Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hall of Strangeness Part XXIV

Several musicals in this batch and a lot of perfect scores on the fun meter! Enjoy.

Rocky Horror Picture Show: (Jim Sharman) Little needs to be said about the film that is probably the most popular cult film ever made (contradiction noted). Told in over-the-top musical segments, the story features a pair of naïve honeymooners who find themselves marooned at the castle of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry in top form). The doctor does some mad scientisting in his spare time, when he not reigning terror upon the innocent, but is soon upstaged by his alien henchmen. A favorite for midnight screenings, costume-wearing and audience participation.
Artistry: **** Fun: ***** Strangeness: *****

The Ruling Class – (Peter Medak) Peter O’Toole plays the 14th Earl of Gurney, an already egotistical member of the English gentry who has developed an acute messiah complex. When his father dies in a kinky case of accidental suicide, the new earl inherits an estate that makes him the unfortunate envy of his extended relatives. Dark British humor (aimed at everyone from religious conservatives to the House of Lords) is mixed with abrupt musical flights-of-fancy.
Artistry: ** Fun: ** Strangeness: ****

The Saddest Music in the World – (Guy Maddin) In an effort to sell more beer to depressed patrons, legless Lady Port-Huntley hosts a single-elimination tournament to find the saddest music in the world. A dysfunctional family of musicians including a Canadian war veteran, sleazy American producer and a photo-sensitive Serbian compete, all of whom have a connection to the hostess. Filmed in silent era style and brief color sequences.
Artistry: ***** Fun: ***** Strangeness: *****

Save the Green Planet! – (Jang Jun-Hwan) A flop during its initial release in South Korea, Save the Green Planet! is a surprisingly successful blend of comedy, mystery, sci-fi and thriller. When insane beekeeper, Byun-gu, kidnaps his former boss, it might seem like a typical case of revenge, however, he persistently tortures the business man hoping he will admit to being an alien invader. Two unorthodox detectives are working the case, but it quickly becomes impossible to know who to root for or what to believe. Jang Jun-Hwan shows a knack for going beyond expectations, redefining what it means to be “extreme” in a cinematic tradition where violence, sex and gore are becoming meaningless clichés.
Artistry: *** Fun: ***** Strangeness: ****

Schizopolis – (Steven Soderbergh) Soderbergh writes, films, edits, composes, directs, stars and generally self-destructs in this Vonnegut-esque solipsistic comedy. As a company drone in a corporation with both a spy and a mole, Munson is assigned to write a speech for a self-help cult leader who preaches the vacuous philosophy of “Eventualism.” He soon discovers his wife is having an affair with a physically identical dentist-version of himself. Also present in the plot is Elmo Oxygen, a popular lady’s man and insect exterminator who speaks in mismatched gibberish (while still be oddly understandable) and is kidnapped out of the main movie by a rival director.
Artistry: ** Fun: ***** Strangeness: ****

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