Wednesday, July 18, 2012

added content: Tuesday's Overlooked Films And/Or Other A/V: the links

As always, thanks to all of today's contributors, of reviews and citations at the links below, and to you frequently, there will be a few more additions to this list as they become available today, and if I've overlooked your item, or someone else's, please feel free to let me know in comments. Thanks again.

Bill Crider: W. W. and the Dixie Dancekings [opening credits]

Brian Arnold: The Hat Squad; Muppet Camera Tests; "Everyday Hulk"

Chuck Esola: Surf II

Ed Gorman: ...and the Movie Morlocks: Body Double

Elizabeth Foxwell: Arthur Conan Doyle, 1927

Evan Lewis: the "Saddle Up Saturdays" tv westerns bloc on the Inspiration Channel

George Kelley: The Neil Simon Collection

Ian Covell: Battle of the Worlds

Iba Dawson: The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: The Green Hornet (1940 film serial)

Jack Seabrook: "The Glass Eye" (Alfred Hitchcock Presents:)

Jackie Kashian: Abraham Lincoln: Trailer Hunter

Jake Hinson: Mysterypod

James Reasoner: Beach Party

Jeff Flugel: Mirage (1965)

Jerry House: Celeste Holm and Cinderella (1965)

John Charles: The Deadly Sword; The Last Duel; The Shaolin Brothers

Juri Nummelin: Ridley Scott films

Kate Laity: Wise Blood

Marty McKee: Sh! The Octopus

Michael Shonk: Banyon (pilot for tv series; aka Banyon: Walk Up and Die)

Patti Abbott: Ruby in Paradise

Prashant Trikannad: The Beast (1988)

Randy Johnson: Dallas (1950 film)

Rod Lott: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

Ron Scheer: The Indian Fighter (1955)

Scott Cupp: Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars

Sergio Angelini: Hickey and Boggs

Stacia Jones: The Lodger (films of 1927; 1944)

Steve Lewis: No Man of Her Own; Sweet and Low-Down (1944)

Todd Mason: A L'Aventure (please see below)

Yvette Banek: Endeavour; Suspect (1987)

"Zybahn": Night Gallery, Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2

A L'Aventure is not an extraordinary film, but for a film attempting to shock the easily-shocked viewer, it's remarkably amiable; for a goofily manful film about women's sexual self-discovery (very much in, say, Henry Miller mode), it gains more credit on first viewing than it probably deserves by its openness to varieties of sexual experience and its support of its protagonist's attempts to get a truer sense of her own sexual desire and fulfillment. It's also a latter-day child of the New Wave of French cinema, alternating scenes of sexual tension and activity with relatively Platonic chats between Sadrine (Carole Brana) and a much older, anonymous philosophical seeker and retired physics teacher (Etienne Chicot)...he mostly keeps his physics facts straight, in the dialog by writer/director Jean-Claude Brisseau, though also suggests that reptiles have been on the Earth for 1-2 billion years, rather a bad estimate (bacteria, yes). However, more ridiculous as played out is the dependence of the film on the psychiatric uses of hypnosis, as Greg (Arnaud Binard) the young male med student or perhaps resident (if this is made clear, I missed it), for whom Sadrine leaves her closed-off husband, proves capable of hypnotizing Sadrine, a woman Sadrine knows, and a female friend and sex-buddy of that woman-friend at little more than the drop of a hat...and the sex-buddy friend, a lifestyle submissive married to a generous, wealthy male architect (you can see how Sundance Channel might've cheerfully thought to run this film in the midst of 50 Shades of Grey's current fad) soon engages with the other two women in a bit of a hypno-orgy, with Sadrine the first to shake off the trance...only to see that her new boyfriend is growing fascinated with the submissive, Mina (Nadia Chibani). Mina seems to have a psychic link with 14th Century nuns who famously explored forbidden levels of engagement with physical and spiritual ecstasy...this, and, it's suggested rather clearly, a bit of a sadistic streak in the hypnotist cause him to profess his Need to be with Mina instead of Sadrine...and Mina starts to have a bit of supernatural episode while Sadrine and Greg discuss their impending breakup.

This film is the most recent in a trilogy put together by Brisseau about women being helped along/pushed by the men in their lives to explore their sexual and philosophical limits, apparently, but I've yet to see either of the others, or any of his other films...this one was rather random catch on Sundance Channel, which seems to be picking up all the slack as this IFC Film is unlikely to run on the former Independent Film Channel, now (like its corporate cousin AMC) mostly devoted to series tv and rather more crowd-pleasing films interrupted by commercial breaks. While it's (as one of the two IMDb reviews notes) rather shallow but very prettily shot, its relatively healthy attitude toward sexual exploration (even as portrayed in very Hefner-friendly ways) tends to separate it from most of our "art-porn" or sexually-adventurous art films, where the characters are almost always in the grip of anomie or at least pervasive malaise, with their sex if anything at least illustrating if not furthering their misery...and this is as true of European, A/NZ and Asian films as it is of films from the Americas. This films steps away from that, at least to the extent that the sexuality here is at least indicative of much of the best of these characters' lives, of generosity of spirit when intimacy isn't quite present...thus, for example, the opposite of what goes on in the ridiculously overpraised films of Bertolucci, and something if not less fraught then less doomed than the sexual desire in the films of Paul Schrader nor even as tied up with misery as the sexual component usually is in even the least-damned of neo-noir situations (say, for example, the new couple at the center of Bound). The supernatural element, particularly as employed, also reminds me of how this film can be seen as the chirpy, largely comic alternative to the utterly tragic, literally deadly-serious film Martyrs, another film that (vastly more sure-footedly) brings a feminist, humanist critique to the kind of film which is almost by default particularly misogynist in its misanthropy.

So, not a great film, but a very prettily-shot qualified failure at worst, and with more to offer than similarly foolish but less ambitious or at least less generous films by the likes of, say, Brian DePalma or Oliver Stone.


Yvette said...

Todd, I'm up and running. My film is 'SUSPECT' with Cher and Dennis Quaid.
I wrote this last night but what with fine tuning and whatnot, I'm only posting it just now.

Todd Mason said...

Cool. Though ENDEAVOUR might be still more overlooked still...

K. A. Laity said...

I finally got Wise Blood up.

Todd Mason said...


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Cheers Todd, sounds really great - I've not seen anythign by Brisseau (and I'll have to let the De Palma bashing pass - us fans have to learn to abide) so somethign to look out for.


Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Sergio...and as long as THE BLACK DAHLIAs rather outnumber the almost good De Palma films (CARRIE and SISTERS, thanks in large part to their casts, are what come to mind at the moment) among his works, I'm afraid I will tend to be a detractor. Even a trifle such as FEMME FATALE tends to be well-cast, even I will admit.