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Headshot But Still Kicking

September 29th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

We’ve had some creepy and unsettling scores reverberating throughout the GI in recent years, but none more apropo than the one giving “Headshot” its unnerving edge. What is it that is at the bottom of the bass tones and scrapes? I swear it’s dental drills. I think Pen-Ek has tapped into a global fear and hatred of the dentist’s office, and is driving his drill deep into our psyches to create one of the best thrillers I’ve seen in recent years, up there with last year’s GI favorite “Drive.” And how is it so “apropo” you might ask? The GI used to be a dentist’s office for chrissakes! Ponder on that and perhaps the eerieness will put you in the ultimate mindset for All Monsters Attack in just a week’s time!

What else can I say about this film? Well, like “Drive,” it’s pure noir/thriller goodness through the uncanny eyes of a modern auteur. And where any American mainstream movie that used an assassin who sees upside-down as a premise would be full of over-the-top moments capitalizing on its “uniqueness,” Ratanaruang has crafted a unique portrait of trying to discover justice on both sides of the law, and uses POV sparing to much greater effect. Seeing a television turned upside tells us a lot more than five minutes of POV adjusting to everyday life. Of course there are twists and turns, all with interweaving timelines that at times you you running to catch up, and other times leave you strolling just long enough to catch your breath.

No it’s not Neo from “The Matrix,” but it is some choice neo-noir!

What am I trying to say? Cleanse your cinematic palate with the second Asian auteur masterpiece in as many weeks before we dive in to another fantastic year of horror, cult, and B-movie classics!

—–melancholic but all the better for it, dan

Holidays and Golden Days

September 15th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Scrumptious B+W 35mm prints all over the place this week at the ol’ GI. I’m getting this up a bit late for previewing Friday, so I’ll launch straight into my spiel for our 3rd annual fundraiser.

If you’re reading this, then you care about the Grand Illusion to some small degree. And any increment of degree of caring for our little jewel in Seattle’s cinematic crown should get thee hence to us tonight. I’ll be there slanging drinks yet again, hopefully with the esteemed Elizabeth Scarborough in tandem. It’s always a good time, and this year proves no different. Towering classics of cinema have graced us each year, from Bogart in “Casablanca” to Stewart in “Rear Window” to Tati in “M. Hulot’s Holiday.”

Allow me a moment to say a couple of words about “M. Hulot’s Holiday,” I’ll try to keep it brief. My first introduction to Tati was actually 2010’s animated “The Illusionist.” I mean I knew about his Hulot series, but I had never seen them. “The Illusionist” (from a screenplay by Tati) was an absolute delight of subtleties and visual treats, with hardly a word of spoken or at least understood dialogue. “M. Hulot’s Holiday” is thankfully right and truly in that vein.

Now what I noticed right away is Hulot’s lineage in the way of “silent” comic characters. A cinematic stop-off point in between Charlie Chaplin and Rowan Atkinson. The influence of Chaplin’s silly gaited and frumpled Tramp on Hulot and his precursor to Atkinson’s socially awkward and prankster Bean. I mean, Mr. Bean’s last effort was a movie about vacationing on a French beach in a film titled “Mr. Bean’s Holiday.”  Do you doubt the lineage?

the face of what’s to come and what has come before

So please, for the love of all that is holy (read: independent, volunteer-run, art house cinema), come support the GI tonight. I’ll be there. Hell, even Obama would be there if he weren’t campaigning! (Though that would be an excellent photo op, Mr. President.)

And the other film we have this week? “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” an inspired and wonderful P.I. ode to noir. Classic dames and vamps and vixens and femme fatales abound in this film comprised of archive footage inter-spliced with my boy Steve Martin and the hubba hubba hubba Rachel Ward. And my boy Humphrey Bogart even makes a few appearances! Somewhat in the vein of “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?” and “Kung Pow,” characters are made to interact with classic movie footage into an entirely new story. Unlike “Tiger Lily” and “Kung Pow,” however, this movie draws a wide expanse of classic titles from the 40s and 50s. Check out this hilarious brand new 30th anniversary print of “Dead Men” before my breasts get knocked out of whack!

That’s about it from me this week, please enjoy the mellow and beautiful sunny yet overcast day out there, then swing on down this evening for fun and frivolity.

—classic comedy, count me in, dan

Demon Zombies and Video Games: The Return of Late Night

September 8th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Hey ho howdy o, I know you’ve been just chomping at the bit and rarin’ to go. What for? More late night! That’s why this week’s blog is a highlight of our September late night offerings: the glorious return of the best fast zombie movie series of the last decade (because all iterations are good, sorry 28 Weeks Later) “Rec 3,” and another superb GI unearthing of 80s sex comedy goodness “Joysticks.”

First in the month, and first on my agenda, “Rec 3.” I will proclaim loudly to anyone who loves zombie movies that apart from Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” and Boyle’s “28 Days Later,” there are no other truly great “fast zombie” movies to come out of the last decade besides the “Rec” films. And really the sub-genre (sub-sub-genre?) starts with those two modern classics, so the “Rec” movies are in great company. Another twist on the genre (cinema verite mentioned repeatedly in the beginning of “Rec 3” in case you missed it) came with the infusion of the “found footage” horror movie innovated by “The Blair Witch Project” and nearly beaten to death by “Paranormal Activity” and other films trying their damnedest to make you willingly (or unwillingly) suspend your disbelief. How does the “Rec” series stand out even further from the playing field and perfectly distill horror goodness? By adding in “demon zombies,” of the “Evil Dead” ilk. I gotta say movie hero of “Rec 3” looks a pretty damn sight like the Spanish Bruce Campbell. The elements of horrordom are clinched!

The Original

El Campbell de Bruce

Though “Rec 3” certainly has it moments of comedy, we’re satisfying your cravings for late night snickers (hmm, note to self, grab a Snickers) later this month with “Joysticks.” And hey, 35mm! If you ever thought to yourself how much a joystick resembles an erect phallus, well, so did the creators of this comedic gem. As with many screwball comedies of the early 80s (including “Screwballs,” one of my favorites), you’ll find plenty of all-natural nude beauties sprinkled gratuitously throughout the feature. And you’ll also see the extremely good-looking hero figure surround himself with awkward nerds and morbidly obese flatulent sidekicks. That’s right, this film was made in the very-narrow year range in which the good-looking cool kids and the nerds unite against a common foe, usually trying to shut some place down. And in the words of Rodney Dangerfield, “Hey everyone, we’re going to get laid!”

Are you about to see those girls show their boobs to this simpering nerd? Hey, it’s 1983, anything can happen!

Anyway, what more reason do you need to stay out on a Friday or Saturday night? Your buzz hasn’t worn off, and you don’t gotta get up for anything in the morning for crying out loud! See a damn movie! Tis the season!

—loves zombies AND video games, dan

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