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|134 reviews in total|
I must say I was deeply impressed with this film. It has one of the best concepts of a parallel world; and since reality TV has taken over America, the concept makes me laugh even more. Czech director Jan Sverak is best known for his critically acclaimed films "Koyla" and "Dark Blue World". For some reason this film never got a U.S release. Too bad, because this is one of the most original and creative sci-fi films I've ever seen. The plot concerns Olda, played by Petr Forman (son of director Milos Forman). Olda gets interviewed on live T.V for an opinion poll, now that his image is recorded another person who is him in a parallel T.V world needs energy to live. Every time Olda watches T.V, he looses energy. The T.V starts to mysteriously drain peoples energy till they die. When Olda doesn't watch T.V he gains telepathic type energy. To survive, he even has to take a universal remote everywhere he goes to turn off public televisions. Or else he'll die. The movie is also a comedy and a good way to get people to read more. Ironically actor Petr Forman has a twin brother in real life. Not to worry, his twin brother is not from a parallel world. The Czech Republic has some of the most original and unique films, but for some odd reason U.S distributors don't seem to pay attention. This movie had a small budget of a about 2 million, yet you would never know it. Forget about Hollywood CGI and give Akumulator 1 a try.
Yugoslavian director Emir Kusterica is most well known for his critically acclaimed international films like "Time of the Gypsies" and "Underground"(1995). He did one English language film in Ameica. The film "Arizona Dream" is a highly underrated film that people have seem to forgotten. Which is a shame, since it has an amazing cast of well known actors like Johnny Depp, Vincent Gallo, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis and Lili Taylor. Jonny Depp plays Axel a young twenty something dreamer. In the beginning of the film he has a dream about an Eskimo family. He works at a dock cleaning fish and often drifts away from reality to dreams. Him and his friend Paul (Vincent Gallo) drive to Arizona to visit Axel's uncle Mr. Sweetie (Jerry Lewis)who's a car salesman. I must say Depp and Lewis make a great comic duo. Axel and Paul end up staying with the wealthy Elaine Stalker and her suicidal daughter Grace (Lili Taylor). Axel starts dating Mrs. Stalker, but at the same time has strange feelings for her daughter. The film is very surreal and dreamlike. Mrs. Stalker obsessively dreams of flying, so her and Axel build a flying machine that resembles a Right Brothers style airplane. It's hilarious when the plain repeatedly malfunctions. There's also a floating fish throughout the movie, turtles, an attempted pantie hose suicide and a weird sex scene where Jonny Depp crows like a rooster (must be seen to be believed). Warner Bros. felt that the film was too European. So the film collected dust on their shelf and had a poor limited release. The film does have a magic-realist tragi-comedy style like Emir Kusterica's other Eastern European films. Co writer David Atkins later went on to write the screenplay for Novacaine. Also producer Claudie Ossard has also helped produce other bizarre films like "City of Lost Children". "Arizona Dream" is a quirky and strange masterpiece. Track down a VHS copy, or better yet the 20 minute longer international version. It's quite a cult sensation in Europe.
Director Werner Herzog created a bizarre revolutionary world made up of dwarfs. Every actor in the film is a dwarf, not to mention angry and German too. They all decide to rebel against the system, but a revolution is tough when you can't even reach the door handle. One of their friends is held hostage for interrogation by a rich authority figure. It's dwarfs to the rescue! Watch in shock as dwarfs try to drive a car, look at porn, set fires, break things and even torture animals. The film even includes a brutal cock fight and the crucifixion of a monkey. "Even Dwarfs Started Small" may be to disturbing for some. To me, it was challenging but worth watching; it shows viewers that your never too small to fight the system!
Two twin zoologist brothers, both loose their wives in a car accident. The car hits a swan while on Swan lane. The driver Alba Buick looses her leg. Both brothers have an affair with Alba, all while they are researching the decay of animals.Then there's Venus De Milo, a prostitute obsessed with zebras and dirty bestiality stories. "A Zed and Two Noughts" is another complex mind puzzle from Avant-Garde director Peter Greenaway. The film deals with decomposition of animals and Symmetry. Even on the screen the composition is symmetrical. And since the film is about symmetry, Alba decides to give up her other leg to a crazed doctor obsessed with amputation. It sounds disturbing, but really the film is beautiful to look at. It has stunning cinematography by Sacha Vierney, and a hypnotic musical score done by composer Micheal Nyman. Greenaway is a visionary in mind-games, and the film is very complex even after repeated viewings.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have to say, "Bad Boy Bubby" is one of my favorite films. I know, your probably questioning my sanity right now. But really this is a film that is challenging and sometimes hard to watch. It's like seeing a child step foot in the world for the first time. Poor Bubby, he's had a tough life. He's lived in a dirty room with his mother for more than thirty years. His mom, Flo has convinced him that if he goes outside he'll die from the air. So Bubby wears a gas mask from time to time. His mom is cruel and abusive, and even has sex with him. Bubby tortures his cat, and messes his pants in the first twenty minutes of the film. The first part of the film, feels almost like a John Waters movie. Many people will cringe, and not want to see the rest of the film. Keep watching, because the film becomes much more uplifting and emotional as it goes on. Bubby finally meets his long lost dad, who is also abusive to him. When Mom and Pop are sleeping, he kills them with plastic wrap. Bubby finally escapes confinement and sees the outside world. Music is something new to him as he witnesses a Salvation Army choir sing. The scene is very beautiful in it's stunning visuals. But, Bubby also witnesses the cruelty of man. People yell obscenities at him, and Bubby is like a child; so he repeats whatever he hears. Bubby has problems with manners too, he walks up to women and gropes there breasts and makes vulgar comments. Bubby means no harm, he is innocent and child like. He meets an assortment of offbeat characters, and finds comfort with a rock band; who treat him like a brother. Bubby even has the ability to communicate with the mentally handicapped, and finds time for love. He learns about philosophy from an existential atheist. My favorite part of the film is when Bubby goes to dinner, to meet Rachels stuffy cruel religious parents. Lets just say he takes some of the existential philosophy with him. Rolf de Heer has created a masterpiece and cult sensation, which has won many well deserved awards. Nicholas Hope is flawless in his performance as Bubby, in fact he did research on autism to create Bubby's character. If you like films that challenge you, watch "Bad Boy Bubby". You'll discover that love overcomes all.
"Funeral Parade of Roses" is an underrated unknown work of Japanese gay cinema. It was one of Stanly Kubric's favorite films, and it had a significant influence on the the style of "A Clockwork Orange". The film deals with Japanese drag queens, including the clubs, rivalry and their sex lives. In an Oedipus fashion, except reversed, the main character kills his mother so he can have relations with his father. Director Toshio Matsumato seemed to be way ahead of his time for his portrayal of sexuality and violence on screen. Also in a Bergman like fashion, actors are interviewed so the audience realizes it's only a movie.(and a twisted one at that) The film has many hallucinatory scenes, and who could forget the drag queens using urinals. There's also a weird fight scene between the two drag queens, and when they yell comic bubbles pop out of their mouths. Thank God this movie is in black & white! It's very brutal, disturbing and violent at times; so watch with caution. "Funeral Parade of Roses", is simply shocking and brilliant!
Many people watch "Battle Royale" to see teen actors kill each other and for it's splatter violence. I enjoyed "Battle Royale" for its powerful story and satirical wit. Director Kinji Fukasaku's goal was to show how war effects children, also to show the generation gap in Japan between adults and teens. In the future, Japan has a problem with the rate of teen crime, so the government passes the battle royale act. In a "Survivor" like fashion 42 teens are chosen at random and put on an island. They have to kill one another until one person is left. This includes shooting, stabbing, decapitating or whatever means necessary. To make matters worse, they all are forced to wear tracking device collars that will explode if they refuse to cooperate. Our main character Shuya comes home and finds that his father has killed himself. Takeshi Kitano plays Mr. Kitano the teacher. After getting stabbed by a juvenile student, Kitano submits the names of his whole class for Battle Royale. All the students think that they are going on a field trip, little do they know that it's their turn for "Battle Royale"! What makes the film horrifying, is to put yourself in the situation. Imagine being forced to kill people who are your friends and that you have known all your life. The two protagonists Shuya and Noriko form a bond and fight to survive. (together if possible) Also there's the killing crazed femme fatal, Mitsuko. She seems to be a loner who kills for fun. Also, director Quinten Tarantino loved "Battle Royale" so much that he even casted one of the actresses Chiaki Kuriyama in "Kill Bill: Volume 1". Tarentino also appeared in the Battle Royale: Special Edition movie trailer. I highly recommend the Special Edition director's cut since it has flashbacks and extra character development. It makes the film sad and emotional, because you really get to know the students. Even Metsuko has her reason for acting the way she does. So if you like violent action films that also have a hidden message, you should definitely see "Battle Royale". Be warned, it may be too disturbing for some viewers.
"The Begotten is not for everyone. It is shot in grainy black & white and extremely slow at times. Some scenes tend to drag. It's not nearly as good as "Eraserhead" and "Tetsuo: the Iron Man". But as a whole the film is unique and visionary, because there's nothing like it. The film looks as if it was dug up from another time or planet. There's not much plot, but plenty of disturbing and surreal images. An abstract god like creature disembowels himself and gives birth to another god. Nomads torture a guy in extended sequences. The film seems to be a reenactment of biblical stories. I'm not one to call a film pretentious, but "Begotten" seems to have little meaning. I think critics were a little overboard calling it one of the best films of 1991. Anyways, If you get bored, turn down the volume and put some of your favorite music on. Whether it's NIN or Pink Floyd, any favorite music combined with the film's imagery; will make for an interesting and visual experience. Don't say I didn't warn you though.
Russ Meyers films are unlike anything you've seen. People label him an exploitation director, but I tend to disagree. His films are artistic, with visually stunning cinematography and voluptuous bombshells. "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is definitely a product of it's time, with it's psychedelic style. It was the first collaboration between Russ Meyers and film critic Roger Ebert. After watching this film you'll have a great appreciation for Ebert. This film is campy, funny, violent and filled with nudity, sex, drugs and rock n roll. (I'm gonna find it)(oh yeah) The girl rock band, The Carrey Nations dream of stardom in L.A. Lead singer Kelly plans to track down her rich aunt Suzan, because of an inheritance. Let's just say their journey to L.A. leads to fame, decadence, drugs, sex and for some tragedy. This is truly one of my favorite 70's cult films. Too bad Russ Meyers is gone, but at least we have his films to enjoy. I would love to see Roger Ebert write more screenplays for films. He seems to have a campy, satirical wit that's much needed in this day in age. The film is very creative. This is definitely one of the best major studio films you'll see next to "Natural Born Killers". Watch it, and don't forget to show your friends. Two Thumbs way way up!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Visitor Q" is quite a sick, yet funny film. Takashi Miike seems to have taken inspiration from Pasolini's 1968 film "Teorama". Both films deal with a business man and a mysterious visitor who leads to a family's disintegration or awakening. Except, "Visitor Q" is more similar in shock to John Water's "Pink Flamingos", Francois Ozon's "Sitcom" and "Man Bites Dog", or maybe "Visitor Q" is an ode to both Pasoloini's "Teorama" and "Salo". In the film "Visitor Q", a businessman tries to film a documentary on modern Japan. He later decides to film his family's life. He screws his daughter who's a runaway prostitute, then later gets beat over the head with a rock by a mysterious stranger. He invites the stranger home to live with his dysfunctional family. His son is constantly bullied and instead of talking about his problems he beats his mother to a pulp. So, the mom kind of represents the treatment of women in modern day Japan. And also there's sort of a cycle of violence; the bullies beat the son, so the son beats his mom. The main character's poor wife is a junkie/prostitute who is sad, abused and lonely. Her husband won't give her attention, so she proceeds to have sex with the stranger. This causes her to get so excited that she squirts breast milk everywhere, almost nonstop. The main character kills a hooker and has sex with the dead body all the while filming it, because he's an angry premature ejeculater. Strangely enough, the visitor brings the family together as they kill the school bullies, dispose of the hooker's body and share breast milk together. I personally could of dealt without all the real non simulated breast milk squirting, but it seems that Miike is using it as a surreal metaphor. The breast milk seems to represent the communication and love that the family lacks. A film like "Pink Flamingos" only exists to shock viewers, while "Visitor Q" as disgusting as it is; is a social satire on modern Japan. It takes on taboo subject matter and bourgeoisie family values. The film is so exaggerated that I couldn't get offended. I also felt sadness for the mom in "Visitor Q". Her depression not only made me laugh, but almost cry. "Visitor Q" is a Johnathan Swift style satire. It's shocking and sick, but also entertaining and smart.
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