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Old 01-28-2009   #1
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Movie Recommendations

as there is already a book recommendations thread, there should also be a movie recommendations thread; now this is done and here is my first entry...





here's an excerpt...


What was it about 1922? In the same year Nosferatu showed the world how to make a vampire movie and Dr. Mabuse took a near-supernatural journey to Berlin's criminal underworld, a film opened in Sweden that was to become notorious for its bold depictions of torture, madness, carnality, and — most memorably — horrific acts performed by and for bestial, nightmarish demons, including Satan himself. But while Nosferatu and Dr. Mabuse presented their stories as fiction, filmmaker Benjamin Christensen's Häxan appeared in the guise of a documentary, its very realism at the heart of its hypnotic allure and its scandalous notoriety.

Officially banned outside of Sweden for decades due to graphic imagery and an unabashed anti-clerical theme, Häxan has grown into a cinema legend one hears about but rarely, if ever, gets a chance to actually see. Is it true that it displays witches cavorting naked with lusty devils? Is a baby really drained of blood before it's tossed into a stew pot? What's this about women lining up to kiss Satan's bulbous ass? Inquisitional torture? Flying on broomsticks? Hysterical nuns? Sacrilege and perversion? Demonic orgies? Otherworldly monstrosities emerging from between an old crone's legs? And it's a documentary? And is there really a version narrated by Beat generation writer and hipster icon William S. "The Naked Lunch" Burroughs, complete with acid jazz soundtrack?

It's all true. Häxan (pron. "hexen," meaning "witches") was long available only in rare, diminished forms, the most well known being a 1968 re-edit given the title Witchcraft Through the Ages. That edit sports the add-on Burroughs' narration and an anarchic musical score featuring Jean-Luc Ponty. Few versions of either incarnation have been released on home video, but restorations have appeared on VHS through Great Britain's Redemption label and, in 1999, Home Vision Entertainment's pairing of the Swedish Film Institute's restored Häxan and (unrestored) Witchcraft Through the Ages.

Now this infamous curio is finally available on DVD under the Criterion Collection folio. Criterion offers a strikingly beautiful print of the fully restored and re-tinted Häxan and again pairs it with the Burroughs version. Its superb audio track features a new score recreated from the original list of musical cues. Plus, Criterion maintains its reputation for delivering a generous assortment of supportive supplemental material — including an audio commentary by Danish silent film scholar Casper Tybjerg, outtakes and test shots, and click-through selections from the centuries-old documents writer/director Christensen used for his diabolical source material. It's presented in an attractive and mindfully produced package.

and here is a link to get the criterion edition

Häxan (1922) - The Criterion Collection

(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure
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Old 01-28-2009   #2
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Re: Movie Recommendations

Thanks for letting us know. I saw the 1968 version (in 1968) and thought that it was very effective. It was still very daring for the time. How does the unaltered version hold up?

"A Mad World, MY Masters"
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Old 01-28-2009   #3
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Re: Movie Recommendations


Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965) features what I regard as one of the finest performances ever given by a screen actor, male or female. Catherine Deneuve is brilliant from beginning to end. She doesn’t simply portray a character going mad; she embodies madness. Below are four clips for those of you interested in watching this tour de force.

Repulsion is the first – and I would say the best – film in Polanski’s “Apartment Trilogy”; it was followed by Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Tenant (1976). While those two films are superb in their own right, they lack Repulsion’s sense of bottomless horror (though The Tenant comes close!) Here is a brief synopsis by Robert Horton from the Amazon.com website:

Roman Polanski was still a newcomer to the world of cinema when he unleashed this unforgettable exercise in skin-crawling terror. Repulsion was the Polish director’s first film in English, but that hardly mattered: much of the movie is as wordless (and as weird) as the silent Nosferatu. The young Catherine Deneuve plays a Belgian girl stranded in ’60s London, a shy beauty with no social skills. When her sister leaves their shared flat, Deneuve goes gradually, quietly, completely mad. Her world becomes Polanski's paintbox, as the devilish director distorts reality via a series of surrealistic touches (grasping hands that protrude from elastic walls) and out-and-out murderous horror. Very few films cast the kind of eerie spell that this 1965 classic achieves, and it clearly points the way toward Polanski’s Rosemary's Baby. As with most of the director's work, what is unsettling is not the overt violence, but the terrifying sense of emptiness and isolation, and the boiling unease inside one's own mind.








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Old 01-28-2009   #4
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The film centers around a family of farmers, who are part of a religious community in West Jutland. In addition to the devout Morten, the father, there are his three sons: Mikkel, the eldest, who has no faith; Anders, who wants to marry the daughter of Peter (Ejner Federspiel), a tailor who refuses the marriage because of Anders' (Cay Kristiansen) religious beliefs; the third and youngest son is Johannes, who has lost his mind and believes himself to be Jesus Christ. Morten (Henrik Malberg) considers his religion (the 'Glad Christians' of Grunttvigism) to be about "life" and accuses Peter's faith (the 'Inner Mission') of being concerned with "death".
Inger (Birgitte Federspiel), wife of Mikkel (Emil Hass Christensen), is in the late stages of pregnancy; her difficult labor ends with a stillbirth. The doctor inconclusively debates with the pastor whether his science is more important than the pastor's faith in successfully saving Inger's life. Inger though, dies suddenly, the physician having left only moments before. Johannes goes missing, cannot be found, and it is feared his life may also have ended. Johannes (Preben Lerdorff Rye) was not taken seriously in his self-belief, but returning during the laying to rest of Inger, his reason now restored, he is able to heal the rift between the two different families.

The last scene is literally a miracle...

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream..

Last edited by Ligeia; 01-28-2009 at 06:02 PM..
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Old 01-28-2009   #5
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Joe Bonham (Bottoms), a young American soldier hit by a shell on the last day of World War I, lies in a hospital bed. He is a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to reason, however, rendering him a prisoner in his own body. He tries to communicate to his doctors, via morse code, his wish that he be allowed to die, or put in a freak show as a demonstration of the horrors of war. In the end, however, he realizes that the Army will grant neither wish, and will simply leave him in a state of living death.
As he drifts between reality and fantasy, he remembers his old life with his family and girlfriend (Kathy Fields). He also forms a bond, of sorts, with a young nurse (Diane Varsi) who senses his plight.
.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream..

Last edited by Ligeia; 02-06-2009 at 03:34 AM..
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Old 01-29-2009   #6
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Re: Movie Recommendations


Lars Lindstrom lives in the converted garage behind the house he and his brother Gus inherited from their father. His pregnant sister-in-law Karin's persistent attempts to lure him into the house for a family meal are usually rebuffed, and on the rare occasions he accepts, their conversation is stilted and he seems eager to leave as soon as he can. The young man finds it difficult to interact with or relate to his family, co-workers, or fellow parishioners in the church he regularly attends.
One day Lars happily announces to Gus and Karin he has a visitor he met via the Internet, a wheelchair-bound missionary of Brazilian and Danish descent named Bianca. The two are startled to discover Bianca is in fact a lifelike doll Lars ordered from an adult website. Concerned about his mental health, they convince Lars to take Bianca to Dagmar, the family doctor who is also a psychologist. Dagmar diagnoses Bianca with low blood pressure and advises Lars he needs to bring her in for weekly treatments, during which she will attempt to analyze him and get to the root of his behavior. She explains that this is a delusion of his own creation and for his own reason and purpose, and she urges Gus and Karin to assist with Lars' therapy by treating Bianca as if she were a real woman....

I know it sounds disturbing but in fact it's a sweet movie on loneliness and love.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream..

Last edited by Ligeia; 02-06-2009 at 03:34 AM..
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Old 01-29-2009   #7
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Re: Movie Recommendations


Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette) is an overworked mother of two children, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her brother, Frank (Steve Carell), is a scholar of French author Proust and a homosexual, temporarily living at home with the family after having attempted suicide. Sheryl's husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) is a Type A personality striving to build a career as a motivational speaker and life coach. Dwayne (Paul Dano), Sheryl's son from a previous marriage, is a Nietzsche-reading teenager who has taken a vow of silence until he can accomplish his dream of becoming a test pilot. Richard's foulmouthed father, Edwin (Alan Arkin), recently evicted from a retirement home for snorting heroin, lives with the family; he is close to his seven-year-old granddaughter Olive (Abigail Breslin).
Olive learns she has qualified for the "Little Miss Sunshine" beauty pageant that is being held in Redondo Beach, California in two days. Her parents and Edwin, who has been coaching her, want to support her, and Frank and Dwayne cannot be left alone, so the whole family goes. Because they have little money, they go on an 800-mile (1,287-km) road trip in their yellow Volkswagen T2 Microbus, and that's when real fun starts!

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream..

Last edited by Ligeia; 02-06-2009 at 03:33 AM..
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Old 02-05-2009   #8
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Re: Movie Recommendations



The "Dirty Dozen" of Italian Exploitation cinema


(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure

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Old 02-08-2009   #9
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Re: Movie Recommendations



An adaptation of M.R. James' story Casting the Runes. The movie also reworks the central occultist as a caricature of Aleister Crowley.



This is another good psychological/occult horror flick from the 1940's.

I love Haxan in it's original and reworked forms. The 1960's reworking is great because of the additional W.S.B. material.

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Old 02-08-2009   #10
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