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  • Community of Praise

    Community of Praise

    ★★★★

    Playing on the same bill as Herzog's GOD'S ANGRY MAN, I wasn't expecting to prefer this obscure early '80s doc about religious fundamentalists in rural Indiana. (I seem to be the first person on Letterboxd to review it!) The filmmakers captured some mind-boggling moments, like a young girl with scoliosis being told that her disease is caused by demons and a preacher/doctor saying "Why do prostitutes stay prostitutes? They're possessed by the spirit of harlotry." But they're not setting their…

  • God's Angry Man

    God's Angry Man

    ★★★

    Maybe it's the 45-minute length, but this feels fragmentary. It was obviously filmed very quickly, and it alternates interviews with a fairly smart and articulate Rev. Gene Scott, filmed in his house and car, and unhinged TV clips, where he screams at the audience at home to send him their money and shows off his collection of toy monkeys. But the larger context is elusive - Scott had specific personal reasons behind his paranoia and greed. And the film doesn't match the sheer weirdness of constantly flipping channels on cable TV when I was a teen in the '80s and stumbling across Scott's rants.

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  • The Plagiarists

    The Plagiarists

    ★★★½

    As obnoxious as its characters, but far smarter and more self-aware. The cinematography, which uses very primitive video cameras, had me thinking "Dogme 95," and 20 minutes in, one of the characters brings it up. The score relies on smooth jazz that sounds like a porn soundtrack, featuring an electric piano so tinkly that I wanted to smash its keys in, but the closing credits reveal that all the music came from a website that gives away generic songs in…

  • Climax

    Climax

    ★★★

    I've never taken LSD, and I've learned from CLIMAX that it can lead to dancing yourself to death under red lights and an upside-down camera, although ENTER THE VOID made DMT look fun. Just say no! To get serious, my opinion of CLIMAX kept changing while I was watching it, and when I was standing in the lobby afterwards, I thought "there's no way I can be sure what I think about this without some time and consideration." Both of…