There are some movies that, by all rights, should not exist. I don’t mean that they are bad movies. And I don’t even mean that the circumstances that would allow them to be produced are so rare as to be virtually non-existent. The kind of movies I’m talking about are movies that are just so damned strange, so far from where we, as a society, have decided movies are supposed to be, that to include them in the definition of ‘movie‘ is to stretch that definition, not to mention your mind, to near the breaking point. The Forbidden Zone is one such movie.
I’m a fan of Buckaroo Banzai. I’m a fan of modern updates of pulp-era heroes and tropes, like Doc Savage. I’m a fan of Ellen Barkin, Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Clancy Brown, and Vincent Schiavelli. I’m a fan of science fiction, rock’n’roll, and snappy dialogue. I’m a fan of this movie.
Watching Lisztomania was a voyage of discovery. Both Katalin and I discovered all sorts of interesting historical tidbits about Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, George Sand, and other that we didn’t know before. I discovered that I have a deep affinity for the oeuvre of Ken Russell, and I and also discovered that Katalin does not. I would say that she discovered it as well, but I’m actually pretty sure she knew that beforehand.
This film is (barely) a biopic of noted 19th composer and performer, Franz Liszt. It charts his rise to fame, the mania he inspired in his audiences (the lisztomania that the movie is named after), and his troubled relationship with his many lovers and his children. It does all this as a musical fantasia, psychedelic and surreal, dirty and delightful.
John gives Lisztomania 3 out of 4 dick cancer guns. He enjoyed it thoroughly, although he thought it could do with a bit of editing to make the whole think tighter. Katalin gave this movie 1/2 dick out of 4 dick cancer guns, but at least everyone involved seemed really enthusiastic, which should count for something.
Aphaville. Ugh. I wanted to like this movie. I mean, I like weird, philosophical movies. I like low budget movies. Alphaville is a weird, low-budget movie, a takeoff on the Lemmy Caution character, evidently a staple of European action movies of a certain era, played by the actor known for playing him. It would be like getting Clint Eastwood to play ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan in a cheapo scifi movie of the Roger Corman variety, as directed by David Lynch. I mean, who could not like that?
Me apparently. And Katalin. We both thought this movie stunk on ice. But, if you want some nice black & white footage of the streets of Paris, there I worse ways of seeing it, I suppose. This is the movie that proves that, in your quest to stay weird, it is perhaps possible to be a bit too French.
This week Katalin and John watched Rock & Rule, Canadian animation studio Nelvana‘s answer to Heavy Metal and all that loud music their Southern neighbors were playing. Featuring contributions from such rock luminaries as Blondie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed, Rock & Rule succeeds in scratching both a rock, scifi, and weird-ass cartoon itch.
Happy 2016, everybody. Katalin and John are back to give you a heaping helping of movie weirdness and goodness. Are first catch of the year is Holy Motors, written and directed by Leos Carax, starring Denis Lavant and Édith Scob. It was a trip. Disturbing provocative, beautiful, fulfilling and at the same time frustrating. Darned good movie. This is the first movie in a while that both Katalin and myself gave a full four DCGs (dick-cancer-guns.)
It is no secret that I am a holy man of the Church of the SubGenius. I have a fondness for their art. Let’s Visit the World of the Future was a SubGenius film before their was a CotSG, and a damned fine one, I would argue (and, upon listening to the podcast, I believe I have argued.)
And here, in its entirety, is the film:
After a few rather dreary movies, we thought we deserved a treat. So, Katalin and I watched a 70’s confection called the Phantom of the Paradise. It was bonkers.
Idiots and Angels is an animated feature written and directed by American animator Bill Plympton. It is a beautiful fill, with dreamlike, surreal imagery. The story is a bit thin, and the protagonist is damned hard to root for, but perhaps the beauty of the images will help you overlook those flaws. It didn’t quite help us. Here’s the trailer:
I wanted to like Aelita, Queen of Mars. This is one of the first science fiction movies, its the inspiration for such works as Flash Gordon and Metropolis, it has a cool aesthetic, and being Russian it has a perspective not normally seen in early sciifi films.
Unfortunately, I did not like this film. It was boring. Most of the characters, on both planets, were so unlikable I wished a supernova would happen to finish off the entire solar system. The ending shows why Communism is a Bad Thing, and is a betrayal of the spirit of science fiction. The sets were cool, though. Your mileage, and your tolerance for long, slow movies, not to mention Stalinistic propaganda, may vary.