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The Marsh (2006)
Subtle and scary
I had no expectations for this movie and was spellbound from the moment I started watching it. At lot of that is due to the subtlety of the sound - it does not overpower or try to manipulate - it merely stays mostly in the background and enhances the suspense rather than detract.
Most of the acting was good, but Forrest Whitaker's performance was flat IMO. Maybe he is supposed to play an insipid character, but he neither adds nor detracts from the movie.
I thought the writing was good - the movie really did not remind me of anything I'd seen before, and so I had no expectations of how it would turn out. If you watch it on DVD, it should definitely be late night and in a very dark room.
The Manitou (1978)
Seen in Mexico
I happened to be spending the winter in Mexico when this came out, and I saw it in Mérida, Yucatan with two Mexican friends, one of whom was full blood Mayan. My Mayan friend found this movie completely terrifying, and I remember enjoying it very much myself also. I believe we saw it in January 1979. I was living in San Francisco at the time, and so it was interesting to see my home city while on vacation. Since it was being shown with Spanish subtitles, the projectionist did not bother to keep the sound loud enough for me to hear it as well as I would have liked, but I did watch it again 20 year later (or so) on VHS, and I didn't quite like it as much as I did the first time, partly because the special effects are dated, but not so much as to make it unwatchable. I think it will play better on the widescreen DVD, especially if it has surround sound. I rank this movie on a par with Altered States, but it needs a big screen to be really enjoyable.
I first saw this movie at the Directors' Guild in Hollywood at a gay film festival, and it was shown with subtitles. It was well received by the audience, few of whom probably understood German, but the subtitles were sufficient to convey the humor. I liked it so much that I searched quite some time for a DVD and finally found one at amazon.de, and I ordered it from Germany. I have a code-free DVD player that will play European DVDs, and so I was not concerned about being able to play the DVD. However, the DVD contained NO subtitles, and so while I was able to understand the dialog, it was lost on my brother, who does not understand German. I found it very curious that no subtitles at all were included in the DVD, especially since they were done for the theatrical release.
If you want to see this movie, try to find it at a film festival, unless you speak German. It's quite delightful, and I liked the lightheartedness of it. It's not like many of the other German movies I've seen and has rare comic appeal that may be more interesting for American audiences who are less familiar with contemporary German culture.
Elevator Girls in Bondage (1972)
This isn't the best Cockette movie, but it's definitely worth watching, especially if you know the cast members. It is a bit slow in parts, similar to Andy Warhol's early movies (The Sleep movie comes to mind, but it's not THAT slow!), and once you get used to Pristine Condition's make-up (I think Billy Orchid was responsible for that), the plot (what there is of one) tends to drag a bit (accidental pun - really!).
By now, I would recommend anyone who has the opportunity to see it, if only for historical curiosity, but once is probably enough. I was fortunate enough to see it in San Francisco when I lived with one of the Cockettes, and my personal attachment to the cast probably affects my opinion of the movie, but I still think that it can be enjoyed by the curious, and especially those interested in the San Francisco culture of the early 1970s.
Attention Span (2004)
I saw the premiere of Attention Span at the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood and was very impressed with the final outcome of the movie. Even though it is short (about 32 minutes), it has a lot going on, and I've caught new subtleties in it with subsequent viewings of the DVD, copies of which were distributed to those involved with the production.
The editing in places forms an almost kaleidoscopic view of the plot, which is a bit tangled and sometimes difficult to figure out, especially if one is not playing close attention. I've watched with several different sets of friends, all of whom liked it, and each of whom noticed different characteristics or qualities about it. The symbolism is sometimes subtle and sometimes not, but visually interesting, to say the least. I've watched it quite a few times without getting tired of it, and I hope it does well at the festivals.