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the3rdman

Just awful. This sad justification of the extramarital pursuits of a middle-aged man barely able to control his urges comes off as mostly pathetic, and Monroe's utterly implausible character seems to exist only to serve the overt male chauvinism of the narrative--although she executes it with as much charm and gusto as possible under the circumstances. To be fair, Ewell does his best with the material too but it's just not that strong, and his character comes off as creepy and self-serving rather than sympathetic. I'm generally a Wilder fan but this was not good in my books.
8 years 4 months ago
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the3rdman

Something of a lost classic. I was lucky to see this screened in Toronto recently--apparently it has recently had a resurgence as a cult classic. I was impressed by the strange and unsettling (albeit occasionally hokey) 3D segments and their juxtaposition against the more standard horror/thriller fare of the rest of the film; because they range from mildly effecive, unintentionally funny, and simply mundane, the 3D trips are doubly effective. Reminded me a little bit of the British horror the Skull with a more stridently B-movie vibe. You can just imagine a young Cronenberg taking notes.
8 years 4 months ago
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the3rdman

This movie is a riot. It really ought to be on a list. I guess it's a little hard to come by. I should really thank my local cinema for screening it, because it's the best time I've had at the movies in a while.
8 years 4 months ago
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the3rdman

It may fool you at the start with its touches of comic surrealism but this is a very dark film. It's undoubtedly an achievement, but a little too sordid for me. It sure does linger in the mind though.
8 years 4 months ago
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the3rdman

"A spaceship! But from where?"
"From outer space."
8 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

This is a fairly amusing film that pushes a little too hard to force laughs when it could rely more organically on its already funny premise. More than a few gags resulted in a silent room when watching with friends, which is never a good sign; and even at 88 minutes the plot feels stretched beyond its capacity to retain interest. Also, some of the action scenes are cluttered and dim, dulling their impact. Still, we had a generally good time with this movie.
I know this is quite common in North American cinema, but I am sick and tired of seeing the litany of offensive and tired Asian stereotypes inserted into films for the cheapest of cheap laughs. Peter Kwong seems to be present for no other reason, as his limited screen time emphasizes his accent, martial arts skills and "Eastern mysticism". I wouldn't be surprised to see this kind of character in a movie of two decades ago but shouldn't we have moved past this sort of thing by now?
8 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

Standing on its own, this is a decent slasher--competent, but nothing special. If Nispel and co. had applied this amount of effort to an original concept I think they could have turned in something relatively impressive. However, this remake doesn't hold a candle to the original. Hooper's surreal touches are sorely missed here; instead, Nispel seems determined to surpass the source material in relentlessness, tension and brutality, while missing the more subtle elements that elevated the original. Hooper's film touched on the economic issue of heartland American decline and its social detritus, as well as an interest in vegetarianism. Taken out of context in the contemporary climate of remakes, horror "franchises" and genre fanaticism, the film becomes more about the fascination with Leatherface's status as a horror "icon," and naturally that means he becomes the focus of this more character-driven Texas Chainsaw. As such, he gets significantly more screen time, not to mention a paper-thin back-story as a tortured child with a degenerative skin disease. It would be hard to describe the original film as overtly political, but it fits squarely into a post-Vietnam American turn towards self-examination, looking for the heart of darkness and finding it in the rotting core of capitalist industry and American traditionalism. In the remake, evil is a more personal matter, perhaps appropriate in a post-Columbine America; but this puts Leatherface into the role of a more conventional franchise villain, with all the cliches that go along with that label. And audiences, it seems, are expected to be primarily interested in seeing the variety of ways in which Leatherface can dispatch the rest of the cast, rather than to consider his symbolic significance for instance.
On a lesser note, I also found the Sheriff to be a poor, cartoonish character, likewise drawing from all the cliches of the southern lawman we have seen in countless other incarnations. He seemed to fit poorly with the grim and intense tone of the film.
8 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

Implausible coincidences and situations I can put up with, but I feel the film endorses a classist narrative that exploits middle-class urban anxiety about working-class and rural society. This is a fairly common theme in the horror genre and works well sometimes in more surreal, campy contexts (Texas Chainsaw Massacre; the Hills Have Eyes). Eden Lake's "we take care of our own" vision of "lower class" nihilism, violence and delinquency is entirely lacking in subtlety. I wouldn't have such an issue with it, except that the tone of gritty realism and social commentary give it an ideological bent. It's as though the filmmakers are trying to show things "as they really are," but they fail to interrogate their own anxieties and positions, and their take on the subject is beyond simplistic. Is the talk radio segment about youth delinquency and parental responsibility at the beginning of the film supposed to frame the narrative? Judging by the ending, one would suppose so. Is the take-away the bourgeois assumption that society is deteriorating? These messages are scrambled somewhat by the necessities of plotting a competent cat-and-mouse thriller. The likeable, doomed couple; the relentless antagonist; the misery and suffering of it all. It's things like this that cause a character like Brett to promptly descend into caricature, while the assumptions and biases of the nice couple are ratified at every turn. Instead of making Brett a more complex character, other members of his crew are held up as weak counterpoints who bend under the weight of his oversized persona.
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with a mean-spirited film. Bad things happen. Sometimes they happen to decent people for no good reason. This film was extraordinarily intense, and the set-up had a general plausibility. But it's hard to appreciate this film on anything other than a technical level. It lacks any sense of humour or reflexivity, so you can't really enjoy it. But at the same time, its politics and attempts at social commentary are bullshit, so you can't really take it seriously as nihilistic realism. It's kind of just a drag.
8 years 6 months ago
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the3rdman

Completely fucking ludicrous. It makes no sense whatsoever, but if you enjoy this kind of nonsense you'll have a laugh. How did these monsters meet? Why are they called the "Neon Maniacs?" Why do they have their own trading cards? Why do they live under the Golden Gate Bridge if they are easily destroyed by contact with water? Doesn't that make them weaker than basically any human being? They literally have to go back home whenever rain is forecast. All of these questions have been asked to no avail by countless puzzled viewers. We may never know the answers. One can only hope that maybe, one fine day, there will be a Neon Maniacs 2.
8 years 11 months ago
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the3rdman

A decently preposterous premise that just does not pay off.
9 years 1 month ago
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the3rdman

Watch it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN4_8eurids

A good documentary on what has been called "Canada's Stonewall", namely the police raid in 1981 on Toronto's major bathhouses and the resulting furor from the gay community. Essential viewing for Canadians and Torontonians especially, of whom many are (I think) unaware of this history.
9 years 1 month ago
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the3rdman

Probably a bit misunderstood. I don't think we are meant to judge Evelyn's actions any more than the rest of the characters. Everybody is manipulative and unpleasant in their own peculiar way, even if some are more than others. In that sense the film is less moralizing than it is psychological and sociological, although not entirely successfully. There is that very human drive to reshape people to conform with our own desires, as well as the insecurities that lead us to sacrifice our better selves. spoiler If anything is wrong with this film, it's the performances, which are by turns hammy, over-reaching, or simply awkward. Not that these are not fine actors, but they seemed to struggle a bit with this material.
9 years 2 months ago
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the3rdman

Andersson's films leave me with a sick feeling in my stomach. One of the most astute, cynical filmmakers that I know of.
9 years 3 months ago
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the3rdman

Is it just me or does Keaton's character seem like a complete sociopath in this?
9 years 3 months ago
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the3rdman

"The creature is harmless unless provoked... Let's provoke it!"
9 years 4 months ago
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the3rdman

Anybody familiar with suburban life will probably identify with the undercurrent of seething dissatisfaction underlying the film's tone of aimlessness and ennui. The mundane aesthetic of bland interiors, car lots, empty fields and suburban detritus that Lafleur very capably captured in his previous film, En terrains connus, is often strangely beautiful here in black and white. Combined with some light touches of magic realism, the film achieves a dreamlike state somewhere between hopelessness and transcendence.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

Spacehunter: Adventures in Utah. Really a passable sci-fi movie with a sizeable layer of fromage. Ringwald, Strauss and Hudson are all likeable, with Ringwald and Strauss' bickering being on the one hand rote and familiar (he even refers to her as, ahem, "princess") but on the other hand probably the best thing about the film. Ironsides really mails it in, but then he doesn't have much to work with since his ridiculous antagonist is the weakest character in the film. The sets are good but the plot leaves much to be desired. I'd like to say that it's a lost classic but that would be overly generous. It is fun and it doesn't take itself too seriously, but a little more ambition and originality could have elevated the proceedings significantly. I think of it as a missed opportunity that squeaks by mainly due to a certain charm.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

I actually didn't care much for this one. It was quite well-composed, but I didn't find it to be very funny or scary; the whole thing was way too hammy for me. I'll chalk it up to personal taste.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

Not bad. The intro and end credits I found to be the funniest and best parts. I felt the narrative elements were often detrimental, but then that's the danger of turning a sketch into a feature-length film. Nonetheless a classic and mandatory bit of Canadiana.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

An intriguing concept, but I wasn't all that impressed with the outcome--It lost me about two thirds of the way through. I guess I was expecting the horror elements to be more pronounced.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

So apparently this death trap of a building is built so you can't go out the front door, windows, or garage in the case of a power outage, but the roof is open. Maybe not the most glaring logical inconsistency in the movie but it annoyed me. Logic is clearly not a faculty the writers chose to exercise in the making of Demons 2, inundated as it is by bizarre and improbable dialogue, plot points, acting and scenarios--some of which literally go nowhere. Even the nature of the link between this film and its predecessor is barely comprehensible.
But you know what? Fuck it. I thought it was a lot of fun, in no small part due to its incoherence. Bava knows his way around a good scene and there are plenty here to go around. Plus, he is generally not afflicted by sentimentality, which lends an added mean-spiritedness to the proceedings.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

Rather too derivative of Evil Dead but otherwise very entertaining. spoiler
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

Surprisingly competent. Incredible set design, decent effects, and a truly disturbing atmosphere. It did run out of steam in the latter half and some plot lines seemed superfluous; plus, once all the tricks are out on the table nothing seems quite as creepy any more. The main thing going against Silent Hill, though, is the lamentable dialogue and often wooden performances (I'm looking at you Laurie Holden!) Not having played the games, I definitely have the sense that they are considerably more effective than the film.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

spoiler. Still a pretty fun movie. Boys in short shorts and cutoff tees abound, rather than the requisite naked girls typically demanded by genre conventions (and deliberately avoided here). Actually it was kind of cool to see the queer subtext in an otherwise typical slasher flick, even if it is somewhat exploitative.
9 years 5 months ago
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the3rdman

Exactly as advertised: a freak in a castle, and also people freaking out (not unjustifiably) in a castle. Not totally brilliant, but an underrated and slightly unusual movie with an old school vibe from the ever reliable Stuart Gordon. Bonus points for the castle itself, which really elevates the film.
9 years 5 months ago

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