top five reasons that, after moving here 9 and a half months ago, i'm convinced that the bay area is the perfect fit for me:


i'm happy.

(no subject)

okay i have 5 days to make $200 so i can pay my rent
because either i am stupid and miscalculated something
or halloween city is stupid and miscalculated something
wish me luck


As soon as our uncle was convinced that my aunt wasn’t intent on returning anytime soon, he poured himself a tumbler of scotch and began to tell my brother and I one of his many war-time stories. He asked if we had any requests, and I insisted upon the presence of a whore-house. This was something I knew I could do, something that I could demand, because I know my uncle’s blood pumped the same desperation as mine. He took a deep pull of his scotch, and began.

“‘Tonight you’ll be floating among the spirits,’ the woman said to me, ‘so make sure you dress in white.’ We were, of course, somewhere on Europe’s coast at the time, it was the heart of the war, and it was during this time in which I was finding the only solace I could invent in the malignant shapes of the war bunkers that populated the shore. The water was comfortable to me, but my body needed land and sex, and in the dark of nightclubs my mates and I collected the info we needed. When we had time, we would set off, walking for hours if necessary, to chateaus that looked abandoned from the outside, windows cut off from the world by heavy red and black drapes, the heaviness of silence.

“The woman dictating my outfit was, I knew, speaking to me in confidence. There were only three of us in the bar that night, and my uniform was the only one that held its starchy white. Even in the grime of our ship, women wanted a man who was clean. And, despite what you might think, I’ve always loved luxury. The luxury of a woman is one luxury I’ve refused to ever give up.

“Though I wore white regularly, I still had a white suit that I kept for special occasions. Europe held an allure-- I loved my country, everyone did then, but for me, I just wanted a paid vacation. The death of war only heightened the intensity of my experience. I was afraid of nothing, and I wanted everything. There was something about this woman that pulsated with the infinitude of life that I was after. She told me to meet her back at the club, the one which we were drinking at, shortly after midnight. I told none of my shipmates what the woman had told me.”

At this point my uncle paused, taking another pull of his drink. Something moved in the air and my brother went to shut the window.

“I was early of course. The woman held an energy that I refused to miss out on. I smoked a joint and walked around the perimeter of the building several times before I saw a large Cadillac pull up from the street. I walked to the black tinted window as it rolled down. ‘Come,’ the woman beckoned. I opened the door and climbed in.

“We rode for a long time. It was such a long time that I began to get nervous. I could see solar rays hovering over the horizon, knew that morning was soon. Would my sexual adventure be tainted by the ephemeral necessity of time? I was not due back to my post on my ship until the following day, but worried my unexplained absence would form a rift between me and my mates.

“As the sun had taken it’s place in the sky,we arrived at a large, towering building of white, done in a Mediterranean style. We were surrounded by desert. I had fallen asleep during the ride and had no idea how far inland we had travelled.”

I could hear my aunt stirring across the house, but had no desire to inform my uncle. I needed to know what followed. My erection pulsed in my pants, my legs crossed. My anticipation of what was surely to follow heightened my ecstatic attention into a holy moan.

“As I walked into the room I was greeted with a great hall, paneled in wood and bearing a large fire place. A number of nude woman sat crouched in front of the fireplace; their asses raised into the air. It was as if I were seeing, in the flesh, one of the many tableau that decorated the Tijuana bibles me and my mates would pass around on the ship. The image was perfect symmetry. Two woman crouched on each side of the fireplace, and then, to the left and right respectively, a woman with her breasts exposed wearing a leather map, holding a whip; grinning.

“But this was not my destination, merely the welcome committee. The woman from the club took my hand and walked icily forward. She lead me through countless labyrinthine hallways; I could make neither heads nor tails of the layout that I was finding myself deeper and deeper inside of. At times it felt like we were walking a downward slant. For all I knew I was chasing Eurydice to the underworld, fated to lose everything. My excitement kept me going. I felt nothing but terror and desire, and as each moment passed I felt my own physicality grow more and more sensitive.

“Finally, after what seemed like wandering for hours, the woman stopped at a door. She opened it and gestured for me to go inside. ‘Aren’t you coming?’ I asked, but of course, her answer was only a shake of her head.

“The room was cold. Almost unbearably so. I shivered. My eyes adjusted to the dim light and I found myself facing a set of marble stairs, a column on the left and right of the flat top the stairs lead to. In the middle sat an impeccably beautiful black box. The box was smooth, varnished to perfection; the hinges shined silver, the handles glistened. As I approached the box, climbing the steps one at a time, a spotlight fell upon the box and I could make out the rocky wall behind it.

“I opened the door. Inside there was a young girl, your age perhaps,” (my uncle motions to me), “asleep, her body nude, cramped into a position that allowed her to fit in the box. I gently reached inside and pulled her petite body out. I held her in my arms as she remained asleep. Out of curiosity at how the scene would look, I placed her body on top of the box and stretched out her arms and legs, which now basked in the light that came from above. The entire scene was beautiful.

“We fucked, as I had expected, but shortly after I came I felt an intense sadness rush over me. It was at that moment I understood the suffering of the saints. I felt a holiness that I couldn’t compare to anything. I knew there was a war outside but I couldn’t feel it. I understood how alone we are really are.

“Through tears I told the girl to leave. Once she had left the room I climbed into the box and pulled the doors closed behind me. My body felt cold and in the darkness I started to understand everything. I left my body and became God. I felt a sense of permanence that not even the earth itself holds.

“When I woke up I felt sand blowing over my face. I was on the shore near my boat. Spotted by one of my mates, I made it back to this ship just in time. Three days had passed. We sailed on.”

(no subject)

hi livejournal
today i resigned from my job; my last day will be july 21st.
today i ordered my one-way plane ticket to san francisco, i'm leaving july 29th.
crashing on couches & floors for a while until i get on my feet,
still seems ideal.

this shit is officially happening.

MAY 2011

2467 - 05/01/2011 - Devil - John Erick Dowdle
      Seeing two horror movies in the theater reminded me of how I had meant to see this movie in the theater when it was out. So I just downloaded it instead. The characters start out overwhelmingly obnoxious, but that ends, thank God. Though I mean mostly it ends because they start dying but uh hrm yeah. And there were a few points where I thought that it was going to end up some weird morality play and BELIEVE IN GOD AND TRUST HIM was going to be the 'moral of the story' or something but luckily that was avoided to. I mention these things because they specifically would have impeded my pleasure in viewing the film. I would have had a 'hard time.'
      But really, this ends up being fantastic. I like horror movies that involve elevators as pivotal plot points (yeah weird huh), and I am also prone to enjoying movies with small, enclosed casts. Also the actor who plays the detective, Chris Messina, is always kind of cute and fun to watch, even though he's basically boring and bland (which jesus christ Vicky Christna Barcelona sure highlights), but he's good and cute here.
      Suitably creepy, I think, and I really like how effective the scene where the fact of the devil is caught on the security tape (and it seems like the director has a fetish for video being involved in the creation of horror, which is cool with me). Works pretty well, and also seems really kind of fucked-up violent for only being PG-13, but whatever it's not like ratings are relevant or reflective of anything ever.

2468 - 05/02/2011 - Virgin of Nuremberg - Antonio Margheriti
      I am catching up on all of the movies that I haven't yet seen from that 100 European Horror Movies book that I've had for three years and not read. I'm still not going to read it, I plan on selling it, but I noted the titles I hadn't seem to keep as a list for when I'm in the mood for European horror that I haven't seen before and can't think of anything off the top of my head. This is pretty par for the course in terms of early Italian horror, but it's not bad. It's basically vapid and pretty and not really intense or creepy but nicely sexual and really just pleasant to watch.

2469 - 05/05/2011 - Playing with Fire - Alain Robbe-Grillet [sort of rewatch]
      Another "sort of" rewatch as I'd seen it before sans subtitles. It, of course, works better when you can understand the dialogue. However, I was at least a little disappointed because, really, this is basically an exercise in Robbe-Grillet being clever (which I'm sure critics could argue is most of his career, but I disagree). It lacks any sort of context to operate within. The best scenes are the scenes of Carolina wandering the brothel and peaking into rooms. It's weird to consider, because the scenes themselves have no utile function in the film, so I imagine it'd be hard to defend against misogyny outside of the fact that within the context of the entire film, it's very clearly constructed as artifice.
      Which, the more that I think about it, is a really weak defense. I struggle to articulate a defense for misogyny in these movies most of the time because I fail to read them as misogynistic, and this is with an awareness of the male gaze and how it functions. I wonder if it's just I enjoy these scenes that are often construed as misogynistic aesthetically that I become lazy, or passive, or something. I'm thinking about this here because it seems to be shit that Robbe-Grillet specifically gets a lot. This might also be the most 'suspect' of his films too, in the sense that, as I mentioned, the scenes that are the most interesting are the scenes in which our female protagonist wanders a bordello and simply becomes privvy to varying 'outrageous' scenes of sexuality (and in all cases except for one, it is women being subjugated to the laws of the paying Male customer). This is only, arguably, problematic because like I said, there is no real reason for the scenes other than the fact that they elaborate the nature of the bordello (which has little bearing on the narrative). I don't find this inherently problematic, but if I were asked to 'defend' the 'misogynistic' implications of these scenes I don't know if I would be able to, and that in itself is inherently problematic?
      As much as I want to be on the side of the marginal here (the marginal, of course, being the woman in comparison to the ironclad rule of Man in cinema's history), I think the reason I even have a hard time having a problem with these scenes is the following reason:
          1 - the scenes are highly aestheticized to the point where the artificiality is undeniable. it's this aestheticization that makes them interesting to me. a scene in which a woman gets burned alive is accomplished with an overlay--there is no attempt to mask this fact.
          2 - most of the scenes are shot from a medium angle, with very few lingering close-ups of the body. this, i think, arguably denies the fetishization of the body, instead favoring the aesthetic inference of the scene as a whole (which makes it less about objectifying & more about beauty).
I don't know. Is this all bullshit? Is this stuff I need to be thinking about? I like being accountable. I mean overall this movie is only so-so. Even Trintignant is looking kind of old & bloated. The cleverness of the post-meta narrative detective story is actually kind of dumb & not funny and reminds me of what I don't like about American post-modernism.

2470 - 05/06/2011 - The Poughkeepsie Tapes - John Erick Dowdle
      Check this out I'm writing my notes on a movie a mere 2 hours after I finished watching it. The is mostly unprecedented. Anyway. So, the guy who directed Devil directed this, and when I was looking him up I was like "oh hey I remember watching the trailer for that movie years ago it seemed vaguely interesting" and then of course I completely forgot about it but hey now it's available so I grabbed it and then today on my (very extended) lunch break, I watched it. & you know what? It was seriously about 100 times better than I was expecting. Devil, as I mention, was fine, but this is definitely creepy & evil, which are two things that I appreciate in a horror movie. Of course, because I am apparently an idiot masochist, I went to the IMDb and started reading reviews, and turns out every retarded horror fan in the world that's seen the movie thinks it has "TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE ACTING" or that it's "not scary at all" or whatever dumb fucking shit these testosterone-bursting seventeen year olds need to do god I fucking hate horror fanboys they are the reason most horror movies are insufferable they are also the reason that Tarantino & Roth have money which is clearly not a good thing. Anyways, sorry for that little diversion there. I think I'll talk about what works here, in list form, because that worked out well above.
      1 - the 'found vhs footage' is actually framed extensively within a 'documentary,' as opposed to the way the trailer seems to push the idea that this is something similar to August Underground. This is much more interesting than AU & its sequels. The AU movies are sort of interesting in concept, but let's face it, no matter how well you can pull-off special effects and how easy it is to act like a spazzy serial killer, that shit gets really boring unless you're actually a sadist. I need narrative, and the framing of this footage within a documentary serves to both fill in a narrative & thrusts a power upon the footage, due to the mythologizing of the serial killer.
      2 - the construction of what seems to amount to the 'uber-serial killer' here is really interesting. like, holy crap, this dude is like leaps and bounds above every other documented serial killer, to the point where he frames an ex-cop & gets the cop executed on death row? that shit is insane. it's also a really nice touch that the revelation that whoops the cop was innocent gets over shadowed by 9/11? in the construction of an apocryphal document, the filmmakers do a really good job.
      3 - the 'found footage' itself is actually rather brief & mostly obscured-- the audience is denied the pleasure of the 'snuff' gore, which means we can be terrified without having to be implicated as 'just as guilty,' which really ends up heightening the terror because it's more, let's say, pure, instead of tainted by complicity & guilt. the found footage is also aesthetically interesting-- like i understand that the idea is towards some sort of realism, like, "these tapes are fucked up, deal with it," but anybody who deals with video tape knows that even after 100s of rewatches, video doesn't degrade in the fashion that these tapes do. With something like 2400 hours of footage, there's no way the tapes had been degraded enough to achieve what amounts to a mostly consistent aesthetic. This is fine with me. Because I don't care about realism I don't care when these sort of freedoms are taken: in fact, I'd argue that this makes it more interesting, the aestheticization of the footage. It takes it further away from the banality of reality and further into the realm of the unreal, which is where our terror needs to develop
      4 - the most exciting & simultaneously 'creepy' moment in the film is also the, arguably, most abject, the most aestheticized, the most performative moment of 'found footage.' it leads to an idea that the footage is really more of a performance, 'art', than just a 'memento' as is often posited by the talking heads in the 'documentary' diegesis (and part of me questions whether or not the filmmakers recognized this element of their movie)-- it's a ridiculously creepy scene where a kidnapped woman's head is framed in the right third of the screen, her mouth taped shut, her eyes screaming in despair and terror, and the serial killer, on all fours, sort of shuffles through the room in the background, a mask on his head (literally the top of his head) which presents an angled visage that doesn't make sense, but a face that stares at the camera. the serial killer then arrives at his victim, rises to reveal his second mask (which is similar to a mask from Bergman's Hour of the Wolf), and he sticks two needles, attached to his fingers, into the woman's neck. Blood spills into the tape that covers her mouth, the tape ends.
      5 - the masks in this movie are awesome and creepy. They are not dumb and obvious. like, geez, thank fucking god somebody had some taste.
      6 - really? definitely the most, er, engaging serial killer movie i've seen in a while. possible the best/creepiest serial killer movie that's been made since Seven, which, whatever, the fetishistic attention to detail there makes me appreciate it's construction (the plea for empathy is annoying but doesn't affect how it works). really, this movie just manages to pull off a lot of things effectively that most independent horror movies fail at. the score is fantastic (it's also not dumb aggro nu-metal which certainly helps).

2471 - 05/09/2011 - The Door with Seven Locks - Alfred Vohrer
      There's a book called 100 European Horror Films that I bought like 4 years ago, proceeded to read about 20 or 30 pages of, and then promptly put the book back on the shelf and forgot about it (it was basically and the end of the first Esotika wave, at the point where I couldn't really deal with reading or writing about film, and I was rarely watching movies). Since I'm moving in a couple months, I've been trying to get rid of as much shit as possible. I sold the book. But, first, I made a list of all the titles in the book that I hadn't seen yet, because I figured it'd be a nice reference point for when I wanted to watch some euro-horror I hadn't seen before and couldn't think of anything off the top of my head.
      So I decided to watch this because A) Klaus Kinski is in it and basically the rule is if Klaus Kinski is in a movie the movie is going to be at least watchable and B) I'd never seen a German Krimi film before, which I guess is historically the predecessor to Giallo, or whatever. It's OK. Kinski dies in like the first ten minutes. The plot is vaguely interesting, but too early historically (i.e. before sleaze was really "in vogue") to be really interesting, I guess. It felt very Sherlock Holmesian, with the protagonist Inspector reacting very banally to death, simply looking for a clues, pulling a big reveal at the end.
      The one really awesome part is that there's a man in a monkey costume for like... no reason, and for like a really brief period of time, which is pretty exciting? I don't know it was kind of funny at least.

2472 - 05/10/2011 - Conceptual Paradise - Stefan Romer
      The last year has lead to me having a realization that conceptual art, land art, and arte povera are basically the 3 realms of art that I maintain a heavy interest in. There are exceptions, but mostly the roots of what interest me in art come from these three 'movements' or 'groups' or whatever you want to call them. But the point is that this was fun to watch and I got to actually see some of these artists and listen to them speak and learn how to pronounce their names, hah. It's a pretty good documentary, and it even briefly addresses the ideas of modernism/conceptualisms in the non-Western world.

2473 - 05/18/2011 - Beyond the Door - Ovidio Assonitis
      The first hour of this is completely amazing. There's an exchange between precocious daughter, father, and son near the beginning that might be the best 45 seconds of dialog ever committed to celluloid. I will rip the scene and upload it to YouTube or something soon, it's so totally worth it. The last hour of this totally lags (this movie is also like... 3 times longer than it needs to be for some reason), and is where the Exorcist ripoff scenes occur, but eventually, near the end, things get better again as it gets batshit crazy and there is a scene in which the female protagonist is simultaneously possessed by satan & pregnant with satan in baby form, and she's floating in the air, while a man, who is actually dead, thus a ghost, is instructed, in his own voice, via the floating satan/satan's mother to deliver the baby by 'reaching inside of' the woman, and then she gives birth to a dead baby with no mouth and mourns by donning black and going out on a yacht. The end.

2474 - 05/21/2011 - A Nightmare on Elm Street - Samuel Bayer
      I "live tweeted" my experience watching this, so I guess i'll just put that shit here. Also, everybody in this movie is ugly or bland or both, what the hell.

i am watching the 2010 NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET should i live tweet it // heterosexual college males in contemporary horror films are ALWAYS macho controlling assholes and it's REALLY ANNOYING // the freddy makeup in this movie is weird. like, it seems to be aiming more for 'realism' or something, but really kind of looks hilarious. // like, honestly, there are more macho douchebags in horror movies than like any other genre ever & it's SO annoying // boy, they sure spell out what the conflict is here. "I CAN'T GO TO SLEEP OR I'LL DIE!" thanks we get that // new freddy voice is definitely retarded though, and (so far at least) it seems like a lot of the creativity of dreamland is gone. // seems like we might be replacing 'sins of the father' with some sort of 'childhood trauma', seems weird, victimizing maybe? // oh jesus they literalize the "1-2 Freddy's coming for you" song into pre-demon Freddy Krueger playing hide & seek with children? // hahahahaha holy shit. "THIS IS FOR MY SOOONNNNNN!" (throws flaming gasoline can into building) // the dialogue in this movie is ridiculously blunt. "un-nuanced" perhaps is the better word. it's just like, so incredibly obvious? // the things they're taking from other NoES movies and recontextualizing into the new plot is weird. // like i normally don't give a shit about things like dialogue, but jeez this is poor. // the thing i've always found interesting about the NoES movies (and i've seen all of them a million times) is that they never even attempt to // sort of demonstrate to the adults that don't believe them what's going on. seems like it wouldn't be that hard, really? // the potentiality that freddy krueger was not actually an evil bastard son of a million perverts & criminals, etc is kind of weird. // or i mean, maybe he still is, guess i'll find out in the next 20 minutes. i like the idea of him being innocent though. // oh look stack of pedo polaroids // and now MELODRAMA and SENTIMENTALITY jeez // what is this telescoping blur shit thing wtf // they literally use a heartbeat as the building for a jump-scare and then fail to execute it in any sort of successful manner. // hallway of blood is neat, but lacks the intense strangeness of quicksand stairs in the original // wait, seriously, you are going to burn freddy krueger again, that seems fucked, seems like OH HEY THAT DIDN'T WORK THE FIRST TIME EITHER // well the movie is over. ultimately that was pretty dumb.

2475 - 05/22/2011 - The Cave - Bruce Hunt [rewatch]
      I like movies that take place in caves, and, honestly, from what I remember this is a lot more fun to watch than The Descent, which I think is also actually completely retarded but in a totally different way than this. This is more fun + features hot manly nature dudes. Creatures are probably not as awesome, but there is less bickering and more bad-ass shit. Is this an entire subgenre that I've somehow not explored? Or are the only movies of the subgenre this & The Descent?

2475 - 05/23/2011 - Special Effects - Larry Cohen
      Zoe Lund is kind of amazing in this movie, because she somehow is so good at not being herself that she manages to actually act like she's a terrible actor because it fits the diegesis of the film, and then she plays another character who is an actress playing the first character she played and it's really hella meta. Also the sleazy director is like basically kind of an avatar for Jamie Gillis it seems like to me, and his apartment is mega lovely. Larry Cohen movies are pretty cool.

2476 - 05/25/2011 - Colour from the Dark - Ivan Zuccon
      Kind of completely didn't care what was happening, but the Italian father dude was way hot in a really weird way mostly because he had giant arms, and there were some kind of gross things that were fairly effectively pulled of? The tone to this reminded me a bit of the tone of the films of Dante Tomaselli (whatever happened to him?), but not quite as interesting/insane. There are some dream sequences that are interesting, but there's a bit too much... I don't know how to articulate it. Like, it kind of seems like the actors are trying to hard, or something. It's ok though. I am vaguely interested in seeing more Zuccon films, mostly so I can continue to objectify the hot Italian dude who I guess is in all his movies.

2477 - 05/25/2011 - Taxi Driver - Martin Scorsese
      I finally got around to watching this, mostly because I saw a production photo that made me realize just how dang hot Bobby De Niro is in this movie (especially when one considers that he is not even remotely attractive now). But, in this, in terms of younger dudes, he is totally 100% my type, derpy and everything. Also I love Jodie Foster so why hadn't I seen this? I don't know. The film is kind of really beautiful, the grime of the film itself immediately had me really excited, and I'd hate to use the word "gritty" but there's a real texture to this film that contemporary cinema completely lacks. The narrative itself is somewhat, hrm, naive I guess, I'm not sure if that's exactly what I mean. I mean it's kind of simplistic. Moral ambiguity is nice, but there seems to be far more weight placed on it in here than is necessary. Still really good though. I think I might just really like Paul Schrader as a script-writer, 'cos I really liked American Gigolo too. I should see the DePalma film he scripted.

2478 - 05/25/2011 - Paranormal Activity 2 - Tod Williams
      [notes towards a larger essay: the movie as an interactive experience, not within the film itself, but the 'multi-media' experience of the film; PA1 + 3x "alternate" endings, only one of them compatible with the continuing narrative found here- the choose your own adventure without any forethought.] I thought this worked a lot better than the first one, and I'm always interested in 'sequels' that sort of intertextually link with what they're following instead of like specifically carrying on with a narrative thread or whatever. Also the characters are less obnoxious here. The ending is also a lot better, and really interesting, possibly still because of the intertextual nature, but more-so because, what, like 6 months pass between the climax and the actual ending? That's awesome. Nicolas Rombes also wrote an article about how PA2 can be read as an experimental film which is actually what lead to me renting the film in the first place:
      I think he's right, to a degree, in the sense that techniques from the avant-garde are adopted to a narrative end which, as I have pointed out in fuller reviews/articles before, is something I fully support.

APRIL 2011

2457 - 04/02/2011 - The Frightened Woman - Piero Schivazappa [rewatch]
     Weird chain of events lead to me rewatching this (randomly thinking of a Niki de Saint-Phalle artwork but forgetting her name, figuring out her name, looking her up online, realizing she made the sculpture that plays a part in this movie, thinking of this movie). Anyway, I thought I had sold this, but turns out I hadn't! Which was exciting because it turns out this movie is actually completely awesome. The most awesome part of this are the interiors, I swear to god some of them were directly inspired by arte povera, which is another thing I am completely obsessed with at the moment, but who knows. This is maybe ideologically simple/misguided, but it's pretty neat anyway, and really just aesthetically beautiful.

2458 - 04/02/2011 - Mean Girls 2 - Melanie Mayron
     I wasn't actually planning on watching this, but my roommate had it on and I ended up sitting down and watching the whole thing. It's dumb, nothing like the original, but still a lot of fun in a totally different way. It's really hard for me not to enjoy a teen comedy though.

2459 - 04/??/2011 - India Song - Marguerite Duras
     I may have actually watched this in April but I forgot to write down the exact date. I had been meaning to watch this for a long time based on three factors: 1) major film by Marguerite Duras, 2) Delphine Seyrig, & 3) stills & soundtrack. It's also often referred to as an exceedingly pretentious film, and in general I kind of love things that are described in that fashion. But, like most things that I convince myself I need to see immediately, I actually held on to this for like 2 or 3 years before watching it (welcome to my world). But it's good.
     I mean, it's not fantastic, but it's good. The dialogue that populates the film is like, combinatorily non-diegetic & some weird sort of diegetic sound in which the dialogue does fit what's happening on screen, to an extent, but the minimal number of actors, their lips don't move, they don't actually speak. The actors and actresses move like ghosts, floating through the tableaux of a lovely colonial hotel (it is so embarrassing how aesthetically awesome I find colonial narratives). There are only, I think, 6 people who ever appear on screen, and all the scenes are shot in I think something like 2 different rooms and along a fence. The dialogue circles around a narrative that may or may not involve the people we see. There's a part in the middle where a man who works for the embassy is in love with Delphine Seyrig and he tells her he will express this love by running into the night and screaming, and he does, and it lasts all night long, and the actors and actresses are so detached that it's way affecting and definitely the best part. The soundtrack is also really really great. Thinking about it now, it's actually a pretty great movie. It's also not even half as boring as I expected it to be, considering that the only things that happen happen in dialogue, but everybody is beautiful and it's so artificial that it's lovely.

2460 - 04/11/2011 - Killer Snakes - Chih-Hung Kuei
     Hong Kong exploitation. I watched the English dub because, for the first time in my life, having 2 computer monitors, I've realized that I can MULTI-TASK while watching movies--I did some layout work and shit while I was watching this, is the point, so subtitles would have been too distracting. Any way, did you know I like snakes? I like snakes a lot. Part of why I like them is because they are inherently repulsive and evil looking and moving, but they're awesome and I love looking at pictures of them and watching them move and playing with them when I can in real life. If I am ever rich and live somewhere more or less 'permanently' I am going to have a giant collection of house plants, aquariums, and 'evil' pets like snakes and huge millipedes and scorpions. Shit is awesome.
     Anyway, the plot here is kind of hilarious and if I had been paying more attention it probably would have been frustrating, but it's pretty cute when this pussy pushover makes friends with this cobra and then the third time he's getting the shit kicked out of him & his money stolen (he's literally useless) his lil snake friend comes to kill his enemy & that's cool, and then the cobra tells all the other snakes that this dude is a cool dude and then suddenly he has an army of snakes at his disposal. Snake pits are awesome, large groups of snakes are pretty cool. Of course our protagonist is completely useless even with his snake army and makes pretty dumb decisions like killing the girl he's in love with after she gets raped because he's saving her from becoming a prostitute? And then at the end of the movie when the police are after him he puts all of his hundreds of snake friends in cardboard boxes and sets them on fire because he "doesn't want the police to get them?" This dude is the kind of making terrible decisions. Like wtf, I don't think snakes can be arrested lol. But then the burnt snakes get their revenge on the dumbass, so overall NO MORAL which is nice but man did I lol. This is good. There are also komodo dragons that come literally out of no where during a bondage scene.

2461 - 04/16/2011 - From Beyond - Stuart Gordon
     Holy crap people how have I not ever seen this before? This is seriously glorious & amazingly fun. And pretty weirdly sexy, and I think we all know how much I like uncomfortable sexy. It's also a pretty magickal illustration of what I would describe as a sort of abstracted & non-person oriented sexuality. Like, mind sex without being new age. Alien technology that is evil and simultaneous to our world. I think I should probably watch more Stuart Gordon movies because they're always awesome and kind of gross, and it's not CG which makes it gross in an awesome way because it's far more visceral. Like honestly I think that's the problem with CG--no matter how good the computer graphics are, it lacks the pure physicality of the artificially derived body-messes.

2462 - 04/17/2011 - Aerobicide - David A Prior
     Another watch taken from Placenta Ovarie's movie log. This is pretty glorious as well, and I had a fun time playing "spot the hot obviously gay dude from the 80s doing aerobics" every time there was an aerobics montage. Since the aerobics montages were used basically to move from one scene to another, there were a lot of chances. I took screenshots of the dude because he was a cutie & watching this movie sent me on a quest for more 80s porn which I satisfied. I am the best at the internet. The movie is kind of confusing maybe, like if you stop to think about it, but ultimately I think it's really inconsequential because it's awesome.

2463 - 04/23/2011 - La Belle Bete - Karim Hussain
     Despite being not all that into Subconscious Cruelty upon seeing it (if I remember correctly it falls prey to a lot of dumb "extreme!" tropes that seriously dampen any power the film would otherwise have, but I might need to give it another shot), I've maintained an interest in the films Hussain continues to make. I was actually more interested in watching Ascension, but I couldn't find the copy I downloaded, so I watched this instead. It's good.
     It's Canadian, but feels very European, very French or Austrian or something. It's also a really good exercise of minimalism applied to the uncanny. The somewhat omnipresent horse-headed figure pops up like a ghost, and is deeply affecting. I also like to give shout-outs when movies directly influence something I'm writing, which was the case here. This movie deserves closer scrutiny, perhaps, but it's a movie where things work well, so closer scrutiny might be redundant.

2464 - 04/24/2011 - Scream 4 - Wes Craven
     I haven't seen the first three of these in probably over a decade, nor had I even really thought about them for a long-ass time, but for some reason I got really excited when I found out they were making a fourth entry. In retrospect, the self-awareness/reflexivity of the early Scream movies was actually significantly more intelligent/less-annoying than the sort of hyper-post-modern reflexivity that has, basically, become at least somewhat of a norm in genre movies. Realizing this made me really curious as to how they'd approach a similar theme ten years after the idea was as fresh.
     I read a comment on facebook that said this was "really self-aware," and in response I, being the bitch that I am, commented "isn't that the point of the Scream franchise?," to which the OP responded, "well, this was more self-aware than the other three." I don't know if I agree with that. This is, perhaps, smarter than the other three, if only because the screenwriters have had a decade of the self-reflexive horror movie to look at & really figure out how it's working. Plus the even larger presence of media in our day to day life has played a specific role.
     So, really, I found this interesting in the way that, perhaps, Marshall McLuhan's writings are interesting. There's a direct address on the issue of fame, the ephemeral nature of said fame, the reality that to be famous you literally do not have to be talented at anything, and a teenager's expectations of said fame? What was shocking to me was that I had literally not considered that the killer(s) who ended up being the killer(s) would even potentially be the killer(s), but that's what ended up making it interesting, the direction that the ending takes.

2465 - 04/25/2011 - Insidious - James Wan
     The day after I saw Scream 4 I was already jonseing to see another horror movie in the theater, so I went to see this before it disappeared forever. Turns out, this was really enjoyable. Also ended up being far more pleasurable and interesting to me than Scream 4 was. Despite the fact that I can recognize that Scream 4 was both smart and intelligent, I found far more pleasure and engagement in Wan's "low-budget" horror film.
     The film itself clearly borrows somewhat recently established tropes from other genre films (probably the most direct influence being the narrative events of Paranoia Activity & the "going into someone else's dream" of Inception), but it's ok because it takes these tropes and takes them in new directions. As a 'haunted [house]' film, I found this really interesting. It still clearly is working within the genre, but it does so in really creative ways. I am also prone to preferring supernatural horror above all other horror, because that realm is where you have the most space to 'play,' so to speak. I mean, the supernatural elements here are arguably metaphysical/'possible,' but you know what i'm saying.
     There's also an insistence on the present of evil, and with my recent, well, obsession with the idea of a pure evil & what that even means, that was especially interesting. Also, the film looked good. The 'demon' himself actually manages to stay 'creepy' and only almost crosses over into the ridiculous when we're in his 'lair.'
     I found myself slightly disappointed by the fact the filmmakers neglected to do much in the creation of the netherworld, instead just relying mostly on concrete architecture, particularly the house where the problem initially occurred. It was a place in the narrative that really could have opened up to something far more abstract and fantastique. But overall this is still worth it, I think. Definitely one of the most 'original' & 'creative' theatrically released horror movies from the US I've seen in a long while.

2466 - 04/27/2011 - Necronomicon - Christophe Gans, Shusuke Kaneko & Brian Yuzna
     After getting off on From Beyond I felt like this was a natural next step. Anthology films has a propensity to be not very good, in my mind, and that was mostly the case here, but there are some pretty cool/gross special effects again. I liked the final story in the trilogy best, I think, due exclusively to the sort of fevered hellpit it existed in.

DECEMBER 2011 - MARCH 2011

2424 - 12/05/2010 - Night Train to Terror - John Carr et. al.
I watched this having seen, and loved, the weirdness that's inherent within Deathwish Club, one of the three movies that is on display here. There's actually interesting things to be found in all of the fragmented, embedded stories: John Philippe Law is fucking FINE AS HELL in the first segment, the Deathwish Club appropriation is a really interesting exercise in intertextuality (specifically in the permutable nature of narrative inside different contexts), and the third segment, the longest by far, has some pretty weird stop-motion animation going for it (which actually goes through the whole movie, but I think is most present here). The narrative that keeps everything together is superfluous, but the "band" and the dancing are amazing and ridiculous in pure 80s unnecessary excess.

2425 - 12/11/2010 - Night Tide - Curtis Harrington
The environment that the narrative here takes place within is really amazing to me. There's also a bit of weirdness present in the story,despite the fact that the film is, ultimately, restrained. Dennis Hopper was, oddly enough, kind of hunkier when he was younger too. Ultimately the intersection of actual supernatural events and paranoia is actually interesting here--due more to poor-scripting than anything intentional I think--instead of frustrating and half-assed psychoanalytical or whatever. Reminds me, for whatever reason, of Benazeraf, although they're totally different, of course.

2426 - 12/12/2010 - Blood From the Mummy's Tomb - Seth Holt
I always have a particular experience when I confront Hammer Horror filsm-- I like them, but they stay just so utterly British that I can't get overly excited about them. I do always prefer the 70s ones when things have gotten a bit more sleazier, but shit is still a bit repressed compared to the batshit insanity that was happening over the rest of Europe. Anyway, I like the connection between the artifacts and power here, and it was watchable at least.

2427 - 12/18/2010 - Venom - Piers Haggard
Holy crap this is fantastic: Klaus Kinski & hunky Ollie Reed together on screen with a mother-fucking killer snake while the duration of the movie mostly occurs in a single house! Those are like four of my favorite things. I really fucking loved this movie. It was completely awesome. Like, I really loved it. The pleasure I found in watching the film is divorced, possibly, from any of the expectations of the filmmaker himself and delegated more towards my own subjective response to these things, these things that I love, and how they magically come together. I think this would be a good film for me to use if I wanted to sort of specifically examine what I imagine is Durgnat's "film as feelings" thesis (of course I haven't read that book so I don't actually know what it is, i'm referring to it as how I imagine it, I don't know, subjective film experience or something).

2428 - 12/18/2010 - Ghost Ship - Steve Beck
For whatever reason I hadn't seen this before, despite my propensity to enjoy big-budget horror movies. I also really like boats a lot, so hey this is pretty sweet. I guess it sort of reminded me of the remake of The Haunting or whatever, but only in terms of the architecture/design, I suppose. After I watched this, talking to my roommates, I realized that around the time this came out was really the last time that the entity that is Hollywood was consistently producing horror movies that were more or less original ideas. Now it seems like they only come once in a blue moon, and it's basically guaranteed to become a franchise.

2429 - 12/19/2010 - A View to a Kill - John Glen
I like Bond movies a lot, but having only ever seen Connery & Brosnan & Craig as Bond, I decided to remedy that. This is lovely, perhaps because of how much I love Grace Jones, and Christopher Walken is a lot of fun (while Walken is perhaps typed as a "thing," I think he is one of the few actors who is very distinct who manages to still actually play characters rather than just playing himself i.e. Jack Nicholas, Bill Murry, etc.), and the set-pieces are great. I suppose examining the politics of Bond movies are always tricky, and I know I've read that perhaps the original author was conservative or whatever, but it's really easy to watch Bond movies without any thought given to politics whatsoever (as opposed to, say, The Dark Knight, which is clearly a neo-con wet-dream). I am not one of those "keep politics out of art" people at ALL obviously, but considering these are just basically easiest to read as simple entertainment, I actually like the absence here. Bond also seems to be the only way that I can "deal" with a direct representation of masculinity.

2430 - 12/19/2010 - Gwendoline - Just Jaeckin [rewatch]
I bought this & watched it right when it came out (and I think it was one of the first releases, if not the first release, from Severin) due to the fact that it's directed by Just Jaeckin, who of course is responsible for the ubiquitous Emmanuelle (which I of course still love). Initially I didn't think much of it, probably because I wanted more of the soft-focus lazy sensuality of Emmanuelle, instead of what this is, a very European "erotic adventure" movie. Rewatching it, it's totally fantastic. Brent Huff is like stupid fine in this, and the story itself is a lot of fun. The design in the Land of the Yik Yak is amazing, and my roommate noticed that at least some of the design was done by Francios Schuiten, the artist responsible for the Cités Obscures comic book, which I'm totally obsessed with (and it makes sense).

2431 - 12/20/2010 - The Beguiled - Don Siegel
(LJ user Danschank has been talling me to watch this for years, and his idea that I would love it is pretty accurate.) Despite my propensity to hate period pieces (if the period is basically anytime before the 20th century), it was OK here. Crazy ass manipulating Clint Eastwood is also mad hot, which is kind of the point I suppose. I guess there's some gravitas to the narrative conflict at hand, and the "explosion" vis a vis sexual repression is deftly handled (holy shit did I just use the expression 'deftly handled' ?), but probing psychology is not something that I'm particularly interested in in film, I guess, as I prefer to, basically, stay on the surface level of things (albeit in a weird and specific way). Siegel's subtle positing of Eastwood being the soldier from the north vs the 'innocent' 'evil' of the south is an interesting one in its own right.

2432 - 12/21/2010 - Eyes Wide Shut - Stanley Kubrick [rewatch]
I had fond memories of this being really fantastic, and really creepy, and really atmospheric & moody. Of course, I think the last time I saw it was like 2002 or something. There are some points of interest here, but mostly it's obnoxious. The dialogue, in particular, is just really fucking terrible, in the sense that Tom Cruise's character, no matter what somebody says to him, he just basically repeats it as a question. I'm not kidding, if you watch the movie being aware of that it seriously becomes completely god-damned ridiculous. So, basically, the magic sheen of the movie did not stand up to closer scrutiny, which is unfortunate. Ultimately it seems like Kubrick himself is slowly being demystified, or something, which seems weird. Though I can say I've seen 2001 a whole bunch without it losing anything (and I'm tempted to try to just ignore Nicholson's presence and watch The Shining for the recently of topic mirror symmetry or whatever).

2433 - 12/22/2010 - Down Side Up - Tony Hill
Short film that D-L posted on his livejournal that, really, is just completely lovely, cyclical experience of space, fully spatial experience via a camera. There's a nice rhythm to the scenes, the way they carry, their tempo.

2434 - 12/27/2010 - Ramona and Beezus - Elizabeth Allen
I watched this on a plane and it was like really hard to not cry because I was hella emotional at the time. I think this is pretty much exactly what you expect, which is something I am ok with because I spend too much time watching children's & teen movies.

2435 - 12/28/2010 - Stalker - Andrei Tarkovsky
The last time I had watched a Tarkovsky film I was still living with my parents, and while I enjoyed them, I barely had the attention span. I understood that his movies (Solaris and Mirror) were good, but basically I had to watch each of them in five minute chunks because they move so slowly. Now it's easier for me to sort of just bask in the aestheticism. Although I have to admit that this was a lot "talkier" than I expected, so perhaps (lol duh) my memory of Tarkovsky is tainted. I'd like to revisit Mirror and see more of his films. I liked the idea of this movie a lot, and I think the film itself mostly lived up to the idea I had of it.

2436 - 12/29/2010 - CNN Concatenated - Omar Fast
The total effect of this is a sort of really intense hypnosis; this is utterly engaging & funny & amazing. It's weird that video art carries the same sort of "action-packed" intensity that narrative films can, but somehow this does, purely out of technique.

2437 - 12/29/2010 - Prayer - Cliff Hengst
Hermetic & DIY, ultimately interesting if only out of the context D-L offered. The improvisation is what makes it interesting, I think, it makes me like the idea of it, it makes me want to fuck with my video cameras more.

2438 - 12/29/2010 - Sentry - D-L Alvarez
Poetic super8 meditation on a bridge. Visually interesting. Despite the fact I was sitting directly next to the artist when I watched it, I neglected to ask what it was actually about.

2439 - 12/31/2010 - Night Train to Terror - John Carr et. al. [rewatch]
Just as fun with other people as it is alone.

2440 - 01/01/2011 - Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors - Sergei Parajanov
The other other Parajanov film I'd seen before this was Ashik Kerab, and I don't think I really "got it," but whatever. This is lovely, like intensely beautiful, the narrative is there but in the background, what is important is how amazing everything looks. I want to watch this again, there were some images I want to steal. Really nice, thanks to D-L for showing me this.

2441 - 01/04/2011 - Zulawski on Zulawski - Jakub Skoczen
I am obsessed with Zulawski x 100 so it was really fun and easy for me to watch him talking about his movies for an hour. I really like how Zulawski, as a person, is really dismissive of anything he doesn't agree with, like, he doesn't give a shit about the way 95% of people make movies, and that is really really lovely, because it assures that he will continue making movies in his specific, and perfect, way.

2442 - 01/09/2011 - Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Thor Freudenthal
I read both of these books when I worked at Borders because hey why not they were there. Kind of fun. This movie is kind of insufferable, and by that I guess I mostly mean that it was just really really embarrassing, and at times hard to watch. But for whatever reason I watched the whole thing, who the fuck knows why.

2443 - 01/17/2011 - Vexation Island - Rodney Graham
I didn't remember what this was until I looked it up. I watched it on Ubu web, it's a video art piece that is ostensibly a loop, and it's kind of funny. Basically a man wakes up on an island confused, tries to shake a coconut down from a tree to eat it, the coconut falls on his head and knocks him out, repeat. It's entertaining, I guess. I don't know. Sometimes funny art pisses me off, sometimes I like it. I remember feeling pleasant about this when I watched it, so I guess I was in a good mood.

2444 - 01/17/2011 - Sisters - Douglas Buck
It's been too long since I've watched DePalma's Sisters to make any comparison, but from what I can remember this is pretty different? It departs, at points, at least. The ending is weird and maybe kind of dumb, but also kind of works? The dude who is in love with Chloe Sevigny is hot. There's a really weird tone to this whole thing that I enjoyed. Buck's films always feel slightly off, but off in a way that really permeates the tone, which I love of course. I like it when things are slightly off. It puts me on edge, which in an artificially induced situation is a feeling that I like.

2445 - 01/26/2011 - Omen IV: The Awakening - Jorge Montesi & Dominique Othenin-Girard [rewatch, sort of]
I say "sort of" here because I think I saw this on TV in like 7th grade and this was my first time rewatching it since thing-- I've perpetually had the scene where there are faith healers or whatever walking in a box of rattlesnakes in the back of my mind, so I figured I should actually rewatch it and see what the fuss was about. This is kind of glorious in its appeal to early 90s new-age tropisms, and while ultimately, being direct to video and made for TV, it lacks the intensity of the former 3 (all of which I like), it's got some weird aesthetic things going for it. The ending also reminded me of something else that I've watched recently. Blessed maybe?

2446 - 01/29/2011 - She Killed in Ecstasy - Jess Franco [rewatch]
Oh my god this is lovely. I enjoyed this significantly more upon this viewing than I did when I first saw it (it was, perhaps, one of the first five Franco films that I saw). It's somewhat frustrating to me that so many things I saw in the past I need to watch again. Maybe not, I mean, when it's stuff I enjoy I clearly don't mind re-watching it, but damn there are still a lot of movies I haven't seen that I want to see. Anyway, Soledad is lovely as hell here, the fucking apartment is like God, and the narrative itself is reductive and fun and god damn I love Franco.

2447 - 01/29/2011 - Party Girl - Daisy von Scherler Mayer [rewatch]
Fucking hilarious. I love watching this. One of my "comfort movies."

2448 - 01/29/2011 - Smiley Face - Gregg Araki
I pretty consistently enjoy Araki's movies, so despite the fact that I kind of hate stoner comedies and was a little "unsure" about this, I decided to watch it. It was hilarious, and while the narrative situation would have ultimately been frustrating to me (as I have said a million times before, I have a hard time dealing with the whole need to get somewhere and can't narrative trope). Also wtf I found myself kind of retardedly attracted to John Krasinski here for no apparent reason. Fun fun fun fun.

2449 - 01/30/2011 - Mindhunters - Renny Harlin [rewatch]
I LOVE RENNY HARLIN. His shit is fucking the best most stupid fun fucks ever. This is AWESOME. Because obviously SERIAL KILLER MOVIES RULES especially when they're constructed as ELABORATE PUZZLES/TRAPS. I don't know if I have anything legit to say about this other than HEY THIS RULES.

2450 - 02/12/2011 - Cipher in the Snow - produced by WETZEL O. WHITAKER KEITH J. ATKINSON
This is a weird 18 minute "educational" film about a kid that basically dies of loneliness. I got it from the library to appropriate images from it and use it in a project. I sort of watched it twice, tho the second time I was just taking photos and writing down lines of dialog. It's weird.

2451 - 03/03/2011 - Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors - Chuck Russell [rewatch]
One of my favorites from the series, Patricia Arquette is awesome, and there's some weird ass stuff that happens in this that I love. The "actress" chick getting killed by the TV pulling her "into" itself has always stuck with me (I sort of borrowed the image for a scene in my text Float, but it's not direct so I doubt any one noticed). I also enjoy how the mythology finally develops here. Fucking NoES series is basically my favorite horror franchise ever, because it's really weird and unique and "creative" as they say.

2452 - 03/04/2011 - Breath - Damien Hirst
Hirst's brief take on Beckett's play of the same name, it's kind of beautiful. Rotating garbage barge and a heaving breath.

2453 - 03/13/2011 - 99.9 - Agusti Villaronga [rewatch]
It's sort of unfortunate to me that the most interesting part of this is the back-story of the woman protagonist's gay ex-lover or whatever, because that back-story only gets about 15 minutes of screen time while the woman's investigation gets most (also: dude is way fucking hot). But, this did get me through a block I had with a text I was working on at the time, and actually filled in the holes I needed filled it. It's actually basically worth it for the dead-lover's story, which is really amazing and haunting and creepy and fucking mediated by VHS tapes while rules.

2454 - 03/17/2011 - Puppet Master 4 - Jeff Burr
The trailer for this popped up on a VHS tape of a movie I still haven't watched, and it made this look so fun that I took the VHS tape out and popped this in instead. This is ultimately really pointless & dumb (also it's still weird to me that the puppets in the Puppet Master franchise are all basically signifiers of EVIL yet they were basically "made for good"??? like wtf) & the puppets are the "good guys" here but there are kind of cool demon puppets & the plot is a mess & who really cares I basically still enjoyed it.

2455 - 03/27/2011 - Mamba - Mario Orfini
More of me watching something with the specific interest in catering to my own aesthetics: snakes + COMPLETELY FUCKING AMAZING HOME that the whole movie takes place inside of = me not actually caring what happens. This is awesome, and the apartment is seriously so dreamy.

2456 - 03/31/2011 - White People - OHO Group
Somewhat fragmented assortment of scenes of OHO Group member dressed in white and doing, I guess, performative things on camera. I don't get the point (not that there has to be a point), but it's fun to watch, and some nice looking things happened. I have a feeling that reading more about the OHO group would be helpful in facilitating my understanding of what's going on here.

(no subject)

hi livejournal. i haven't had a cigarette or a drink in ten days. here is a list of my favorite things.

  • drinking seltzer water (plain, with lime juice, or canned as pamplemousse la croix)
  • wandering the french lit section of university libraries and finding something new
  • hour plus bike rides in calm spring weather while listening to early 90s indie rock
  • laying in bed, reading, with sun pouring in my giant windows while sun ra plays on the stereo
  • when i'm writing & listening to black ambient & everything is just working
  • warm, overcast days where it's on the brink of storming all day but doesn't
  • house plants, house plants filling up my bedroom