On Light, or the Ingression of Forms - Clint Enns
Neat experimental film that (true to the genre) experiments with a hacked webcam. The way it directly incorporated sound was neat too, the whole experience reminded me of a particularly potent noise song (in the Merzbow vein).
Nelda - Piero Bargellini
Visually interesting in the sort of polarization paired with the regular image. Conceptually I'm at a total loss. I have to admit to not watching it really hard, but I can't decide if I'm interested enough to try again. I sort of have this problem a lot with experimental/avant-garde stuff-- I know that a lot of it *is* really just literally "experimental" but, sometimes I have a hard time seperating the exercies from the impenetrable conceptual stuff that is hard to get at without context.
Intestinal Fortitude - Colin Barton [rewatch]
Still visual post-modern awesomeness that is just total eyecandy.
Journey to the Unknown - Kerry Laitala
To my suprise, this short experimental work steals both Francois de Roubaix's audio cues and Delphine Seyrig's voice from Daughters of
Darkness and creates a somewhat neurotic "journey to the unknown." What's really interesting about the piece, however, is the way that Laitala
uses the "flicker" effect with CMYK colors, creating a sort of neon trance. (as a note, I think I may have watched this before but it's not in my records and I can't remember for sure.) The rhythm is sort of fucked up though.
Home Stories - Matthias Muller
Like Richard Prince's photographs (particularly the early ones, like "Untitled (four women looking in the same direction)"), rephotographed advertisements that reveal the "doppelganger" of the women on display, Muller's film explores the similarity of the depiction of women in cinema via a smattering of Hollywood films. It sounds sort of generic, but it's done earnestly (with Muller's homosexuality being an interesting context) and it's just sort of neat.
Sucker - Tony Oursler
Kind of shitty... sort of vaguely resembles a lot of no-wave/cinema of transgression filmmaking, but not even half as good? I don't know.
Light - Jordan Belson
Belson's films are, from a level of pure aesthetics, totally beautiful and moving. Just pure sensory enjoyment. I've been meaning to read Youngblood's Expanded Cinema too, to see how Belson is discussed in that context.
Sricnina - Piero Bargellini
I don't remember this AT ALL and I just watched it two days ago.
Eyetoon - Jerry Abrams [rewatch]
I really need to start taking notes on the non-narrative stuff I watch immediately after I watched it, because I know I had something new to say about this, but I totally don't remember now.
A Family Finds Entertainment - Ryan Trecartin
God I am so in love with this guy's work. I finally got non-YouTube copies of his stuff, so I can re-evaluate. But it's interesting, I read an article today by Peter Weibel about "Multiple Narration," and Trecartin's methods totallly synthesize, so freaking subtly, everything that's awesome about post-modernist incorporation and post-structuralist rhizomatic structures and the decentralized narrative and man. I am going to rewatch I-BE-AREA in order and then probably write an article on him for my site eventually.
The Nines - John August
I have no real complaints about this, other than the fact that the ending didn't really accomplish anything, and grounded any mystery created in the film in a sort of retarded metaphysical-Matrix-fantasy. Ryan Reynolds sure is nice to look at, and the narrative is constructed in a fun-nice-well-done manner.
God - John August
Sort of entertaining campy short that came on the DVD for The Nines. I mean, I guess it was kind of funny, but also sort of obvious. Almost John Water-ish, that is, if he had kept down the road he was heading via Serial Mom-Pecker-Cecil B. Demented.
Eating Out - Q. Allan Brocka
In all objectivity this movie was awful, but the lead gay-for-gurlz guy had a killer jawline and a dumb demeanor that turned me on more than a bit, and I realize that even us fags need rom-coms every once in a while (...)
Turistas - John Stockwell
I liked this better than Hostel, despite being marketed as a Hostel rip off. Underwater chase scene was neat and kind of intense. Josh Duhamel is kind of nice to look at. Not really annoying at all = for the best.
The Gift - Louise Hogarth
Documentary that despite being about a pretty fascinating subject (bugchasing) ended up being really boring and annoying, really only focusing on three things that were only tangential to ___. Kind of ended up not approaching a larger idea, and just presenting disparate elements that don't add up to anything infinite.
In a Year With 13 Moons - RW Fassbinder
This was really really good. I don't know how to talk about it other than it was really really good, and probably the most beautiful Fassbinder film that I've seen outside of Querelle... it's got a sort of bizarre abject tone that fits perfectly, and makes it's 2h10m runtime flyby.
Richard McBeef: The Motion Picture - (director unknown)
Gee, it sure does recontextualize things when a school shooting happens at one's own university... regardless, since I had read these I was curious as to how long it would be before they were made into short films. It was, to be honest, hilarious, and exactly what I wanted. Oh, the internet.
Sodom - Luther Prince
Experimental/avant-garde "recreation" of the events in the biblical sodom that's main selling point was the way it filled a void of inspiration that I needed for a video art piece I'm working on.
Las Soledades - Raoul Ruiz
I do not understand why I haven't watched more Ruiz films yet, as everything I've seen from him has been great. This sort of magickally connects fictional narrative, documentary, and some sort of divine poetry into a weird portrait that adds up to something intensely WORTHWHILE. It's also remarkably evident as inspiration/fraternity avec Peter Greenaway.
Rape of the Vampire - Jean Rollin
Still not my favorite Rollin, but interesting as a starting point. Expanding review (possibly) coming for Esotika soon.
Murder Psalm - Stan Brakhage
I think the problem that I have with declaring Brakhage "awesome" is that 90% of his films, to me at least, don't become interesting until I've read what he's written about them. To me that is problematic, as all of these films are presented solely as just *films*, so I, being the critical dude that I am, find fault in the fact that there is not enough present on the screen to apply a reading of the film (I would say 30% of the time, however, this is due to me not actively watching the film enough; I have a bias against soundless-films). But, once I read what this was about, I ended up liking it a bit more, especially as a work of art-as-catharsis.
Mouse Heaven - Kenneth Anger
So, I need to stop watching anything Anger's made post-Lucifer Rising, because it almost seems to me that he's pretty much like TOTALLY forgotten how to make awesome films? 12 minutes of Micky Mouse collectibles cheaply animated and shot on video. Wow sounds great! PSYCH.
Noema - Scott Stark
This is far more conceptually interesting than in practice: the idea of decentralizing SOV porn by rhythmically displaying the "in between" moments (and with copious amounts of repetition via Stein's "repetition is erotic" mantra) is pretty rad, but I can't help but think that this was pretty poorly and cheaply made. I could make something better in (no joke) less than ten minutes with a pirate copy of Adobe Premiere. Maybe I should.
Lick the Star - Sofia Coppola
This might be my favorite Coppola movie (not that she's a prime fave or anything), but that's more due to the fact that it's a story about a clique of mean 12 year olds who are really into Flowers in the Attic. That plot line is pretty unbeatable, and Coppola + semi-riot-gurl soundtrack = awesome, since she uses pop music to drive the narrative anyway.
Shiner - Christian Calson
While I can appreciate the fact that the director, as he says in an interview included on the DVD, wanted to make a gay movie that wasn't a tired and busted gay romantic comedy, and I appreciate the fact that parts of this were pretty hot, it was still pretty poorly made and plotted, and all of it's epiphanic moments that I have the feeling were supposed to be utterly revelatory ended up flat. I really have issues when, on a low budget movie, the filmmakers don't even bother to clean up microphone hiss and clicks and just shitty unnecessary background noise, considering that's something you can fix in Adobe Audition in literally like ten seconds.
Exte: Hair Extensions - Sion Sono
Sono film number 4 proves to me that he knows what he's doing. The concept of this flick itself is remarkably tricky, and could have fallen completely flat. It's a weird hybrid of satire/horror/and family drama (which, let's face it, so was Suicide Club), and it actually manages to balance everything evenly. The satire element, weighing down on the tired state of what 90% of cinema goers assume to be the current state of Asian horror, takes it's start on what is ostensibly haunted hair extensions. It's completely ridiculous, yet immediately calls to mind the tropes of the genre, such as the little girls with epically long hair. But, fortunately for the viewer, Sono never really wraps up this story line to a cohesive state, which in my opinion the direct openness is a perfect way of addressing the arbitrary nature of much of the current day Asian exploitation (exploitation in the actual sense of it's definition; not in Tarantino and Rodriguez' post-modern bastardization). As a family drama it hits on one of Sono's favorte themes, the alienation between child and parent, though this time he revisits the abuse aspects he first visited in 2005's brilliant Strange Circus. There's an almost uncomfortable sense of satire in this element too, though I won't go into it here for fear of rambling too long when I probably just need to write a full review of this eventually (ha, how many times have I said that in the last few weeks?)
Eugenie - Jess Franco [rewatch]
Watching this again via Blue Underground's new DVD (with the wonderful French soundtrack; a first for me) I was struck by how different the film seemed in my memory from the way it actually was. I'm guessing that the difference exists out of my full immersion into the Franco canon now as opposed to the brief tinkerings I had experienced upon the former viewing.
Urbania - Jon Shear
I think, in a sense, this movie accomplishes what the director of Shiner set out to do with his movie. Aside from the convoluted and unnecessary beginning (among other minor flaws), this ended up working surprisingly well and affectingly, without ending up veering into majorly heavy-handedness or sentimentality (which is almost breeched in a weird metaphysical scene). Plus, this featured the hottest awkward masturbation scene that I've ever seen, and was more often than not hilarious in a bizarre sort of "gay-power" way.
Black Christmas - Glen Morgan
All things considered (this being a remake of one of my favorite movies), I don't have much to complain about here. I certainly have nothing to overly praise, but like I mentioned before, I can watch bitchy, shallow, and catty girls in almost anything. It's ridiculous, but in terms of escapism I was totally down and more surprisingly, not offended. It works camp in a totally non-annoying way, which I realized is why it works.
I'm Not There - Todd Haynes
I still can't really wrap my head around this (and not being a huge Dylan fan or knowing anything about his life, I'm sure certain subtleties will forever elude me), but I'm pretty sure this might have been the second best film I've seen from 2007 (though I obviously just saw this). It handles narrative and concepts in an indirect, profound way that, as I had an Exploding Kinetoscope moment, I realized was totally "speaking to me." It seemed to sort of approach certain ideals that I've encountered and been fascinated by most often in Dennis Cooper novels, and this totally different outlet for what was ostensibly the same concept (I am always a fan of conflicting identities) was fascinating to me, and to be honest, I think shined light on a truth that I'm generally hesitant to accept. More than that, with this being, in terms of Haynes' oeuvre, most similar to the excellent gay-phantasy-omnibus Poison, it's delightfully and earnestly experimental for such a high profile film. And yeah, like everybody's been saying, Cate Blanchett is amazing, and was easily the highlight of the film for me (other than the conceptually musings of the Rimbaud-Dylan).
Cure - Kiyoshi Kurosawa [rewatch]
It's been a very, very long time since I've seen this (this was the first K. Kurosawa film that I ever saw, and it was at least five years ago that I first saw it) and seeing it again was pretty much like seeing it for the first time. My mind was honestly blown, and it was really just an astoundingly profound experience in terms of how *into* the movie I was. Everything is so studied, tense, and aesthetically *perfect* that it's almost a sensory overload. There's also the neat fact that the tempo of the film lulls you into a mental position that is akin to that of hypnosis, and the viewing experience becomes so bizarre (of course, in all reality this might have more to do with the fact that I was remarkably tired while watching it).
All Orientals Look the Same - Valerie Soe
One and a half minutes that is worthwhile in theory, but I'm not quite sure how well it works in practice.
Technology Transformation: Wonder Woman - Dana Birnbaum
I guess this is one of the first examples of the television appropriation in terms of gender ideology... it's nice and theoretical, but I've said it before and I'll say it again; would it kill these experimental filmmakers to pay attention to rhythm? It really drives me nuts when it's just totally ignored...
It's a Wonderful Lohan - Michael Mouris
Remarkably mean spirited quick 'n' dirty animation that pretty much just pans the Lohan family. I happen to love Lindsay Lohan and I legitimately think that she's a brillian actress, but I still thought this was sort of funny in an empty pop culture sort of way.
Chocolade Haas - Sander Plug
Chocolate bunnies melting. Three of them.
Djinn - Eliane Lima
Meditative, enigmatic, and encapsulating Robbe-Grillet's tone in a pretty great way. Reminded me a bit of Ruiz's Colloque de Chiens, but a lot darker. Really good stuff.
(watch it here)