Seconds – (John Frankenheimer) If you were given a second chance at life, would you take it? This is the question asked by Seconds, an eerie sci-fi thriller about the possibility of renewed youth… at any cost. The film was far ahead of its time (1966) in almost every way (though humorously kitsch in others) and deeply unsettling without being alienating or unwatchable. Reading the film as a metaphor for star Rock Hudson’s own double life adds an interesting extra dimension.
Artistry: **** Fun: **** Strangeness: ***
Shivers – (David Cronenberg) An early, low-budget Cronenberg film about a paradise hotel with a rodent problem. Except that rather than rodents, its actually parasitic life-forms that burrow into stomachs and turns their hosts into sex-crazed zombies.
Artistry: * Fun: **** Strangeness: **
Shock Corridor – (Samuel Fuller) Fuller’s 1963 thriller is easily one of the best and most influential of his off-kilter B-movies. Journalist Johnny Barratt determines to solve a murder case by pretending to go crazy and infiltrating the asylum where the crime took place. His sensationalized adventures include being swarmed by compulsive nymphomaniacs and interviewing a black KKK member who starts a riot. Barratt is determined to find the truth, even if he loses his mind in the process.
Artistry: *** Fun: ***** Strangeness: ***
Six-string Samurai – (Lance Mungia) Simply the best post-apocalyptic Elvis Presley samurai film ever made. In the desert wastelands of the post-WWIII future, a Buddy Holly-like drifter with a katana-guitar, an attitude and an above-average knowledge of martial arts heads towards Lost Vegas to claim the rank of “The King” in the wake of Elvis’s passing. A band of bowlers, some mutants and Death himself try to stop him. Enjoy the eccentric soundtrack by the Red Elvises and unexpected parallels to “The Wizard of Oz.”
Artistry: * Fun: ***** Strangeness: *****
Sonatine – (“Beat” Takeshi Kitano) Murakawa is an aging yakuza killer double-crossed by his longtime boss. Forced into hiding with his small band of cronies, he enjoys a sweet and charming summer vacation at the beach. In Murakawa’s impassive expressions lies a hidden sorrow that the blissful period must soon come to an end, but the itch for vengeance can not be ignored. A bittersweet and poetic film that manages to alternate wildly from deadpan comedy to extreme violence.
Artistry: ***** Fun: *** Strangeness: ***
Monday, February 4, 2008
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