Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spider Forest and other odds and ends.

Well, I finally got around to posting my review of Spider Forest. I probably spent too much verbage on the manifesto at the front, but I can go back and edit the thing later, I guess. Interesting movie, though not entirely successful. If Korea can find screenwriters the equal of their filmmakers, they'll kick the crap out of every other national cinema in the world. Mark my words.

Started Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance last night before football. I'll finish it tonight. The most striking thing about it isn't the violence (so far), but the way Chan Wook Park composes the film frame. I haven't counted them yet, but the number of shots where the screen is bi-sected by a vertical barrier is surprisingly high. This makes me wonder if this isn't another veiled allegory to the politics of the Korean penninsula--a thematic hold-over from Joint Security Area, if you will. I didn't get that from Old Boy, but I sure as hell get it from this.

I may have to put Mr. Vengeance on hold for a bit, though. Warner's new version of King Kong came out today. It's hard to resist the eighth wonder of the world...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

First Post

So...have you ever wondered what the "Nightmare of Ecstasy" sequence from Glen or Glenda would have looked like if it had been directed by Orson Welles? Perhaps you've thought Touch of Evil might have worked out fine if Ed Wood had made it.

Yeah. Me neither. And yet this hypothetical is suggested by Tim Burton's fantasy meeting between Wood and Welles at the end of his biopic of Wood. I wonder if Burton ever saw Dementia or its butchered version, Daughter of Horror, which plays like what I described in the last paragraph. It's Welles's Glen of Glenda or Wood's Touch of Evil. Take your pick. The evidence: it was photographed by Wood's longtime cinematographer, William C. Thompson (who shows that it wasn't HIS fault that Wood's movies looked like crap). The film was shot on the same locations in Venice Beach where Welles shot Touch of Evil. Further, director John Parker never met a dutch tilt he didn't like and the skewed perspectives and deep-focus shots that make up the entire film are straight out of Welles. But the plot is pure Wood. A young woman ("The Gamine" in the credits) wakes from a nightmare, grabs a switchblade, and heads out into the city at night. She falls in with bad company. A pimp sets her up with a fat rich man (who bears a startling resemblance to Welles), and her encounter with him sends her into a spiral of madness that ends with a confrontation in a jazz club. Then she wakes up again. Go figure.

Fortunately for the film there's no dialogue, unless you happened to be watching the "Daughter of Horror" version, in which there is a hysterical voice-over that out Criswells any of Criswell's pronouncements in any of Wood's films. Even in the original version, the viewer is treated to a deranged George Antheil score in which Marni Nixon (later the singing voice of Deborah Kerr and Audrey Hepburn) shreiks like a human theramin. This score seems to have been re-used by a ton of grade z movies, but it was new here, so I'll forgive the familiarity.

If a film that seems like the mutant love-child of Maya Deren and Albert Zugsmith sounds like your cup of tea, then by all means, check this out. It's a one of a kind weirdie. Plus, it's short, so if Marni Nixon's voice begins to send you scrambling up the wall, you won't have to endure it for long...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

For further research.

More content to come. I'll delete this when there's real content.