movies i've watched. for better or worse.

a remembrance of the movies i've spent many hours viewing when i could have been reading, taking a walk, vacuuming, or scrubbing the toilet.

I’ll Do Anything (1994)

Home to one of the worst child actors to ever step in front of the  camera, and a lack of tone that’s shocking from someone like James L. Brooks.   Each scene bounces to the next without reason, characters (such as  Tracey Ullman’s) resemble unseasoned stew meat, and Brooks’ attempt to  coax a gentle performance from Nick Nolte backfires wildly.  This a man  you believe would drown his daughter if he thought he could get away with  the crime.

I’ll Do Anything (1994)

Home to one of the worst child actors to ever step in front of the camera, and a lack of tone that’s shocking from someone like James L. Brooks. Each scene bounces to the next without reason, characters (such as Tracey Ullman’s) resemble unseasoned stew meat, and Brooks’ attempt to coax a gentle performance from Nick Nolte backfires wildly. This a man you believe would drown his daughter if he thought he could get away with the crime.

— 2 years ago
#james l. brooks  #comedy  #nick nolte  #joely richardson  #tracey ullman  #i'll do anything 
Cookie’s Fortune (1999)

Though Altman’s desire for Southern authenticity tends to border  on parody, it remains one of his most endearing comedies without a hint  of schmaltz.  The scenes between Patricia Neal & Charles S. Dutton  are especially warm and genuine.  It also has the distinction of being the only flick where Glenn Close eats an entire sheet of paper with unexpected zeal.

Cookie’s Fortune (1999)

Though Altman’s desire for Southern authenticity tends to border on parody, it remains one of his most endearing comedies without a hint of schmaltz. The scenes between Patricia Neal & Charles S. Dutton are especially warm and genuine.  It also has the distinction of being the only flick where Glenn Close eats an entire sheet of paper with unexpected zeal.

— 2 years ago
#cookie's fortune  #robert altman  #glenn close  #julianne moore  #comedy  #liv tyler 
La passion Béatrice (The Passion of Beatrice) (1987)

Great film with a wicked mean streak, but the constant nagging as to why Julie Delpy’s character doesn’t just kill herself can become bothersome at times.

La passion Béatrice (The Passion of Beatrice) (1987)

Great film with a wicked mean streak, but the constant nagging as to why Julie Delpy’s character doesn’t just kill herself can become bothersome at times.

— 2 years ago
#julie delpy  #french  #drama  #bertrand tavernier  #passion of beatrice 
The Day of the Locust (1975)
Hunter S. Thompson wished he could have been as gonzo as John Schlesinger’s opus.  While the prospect of Hollywood adapting Nathanael West’s novel is much akin to a lemon slicing himself open to make lemonade, there’s so much wacky shit tossed onscreen for the viewer to absorb that you nearly forget the outrageousness of the adaptation.  Karen Black was torn apart for her supposed miscasting, yet in hindsight, manages to give one of the best performances of the decade; she could almost be the Marion Davies of the seventies.  When Donald Sutherland finally explodes in the apocalyptic horror show of a finale, your hatred for her & her consumption of those around her reaches a fever pitch, much like Sutherland.  Just try finding one character who isn’t crazy and marvelously so.

The Day of the Locust (1975)

Hunter S. Thompson wished he could have been as gonzo as John Schlesinger’s opus.  While the prospect of Hollywood adapting Nathanael West’s novel is much akin to a lemon slicing himself open to make lemonade, there’s so much wacky shit tossed onscreen for the viewer to absorb that you nearly forget the outrageousness of the adaptation.  Karen Black was torn apart for her supposed miscasting, yet in hindsight, manages to give one of the best performances of the decade; she could almost be the Marion Davies of the seventies.  When Donald Sutherland finally explodes in the apocalyptic horror show of a finale, your hatred for her & her consumption of those around her reaches a fever pitch, much like Sutherland.  Just try finding one character who isn’t crazy and marvelously so.

— 2 years ago with 5 notes
#day of the locust  #karen black  #burgess meredith  #donald sutherland  #john schlesinger  #drama  #horror 
Stake Land (2010)
Zombieland without the idiocy.  It comes dangerously close to remaking The Road with some vampires tossed in, but the seriousness of the picture is refreshing without suffocating the viewer with earnestness.  One of the set pieces midway through manages to impress, as do the performances, which go a long way toward making one forget that everything is so goddamned humorless.

Stake Land (2010)

Zombieland without the idiocy.  It comes dangerously close to remaking The Road with some vampires tossed in, but the seriousness of the picture is refreshing without suffocating the viewer with earnestness.  One of the set pieces midway through manages to impress, as do the performances, which go a long way toward making one forget that everything is so goddamned humorless.

— 2 years ago with 16 notes
#connor paolo  #danielle harris  #horror  #jim mickle  #kelly mcgillis  #nick damici  #stake land 
How I Got Into College (1989)
It never makes you laugh as hard as Better Off Dead, and it certainly never reaches such absurdist heights, but Lara Flynn Boyle sure was endearing before she ceased eating.  It also doesn’t hurt that Corey Parker manages to make a non-character lovable.  Not great, but not painful either.

How I Got Into College (1989)

It never makes you laugh as hard as Better Off Dead, and it certainly never reaches such absurdist heights, but Lara Flynn Boyle sure was endearing before she ceased eating.  It also doesn’t hurt that Corey Parker manages to make a non-character lovable.  Not great, but not painful either.

— 2 years ago with 8 notes
#comedy  #corey parker  #lara flynn boyle  #savage steve holland  #how i got into college 
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)
40 years into her career and this still stands as Jodie Foster’s most accomplished performance & she was only 13 at the time.  The depth of sheer creepiness that she exudes as Rynn Jacobs is a wonder that Martin Sheen matches beat by beat as Frank Hallet, the neighborhood pedophile whose sights are set on her.  A subplot involving Scott Jacoby as a wannabe teenage magician tends to stop the flick dead in its tracks, but such problems seem trivial when the film ends on such a disturbing still shot of Foster’s disaffected face.
(The flick has been on DVD for years, but for the best viewing experience, seek out the grainy Vestron video.)

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)

40 years into her career and this still stands as Jodie Foster’s most accomplished performance & she was only 13 at the time.  The depth of sheer creepiness that she exudes as Rynn Jacobs is a wonder that Martin Sheen matches beat by beat as Frank Hallet, the neighborhood pedophile whose sights are set on her.  A subplot involving Scott Jacoby as a wannabe teenage magician tends to stop the flick dead in its tracks, but such problems seem trivial when the film ends on such a disturbing still shot of Foster’s disaffected face.

(The flick has been on DVD for years, but for the best viewing experience, seek out the grainy Vestron video.)

— 2 years ago with 8 notes
#jodie foster  #martin sheen  #mystery  #little girl who lives down the lane 
Games (1967)
My personal favorite from the depressingly underrated Curtis Harrington, flick plays as an American homage to Simone Signoret’s Diabolique.  Katharine Ross and James Caan are playfully meanspirited and bizarre, resulting in an ending that might seem quaint today but ultimately satisfying in its underhanded simplicity (even moreso if you’ve got Diabolique festering in the back of your mind).

Games (1967)

My personal favorite from the depressingly underrated Curtis Harrington, flick plays as an American homage to Simone Signoret’s Diabolique.  Katharine Ross and James Caan are playfully meanspirited and bizarre, resulting in an ending that might seem quaint today but ultimately satisfying in its underhanded simplicity (even moreso if you’ve got Diabolique festering in the back of your mind).

— 2 years ago with 2 notes
#curtis harrington  #horror  #thriller  #katharine ross  #james caan  #simone signoret 
The Caller (1987)
A glorified stage play, there’s nothing but 90 minutes of tense dialogue between the only two characters featured.  The finale is so batshit that it pleaded for an immediate sequel, but producer Charles Band was soon to discover the goldmine that is killer puppets.  Great flick, especially if you have the time to make some sense of it.

The Caller (1987)

A glorified stage play, there’s nothing but 90 minutes of tense dialogue between the only two characters featured.  The finale is so batshit that it pleaded for an immediate sequel, but producer Charles Band was soon to discover the goldmine that is killer puppets.  Great flick, especially if you have the time to make some sense of it.

— 2 years ago with 41 notes
#malcolm mcdowell  #horror  #suspense  #charles band  #empire pictures 
Heart of Midnight (1989)
Containing more of a non-sequitur than an actual plot, what we’re given is certainly creepy and sold completely by a spellbinding Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is so committed to her character that she treats the leg cast she’s arbitrarily forced to wear as if it’s her own ball & chain.  The audience is shown but told nothing, which lends itself well to developing an atmosphere of pure puzzlement, but that also leads to the laughable ineffectiveness of the climax.  Still, I loved it in an odd, odd way.  Yanni scored it and, surprisingly, it doesn’t suck.

Heart of Midnight (1989)

Containing more of a non-sequitur than an actual plot, what we’re given is certainly creepy and sold completely by a spellbinding Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is so committed to her character that she treats the leg cast she’s arbitrarily forced to wear as if it’s her own ball & chain.  The audience is shown but told nothing, which lends itself well to developing an atmosphere of pure puzzlement, but that also leads to the laughable ineffectiveness of the climax.  Still, I loved it in an odd, odd way.  Yanni scored it and, surprisingly, it doesn’t suck.

— 2 years ago with 33 notes
#jennifer jason leigh  #horror  #drama  #suspense  #peter coyote 
Something Wild (1986)
The crown jewel hidden in Demme’s filmography with the funkiest soundtrack to come out of the eighties.  An almost screwball-esque romp, featuring strangers Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith playfully lying to each other about their true identities & enjoying kinky Friday afternoon motel sex, suddenly turns dark when Ray Liotta strides onscreen as Griffith’s ex; all frightening machismo in tight jeans without the prop Stetson to tip over his beady eyes.  You never see it coming and it still manages to make me flinch every time I watch it.

Something Wild (1986)

The crown jewel hidden in Demme’s filmography with the funkiest soundtrack to come out of the eighties.  An almost screwball-esque romp, featuring strangers Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith playfully lying to each other about their true identities & enjoying kinky Friday afternoon motel sex, suddenly turns dark when Ray Liotta strides onscreen as Griffith’s ex; all frightening machismo in tight jeans without the prop Stetson to tip over his beady eyes.  You never see it coming and it still manages to make me flinch every time I watch it.

— 2 years ago
#melanie griffith  #jeff daniels  #ray liotta  #jonathan demme  #comedy 
Wide Sargasso Sea (1993)
A pitch-perfect gothic fable that grinds to a halt every time the principals disrobe.  Which, unfortunately, is rather often as dictated by the necessities of a plot where the physical is integral.  A conundrum, but at least we got a decent Stevie Nicks song out of it.

Wide Sargasso Sea (1993)

A pitch-perfect gothic fable that grinds to a halt every time the principals disrobe.  Which, unfortunately, is rather often as dictated by the necessities of a plot where the physical is integral.  A conundrum, but at least we got a decent Stevie Nicks song out of it.

— 2 years ago with 1 note
#gothic  #drama  #karina lombard 
Confessions (2010)

Perverse and enchanting because of it, probably the most arresting revenge flick I’ve seen in years.  Revenge stories play on the basest of instincts (a statement so cliche that it need not be said), but that’s most of the fun and by the climax of this particular jaunt, you can feel the ice reach through your television and touch your skin.  It’s brutal and frighteningly fun.

Confessions (2010)

Perverse and enchanting because of it, probably the most arresting revenge flick I’ve seen in years.  Revenge stories play on the basest of instincts (a statement so cliche that it need not be said), but that’s most of the fun and by the climax of this particular jaunt, you can feel the ice reach through your television and touch your skin.  It’s brutal and frighteningly fun.

— 2 years ago with 2 notes
#japan  #revenge  #takako matsu 
Amateur (1994)
My favorite Hartley.  Huppert as an ex-nun pornographer and self-proclaimed virgin nymphomaniac ("I’m choosy.") in a parody of film noir, the dialogue delivered so melodramatically that the joke is really on viewers who consider the flick itself to be understated.

Amateur (1994)

My favorite Hartley.  Huppert as an ex-nun pornographer and self-proclaimed virgin nymphomaniac ("I’m choosy.") in a parody of film noir, the dialogue delivered so melodramatically that the joke is really on viewers who consider the flick itself to be understated.

— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#hal hartley  #isabelle huppert  #martin donovan  #comedy