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Go Ask Alice (1973)
A fraud of a fraud
Go Ask Alice is a fraud of a book and an equally fraudulent movie. The book that this weak, inauthentic TV movie was based on was written by a middle-aged British woman pretending to be an adolescent American girl. The language is all wrong: "telly," "mum" . . . it's all ridiculous for starters, plus the effects she ascribes to certain drugs (pot, speed, and LSD, for starters) are obviously based on antidrug propaganda and not on any first-hand experience.
OK, now to this pallid attempt at creating a film version of a fraudulent book. Well, shall we talk about the production values? Crappy sets, bad lighting, horrible attempts to simulate the drug experience within the confines of a G-mandated rating and an obvious lack of familiarity with either drugs or even decent cinematic representations of freak-outs (Hitchcock/Dali, Hopper/Fonda). And I guess I don't have to talk about how bad the direction and acting are. That's obvious by looking at the casting and the subsequent credits of the ingenue and the non-cameo actors and actresses.
Bad all around--good for a laugh, on a sophomoric level.
Not a truthful moment in the whole film
This is a terrible film, and not one scene has an ounce of truthful emotion. The characters are uninflected, obviously drawn, predictable and the story line is obvious and typical Hollywood wish fulfillment.
William Holden (so sad to see him in this role) was 55 when this film was made, but he's playing someone in his early 40s and looks like he's in his 60s. Kay Lenz was 20 and was scripted to find him irresistibly attractive. I think the dog they found by the side of the road was sexier and had more life than their erotic connection.
Holden's character--the same age as Clint Eastwood when he directed this film, (not) coincidentally--is placed with obvious trappings of 60s pre-hippie cool: the bachelor pad, the swinging hi-fi, the lunches at Yamashiro. But the film is ridiculously uncool, a clanging claptrap of old fogies desperately wishing that the free spirits they saw on Sunset and in Laurel Canyon would find them and their big honkin' cars sexy.
Ugh. Youth culture was never that desperate. And I shudder to think that Bill Holden was so desperate for youth that he took this embarrassing part.
Carnival of Souls (1998)
This film makes me sorry that there's no copyright protection on titles
It's such a shame that the memory of the first, groundbreaking film, a gripping -- though super cheapie -- exploration of anomie and the subconscious, is in any way associated with this film, which I guess you have to say is not in any way a remake, although it appears that the filmmakers wanted to capitalize on the goodwill the original has accumulated over the years.
So sad, it's too bad.
I think the time is right to consider a remake of the original, but it's certainly not this misbegotten error. I would see an independent filmmaker -- maybe Inarritu or Guillermo del Toro -- taking the original story and really making a haunting re-visioning of the first film.
But this ain't it.
Le clan (2004)
Deep, powerful, moving
I thoroughly enjoyed this dark, engrossing film that addresses the harsh lives of a group of young men in the not-so-gay boondocks of France. I am always amused at "reviewers" who slag a film because the views of life and lifestyles depicted are not "pleasant" or meeting with their social approval. To them I say, folks, that's what mainstream Hollywood films are for. Don't expect to find it in a challenging French melodrama. If you are able to open your eyes to a depiction of life without Hollywood endings, you may find that this film depicts relationships and unhappy lives with a stunning honesty, brutality and even, dare I say it, bleak but ravishing beauty.
Lawless Heart (2001)
So sorry, load of derivative shite
And an insult to its purported subject, which seems to have been grieving over the accidental death of a gay man. No one (with one exception, in two brief moments) seems to really be concerned that a man has just died. Everyone's going to the National Front disco, screwing (exclusively heterosexually, I might add), and having cheery old smash-the-vase house parties.
And whoever told these guys that it would be a bright idea to mimic a Tarantino script structuring for this particular plot was quite off. Really, quite off.
Even the least qualified Tarantino imitator would have made better use of music, incidentally.
Les triplettes de Belleville (2003)
Sweet, quirky and delightful
This beautifully rendered film is a perfect way to while away a chilly autumn afternoon. It creates a universe where the bizarre is natural and believable, and where human values, even scatological ones, are honored and redeemed. Plus, that off-kilter music is a real gem. I can only hope that someone like Kid Loco or Dimitri of Paris gets his hands on those tapes and makes a masterpiece of turntablist art out of its haunting harmonies.