Monday, June 14, 2010

Pinched Nerve Viewing Diary

I suffered all last week with a pinched sciatic nerve. It's kind of like having a perpetual leg cramp. Anyhow, part of the strategy for dealing with this injury was to keep off my feet as much as possible when I could, during the weekend. I ordered groceries online and had them delivered, for example. But also I took advantage of my monster television in a big way. Below, a look at what I used to distract myself from the horrible, debilitating pain.


HEROES, Season 4 episode 1- Having lost track of Heroes shortly after season 3 started, I was pleased to see that a: series creator Tim Kring seems to have backed off the strategy of a major premise-shift per episode and b: this season involved creepy Carney folk. Of course as I watch I know that the show is already doomed (it was canceled last month) but that makes it better as far as I'm concerned. This stuff is just easier to take if there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

OMNIBUS: JAQUES TATI - Earlier in the week I took another crack at PLAYTIME, the world's most difficult comedy; the BD release of it includes an episode of a BBC documentary series when Tati is interviewed about his body of work. With the accent, that man was incomprehensible.

BAD BIOLOGY (2009, Frank Henenlotter, Dir) Kind of the best way to describe this movie, if there IS a way to describe it, is that it's a grind house take on the erotic thriller. Henenlotter has been out of action for a while but is known for BASKET CASE and FRANKENHOOKER, two worthy additions to the exploitation genre. In this case, it's the story of a sex-obsessed woman born with 7 clitorises (is there even a plural for that?) and an accelerated reproductive system who is desperate to find a man to keep up with her unusual needs. Meanwhile across town, a boy has somehow developed his penis into an over-sized drug-craving monster that literally has a mind of its own. Like any good romantic comedy, they don't meet until the last act, and by then a considerable number of the people they know are dead or insane. The acting and dialogue are pretty good, much better than they need to be for a movie of this calibre.

MON ONCLE (1958, Jaques Tati, Dir) More Tati. As I had assumed, the director's work just prior to PLAYTIME is a lot more assessable and covers the same theme - it's about the way we construct gadgets and environments for ourselves that circumvent human nature, then fight with them. The central character is not M. Hulot (Tati himself) but an ultra-modern house of the future in which he is staying. Amusing, though it helps to be a silent movie fan. Especially Keaton.

GHOST WHISPERER - Stupid show, but it looks gorgeous in hi-def 240hz.

THE THIRD MAN -(1949, Carol Reed, Dir) Great film, needs more Welles.


ALTERED STATES (1980 Ken Russell, Dir) I had bought this movie as a package deal from a going-out-of-business video store and finally had the time to watch. It was exactly as I remembered it, a weird combination of dazzling and stupid. Good to see William Hurt playing at the top of his intelligence, the polar opposite of his part in BROADCAST NEWS. Chiefly this movie gets its energy from rubbing two sticks together: Paddy Cheyefsky, the extremely wordy writer of NETWORK and MARTY, and Ken Russell, the anything-for-an-image director of TOMMY and LIZTOMANIA. Every single frame you can feel them wrestling for control of the project. Wrestling nude in the tall grass, a la WOMEN IN LOVE.

HEROES SEASON 4 EPISODES 2-3 - Why not? Had time to kill.

EYES WIDE SHUT (1999 Stanley Kubrick, Dir) This gets better with every viewing; its a pity that every viewing takes 2 and a half hours. Still, always keep in mind that it is a comedy and you'll find stuff to enjoy in it. I'm also pleased to discover that my copy is the unrated international version, which did NOT have extra people matted into the orgy scene to block the sex. Somebody (Roger Ebert, probably) pointed out that doing this to change the rating from NC-17 ironically made it easier for children to see this movie; and simulated sex notwithstanding NONE OF IT should be seen by children. Above all else, this is a movie about a guy who gets so angry that his wife considered extramarital sex that he spends a night not having extramarital sex. Haha!

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