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Laws of Gravity (1992)
Not a Rip-Off, a Tribute...
To MEAN STREETS. Nick Gomez used Scorcese's film as a blueprint for LAWS OF GRAVITY, obviously out of love for that movie, but done with respect. The opening shot of Peter Green is exactly the same as Harvey Keitel: awakening suddenly from an otherwise empty bed in his apartment, daytime-- gets a cigarette, lights it, stares. Jonny "No Bones" (Adam Trese) is the loose cannon character like Robert DeNiro's Johnny Boy, whose excesses have to be managed by his best friend. In LAWS, there's a confrontation between Jonny and one of Frankie's gun buying customers, where Jonny calls him "Mucka-ferguson".... similar to De Niro's Johnny Boy calling a guy in the bar a "mook". Despite these similarities, LAWS doesn't feel like a copycat flick, in the way Tarantino-clone films started falling from the sky after RESERVOIR DOGS. I think Nick Gomez utilized MEAN STREETS as a reference point for the form, as it was his first film, but filled in the content with details from his own era and neighborhood. Some of the dialogue is so natural and realistic, it had to be improv'd. Cassavettes is another obvious influence, as his characters are known for improv, for talking over each others' lines, everybody yelling at once. ASPIRING FILMMAKERS TAKE NOTE: With his debut feature, Nick Gomez demonstrates how to pay tribute to the masters of cinema without committing a soulless, unoriginal rip-off.
Eyes of Fire (1983)
muddy Pagan Hallucination witch
If you remotely interested in any of the above, check this flick. If you like to dig up weird movies from the 80's that no one heard of, then find this movie. The witch easily ranks as one of the scariest looking creatures of recent memory, kinda like a backwoods cousin to the homeless demon behind the restaurant in David Lynch's MUHOLLAND DRIVE.
Do not expect a traditional plot line to build suspense a la BLAIR WITCH. These are second- rate actors sloughing through difficult dialog penned in an antiquated tongue. Once the characters settle in the cabin, the action becomes convoluted, fragmentary-- hard to follow what's happening or even who's who-- but still manages to be unsettling despite its confusing logic. This indie project was written and directed by one man, one vision, so I would give him the benefit of the doubt that this affect was intentional. Admittedly, the little girl's voice-over feels forced and tacked on, like trying to tie loose ends together, but in the process it brings up more information that leaves the viewer pondering. It's actually rare that voice-overs HELP the story (FIGHT CLUB jumps to mind as a positive example).
Though the beginning was slow and the backstory negligible, once the conflict started, I was engrossed. I kept wondering where this movie was from, and if I didn't know it was early 80's, it could have passed for a '70's unknown Nicolas Roeg or Ken Russell picture, with those quick edits and trippy effects. So it had a kinda timeless quality that has helped it to endure among the dung heap of horror movies that have been cranked out in the last half- century. Check it.