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A few reviews
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
There seems to be some debate as to whether 'Freddy Got Fingered' is accidentally terrible and one of the worst films ever made, or a deliberately terrible surrealist satire and therefore genius... after watching I'm firmly in the latter camp. Tom Green satirizes gross-out 90s comedies by making the most out there, grossest 90s comedy possible, featuring him wearing the carcass of a deer and licking a guys open wound. He satirizes sentimental Hollywood "finding yourself" type writing by filming the most ridiculously sentimental and reductive scenes that satisfy all those cliched story beats, having a father and son saying the word "proud" over and over again to each other. He's satirizing the trope of the female love interest being just a goal and reward for the male hero by having her instantly fall in love with our psychotically awful main character and say things like "All I want to do in life is suck your c**k". The soundtrack is all "on the nose" jukebox choices, so songs like 'I've Gotta Be Me', 'Personality Crisis' and 'When A Man Loves A Woman' accompany montages of literally those things, before quickly descending into insanity. Green screaming in a high pitched whine, raving incessantly and babbling gibberish will probably annoy a lot of people but I laughed myself silly. I'm almost certain the subplot about Green's character being given a million dollars by a Hollywood executive, which he wastes on nonsense is a big joke on the real Fox executives that gave him millions to make this nonsense.





Jobriath A.D. (2012)
Considering how brief and unsuccessful (critically and financially) Jobriath's glam rock career was, this documentary does a surprisingly good job of assembling many scraps of video, film and photos (including spotting Richard Gere doing backing vocals). Even so they have to round things out with animation and lots of to-camera interviews. His friends, family, band members and fellow performers are effusive in their praise for Jobriath (aka Jobriath Boone/Bruce Campbell/Bryce Campbell/Cole Berlin/Joby), describing him as a gentle, kind, genius. A lot of the interview time is given over to Jobriath's manager/Svengali Jerry Brandt, leaving him plenty of rope to make himself look vain, self-serving and deluded, inter-cut with everyone else agreeing with that assessment. You kinda feel bad for Brandt because he was obviously very happy co-operating with a documentary that turned out to be a character assassination on him, although one that is probably justified. I don't think the film makes the case for Jobriath being some sort of undeniable mega star that was unfairly passed over (like say Sixto Rodriguez in the 'Searching for Sugar Man' film) but he certainly had enough talent to deserve better than the sad end he came to.  Audiences and the 1973 rock press weren't ready for an openly and unashamedly gay rock star and Brandt's insane over-hyping (taking out a huge billboard in Times Square and posters on 250 buses before a note had been heard) didn't endear anybody to Jobriath, especially when the product inevitably fell short of the inflated advertising.





^ The whole documentary is youtube.
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The Day of the Locust (1975)
John Schlesinger's adaptation of Nathanael West's 1939 novel about an aspiring painter and the various grotesque acquaintances he makes on the periphery of the movie business. As one character says, it's a depiction of Hollywoodland as "A Mecca of broken dreams" where characters hurl abuse at each other, drink themselves to death and watch silent porno reels. At first it plays like a nostalgic (thanks to John Barry's lush score and Conrad L. Hall's sepia magic-hour cinematography), wistful, lightly comedic Robert Altman style multi-character portrait of the seedy underbelly of Hollywood. However, it slowly becomes more nightmarish, violent, offensive and terrifying as it goes on. All the people depicted are increasingly portrayed as loathsome, prejudiced and self-obsessed, with the exception of Donald Sutherland's 'Homer Simpson' (yep that's where the name came from). A sad, repressed man, too timed to object to the monstrous treatment he receives from the others. Sutherland contorts his body into awkward shapes and movements, his face vacillating between childish delight and painful anguish.

There are many shots of newspaper headlines showing the rise of Nazism and the march of war in Europe but the characters do not notice them, like they're stuck in a trance, unable to wake up. A sound-stage construction for a recreation of the Battle of Waterloo collapses, the wreckage mixing the extras with fake war injuries, with those with real movie injuries. The last 10-minutes is some of the most harrowing, chaotic, insane sh*t I've ever seen in a movie. A violent riot breaks out during a premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater, as a radio commentator continues his excited monologue, unable to tell where the manic crowd of movie fans ends and the blood thirsty mob begins. Steven Spielberg's mega-blockbuster 'Jaws' came out 6-weeks after 'The Day of the Locust' (which made little profit), so it's easy to see why Hollywood stopped letting directors like Schlesinger make huge, mad, abrasive films like this but god I wished they still did! I think it's out-of-print on DVD and has never been released on blu-ray, or been restored but if you can find it, it's well worth discovering.



This scene is a good sample of the low-level weirdness before it gets really disturbing...

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I didn't like the book or movie of The Day of the Locust, but I had to read and watch it for class. Maybe that's why I had a negative reaction to it and should probably revisit it.
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(08-04-2020, 12:56 PM)Masirimso17 Wrote: I didn't like the book or movie of The Day of the Locust, but I had to read and watch it for class. Maybe that's why I had a negative reaction to it and should probably revisit it.

I expect the roster of completely horrible characters would be a turn off for many, so instead, here's something joyous, without an once of cynicism... Smile

True Stories (1986)
Talking Heads' David Byrne co-writes and directs a fantasy, documentary-style, musical exploration of the fictional town of 'Vergil Texas' (although it's often filmed with real Texas locations and people).  Byrne himself plays the narrator and interviewer, questioning people about their "Sesquicentennial celebration of special...ness". That's what his film is all about too, celebrating the uniqueness of everyday people and the eccentric lives they live, which seem perfectly normal to them. It's like a more down-to-earth Wes Anderson, or like the more joyful, frivolous parts of 'Twin Peaks'. There's a married couple who don't speak directly with each other, a woman who never leaves her bed and a lady who spins the most elaborate, hilarious and inventive lies to anybody who will listen. If there's a main character, it's John Goodman's 'Louis Fyne', an irrepressibly good natured single guy looking for the right girl to marry. 'True Stories' is a vision only Byrne could've brought to life, touching on themes of consumerism, technology and small-town life with such an inquisitive and embracing attitude. The onscreen titles by frequent collaborator Tibor Kalman and his design firm M & Co. are noticeably beautiful and having the end titles scroll at different speeds was a unique touch. The 4K scan on the Criterion blu-ray looks pin-sharp but I don't care for the new colour timing and I wished they'd included the old 4:3 version too, it often looked great in that ratio. Still, it looks fine with the some adjustments to the brightness/contrast/saturation and it's great to have the soundtrack on CD too.

I took some screenshots:

[Image: 50188745543_236a924f11_o.jpg]



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Laserdisc looks best to my untrained eye.
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Water Lilies aka Birth of the Octopuses (2007)
I wasn't as bolled over by Céline Sciamma's debut film as much I was with her later ones but I did like it. It's another coming-of-age story about three 15-year-old girls set within the world of synchronized swimming. It's mostly told from the perspective of Marie (Pauline Acquart) who develops feelings for Floriane (Adèle Haenel), which leads her to neglect her friendship with Anne (Louise Blachère). The complicated feelings and self-doubts of the three young women are beautifully explored.



Pauline (2010)
'Pauline' is a short film by Céline Sciamma in which Anaïs Demoustier's title character delivers a monologue towards the camera while lying on her bed. I believe it was commissioned as part of a government initiative to counter homophobia. Pauline intimately talks about her being outed by a boy and ridiculed by the people from her small town. It's intimate and sad but Sciamma's muse Adèle Haenel brings a ray of sunshine in a brief cameo. It's only 8-minutes and the format works strongly but even so, surely there are more interesting ways to do this than in one shot.

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Under Siege (1992)
'Under Siege' is probably the best of the 'Die Hard' wannabes and I watched this a ton of times back in the 90s. It does have it's own elements that make it feel different enough from 'Die Hard'. Unlike the struggling every-man 'John McClane', Steven Seagal's Casey Ryback' is an unstoppable, limitlessly proficient superman. His self-deprecating modesty keeps you on his side but the inevitability of his victory does make him feel almost like the antagonist. The group of terrorists seem to be having so much fun doing their evil deeds and get so upset when Ryback keeps screwing up all their careful plans, that you kinda want them to beat him, like they were the protagonists. Top terrorist Tommy Lee Jones is half the movie, almost every line is never knowingly under delivered, quotable gold. Gary Busey's performance is crazy genius too. This is definitely Seagal's best attempt at acting (which isn't saying much), managing to have quite a bit of chemistry and banter with improbable playboy bunny sidekick Erika Eleniak.



Who even needs Seagal and explosions when you've got these two characters together in a scene...?



Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)
I loved 1992's 'Die Hard' knockoff 'Under Siege' but this sequel got so panned that I never bothered to see it until now. It's no masterpiece but I'd much rather re-watch this again than either of the last two genuine 'Die Hard' sequels. Steven Seagal is a pudgy, wooden, charisma vacuum but luckily the rest of the cast is stocked with scenery chewing character actors like Eric Bogosian, Everett McGill, Jonathan Banks and Kurtwood Smith giving it their all. It's all pretty cliched stuff but the action is pretty entertaining. The heart pumping score by the late great Basil Poledouris helps to elevate the whole experience. There is a lot of ropy early CGI unfortunately but lots of real stunts and blood squibs too.  If you just want some preposterous popcorn entertainment then 'Under Siege 2: Dark Territory' fits the bill.

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(08-07-2020, 02:22 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Under Siege

I love both of these films. If you've not seen it already I think you'd enjoy Broken Arrow.
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(08-07-2020, 02:22 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)
It's no masterpiece but I'd much rather re-watch this again than either of the last two genuine 'Die Hard' sequels. 

I saw this in the theater fully expecting it to be horrible, but just hoping for one or two good action scenes.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Sure, it's basically a rinse and repeat, and doesn't quite have the story complications or acting chops of the previous film, much less Die Hard With A Vengeance, but I'll be damned if it wasn't pretty compelling, and the action was great.  I need to revisit this...if I can mind wipe my knowledge of what a taint stain Seagal has become.
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(08-07-2020, 02:34 PM)Malthus Wrote:
(08-07-2020, 02:22 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Under Siege

I love both of these films. If you've not seen it already I think you'd enjoy Broken Arrow.

I watched it once when it first came out and thought it was pretty good. One of John Woo's less disappointing Hollywood movies IIRC. I must give it a re-watch sometime.

(08-07-2020, 04:30 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote:
(08-07-2020, 02:22 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)
It's no masterpiece but I'd much rather re-watch this again than either of the last two genuine 'Die Hard' sequels.

I need to revisit this...if I can mind wipe my knowledge of what a taint stain Seagal has become.

Nobody had any respect for him to begin with, so it's not too difficult Big Grin .
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