Formerly "Dave's Blog About Movies and Such"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas on Mars (2008)

dir. Wayne Coyne, Bradley Beesley, and George Salisbury


"I'm gonna grudge fuck your grandmother in the grave, bitch."
-Captain Icaria

As great as Netflix can be when it comes to releasing lesser known titles, it can also be quite irksome when it comes to shipping these titles in a timely manner. When I found out that The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne's long awaited sci-fi/avant film Christmas on Mars would be making its dvd debut, I made sure to stick it right at the top of my queue. Sure, I don't tend to write holiday appropriate film pieces as I think it a tad obvious, but the release of this film so close to Christmas seemed a perfect opportunity for me to take advantage. Alas, it sat on the top of my queue for a few weeks, not arriving until this past weekend, well past the point when anyone would care. Anyone but me, that is.

Getting on the Flaming Lips wagon, happened rather late for me. Although, like many people, I was aware of them since their ubiquitous top ten single, "She Don't Use Jelly" in the early nineties, it was not until 2003 that I started to listen to them (wow, a year after Yoshimi -- wasn't I a latecomer). While I excel in my movie knowledge, my music knowledge is somewhat lacking -- especially back then when it didn't extend far beyond the reaches of classic rock and seventies punk (of course I have been working feverishly since then to fill the ever decreasing gaps in my music knowledge). Based on a recommendation from a friend, I decided to give The Soft Bulletin a listen, and as soon as the majestic opening of "Race for the Prize" kicked in, I became hooked. I quickly ate up anything I could find from this Oklahoma City band. I soon read on the interweb of Coyne's spaced out work in progress film, a Martian Christmas fairy tale - a pipe dream it seemed.

Then I saw Bradley Beesley's superb documentary on the Lips, The Fearless Freaks (a high recommendation regardless of how one may feel about this band). This film chronicles the artistic process as well as the highs and heroin induced lows of this space-pop band without ever succumbing to fanboygasming or sermonizing. This film also follows Coyne briefly as he sets about constructing sets on the cheap and filming scenes for Christmas on Mars. No longer did it seem that this film would be relegated to the great heap of abandoned projects, such as Orson Welles' Don Quixote or Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (I know that Gilliam is still working to get this made, but I'll believe it when I see it). Perhaps, I would one day be able to see it. And see it, I did - how unfortunate.


The cast of this film contains faces familiar to those who have seen Beesley's doc. Aside from appearances by band-mates, this film also features cameos from Coyne's brothers and friends, and some celebrity cameos from Adam Goldberg, Fred Armisen, and Steve Burns (Yes the "Blue's Clues" guy). Incidentally, Burns' Songs for Dustmites is well worth a listen. Because of his collaboration with Steven Drozd and Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, it is not surprising that Burns debut would sound like a Lips album. I fail to see anything wrong with that, however. The star of Christmas is Lips drummer/guitar player/keyboard player/musical genius/recovering junkie Steven Drozd, who plays Major Syrtis. Syrits is a member of a manned space crew surveying Mars. Worried about the survival of a space baby and the morale of the crew, Syrtis spends the film looking for a replacement Santa Claus for his Christmas ceremony. Their previous jolly man, it seems, committed suicide by escaping through a hatch and into Mars' unwelcoming atmosphere. Things are soon set right, however, when salvation comes in the form of Coyne's Martian/godlike character, who arrives in time to save Christmas.

Aside from Coyne's stated influences (The Wizard of Oz, Eraserhead, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Holy Mountain), this film also brings to mind the recent underground sci-fi/musical The American Astronaut. This similarity accentuates one area in which Christmas on Mars is so sorely lacking -- no songs. This film should have been a great opportunity to showcase some new/awesome Lips songs; the group opted instead to produce an instrumental score. Perhaps Coyne wanted to distance himself from the monolith that is The Flaming Lips so as to let this film stand on its own. Problem is, he is not skilled enough a filmmaker to pull this off. Of course, this is not to say that Christmas doesn't have a memorable score. Drozd and the Lips here produced an atmospheric/ambient soundtrack that easily rivals the works of Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno, and at times Bernard Herrmann. The music transports the viewer to a hypnotic dreamland.


The same can not be said of Coyne's work behind the camera. In one of the extras, Coyne states this film was inspired by one of his mother's dreams. When Coyne was younger, his mother recounted a movie to him that she watched while she was falling asleep one night. A search for this film proved that it did not exist and that Coyne's mother had in fact half dreamed it. Coyne decided at that point that he would one day film the story that seemed to move his mother to tears. Not surprisingly, Coyne attempted to imbue this film with a dreamlike quality, suffusing it with a plethora of whacked out imagery (mostly of the dead baby and vaginal variety). Unlike other films inspired by dreams, such as Altman's 3 Women, however, the effect here falls flat. Whereas Altman's film hypnotizes, Coyne's film is full of purposefully strange experimentation that rarely transcends.

Perhaps Coyne's work would transcend were the film to grip the viewer on an intellectual or an emotional level. Instead, we are hit over the head with a constant stream of conversations in which characters complain about space being empty and void of meaning. True though that may be, the artless, blunt dialogue stating such, removes the viewer from the film. Perhaps also detrimental to Coyne's intent, the plot here is rather straightforward and easy to follow. Take away some of the crazier imagery and this film is a standard low budget 50's sci-fi picture (not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, I just don't think it works here.).


This is not to say that I don't admire Coyne's directorial effort on some level. I do have a certain amount of respect for this film's slapdash, Ed Woodian, "let's make a movie" attitude and ingenuity. My admiration does not extend far beyond that, however. Undoubtedly, the film's roster of nonprofessionals (sprinkled, of course with the occasional ringer), results in some pretty stiff acting. Although sometimes charming, it does further work to keep the viewer from connecting to this film. Occasionally, however, there are surprises. Mark DeGraffenried, playing the redneck Captain Icaria, brings to mind the work of David Gordon Greene discovery Danny McBride. In the right hands he could probably carve out a nice niche for himself as a surly character actor.

At the risk of stating the obvious, few people outside of Lips fans will be interested in this picture. For the most part, Christmas gave me exactly what I expected. This is part of the problem. With the exception of At War With the Mystics, each successive work by this band has exceeded expectations and gone into new directions not wholly anticipated. Here they have almost become parodies of themselves. The soundtrack breaks some new ground, but little else does.

The trailer:


Dave's Rating:

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Favorite Movie

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

dir. John Ford


"Look at it. It was once a wilderness. Now it's a garden. Aren't you proud?"
-Hallie

A friend of mine was complaining to me recently about my tendency to review shitty movies (or at least what he deems to be shitty movies) in my blog. Beauty is all in the eye of the beholder, I countered. One man's trash is another man's gold (gee, I love cliches). I should at least try to review the occasional so called respectable movies (critically acclaimed, mainstream or indie Oscar fare), he replied. It seems too often that my decision to review certain movies is based on my ability to tear them apart. Of course I enjoy most of the movies I cover on this blog (otherwise why the hell would I write about 'em), but there's no denying, however, that my love for these movies is often tempered by a douchebaggy ironic distance. Since I started this blog with the intention of having a place to test out my jokes, though, this is not surprising. It is much easier to crack jokes about ineptly crafted fare than it is about films that I wholeheartedly, unironically love.

To those who know me, it is probably no surprise that my movie tastes skew more conventional than my blog might let on. Three of my favorite movies from the past year, for instance, are The Dark Knight, Wall-E, and Rambo (although, to be honest, I still have not figured out whether my love for Rambo is genuine or ironic). I love and hate all manner of movies, be they mainstream, cult or otherwise. I generally refuse to review the more mainstream or at least well-known movies, however. The most important reason for this is that, with so many people writing about these movies, there is not much new that I can bring to the table. I would prefer to introduce people to movies that they may not have been aware of previously.

Again, I do have a love for the sometimes ineptly made films that I tend to cover in my blog, however condescending that love may be. Writing about movies that I genuinely respect, on the other hand, is an almost herculean task. It is much easier to tear down a movie than it is to explain to people why I truly love something. Part of the reason for this is that, showing and explaining my unabashed love for something, puts me in a somewhat vulnerable position. Although I have occasionally written about certain movies that I genuinely admire (such as in my first post), I have rarely been satisfied with these reviews -- not enough jokes. I'd rather hide behind a wall of cynicism and snark than let some genuine emotion show through. Today I'll try tear down that wall.

Incidentally, the same day I had the heated discussion with my friend (fists were a flyin'), I read an article by Roger Ebert in which he wrote about his favorite movie, La Dolce Vita (don't worry, I'm working my way to a point, however elliptically). Part of his piece detailed the near impossibility of claiming any movie as his favorite. The criterion he eventually settled on was "the most rewatchable film." For him La Dolce Vita was his most rewatchable film and, by extension, his favorite.

The favorite movie discussion is one that I've had with many people. Most are baffled that, although I am a huge movie geek, I cannot claim one as my favorite nor do I have a list of favorite films. Like Ebert, however, I do have a group of pictures that I continually go back to: Raising Arizona, Phantom of the Paradise, Night of the Living Dead, The Apartment, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. [Brazil used to belong to this group, but for whatever reason I haven't had much of a desire to watch it for quite some time (not that I don't still think this is a great movie).] Of this group, though, John Ford's Valance is one that I could probably continue watching forever. I guess, by default, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is my favorite movie. Despite my aversion to writing about more revered and well known movies, and my aversion to writing about movies that I wholeheartedly respect, I have decided to write about The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, my favorite movie (see, I came to a fucking point).

[SPOILER ALERT!: For those who haven't seen this movie, I am going to be dropping spoilers like a mother fucker throughout the rest of this piece. Sorry, it's just too hard to contain myself when it comes to this picture.]


Valance centers around an Eastern lawyer, Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart), who, while traveling west, is horribly beaten and robbed by Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) and his henchmen Floyd (Strother Martin) and Reese (Lee Van Cleef). Ranse is eventually rescued and taken to the backwater town of Shinbone where he becomes friendly with the Swedish Ericson family, particularly with their comely daughter Hallie (Vera Miles). Problem is, young miss Hallie is already spoken for. Although nothing has been made official, it is well known around town that Hallie is Tom Doniphon's (John Wayne) gal.

Ranse and Doniphon soon butt heads over the issue of how to handle the murderous Valance, Ranse's newfound foe and a longtime Doniphon nemesis. While Ranse believes that he can use the law to put an end to this man's crimes, Doniphon asserts that the only law is the gun. When Ranse is forced to defend himself, he guns down Valance in a nighttime duel (or so it seems). Hallie falls for Ranse and follows him as he becomes a famous senator. Doniphon meanwhile fades into obscurity.

In many ways, Valance is an unconventional Ford Western. First and foremost, the obvious studio location is a marked contrast to Ford's previous location shot Westerns. This is the man after all who, in the previous couple of decades, had made sweet sweet love to Monument Valley with his camera. Also, considering the fact that, during this time, movies were shot on location more and more frequently, Ford's decision was quite unorthodox. It creates a purposeful feeling of artifice. Ford, also no stranger to color films, decided to shoot this picture in black and white (Ford's Drums Along the Mohawk was an early color film, made the same year as Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. 3 Godfathers represents his most accomplished use of color, anticipating the rich desert photography of Lawrence of Arabia). The black and white decision was also quite strange at this time, as Hollywood began to shoot the majority of its pictures in color in order to compete with TV. Aside from creating a beautiful picture, the black and white photography here helps to further create an artificial world. As Andre Bazin has pointed out, each successive advance in film technology has helped to further the realism of motion pictures. By extension, a decision to use a previous technology (such as black and white film), usually stems from a desire to remove a movie from reality.


Valance is purposefully artificial in many other ways. The first confrontation between Doniphon and Valance, for instance, has the feeling of theater. Their standoff hits every right note (Ford staged this scene, incidentally, as an homage/mocking tribute to friend Howard Hawks' Westerns). It is as though Doniphon and Valance have had this same confrontation many times before, turning it into a ritualistic ceremony. Valance even ends the exchange with the line, "Show's over for now." This, incidentally, continues a long tradition in Ford pictures of fetishizing rituals. Ford, the Irish Catholic that he was, had a hard-on for repressed sexuality, alcoholism, and rituals.

[the Doniphon/Valance confrontation]


Furthering the artifice of this picture, the flashback structure gives it the feeling of a fairy tale. In the opening, a very old Hallie and Ranse come back to Shinbone to pay tribute to the recently deceased Doniphon. When a newspaperman asks them why they are in town and attending the funeral of this unknown man, Ranse tells the story. It sure says something when our first introduction to Wayne in a Western is in a pine box. Coming from Ford, the man who built Wayne's career and worked with him to mythologize the west, this scene is a profoundly sad statement. Indeed, more than anything, this film is about loss.

All of Ford's work towards artifice in Valance has a purpose. As we find out in the end, Doniphon, not Ranse, actually killed Valance -- a secret that Ranse kept to himself until Doniphon's death. Upon hearing this news, the newspaperman in the framing scene decides not to run the true story and utters the now famous line, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Ford recognizes that much of the western mythology he helped to perpetuate was built on bloodshed and outright lies. Indeed, Ford spent much of the latter part of his career tearing down the Western myth that he had previously built up. [In his last Western, the interesting if flawed Cheyenne Autumn, Ford attempted to give Native Americans their fair due.]

[the man who really shot Liberty Valance]


Although Doniphon has become forever embittered toward Ranse, he realizes that the public needs to believe that Ranse killed Valance. They need a hero. Thus, he lets Ranse take credit for ridding the territory of its most ruthless villain. Ranse soon brings their territory into statehood, in defiance of the ranchers north of the picket-wire who would prefer to keep this area a wide open unrestricted uncivilized space. Although this civilizing of the west is seen as an ultimate good, there is no denying the sadness Ford felt about this change.

Consider the film's closing exchange between Ranse and Hallie, partially quoted above. It is with an undercurrent of bitterness that Hallie utters the line quoted above. She longs for the wild Shinbone of her past, and for the man whom she still tragically longs for. Indeed, she even leaves a wild cactus rose on Doniphon's coffin (the same kind of rose, incidentally, that Doniphon had given her while he was courting her). The subtlety of this scene speaks volumes. Indeed, more than anything, it is the little moments that give this film its power. Consider also the scene in the film's opening in which an old Hallie goes to the now deceased Doniphon's home. Waiting in the horse and buggy outside, she puts her arm around a hat box and looks longingly in the distance.

Although he sometimes failed at portraying love, female characters, and relationships in other than simple one-dimensional terms, Ford absolutely succeeded when it came to depicting loss. As much as anything, this film's tone is most likely representative of Ford's state at this time. Over the years he had alienated many individuals, some close friends. While he was married to the same woman for many years, never divorcing, he spent much of this time banging Katharine Hepburn on the side. It would not be surprising if Ford felt like he was trapped in a loveless marriage that his Catholic guilt would not allow him to end. It is not surprising that this closed off individual would, near the end of his life, make a film dealing with some of these issues in an attempt to come to terms with where he went wrong.


The movie is not without its faults, of course. The hokey, broad humor, present in most Ford productions, might come off as grating to modern viewers. Likewise, the casting of fifty-somethings John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart as twenty-somethings could also be jarring for many viewers. Because of my unabashed love for this movie, however, I am willing to overlook these seeming faults.

What I get from this movie is different with each viewing. Not surprisingly, it tends to have much more power when I watch it after a break-up. When I first saw this movie, I was a staunch Wayne hater. I had let my hatred of his politics get in the way of my enjoyment of his work. This movie, however, gave me an appreciation for the Duke's craft. No, he was not the greatest actor, but the man had presence. The scenes near the end of this film in which a drunken, dejected and rejected Doniphon lashes out at saloon patrons and then goes home to burn down his house, never fails to move me.

It is a shame that this film was not Ford's swan song. It would have been a hell of a high note to go out on. Aside from being his last great Western, it was also his last masterpiece. Instead, Ford opted for the Irish Goodbye of the relatively minor 7 Women. More than anything, Valance was a deeply personal film from an aged director who undoubtedly felt like he was getting swept away by a sea of change. [Incidentally, for those interested in this "outliving one's era" theme, Ford's earlier film starring Spencer Tracy, The Last Hurrah, is also well worth a watch. (Side note: I wonder if Ford and Tracy exchanged Hepburn bangin' tales.)]

Check out this Lee Marvin interview in he which he discusses, among other things, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:


the trailer:



Dave's Rating:

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Big Cube (1969)

dir. Tito Davison


"My parents are divorced. So what? I squeeze them both and have all the fun I can get. Sweetness, baby, float with the tide. That's my bag. This is a pop-art world, baby, and the sooner you learn that -- oh wow, dig that music."
-Bibi

Ah, the desperation of the aging movie star, how sweet it is. The attention whoriness of the actor is quite a thing to behold. So desperate is one to stay in the spotlight that he or she will sink to any low just to remain a visible figure. The history of film is littered with the failed, embarrassing comeback attempts of many of these thespians. Of particular awesomeness is the comeback/paycheck vehicle that attempts to hipify the aging star. Although these comeback movies occasionally prove successful, more often they quickly become dated historical artifacts. For every Marlon Brando in The Godfather there is a Gene Kelly in Xanadu (then, of course, there is the wild card that is Ben Kingsley's bi-polar career choices of late. Good God, that man cannot say no to a movie). Among the lesser known of these late period "for God's sake please notice me" movies is aging star Lana Turner's late career turn in Tito Davison's hippie/LSD themed thriller The Big Cube. [Side note: although The Big Cube would seem an odd career choice for Turner it was not as embarrassing as some previous choices.]

Davison's film is a swinging tale of a rich girl gone bad. When her hippie friend Bibi (Pamela Rodgers) introduces her to a far out, groovy crowd, society girl Lisa Winthrop (Karin Mossberg) becomes smitten with med student Johnny Allen (George Chakiris), whom you may remember as Bernardo from West Side Story) and his rebellious LSD producing ways. Likewise, Allen becomes smitten with Lisa's bountiful wealth. It is truly a match made in heaven. Not surprisingly, Lisa's father Charles (Dan O'Herlihy) is none to fond of her new connections. He senses that she is on a road to destruction. Added to the mix is some bitterness from Lisa toward daddy's new wife, the aging stage actress Adriana Roman (Lana Turner) (Now that's what I call meta!).


While Johnny is trying to figure out a way to marry Lisa, against her father's wishes, and thus take part of her fortune, he is aided by Charles through Charles' untimely death. Charles, an avid yachtsman, is out at sea with Adriana one night when a gale destroys the boat sending the two of them overboard where he sacrifices his life in order to save hers -- an incident recounted in "artistic", psychedelic flashback. Upon hearing this news, Johnny plants a seed in Lisa's head that Adriana planned Charles' death in order to gain Charles' fortune. Johnny and Lisa soon concoct a plan to take the fortune from Adriana. Their plan? Use LSD to fuck with Adriana's head so that she will seem mentally unfit enough to relinquish the fortune, whereupon Lisa and Johnny can take it. It's as if Timothy Leary and Leona Helmsley got together to concoct the perfect crime.


Although The Big Cube is certainly no Wild in the Streets it is a fine piece of hippiesploiation. It certainly never rises to its full batshit insanity potential but it generally hits the right notes. The acid freak-out scenes, although entertaining, are generally run of the mill, with all the standard colorful swirling lights (Of course, Lana Turner tripping balls, makes this movie more than a worthwhile entry in the hippie film canon). Davison's film does contain some unintentional hilarity, however. Although Lisa's father is British, her accent is a cross between the Gabor sisters and Arianna Huffington. You would think that the casting agents would bother to see if Karin Mossberg could fake her way through a British or at least an American accent. Indeed, this film is full of bizarre casting choices -- such as the decision to cast Chakiris as a hip young med student even though the 35 year old actor was graying at the temples. Apparently, hair dye had not been invented yet.


As can be sensed from the quote at the beginning of this piece, The Big Cube pulls out all the stops in its attempt to capture the cultural zeitgeist. As a piece of "struggling to stay hip, pop culture pandering", The Big Cube ranks somewhere between hippie Bob Hope (sorry, I couldn't find any images or clips) and the comically unnecessary rave scene from The Matrix Reloaded (I refuse to link to this). Once you get past the acid freakoutiness, however, The Big Cube is a pretty standard issue old school Hollywood thriller. It's just like Gaslight, except that it includes everything that that 1944 film so sorely lacked: tits, hippies, and shameless youth pandering/lecturing. In other words, it kicks Gaslight's ass.

The trailer:


Dave's Rating:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Private Parts (1972)

dir. Paul Bartel


"Cheryl, when you're older you'll realize that the body is a prison that traps and bends the natural spirit to its will."
-Aunt Martha

In the decades after Psycho was released, the horror movie market was flooded with a slew of imitators. Loosely based on the life of serial killer Ed Gein, this film ignited a genuine sense of fear in the movie-going public. During this supposedly stable and sane time, citizens saw that even their outwardly normal neighbors, Jane and John Q. America, could be harboring deep and horrifying secrets. No one was what he or she seemed. Beneath the facade of a Ward Cleaver could be lurking a Norman Bates. Filmmakers only too eagerly capitalized on these fears, and the success of Psycho, to churn out the knockoffs (notable examples include: Homicidal, Dementia 13, and Dressed to Kill). As the times began a changin' in the sixties, it took more to shock an audience, and filmmakers used the Psycho motif to delve into even darker, kinkier territories. One of the kookier heirs to Hitchcock's film was Paul Bartel's Private Parts. Focusing on the theme of sexual deviation, Bartel created a horror film for the love generation.

Bartel announces the sexual nature of this film during the opening scene. A group of vagabonds: Cheryll (Ayn Ruymen), Judy (Ann Gibbs) and Mike (Len Travis), is shacked up in an apartment in Southern California. Cheryll, the youngest of the group is a teenage runaway. As Private Parts opens, Cheryll spies on Judy and Mike, who are in the middle of ballin'. Because of the ungroovy atmosphere this creates, Judy verbally assaults the peeping tom Cheryll. Cheryll soon recognizes that it's time to split. Rather than go the standard trying-to-make-it-on-her-own-in-show-business-only-to-get-dumped-at-the-bottom-of-the-porn-industry route of most self respecting Midwestern teenage runaways, Cheryll opts instead to find a room at her Aunt Martha's King Edward Hotel.


This hotel is home to all manner of colorful characters, including: a chronic drunk, a secret leather daddy priest, a crazy old woman, and the creepy photographer George (John Ventantonio). The film announces early on that George is behind a series of mysterious murders (or so it seems). Although Martha warns her to stay away from this dangerous man, the inexperienced Cheryll soon grows quite enamored of George and his creepy ways. How creepy is George? Well, after engaging in pseudo-lovemaking with a water-filled blow-up doll he's made to look like Cheryll, George injects it (through its fake vagina) with a syringe full of his own blood. This scene is enough to make Buffalo Bill cringe.


George is not the only unsavory type in this building, however. As the film progresses, it is revealed that Martha is far from sane. When Cheryll announces her interest in local boy Jeff (Stanley Livingston, whom you may remember as Chip Douglas from "My Three Sons"), Martha goes into a crazed tirade about "whores and painted women". Martha needn't worry about her niece's relationship with Jeff, however, as Cheryll, wanting an older man, will let her affections to George be known. After Cheryll discovers that George has been spying on her through a peephole, she decides to put on a striptease show for him using lingerie that he had previously left on her bed after breaking into her room. [Side note: This film belongs to a genre I have dubbed, "Movies that make you want to take a shower right afterward."] Martha is not completely innocent in all of these shenanigans, however. We will eventually learn that her history with George and the murders is far more sordid, complicated than a first glance would reveal.


Tonally, Private Parts is quite the odd duck. Despite the genuinely creepy nature of much of this film, it is not without humor (hell, look at the title). Much of the humor, of course, is of a desperately dark variety. A master of dark humor, Bartel would eventually helm the the thoroughly awesome Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul. Unfortunately, Bartel did not direct nearly enough projects throughout the course of his career. Instead, he took on acting roles in other people's films (Many people may remember him as the music teacher Mr. McGree in Rock 'n' Roll High School). Despite his small output as a director, however, it is obvious that Bartel was quite the auteur. Even a paycheck job like the Roger Corman produced car chase movie Cannonball! is not without the distinctive Bartel touch.

Interestingly, Private Parts is the only horror film that Bartel directed. Although I would argue that his comedies are superior films, he clearly knew what he was doing here. This is one genuinely unsettling horror picture. Much like the the early works of John Waters, however, Private Parts is a film that I quite respect by a director that I greatly admire, but one that I find hard to revisit.

The trailer [Warning: This trailer contains massive fucking spoilers.]:


[When deciding how to rate this movie, I realized that none of my rating pictures would suffice, so I have decided to use a knew one for this movie. From time to time, when appropriate, I will use new rating pictures.]
Dave's Rating:

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Have Failed You

To those of you who have been faithfully reading my movie reviews every Monday, I am deeply sorry for not bringing you one today. Due to Thanksgiving vacation related busyness/food induced laziness, I have not had a chance to review a movie for you this week. I would assure you that it won't happen again, but with Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Festivus fast approaching, I would be a liar were I to promise that (Yes, I celebrate everything). So as not to leave you completely bummed, I have good news to bring you -- good news regarding this man:


Not only does he have a new Rambo movie in the works (oh sweet baby Jesus I can't wait to see this); but he will also be writing and directing a movie starring, not only himself, Jason Statham, and Jet Li, but also Dolph Lundgren (oh double sweet baby Jesus am I excited). Here's to hoping that his long awaited biopic of Edgar Allen Poe finally gets off the ground.

[Side note: I will have a new review up for you tomorrow.]