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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 10:33 am:   

New Thread time
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 11:39 am:   

Worst-looking movie trailer of the summer...SHOPGIRL with Steve Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 11:51 am:   

Well, I don't agree. Fantastic 4 and STEALTH take my prizes. And doesn't Clare Danes make you feel all oogly, Dave? :-)
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 12:17 pm:   

Isn't Stealth just Macross Plus, without the pop-singer elements? Reviving the plot of a 11 year old cartoon is a great way to seem modern.

F4's trailer was enough to scare me away. But Dukes of Hazzard was the worst trailer. F4 just made me not want to see that movie. Dukes makes me not want to watch any movie.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 12:55 pm:   

Yup.

Haven't see the Dukes preview. Not gonna. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 02:21 pm:   

Claire Danes lost me when she started taking up with Ben Lee. But she looks might good in that awful trailer...

Oogly???
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 03:09 pm:   

I figured every other starlet gets you going, so Clare must.

Yes...oogly. Like Spence gets sometimes on King of Queens. :-)

Surreal Life last night. Canseco, Pinchot... Need I say more. :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 03:27 pm:   

Robert, agreed on the Dukes of Hazzard trailer. It put a bad taste in my mouth that only the total elimination of the human race could possibly eradicate.

Careful, Lucius. You might see it by accident.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 03:32 pm:   

I'll avert my eyes.

I call that a Makes U Embarrassed to Be Human preview....
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 03:33 pm:   

Just watching a charming but also a slightly sad film -- Nights of Cabiria. I'll bet you guys have seen it. I know Dave's mentioned that he's a big Fellini fan. It does seem to be a little sanitized in its portrayal of a prostitute, but it was made in the 50s, which I'll keep in mind. I don't mind the romanticised view -- don't mind that at all. But don't get me wrong, I also appreciate gritty realism. It all depends on the context, I guess. I kind of have mixed feelings about the ending. Still, this is now one of my favourites made prior to 1960. Now I'm into Fellini.

I first heard about that talking jet movie after my friends who are hardcore zombie movie buffs --I wouldn't be at all surprised if they've seen every zombie movie ever made -- got back from Land of the Dead, opening night. They mentioned how shitty the movies previewed, like Stealth, were. They also said Land was awesome but I wouldn't like it because I'm too picky. Well, I think they're too easy. So based on that, and some reviews, I no longer have any expectations for Land. I guess I was hoping that Romero would make a brilliant come back that would kick ass because he's been making movies for so long. But when I think about it, he was never that good of a director. He made a few classics like Night and Martin, and Creepshow was one of the cooler gory horror movies when I was growing up in the 80s, but he's no where near a Carpenter or a Cronenberg.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 03:38 pm:   

Nights was Fellini's first film, I think. Very near the first, anyway.. Starred his wife, Giuletta Massini, and Richard Baseheart, who later played the admiral on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, in a severe case of career decline..
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 03:43 pm:   

Then it was a good one to start with.
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 03:49 pm:   

I just looked him up on IMDB and he directed five features and one short before Nights...
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:00 pm:   

Pretty near....
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:01 pm:   

Yeah. Further up that should have been watched not watching.
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:14 pm:   

But that's obvious.:-)
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PM
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:15 pm:   

Land of the Dead introduces a twist or two for the zombie concept.

The rich oppressing the masses is familiar ground but isn't it a likely tread for a scenario where zombies run rampant...i.e. the rich use the non-rich to provide for their needs and fight the zombies.

Doesn't make it a great film but at least Romero is working with his material. He could have regurgitated instead...
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:44 pm:   

I have an issue with Romero. Why is a guy still working the same vein of material 37 years after the fact? He showed he was capable of doing some offbeat, interesting material like THE CRAZIES and MARTIN. Working with the material is fine, but,dude, get some NEW MATERIAL! I personally love those horror anthology movies and, with the exception of Rusty Cundieff's unfairly ignored 1995 TALES FROM THE HOOD, CREEPSHOW was just about the last gasp of the subgenre (sigh).

Lucius, I missed THE SURREAL LIFE! How was the interplay between Omorosa and Janice Dickinson? Is Janice really trying to get a taste of Pepa? I meant to watch HOGAN KNOWS BEST, but I doubt anything could top Bobby Brown talking about pulling a turd out of Whitney Houston's bum. Now, THAT is a new zenith in television.
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:48 pm:   

I'll still probably see Land.

I've been avoided calls from friends for five days now, so I gotta go...
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PM
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:55 pm:   

I'll speculate that Romero has this larger scale opportunity this time around because there's a market for zombies.

His name/reputation provides a marketing opportunity.

So if investors and a studio are going to plop millions into one of his films are they going to go with the bullfrog treatment or the zombies?



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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 05:00 pm:   

Dave, Omarossa's deep into Jose. In an upset. Dickenson's the biggest B in the house. Accused Pinchot of molesting her. Pepa's cool. Jose is going to be the focal point, I think.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 05:03 pm:   

Oh yeah, agreed about Romero. Waste of breath and typing energy.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 05:21 pm:   

J.D. was the only reason to watch AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL. Let us hope that her bitchery continues unabated.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 05:34 pm:   

not much to worry about there... :-)
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 08:01 am:   

Dave: I did like The Crazies. It's at least good as campy 70s horror.

What horror anthology movies would you recommend?
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 08:56 am:   

Stephen: To be honest, I am in the process of trying to run down some of those old movies myself. Most of them I haven't seen in a long time, but if memory serves, DEAD OF NIGHT and TALES FROM THE CRYPT (the 1974 movie, not the HBO series) are among the best. One film I was able to track down was THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (which turned up recently on Turner Classic Movies), a movie I saw in a theater when I was about 13! Also very good, scary in parts, campy in parts, with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. I really want to track down ASYLUM and DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS. As I said above, I think TALES FROM THE HOOD (which can be easily found) is a hoot, definitely a worthy successor to the Amicus films of the 70s.

Anyone have any other suggestions? A bit off topic, but does anyone know if the old NIGHT GALLERY series is available on DVD? Last I heard, they were planning an all-horror cable channel that was going to run them, but no word on when that was going to kick off.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 10:11 am:   

Cat's Eye, I think, was the first horror antho flick that I saw when I was probably around eight. Another Stephen King antho. I haven't seen it for a while but I liked it as a kid. It has James Woods in a funny role, so right there, it's pretty decent. Still, this is not that scary PG 13 stuff. I guess a good intro for young kids.

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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 11:11 am:   

I wish they would put out NIGHT GALLERY, just in case any of them turn out to be better than I fear. I was so obsessed with the show that I actually read the tie-in anthologies. I once taped (with a cassette recorder) and transcribed the entirety of PROFESSOR PEABODY'S LAST LECTURE, which featured Carl Reiner lecturing a class at Miskatonic University on the absurdity of believing in the Elder Gods. Decent adaptations of some classic horror stories. The one about the "earwig" that burrowed through a fellow's brains and laid eggs along the way...good stuff for kids of the day, but I suspect it won't hold up too well. I've got the full set of THE OUTER LIMITS and they're pretty rough.

At some point someone started chopping up NIGHT GALLERY and feeding in cannibalized episodes of THE SIXTH SENSE. So for those who came to the series late, in syndication, it probably seemed really, really uneven.

DEAD OF NIGHT, as I recall, is a very old British b&w film. It features the classic version of the evil ventriloquist dummy story. I saw it at a convention years and years ago. But TALES FROM THE CRYPT, although a British production, was very faithful in spirit to the EC comics--full of spite and vengefulness.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 11:22 am:   

What was that one that had a western backdrop....campfire tales...? I think Brad Dourif was in it...then isn't he in all of them.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 12:35 pm:   

Lucius, that's Grim Prarie Tales.

Tom Savini's been trying to get funding for an anthology series (either direct to dvd or for cable). He did one episode that was entertaining, called it Chill Factor (no relation to the movie with Cuba Gooding Jr).
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 12:43 pm:   

I would ask Sam to opine on the current state of TV horror anthologies, but I think he may be too busy starting one of his own. Or staked out on Rovewatch 2005.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 12:45 pm:   

The other one I enjoyed (at the time--early 70s) was called GHOST STORY aka CIRCLE OF FEAR. Narrated by Sebastian (Mr. French) Cabot, they featured some pretty nightmarish little tales, one per week. I recall one of them featuring Jason Robards, and another a cursed wooden carousel horse.

Then again, I thought Gumby was nightmarish.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 12:55 pm:   

Right! Thanks, Robert...

Ask Sam to take a break. Rove won't vanish or anything..will he?
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 01:06 pm:   

Then there's the Masters of Horror series coming out next year...
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 01:09 pm:   

Night Gallery Season One was released on DVD last year. It's a nice set.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 02:28 pm:   

Marc, I think I recall that NG installment. Didn't Reiner go on and on making fun of the gods until he ended up looking like a mossy tree stump? The earwig episode was a classic, with an amazing payoff line that still is creepy today. With Laurence Harvey, I believe. There were a number of really good episodes: the one where Richard Thomas and his crew of Appalachian buddies "eat" the sins of their deceased friends; the one about the hypnotist's assistant who is hypnotized dead by the hypnotist who covets his wife; the one where Elsa Lanchester grows a new zombie body from severed fingers. What a show! Bring it back!

THE SIXTH SENSE with Gary Collins was OK, but it was more of a detective show than a horror show. I really liked CIRCLE OF FEAR. One tale about someone being trapped in the body of a death's head moth really stuck with me. Spooky stuff.

Another great old show: THRILLER with Boris Karloff. Some genuine chills there...

I was thinking about this the other day. Doesn't it seem in retrospect like there was a whole lot of horror on television in the 1970s, and that it is almost non-existent today? What have we got? The new OUTER LIMITS...the upcoming KOLCHAK remake...some reality show on one of the lesser networks (Bravo? TLC?) about "ghost hunters"...Not much.

Where is the movement for more horror on TV? What's MASTERS OF HORROR about?
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 02:47 pm:   

There's at least three new horror-scifi shows on TV this fall besides Kolchak. Threshhold, Surface, and one other, all inspired by Lost, I guess. And there are probably more.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 02:47 pm:   

Dave, you just recalled the other hypnotism episode, featuring Burgess Meredith as the highly suggestible convict who volunteers for an experiment...all I remember is his fucking TEETH MELTING...that image stuck with me forever and fed my nightmares. I think the other hypnosis story you mention was based on a Fritz Leiber story. They did a few Leibers. They had good source material, and Serling's involvement gave the whole thing a cigarette-smoke-tinged aura of respectability. Then there was the sappy "They're Closing Down Tim Reilly's Bar" with William Windom, which made me cry. Why an 11 year old kid was crying over the story of a nostalgic alky, I still dunno. That's Serling for you.

Rod Serling is underrated partially as a function of being overfamiliar. Whatever one thinks of Heston's acting in PLANET OF THE APES, or the production values, Sterling's script made it disturbing and memorable. I watched it recently and the essential story elements held up surprisingly well.

I think the gods gave Reiner a faceful of tentacles.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 04:19 pm:   

I don't really like network shows like Lost, but I guess it's better then a lot of what's on television. Or, I should say, I don't really watch them.

Dave: Here's a link for Masters of Horror.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448190/
It's not a T.V. show -- it's an anthology series, where the directors each do their own film, based on various scripts, sometimes their own, sometimes not. The link lists all the directors and writers involved. Each director's short, will be an episode. I think it'll be good, although maybe not all of it. It'll probably be mixed quality.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 05:28 pm:   

I was happy to learn that one of my co-workers has ordered the Roger Corman version of Fantastic Four, so I will proceed straight to the actual bad movie instead of the pretender.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 05:30 pm:   

Well, hell, there's Sam in the Masters of Horror list!

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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 06:02 pm:   

Good call on the Fantastic Four...:-)

I didn't know Sam was a masrer of horror.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 06:08 pm:   

He plays one on TV.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 06:25 pm:   

I didn't know he was on TV...

Re FF -- It'll be interesting to see whether or not FF has less drop off than WOTW, which had over 70 percent drop off, which is unheard of....
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:17 pm:   

Who's Sam?
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:52 pm:   

Guy who knows a bunch about movies, wrote Batman, etc. Sam Hamm
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 09:41 pm:   

Speaking of horror and DVDs...Dark Shadows continues it's long progress toward completion. Supposedly once they finish the series they'll actually begin again and put the first episodes on DVD.

The early story is rather startling as it deals with a cute boy who is intent on patricide. Even now I have a difficult time thinking that this storyline was running during the 60s on ABC in the daytime.

The stories drag on and on eternally and the show becomes progressively swamped in the supernatural monster mishmash...
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 09:50 pm:   

I used to rush home from school to watch Dark Shadows. All the cool girls in my class had a crush on Barnabas Collins. They pioneered time travel dream sequences with ghostly wind-up music boxes on a soap opera. Extra points for that!
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 10:05 pm:   

The actors certainly had to work under adversity, learning lots of dialogue day after day and essentially doing one take...

There were enjoyable plots and characters...but absolutely no hurry to finish a storyline...
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 07:28 am:   

I saw Quentin Tarantino's very first B&W film, My Best Friend's Birthday. I liked it, although it's incomplete. Quentin plays a DJ obsessed with Elvis, who throws a party (well, he gets him a call girl) for his best friend. It's pretty much a series of related scenes, that end in comedy. It even has a mock kung-fu fight scene. It's pretty much a comedy that takes itself seriously at times. It's around thirty minutes and cuts off abruptly -- obviously originally intended as a full length feature. I'd like to see Quentin do more small, dialog orientated comedies, along side his bigger projects, like the upcoming war movie. He's one of the only directors working in Hollywood that I like, who's actually creative and does it because he loves it.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 07:58 am:   

Sounds better than Inglorious Bastards. What the hell is he doing remaking the Dirty Dozen? I guess it gives Michael Madsen something to do.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:18 am:   

Haven't seen Dirty Dozen. I'd expect he'd do something original...
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

Don't tell me, let me guess...Does Madsen play the laconic, menacing sociopath?

I just saw the IMDB entry for Masters of Horror. Wow! It's a veritable "Who's Who" of the genre! Is that Angus Scrimm the creepy guy from PHANTASM?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:38 am:   

I don't know, but if he's in it, it's a real upset, because he's dead.

Madsen...probably. But he does it so well. :-)

Well, Stephen, it's the same damn plot, a bunch of soldiers are offered a choice--they can be executed or go on a dangerous mission for the Allies....
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:54 am:   

I wasn't saying I don't believe you, just that that's not what I expect from Quentin. He'll probably make it partly his own, partly an homage -- he likes to do that. Maybe he'll go in a completly different direction...
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:00 am:   

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0780133/

The imdb doesn't know it, if he's dead...They list him as working on the series. LS, are you sure we're thinking of the same guy?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:18 am:   

Guess I'm wrong. I heard he had terminal cancer during the last Phantasm...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:20 am:   

Wish Tarantino would stop with the homages....
Jackie Brown was great, but Kill Bill 1&2 should have been one picture.
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T Andrews
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:33 am:   

Lucius, you took the words right out of my mouth. The Bills were so self-indulgent...this war one smacks of the same thing. Jackie Brown was excellent.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:57 am:   

Yup, first of all I question the whole concept of the homage, but if you're gonna do it, for Christ's sake, be brief! :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 12:00 pm:   

I was really looking forward to the Paul Provenza-Penn Jillette doc THE ARISTOCRATS, which consists of dozens of comics telling the same venerable, dirty joke. But apparently in the new "moral values" America, the AMC chain won't show it...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 12:06 pm:   

Thank god for censors? Some stuff deserves to be repressed. :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 01:16 pm:   

THE ARISTOCRATS sounds like a perfect internet download. Maybe it'll run on PBS.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 01:53 pm:   

Maybe it will run on Bravo, as a silent film with the word "censored" over everyone's mouths.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 04:29 pm:   

Watched Kurosawa's Rashomon. Brilliant stuff. I loved it. Right off the bat it's good -- the pouring rain and the men sheltered under the temple, with some excellent camera work that isn't excessive. But it's when it starts getting into the tale of the encounter in the woods that the story really grabs hold, without letting go -- each version of the tale as entertaining as the last. Liked how he shot the wooded scenes with the sun glinting through the tall trees and the shadows cast by the leaves. Also has a great ending. It's a movie I could easily watch again.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 07:30 pm:   

Getting back to A History of Violence, which I think will be brilliant and one of the year's best films. Anyway, I can't help thinking it's thematically similar in some ways, to your latest novel, Handbook of American Prayer (which I also think will be brilliant). I'm going to read Handbook in a month or so, around AHOV's release. So it will be interesting...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 07:43 pm:   

Handbook and History--similar in theme? I don't see it, but maybe. Always nice to see Viggo and Harris, but I anticipate a conventional film....
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:05 pm:   

BTW, a history of violence doesn't go into wide release until Sept 30...

Dave, more horror on TV--two more series, Invasion and Whisperer on network TV
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:11 pm:   

From what I've heard the plot's more straightforward and narrative-driven than anything he's done before. And it's also his most accessible film in a while. But I've heard the subtext is very complex and unfamiliar, with disturbing undercurrents. It'll get people to think and give them powerful and conflicted feelings. At least, that's what I;ve heard. I think you commented at some point that you like movies that make you think about how you feel and that's exactly what History does. Even though Cronenberg's a very Canadian director, often with a Canadian feel for the settings -- this one takes place in the heart of the America midwest. It's obviously about the effects of violence on regular people's lives and how that can give the person greater insight into their own darker, primal side. Another major theme from what I've heard is celebrity. And like your novel, it involves a man who becomes a celebrity because of violence he's a part of. Deals with middle class complacency. Things like that.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:15 pm:   

And yeah, I've heard both the acting and directing's great.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:34 pm:   

Yeah, I''ve read the same reviews, but it looked really straight to me. I'm wait-and-see, but I'm looking forward to it.....
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:37 pm:   

Yeah, me too. Sure, straight in comparison to Videodrome or Naked Lunch.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 06:14 am:   

Lucius, do you mean "Ghost Whisperer" the Jen Love Hewitt thing? I forgot about that, but the reviewers I read were so bad...a real horrorshow, all right? "Invasion" looks promising.

But that "Masters of Horror" looks excellent. Anyone know what network is airing it?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 06:45 am:   

I don't know whether the Hewitt will be good or bad, but there'll be at least six new horror shows on network TV, which was the thrust of yr question.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 08:55 am:   

Dave, showtime picked it up. Here's a news link:
http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/index.php?Show=3639&Template=newsfull

They actually have good budgets to work with. Maybe they'll do another season after? Should be good...
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 08:57 am:   

I'm not really familiar with Showtime. Similar to HBO?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 09:07 am:   

Yup.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 09:24 am:   

Showtime has had some bad luck developing new series. If they really give this one some money/attention, it could be the hit that they have been waiting for...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 09:47 am:   

They've had hits. maybe none big as the Sopranos...but Queer as Folk has a decent audience, and Penn-Teller....but they have the best boxing shows on TV...

This'll never be Sopranos- or even Deadwood-big.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:29 am:   

My cousin, who's an actress, was on queer as folk. She played one of the kid's mom...
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:45 am:   

Last night I watched the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD. This is the movie I was hoping LAND OF THE DEAD would be.

Two nights ago, finally saw A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT. It was finely crafted, intricately dovetailed, beautifully composed, etc., etc. But in the end it felt like a very fine piece of furniture...a chest of empty drawers...just sort of sitting there. It spent the whole time humming around and when it finally settled, you could see it was almost weightless. I guess that can be a good thing. I can't say I wouldn't watch it again someday, but for a movie about World War One it felt strangely frivolous. Oh well. Recommended. One thing I did like about it was the fact that unlike any American movies I've seen recently, it featured human beings actually having something like actual sex as part of their relationships. This shouldn't have been a big deal until I realized how unusual it's become lately. American movies are now completely compartmentalized into pure pornography or mainstream movies devoid of sex. When sex does appear in a mainstream-targeted thriller, it usually involves pole dancing.

Next on my stack is the documentary, DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS. I decided to skip LORDS OF DOGTOWN entirely and go back to the source.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:47 am:   

They definitely have some good stuff, but they lack that major, flagship franchise that gets people talking around the H20 cooler. I think they felt that FAT ACTRESS was going to be it. Showtime also had RUDE AWAKENING with Sherilyn Fenn, which, until RSINXS, was the worst show ever.

I liked the first season of STRAIGHT TIME with Rob Morrow, before they focused the storylines on the parole officer Liberti in Season Two.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:51 am:   

I thought the Dawn remake sucked the big one Mark. I hated the ridiculously manipulative ending. But the whole movie sucked.

Doftown and Z-Boys is a good documentary.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:59 am:   

Don't go see movies with Dead in their title anymore.

I agree with you about the Genet--Everybody seems to have liked it, but I found it too pretty, too precious. Like all his movies, worth watching, but not for a me a second time.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 12:54 pm:   

I watched the director's cut of DAWN OF THE DEAD. A lot of my favorite stuff turns out to not have been in the theatrical release. Little "character moments" like the stuff they restored to the DVD versions of LOTR. Not sure that would sway you if you hated the whole enterprise, Stephen, but I thought the movie was smart. I loved the ending especially...what was interspersed with the credits, I mean.

I liked A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT a lot better than AMELIE, which made me gag. I think he does better when his movies contain more Dominique Pinon and less Audrey Tatou. Pinon was wasted in this one, playing a role that could have gone to just about anyone.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 01:05 pm:   

I enjoyed A Very Long Engagement in the theater. I'll see if I still like it when I get the DVD. I often find the first watching entertains me and subsequent watchings don't (like the most recent Peter Pan movie, which was unwatchable on TV).

Still haven't seen the new Dawn of the Dead. I get a kick out of the old one, largely due to the location (I live in Pittsburgh, so I recognize many locations in Romero films).
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 01:08 pm:   

Ack! Amelie was great. Long Engagement was great. Aliens 4 sucked.

JeffV
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 01:09 pm:   

I think the newer one is set in Wisconsin.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 01:15 pm:   

I agree about Amelie, Marc. Gag is what I did.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 02:00 pm:   

Lucius! But it's cute! And I know you like cute.

JeffV
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 02:07 pm:   

Jeunet is up and down for me. I like Delcatessan best of all his films, Amelie the least, but they're all watchable....at least. Amelie was just too much of a sugar rush.

And yeah, I like cute...but not in the movies.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 05:05 pm:   

For me, he hasn't topped CITY OF LOST CHILDREN. I know that was Jeunet et Caro, but still. What the hell is Caro up to these days?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 05:24 pm:   

I dunno....

IMDB doesn't have anything new on him
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 07:13 am:   

Mark, yeah, I did see some of the extra scenes, the first time I saw it. I still don't like it at all. My zombie movie loving friends all liked it. To me it represents so much of what's wrong in modern, popular, Hollywood horror movies. And not just Hollywood, but also some of the American made B movies. Cliched characters I can't care about. Gore and shock, without developing any true suspense. Manipulative sentiment. Weak plot. No depth. The only redeeming qualities I felt the movie had, was the soundtrack, which was just alright, and some of the actors are pretty good.
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 07:35 am:   

I can't stand the guy who played the everyman hero though...
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 09:30 am:   

Never mind all that! Word has been handed down at Sony Pictures that they are committing sacrilege by making a sequel to the best B movie of the post-Reagan era, ROAD HOUSE 2: LAST CALL, with Jonathan "That Thing You Do" Schaech in the Dalton role!

Egad, man. Is nothing sacred?????
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 10:07 am:   

Best b-movie of the post - Reagan era...Hmmm. I don't know about that. One of the best, certainly.

But the casting is terrible...
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 10:15 am:   

Jeez, I never expected you to agree with me on THAT one...:-) Can we agree that its luster should not be tarnished with a sequel?

But the casting...Swayze, Gazzara, Elliot, Lynch, John Doe...There are some quality teeth marks on that Double Deuce scenery!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 10:38 am:   

I meant the casting for the new movie is terrible...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 10:42 am:   

Any of our Austrailan posters seen Virgin Beasts? Can you recommend it?
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 12:51 pm:   

Speaking of John Doe, the Knitters have reunited for a new album and they're playing around. Wrong thread, I know, but so far the stuff I've heard off the album sounds great.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 09:07 am:   

Saw Tsai Ming-Liang's (The River, The Hole) new one, The Wayward Cloud, early this morning. It's a movie about porn, featuring musical numbers, and it's an amazing piece of film, but I'm going to have to watch it again, because I was way sleepy. One thing is clear, the guy's an important filmmaker and you should see it. I'm going to post an interview with him that I read. May lend some insight.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 09:13 am:   

2005-02-18 / Taiwan News,

Contributing Writer /

By Andrew Huang


Art-house master Tsai Ming-liang discusses his new movie 'The Wayward Cloud,' and his philosophies in a moody, existential interview(Rick Yi,Taiwan News)
For all the film buffs out there, Taiwan's film world enfant terrible Tsai Ming-liang is back again with his new movie "The Wayward Cloud," his bravest and most controversial work so far.

Tsai's latest movie "Wayward Cloud" is a daring, envelope-pushing movie about the lives of actors in the pornography industry. Frequent Tsai collaborator Lee Kang-sheng portrays a porn actor while Chen Shiang-chyi portrays a librarian who starts a relationship with Lee and ends up discovering that he is a porn actor. The movie contains lively musical scenes as well as sexually explicit scenes. The movie is selected for the official competition section in the 2005 Berlin Film Festival which ends February 20.

An award magnet, Tsai has won accolades with every single one of his movies. His debut movie "Rebel of the Neon God" won the Bronze Award at Tokyo Film Festival in 1993. His highly acclaimed second movie "Vive L'Amour" won the highly coveted Gold Lion Award and Fipresci Prize at Venice Film Festival in 1994. His third movie "The River" won the Silver Bear Award at Berlin Film Festival in 1997. His next movie "The Hole" won the Fipresci Prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1998. The 2001 movie "What Time Is It Over There" won the Grand Technical Prize at Cannes. The 2003 movie "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" won the Fipresci Prize at Cannes.

For "Wayward Cloud," which made its world premier in Berlin this past week, Tsai's long-term collaborators also show up for this cutting-edge movie. Actress Lu Yi-ching portrays an aging former porn star who sings her swan song against the backdrop of an eerie room filled with smoke and fire. Last year's Golden Horse best actress winner Yang Kuei-mei portrays another porn actress who sings a song in another scene. A real Japanese porn actress also plays a minor character.

As with all the Tsai movies, the revolutionary "The Wayward Cloud" contains minimal dialogues, almost invisible plot, continuous long shot and long scenes, lingering shots of human body parts that border on fetishism, dark-toned cinematography and, last, but not least, infinite possibilities for symbolic and metaphysical meanings.

Born in Malaysia in 1957, Tsai grew up in an idyllic small town named Kuching. The pace of life is leisurely and almost aimless in the small town. Tsai's favorite pastime during his youth was to go to the various movie theaters to watch Hollywood movies. He wasn't particularly interested in academics.

At the urging of his father, Tsai moved to Taiwan when he was 20 years old to pursue his college education. Tsai chose to major in theater study because film study was not available at that time. He graduated from Taiwan Culture University with a degree in theater in 1981. During his college years, He started writing theater plays and also directed three short films. His short "Instant Minced Meat Noodle" in 1981, "A Door That's Unopenable in the Dark" in 1982 and "The Closet in the Room" in 1983 all explore the theme of the self-defense mechanism employed by modern urban denizens. This is also a recurrent theme in all of his later feature films.

After graduation, Tsai spent a decade working in television as a screenwriter. He started writing and directing his own single-episode TV drama since 1989. It's during the shooting of a TV drama entitled "Child" (1991) when he accidentally discovered a youth named Lee Kang-sheng in a video game bazaar.

Lee later became the muse and Tsai's alter-ego in all of his future movies. Tsai wrote and directed his debut feature film "Rebel of the Neon God" based on the non-professional actor Lee, who even used his real name as the character's name in this movie.

I arrived at Tsai's film company Home Green Films in Yonghe area in Taipei County around 4:30 p.m. on the Sunday before the Lunar New Year holidays for the exclusive interview. The company building is an old-fashioned, almost run-down three-story structure housed inside a brick-and-cement square wall with a court yard in the center where a giant tree looms in the front of the building.

Tsai was in the kitchen cooking something when I entered. He told me to go up to the second floor. I did and saw actor Lee Kang-sheng, busy surfing the Internet, who told me to go straight to the last room at the end of the corridor.

I went inside the room and sat down to pull out my cassette recorder and notebook, waiting for Tsai. The room is a Japanese-style room with straw mats covering the ground and a long rectangular wood table in the center. Surrounding the room is a massive collection of Tsai's works including theater prints, video cassettes, promotional materials, reference books, scripts and books that pile up against the wall to the ceiling except the windows.

Ten minutes later, Tsai came into the room and sat across the table from me, poured tea and offered me a cup. Tsai in person looks exactly like the photos in the newspapers. He sports a buzz cut, and his face is long and curvy, with huge eyes, meaty cheeks. His mouth is the shape of a two rivers twisted upwards at both ends so that he looks like he is constantly smiling even when he is not.

"The idea for 'The Wayward Cloud' started in 1999 when I went back to Malaysia for a trip. At that time, I wanted to write and director a movie about the Southeast Asian foreign laborers who are often exploited and abused in Taiwan," says Tsai. "However, that plan never panned out. Another four years passed. I thought, if I don't do it, I will never get to make this movie. So I plunged in and made 'The Wayward Cloud'."

Asked how the concept of a movie about exploited foreign laborers makes the astonishing leap to a movie about porn actors, Tsai explains, "It's still the same idea but with different occupation. What I am interested in is in exploring the identity issue of these individuals who are caught between two worlds. There are many foreign laborers who lose their work rights in Taiwan and can't go back to their own home countries. They are stuck in between two worlds. The same idea goes for porn actors. They live double lives as porn actors and normal people but end up stuck in between two worlds."


Making the movie


"Originally, I wanted the Hong Kong actress Hsiao Fong Fong to portray an aunt who comes to Taipei to visit Lee and suddenly discovers that he is a porn actor," Tsai says. "But Hsiao was not available. Then I asked Hong Kong director Ann Hui to portray this part. She is very interested and willing to do it. Unfortunately, by the time when we started shooting this movie, Hui was busy with other projects. So I ended up having Li Shang-ling to play a librarian girl who dates this guy and suddenly discovers that he is a porn actor."

Because of the subject matter of porn actors and Tsai's unwavering faith in presenting the absolute truth as he knows on the screen, it's reputed that the nudity and sensual quotient of "The Wayward Cloud" might even upstage Japanese master Nagisa Oshima's "In the Realm of Senses" a film about a sexually sadomasochistic relationship which rocked the industry when it appeared in 1976.

"I really prefer not to talk about how much nudity there is in this movie because that is totally not the point. As with all my previous movies, 'The Wayward Cloud' is about the emotional life of these characters. Talking about the amount of nudity involved will simply mislead the audience," Tsai asserts. "As a director, I also need to protect my actors. They give me their trust and strip naked to perform these characters for the sake of art. They deserve our utmost respect. This is not a porn movie. This is a movie about human emotions."

I asked Tsai about the several important recurrent themes in movies: alienation in urban life, frustrated desires, unfulfilled love, deviant sexual behaviors and a deeply-rooted sympathy for people who live in the margin of the society.

"I moved to Taipei when I was 20 years old. That was a time when Taipei was still relatively innocent and simple. We used to have three TV channels only in that era. During that era of the rigid political climate, they even play patriotic songs on TV everyday," says Tsai. "Then we went through the most drastic change that could happen to a city. Taipei has changed so much and becomes so complicated during the past two decades. Because I grew up in a very simple small village during my childhood, the change of Taipei leaves a huge impact on my mind and psyche. In my 20's, there was a period of time when I could not spend time with anyone for more than 24 hours without freaking out."

"The other thing is of course that - I am a Chinese who was born and raised in Malaysia for the first 20 years of my life," Tsai professes. "Even today, I feel I belong neither to Taiwan nor to Malaysia. In a sense, I can go anywhere I want and fit in, but I never feel that sense of belongings."

"It's also part of my natural personality trait too," Tsai adds. "I am suspicious of the notion of a country, family or home."

"The main point of my cinema is to pursue the truth, and there is nothing more truthful than when a person is being alone. When a person is alone, he doesn't need to perform for anyone anymore. He simply does what he wants and be his real self," Tsai explains. "I, for example, enjoy myself the best when I am peeing. That's the moment when I am totally alone and do not need to pretend anything for anyone."

"I also want to expel the notion is 'solitude' has to be a very depressing state. It's a concept concocted by this society," Tsai elaborates further. "'being alone' does not necessarily means 'being lonely;' solitude can be a very happy state too."

I nodded and applauded Tsai's opinion on this. Then, a question suddenly pops up in my mind. "Tsai, I totally agree with you that solitude does not necessarily mean loneliness. It could be very liberating and comfortable, such as when I am reading and listening to music before going to sleep," I said. "But according to this theory, half of the characters in your movies should enjoy their solitude too. How come all of your characters suffer and drown in loneliness?"

Tsai paused and thought about this for a while. He then agreed, "that's a good question."


For the love of art


For anyone who have sampled Tsai's movies, with its themes of depression, suicide attempt, alienation, estrangement, fear and death, it's natural to be curious whether Tsai Ming-liang the person has suffered from depression or ever had suicidal thoughts as well.

I asked Tsai if the alienation and depression in his movies mirrored his life. Tsai paused for a few minutes before answering, "I would say that my real personal life is a lot better than my movies. I have pretty good and steady friendship with my actors and crew, with other culturati and my own family - but based on a finely defined distance. I am still trying to find that fine point where I can have good relationship with people without colliding."

Closely related to the theme of alienation is the sexual deviation in Tsai's movies. In all of his works, there is a chain reaction of frustrated desires, unfulfilled love, and then sexual fantasies that lead to all antics such as masturbation, voyeurism, and casual, meaningless sex.

Tsai responded first by telling me a riotous joke about a presidential screening of his masterpiece "Vive L'Amour" in 1994. After the movie won the Venice Gold Lion Award, the then President Lee Teng-hui invited Tsai and his actors to go to the Presidential Building for a private screening. Tsai hesitated but accepted the invitation anyway. Tsai, his actors, President Lee and his staff awkwardly sat through this movie about a complicated triangle that involves masturbation, nudity and voyeurism. After the light came up, the audiences were speechless and trapped in a cloud of embarrassment. Ever a tactful politician, President Lee stood up to declare, "Well, masturbation! Everyone has done it. No big deal!"

After this laugh-out-loud tidbit, Tsai went on to explain his filmmaking philosophy. "I always feature characters who are sadly without love and lonely because that's human beings at their most real," Tsai says. "People have asked me why all the sex scenes in my movies are so sad and awkward. I tell them that because these two people are having sex without love. They don't even know or care about each other enough, and of course their sex is awkward."

"For me, solitude and sex are the moments when people are being their real self; there is nothing more real than solitude and sex as far as cinematic devices," says Tsai. "My ultimate goal is to pursue the truth of human relation. Sometimes, even my actors ask me 'director Tsai, do we really have to go to this extreme in our movie?' My answer is yes. That's my method of pursuing the truth."

Asked about his sympathy for the socially marginalized people such as homosexuals, porn actors, prostitutes, the handicapped and the elderly, Tsai frankly responded, "I do not pretend that I have such a big heart and I want to push for social reform; my movies are about the lives of these characters rather than social reform."

"It's about my upbringing. I come from a small village where most people are working-class. My grandfather is a farmer. My father sells bowls of noodles on the street. I grew up helping to sell the noodles and washing the bowls," Tsai reminisces. "After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother opened a mahjong parlor in order to make a living. People from all walks of life came to the parlor to play. I saw so many eccentric characters that might be considered 'at the bottom of the social hierarchy.' But I feel close to these people because I grew up with them. In my movies, I make no judgment about these characters. Whether they are gay or porno actor, they have the same feelings as other people do too. They are all human beings."


Surreal experience


Near the end of our interview, I took 20 minutes to confirm about certain information I read from a book entitled "Tsai Ming-liang" originally published in France in 2001. The book's contributors include writers from Cahier du Cinema, the powerhouse magazine that launched the influential French New Wave movement. This book was apparently published with the collaboration and approval of Tsai and is undisputedly the most authoritative book about Tsai in both Asia and the western world so far. Tsai's mood, however, shifted from his jovial chatter earlier to an impatient stance.

I ended my interview by asking an essential and entertaining question, "Have you ever considered making the movie that every Chinese director in the world wants to do now - a kungfu movie?"

Suddenly, Tsai exploded, screaming at me while jumping up and down on the straw mats. He accused me for asking "stupid questions." He told me, "I overestimated you! I thought you are from the English press and your questions will be more intelligent! But you are like some of those Chinese press! All they care about is nudity, dirt and scandal!"

Although a darling of prestigious international film festivals, Tsai has frequently come under fire with the Chinese press. He was harshly criticized for the depiction of father-son homosexual bathhouse incest scene for the movie "The River" by gay rights organizations and advocates. He was also attacked by feminist groups for his more focused careful attention on the male characters in contrast to the often trivial, abused female characters.

"Why does everyone think it's the most important thing to make a kungfu movie or go to Hollywood?!" Tsai scolded. "Is that all there is about in this world? Kungfu movies and Hollywood?!"

I denied the charge that I ever asked Tsai if he wanted to go to Hollywood. Then I spent the next 50 minutes explaining the logic behind my every question while Tsai raved about the Chinese media which have unfairly criticized and labeled him.

Tsai calmed down after 50 minutes. Then I spent another 10 minutes to explain the logic and the importance of the kungfu movie question. Three internationally acclaimed Chinese directors - Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou, and Chen Kaige - have made their foray into the kungfu movie genre. Two others, namely Wong Kar Wai and Hou Hsiao-hsien, have announced their plans to make a kungfu movie as well. As Ang Lee puts it, "every Chinese director wants to direct a kungfu movie." Does Tsai - who has paid tribute to kungfu master King Hu's classic "Dragon Inn" with his "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" - has the desire to attempt a kungfu movie too? Finally, Tsai gave me his answer: "Of course."

Tsai escorted me and the photographer who accompanied me on this assignment downstairs and to the door. Tsai invited me to go to the screening of "The Wayward Cloud" when it opens commercially this June and invited me for another interview with him.

I left Tsai's company in a state of shock and went home to rest. Rick Yi, the photographer, got into a car accident that night after leaving Tsai's company. Yi was hospitalized and released the next afternoon. When he turned on his camera the next day, Yi was shocked to find the images of Tsai inside. It took a few days for the memories of this Tsai interview to come back to Yi. However, Yi still does not remember how he got into the car accident that night.

The experience of this Tsai interview could be best described as "life imitating art." I, Tsai, the photographer and I sat in that conference room that was spacious at first and then grew claustrophobic with fear, anxiety, isolation, anger permeating the whole space. This interview and its subsequent consequences is a real life version of a Tsai Ming-liang movie with a two-hour continuous long-take interview, fear and alienation, a car crash and loss of memory.

This writer wants to ask the same question Tsai's actors have posed, "do we really need to go to the most extreme?" Does the truth of human experience only exists in the most extreme, dangerous and dark corners? Is there more to the human experience other than loneliness, fear, alienation and incest? Aren't the happier sides of solitude and sex as truthful to the human experience as the dark sides? As talented a filmmaker as he is, Tsai apparently still has a lot of thinking to do in his cinematic journey of pursuing the human truth.


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MarcL
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 10:10 am:   

Man, I love the bit that begins with: "I ended my interview by asking an essential and entertaining question, ..." and ends with "Finally, Tasi gave me his answer:"

Thanks for making me think about The River again. Now I'm going to feel weird all day.

I don't know if you're bothering to review Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. It was a very mixed experience for me. C&CF is a huge book on my personal literary landscape. Where Burton cleaved close to the book, I thought it went fairly well. Almost all the new additions went badly awry. A contrived and jigsaw-tight backstory to explain away the psyche of Willy Wonka was the last thing I needed. So was the family-values ending (which was unintentionally undercut by every other family in the movie). And they missed a ton of moments that would have made it more emotional: I couldn't believe the absolute lack of excitement in the finding of the golden ticket (in the book this is built up with painfully close descriptions of Charlie starving to death). Every time Dahl offered a dozen inventive possibilities, Burton picked two or three of the dullest ones. The old Buckets were great though. And a digitally amplified Deep Roy was a welcome improvement over green midgets. I HATE the old version, except for bits of Wilder's performance; I was less than lukewarm on Depp's Wonka. I will always be depressed that no one cast the world's most obviously perfect actor to play Willy Wonka: John Cleese. The real problem with bringing this book to the screen is that the hero defines himself by inaction. Charlie Bucket is simply the least loathesome of five candidates. As a central character he does nothing but observe innocently, and manage not to get in trouble (the moral of the story is...). He's at his most interesting when he is starving to death, and then spared by an act of pure coincidence. They resolved this by giving Charlie a false (and easy) choice at the end. They should have just vibrated rapidly, as Dahl does, so you never notice the story's shortcomings.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 10:19 am:   

Didn't have any desire to see it. Don't like Depp when he's weird off the scale. Rather watch the Wayward Cloud again. I may have to see the ISLAND. That's my bad movie for the week....

Always good to think about the River.

Actually, Wong Kar Wai made a wuxia already called Ashes of Time.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 02:05 pm:   

Yeah, I saw Ashes of Time; it's my favorite movie of his (which isn't saying a lot).

I'd take three viewings of Charlie over one of The Island.

I just watched Corman's Fantastic Four. One of the best bad movies I have seen in a long, long time. MST3K, Cave Dwellers bad. If you watch it with friends, it provides its own hilarious comment track.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 02:35 pm:   

I don't know--I'm tough. I can take back to back viewings of the Island and the Wedding Crashers..... :-)

I kinda like Fallen Angers by wang kar wai. You see that one?

I saw the Corman. Pretty great.
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PM
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 04:59 pm:   

My question is would Bush high-five Tsai or have him flayed?

Somehow though I don't think his response would be well everyone does it...
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 05:49 pm:   

Not unless the movie was about cocaine.
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Luís
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 06:27 pm:   

I found out about the Corman _Fantastic Four_ a few weeks ago and have the movie right here waiting for me to watch it. Looks like I'm in for a treat.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:41 pm:   

Luis,

There's no way you won't love it. The proper company is highly recommended though. I haven't laughed that hard in ages.
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Adam-Troy Castro
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 05:57 am:   

I have made several attempts to finish watching the Corman FANTASTIC FOUR. Have failed. My head starts hurting after only ten minutes of exposure.

Now, let's put this in perspective. I have a certain awed fascination for really awful movies. I don't seek them out willingly, but if they're bad beyond a certain point I find myself captured by the train-wreck fascination. Among the films that I *cannot* stop watching, out of sheer amazement, are SEXTETTE with Mae West (a horror movie if there ever was one), SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEART'S CLUB BAND with the Bee Gees, and CHARLIE'S ANGELS 2: FULL THROTTLE, which is so very aggressively stupid that there isn't a single moment, post-credits, that works on a story level. But I can watch them all. It's not like watching a movie I admire, or even one that's so-bad-it's-good. It's more awe at the genuine phenonemon of something that misses so badly on so many levels.

I have, to date, only encountered two films so very bad that I could not endure more than half an hour of them at a time, and have failed to complete them despite intermittent revisits to bite off another scene or two. One is the 1926 version of THE WIZARD OF OZ, starring Larry Semon, with Oliver Hardy as the Tin Man. Have owned the film for years and have yet to reach the moment when Dorothy arrives in Oz.

The other is Corman's FANTASTIC FOUR.

Cannot watch it. Have tried. Got as far as the origin. Needed to fast-forward in order to do so. Tried watching after the origin. Couldn't last more than a couple of scenes.

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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 06:22 am:   

I would add to the category of train-wreck fascinating disasters two personal faves of mine, BOXING HELENA and SHOWGIRLS, each of which reward (punish?) repeated viewings...Oh, also, Walter Hill's STREETS OF FIRE with Michael Pare, Amy Madigan and a very scrumptious Diane Lane.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 08:57 am:   

I'm in awe of Showgirls. It's like the old Thunderbirds puppetoon, but with naked Barbies, in Vegas.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 10:15 am:   

There's not an instant of it that's not insanely, entertainingly over the top. And the supporting performances (Alan Rachins, Robert Davi, Glenn Plummer) all hit just the right (unintentionally) comic note.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 10:40 am:   

Tsai Ming-liang, Showgirls, FF....

Which one doesn't belong? :-)
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 10:52 am:   

The one that isn't a movie.:-)

The Island looks lame-ass.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 11:39 am:   

Which one is that, Stephen.....

The Island is beyond lame-ass.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 02:43 pm:   

Showgirls... it's a piece of shit.:-)
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 03:45 pm:   

Haven't seen anything by Tsai Ming-liang yet..
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 04:35 pm:   

To use the word "entertaining" or any form of the word in conjunction with Showgirls, well, to quote from Lawrence of Arabia, "You have a peculiar notion of fun."
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 04:51 pm:   

Lucius, I could not have said it better myself. Believe me, you don't know the half of it. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 04:58 pm:   

Nor, probably, do I want to. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 05:04 pm:   

Ask me about my friend Frank's big SHOWGIRLS party...:-)
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 05:36 pm:   

You must be referring to the titty, Dave...:-)
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 07:59 pm:   

I'm here for fun :-)...And being fond of fun let's not forget Spirits of the Dead.




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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 08:21 pm:   

Did everyone come dressed as a Showgirl, Dave? That's the only question that has any relevance to me.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 10:16 pm:   

Sorry for the sophmoric breast crack, but that's about as far as that movie's entertainment value goes.

Saw a Canadian horror movie, Ginger Snaps. It's about two teenage sisters obsessed with death, who take photos of each other in death poses and don't really fit in at their school. The older, pretty sister, gets attacked by a lycanthrope and it soon begins to effect her. The actress who plays Ginger, the older sister, is a really cute redhead. The werewolf thing works as a metaphor for the physical changes and sexual awakening of puberty. Ginger becomes hyper sexual and transmits the disease to a boy who was interested in her before, through unprotected sex. But she soon finds it's really blood she lusts for. The younger sister enlists the help of the school's pot dealer to try and save her sister, who is becoming progressively worse. I'm not going to give anymore of it away, in case someone decides to see it, who hasn't. It's actually pretty good. Certainly better than most teen horror flicks.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 11:08 pm:   

I did see Ki-Duk Kim's SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER...AND SPRING. Really nice movie from the Korean director of THE ISLE. It shares with that movie many of the same images and themes, but all are used quite differently in a modern Buddhist parable. I loved every minute of it.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 04:55 am:   

I've heard that tthe sequel to Ginger Snaps is better than the original, though I haven't seen the sequel.

SPRING, SUMMER....was enjoyable, but--and maybe this is projecting--I had the feeling that he was making an effort to show us a kinder, gentler Ki Duk Kim, a reaction to his critics, and thus I didn't quite buy it. There is a kinder gentler Kim, but I prefer 3-Iron as a manifestation of it.
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Adam-Troy Castro
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 05:06 am:   

I saw GINGER SNAPS. There are two sequels. All three are worth seeing: not masterpieces, but far from the usual horror-film drek.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 05:29 am:   

Thanks, ATC

I saw A WAYWARD CLOUD again and, while it's not THE RIVER, or even THE HOLE, there's a lot to take from it, many remarkable scenes-- but I can't recommend it. For me, it remains too Taiwanese a film to be easy to get what's going on. The porno scenes are excellent, though not in the least titillating--they're designed to be violent, degrading labor--but overall, you have to work too hard for a reward....Maybe I'll watch it again.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 06:11 am:   

Naw, the party was just people barking out dialogue to Verhoeven's masterpiece. Though when I was in Hollywood in '96, they were holding midnight ROCKY HORROR style showing where people dressed as Cristal, Nomi and the gang.

GINGER SNAPS? I'll have to check that out! Trivia: the voice on the school's PA system is none other than Lucy "Xena" Lawless!

While we're on the subject of horror, I decided, on the strength of a review on popmatters.com, to check out the latest HELLRAISER sequel, DEADER. Don't. Aside from a mildly interesting premise, the plot was almost unintelligible and the presence of the Cenobites almost completely unexplained. The only attraction here is the mildy interesting writhing and wriggling of Kari "Anaconda" Wuhrer. (Lucius, I said "mildly"!)
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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 06:26 am:   

From the little snippet of SHOWGIRLS I caught when it was on TV here, I'm now holding off for 20-odd years until it's as funny as BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 07:25 am:   

Only ten more to go, Al...:-)
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 07:31 am:   

Showgirls is too boring to ever be as funny as Beyond. You may have to wait until you're old enough to have failing eyesight and be hearing voices for it to be funny.

JeffV
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 07:46 am:   

Fortunately, I didn't have to wait for failing eyesight and strange voices, so I can enjoy it now!
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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 08:58 am:   

STREETS OF FIRE, though... man! Willem Dafoe in rubber waders. Soundtrack by Jim Steinman. Need we say more?

Actually, yes. Can't resist. That soundtrack... I've got some mates who -- for some God unknown reason -- actually like one particular song from that movie. Every so often (usually after much drinking), they'll insist on inflicting that godawful crap on everyone in the room. The only defence I've found so far is seeing how many Steinman songs I can sing (loudly and badly) to the same tune.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 09:19 am:   

That would be...pretty much all of 'em, right?
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 09:30 am:   

As I recall, the Blasters did a decent enough rendition of "The Blue Hotel" at "Torchy's". Boston's Face to Face was Diane Lane's back-up band, but I can't remember what they did before Lane was carried off.
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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 09:39 am:   

All the ones I know. Man, it's just one big Hits Out Of Hell medley that song.

Once upon a time I was falling in love
Now I'm only falling apart...
I need a hero!
I need a hero blah blah blah blah blah!
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 09:52 am:   

Oh, well that''s the classic....

A Total Eclipse of Meatloaf.....
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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 09:52 am:   

Might be end title music or something, Dave.

I did a quick Google to find the name of the song I'm thinking of, turns out to be Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young. Christ, it even sounds like a pastiche of itself.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 10:43 am:   

Wow, I remember that. What a glorious wallow in cheesy excess that movie is. I think I'll buy it!
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 11:11 am:   

Think I'll start calling you Cheesy Excess -- that seems to be your main aesthethic. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 11:17 am:   

No, my main one is Earnest Gloom. But I'm a lot more fun when I'm being Cheesy Excess, believe me. :-)
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 04:49 pm:   

Do I dare ask if anyone has any sentimental thoughts on the death of Doohan?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 05:54 pm:   

Ay, Captain.

Last I heard, the ol' doofus was up in Vancouver, shagging every fifteen year old girl he could grab...

When a child molester dies, there's a tupperware party in heaven...
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 06:30 pm:   

I'm losing my faith in tupperware...
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 12:53 pm:   

Couple more Korean movies just hit my playlist:

THE QUIET FAMILY, which gave rise to Miike's HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS. I know Lucius is a fan of this one.

ATTACK THE GAS STATION! The person who lent it to me says it's one of his favorite movies, and it looks pretty good. I'll report in!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 12:57 pm:   

Attack is a lot of fun! '

Quite Family.....You may not like that one as much. That's just me being weird.
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Laird
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 01:16 pm:   

Just rented The River by Tsai Ming-liang; The Missing Gun by Lu Chuan; and Bergman's The Seventh Seal.

I watched Gozu recently. Got milk?

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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 01:25 pm:   

Gozu gives a new meaning to "p****-whipped"!
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 01:26 pm:   

I don't have any idea what it's about or whether it's any good, but you've got to love a movie called ATTACK THE GAS STATION.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 01:26 pm:   

:-)

Moo....
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 01:41 pm:   

It's about --surprise, surprise -- an attack on the gas station by some Seoul punks, who take hostages etc. Interestingly enough, the guy who sold it to me said it was too violent for his tastes, and a friend told me it was sort of a comedy.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 01:43 pm:   

I tracked down GOZU at a local video store...will rent soon.

Here's the blurb for Attack: "A quartet of disaffected Korean youths decides to rob a gas station. When they find out there is not as much money as they expected, they take over the gas station with the staff held hostage. Their wacky antics ensue kidnapping customers that complain about the service and staging fist-fights between street gangsters."

I love the valiant (if misplaced) attempt to employ "wacky antics ensue"!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 02:14 pm:   

Misplaced? Pourquoi?

:-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 02:17 pm:   

Sounds plenty wacky to me.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 02:46 pm:   

Usually "wacky antics ensue" is placed at the end of the blurb, an equivalent to "nuff said."
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 02:59 pm:   

IMO, they didn't understand the meaning of ensue.....
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 03:26 pm:   

"What is another word for 'include'?"
"How about 'ensue'?"
"Perfect!"

Hijinks follow.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 03:35 pm:   

Hijinks Follow is the sequel to Attack on the Gas Station...
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 04:25 pm:   

Which is itself a sequel to the pan-Asian sensation Seriously Annoy The Chemist.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 04:34 pm:   

New thread below

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