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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 05:05 am:   

The Dark Movies thread may have run its course, but in case it hasn't, I thought I'd make it easier to access by starting a new one.

A few movies I wanted to add to my recommended list --

A Korean thriller, H, concerning a gruesome serial killer, but of a quality far superior to most such films.

A Korean police procedural, NOWHERE TO HIDE, starring Jooh Lee Park, who I swear looks like John Belushi gone Korean -- very stylish and violent.

An interesting little American b&w movie called NIGHTTRAIN that won't be out on American video until July, but is available on Poker Industries. I was really sleepy when I watched that last night and I need to watch i again before conferring judgment, but one thing for sure, it's depiction of Tiajuana as a nightmare environment is pretty memorable.
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Daniel Read
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 01:40 pm:   

In no particular order, a few that come to mind:

River's Edge
Over the Edge
Donnie Darko
Dead Ringers
Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer
Mean Streets
Raging Bull

Speaking of dark and depressing, Lucius, my friend Rob and I have on many occassions lamented the passing of the convention in 1970's American cinema to make the movies very dark and heavy, almost always with tragic, bleak endings. This was so prevalent during that time, whereas today you only see such things in very small movies like Spider.

For instance, AI would have been a pretty good movie if he just would have fucking ended it when the robot kid falls into the water, but they had to tack all that other shit on there. An example from the 70's that comes to mind is the first Dirty Harry movie, which is a cop shoot-em-up action movie, but very dark and brutal. Or look at the first Rocky movie, which is quite serious and tragic--Rocky loses at the end! This sort of thing was the norm in the 70's.

Dan

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Ellen
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 08:56 pm:   

Just saw The Eye and was very disappointed --I guess I shouldn't have been as Lamprey and Hamm both reported that it was a rehash of various things. It has moments but I really hated the loud music signalling something weird about to happen.

However, on its own, I actually liked the music. No soundtrack mentioned in the credits though.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 08:32 am:   

Ellen, hmmm....Guess I'll pass on THE EYE. Too much else to watch. Going to try and watch KAIRO (Pulse) tonight.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 09:04 am:   

Dan,

that's a nice list. Regarding Raging Bull, or obliquely regarding it, have you ever seen FAT CITY by John Huston? I think it's easily the boxing movie ever made. Starring Stacy Keach, Susan Tyrell, a very young Beau Bridges , and a veritable attack of the character actors, including the guy who played Coach on Cheers. It's really a reamrkable pictire of the bottomland of the sport, its ordinary darkness, and since you seem to like both ROCKY and RAGING BULL, I highly recommend this one to you.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 09:54 am:   

Dan & Lucius: Raging Bull is a great movie. As far as boxing movies go, I concurr on Fat City (also with an original music score by Kris Kristofferson, which I can't pretend I knew off hand but looked it up on the IMDB to check the list of character actors). Two of my favorite pugilistic flicks from way back are The Set-Up with Robert Ryan and Body and Soul with John Garfield. But there have been so many. Some lame as hell like the remake of The Champ and others not bad like Somebody Up There Likes Me.
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Daniel Read
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 10:08 am:   

Thanks for the tips on Fat City. Never heard of that one, but I do indeed enjoy boxing movies--even the cheesy ones, like the recent one directed by Walter Hill (I also like Walter Hill) with Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes called Undisputed.

Another one to add to my dark movies list: Barton Fink. I just watched this last night for the first time in awhile. Seeing it again reaffirmed my affection for this movie. It also needs to appear somewhere near the top of my Coen brothers list.

Anyone seen Owning Mahowny yet? I'm thinking of going to see it tomorrow.

Dan
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lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 11:39 am:   

Dan, Haven't seen owning Mahoney.

I liked UNDISPUTED. Good B movie, though not so good as Hill's first boxing movie, HARD TIMES, with Coburn and Bronson.

Jeff, I watch pieces of Fat City all the time -- it just blows me away how faithful a portrait it is. Haven't seen BODY AND SOUL since forever, but I do like THE SET-UP. MOst boxing movies I hate because the actual fighting's so bad, but in Fat City, Houston used a real fighter named SIxto Rodriguez to come in for the big fight with Keach. I know him a little. SIxto's a tilesetter now, lives in Roseburg, Oregon, and does some reffing. The sequence begining with him entering the boxing arena and ending with him leaving the arena as the lights go out behind him...that, for me, is boxing. That's in my head everycard I attend. Amazing stuff.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 03:06 pm:   

RUNAWAY TRAIN is one of the few eighties movies (or was it later?) that made the grade for me, and only recently I discovered it was derived from a script originally written by Akira Kurosawa.
Carpenter's THE THING is a patent absurdity, but it is fun to watch, and the bleakness of the ending nearly redeems it.
We haven't touched much on film noir (excepting Chinatown) ... what about DETOUR, where things just get worse ... and worse ... and worse ...
BODY SNATCHERS is a decent little movie too, if only they had ended it with whatsisname standing on the road helplessly shouting "You fools!!" In one scene we eavesdrop on a pod family, mother sending poppa upstairs with a pod for crying baby. "Then there will be no more tears," she says calmly.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 03:46 pm:   

RUNAWAY TRAIn is cool. I really like Schroeder's OUR LADY OF THE ASSASSINS, too.

I think we can pretty much dump noir as a genre into themix -- but DETOUR is certainly a prime example.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 05:10 pm:   

Guys, guys. Dark?!? If you can watch RUNAWAY TRAIN without dissolving into complete hilarity, you've got a deader pan than I.

"Manny! Manny! I ain't got no SHOES, Manny!"
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 06:08 pm:   

Ellen--I had a very different reaction to THE EYE; in fact, I liked it so much, I went and bought it, which I rarely do. While some of the plot elements were familiar, I didn't think the story cliched at all, and found the Pang Brothers' visual style and methods of combining the familiar in unfamiliar ways very unheimlich.

I'm sure someone must have mentioned Cronenberg's Dead Ringers by now, or was that just covered with a general "anything by Cronenberg" comment? What a starkly beautiful and deeply disturbing film that is.

Michael--Noir, yes! There's a boatload of very dark, "downer" noir that came our from the late '40s to the mid '50s that are hard to find. Maybe Bogart's best performance is in In a Lonely Place, though he does get to kill Agnes Moorehead in Dark Passage, but that one otherwise ends well (in Ipanema of all places!) Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street, Russell Rouse's New York Confidential, and Nicholas Ray's They Live By Night are just a few of the relentlessly desolate noir films of the period that can fit this category. The cheap production costs of DVDs have enabled a number of studios to start putting some of these great films out at affordable prices.

~Jack~
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 07:04 pm:   

Jack,

I loved SCARLET STREET -- it's a remake of a Renoir film, and a pretty damn good remake. My favorite noir films are Mitchum films. When Scorcese announced he was remaking CAPE FEAR, I wanted to stop him. I believe I should have.
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Ellen
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 07:27 pm:   

Jack, re: The Eye I think it had some good moments but I'm afraid I found a lot of it tedious.
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jaff ford
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 07:47 pm:   

Sam: Here's a truly dark one with my old boy Cotten in it. Shadow of a Doubt.

Best,

Jeff
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 08:11 am:   

Jeff,

I like SHADOW IF A DOUBT and Cotton, too. You ever see Cotton in JOURNEY INTO FEAR? Based on an Eric Ambler WW II spy novel. I have a great affection for movies made from those old Ambler novels. A MASK FOR DEMETRIOS with Greenstreet and Lorre. TOPKAPI.

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Michael Cisco
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 12:30 pm:   

That's right - Lonely Place and the especially devastating Scarlet Street - I was wracking my brains for those two titles, thank you!

As for Runaway Train - I laughed all through it, too, but so what? Rankin's line: "God, don't kill them. Let me do it." is both funny and dark. And watching Manny sail off into the fog on top of the locomotive is an image it's hard to forget.
Speaking of Kurosawa, RAN is not only a ravishingly gorgeous film, but an excellent adaptation of Lear, a play almost too painful to read. THRONE OF BLOOD and RASHOMON (have they been mentioned already?) are the same kind of dark lustre ... especially the interview with the medium in RASHOMON - tasty.
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MC
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 12:31 pm:   

HAVE, HAVE the same kind of dark lustre dammit
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 01:28 pm:   

Lucius: Yes, I know those movies more as one kind of jumbled up movie from afternoons of watching old movies when i would stay home from school sick. I think I was out 45 days one year. My mother had this crackpot philosophy where you didn't have to go to school if you didn't want to. So I stayed home and watched old black and white movies and read books. I know I saw Journy Into Fear, the other titles don't ring a bell but there were about a dozen movies with Greenstreet and Lorre. I dig Lorre big time, Mad Love, M, even Mr. Moto (setting back standards of PC a hundred years). Cotten was also great in Citizen Kane and The Third Man. He finished up his career in Japan, making SF and horror movies, but he was an exceptional actor. And here, completely off topic, one of my Father's Day presents was a DVD of one of the standout movies of my youth -- Slapshot. Finally, having those kids paid off.

Best,


Jeff
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Deborah
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 02:03 pm:   

Jeff,

Our moms must've been from the same school -- I was "allowed" to do the same if I did something like read or watch good movies, too. In Cleveland in the early 70s the local UHF station ran some kind of classic everyday at 1:00 which is how I've seen a bunch of these things, too. Made me a big Cotten fan, too. Also, Mama's policy enabled me to stay home for three days in a row and read everything vonnegut had in print as of about '75. Stuff like that.
But, of course, as you can see, it didn't warp me or anything.

:-)

Deborah
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 02:42 pm:   

Deborah: Glad to hear you grew up in a household with a healthy disrespect for organized education. I'm wary, though, of doing the same with my own kids. I'm pretty lenient on the sick days; all you have to do is make a half assed attempt at seeming like you don't feel up to it. My wife, on the other hand, is tough. You better be packing a temperature or produce vomit for a day off. This kind of balances things out, which is probably for the best. What they usually do is wait until she leaves for work before they commit to their sob story. Given I stay home from work any chance I can get, I'm like the empath from that Star Trek. I feel their lassitude. Those black and white movies, though, they were the bomb.

Best,


Jeff
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Deborah
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 04:34 pm:   

Jeff,

My son just finished 2nd Grade and I'm not much of a disciplinarian either about that stuff. But I do employ the Nintendo Test -- if he's willing to stay home and not play Nintendo then I take that as evidence of real illness and we get a day off. Of course he's already pointed out that even on those days he should be allowed to play Nintendo after the time when school would be over and during recess hours. Smart kid.

But, yeah, those days off were a great source of entertainment. Sometimes I went into downtown Cleveland and hung out at the music stores on the Square -- now that was educational.

Deborah
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S. Hamm
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 05:12 pm:   

Jeff,

Love Cotten, wish you'd give him some more work.

In re: Hitchcock, well, where to begin? -- but the dark list would have to include two of the darkest movies about what boys do to girls, NOTORIOUS (which admits, at the end, a glimmer of light) and VERTIGO (which doesn't). The latter is, among its other virtues, the movie that justifies the invention of cinema.

If we start talking noir, well hell, the next few days are shot. (Not to be tautological, but if it ain't dark it can't be noir.) For now I will mention only that the delightful MURDER BY CONTRACT has just popped up on cable after an absence of more that a decade, so there may be a DVD release in the offing.

Sammy

P.S. -- BTW, you were old enough to drink when SLAP SHOT came out. And don't ask me how I know. It just depresses me.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 05:30 pm:   

Sam: When I mentioned my "youth" in relation to Slapshot, I was referring to everything from about 10 to about 30. The drinking indeed did start in that range. In a couple of years, when I hit the big 50, my youth will expand to include my 40's as well.
Speaking of dark and unintentionally funny, I watched most of Stephen King's Sleepwalkers this afternoon. A guy in it gets stabbed in the back with a corn cobb. A similar fate awaits the viewer. Nice turns by King, Clive Barker, Joe Dante, Ron Perlman, John Landis as the dim witted town folk. A beautiful stinker with a score based on that electric guitar song, sounds like a requiem for Twangin' Eddy.

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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 05:55 pm:   

Jeff, SLEEPWALKERS is now on in my time zone. Prior to that was the Shining mini-series. Both directed by the great Mick Farris, who must have been doing some unmentionable service for Stephen King, because he is surely among the most untalented of all directors.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 06:09 pm:   

A guy in it gets stabbed in the back with a corn cobb.

William Faulkner used pretty much the same gag in Sanctuary, only less wholesome. That's why they call him the Stephen King of Yoknapatawpha County.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 06:30 pm:   

Lucius: In case you have absolutely nothing else to do, Sleepwalkers is actually watchable in a drive-in movie kind of way. Lots of blood letting and there is a sense that it knows it sucks so they are hamming it quite a bit. Perhaps a more interesting flick than I said. The creatures are like giant wet prairie dogs, oh, yeah and there's some explicit incest, and a car that changes from a Trans Am to a Mustang and lots and lots of cats who don't like no Sleepwalker bullshit. Tunr that channel back on.

Best,


Jeff
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 06:38 pm:   

Oh, man! It's on....I love any movie in which cats are thrown..... :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 07:14 pm:   

Jeff, PS -- SLAPSHOT's my favorite sports movie.

"Listen to the f**king song!"

One of the Hanson Brothers, actually named Dave Hanson, played for the Red WIngs when I was in Detroit, the year they won only 8 games. Unfortunately, he wasn't as entertaining in real life as in the movie.

There was a post-punk rock band, The Hanson Brothers, terrific band, and they were all deviant-level hockey fans. Before they would start playing, they would tell the audience, We're not going to stop playing until you answer some questions about hockey. They meant this. There were a couple of times when I saw them in Seattle when if I hadn't been in the audience, I don't think they would have played.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 07:39 pm:   

Lucius: I think my favorite line from the movie was from Moe -- "This isn't art, it's sex." I remember a while ago when I was doing the superhero figure aisle with my kids when they were a little younger, I actually saw that they had Hanson Brother figures. I was tempted, but instead I had to drop my money on Todd McFarlane's Skull Fucker or whatever those grim things were that they coveted. A lot of my assets are tied up in plastics. I had no idea those Hanson guys were actually hockey players. But I should have figured it cause it looks like they can really skate in the movie.

Best,


Jeff
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 07:49 pm:   

I can't say I was all that impressed by SLEEPWALKERS, but it does happen to feature the delectable Madchen Amick of prior Twin Peaks fame. Not sure whatever happened to her.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 07:55 pm:   

Jeff,

Just one of 'em was a pro, and a very marginal player on the worst team in hockey history. I'm pretty sure the other two guys never were in the NHL.

There were a lot of great bits in that movie.

Whatcha doin', guys?

Puttin' on the foil, coach.

As for plastics, yeah, I know how that goes. If truth be told, I need a toy every once in a while. I bought a HULK. I'm gonna stare at it til I hafta review the movie. If the movie sucks, I'm coming back home and beat the little green sucker up.

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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 08:10 pm:   

Lucius: I have some hope for the Hulk, cause it's Ang Lee directing. And when I see the trailers, he's
jumping all over the damn place and twirling tanks around like he did in the comic. I'm not sure I like that comic book thing come to life or not the way it looks there. I have to see it. I'm intrigued. They just had a long trailer on for it at half time of the Nets/Huston game. Some of it seems pretty cool.
GabeM: Who was she, the evil guy's mother or the girl friend? The mother was good in it. She kicked ass.

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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 08:27 pm:   

Jeff, I definitely have hope, because of Lee and Mark Bana, a very good Aussie actor. Y'ever see CHOPPER? Bana plays the Mark "Chopper" Reade, a Australian convict who wrote nine best sellers aboy (purportedly) his life, all entitled Chopper (1 thru 9). It;s a very interesting movie and Bana's terrific.

The thing that bums me out about comic book movies is that when they make them, most of the time they try to transfer the comics to film, which comes of, in my view, pretty flat. What I'm specifically hoping is that Ang Lee is smart enough to understand that if he wants to make a good movie, he needs to be more of translator in bringing HULK to another medium. We'll see.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 09:13 pm:   

Boys,

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Sammy
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 09:42 pm:   

You 're a hard man, Sam. I couldn't walk through the doors of the multiplex if I did con myself with a a little hope.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 10:23 pm:   

Sam: My hopes dashed. Now the only chance I have is Pirates of the Caribbean -- a flick based on a Disney theme park ride.

Best,

Jeff
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lamprey
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 10:38 pm:   

Well, one of my favoritest darkest movies is also one of the funniest: Jarmusch's Dead Man. Closesest we're ever likely to get to seein Cormac McCarthy on the silver sinny screen, in spirit if not in attribution. I watch parts of it over and over again. The Fur Trappers scene with Billy Bob and Iggy. Lance Henrikson's dead-pan oneliners. What a great, great film. Lucius, you say Moby Dick is comedy, and I agree, and somehow Dead Man reminds me of Moby Dick...clustered gemlike scenes of surreal humor stuck like hatpins in this darker writhing mass you barely glimpse beneath it...

I think I might as well say that dark is better, best of all, and also darkest, if it is also funniest.

Withnail and I.
The League of Gentlemen. (No, NOT the L of Extraordinary G's.)
Black Adder.

Open the doors to comedy and the darkness is permitted to be even darker. The humor in HAPPINESS allowed it to be far darker and more memorable than the equivalent film without humor.

Along those lines, the darkest Hitchcock imo is FRENZY. I love VERTIGO, I was obsessed with that film for years, but FRENZY is the one I will watch over and over again for the delights of the script...it's literally impossible for me to flip past it if it's on and I'm channel surfing. No doubt VERTIGO is philosophically, morally, cosmically darker...but it is so humorless that I I can rarely bring myself to watch it.

My VERTIGO story: Around 1980, my film prof whispered to a handful of the Hitchcock freaks that he had an nth generation videotape copy of of copy of a copy of VERTIGO which had been taped off television during its final broadcast. He invited us to watch it in an airless room high in some ancient campus tower. The copy was black and white, full of holes where commercials had been, cut to pieces, almost unwatchable in places due to bad reception on the original TV and generational wear...but what a spell it cast. I left that room in a daze and could think of nothing else for days. When the new print premiered in full color, I was there. But in some ways, that original print was a different movie. The one I saw with so many missing and obscured pieces was in some ways far more affecting. So, yes, I give VERTIGO all kinds of pride of place. But I can never go back and watch that illicit copy again....
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:25 am:   

JeffF. - the mother in SLEEPWALKERS was the strangely hypnotic Alice Krige, who is best known to American viewing audiences as the Borg Queen; her turn in the Quay Brother's only live-action feature (to my knowledge), INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA, proved (if there was any doubt) that she can still hypmotize without foam rubber glued to her face. It all goes to show, I think, that the likelihood that special effects will convince is proportional to the power of the actors' performances.

I liked Cotten's turn in THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES - One of many underused talents (Hell, things didn't work out so good for Welles!)
TOUCH OF EVIL should go down on the playlist, even if you can't stifle the laffs as you watch Charlton Heston play a Mexican.

Leave us not forget PSYCHO - may be my favorite film - or the underrated STRANGERS ON A TRAIN ... Farleigh Granger notwithstanding. While PSYCHO is the magic movie for me ("I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say ... why she wouldn't even harm a fly ..."), my experience of VERTIGO was more or less like yours, lamprey. I saw it on television, walked around with it hovering in front of my face for a few days, turned the TV back on and THERE IT WAS AGAIN. I have a copy of the restored print that I haven't watched since I received it, years ago. Like I ever sit down with a real hankerin' for a hunk of soul-scalding anguish.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 05:51 am:   

Michael: Great post all around. Many blasts from the past. I certainly remember Dr. Phibes, but I don't think I ever knew Cotten was in it. That's one I'll have to look for on the tube to check out again.
The minute I read your identification of Krige as the Queen Borg, I realized that's where I'd seen her before. She certainly has a presence, cause even in the Sleepwalker thing she was very powerful. I own a VHS copy of Institute Benjamenta, and I thank you for reminding me of it, cause when I got it and started watching, something came up and I never finished more than a half hour of it. Gotta dig that one out and go back to it.
I'm a Strangers on a Train fan as well, especially the whacked out merry-go-round thing at the end. A really great nightmare scene. As far as Psycho goes, of course, I love that one. The scene in that that always blows me away is when Martin Balsam falls down the stairs backwards after Mother has stabbed him. How'd they do that?
I loathe Heston, but I have to say I thought he was great in Touch of Evil. Even as a Mexican, that kind of added to the intentional cheesiness of the whole scene. Also, I hate to give Heston credit for anything but I really dug some of his movies when I was a kid -- Soylent Green, The Omega Man, Planet of the Apes.

Lamprey: I always wanted to see that Dead Man. That's one I will seek out soon. You've sold me on it.

Best,


Jeff
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 06:50 am:   

Krige is also featured in one of the worst adaptations of a good book of all time: Peter Straub's Ghost Story. She plays the metamorphic Ana, always tempting Craig Wasson and the starring geezers. I cringe when I think of the number of people who'll never read the book because they'll think it's just like the film.

Two dreadfully dark and wickedly funny comedies, both starring Richard E. Grant: Withnail and I and How to Get Ahead in Advertising. I took a girl in college to the latter for our first date. There was no second date. At least I got to see a really good movie.

~Jack~
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 08:12 am:   

Lamprey,

DEAD MAN does have a Cormac McCarthy feel. Good call. And it's a great film. Lance H has always been an icon here, from NEAR DARK on. ANd I'm glad to hear that not everyone thinks I'm whack about Moby DIck.

Jeff,

Heston's done okay sometimes. I particularly liked his western, WILL PENNY. And yeah, it was good cheesy, his Mexican policeman in TOUCH OF EVIL -- it played somehow.

The Hitchcock thing -- I've never been a great admirer, yet at the same time, images from his films have stayed in my head. I don't know what it is with me and Hitchcock movies. Part of it, I suppose, is I really didn't much care for his lead actors. James Stewart is Tim Hanks, and Cary Grant...Yech! Farley Granger, Rod Taylor...Wow. Psycho is pretty great, I cannot watch Vertigo. Maybe it's some kind of deficit on my part. I guess my favorite Hitchock film is the one he didn't get to make, DIABOLIQUE -- based on a novel that Hitchcock bid on, but lost the rights to George Henri-Cluzot, who directed it and one of the great gloomy adventure films of all time, WAGES OF FEAR. Have never seen FRENZY.. Maybe I should.

For some reason, I'm thinking this morning of Theodre Rozak's novel, FLICKER? It's a dark fantasy/thriller about the movies, part of which involves the invention of the cinema by, If I recall correctly, the Knights Templar on Malta back in the Middle Ages. Really cool book. Probably will never be a movie.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:01 am:   

Jeff:

DEAD MAN is one of my favorite all time movies. I have it on VHS if you want to borrow it, although it should be easy to find in most rental places. The theme and content is very dark, but I think the filmography is just beautiful. Watch for Crispin Glover near the beginning, he makes my skin crawl just by looking at the camera. Was the remake of WILLARD any good? (I hate to admit, but while I was unemployed this last fall I caught the CHARLIE'S ANGELS movie and had a blast watching it...I thought Glover was great in it)

FRENZY is creepy, but the general brightness of the movie belied the darkness of what was happening on screen. There are a few movies of that time that I've watched and have missed the impact of, like STRAW DOGS, and whatever the Hitchcock with Connery in it was. ("I'll take swords for $200!" "That's 'S'-words you idiot!") After the tree breaks through the window and Connery grabs the woman (I believe his new secretary?) and takes her...it was not romantic, it was domination and control. I just stopped watching it (this was when TCM did a huge Hitchcock thing a few years ago).

Speaking of Connery, excited/frightened about THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN that's coming out this summer. As I said in my bloggy thing, I haven't liked any adaptation of a comic book to the big screen, so we'll see what this one holds.

For the record, have not seen X-MEN nor MYSTERY MEN, think SPIDER-MAN nailed Peter Parker but that's it, BLADE I & II are fun eye-candy but serious plot holes, MIB I & II also eye candy, SUPERMAN (who thought Chris Reeve was the Man of Steel?) we won't mention, BATMAN Burton version ok everything else worse than crap (rather watch SPICE WORLD), etc. I know there are others, but the past history of comic adaptations does not speak well for LEAGUE.

JK
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lamprey
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:05 am:   

Thought someone was working on Flicker right now. The increasingly overbooked Aronofsky? Sammuel the Hammuel probably has his finger closer to the pulse on that.

Diabolique was great, and Wages of Fear even better. I saw Wages in a double bill with Friedkin's remake, SORCERER. That was a gruelling night of cinema, but I loved them both. I was a kid at the time, though; haven't seen Sorcerer since. Could it actually have been good? There was a Diabolique remake a few years ago, with Sharon Stone, unless I'm completely insane; I avoided it.

Frenzy is a pretty good one for people who don't like Hitchcock. I find Hitch transcends his lead actors...it's more about shot and scene composition than character; what this means is that they don't date the same way as some other films of the period, as whatever Hollywood star-power the actors has wanes, you're left with something that is more and more entirely itself. I recently watched the Stewart version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH with my kids. The wonderful thing about it was how you could have turned the sound off and it would have been nearly as powerful; there was all this dialog they couldn't follow, and it didn't matter: He showed you everything you needed to know, bringing all the silent film technique forward. Half the time if you couldn't hear something, it was because you weren't supposed to. Whew. Well...okay...I'm just interested to hear there are people out there who can't stand Hitchcock. It's a big world.

Mm, dark, does it get darker than Lost Highway? It recently occurred to me that in some weird prophetic way, that movie sort of represents the inverted psyche of Robert Blake, whom it contains. A movie that is arguably about time echoes (reverberations that pass through spacetime without being limited by our perceived sense of linear time) ends up playing out like a fore-echo of Blake's future. A most Phildickian movie in that sense.
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:17 am:   

>>For some reason, I'm thinking this morning of Theodre Rozak's novel, FLICKER? It's a dark fantasy/thriller about the movies, part of which involves the invention of the cinema by, If I recall correctly, the Knights Templar on Malta back in the Middle Ages. Really cool book. Probably will never be a movie.


Probably not. FLICKER's a very interesting novel, though, particularly if you're a movie or a weird conspiracy buff. Not many people seem to have heard of it, although I think I did see it once on some top-something-or-other list by Claude Lalumiere. It's probably out of print now.

Oh, and Madchen Amick? She was the daughter in SLEEPWALKERS. And I wasn't referring to her acting abilities. What can I say, I'm shallow....
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:19 am:   

Yes, LOST HIGHWAY was fillmed in the dark! And also dark in a psychological way. LOST HIGHWAY has the most oppressive opening forty minutes of any movie I've ever seen. I, too, have made connections between Blake's character in the film and what happened in real life, but my connections were more vague than what you have here, Lamprey.

Speaking of dark, the first few times I saw HIGHLANDER, the print was extremely dark. We used to set the brightness all the way up and the contrast all the way down and then it was just ugly. ("What does 'incompetent' mean?")

Hmmm, didn't mean to imply that I can't stand Hitchcock; that's not the case at all. I just felt the color palette of FRENZY was inappropriate to the subject matter of the film...but my opinion of a lot of film from late 60s early 70s are just too bright (not lighting, the actual color choices) which I think is a reflection of the interior desecration of the era.

I will go on record as saying that I did not like MARNIE.

JK
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:37 am:   

Lamprey,

I've heard stuff on and off for years that FLICKER was going to be made, but I've kinda stopped believing the rumors, The book is way OP. Cheapest price II've found for a paperback in bad condition is around $40.

I think SORCEROR was a pretty decent remake. Not WAGES OF FEAR, of course, but compared to most remakes, it was good. You did right to pass on the Stone version of DIABOLIQUE.

And I hear what you're saying about Hitchcock -- like i said, maybe it's a deficit on my part. I'll give FRENZY a try.
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lamprey
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:59 am:   

John, I was writing my comment when yours was posted, so I was really addressing Lucius's opinion of Hitchcock. I thought Frenzy's palette was totally intentional; I sort of like the lurid color of those things. Works better for me in Frenzy than it does in, say, a Blake Edwards pic of the same period. Especially for the contrast. That luminous toxic margarita--a late period echo of the radioactive milk in NOTORIOUS, perhaps! Michael Powell's PEEPING TOM, as I recall, is similarly lurid, to fine effect. Not to mention his worshipped-by-some BLACK NARCISSUS.

Marnie is a hard film to watch; I have no trouble flipping past that one. Overly convenient and contrived philosophy, themes of domination and misogyny which aren't necessarily redeemed by being deliberate. Dunno. If you read anything about Hitchcock's relationship with Tippi Hedren, it's hard to not see some of these films as exercises in cruelty. Hitchcock's precise craftsmanship makes the murky intentions even more disturbing. That's a different order of darkness, isn't it?

I highly recommend Donald Spoto's biography of Hitchcock, by the way. DARK SIDE OF GENIUS or something like that. Spoto also wrote a very entertaining film-by-film analysis of Hitch's career. At one point in the throes of being sophomore film students, we would watch a movie and then run right back and read the chapter, and then argue about it for days. My roommate had been a pupil of Spoto's at, I think, Columbia U.; so I blame him for infecting me with the obsessive Hitchcock analysis thing. I guess on some level, watching a Hitchcock movie for me is like watching an intricate clockwork toy...I get pleasure from watching all the cogs and wheels clicking and purring and whirling together.

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lamprey
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 11:01 am:   

Gak: I meant "contrived psychology" not "philosophy."
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peterw
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:06 pm:   

After reading JeffV's last VanderWorld report, I realized that no one's yet mentioned Jodorowski. While I haven't yet seen El Topo, Santa Sangre cannot be left off any decent evaluation of dark movies. Brilliant stuff. Too bad it's not yet available on DVD.
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lamprey
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:21 pm:   

Careful: Any mention of El Topo and you're bound to get that angry rabbit visiting this thread. My chief memory of El Topo was a pile of lagomorph carcasses which were supposedly actually killed for the scene. No idea if they were eaten afterwards, but after simmering in the sun all day, I sort of doubt it. If they were eaten, then I suppose they had their revenge.

PETA-style objections aside, I have trouble appreciating Jodorowski's films for anything except their enormous pretentiousness. He has many champions, though, so I'm sure he won't miss me.
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Claude Lalumière
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:23 pm:   

Gabriel M.
you did indeed see Flicker show up on one of my top something or other articles.
It's one of my favourite novels.
This is the article in question:
http://www.januarymagazine.com/features/horror2000.html
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S. Hamm
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:26 pm:   

Ping pong with half a dozen balls:

VERTIGO is tragic. MARNIE's just nasty. Evan Hunter/Ed McBain, the writer who preceded Jay Allen on the movie, later claimed that Hitchcock did the whole movie just so he could get one shot: the closeup of Marnie's face when Mark sticks it in her. Of course, fired writers say all kinds of things.

Lucius, are you sure Hitchcock bid on LES DIABOLIQUES? I've heard the same rumor -- and a less likely one that he wanted to remake it -- but I've never been able to find any confirmation in the lit. (Spoto does claim that, for a brief time in 1951, Hitchcock was planning to do WAGES OF FEAR!) At any rate, the authors of LES D., Boileau & Narcejac, wrote D'entre les morts with the specific intent of selling it to Hitchcock, which of course they did, with happy results.

(Aside: Lamprey, are you too young to remember the TV-only alternate ending of VERTIGO, in which Scottie and Midge listen to a radio broadcast announcing the arrest of Gavin Elster? It was included as a special feature on the laserdisc, but not, I think, on the current DVD release. May have to go and watch old V. again, perhaps on a double bill with THE LADY EVE.)

Lucius, when you equate Stewart with Hanks I assume you are thinking of the goofy avuncular HARVEY Stewart and not the embittered, seething-with-impotent-rage Stewart of the postwar Mann westerns. WWII nearly ruined the guy; he was never the same actor again. While IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE tapped into that rich new vein of repressed hysteria, it took the Manns, especially NAKED SPUR and MAN FROM LARAMIE, to exploit it fully and pave the way for the full-bore obsessive looniness of VERTIGO.

Cary Grant, yech?!? One of the great resources of the cinema, yech? An actor who shares with Gabin, Mastroianni, and maybe a handful of others the gift of complete transparency, which allows an audience to see exactly what he's thinking as he thinks it? -- Who, like William Powell, exudes so much sophistication and sexual charisma that he can make a complete fool of himself onscreen without ever losing your sympathy, your admiration, or your envy? Yech? The guy who made HIS GIRL FRIDAY and NOTORIOUS, yech? Wha?? Don't even get me started (too late, you did).

Jeff, the Balsam murder in PSYCHO is a standard process shot. The downstairs tracking shot was photographed first, with the camera riding on an overhead rail built parallel to the stairs. Then they shot Balsam, sitting in a gimbal and flailing about wildly, with the stairway footage on a rear-projection screen behind him. The more complicated shot was the preliminary ascent of the stairs, followed by the pan over to Mother's room; interestingly, Hitchcock was home sick the day they shot it, and was limited to giving advice over the phone.

Alice Krige-watchers should check out her turn in TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS, by the madman of Winnipeg, Guy Maddin. (It's popping up on IFC from time to time, and Lamprey, I'd be shocked if you didn't take a shine to it.)

Had the bad fortune to miss the WILLARD remake, but damn! -- the music video, a Crispin Glover cover of "Ben," was something to behold all right.
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Ellen
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 03:29 pm:   

I keep meaning to read Flicker but never seem to find the time. I have the original hardcover packed away someplace and think I found a cheapo hc in a used bookstore recently and picked it up in the optimistic hope I'll get to it this time around.

Loved Slapshot when I saw it many moons ago.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 03:29 pm:   

Sam,

I'm not even sure what my favorite color is, man. I just have heard for many years that Hitchcok bid on Diabolique. Could be it's BS.

Stewart and Hanks. I never found Stewart's rage convincing. It always came across to me as somewhat petulant, and this definitely reminds me of Hanks. I'm quite willing to admit that my lack of appreciation for him and for Cary Grant may reflect some flaw in me -- I don't much care for Picasso, either -- but that's how it is. I can see what you're saying about Grant, his transparency, and it does force me to consider that I may have made a misjudgment, but the idea of sitting and watching his movies again holds small appeal. I'm a philstine, I guess.

Guy Maddin -- did he do anything after TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS?
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 04:17 pm:   

From what I've heard, Flicker is going to be Darren Aronofsky's next movie.

Which I think could be extremely fucking cool, but we'll see...

Jason
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 04:22 pm:   

Jason,

that would be outstanding., Aronofsky doing Flicker. Damn! That would be amazing.

Hey, send me that jpeg of the Picacio when you get a chance. I want to show it to an art director. Could be something cool for John.
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lamprey
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 08:03 pm:   

Shadow of a Doubt alert, referencing earlier posts in this thread: Hume Cronyn just passed away. I hadn't realized until reading his obit that the part in Shadow was his film debut. What a great character that was, too.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:24 pm:   

Lamprey: I didn't even remember that Cronyn was in that movie. He was in a ton of stuff.

GabeM: Yeah, Madchick (Sp?) is definitely giant, wet praire dog bait in Sleepwalkers. Here's another piece to that film I forgot until you mentioned her -- The Sleepwalkers have to find a young woman who is virtuous to suck the life out of. That's one of the requirements. The only thing is, in the movie, it strikes me that she's hot to get laid from the moment she goes on the date with the guy. Great irony, or sexist commentary, you tell me. Or maybe being hot to get laid has nothing to do with virtue, unless, of course, you are a virtuoso. Stephen King is so complex. In comparison, Sartre is like a kid making mud pies.
Gotta give a vote for Cary Grant. And definitely want to check out Flicker. This thread has been great. I've got a list of recommendations now as long as my arm.
John: Thanks for the offer of Dead Man, but I'm going to buy it.

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Michael Cisco
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:28 am:   

Re: the Balsam shot in Psycho - evidently Hitch was at home sick when the set-up shots were filmed, without his guidance. They shot Balsam climbing the stairs, close up of hand on banister, close up of foot, etc. Hitch came in the next day and said, we'll have to do it again - this sequence is lovely, but you've filmed a MURDERER climbing the stairs, and Arbogast is the VICTIM. Reshoot.
One of the only films I can think of that improved on the book.

Grant and Stewart get my vote, too. My best friend and I have a soft spot for a film called FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX - postwar movie, bunch of hams stuck in the desert when their plane goes down (Ernest Borgnine, Richard Attenborough, George Kennedy because they can't make a movie about airplanes without him for some reason, etc). They're stuck, and the only guy who can get them out of the desert is this self-important little German guy. I loved watching Stewart squirm having to take orders from Fritzy. "Vibration must be kept to a minimum!" (The German actor in question, who gives a note-perfect performance, played the Prussian officer who captures Barry Lyndon in - er - the movie that they made that is also called "Barry Lyndon").

Dark! Attenborough! "10 Rillington Place"! Don't miss it!

Jodorowsky - pretentious or not, he's also crazy, and that makes him OK in my book. I've seen El Topo and wondered what all the brouhaha was about, enjoyed Santa Sangre. Who can forget the elephant's funeral?
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 02:19 am:   

@[4@¥l

That's Hardy Kruger you're talking about in Flight of the Phoenix. That was kind of a cool movie -- not quite ruined for me by Stewart, whose rather spinsterish petulance (again) reared its head. I kept expecting him to say, "Pshaw!"

10 Rilington Place. That was the movie where Attenborough played the guy who killed a young woman and buried her in the basement or somewhere? That was, indeed, creepy, if that''s the one you're one you're talking about.

I sense a lynch mob forming, bearing pictures of Stewart and Grant, but I'm holding out here. What Sam said about Grant was very insightful--he does have a transparency that allows you to see what he's thinking, and that's part fof my problem -- I never thought he was thinking anything very interesting. Kind of the classic "I'm not deep, but I'm shallow" guy.
Every time I see him, I think, "Men's catalogue model."
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 02:23 am:   

PS -- the guy who most reminds me of Grant today is George Clooney. I suppose Grant is the more accomplished of the two, but I have essentially the same reaction to both men. To wit, Yawn.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:06 pm:   

I think actors like Clooney and Grant can be used for good effect in the right kind of movie.

Hitchcock's casting of Grant in "North by Northwest" was spot on... bumbling silver spoon effeminate ineffectual buffoon caught up in a spy thriller... hi-jinx ensue...

Likewise, I think the Cohen brothers casting of Clooney in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" was equally inspired. Clooney's shallow, manipulative "transparency" worked for that film.

Not that I think either of these films was particularly dark. Surreal at times (esp. Oh Brother), though.

Not sure what other Clooney films I actually watched/liked... (I tend to "watch" directors and writers, and don't pay much attention to who the actors are.) I remember liking "Out of Sight", where Clooney plays a character similar to the one he played in "Oh Brother.." -- The Shallow Criminal. This was a fun little capper flick, based on an Elmore Leonard novel, I think.

I remember liking "3 Kings" when I saw it in the theater (if only for the exploding cow scene) but, given current events, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach every time I think about this flick, and feel a bit embarrassed for having liked it.

[end clooney/grant free association post]
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:47 pm:   

Jeremy: I have to agree with Lucius to some extent concerning Clooney. He has about four different expressions and he switches back and forth through them and that stands in for acting. Still, I think he has a presence on the big screen. I noticed this first in Dusk Till Dawn. Like you say, he's pretty good in O Brother as well. Maybe it just depends on the vehicle. The one I saw where he was wooden as hell was the spy deal with Nicole Kidman. It didn't matter there so much cause I was basically watrching Nicole.

Best,


Jeff
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:25 pm:   

Jeremy, I agree that Grant and Clooney can be used to good effect in the right flick -- but in Clooney's case, I always have the feeling with those movies that someone else could have done it better. I didn't always have this feeling with Grant --NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a good example--but I nevertheless found him wearisome. He seemed to disappear whnever he did a scene with James Mason.

In some instances, Clooney is just awful -- like in THIN RED LINE, which I thought was great otherwise, he stuck out horribly.

Jeff,

that thing with Clooney and Kidman was THE PEACEMAKER, which, I think, was Dreamworks first feature. Worst Clooney flick (if we leave out RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES and the early junk)? For my money, it's SOLARIS. Conveying deep soul angst was way beyond our Georgie.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:34 pm:   

Jeremy -- The sort of "transparency" I'm talking about is not role-specific and has nothing to do with "shallowness." Grant has it and Clooney doesn't, which is no knock on Clooney because most actors, even the great ones, don't. You are certainly correct to say that Grant could be used to good effect in the right kind of movie, because he was, in fact, used to good effect in every kind of movie: slapstick comedy, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, supernatural comedy, thriller, melodrama, weepie, war film, biopic, family drama, action-adventure. (To be fair, he was not much of a presence in the western or horror genres.)

This thread sent me to David Thomson's New Biographical Dictionary of Film, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Thomson regards Grant as "the best and most important actor in the history of cinema." ("The essence of his quality can be put quite simply: he can be attractive and unattractive simultaneously; there is a light and dark side to him but, whichever is dominant, the other creeps into view.") It's a terrific and, ahem, very persuasive little essay, if you can track it down.

Clooney is a natural leading man but one who has to be used properly (as in OUT OF SIGHT, THREE KINGS, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN). He does a crackerjack Clark Gable in O BROTHER, but the downside is, well, he's doing a crackerjack Clark Gable. The Coen Bros. often push their actors toward an overdetermined cartoony garishness, and sometimes it pays off -- BIG LEBOWSKI or (intermittently) O BROTHER. The rest of the time you wind up with BARTON FINK or HUDSUCKER PROXY.

Not to hijack the thread or anything, but why would you feel embarrassed for liking THREE KINGS?
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:36 pm:   

Thinking about NORTH BY NORTHWEST and James Mason, I remember a noir film that I've only seen once and I wish they'd bring back on DVD -- THE RECKLESS MOMENT, which got a recent remake as THE DEEP END, featuring Tilda Swinton. Mason and Joan Bennett were in MOMENT. Fantastic movie. Then I like Mason in most everything.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:41 pm:   

Lucius,

I'll gladly watch SOLARIS for you if you'll watch BATMAN AND ROBIN for me.
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lamprey
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:47 pm:   

Flirting with Disaster was another fine dark comedy from the Three Kings director. Lots of great moments in that one.

I thought Clooney was good in Three Kings, but he drove me nuts in O BROTHER...didn't convince me at all, and was biggest anachronism in that otherwise wonderful film.

(And to divert into cartoony Cohenism, I'm with Sam on Barton "Let's do Lynch" Fink, despite all the great performances in it. I'm a huge fan of Big Lebowski, I love the overripe elaborate Vancean language of the convicts in Raising Arizona, Fargo is just one awesome sucker-punch after another, and I wish to god they'd go ahead and try To the White Sea for the hell of it. They misstep every other film or so, but they're prolific enough that I don't mind...I'll just keep watching everything they make.)
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S. Hamm
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:49 pm:   

Lucius,

RECKLESS MOMENT is probably the best movie never to have come out on video. I have a shitty cut-up print with commercials, taped off a local channel at 3 AM more than a decade ago, but if you can stand the low quality I'll burn you a dupe.
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lamprey
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:58 pm:   

Thanks for the "My Best Fiend" recommendation on this thread, by the way. I enjoyed that a lot...more entertaining than the Kinski-Herzog films themselves, for this viewer.

I just watched KANDAHAR on DVD. New depths of darkness. An incredibly beautiful and depressing movie. I've seen a few other, older films of Makhmalbaf's, but they've all been very low-budget with a very rough look. This one is highly polished, visually exquisite. The closing image is unforgettable; many of the scenes are hard to shake, actually. Many of the Iranian films I've seen have this quality.
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Deborah
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 02:15 pm:   

I thought "Oh, Brother..." was hideous and exchanging a real actor for Clooney wouldn't have done anything to alleviate my pain. Normally I pride myself on being able to laugh at just about anything, but maybe it triggered some kind of Southern collective unconscious thing, maybe rooted in memories of actual cross-burnings from my childhood. I just couldn't find anything to enjoy about it. Clooney was a caricature of a caricature of a disaster...the only good thing I can say about the movie was it had a good soundtrack and maybe gave Gillian Welch a few more listeners.

Other than that -- Ack! What a POS.

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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 03:25 pm:   

Deborah-- I'm wit' you on this one. Of late, movies about the south by people not of the south (and I have to think the Coens are not southern boys, though I may be wrong) just piss me off. Even a crummy movie like THE GIFT, which at least had a screenplay by a southerner (a southerner whose mother was, in fact, a small town psychic), has more interest to me than something like O BROTHER...

Lamprey -- saw Kandahar in NYC and didn't react well. I just kinda went zombie for the rest of the day. It's a real strong hit. I traveled through Afghanistan when I was a kid, well before the Taliban, and really loved the place, its desolate grandeur, particularly the Bamian Valley, and though I knew things had changed, Kandahar didn't sync with my experience to such a profound degree, it put me into mild shock. Have you seen LAMERICA? The two films are not terribly similar, but there is for me a resonance between them -- the refugees, the bleakscapes, the surreal juxtapositions....
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 03:33 pm:   

Sam,

I would love a copy of THE RECKLESS MOMENT, in whatever condition. I've been over the moon about James Mason since forever, and as I recall Joan Bennet was pretty damn good in the movie. I'll see if I can return the favor down the line. I guess the very least I can do is hunt up the essay on Cary Grant and allow it to be persuasive.

You have the advantage of me with BATMAN AND ROBIN. I never saw it -- one of my wiser moves, I guess. So I can't argue with you. All I can say is SOLARIS, at 92 minutes, seemed longer than Tarkovsky's version.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 06:28 pm:   

Tonight, we went around the corner to this little Italian restaurant to eat. The place is otherwise empty. It's quiet. The music comes on. The first song is the fucking theme song from Sleepwalkers. I shit you not. They're after me.

Best,

Jeff
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 06:58 pm:   

Just carry a cat everywhere you go and hurl it at the suspicious...

What could it hurt?

:-)
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lamprey
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 08:19 pm:   

I'll never forget one anniversary, strolling randomly around the Mission District with my wife until we ended up in the Casa Sanchez taqueria. No one in the place except us and a couple of employees. As we sat down, the jukebox, unattended, clicked into life and started playing a song I've never heard before or since: "The Anniversary Waltz."
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lamprey
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 10:52 pm:   

Lucius, The Gift, though crummy in some respects, had awesome dialog. Billy Bob's ear and ability to evoke true yet colorful language is highly underrated. I wonder how much of his turn as the fur trapper in Dead Man was improvised. That's one of my favorite performances. As for the Gift, I even enjoyed Keanu in that one. He was a fine surly bastard.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 05:25 am:   

Lamprey, I wasn't totally dissing THE GIFT. It was formulaic, but BBT does have the ear and the personal history to be authentic. And, yeah, Keanu wasn't horrible.

I'm going to this movie today that was writen by Kurosawa and directed by someone else -- THE SEA WATCHES. Just cleansing my palette for HULK.... :-) Anyway, I have hopes for it.

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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 06:58 am:   

lamprey, one more thing...I watched King Hu's A TOUCH OF ZEN. You might wanta try and get that one. It's pretty cool.
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lamprey
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 10:22 am:   

Maybe Ang Lee will do one of those "Rolling Thunder" dealies. Ang Lee Presents: The Compleat King Hu! I'd love to see all these oldies.

The Gift wasn't a great movie, but I do recommend it to people as an atypical Sam Raimi film which is notable mainly for its excellent dialog.

So here's an idea for a thread. Excellent scripts buried in godawful movies. You know, where you have to turn off your visual sensibilities to appreciate the bones of language underneath. Best example I can think of: White Hunter, Black Heart. Awesome script completely ruined by Eastwood's lunatic performance.
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lamprey
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 11:16 am:   

Where'd you find Touch of Zen? I wonder if Scarecrow has a King Hu section. I need to get an all-regions DVD player. Also, I need to move from the Eastside, where the only video outlet is Blockbuster.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 12:00 pm:   

Lamprey,

I bought A Touch of Zen from CD Universe online. It's a region one CD.

Daewoo makes a cheap all-region player. 93 bucks.

It's not a great script, but I thought HEARTS IN ATLANTIS had a pretty good script that was dripped all over by Anthony Hopkins, who looked to be about to nod out all through the film.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 12:01 pm:   

PS

I don't have a CD burner, but I have a friend who's getting one. Once he gets past the initial play-with-the-new-toy part, I can get him to burn a copy if you want.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 06:33 pm:   

Sam,

I somehow blew your email outa my system, but I received the DVDs. Many thanks. I'm gonna try and watch 'em Sunday...

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S. Hamm
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 09:20 pm:   

Nothing but a thang. Show 'em around, that the Ophuls cult may grow . . . .
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 09:32 pm:   

Just an addition to the list -- Stuart Gordon's new film, super low budget noir, Kingdom of the Ants. Starring (ta da!) George Wendt, "Norm" on Cheers. The evil that is Norm. Actually, iit's not too bad. Pretty damn violent, but I expect it'll be cut before it gets a release.
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lamprey
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 10:03 am:   

Norm!
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 04:43 am:   

Lucius,

Earlier in the thread Kim Ki-Duk's films The Isle, Bad Man, and Address Unknown were mentioned. I haven't seen this one yet, but there is another Kim film available (only in Region 3 as far as I know) called Coast Guard. Here's a link to the page from a not unreasonable shop that carries a lot of asian horror:

http://cweb2.millenianet.com/cgi-bin/ccdbdis.pl?merchant=diabolik01&action=item& ItemID=coastguard&inum=9&Category=Korean

(Unclear from that URL mess is the site name, Diabolikdvd.com)

Jack
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:54 am:   

Hey, Jack....

Thanks a lot. I love this guy's stuff, even though I never get his name right. :-)

Lucius
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David G.
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:39 am:   

Hey, not a great movie, but fun in a sicko sort of way if you like dark stuff (and previously unmentioned here) is the French import BAISE-MOI about a prostitute and an abused teen runaway who go on a man-hating murder spree. It's sort of half-ultraviolent arthouse film, half hardcore stag reel. A real wallow if you like that sort of thing.

You guys came up with some amazing darkfilm selections. I'm going to have to hunt some down.

Another French film whose name escapes me is the one that came out several years ago about the lesbian maids who decide one day to murder the family they work for. Very dark, very depressing, very French.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:49 am:   

Lesbian maids.....Mmmm! :-)

I've heard of Baise-Moi. Have to check it out.
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 03:00 pm:   

David. I think the one about the maids was based on a Ruth Rendell novel (which might have been based on a true story). It was chilling. One of the actresses (I can't believe I'm blanking on her name) is the one who was in Coup de Torchon (based on Population 1280 by Jin Thompson).
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 03:01 pm:   

Isabel Huppert.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 07:40 am:   

I'm still trying to find the name of that maids film, but you have reminded me of another dark gem (also -- go figure! -- francais):

The Piano Teacher

Sexual repression, sadism, rape, etc. etc. About as depressing a film as you are likely to see. Makes Baise-Moi look like Thelma and Louise.
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David G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 11:45 am:   

Ellen, you are a truly amazing human being. You got the actress and the novelist!

The film was, in fact,

La Ceremonie (1995)

Now, I can sleep tonight!

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