Nostalghia

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Three starsTwo stars

Smoke-made men, shadows in the steam, God’s orphaned bastards abandon child and country.  Besieged by earth.  Buried in water.  Engulfed in flames.  A father chases his little wonder towards apocalypse.  At the edge of the steps is the cliff and the valley and the far-off castle.  Did you do the candle magic?  Do emo kids read Pushkin?  The sounds are raindrops and footfalls.  Songbirds live in the cathedral, in the blouse, in the womb, of the Madonna.  There’s a white horse by a lake.  This is Tuscany.  This is Moscow.  Nobody beats Tarkovsky.

D & W by: Andrei Tarkovsky, More W: Tonino Guerra, P by: Giuseppe Lanci, E by: Erminia Marini & Amedeo Salfa, w/Oleg Yankovskiy, Domiziana Giordano, Erland Josephson, Patrizia Terreno, Laura De Marchi, Delia Boccardo, Milena Vukotic, Raffaele Di Mario, etc…, 125 min, Italy, 1983

9 to 5

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Three stars

In dreams Dolly’s office opens on the Mojave.  She steps away from staplers and collating machines and enters that hot home of the desert tortoise.  The sun is very bright out here, the air dry.  The trees are named Joshua and aren’t trees at all.  Cartoon birds flit down from the mountain and whisper memories into her Cinderella shoulders.  They take pratfalls and scream “guh-guh-guh-ghost!”  This is a cheerful reminder to be militantly feminist.  By evening she’s on top of a gulch looking down.  The moon is a glowing sliver of thumb nail behind her and the stars are manifold.  She sits.  She breathes.

D & W by: Colin Higgins, More W: Patricia Resnick, P by: Reynaldo Villalobos, E by: Pembroke J. Herring, M by: Charles Fox & Dolly Parton, A by: Nicholas Eliopoulos & Fred Lucky,  w/Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman, Peggy Pope, Elizabeth Wilson, Marian Mercer, Sterling Hayden, etc…, 110 min, USA, 1980

Deadpool

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Two stars

 This is the movie the fan’s demanded Marvel make.  I like that the line is blurred between actor Ryan Reynolds and character Wade Wilson.  Other things I liked: the dated USSR giant metal X-man guy, the animation sequence featuring unicorns.  The plot is pretty boring and the jokes are kinda bad, not Robot Chicken bad, but close.  For those logging this kind of thing, Ryan Reynold’s dick makes an appearance.  He’s impaled on twisted rebar in a burning medical lab in the film’s big serious origin moment and boom, there it is, shrouded and murky behind smoke and flame, Reynold cock.  I dunno, it might just be CGI. 

D by: Tim Miller, W by: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, P by: Keng Seng, E by: Julian Clarke, A by: Delano Athias, Pyrokinesis, etc.., S by: Kayla Adams, Fraser Aitcheson, etc…, M by: Junkie XL, w/Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Leslie Uggams, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic, Stan Lee, etc…, 108 min, USA, 2016

 

The 5 Deadly Venoms

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Three stars

Tempura-paint blood and stipple sponge beards!  The plot concerns 5 & a half protégés of a Kung-fu master and their respective goals of protecting or conning an old man.  They search for buried treasure and shove sharp implements up nostrils.  They run up walls.  There’s some mystery about who the 3rd venom (Scorpion) is.  I liked the masks, they kinda reminded me of the indigenous art of the Eyak and Aleut peoples of Alaska/Kamchatka.  I had to look up those names though.

D & W by: Chang Cheh, More W: Kuang Ni, P by: Mu-To Kung & Hui-Chi Tsao, E by: Hsing-Lung Chiang, M by: Yung-Yu Chen, S by: Ting Liang, Feng Lu, & Chi-Hsien Tai, w/Sheng Chiang, Lung Tu, Lung Wei Wang, Feng Lu, Chien Sun, Pai Wei, Meng Lo, Phillip Kwok Chung-Fung, etc…, 97 min, Hong Kong, 1978

Blind Chance

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Three stars

This is east bloc Sliding Doors.  The colors are moss, wood and jaundice.  Our protagonist has three different shitty lives depending on whether he chooses, rejects, or is indifferent to communism.  No matter what he gets laid.  He finds a message in a bottle, he stands in line for hours for bread.  The sun peeks sickly out of clouds in train stations and airports.  We are all the mutable results of fate and action.

D & W by: Krzysztof Kieślowski, P by: Krzysztof Pakulski, E by: Elżbieta Kurkowska, M by Wojciech Kilar, w/Bogusław Linda, Bogusława Paweler, Tadeusz Łomnicki, Marzena Trybala, Jacek Borkowski, Adam Ferency, Monika Gozdzik, Zygmunt Hubner, etc.., 114 min, Poland, 1981

The Mosquito Coast

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One star

An uncomfortable, unrelenting movie about an uncomfortable, unrelenting man.  Allie Fox just wants to bring the power of ice to the tropics, that and assert his dominance over everyone and everything.  A lush, alien Belize stands in for a lush, alien Nicaragua.  There’s not really a lot to recommend here, it sort of rings true and has a cool Swiss Family Robison vibe but it’s mostly just two hours of Harrison Ford being a big ol’ dick fart.

D by: Peter Weir, W by: Paul Schrader & Paul Theroux, P by: John Seale, E by: Thom Noble, M by: Maurice Jarre w/Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Conrad Roberts, River Phoenix, Martha Plimpton, Andre Gregory, Butterfly McQueen, Jason Alexander, etc…, 117 min, USA, 1986

Two Days, One Night

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Three stars

Smoky tendrils of gaseous white depression, leaking from the furnace she left fallow all fall, punctuated by sudden bursts of joyous AM/FM radio.  A woman travels by bus and foot and ride to the doors of her co-workers and asks them to take a pay-cut so she isn’t fired.  This is a great movie to discuss with bros around the proverbial water cooler.  It inspires questions like, “How can we take care of each other better?” and, “What ain’t working?”  Namaste you guys, I love you.

D & W by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, P by: Alain Marcoen, E by: Marie-Hélène Dozo, w/Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Christelle Comil, Hicham Slaoui, Catherine Salée, Alain Eloy, Timur Magomedgadzhiev, Batiste Sornin, etc…, 95 min, Belgium, 2014

Escape From New York

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Three stars

New York’s skyscrapers like silent sentinels, it’s dark and cold in the valleys of abandoned progress.  You walk amongst this history and your footsteps echo off canyons of cement and you truly feel what it’s like to be Godforsaken.  I know this isn’t really the place to say it, but I’m deeply terrified of a Trump presidency.

D, W, & M by: John Carpenter, More W: Nick Castle, More M: Alan Howarth, P by: Dean Cundey, E by: Todd Ramsay, FX: Roy Arbogast, James Cameron, Brian Chin, Jenna Holman, etc…, S by: Buff Brady, Tony Brubaker, Glory Fioramanti, etc…, w/Kurt Russell, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine, Adrienne Barbeau, Harry Dean Stanton, Lee Van Cleef, Tom Atkins, Frank Doubleday, etc…, 99 min, USA, 1981

RoboCop

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Four stars

RoboJesus shoots rapists in the dick, battles irradiated mutant gangsters and giant robots in post apocalyptic Detroit.  There’s some pretty prescient satire of media and capitalism in here.  It kind of feels like the smartest Troma movie ever made.  I miss practical FX.

D by: Paul Verhoeven, W by: Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner, P by: Jost Vacano & Sol Negrin, FX: Craig Davies, Phil Tippett, Lawrence A. Aeschlimann, Dennis Pawlik, Bill Purcell, Don Baker, Randy Dutra, Rob Bottin, Erica Edell Phillips, etc…, S by: Jamie Bunch, Vickie Creach, Randy Fife, etc…, E by: Jim Rodnunsky, Danny Retz, etc…, M by: Basil Poledouris, w/Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Robert DoQui, Paul McCrane, Ray Wise, etc…, 102 min, USA, 1987

Mermaid’s Scar

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Three stars

Immortal frog flesh!  The blood of Mothers!  A strange woman on a hill, her nocturnal mysteries.  The day laborers have come by train to our seaside hamlet.  They swill our coffee and stand stoic with secrets but they work hard enough and soon we’ll have enough trenches for everyone’s peace.  That is, until the twisted carnage.  Always these mermaids and their twisted carnage.

D by: Morio Asaka, W & A by: Rumiko Takahashi, More W: Tatsuhiko Urahata, More A: Kumiko Takahashi, M by: Norihiro Tsuru, w/Jason Gray-Stanford, Lalainia Lindbjerg, Chris Turner, Janyse Jaud, Kathleen Barr, Terry Klassen & Teryl Rothery, 50 min, Japan, 1993