Friday, August 03, 2007

What's In the Netflix Queue #8

There actually is a trend in this queue. Not only am I going back and re-watching every film of the splendid Arthur Penn, but I'm digging into a certain type of cinema that often divides viewing audiences. I'm not quite sure how to define these films, but perhaps this review will give you some insight. Cult Japanese cinema, maybe? Anyway, read some of the synopsis of films within this queue selection and you'll get the idea. I'm either about to explore some intense examples of cult cinema or pure trash. Either way, half the fun is finding out. And, back to the esteemed Mr. Penn, I'm pissed off that the only film of his not available on DVD is "Mickey One" starring Warren Beatty. This movie played incessantly on Bravo back in the day, but I can't stand watching a movie edited for TV, so never gave it a shot.

1. Four Friends- One of Penn's later efforts, a shift in tone from his more intense films, this charts the relationship between 3 men and the woman they're all attracted to in the late 60's.
2. Organ- Taken directly from the synopsis: Tokyo cops investigate the black market in human organs, only to find themselves on the wrong end of the surgeon's knife! Director Kei Fujiwara's disturbing horror film ignited a wave of controversy in its native Japan. Organ -- which may feature the most graphic depictions of vivisection in cinematic history -- was subsequently censored, though the full version has been restored for release on DVD.
3. House On the Edge of the Park- Director Ruggero Deodoto (the "Cannibal Holocaust" films!) directs this early 80's splatterfest that has received some acclaim. "Sleazoid Express" writers highly enjoyed this one.
4. Dead of Winter- Mary Steenburgen and Roddy McDowall chew up the scenery in Arthur Penn's 1987 film. I remember seeing this one as a kid. It'll be interesting to see how it holds up with a more mature eye and by assessing it within the confines of Penn's ouevre.
5. Vibrator- Director Ryuichi Hiroki earned some critical favor with this 2003 road drama that moves at its own pace. Three other Hiroki films are on this list.
6. Alice's Restaurant- How can one not love the film that the TV show "Alice" was based on? Yes, Arthur Penn was there.
7. I Am An S&M Writer- More Hiroki.
8. Evil Dead Trap- In this Japanese cult horror film, talk show hostess Nami (Miyuki Ono) receives an anonymous videotape in the mail. When she plays it, she's shocked to view what looks like a murder -- that is, a snuff film. With the help of her faithful crew, she discovers that the tape originated in an abandoned ex-military base in the middle of nowhere. As the team splits up to investigate, they're drawn deeper into a deadly nightmare.
9. Bullet Ballet- Director Shinya Tsukamoto is largely responsible for this crop of Japanese cult films after he released the highly influential "Tetsuo" movies in the late 80's. "Bullet Ballet" is more of the same and I'm looking forward to stepping back into Tsukamoto's extremely fucked up vision of our world.
10. Mouchette- Wow. This one's outta left field after the above selections, huh? If nothing, you can't say I'm not eclectic.


TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Baker said...

Ahh you're correct about "Penn and Teller Get Killed" not being on DVD. I overlooked that one. I do remember seeing it back in the day (when I was a quasi Penn and Teller fan), but honestly couldn't remember a single frame of it now.

Anonymous said...

i believe that the television show "alice" is actually based on the scorsese film "alice doesn't live here anymore" and not "alice's restaurant".

we discussed that movie in a class about scorsese yesterday, and the professor brought up that the television show was based it.

Anonymous said...

based on it.

i should probably learn how to type before i go around the internets leaving comments.

Joe Baker said...


Correction noted. Thanks! Either way, "Alice's Restaurant" was a tepid film to get through. It's definitely a relic of the late 60's cinema, and not in a good way.