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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MMM (Mini Movie Marathon)....

Yeah, I know. I'm the ultimate slacker when it comes to posting. But you know one thing I never, ever slack on is watching movies. I think I set a record for myself over the past two weeks, watching everything from Bruno to Bye, Bye, Birdie (yeah, I watched it--don't judge me!). I'll give on overview of my experiences, and since not much is happening with Black Cinema, most of it is of the other kind....and lest you think I have absolutely nothing to do with my time, bear in mind that I watched most of these when folks are asleep, between the hours of 12am and 6am.

I definitely went on DiNiro overload, for real. I watched not one, not two, but three 3 hour Robert DiNiro odysseys; "Casino" (fabulous!), "Heat" (overrated, yeah I said it!), and "The Deer Hunter" (strange). I love Bobby D., he is always sooo cool and low key, even in Vietnam, as he was in The Deer Hunter. It was weird to see Christopher Walken looking young in it though, almost surreal.

Speaking of Christopher Walken, I also saw a film he was in called "The Dogs Of War" which I'm told is a classic. I tried to stay focused on the story at hand, but I wasn't too thrilled that the plot entailed just 4 white dudes taking out a whole African nation of brothers that were armed with guns.

Anyway, also saw the "hip-hopera" "A Day In The Life" which was written and directed by Sticky Fingaz, and I reviewed on Soul Sis-Star Reviews. The whole film, every single line of dialogue, is rapped. Yes. And that includes Michael Rapaport. I also revisited "Panther", which I will review as well...does anybody remember that Bokeem Woodbine used to be almost a real actor?

"Other" films I revisited were a Nicholas Cage flick called "Red Rock West", which is a cautionary crime-thriller about Karma kicking you in the back of your neck (very dark and trippy, like David Lynch), and a dark mystery called "Frailty" which was surprisingly good. It was directed by and stars Bill Paxton, along with Matthew McConaughey, who, to my huge shock, didn't get on my nerves even once. It is the story of a widowed father and his two young sons, the father one day saying he has been commissioned by an angel to slay "demons", the "demons" being folks in neighboring cities and towns, and also says his sons must assist him in slaying them...very absorbing--I recommend it.

Let's see...also saw "Isn't She Great" starring Bette Midler, in the supposedly autobiographical movie of Jacqueline Susann, who wrote "Valley Of The Dolls", and it seemed to take great liberties with her life. Also saw "Orphan" (don't ask).

I guess the ones the stuck out the most from the pack (yes there are more) were two pretty dark and twisted films--"Cruising" and "The Bad Lieutenant".

I remember my father taking me to see "Cruising", and only remembered it as a movie where Al Pacino went undercover as a cop going in the deep underworld of the gay leather club life. On reflection, I'm sure my father just went because it was Pacino, and had no idea what he was bringing me into. Pacino has to play a sort of gay hustler to find out who is murdering those that are part of the leather lifestyle. I did some research on the film, and at the time it created quite a stir, narrowly missing an "X" rating. The gay community was supposedly furious at the time, saying that it perpetuated fear and stereotypes about the gay lifestyle. These days, however, they show the film proudly at there you go.

"Bad Lieutenant" is about a cop that has gone miles beyond corruption, much less anything that resembles human, played by Harvey Keitel (full frontal nudity alert!). It is filmed in a very late sixties, early 70's style of filmmaking, though it is from 1992. Keitel to me is part of that 70's, 80's cool that included the others I watched in this post, DiNiro, Pacino, Walken and more recently, Joe Pesci. He goes through his day, sexing and drugging it up to feel anything at all; being a cop is a very minor part of his day...he even steals from the people who steal. He is called in to investigate the rape of a nun, and the film just gets progressively darker, and disturbing, and hopeless. There was only one way for it to end, and it does end that way...check it out if you don't have an aversion to sex, drugs, and violence set in a backdrop of religion.

After the darkness comes light, that light being "Bruno". I absolutely loved Borat, so I was expecting great things...don't you make the same mistake (sorry Sergio).

When I look over these films, there does seem to be a commonality...most of them were directed by those who at one time or another considered the "bad boy" directors; William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist, Cruising), Abel Ferrara (Bad Leiutenant, King Of New York), Martin Scorsese (The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino), Michael Mann (Heat, Hancock, Miami Vice), Larry Charles (Borat, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bruno) and the big bad boy, Michael Camino (The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate, The Sicilian). Get a film by any of these directors, and trust--there may be a miss or two, but it will never, ever, be boring.

Feast your eyes on a few trailers:


Anonymous said...

i re-watched panther recently too, after ready a huey p. newton bio. i forgot how much i liked that film just b/c it talked about the panthers. plus the soundtrack was dope. plus it was like every black person in hollywood was working on that film.

Anonymous said...

ok one more thing. bad lieutenant was really dark and disturbing yet there are some great parts of it. the ending is classic. the idea of a bad cop is cool and could go many ways but bringing in the church and the raping of the nun was just overkill.

IntrospectiveGoddess said...

Can't wait to see your review of Panther, I loved that movie and cryed at the end.....and yes Bokeem Woodbine was really good in that and Dead sad to see his talent has gone to waste

Sergio said...

Sorry but I cant rave about Heat enough (it's till Michael Mann's best film) It's ULTIMATE guy's guy movie. The Deer Hunter is maginificent. I watch my copy of it again last week. I still remember going to a early test screening of the film sitting with the film editors of the movie who I met in L.A. during post-production. Did you know that the original ending for the film DeNiro's character goes nuts and shoots up a bunch of people like he did in Taxi Driver? But the ending was considered too downbeat and didn't fit into the overall storyline so it was cut out long before they even started testing the film. Casino tough is overerated to me with an AWFUL performance but Sharon Stone but what else is new? But I agree with you Frality is a really good film

But for the bad news, you know there's remake of Bad Lieutenant coming out with Nicholas ("I'll do any crap for a paycheck") Cage set in New Orleans. I've seen the trailer and it doesn't look good. Yet, the thing about it was that the film was directed by Werner Herzog one of the most eclectic and fascinating directors working today and he has said that he doesn't see his film as a remake of the Keitel film at all. Just movies about bad cops with the same title. It was announced yetserday that it's premiering at the Toronto Film Fesival in Sept so we'll know soon what people say about it

Invisible Woman said...

@mlm: yeah, there were a lot of negroes in panther, even the dude from hangin' with mr. cooper. my friends even played the band at the park barbeque/rally, lol.

BL would have been a far more inferior film without the religious aspect, imo. even tho it was definitely hard to take, without it it would have been much more ordinary

@igoddess: i will probably post later today...glad you're reading both blogs :-)

@sergio: ya know, that is exactly what i thought of heat, i almost wrote that in my post, as a matter of fact. it's not to say i didn't think it was good--but so very much has been made of it, and i don't see that part. i know folks were super excited to see pacino and diniro together for the first time interacting.

that is crazy about the ending of the deer hunter, but i think it would have fit if they used it. if it were made today they might have used that ending. how could you not love casino? it had great atmosphere, set design, pesci--yeah, the acting wasn't top, top form, but it was engrossing eye candy.

yeah, i read about nic and the BL thing some time ago...if he were attached at about the time he made red rock west i would be almost excited to see, but now? guess we'll have to see--maybe he'll get back to his roots.

Lenox Ave said...

Loved "Heat", but then I love Michael Mann. So that's that. "Frailty" was an excellent film and one of the most emotionally disturbing I'd seen in some time.

"Deer Hunter" and "Casino" are 2 of my fave films. I've always loved DeNiro's quiet intensity. When he is "on", he is one of the most focused actors I've ever seen.

That's why I loved him in "Heat" and thought Pacino clowned himself. I've never seen "Cruising" or "Bad Lieutenant." Christopher Walken is in a class all by himself. He's a fascinating actor.

Harvey Keitel disturbs me. His whole aura is strange and I don't like watching him @ all. I felt my retina's bleed watching him naked in "The Piano". That was enough for me.

Reel Whore said...

Frailty's a forgotten treasure. My sis turned me onto it and I was surprised by how good it was.

Laura Flynn Boyle was sooooooo skinny in Red Rock West, but my man J.T. Walsh (RIP) was great.

Sounds like I need to watch Bad Lieutenant. I look forward to reading your Panther review. That used to be in my movie collection, back when I owned VHS tapes.

Arnetta Green said...

Frailty is/was definitely one of my favorites, despite the disturbing/creepiness factor.

Also love, love, love Black Panther, but cannot find that film anywhere to save my life. If you have any idea how I can get my hands on a copy, please let a sistah know.

Invisible Woman said...

@lenox: no likey harvey? oh no! lol. but i do agree that he should ALWAYS keep his clothes ON.

@reel whore and arnetta: fraility was surprising to me too. gotta write that panther review asap...i'm taking about as long as you did with obsessed, haha.

i forgot j.t. passed away....he was a great character actor :-(

Jon said...

Maybe someone can help me-About 10-15 years ago I saw a movie about what appeared to be Black Pathers who take a group of rich older white people on a tour of the ghetto. It was almost like a ghetto haunted house and the rich white people get harrassed and beaten. Completely terrorized. When the tours over, the panthers give back the white people's stolen property (purses, wallets, etc.) and basically say "Have a nice day!" They're all bloody and beaten. One of the coolest movies I've ever seen. HELP ME!!!!! I've wanted to see this again and can't find!!!

Sergio said...

I've heard a few other people talk about this film, but I have no idea what it is