• Form Phases IV

    Form Phases IV

    ★★★

    Basically the same thing Walter Ruttmann was doing in his Opus series in the early 1920s, but it's a little more sophisticated in execution. It's easy to forget that -- primitive though it is by today's standards -- the goal of movies like this was to create and explore new ways of seeing -- the line from Ruttman (and his predecessors) through this and toward early video feedback and computer animation experiments is easy to trace.

  • Ditch

    Ditch

    ★★★½

    Dostoyevsky's version of La Strada, with the seriocomic grotesquery dialed up to 12. (Yes, we're in "exploiting a mentally-ill woman" territory. Yes, it's problematic.)

    Jim Jarmusch could never.

  • Man Is in Pain

    Man Is in Pain

    ★★½

    I was excited to see that a point of intersection existed between fifties film experimentation and Philip Lamantia's poetry... but this didn't amount to much.

  • Crazeologie

    Crazeologie

    ★★★

    Painfully arty, but still a more engaging "newest thing!" than Venom And Eternity.

  • The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome

    The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome

    ★★★½

    Anger's peplum. (Convince me I'm wrong.) The campy, 'precious' side of his sensibilty is very much in effect with this one... What the cool kids were watching when 2001 was being promoted as the pinnacle of cinematic tripmeistery.

  • Salt of the Earth

    Salt of the Earth

    ★★★★

    Perfectly-realized agitprop at the nexus of labor issues, racial equality and women's rights, made on the fly by blacklisted Hollywood artists. True guerrilla cinema.

  • Morir en su ley

    Morir en su ley

    ★★½

    From the film-noir/Marseilles 'shadowy underworld' axis; the Argentine version, naturally, is full-on Tango Purgatory... and Tita Merello is Edith Piaf.

  • Así Era Pedro Infante

    Así Era Pedro Infante

    ★★½

    Doco about Pedro Infante's funeral, plus a bunch of clips from his movies. What does it tell us that Ismael Rodriguez' homage to his ace number one main man included an interview segment where Pedro told a television host all about how much he owed Rodriguez for training him and molding his career?

  • Howdy Doody and His Magic Hat

    Howdy Doody and His Magic Hat

    ★★½

    You know, Gene Deitch was only pretending to be a mainstream animator... I've always sorta disliked the UPA house style for their cartoons, just cuz that style seemed so much easier than the Disney/Warners model. This'n (apparently never really intended for exhibition) is UPA at their most abstract and pared-down, it;s like trying to read a joke told in hieroglyphics.

  • Jail Bait

    Jail Bait

    ★★★

    There's something magical about the insouciance Ed Wood's bad guys display when they have to dispose of a corpse. "Oh, just stick it in the closet or something, we'll take care of it later." Nothing could ever redeem a movie with such wooden, clumsy dialogue... but the otherworldliness of the proceedings make it kinda lovable And to pursue the Juan Orol parallels, Timothy Farrell here rivals Orol regular Jose Pulido with his "oily bad-boy sleaze" persona. Diggingg the bad-boy vibe as much as I do...

  • Los ojos llenos de amor

    Los ojos llenos de amor

    ★★★

    There's a Billy Wilder movie romcom here whimpering to be let out -- it even has a Judy Holliday figure. No Thelma Ritter, I'm afraid. And unfortunately, it's 1954, and there's not eniugh postwar sauciness floating around to give this the tone it needed..

  • Traición

    Traición

    ★★★

    Somehow, Miguel Angel Rodriguez ends up playing comedy relief here in his own action movie, and that's really the only thing it has going for it. Places where the movie goes off the rails a little bit and the whole narrative rolls on the loopy, bumbling, not-very-bright tonality that defines his character help this a lot to become almost likeable.