Alphaville – (Jean-Luc Godard) The grandfather of tech noir and anime, Alphaville still stands as one of the great early achievements of science-fiction cinema. Narrated by supercomputer Alpha 60, the story follows super agent Lemmy Caution as he infiltrates a mysterious land known only as Alphaville (actually Paris in 1965 with no special effects but a lot of mod era lighting) to find exiled scientist Leonard Nosferatu.
Artistry: *** Fun: ** Strangeness: ****
American Astronaut – (Cory McAbee) Despite the bland name, American Astronaut, is one of the most creative and wildly idiosyncratic cult films ever made. A hybrid noirish space-age western musical, the film joins astronaut Samuel Curtis as he arrives at the asteroid saloon Ceres. He’s there to give a cat to the Blueberry Pirate in exchange for a music box suitcase that contains the fetus of “a real life girl.” The item will serve as a handy bargaining chip in a series of bizarre trades that might make him rich… if obsessive birthday boy, Professor Hess, doesn’t vaporize him first.
Artistry: *** Fun: **** Strangeness: *****
Ashes of Time – (Wong Kar-Wai) An impossibly fast-pace collage of interwoven samurai stories about memory, love and identity. Various warriors and mercenaries cross path in a landscape riddled with unrequited love and sworn vengeance.
Artistry: **** Fun: ***** Strangeness: **
Bad Blood (1986) – (Leos Carax) Stylized noir and poetic romanticism spin circles around each other in this French, oddball mix of genres. Alex is a bright young punk split between two girls (played by Julie Delpy and Juliette Binoche) and hired to steal a top-secret corporate drug that may cure STBO, an STD lethal to couples that have loveless sex. Makes interesting use of music and primary hues.
Artistry: **** Fun: ** Strangeness: ****
Barbarella – (Roger Vadim) Probably the best known of the 60’s kitsch adventures (see also Danger: Diabolik, Modesty Blaise and Starcrash), Barbarella stars Jane Fonda as a scantily clad astronaut on a mission to find professor Duran Duran. She encounters a non-stop barrage of psychedelic characters ranging from gnashing robotic dolls to gay angels. To almost all Barbarella’s problems, such as torture in the orgasmotron, sex turns out to be the answer. Consistently trippy to the very backdrops, which include shag-carpeted wallpaper and projected lava lamps.
Artistry: ** Fun: ***** Strangeness: *****
Sunday, February 25, 2007
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Everyone ought to see American Astronaut, for it pwns. Sweet how it made exactly no press when it came out, though, I suppose.
And maybe someday, I will even own a copy. *Someday...*
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