Wednesday, July 6, 2011

a few more links: Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: 5 July

[7pm, 5 July:] Sorry about the delay; I was visiting family and the computer I would've used to post the links was in need of upgrade. [9am, 6 July: some new links added]

Bill Crider: The Bad and the Beautiful
Brian Arnold: Legends of the Superheroes
Dan Stumpf: Captive Wild Woman; Jungle Woman; Jungle Captive
Ed Gorman: The Seventh Victim
Evan Lewis: Punch Drunks
Iba Dawson: Devil in a Blue Dress
James Reasoner: Covington Cross
Jeff Meyerson: Man Push Cart; Chop Shop (see comments following post at the link)
Jerry House: The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)
Kate Laity: ReaderCon
Michael Shonk: T.H.E. Cat; Department S
Patti Abbott: Flirting
Pearce Duncan: eXistenZ
Randy Johnson: The Magnetic Monster; Red Planet Mars
Robert Napier: RPF and Other Abuses
Rod Lott: Jackie Chan's Crime Force
Ron Scheer: Rancho Notorious
"Rupert Pupkin": Going in Style, et al.
Samuel Wilson: La Rebelion de las Muertas aka Vengeance of the Zombies aka Walk of the Dead
Scott Cupp: Cronos (1993)
Steve Lewis: Good Girls Go to Paris
Tise Vahimagi: Prime-Time Suspects: Themes and Strands (Durbridge Cliffhangers)
Todd Mason: Blue Cha Cha (please see below)
Walter Albert: The Texan (1930)
Yvette Banek: Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror

related matters:
Barna Donovan: Conspiracy Films: A Tour of Dark Places in the American Conscious
Ed Gorman: John Carpenter
Ed South: Wet Hot American Summer; North Shore; The Jungle Book (1967)
George Kelley: John Sayles's novel Moment in the Sun
Paul Bishop: Paul Bishop, ABC-TV star
Poggiali/DeCirce: The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean
Stephen Gallagher: pitching...and catching?; Ray Harryhausen

Blue Cha Cha (2005, as Shen hai or "Deep Sea"), which can be seen here in streaming video as part of Link TV's Made in Taiwan series, is an elegant, well-shot, very sad film about a youngish, conventionally pretty woman named A Yu, released from prison at the beginning of the film, who arrives on the doorstep of her previously-released jailhouse friend Anne (or An-An), whom at first seems like she might be her mother (another character eventually assumes that Yu is Anne's sister). However, her first bit of advice to Yu is that the latter "lose" her prison-prescribed medication for compulsive, even psychotic, behavior. Anne runs a hostess bar, and after a day or so of Yu working the bar, Anne pimps Yu out on long-term assignment with one of her regulars; Yu seems rather ill-suited to the role of paid companion as she tends to bite the fingers of her john (the skin quotient of this film, fwiw, is about as little as that for US broadcast television, but the necessary points are made). The john "returns" her shortly thereafter, asking Anne to "take care" of her; Yu resents being treated like disposable goods, and slaps him and snatches his cell phone as he attempts to dismiss her and engage in business conversation; he tries to beat her, but Anne won't allow it, and throws him out. Anne gets her a job at an electronics factory, where Yu's supervisor takes a shine to her, even though she seems odd, to say the least; she asks if she can move in with him, and since he agrees, she tells Anne she's moving out and thus enrages Anne, who has warned Yu about taking men too seriously, while also seeming to find the younger woman more a burden than a friend. (Anne's stint in prison had been as a result of something her former lover had done, she says; we don't find out why Yu was incarcerated till very late in the film.) Yu notes repeatedly that she doesn't know how to flip the switch off inside herself, which will allow her to not act out; and Anne and the factory supervisor/boyfriend doggedly and with greater exasperation continue to deal with Yu, as she attempts to make her way in the world. There is a happier ending than much of what leads up to it, and none too soon, but this is worth seeing, as an interesting take on the treatment of mental illness in another culture, and how it isn't terribly different from how it's dealt with in this one, and also as a portrait of a woman trying her best to re-enter society and find a way to her own happiness and to help further that of those she cares about. Ex-MandoPop idol Tarcy Su (Yu), Yi-Ching Lu (Anne), and Wei Lee (as Hao/"Howard" the supervisor/boyfriend) are all very good, and the film is fully comparable to US indies...such as Paper Covers Rock, a not dissimilar effort I recommend, as well.


C. Margery Kempe said...

That sounds good indeed. I'd definitely check it out (in my abundant free time).

Todd Mason said...

If you have web access thus, check it out on a plane flight...