The ultimate challenge.

Very, very simple. But so beautifully executed that I feel wonderfully at peace and can finally get to sleep, now that my own mind has been successfuly purged.

If you have the attention span for it, it's well worth the time.

Now - to sleep.
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Ganked from [ profile] ilovescabs, because he's cool like dat.

The latest short from Neill Blomkamp, Alive In Joburg is available for viewing:

Transformers meet Cthulu meet - uh - South Africa...?

As [ profile] ilovescabs said, I want to see something feature-length from this guy - STAT.

Also, not only is this a well-crafted bit of documentary-esque sci-fi, it's also possibly the most well-executed anti-apartheid allegory I've ever seen.

Back to homework...
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Though the file seems to be terminally stuck at 99.3%, I think I have completed a functional download of Ray Lawrence's 1985 film, Bliss.

I just did a cursory check of the file in VLC, and it does appear that a desire of twenty years' standing to see this film again is about to be realized.*

You may now worship my hard drive.

:: cue angelic choir ::

* Okay, so sometime after the Homework Mound of Unusual Size is dealt with. Sometime soon, anyway.
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Can't fucking sleep. Compiled a list of movies for no apparent reason and with no particular theme, and my thoughts on them. Enjoy or disregard. Send me some sleep if you have any extra laying around.

Fog of War - 11 Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
A look into the life and history of the former Secretary of Defense, president of the World Bank and president of the Ford Motor Co., too. Occassionally succumbs to style ("OMG looka me I'm a edgy FILM MAKER!"), but it's worth looking past this - it's 98% McNamara on camera telling his own story, flipping from past to present in a way that makes a strange kind of sense. Educational and interesting, and a little bit sad.

City of God (Cidade de Deus)
Visually surreal, viscerally stimulating, but with a plot that is never lost under style. Based on a true story, it could be but isn't a documentary of street life in Rio de Janeiro - it's tinged with a kind of magical realism at the barrel of a gun that haunts.

Kung Fu, aka Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Karate, comedy and asian fairytale, with weird and wild exagerating of style bordering on Saturday morning cartoons. Beware of chain-smoking landladies and blind men bearing auto harps. No, really. I'm serious.

A first-time director and a very low-budget sci-fi-esque story. All hard science, all dialogue, only about 10 seconds of special effects that you'll miss if you blink. A strange little orobourus of story-telling and physics that I didn't always understand, but found myself wanting to keep watching all the way to the end.

Road to Perdition
A slow, dark crime drama about a hitman's son and conflicting loyaties where family and the underworld collide. A rare opportunity to see Tom Hanks as something other than a sympathetic protagonist. Score by Thomas Newman, hands down my favorite contemporary composer.

Dogtown and the z-boys
Not to be confused with the recent N'Synch-ish mtv-style remake that came out this year, this is the documentary about the kids who brought the ocean to the shore - er, invented skate boarding. I'm not even a board-dork and I still really got into this.

Another slow one. Nicole Kidman as a woman who is led to believe that a neighborhood boy is her reincarnated husband. Controversial because of some interesting scenes between her and the boy. Has one of the longest single-shot takes of nothing more than Kidman's face; probably one of the best examples of dialogue-without-words I've ever seen. Weird.

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
Documentary about the man who 'improved' the electric chair. One man's thinking about how to make the process of capital punishment 'more humane' - eery similarities to the kind of thinking that brought us the guillotine. Gets really weird when it explores Leuchter's eventual obsession with the Holocaust, and why he's convinced it never happened. Wacked.

Sex and Lucia (Lucía y el sexo)
Foreign film in a moment of greatness. The title does not disappoint; there is sex. There is also story, one where the writer seems trapped in his own tale. Circular and sensual.

Heaven (2002)
Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi are one of the unlikeliest and yet strangely believeable pairings in a story about a woman trying to find her husband's killer. The story is interesting enough, but it gets upstaged - in the right kind of way - by the mood created by the director and cinematographer. There are stories beyond stories, and this is one of them.

Sin City
Graphic beyond description, but probably one of the most faithful interpretations of comic book to screen. It's really like the pages have been torn out of the stapled bindings and electrocuted into life. All of the rest of the comic book movies are cannon fodder in front of this one.

Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions)
The most recent work by Denys Arcand, my favorite director of all. Almost a sequel to Le Déclin de l'empire américain (The Decline of the American Empire). An exploration of death and relationships and the social arrangements of all the things that go into the distillation of life. As with all of Arcand's films, I didn't want it to end, which I think is exactly how the central character and the director must have felt as well.
my_window_seat: (AA Icon)
How - I mean, just - how -

How does George Lucas go from making something as conceptually unique and stylistically challenging as THX 1138 into the space/sci-fi/soap-opera genre, never to return to the realm of the original ever again?

Until today, I'd never even heard of this film, even though it was made in 1970 and is apparently a well-referenced work. I found out about it by sheer chance; my neighbor and I were briefly chatting in passing, which led to an exchange of movies - I gave him Jesus of Montreal and Amateur to watch, and he loaned me his DVD set of THX, and I just watched it - and I'm going to have to watch the additional DVD of features and commentary tomorrow night, just to find out what the folks who put this together have to say about it.

I don't even know what to say except that it just boggles my mind, mostly because Lucas started out as a genius. I mean, I can't say that I'd want every movie to look like this one, but the fact that it was made at all just - it just challenges my ideas of what can be done with so little dialogue and with so much attention being paid to crafting an overall structure and letting the pieces assemble themselves in the audience's mind.

It's like the universe decided to hand me a mental breathmint to get rid of the sour aftertase from watching the drek that is The Island the other night.

And just when I lose faith in a benevolent universe...


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