Reviews written by registered user
|134 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I enjoy the films of Peter Greenaway. "The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover" and "the Pillowbook" are both films that are unique and visionary. Peter Greenaway is like a British David Lynch. Some critics get frustrated by Greenaway, claiming his films are self indulgent. I feel self indulgent is sometimes a good thing, especially when it comes to a breathtaking film like "Drowning by Numbers". The movie is one giant puzzle. There's a girl who jumps rope while counting out the names of the stars by number. Try to see if you can spot all the numbers 1-100 hidden throughout the film. The plot concerns three women, a mother and two daughters. All 3 women are named Cissy. Each woman named Cissy drowns their deadbeat husbands for being unsatisfactory lovers. Magit is the local coroner, and he agrees to keep the murders a secret. He makes a deal to claim each death an accidental drowning, if each Cissy gives him sexual favors in return. So 3 generations of women all named Cissy decide to lead on Magit the coroner without promise. Poor Guy! The coroner's son Smut, is obsessed with death. He plays strange number games and marks roadkill with different colored paint. He also likes to set of fireworks after a death. Not to mention, Smut is also obsessed with circumcision. He's never been circumcised and feels the need to take matters in his own hands, so to speak. Wow, the crazy things men will do for women. Also look for Nip/Tuck actress Joely Richardson as the youngest Cissy. "Drowning by Numbers" is extremely bizarre, and shows that life is a game made up of numbers. It's a brilliant surreal mind-phuk puzzle that you have to watch at least twice to comprehend. Peter Greenaway is very original, with satirical wit and a dark comic edge.
"Fantastic Planet" may be one of the strangest animated films ever made. Roland Topor was known for his strange drawings, and this film was a great place to display his work. If Salvador Dali were to of had the chance to create an animated film, like he was originally promised by Disney, this is what it might look like. In the movie, a planet is ruled by large blue giants. The tiny people, the Oms closely resemble humans. The giants mistreat the Oms and make them their pets. Representational of class struggle. Also, the film is symbolic of Russia's treatment of Czechoslovakia at the time. The film caused much controversy when it was being made in the Czech Republic, so they had to move production to France. The film was very successful at the 1973 Cannes film festival. "Fantastic Planet" contains an amazing and bizarre musical score, sounding almost like Pink Floyd. There's also some weird alien creatures and psychedelic freak-out scenes. Although the film is PG, it contains cartoon nudity and violence. I don't think this film would get a PG now days. Artist Roland Topor was also a member of the Panic movement which also included Alejandro Jodorowsky and Fernando Arrabal. As far as an animated feature goes, "Fantastic Planet" is on a planet of its own. It's a surreal sci-fi trip, Man!!!
"Greasers Palace" is a wacky and strange western filled with uneasy laughter. In the 70's, Robert Downey Sr. was known for his strange and bizarre humor. At times certain jokes make absolutely no sense. That's what makes his films so funny. The story concerns a Christ like man in a zoot suit, named Jesse. He's on his way to Jerusalem to be a singer. On the way viewers are introduced to many strange characters; a guy in a ghost suit, a man dressed as a nun, and a women who repeatedly gets shot. Jesse wants to sing at the Greaser's Palace lounge. The evil Seaweedhead Greaser and his daughter preside over the palace. They are very picky on who can preform there. Sr. Greasers son is accused of being gay and is killed by his father. Thank goodness for Jesse's miraculous powers as he's able to revive Sr. Greaser's son from the dead time and time again. In some aspects the film appears to be a parody of El Topo. It also has a Montey Python style of humor and wit. Who can forget the films outrageous musical numbers too? So if your looking for a strange, nonsensical, religious, western comedy; Greaser's Palace is a film you'll most likely enjoy!
"Happiness" deals with the lives of three sisters in suburban NJ. Each sister is as different as night and day. All try to pretend to be happy, when they actually aren't. And who could forget the disturbed neighbors and family members which are part of their lives. Joy, played by Jane Adams, has bad luck with relationships. When she tries to politely exit a relationship with her dorky boyfriend, Andy (John Lovits); He commits suicide. She feels guilty and leaves her job as a telemarketer to teach immigrants English. Things get worse for Joy, as literally everyone dumps on her the entire movie. Poor Joy, I know the feeling! Then their is Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle), the successful sister. She's an unhappy author who has regular one night stands. She fantasizes about being raped by an obscene prank phone caller(Phillip Seymore Hoffman). Hoffman gives an outstanding performance as a lonely man with kinky fantasies. This leads him to dial random numbers, talking dirty in order to get off. The last sister Trish (Cynthia Stevenson) is an annoying conservative housewife who thinks she has it all. She has two kids, a beautiful home and a psychiatrist husband. Little does she know of her husbands problem with pedophilia. The subject matter is dark, but at the same time very funny. Todd Solondz is a director who creates an atmosphere of uneasy laughter. You'll tell yourself not to laugh, but you just can't help it. "Happiness" is psycho-sexual like "Blue Velvet" and has lonely alienated characters like in "Magnolia". Todd Solondz makes viewers cringe and laugh with his harsh realism. Clearly the MPAA doesn't like realism in cinema. The film received an NC-17 rating for its tone. But the MPAA seems to love handing out R-Ratings for stylized gore and CGI violence and sophomoric bodily humor. But realistic subject matter gets an NC-17. Why? There is much worse things on cable television or the news for that matter.
"The Bed Sitting Room" is hard to describe to the average viewer. It reminded me of a Monty Python film with set pieces from a Salvador Dali painting. Many have compared the film to the work of director Alejandro Jodorowsky, which is probably the best way to describe the film's surrealism. Because of all the rubble and junk-piles turned into crazed surrealist imagery, It's also been compared to "The Cremaster Cycle". But I feel "the Bed Sitting Room" is much more enjoyable than the pretentious, self referential cremaster series. Did I mention how funny the film is? The story concerns a nuclear war that happened so fast, that hardly anyone remembers it. There is a dozen or so survivors. Because of all the radiation, one man is convinced he'll turn into a bedroom. A young girl is 18 months pregnant. Her mother turns into a dresser and her father a parrot, all due to radiation. Weird Huh? And we can't forget Mrs. Ethel Shroake, the survivor that's the closest distant relative to a now deceased queen of England. This film is utter lunacy and gets better with every viewing. The humor in the film is very dry. The more you think about the jokes, you realize just how ridiculous and funny it really is. So if your looking for an obscure, surreal end of the world wasteland, this is a film for you. I personally loved this film . Its wit and originality are in a category of its own. It's as if Monty Python and Jodorowsky teamed up to make a movie. "Long Live Mrs. Ethel Shroake!!!"
O.K. So, I'd have to say that "Blue Velvet" is one of my favorite David Lynch films. All of Lynch's films are unique and visionary, but "Blue Velvet" fascinates me as it explores the psycho-sexual dark side of human nature. Jeffrey (Kyle Mclaughlin) lives in the peaceful town of Lumberton. When he discovers a severed ear, it leads him on a mysterious journey. He becomes obsessed with Dorthy Vallins (Isabella Rosselini), a sultry jazz singer whose son has been kidnapped. Then there's the evil sadistic Frank Booth, played flawlessly by Dennis Hopper. Frank has held Dorthy's son captive. Dorthy is blackmailed and forced to give in to Frank's depraved and violent sexual desires ..... some in which she enjoys herself. Jeffrey slowly gets caught up in a strange and dark underworld of criminals and perverts. The nice peaceful town of Lumberton is not so perfect after all. I'd have to say that Dennis Hopper gives the performance of his career as villainous Frank Booth. Who can forget that creepy oxygen mask? "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!!! God, I hope my neighbors don't behave like this. "Blue Velvet" is a psycho-sexual masterpiece. It shows viewers a dark and corrupt world that's hidden away by beauty and small town innocents.
"Forbidden Zone" is up there on the list of strangest films of all time. It's a hell of a lot of fun, even though it doesn't make much sense. The film was created by Matthew Bright and Richard Elfman from the 80's rock band Oingo Boingo. They also did the film's music. The story concerns a family who buys a house from a drug dealer. Little do they know that it has a door that leads to the sixth dimension. The film becomes a crazed B&W surreal musical of comical strangeness. Tattoo of "Fantasy Island" plays the king of the sixth dimension. There's a depraved queen, a giant frog, a topless princess, drag queens, gigantic dice props and other things that you have to see to believe. It's as if John Waters and Jodorowsky teamed up to film "the Wizard of Oz" in black and white. The funniest part of the film has to be the guys wearing jockstraps who make musical fart noises while boxing. This is definitely not your average musical!
Todd Haynes became well known with his film "Poison", which was successful at the Sundance film festival. What I like about "Poison" is that is not another stereotypical gay film. It contains three separate stories, all shown out of sequence. So it's like watching three bizarre surrealist films within one movie. One story "Hero" is a mockumentary which deals with a young boy and his abusive father. After killing his dad, he mysteriously flies away. Another story deals with a disease like epidemic, which seems to be symbolic of aids. This part is filmed in a style of a campy 50's sci-fi film. The man drinks some sort of potion and is given the disease. A colleague still loves him even though he's infected. Then the last story "Homo" deals with two men in prison and their homosexual relationship. These two guys have known each other from their youth and the one has flashbacks of the torment he has faced. "Poison" is a unique experimental masterpiece of queer cinema, reminiscent of Derek Jarmon. The film went through much controversy with its NC-17 rating. But really, there's R-rated films which are much worse. "Poison" is definitely not a film for everyone, but if your looking for something strange and different you'll probably enjoy it.
Guy Madden is almost like the David Lynch of Canada. His films have a look all of their own; blending surrealism with German style expressionism. The grainy slightly faded style of his films, make them appear from another era. "Careful" is filmed in a bright Technicolor style that's visually dazzling. The film contains Icelandic folk lore with dark humor. The story concerns a town living in the mountains. They have to watch their every move so they don't cause an avalanche. So they try to keep quiet and not make much noise out of fear. Many of the characters have strange incestuous desires that lead them to insanity. Especially Yohan and his fantasies about his mother. Yuck! This is one strange film, with picturesque landscapes that look like they jumped out of a Salvador Dali painting. If you are looking for a disturbing candy colored dark comedy, careful you don't pass this opportunity up.
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.
|Page 8 of 14:||           |