• Footsteps in the Fog

    Footsteps in the Fog

    ★★★★

    I LOVE gaslight melodramas. All the real emotions that form from an impure place. Footsteps in the Fog wastes no time seeing Jean Simmons blackmail Granger into a professional relationship and from there, a bunch of rash decisions and bad calls catapult toward romantic disaster. This one really goes in some unexpected directions.

    It’s probably no coincidence that the film was written by a pair of women and Simmons’ character is so complex; it’s never certain to what degree (if…

  • The Birds II: Land's End

    The Birds II: Land's End

    ★★

    Part two of my Hitchcock sequel double feature is quite a far cry from the quality of Psycho II. The Birds II is a total mess, completely split into two different storylines.

    One is a worn-out family drama that’s convincingly acted but overplayed; the other is the actual birds part, which Rosenthal plays cheap and cheesy and stupid all the way around.

    Hilariously, the two plots never, ever connect, even in some contrived metaphorical way, so you would be constantly…

  • Psycho II

    Psycho II

    ★★★★

    JB’s review: 8/10
    “Love the suspense all the way to the end.”

    Part one of a Hitchcock sequel double feature…Franklin took on a tall task directing a sequel to Psycho but thank goodness everything comes together. I love the fact that the violence here—perfectly integrated—is an evolution of the genre that the first Psycho helped to form. 

    Dean Cundy is a perfect match for the material and he photographs the Bates property with suspense, shock, and playfulness without muddying the…

  • Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine

    Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine

    ★★★★

    This is an extremely cool avant garde short that reminds me of Guy Maddin’s super cool and disorienting style.. Something about the combustible, physical, duplicitous quality of cinema. By using the Western, maybe American cinema specifically. 

    Obviously, draws attention to the way movies can extend time and perpetrate violence, how tangible violence becomes sensory by moving from celluloid to screen.

  • WNUF Halloween Special

    WNUF Halloween Special

    ★★★½

    It’s Halloween season and WNUF is throwing all the stops. What an impressively well-executed staging of a terrible (and made up) local cable program.

    Consists of almost all commercials and the pay-off at the end is like basically nothing. But that’s sort of where the fun is too. I can’t believe how real some of them feel, with the beat-up cars, graphics and everything. Ironically, the actual Halloween special isn’t as funny as it tries to be. 

    If you want…

  • F for Fake

    F for Fake

    ★★★★

    An extremely fun and playful docu-thing that Welles unveils as a “new type of cinema”. Also extremely of its time in the sense that all of these topics were huge headlines in the early 70’s. His cinematic trickery is brought to the forefront and culminates in a sort of prank by the end. 

    But there is more than meets the eye with the additional questions Welles raises beneath cinema being an illusion: how does authenticity factor in a medium of…

  • Voyage of the Rock Aliens

    Voyage of the Rock Aliens

    ★★★★

    Struck from the same vein as Rad, except Voyage of the Rock Aliens satirizes (albeit at times, incidentally) the insanity of teen pop culture in 1984 by dropping aliens dawning pink leather into these juvenile rituals—the height of which is, similar to Rad, a sort of prom dance sequence so cheesy it reaches spiritual. 

    Not even to mention the fact that this is a musical that channels the same attitude as Grease with their teasing look at nostalgia for 50’s…

  • Resurrection

    Resurrection

    ★★★★

    At the end of the day, I can be really forgiving of Resurrection’s flaws because of how entertaining it is. Some won’t be able to detach from the obvious comparison to/rip-off of Se7en, but I think it takes the formula and runs with it in an equally crazy direction.

    There’s an added effect to everyone looking like normal people in a stressful day job, even if it occasionally leaves something to be desired in more dramatic moments.

    However, I think it’s…

  • Tales of Terror

    Tales of Terror

    ★★★

    Tales of Terror is an anthology of two more solid Poe adaptations from Corman and Price that sandwich another rather mediocre and worn version of The Black Cat that unfortunately turns the middle part into a bit of a slog with its lame antics.

    To be fair however, the highlight of the whole anthology is clearly the delirious wine-off between Vincent Price and Peter Lorre at a gay social club.

    Of course everything has that amped-up 60’s flavor of sadism to match the times. There is some really fun use of color as well.

  • Days of Being Wild

    Days of Being Wild

    ★★★½

    I am starting to understand WKW’s fixation on time and personifying living spaces. Look at how dreary and derelict this complex is, with Doyle’s stolid camerawork to match. 

    Time spent in these places is the source of drama that paces the film. Forget love entirely; it’s the act of living together (or apart) creates the sense of entitlement, the friction and expectations that complicate the relationships between Cheung’s character, his mother, and his two girlfriends.

    I think WKW and Doyle…

  • True Lies

    True Lies

    ★★½

    JB’s review: 8/10
    “Jamie Lee Curtis did an awesome job.”

    I certainly wasn’t expecting anything steamy in what could be reduced to Schwarzenegger’s equivalent to Stallone’s mediocre action-rom-com Demolition Man the year prior, but Jamie Lee Curtis is HAWT!

    Sadly the pair’s charisma is way overpowered by Tom Arnold’s obnoxious side character and a gaslighting plot that isn’t propelled enough by good action. And like all James Cameron movies, it’s probably too long. How many times can she reach for that stupid helicopter??

  • Blue Ice

    Blue Ice

    ★★★

    An even more preposterous adult film effort from the director of Dracula Sucks. There is nothing remotely sexy about watching uniformed Nazis go at it, but Ron Jeremy initiates a kung fu duel with a private eye shacked up with a prostitute, so there’s clearly some intentional humor here…right?!

    It’s moderately entertaining to watch these couples get distracted with sex on a quest to find some stupid supernatural Nazi book. The guys in this have the ugliest mops on their heads I’ve ever seen but they sort of make up for it below the waist.