badger: (badgerman)
Saw Only Lovers Left Alive Sunday with M. Definitely want to see it again. (Opened Friday at the Colony Raleigh, Carolina Durham). A languid discussion of what makes life worth living by vampires in a current-ish Detroit and Tangiers, Only Lovers Left Alive is a Toreador Clan Vampire LARP played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston gamemastered by Jim Jarmusch while he carries a camera.

Great supporting performances by John Hurt (do I have your attention now?), Mia Wasikowska, and Anton Yelchin. Nice small performance by Jeffrey Wright, who I know mostly from his work as Dr. Narcisse in HBO’s Boardwalk Jungle. Also, Tom Hiddleston with Robert Smith grade giant hair and all in rocker black is the best Neil Gaiman’s Sandman I have ever, ever seen.

Recommended if you like
innovative vampire movies
Tilda Swinton
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston shirtless
Jim Jarmusch
John Hurt
doom metal
Arabian lounge music
lovely romantic established relationships

Not recommended if you like
fast pacing

Seriously, if you know Jarmusch’s work (Ghost Dog, Dead Man, The Limits of Control), you’re in the wrong room for action. Five people were in the theatre yesterday afternoon and two of them walked out around the 75-minute mark.

Palo Alto
Stage Fright - Friday the 13th meets the Phantom of the Opera - a summer camp stages a production of The Phantom of the Opera where the mother of a current campgoer was murdered years ago.
badger: (badgerman)
Back from seeing Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorceror as this year's annual production of the Durham Savoyards, at the Carolina Theatre. I now know what Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video would look like if it had been done by the cast of Downton Abbey.
badger: (badgerman)
* The Returned: Zombieism as a metaphor for AIDS: not curable but controllable with medication, which is running short. Nicely done, solidly written and paced.

* Big Bad Wolves: A horror movie in the way Reservoir Dogs is a horror movie. I liked it, M didn't very much.

* Grand Piano: Elijah Wood as a piano virtuoso who's been in retirement for five years with crippling stage fright whose return to the stage is met with a note in the score that if he plays one wrong note he dies. Like Big Bad Wolves, not a bit of supernatural. Grand Piano is essentially a very good early Brian De Palma thriller. Strongly recommended.

* They're Coming to Get You, Barbra! - US comedic short films.
Killer Kart - "I look at him and I see a lot of years - not all of them good." I think of it as Avram Davidson's "Or All The Seas With Oysters" done as a horror film.
The Root of the Problem - Dentist.
Songs in the Key of Death - Zombies have perfect pitch, so a piano tuner uses them in a morning tv show local business feature.
Call Me Crazy - Pretty good.
Rope-A Dope - Wordless Groundhog Day bit filmed by stunt men. Really nicely done.
Out of One’s Misery - Filmed in West Jefferson NC.
Christmas Carvings - Filmed locally at the Myers House in Hillsborough.
M is for Mime - Almost as short as the next and last. Very well done.
Welcome to Dignity Pastures - Very short, one-liner of a flash film. Funny because it doesn't drag itself out.
badger: (badgerman)
Saw Big Bad Wolves at Nevermore Film Festival and Retrofantasma Film Series tonight. A horror film in much the same sense that Reservoir Dogs is a horror film: no supernatural elements, just bad people and possibly good people doing very bad things under terrible stress. Film score is strongly reminiscent of The Way of the Gun. A little too much implemented interrogation, but otherwise recommended. Subtitled in English.
badger: (badgerman)
Tonight's film at Retrofantasma: The Phantom of the Paradise, a 1974 rock opera adaptation of Faust starring Paul Williams as a Mephistophelean hobbit music producer, and Jessica Harper. Second time I've seen it on the big screen: the first was in mid-2011 at Cinema Overdrive. Much fun. Now to continue the current novel, Clive Barker's The Damnation Game. Last week was Orpheus, this week it's Faust. It's a theme.
badger: (badgerman)
Back from day two of the Nevermore Film Festival at the Carolina Theatre.

* In Wrath of the Foreign Invaders (international short-format): Standouts from this set are a) The Plan, a David Lynchian sparse dreamscape from Israel, b) Ocho, an eight-year-old's birthday party shot a la There Will Be Blood (yes really) from Spain, and c) We Will Call Him Bobby (again from Spain), in which a father-adult son pair of sports fans hit Bigfoot with their car and decide to take him home. The son is wearing a Cubs jacket. Amazingly elegant opening credits from a storytelling perspective.

* The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh - long-estranged son inherits house from mom who was part of a Christian cult who believe in angels, REALLY REALLY HARD. A seriously good ghost story. Probably the best movie of the five we saw. Will buy as soon as it's available.

* The Casebook of Eddie Brewer - paranormal investigator Eddie has problems professional and existential. Pretty good, a little confusing at the end.
badger: (badgerman)
Back from opening night of the Nevermore Film Festival at the Carolina Theatre.

John Dies At The End - Film adaptation of the recent novel from the director of Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep, John Dies At The End for me was Bill & Ted by way of Buckaroo Banzai and A Scanner Darkly, and a touch of Phantasm and Galaxy Quest. A lot of weird and bizarre fun. Recommended, much fun. Great supporting performances by Paul Giamatti and the always-reliable Clancy Brown.

The ABCs of Death - 26 horror directors worldwide, each one given 3-4 minutes, a letter of the alphabet, and free rein. We were hoping for a modern Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies, especially given that today is Edward Gorey's birthday.

We found The ABCs of Death disgusting and offensive enough we walked out a little over halfway through. If you have any idea of the films that I have watched and enjoyed, or when not enjoyed I was impressed with on some level, this should be a caution to you.
badger: (badgerman)
Went to Carolina Theatre tonight to see Killer Joe, William Friedkin's film adaptation of a play. Described as a "southern Gothic dark comedy", Killer Joe is a thoroughly brutal Texas noir that I don't believe can be simply edited down from its NC-17 rating to an R without becoming nonsensical as there's too much narrative delivered in ways that would require reshooting.

Reminiscent of the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple by way of American Psycho, Killer Joe is recommended if you enjoy films like Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, Jim Thompson's novels, or think Joe Lansdale's stories would be better if his characters were less likable people. Would make an outstanding Fiasco RPG scenario with almost no effort.

Ends Thursday, 9:20pm screenings only.


* On The Road - Kerouac.

* A Late Quartet - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Christopher Walken are three fourths of a New York classical string quartet.
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Went to the Carolina Theatre in Durham tonight to see To Live and Die in L.A., very good to see it in the giant Fletcher Hall. This film has one of the best car chase scenes of all time, here from youtube below the cut )
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Jay and Silent Bob Get Old

Saw Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes talk at the Carolina Theatre Thursday night.
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Went to the 13th Annual Nevermore Film Festival Friday and Saturday at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. Seen and recommended, and today's screenings begin at noonish today: The Whisperer In Darkness, Absentia, The Innkeepers.

Regret I didn't have time for: Playback, Wrath of the Foreign Invaders, Some Guy Who Kills People, Marathon Man, Rosemary's Baby.

Seen and commented on under the cut: Ashes, Absentia, Pandora and That Damned Box, The Whisperer In Darkness, The Innkeepers.

comments within )
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Again, to be added to the calendar listings next week, but here you go... show listings )
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Have you ever been arrested before? - Robert Cecil
I'm a writer. Of course I've been arrested before. - Ben Jonson

[ profile] maegwynn and I went to see Anonymous last night at the Carolina Theatre. An Elizabethan England period piece alleging Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's plays (as well as other alternate history variants I don't remember from history classes). We found it nice to look at if a little choppy due to timejumps, but didn't happen to modify our thoughts as to the authorship question partly due to my reaction to the fictional elements: if you're trying to change my mind on a matter of history, have less fiction in your expose of history.

Fletcher Hall, the thousand-seat performance and screening space in the 1920s Carolina Theatre, is one of my favorite places in the area to see a film, so that was nice.

Good performances by Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, and the central cast. I thought Kit Marlowe was a little too villainous in that he was made to look like a competent and dangerous Blackadder. Bookending intro and outro monologues for the film provided by Derek Jacobi.


* The Descendants - George Clooney as an estranged father pulled back into his family by a crisis. Billed as by the people who did Sideways and About Schmidt. Probably skipping.
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Went to the Carolina Theatre tonight to see The Man Who Fell To Earth, the 1976 film adapted from the Walter Tevis novel. I've seen the film before, but the lure of a fresh-struck studio print was too strong to resist, and as the soundtrack was never released it was nice to hear again. (There was a lot of clipping and distortion, which I'll tentatively blame on issues with the print until I see another film in Cinema Two to determine if the I-thought-they-renovated-the-sound-system-with-the-rest-of-the-venue was to blame. The video quality of the print was perfect, it's pristine and excellent.)

Liked the Auden reference early on of the poem something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, and noted the titular character's multiple television watching as a possible precursor to Ozymandias in Alan Moore's Watchmen.


* The Skin I Live In - Almodovar. Not a big fan of his work, but after reading Robin D Law's blogpost about the film being steeped in the horror tradition this morning I am now more interested in seeing it.
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Saw Todd Rundgren play tonight at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. I was never a huge fan of his before he essentially stopped touring, but it was a decent show.

Todd Rundgren

Joseph called: he'd like his technicolor dreamcoat back.

Todd Rundgren
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Tonight's movie either had a blown center channel speaker or was a filthy print: given the picture was in excellent shape and only the center channel produced horrible crackling static whenever sound was directed to it (the rest of the system sounded fine) I suspect mechanical issues. The cellophane-crackling static every time someone on film spoke was bad enough it gave me a headache. Luckily the Piedmont has a fine headache cure called a Sazerac.
(A friend who stayed reported to me afterward that the second film of the double bill manifested the same crackling noise in the center channel, indicating a hardware problem or possibly operator error - perhaps the projectionist is new?)
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When life gives you razor blades... you make a baseball bat, covered in razor blades.

So a friend invited me to see Hobo With a Shotgun tonight at the Carolina Theatre. I was looking for an excuse to go to the Carolina as the Carolina closes this Sunday until October for renovations.

So how was the movie? An exploitation film with color saturation that looked like a Roger Corman film of the 70s or 80s but blood splatter levels reminiscent of Herschel Gordon Lewis, it's 86 minutes of full-on grindhouse cinema, given that it was adapted from one of the film trailers between the Tarantino-Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature. The first of the Grindhouse trailers to be filmed was last year's Machete. I liked Machete better. Hobo makes Class of 1984 look like a high-concept arthouse film in comparison. Gratuitous violence and viciousness. I was with a group of eight and not all made it through the film.

I must confess that I don't actually get why the writhing tentacles were present in the basement of the Ned Kelly-meets-Knightriders armored motorcyclist hit duo The Plague. Anyone?


The Double Hour - French suspense film. Looks interesting.

December 2016

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