Friday, June 1, 2007

Hall of Strangeness Part XIII

100th post! Time sure flies. So many favorite films I still want to write up and so many films yet unseen. Here's to the next 100!

Full Contact – (Ringo Lam) One of the best of the over-the-top bloody Hong Kong revenge films, Full Contact features a particularly flashy cast of ruthless gunmen and a slew of insane battles (including one shot from a bullet’s eye perspective) that represents an extreme in a genre based around extremes. The gay villain makes a pass at the protagonist (Chow Yun Fat) during their final confrontation, prompting one of the most anomalous final cries in the history of action movies: “Masturbate in HELL!!!”
Artistry: ** Fun: ***** Strangeness: **

Gemini – (Shinya Tsukamoto) After a wickedly eerie opening credit sequence, we are introduced to Yukio, a highly regarded early 20th century doctor, his unsettling amnesiac wife (named Rin) and his awkward bourgeois parents. Evil omens culminate with the haunting death of the latter and the arrival of a plague victim during a storm. After a violent assault, Yukio fines himself confined to the bottom of a well while his doppelganger replaces him and seduce his wife, who has a secret past and issues of her own. Genuinely effective as a chiller, but with more on its mind than most. A fitting evolution for the director who brought you Tetsuo.
Artistry: **** Fun: ***** Strangeness: ****

Get Carter (1971) – (Mike Hodges) The original Get Carter is the prototypical example of the British gangster film and one of the grimmest revenge thrillers ever made. Channeling the existential amorality of the earlier Point Blank, Michael Caine’s Jack Carter is a brutal man out to learn the truth behind his brother’s death. Carter, himself a violent antihero without hope of redemption, is determined to put everyone involved in a body bag as he mires himself in the corruption of Newcastle’s underground.
Artistry: *** Fun: *** Strangeness: *

Harold and Maude – (Hal Ashby) The unlikely romance between a rich suicidal teen and a radical old woman, is chronicled in this cult romantic comedy. Full of deadpan, morbid humor, jaunty Cat Stevens music and anti-establishment sentiments. Gutsier than “All That Heaven Allows” (1955) or “Ali – Fears Eats the Soul” (1974) in its society-spurning romance across age and class.
Artistry: **** Fun: **** Strangeness: ***

Heart of Glass – (Werner Herzog) The Bavarian legend of a remote town doomed by the death of their ruby glass-blower is told by a cast placed under hypnosis by envelop-pushing German director Herzog. The town’s mystic attempts to revive the secret of creating blood-red glass (their economic and cultural lynchpin) becomes a haunting allegory for mankind’s technological hubris and our inevitable fate as kindling for the inferno of a dour apocalypse. For those with patience, the film is as hypnotic as the curiously unnatural performances.
Artistry: ***** Fun: * Strangeness: *****

3 comments:

Kathryn said...

I would see more Hal Ashby stuff. I was surprised to see his IMDB page so sparse. I though he sort of had his hands in a lot more projects.

When are you ever going to let me actually watch Heart of Glass, by the way? Has Pat (The Smelly) already seen it - because he could see it too!

Speaking of Herzog, when are we going to watch some KLAUS KINSKI movies? Not that any certain new kitties of ours would like to see them, or anything.

Patrick said...

Haha, but yes, I did see Heart of Glass. I think I saw it when Brian watched it for the first time. That was when we watched a series of Herzog films and I realized that film was way cooler than I had thought.

Walrus said...

Look forward to a full in-depth review of Heart of Glass with screenshots. It is sort of a hard film to convince people of, but worth it many ways.