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What DVDs have you bought recently?
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Un Chien Andalou / Land Without Bread

Fast Company
(with Stereo & Crimes of the Future)

Shivers

Bright Future

Charisma

Korei

Ju-On: The Grudge 2

Vampyr

Waking Life

The Day the World Stood Still

The Mystery of Rampo

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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 05.20.2004 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Un Chien Andalou ranks among my very favorite Surrealist films, and while I haven't seen The Land Without Bread in over 10 years, I recall learning a great deal about the Hurdanos, and responding to Bunuel's dry wit.



I admire Vampyr, but for me it ranks below several other Dreyer pictures, such as Day of Wrath, Ordet, maybe Gertrud, and definitely Passion of Joan of Arc, which is one of my Top Ten favorite movies period. I've been obsessed with it for years. Excluding Keaton, it's the greatest and most important silent picture I've seen.



NW, what do you think of Shivers? We both have a special interest in Cronenberg, but we come at him from different angles and I'd love to hear your take on that one.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Un Chien Andalou ranks among my very favorite Surrealist films, and while I haven't seen The Land Without Bread in over 10 years, I recall learning a great deal about the Hurdanos, and responding to Bunuel's dry wit.




This is first time I've seen Un Chien Andalou in its entirety. Totally lived up to expectations. I thought it was hilarious. Haven't watched Land Without Bread yet.



beltmann wrote:
NW, what do you think of Shivers? We both have a special interest in Cronenberg, but we come at him from different angles and I'd love to hear your take on that one.




Shivers is one of my least favorite Cronenbergs, right above Rabid -- haven't watched the non-horror Fast Company yet -- but I like some the ideas in it ("Sex is the invention of a smart venereal disease.") and its gleeful destruction of the status quo appeals to me. It's also pretty damn funny at times. What can I say, I'm a sucker for parasites.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Small, leech-like parasites breed within the bodies of high-rise residents, turning them into violent, sexually-rabid monsters: Infected with an icky-cool premise that feels like vintage Cronenberg, Shivers is entirely consistent with his continued fascination with the body as a setting. Nevertheless, I agree that it isn't among his most interesting works. Poor dialogue and atrocious acting aside, there's something off-putting about the film's view of humanity (true horror resides within us, waiting to explode and destroy), but even worse is its endless "Meanwhile, back at?" episodes. It's a series of cliched, clumsy person-on-person attacks, and the suspense dwindles fast. The imagery, as shocking, bloody, and gory as in Cronenberg's later works, lacks resonance of any kind. This seems more inspired by '50s B-movie horror cheapies than a biological worldview.



Still, as a precursor to Cronenberg greats like The Fly, Dead Ringers, and especially eXistenZ, it's must viewing.



Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
What can I say, I'm a sucker for parasites.


Who isn't?
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Juleska
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kill Bill Vol 1 and Lost in Translation were my most recent purchases. I'm so far behind!
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
[...] there's something off-putting about the film's view of humanity (true horror resides within us, waiting to explode and destroy) [...]




Yes, but the destruction is not nihilistic; the parasites establish a new order, one which the film views as neither better or worse than the original status quo. In other words, there's the suggestion that nature and biology, if given an opening, will force change when humanity clings too long to rituals and ideologies that have stagnated and become unproductive. The deeper the repression of change in the original status quo, the more violent the explosion, and more radical the new order.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Yes, but the destruction is not nihilistic; the parasites establish a new order, one which the film views as neither better or worse than the original status quo. In other words, there's the suggestion that nature and biology, if given an opening, will force change when humanity clings too long to rituals and ideologies that have stagnated and become unproductive. The deeper the repression of change in the original status quo, the more violent the explosion, and more radical the new order.


That reading seems more than justifiable, and certainly compelling. For me, though, I didn't view the parasites as literal representations of nature; instead I read them as metaphorical creatures standing in for the darkest, most brutal and primitive aspects of humanity. Plus, I'm skeptical of any film that excludes humanity from nature--aren't human rituals and ideologies, to some degree, merely an extension of biology?



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 05.20.2004 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
For me, though, I didn't view the parasites as literal representations of nature; instead I read them as metaphorical creatures standing in for the darkest, most brutal and primitive aspects of humanity.




I don?t view them as ?literal? representations of nature, either, but I do view them as an instinctual part of humanity rebelling against a repressive state. By analogy, the parasites are the decade of 60s, and the high-rise is the 50s (if that makes any sense). But "dark," "brutal," and "primitive" are negative descriptions, and I think the film sees both the parasites and the high-rise as unnatural conditions. In fact, the parasites are a liberation, even if they ultimately bring the residents too far along to the opposite extreme. I think all of Cronenberg's movies are essentially the struggle toward, but inability to achieve, a balance between mind and body.



beltmann wrote:
Plus, I'm skeptical of any film that excludes humanity from nature--aren't human rituals and ideologies, to some degree, merely an extension of biology?




I don't think Shivers, or any of Cronenberg's films, excludes humanity from nature. Indeed, it seems to me that many of his films, if not, perhaps, all of them, observe humanity attempting to exclude itself from, or raise itself above nature, failing in the endeavor, and then collapsing into another unsatisfactory state at the opposite pole. The two poles can be understood as mind vs. body or intellect vs. instinct, or some similar conflict. The denial of body results in the dissolution of the mind.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 05.30.2004 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just ordered the rest of the Ring series (Ring 2, Ring 0, and Rasen), sans the TV movies, which I've heard aren't worth the time (and are terribly difficult to come by with English subs anyway). So, if anybody's seen it, is Rasen as profoundly awful as is normally reported? Remember, I'm the sole person who actually liked Tomie.
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Jim Harper
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Joined: 29 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: 05.30.2004 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Just ordered the rest of the Ring series (Ring 2, Ring 0, and Rasen), sans the TV movies, which I've heard aren't worth the time (and are terribly difficult to come by with English subs anyway). So, if anybody's seen it, is Rasen as profoundly awful as is normally reported? Remember, I'm the sole person who actually liked Tomie.




Rasen isn't exactly terrible; but it really doesn't fit in with the first film. It's based primarily on the novels, which are much more sci-fi-oriented that Nakata's film. I find the scientific explanations included in the novels and Rasen to be much less satisfactory than Nakata's strictly supernatural approach. It's an interesting film, if only because it shows you how the series could have developed. But it's also easy to see why they ignored it and hired Nakata and the original scriptwriter to prepare another sequel.



I'm glad I own it, as it's an important part of the cycle (more so than the two TV series, which altered the mythos even further) but Ring 2 is superior.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 05.30.2004 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:


Rasen isn't exactly terrible; but it really doesn't fit in with the first film. It's based primarily on the novels, which are much more sci-fi-oriented that Nakata's film.




Thanks, Jim. One of the reasons I decided to order Rasen is because the novels have been translated into English, and I'm curious to see how closely this movie follows Spiral (which I haven't read yet), especially considering how much Nakata's Ring differs from (and improves upon, imho) Suzuki's book. The other reason is just pure curiosity. There's a particularly hostile review at teleport-city.com, but then theringworld.com offers a more more sympathetic one. I think I'll probably prefer Nakata's supernatural story line, but I have to confess, what I've heard about Suzuki's trilogy intrigues me.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 05.30.2004 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I'm curious to see how closely this movie follows Spiral (which I haven't read yet), especially considering how much Nakata's Ring differs from (and improves upon, imho) Suzuki's book...I think I'll probably prefer Nakata's supernatural story line, but I have to confess, what I've heard about Suzuki's trilogy intrigues me.




I haven't read Spiral myself either, but the interviews on the R2 Artsmagic edition of Rasen make it plain that Iida's aim was to move away from the horror aspects of the first film in favour of the sci-fi/medical leanings of the book. He's very much a committed sci-fi director, as his best film, Another Heaven, shows.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While we're on the subject, I just found this parody of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" (of Rocky III "fame") called "Eye of Sadako." Cracked me up. Follow this link and enjoy ...



...if you dare...
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jkazoo
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 9:45 pm    Post subject: DVD Mania! Reply with quote

I buy DVDs like popcorn. I just bought Johnny Cash's American IV CD today, which includes a DVD for the "Hurt" video, one of the coolest videos ever, I might add. Recently, I've purchased the Special Edition of Fargo, The Freaks and Geeks Complete Series Limited Edition Box Set (available only at their website), and found Once Upon a Time in Mexico AND Crispin Glover's Willard used dirt cheap. All very good investments, especially F&G.



[/quote]
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