Thursday, April 5, 2007

Hall of Strangeness Part VIII

Cure – (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) When a series of murders are committed by unrelated killers, all finalized with a bloody “X” slashed through the throat, Detective Takabe knows he’s in for a unpleasant investigation. The truth seems linked to an amnesiac, hypnotist drifter who asks simple, yet profound, existential questions to those he meets. Shortly after the seemingly innocent interrogations, another murder occurs. Water, fire and darkness take on strange powers and vague symbolism in this deliberate, supernatural thriller. Pay close attention to the last frames of the last shot (before the credits roll) to 'understand' the ending.
Artistry: **** Fun: ** Strangeness: ***

Dancer in the Dark – (Lars Von Trier) Czech immigrant Selma (played by Bjork) works day and night to save enough money for an operation that could prevent her son from suffering from the same crippling blindness that is gradually making her a liability at a local factory. In her free time she rehearses for a local version of The Sound of Music and chats with her corrupt landlord. The rest is all downhill. By shanghaiing tunes from the upbeat family flick and putting them to ironic use in pathetic fantasy escapades, Trier creates one of the most depressing musical ever made.
Artistry: ***** Fun: * Strangeness: ***

Danger: Diabolik – (Mario Bava) Diabolik is the greatest jewel-thief whoever lived, a super-sexy daredevil living in the height 1960’s kitsch. With his beautiful wife, he stages outrageous capers and makes fools of the government and criminal underworld alike. Even destroying the country’s tax infrastructure and stealing a multi-ton boxcar of gold is no trouble for the stealthy hero. Based on the Italian comic strip, Diabolik is funny, stylish and is filled to overflowing with clever heists, foils and escapes.
Artistry: ** Fun: ***** Strangeness: ***

Darkstar – (John Carpenter) Five hippies assigned to implode dark-stars near potential human colonies must deal with boredom, alien pets and each other in this low-budget sci-fi comedy. It doesn’t help their situation when one of their powerful smart-bombs begins to think for itself and a deadly philosophical debate about phenomenology ensues. While gratingly slow and put together with cardboard and cupcake trays (literally), the finale generates a certain odd amusement.
Artistry: * Fun: ** Strangeness: **

Daughters of Darkness – (Harry Kumel) Daughters of Darkness is the grandmother of all lesbian vampire films (it adopted its children in the Netherlands in case you were wondering how that worked); a French feature that actually aims more for artistry than violence and pornography (although you get a little of everything). A shakily married couple checks into a beachside hotel where the only other guests haven’t aged for the past five decades. An erotic power struggle ensues over the protagonists’ souls.
Artistry: *** Fun: ** Strangeness: **


Mad Dog said...

I'm almost wondering why you gave Cure so many stars on "fun."

Unknown said...

John has a pretty good point. Maybe transfer those to Dark Star?

Cure has fewer beach-ball aliens; it's only fair.

FilmWalrus said...

Your idea of fun isn't a contemplative montage of vacant interiors and sterile urban spaces punctuated by the occasional corpse or twisted monkey?

But I guess you two have a point. I changed it from 3 stars to 2 and added a helper line concerning the ending.

Mad Dog said...

I mean, yeah, I enjoyed Cure as much as I possibly could, but I wasn't sitting there, knocking back beers going, "WOOOO!" every time someone said "Mesmer."

Unknown said...

There should be a drinking game for "ambiguous," so that Brian would be excited about one (other than WILD ZERO's, of course)

I can just see him getting wasted during "Picnic at Hanging Rock."

Oh, god...