For the fuck of it, some movies I've seen recently:
:fresh: [B]Bad Lieutenant[/B]
The great [B]Harvey Keitel[/B] gives the performance of his career in [B]Abel Ferrera's[/B] twisted and kinda brilliant [B]Bad Lieutenant[/B]. '92 must've been some hell of a year for acting because the Academy, in their infinite, infallible wisdom, decided not even to nominate Keitel's work. He's so heartbreakingly fantastic as the desperate, drug/gambling addicted, unnamed lieutenant you might actually find yourself not just sympathizing, but empathizing with his seeming complete lack of control. We meet the titular Lieutenant at the denouement of his life; just when you think there's nowhere to go but up for the Lieutenant, the film finds him a new, crushing low. It's sad, but so well acted and grittily directed, I couldn't have turned away if I wanted to.
The only real downside to the film is that it suffers from "Raging Bull" syndrome: easy to appreciate, almost impossible to love. I was moved by the movie, I was into it, I was affected by it... but I'm probably not running back to watch it again anytime soon.
[b]De Palma![/b] I love him. Sadly though, I can't say I enjoyed his 70's cult/horror/murder mystery/Hitchcock-wannabe/[b]Margot Kidder's[/b] titty fest as much as some of his other classics ([B]Blow Out[/B], [B]The Untouchables[/b], [B]Scarface[/B]... all rank in my favorite movies of all time). Of all the De Palma films I've seen, this is probably the most directly Hitchcockian. The film starts off very [b]Rear Window[/B] and eventually moves into some familiar [b]Psycho[/B] territory.
The film concerns a French Canadian model, living in New York, who takes home a young man she met on a gameshow (one of the more WTF? set pieces in the film). We soon learn that she was a siamese twin, who's sister, who happens to be visiting, is of questionable mental stability. It's not long before the young man pulls a Janet Leigh on us, and the film is handed over to a reporter who witnesses the young man's murder. She decides to get to the bottom of it and begins to do some research on our French Canadian friend.
When the dust had settled, I enjoyed it, not as much as some of De Palma's work, but a lot more than his more recent shite ([b]Mission to Mars dude[/b]? [b]THE BLACK DAHLIA?![/b] Did you even read that script before signing on?? You and John Carpenter man... you're hurting my heart.). I'd only highly recommend it if you're a fan of his or just plain a fan of some good old 70's blood and guts.
:fresh: [b]Flesh + Blood[/b]
Before I say anything about [b]Flesh+Blood[/b] picture this:
[b]Jennifer Jason Leigh[/b] being violated by [b]Rutger Hauer[/b].
If that sentence doesn't bring at least a tiny smile to your lips, you're probably not the target audience for [b]Flesh+Blood[/b].
[b]Paul Verhoeven's[/b] bloody, epic, grimy, sex filled 1985 opus stars the obscenely badass [b]Rutger Hauer[/b] in probably his second most twisted role ever (Sorry Martin, but this one goes to John Rider) and makes the film infinitely more watchable with his presence. I doubt I would've enjoyed as much if it didn't basically play like the Rutger show. He's the leader of a rape-happy group of bandits who kidnap the wife to be of a Nobel's son, after the Nobel screws them out of a paycheck. The Nobel's son suits up, ships out and uses his noodle to try and get his bride back.
The movie is incredibly depraved and sometimes kind of disturbing in its sexuality, but if you can suspend that shred of morality lingering in the back of your head I doubt it'll bother you too much. The violence and blood as well aren't really fun in that B kind of way, they're disturbing and realistic (the plague "swellings" nearly made me ralph). But hey, if sex and violence get you going, or if you've enjoyed Verhoeven's other work (And HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE?! :D), definitely check out [b]Flesh+Blood[/b].
:fresh: [b]Hidden Blade[/b]
Wow. Wow. Wow. I knew nothing about [b]Yoji Yamada's Hidden Blade[/b] before watching it (I haven't even seen his previous, the much lauded [b]Twilight Samurai[/b]), but the idea of a feudal Japanese epic (Well, one that was actually made since the turn of the century) had me as excited as John Mark Carr in the training bra section of Sears. Boy howdy was I ever in for something... [b]The Hidden Blade[/b] was a deliberately slow, genius directed, written and acted musing on society and the necessity of violence. [b]Masatoshi Nagase[/b] stars as a Samurai who, despite being pushed by his family and (mostly) revered by his society, has never married and is starting to age. Among other things, the main reason for this is that he's in love with Kie (Takako Matsu), his family's old housekeeper and can admit it to no one, least of all himself.
The movie ties together several small plots, though the unspoken love between the housekeeper and the Samurai remains always at the forefront, and paces them through a Japan being slowly inundated by Western cultural (sound a little familiar?). [b]The Hidden Blade[/b] is a miniature masterpiece.
:fresh: [b]Little Murders[/b]
[b]Alan Arkin's[/b] debut as a director is one fucking weird movie. Weird and bloody fantastic. Little Murders stars [b]Elliot Gould[/b] (Yeah, Ross and Monica's dad from "Friends") as Alfred Chamberlain, a photographer registering just barely above catatonic on the personality scale. He meets Patsy (Marcia Rodd), who more or less twists his arm into a relationship and they eventually get married.
That description doesn't do the movie justice at all though. It plays like, well, a play (yessir, it was in fact based off one) as it moves from scene to scene and we meet strange characters who go on long rants (My personal favorites were [b]Donald Sutherland[/b] as the atheist priest who marries the two and Arkin himself, who plays a cop with a little too much on his mind.). A definite comedic gem with a great cast and a totally unique sense of humor.