Sunday, September 29, 2013

Matt’s Week in Dork! (9/22/13-9/28/13)

    2013's awful crop of films has been turning my eyes toward the past.  I’m not someone who looks at film history through rose colored glasses.  I think there are great movies being made every day, and I think that terrible movies have been made since the first motion pictures.  But when you have a year like this… Anyway, I’m sort of hungry for some quality older movies.


I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang:  Paul Muni, who could be a stand in for Ronnie Reagan, returns home from the war with a desire to do something big.  He pursues his dreams only to have them dashed time and again, until he gets wrapped up in a robbery gone wrong and sentenced to the hell of chain-gang life.  It doesn’t take him long to high-tail it outta there, and that’s when things get complicated.  The movie is pretty good, and a nice time capsule of concerns of the day.  But it’s not all that great, honestly.  Muni is just barely able to hold the film together with his occasional forays into attempted emoting.  And to say its heavy handed in its moralizing would do heavy handed moralizers a disservice.  The whole thing is one big middle finger to the chain-gang system.

I am not Ronald Reagan.

Hammer of the Gods:  Lacking the interesting cast or visual penache of Centurion, this film is none the less mildly enjoyable for a roving across barbaric England film.  As each scene plays into the next, everything feels familiar, as though its running down a checklist of ‘and then they do X…and then they see Y…and then they fight B…and then C betrays them…’  Each scene might play out in a somewhat surprising way (well, a few do actually), but the list of scenes itself is fairly pat genre stuff.  And why is the hero an agent of reason?  A man in the 800s who is devoted to reason and sets himself against all forms of superstition needs a bit of character context that is not provided.  It took me longer than it should have to figure out which plot archetype they were using.  Which I guess is why our hero is who he is, but only because it serves the plot.  Once our hero is handing upside down in a cave being yammered at by a spastic old man, you’ll know what you’re watching, if you haven’t already figured it out.  The music is pretty awful.  The girl is very cute.  The film is meh.

Leave Her to Heaven:  In this classic potboiler, Gene Tierney plays a stunningly beautiful woman who seems to have everything she could possibly want.  But she’s absolutely ape-nuts crazy.  At first, our leading male seems to have it made when this gorgeous woman falls madly in love with him.  But, ‘mad’ is a key word, and things go very, very dark.  Very dark.  Tierney is good, switching from sweet to sexy to f’ing crazy and back again with such ease it’s scary.  It does serve as a warning.  If a woman says she’s attracted to you, and then says you remind her of her father, you need to get the hell out while the getting’s good.

    I grabbed the new CD from Oh Land.  I really enjoyed her first album, and this second effort is fine, though it didn’t wow me.  I think that’s a problem we have in our current music environment, where artists put out new works every couple of years instead of a couple times a year.  Each album needs to be awesome, because each album is so rare, and if it’s not great, you’ve got years to wait until the next.  A second listen has me warming up to some of the songs, so I’ll give it some time.  I really do wish my favorite bands and musicians put out more, so moderate or disappointing works can be easily forgiven and forgotten.

Fire Maidens of Outer Space:  Really, they’re Fire Maidens of Earth Originally, but More Recently of One of the Moons of Jupiter, but I guess that didn’t fit on the poster.  From the bad sound work to the …well…not especially attractive Fire Maidens, this movie has low budget gold stamped all over it.  Not one of the better entries in the “let’s take a rocket to the planet of love-hungry ladies” subgenre, but it’s not the worst.  Probably best watched with friends, as it could get dull if you’re by yourself.

Q: The Winged Serpent:  Wow.  It’s something.  It’s like an experimental film inspired by an episode of Kolchak the Night Stalker.  Michael Moriarty goes full Method, channeling some powerful Brando vibes (and I mean, On the Waterfront, what movie does he think he’s in, because it’s not the same one as the rest of the cast type Brando).  The dialog seems like it was made up on the spot.  And the final King Kong shoot-out is amazing.  Is Q a good movie?  No.  Is it even as consistent as The Stuff?  No.  But it is something, and it needs to be seen.

    On Saturday, I helped a friend on a shoot for a short film.  It was my first experience with this sort of thing (with the exception of my disastrous attempt at doing voice work for a political ad many years ago).  I had a lot of fun, and definitely want to give it another go one of these days.  Looking at the job from behind the scenes did give me a taste of the different positions and relationships, and how each brings his/her own set of concerns and goals.

    Seeing Leave Her to Heaven earlier this week, I’ve found a new classic movie actress to obsess over.  Gene Tierney took my breath away in that film, and I have to see more.  Queued up a bunch of her stuff on NetFlix.  Gonna finally catch some movies I’ve wanted to see for a while, and some that weren’t on my radar.


Friday, September 27, 2013

A Fistful of Criterion Wannabes! (Brad's Picks)

This has been an amazing September.  Because of Riddick, The Family, Prisoners, and Insidious Chapter 2?  Hell no!  This has been an abysmal month for the big screen, even more dull and drab than the summer sequel sludge.  My only hope for cinematic joy was my blu ray player, and my cannonball plunge into The Criterion Collection has been a resilient shot in the arm.  2013 has been a bummer year at the movies, but have no fear, there are decades & decades & decades & decades of great cinema to devour.  If you are looking for a gateway into Film History than there is no better place to start than with a Criterion disc.  And thanks to the good folks over at Janus Films I discovered the works of Akira Kurosawa, Powell & Pressburger, Jules Dassin, and Sam Fuller.  But I'd be lying if I told you I began obsessively collecting spine numbers because of the auteurs.  My Criterion addiction began, like most cinematic obsessions, with genre.  The Silence of the Lambs, Robocop, Hard Boiled.  Criterion might be most renown for their French New Wavers and Japanese Samurais, but The Collection certainly has its wild side.  See Seconds, Kiss Me Deadly, Repo Man, and The Game just to name a few.  They have it all.  And randomly snatching from their distribution list is a brilliant way to spend a September.

I'm often asked by those not-in-the-know, "What is a Criterion film?"  My simple go-to answer is that it's "A Classic Film Whether You Know It Or Not."  Snarky?  Sure.  But I've never regretted watching a Criterion Release.  Yes, not even Armageddon.  After you've worked your way through a myriad of special features and plowed through a couple of their essays, you will see the wonders of even the Michael Bayiest of Michael Bay Explosion Fests.  Of course, if you handed Criterion over to me, would I give Tiny Furniture the spine number privilege?  No.  I am a genre fanboy after all.  So forget rights issues, and blah, blah, blah excuses - here's what terror I would unleash upon the company...

5.  The Bad Lieutenant - Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog, 2009):  It is a downright crime that Herzog is not yet represented in The Collection.  The closest he comes is in the Fitzcaraldo documentary Burden of Dreams (Spine # 287), but close is not close enough.  Anchor Bay put out a really nice box set of the Kinski/Herzog collaborations several years back, but it is certainly time that Aguirre - Wrath of God is given the HD Special Edition treatment.  However, I'm going with the more recent Bad Lieutenant because it needs your attention.  Herzog nearly recaptures the glory of his classic efforts, and The Bad Lieutenant holds the last great performance from Nicolas Cage with a perfect example of his Mega Acting power.  His Detective Terrance is the scariest mixture of madness and intoxication since Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet.  Plus you've got dancing souls, lucky crack pipes, and invisible iguanas.  Mondo Posters has already produced some rather brilliant art for the film (see above), so just slap that sucker on the cover and we're good to go.

4.  A Boy And His Dog (L.Q. Jones, 1975):  Only months ago, Shout Factory released this weirdo picture on blu ray.  It's a great disc with a stunning transfer and a nifty conversation between director Jones & short story artist Harlan Ellison.  But I am not satisfied.  I want a Mr. Arkadin style box set here.  Give me the film, an isolated Ellison rant track, the original story, and some killer Richard Corben cover art.  And how about an in-depth documentary detailing A Boy And His Dog's watershed reinvention of the Post-Apocalypse genre with a confessional George Miller offering all of Mad Max's royalties to Ellison?  I'm sure the little tyrant would appreciate that.

3.  Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (J. Lee Thompson, 1972):  I love the Apes franchise.  A few weeks ago I dropped the original film on my Top 20 Films of All Time, but I could easily swap Part 1 for Part 4.  Conquest is an angry spit in the face of humanity.  Just watch (or read above) Caesar's climactic tirade against man, and witness cinema's greatest social exorcism.  Guys in monkey masks?  No way.  Roddy McDowell gives a towering performance behind the latex and false teeth.  The final twist of the first film might have had a fist pump of rage against the machine, but Conquest swings the hammer, smashing the idiocy of racism while understanding the pain of oppression.  This is the art of science-fiction.  Grab Devin Faraci for the essay & commentary track, and assemble Phantom City Creative for the art.

2.  The Gunfighter (Henry King, 1950):  I came very close to suggesting a Roger Corman School of Acting Box Set a la the BBS series, but made a last minute change preferring the film that launched the mega producer down his B Movie-blazing career.  It's a somber, low budget Western in which Gregory Peck's outlaw can't sip a drink in a saloon without quick drawing against some upstart punk.  Corman leant some words to the screenplay, but when he was never given the credit he fled the studio system to make his own movies.  The rest is exploitation history.  You want more reasons why this belongs in The Collection than read my cineAWESOME review from last year.

1.  Point Blank (John Boorman, 1967):  Here is a film I just can't shut up about.  You should already know that John Boorman's trippy nightmare adaptation of Richard Stark's novel The Hunter is my 7th Favorite Film of All Time.  The more time passes, the more I think about it.  Lee Marvin is a one-track thug.  He's double crossed by his wife and partner, but it's less about personal revenge and more about what he's owed.  The rage is certainly in the book, but Boorman brings some Kafkan blunt force trauma with him.  Inevitability.  Futility.  Frustration.  A real beast.  Steven Soderbergh & Boorman did a commentary track for a Warner Brothers disc a few years back, so just port that over to the Criterion.  But let's add a really swell remembrance of Donald Westlake aka Richard Stark, and throw in a Darwyn Cooke mini-comic for fun.  The Midnight Marauder poster above should definitely be used for the cover.

Pssst!  Darwyn Cooke's Slayground Adaptation is Coming Soon!


A Fistful of Criterion Wannabes! (Matt’s Picks)

    This week, we here at In the Mouth of Dorkness are putting together wish lists.  These are the movies we want the special edition maestros of the Criterion Collection to get their film-loving little hands on; a few movies that might not be on their radar.  A year ago, Seconds would have appeared on this list, but it just got the Criterion treatment, so its spot opens to something else.  And Things to Come?  Amazing.  With the Zatoichi films coming, I would love to see the entire classic run of Godzilla get a serious box-set.  In the meantime, here are some films that beg (I can hear 'em) for Criterion DVDs.

5.  The Fountain:  This is one of my favorite films, and the DVD has almost no special features.  The Blu is only slightly better.  What’s the story with the aborted version?  What about the graphic novel?  How about those special effects?  I want more than a few featurettes.  I want some serious stuff.  Commentary, documentary, motion comics even.  No less than 2 disks.  Bring it on.

4.  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari:  This silent film is such a mindblowingly strange film it pretty much created the career (remember his early years were good) of Tim Burton.  It’s freaky, surreal, fanciful, and filled with enough visual flare for a dozen movies.  I would love to see a collection of directors talking about the film’s influence on their work.  A documentary about the film, or the filmmakers would be welcome as well.  And how complete is it?  How cleaned up can it be?  How about a biography on actor Conrad Veidt?  What little I know about that guy seems flippin’ fascinating.

3.  The Warriors:  This is a true Urban Fantasy film.  After the assassination of the new Gang Messiah, one gang must make an Odyssey-like quest across the hostile world of the City.  Facing various other gangs, the siren song of women, inner demons, and dangers untold, Swan and his people learn what’s really important.  The Warriors is a movie like no other, a strange journey into idealized gangs.  Along with Walter Hill’s other masterpiece Streets of Fire (which should also get the Criterion treatment), it helps to establish a certain mysterious and wonderful early 80s cinematic language.

2.  Lost Highway:  No love for Lynch from Criterion?  Lost Highway is the ultimate expression of what I love about David Lynch’s films.  The characters, the look, the odd dialog, the perplexing plot progression.  It’s all so wrong it’s right.  It may not be the most pure Lynch film (probably Inland Empire), but it’s perfect to me.  And, as usual, the DVD release was bare bones.  How about a nice two disk set, with Pretty as a Picture, the excellent documentary, conversations with the director and actors, and maybe even excerpts from the book Lynch on Lynch.  Short films, commercials, music.  Barry Gifford doing readings from Night People.  There’s so much that could accompany the movie, and give it more context.

1.  Speed Racer:  Opinions are, by their nature, subjective.  But your negative opinion of this film is wrong.  An amazing Kung Fu film of the highest order, blasted into your third eye with a Technicolor lightening bolt.  It’s not about racing, it’s about excellence.  It’s about the ultimate enlightenment.  It is about Kung Fu.  Like the great masters of the Martial Arts films, when Speed finally transcends, achieving Nirvana, he shapes the world not according to physics, but according to will.  He acts as one with the universe.  Add to that, and the candy-colored futropolis, a great story about family and love, and you've got something special.  Yet, the film did not connect with John Q. Lunchbox.  And I would argue that the reason may be more simple than many would think.  Speed Racer is an Art Film.  It has the trappings of a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, but at its Zen center, it is a spiritual journey through perception and self-knowledge.  It may not be in black & white.  They may not speak French.  And it may not end in ‘fin.’  But Speed Racer is an art film.

    Sure, I could’a picked some Hong Kong melodramas about Gong Li looking sad (I do love those), or something depressing from France.  But not all art has to be about depression.  And some movies can leave you feeling pretty good…and that’s OK.  No.  It’s better than OK.  It’s pretty great.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Dork Art: Scott C's Big Rock Candy Mountain

Well, you have already missed your opportunity to purchase this nifty Scott C print from the Breaking Bad store, but if you hop on over to ebay then you can still get yours for $275.  Sigh.  Made in partnership with Gallery 1988, the print measures 16 x 20, originally cost $70, and is limited to 300 copies.  Like most pop culture phenomenons, I am late to the party with the hit AMC show, but over the last two weeks I've plowed through the first four seasons and will probably be all caught up when the final episode airs in six days.  Is it the greatest tv show that's ever existed?  I'm not ready to make such claims.  It's certainly addictive, and mean as all hell, but my Top TV Shows are still The Wire & Deadwood.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Fistful of Double Features! (Brad's Picks)

I love pairing movies.  Grab Eyes Wide Shut off the shelf and double it with Days of Thunder and see what happens.  Or how about Conquest of the Planet of the Apes with Hell Up In Harlem?  I try a lot of weird Double Features here at the apartment, and I love subjecting my wife & friends to the most gonzo of combos.  Listed below are a few of my favorite mixtures, and a couple I'm dying to try out.


5.  The Raid/Dredd:  Two films in which a supreme badass kills his way to the top of a drug cartel's diabolical bunker high-rise.  Perfect examples of thrilling ultraviolence that should not be pitted against each other, but partnered like the exploitation beauties they truly are.

4.  Night of the Creeps/Halloween III:  Who's the go-to action hero of the 1980s?  Schwarzenegger?  Stallone?  Yeah, probably one of those guys.  But who's the go-to action hero of 1980s horror films?  Kurt Russell?  Bruce Campbell?  Yeah, probably them.  But standing right over their shoulders is Tom Atkins.  He never got the fame or the fortune, but this mustached madman did confounded rage like no other.  Whether rising to the challenge of "Thrill Me" in Night of the Creeps or screaming "Turn It Off" to a bunch of kiddie hating druids in Halloween III, Tom Atkins ruled the VHS tapes if not the big screen.  I dare you to watch these wildly weird B Movies back-to-back and not come away a fan for life.

3.  Point Blank/The Limey:  Viewed on their own, Point Blank & The Limey are exceptional examples of crime cinema.  But if you watch The Limey immediately after Point Blank then you will discover a great love letter to the movies.  Having already dabbled with John Boorman's dialog/image layering in Out of Sight, Steven Soderbergh goes for broke replicating both the dreamy quality of Point Blank as well as the rage motivating his professional thief.  The fine details might be different, trade a chunk of cash for a dead daughter, but The Limey is practically a remake of the Boorman beast.  A bloody brilliant one.

2.  Dirty Harry/Zodiac:  The San Francisco Zodiac Murders grabbed all the sensational headlines of the late 60s/early 70s.  The killer was never apprehended, but the mystery spawned dozens of What If TV movies & True Crime novels.  The most famous spawn being Clint Eastwood's constitution smasher, Dirty Harry.  When bureaucracy and political red tape get in the way, Detective Harry Callahan is there to put his boot on the perp's knee and beat a confession out of him.  A frustrated public response to indiscernible crime perpetuated by media fear mongers.  Decades later, wannabe sleuth Robert Graysmith would write two books detailing the backwards insanity of the Zodiac investigation, and David Fincher's cinematic adaptation actually incorporates the Dirty Harry premiere as a means of punctuating the passage of time.  I have yet to commit this double feature, but I think Dirty Harry could provide some fantastic catharsis after suffering the procedural frustration of Zodiac.

1.  After Hours/Into The Night:  Both of these films are at once absolutely hilarious and deeply depressing in their assault upon their protagonists.  Ever have one of those nights where nothing goes right?  No you haven't.  You might think you have, but after you sit yourself down for these two brutally funny films from Martin Scorsese & John Landis then you'll have a brand new appreciation for your dull, pedestrian life.  Griffin Dunne's nightmare is a little more ordinary than Jeff Goldblum's (certainly fewer David Bowie assassins in After Hours), but both flicks are masterful in their ratcheting of tension. The only release at your disposal is laughter - of the schadenfreude variety.   If you sympathize too much you'll probably go mad after this double feature.


Matt’s Week in Dork! (9/15/13-9/21/13)

I'm no flat tire. How 'bout a Gin Rickey?

    Trying to fit some reading and some writing in, but mostly just working and recovering from working.  Got a little cycling in.  Otherwise, mostly just stared at my walls.

Riddick:  “It matches your nipples.”  This movie is not horrible, and that’s about all I wanted from it.  I really enjoyed Pitch Black, and while I kinda enjoy Chronicles of Riddick, it never quite worked for me, seeing how it seems to take place in a totally different style of science fiction universe.  This third film feels more like Pitch Black in style, though it holds over some elements of the more fanciful Chronicles.  It starts as a Robinson Crusoe story, with Riddick left for dead on a hostile world, learning to live and thrive in the environment.  This is the best part of the movie, and I was a little sad to see him push the button that would summon more characters and shift the tone.  From that point on, it began to smell more and more of Pitch Black rehash, though it still wasn’t bad.  The dialog is frequently awkward (though nothing tops ‘you keep what you kill’ and a dozen other idiocies from Chronicles’ Necromongers).  As a science fiction movie?  This is pretty crappy.  As a fun, silly adventure film in space, this is exactly what I was looking for.  Again, if movies like this, After Earth, Oblivion, etc. were just more common, I’d be a bit harsher on them.  But as it is, big-idea, out there science fiction is still all too rare.

Beyond the Rocks:  I’m always happy to hear about movies thought lost that are rediscovered and recovered.  But, while the fact of its recovery is good, the movie itself is so-so.  A fairly bland romantic film with little to make it stand out.  Apparently, putting two big names in one feature (here, Valentino and Gloria Swanson) was unusual.  Sadly, neither seems to be especially energetic or interesting.  I’m assuming Valentino is better elsewhere, because as far as silent actors go, he did not impress in this film, and I know ladies went nuts for him once upon a time.

The Delicious Little Devil:  Not much to this short film.  It’s mildly amusing.  But it’s also pretty darned forgettable.

The Bad and the Beautiful:  Kirk Douglas’s eyes should be registered as deadly weapons.  The man can hate-stare so intently it makes women pregnant and men into women (who subsequently discover they are pregnant).  The rest of the cast is quite good.  I especially like Walter Pidgeon and Barry Sullivan (who was also awesome in the recently viewed Tension).  But it’s Douglas’s movie, and he’s a mad genius who takes no guff.  Hollywood is skewered from the inside by this expose sort of movie.  But it makes all the dirty backstage dealings seem sort of charming and exciting, anyway.  Gloria Grahame shows up briefly (somehow earning an Oscar for the part, which isn't much more than a glorified cameo) as a conniving, luxury hungry wife, and she’s quite good.

    Friday night, we all gathered at Robert’s place for a Barbeque and graphic novel club meeting.  We discussed Astonishing X-Men volumes revolving around the marriage of Northstar and his idiot boyfriend Kyle.  I was unable to read the whole assigned work for various reasons.  But as far as I made it, it was bloody awful.  I have come to hate the X-Men (and the Avengers right along side).  Just dreadful writing and awful characters.  Enough of this status quo maintaining mandated garbage.

Looks like Kyle read this garbage.

Valley of the Dragons:  I had never heard of this particular adaptation of a Jules Verne story, and I guess I can understand why.  It’s not especially interesting.  Still, I do love lost world stories.  And a lost world that is also on the Moon?  Cool.  Two big problems present themselves, however.  I don’t like when real animals are used as ‘dinosaurs.’  Partly, because they look terrible.  But mostly because I don’t like that so often it is clear that the animal was being mistreated to get the shot right.  No, I don’t think lizards have a great deal of mental capacity, nor are the self aware.  But needlessly causing pain to an animal, even to reptiles or insects seems barbaric and lacing in a degree of class.  The second problem is Rodan.  Yes, Rodan.  The giant kaiju from Japan seems to be flying around this moonscape.  I guess they had access to the footage and thought nobody would notice?  But I noticed.  Getting past that, the story of two rivals forced to work together on a hostile world is pretty good, and their adventures with the local population are nice.  The Neanderthals and whatever the heck the albino things were (Morlocks?) are especially disgusting.  Worth a watch if you’re into this sort of film, but not one to expend a great deal of effort tracking down.

    Saturday found me feeling pretty crappy, my weeks of not sleeping and stress finally catching up with me.  Some kind of cold or something.  Oh, boy.  I started going through my various con acquisitions and other sundry things that have been piling up of late.  In doing so, I read through three comics I got from local artist/writer Andy K.  Mind Games is a pretty gross little horror short.  The Secret Origin of John Elway is nuts.  And Neon Super Gladiator has a cool feel.  His stuff reminds me of something that might have been on Liquid Television back in the 90s.  Weird and uncomfortable.  I also read Jennifer Hachigian’s Pocket Editor Two, which she gave me because she liked my shirt (“Arthur Turing Fought Nazis With Science”).  It plays on that old video game thing with “All your base are belong to us” but manages to correct the grammar.  I flipped through super-nice guy Alex Fine’s Il Brutto, which re-imagines various movie characters as played by Charles Bronson.  And lastly, I looked through Sam Wolk’s Alpha Beasts and Alpha Bots, two collections of 26 drawings, each based on a letter (T is for Twiki, J is for Jersey Devil, etc.).  Quite cool.  I still have more stuff to get to, and some prints to frame.

    When I got home Friday night, I had a package waiting for me.  I keep forgetting that I’m a patron of the arts.  My old high school chum Serena Andrews is a musician and artist, and has a project she’s working on that involves a tour and a book.  I got some perks for my donation to the project, including a CD of music by Serena, which I listened to on Saturday afternoon.  Buried somewhere in the attic of my mother’s house is a cassette of Serena's music she put out back in the mid 90s.  I always liked her stuff, and still do.  It has a Tori Amos/Regina Spektor kind of thing going, with a bit of Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson.  All good in my book.

    And late Saturday night I picked up and finished the very short, but fun book Bright Young Things by Alison Maloney.  It’s a hand book for Roaring 20s living, with phrases, cocktails, party plans, and fashion, mixed with historic notes and cultural gossip of the time.  The book doesn’t go into a great deal of depth, but I think it would be a handy guide to have while reading fiction of the time (like The Great Gatsby), or history texts (like Flapper), or for those inclined, playing period roleplaying games (like Call of Cthulhu).  If you're looking for a sweet biscuit for barney-making, and you need to know if the bank's closed, this book ain't banana oil.  It's the elephant's instep, see.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Fistful of Double Features! (Matt’s Picks)

    Brad and I have been talking a lot lately about our favorite films, classics, and various elements of the movies and why we love them.  This may be in part because of the lackluster year 2013 has been, I’m not sure.  Not that it takes much to make us talk about this subject, anyway.  So, after expanding our favorite films list last week, this week we’re looking at movie pairings; movies that are especially good to watch together.  Not just sequels, like Crank & Crank 2 or Alien & Aliens.  But films that go together like peanut butter & chocolate, cheese & crackers, or Kool & the Gang.

5.  An American Werewolf in London & Cat People:  Two movies about doomed love and the beast within.  In both films, an innocent is cursed with an inner monster that must come out.  Both are about love & sex, and romance against the odds.  Both are interesting in their use eroticism; An American Werewolf is playful and cute, while Cat People is deeply intense and kinky.

4.  Apocalypto & The Fountain:  Both films are about going the extra mile for love, about risking everything to save that special someone.  And both feature Mayans as a central element, not a common thing in film.  When I watched Apocalypto with a friend a few years back, part way through the movie, I realized we had to follow it up with The Fountain, and they worked very well as a pair.

3.  The Omega Man & Soylent Green:  Two profoundly 70s Charlton Heston visions of unpleasant futures, these two movies have been linked in my mind for a long time.  I guess part of it is that I’ve frequently shown them together at HestFest celebrations.  Yet, each movie has its own strengths, and somehow they work well as a pair; one about a world where everyone is gone, and the other a world where there are too many people.

2.  Double Indemnity & Lost Highway:  Double Indemnity is one of the nastiest, ugliest movies lumped into the Film Noir genre, with two extremely unlikable characters doing some awful villainy.  And it’s obvious that David Lynch’s work has always been steeped in the Noir aesthetic, but nowhere is it more obvious than in Lost Highway.  Even the whole look of Renee/Alice harkens back to Barbara Stanwyck, a woman too fake to be attractive, but somehow sexually galvanizing, able to lure a sucker into the most vile of evils.

1.  The Rocketeer & Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow:  Two extremely fun homage films deeply rooted in the classic era of movie serials and early comic books.  Neither of the films can be watched while harboring an ounce of cynicism.  From battles atop zeppelins to mad science, these two movies cover a lot of pulp bases.  The Rocketeer might also be paired with The Shadow (1994), The Phantom (1996), or Dick Tracy (1990).  And Sky Captain would work well with Lost Horizon (1937) or King Kong (1933).


Oh, the Internet.