Sunday, March 18, 2007

Online Reading Review

And sometimes it's good to read about cult movies, dime-a-dozen genre movies ... for me, it's most appealing to read about "trashy" cinema not from the people who would insist on calling it trashy, hailing it as trashy, something to "slum" in, but from those whose affection for these forms is genuine, with loving research, sometimes painstaking social contextualization, and a lot of careful attention to detail (textual or otherwise) ...

At Tomb It May Concern, David Zuzelo writes about Italian postapocalyptic films in a series titled "Pastapocalypse Then" (part 1, part 2, part 3). I think I've probably only seen one film mentioned in the whole cycle (1990: The Bronx Warriors), but I've added a couple more to my Netflix queue.

Kimberly Lindbergs recently finished her 'year-in-DVD' wrap-up over at Cinebeats, with plenty of new titles for her readers to make note of.

I've just discovered a forum called European Film Review, in which one of the main contributors is James Cheney (as 'C., James C.'), the fellow behind some of my favorite posts over at Mobius Home Video Forum. Tons and tons of information about, especially, Italian genre cinema (so much more than just zombies and spaghetti cowboys), couched by Cheney and others with great care for cultural contexts and historical understanding of trends (stylistic, thematic, aesthetic) and film production over the years.

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Speaking of spaghetti westerns, earlier this evening I watched 800 Bullets, Alex de la Iglesias' film from a few years back (picked up a widescreen VHS copy for a buck or two). Great cinema? No. But quite entertaining. Sometimes it's refreshing to see filmmakers just pack so much into a film. Not in the way that the stereotypical debut filmmaker wants to put "everything" into the first feature, but in the way that different tonal threads, visual-thematic cues, and the like will pop up rhythmically as the storyline progresses, without making one think there's some great symbolism in overdrive, or hyper-affectivity. This isn't a specifically authorial richness, I don't think--the kind of richness that Ford or Losey could put into their films; I think a lot of it has to do with studio craftsmanship, but not so much as a Genius of the System itself, but the Geniuses within the System: less than great and singular authors maybe, but not exactly hacks, either. Does de la Iglesia count? Well, damned if I know, this is the first thing I've seen by him, but it kind of feels that way. Convention is writ large on the film, and one can discern what are probably committee-style fingerprints here and there ... but the job wasn't phoned it, somebody or somebodies took some control and made a film with a bit of fire & sex & pungency & control to it. Just nice to see, is all. Furthermore, why do I feel like at least 75% of all Spanish films I see have half-submerged emotional cores about absent fathers?

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I'm pretty sure I've linked to this blog once or twice before, but anyway, The Unapologetic Mexican is a great read, one of the best places I've found online for an intertwined discussion of the personal & the political, and here is a funny little piece about Angelina Jolie and her adoption adventures, to just point to one sample amongst plenty of interesting material ...

2 comments:

Joel said...

In response to your post below requesting a copy of Colossal Youth (wasn't sure you would see my comment down there), from Dave Kehr's blog - "A cinephile curious to see the new Pedro Costa film only has to type the words “juventud em marcha” in the search box of an eMule client, and that cinephile will have a fine copy in hand within a day or two at the small cost of exposing herself to federal prosecution."

Zach Campbell said...

Thanks for the tip, Joel.