[Also written while flying home Sunday night.]
Butt-Numb-A-Thon 5 in no particular order except, well, chronological:
Haunted Gold, a very early John Wayne movie about a haunted gold mine. John Wayne hadn’t learned how to throw punches yet. There was much booing of the insanely racist dialogue.
Return of Captain Marvel, an old adventure serial. Cheesy as hell. I was not too unhappy when it was cut short for the arrival of…
Return of the King. Booyah. I talked about this already.
The General. The live band was really good. If you’ve never seen Buster Keaton, you should, cause he rules. Mel Gibson mentioned, during the Q&A session, that he could connect with Keaton in a way he never could with Chaplin, and I think that’s just about right.
Oldboy, a deeply transgressive South Korean revenge flick. It is unclear if it was good once you strip away the transgressive bits. I dunno, I liked it, but I’m pretty sure I liked it for shock value. There’s this trend of sorta torture cinema in Asia, and sometimes it’s good, and sometimes the whole point seems to be watching people suffer.
Nid De Guêpes, a French action flick. Basically a remake of Assault on Precinct 13. Really freaking cool. Good urban combat tactics, tense feel, stereotypes for characters but it’s not the sort of movie where you care. I liked this one a lot; I’m beginning to think I need to get me a region-free DVD player and start some serious exploration of modern French cinema.
Ginger Snaps: Unleashed. I haven’t seen Ginger Snaps, but the guy next to us said this was totally different in feel than the first one. I’ve gotten the impression that the original was more feminist, which I do not mean in a pejorative manner. This was still fun. Goth girl werewolf gets two thumbs up from me.
Switchblade Romance, a French horror flick. Very very tense until the plot twist; then still tense but you’re wondering about the plot holes. The actual French title is Haute Tension, which translates to “high tension,” so god knows where “Switchblade Romance” came from. That kinda bugged me all movie long, but I was getting pretty damned punchy, so you know.
Teenage Mother, a sixties exploitation flick. Don’t be seeking this one out, unless you’re a huge Fred Willard fan. We had a little “whot’s hoppening?” call going on in our row whenever ol’ Fred showed up. Also the Swedish sex ed teacher was a babe. Towards the end of the movie, in deeply explotative style, they cut in an entire five minute educational film reel depicting a real childbirth (with forceps), on the thinnest of pretexts. The bit where the doctor hauls out a pair of scissors to give the kid a little more room to come out was the worst. You may, if you are a woman, mock me savagely for my queasy stomach.
Undead, which is an Australian zombie flick filmed on about no budget at all. It should have ended earlier. I think there were about twenty minutes of endings which made varying amounts of sense and mostly wound up as unimportant anyway. Still, I liked the Australian crazy country boy backflipping pistol firing bad motherfucker.
And, finally, The Passion of the Christ. Again, already talked about this.
Oh — I should also mention one preview, for Sky-Captain and the World of Tomorrow. That movie is going to kick ten kinds of ass. The trailer will be in front of Return of the King, so you’ll all see for yourselves. And while I’m mentioning trailers, I must applaud Harry’s decision to show the Stunt Rock trailer again. Also good: the Bodyguard trailer, the one with Sonny Chiba, not the Kevin Costner thing. The entire theater was chanting “Chiba!” during that one. Booyah!
Anyway. Compared to BNAT 2, the highs were higher — Snatch can’t compare to Return of the King — but the variety of BNAT 2 was distinctly better. There was really a whole lot of gore and violence and pain this year, particularly once we got past The General. Teenage Mother was a slight reprieve after four straight hard-hitting movies, and then it was back to the blood.
Originally, Harry had Return of the King coming last. I think that would have worked better. In a lot of ways, Passion tied together the violence of the preceeding movies; it gave the cinematic gore an odd sort of context. No cheering as the blood flowed. If that sort of redemptive experience had flowed into the uplifting Return of the King, the pacing of the whole thing would have worked better. Mind you, I still would have liked a couple more comedies.
On the other hand, this is nitpicking about the color of the icing on a tasty muffin. I had a blast of a time, and I sincerely hope I don’t have to wait three years for the next one. This was absolutely unquestionably all kinds of fun.
Did I mention Peter Jackson and Mel Gibson showed up? Holy shit.