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  • Private Parts

    Private Parts

    ★★★½

    Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things a Year Later

    By 1972, I suppose studios were willing to cash in on the endlessly reusable form of PSYCHO—and the common correlate of pathological photography—with the sexual quirks and indie-spiritedness of something like THE TELEPHONE BOOK. PRIVATE PARTS has this genre familiarity to it. It's mostly successful with its formula. Production value gives it a pretty boost.

    The ending is mired in clunky trope mixing, rather than adding something new or, at least, making…

  • Dial: Help

    Dial: Help

    ★★★

    Don't hang up! This is one of the more tolerable silly Italian horror features from the commercialized late '80s. Flimsy connections, loose ends, startlingly sightless behavior, and a lame duck ending are over come by piecemeal set pieces, enjoyable absurdities, the lustrous appearance of actress Charlotte Lewis, and the usual style as substance of Italo Horror. I especially like the dynamic of rustic rooftops and old architecture with urban vogue. Logic may be on hold indefinitely, but that might add to the entertainment.

    Include it in a conference call with other telephone terrors, like PARTY LINE and MURDER BY PHONE.

  • Razorback

    Razorback

    ★★★★

    Iconic Australian films can't help but flex their Oz-ness. It's that outback: the formidable expanse, a harsh terrain dominated by the wild, yet populated by greasy blue collars whose equipment and fashion always appear prepared for life after the apocalypse.

    RAZORBACK leverages the land like a narrative series of incredible imagery; a wide shot revealing the distance from a truck to a hilltop, a wet pit full of soaked refuse, rust upon everything, the vivid greenery of civilized territory, a…

  • Obsession

    Obsession

    ★★★

    Thriller filler made by distinctive talents.

  • Survey Map of a Paradise Lost

    Survey Map of a Paradise Lost

    ★★★★

    Leave it to Hisayasu Satô to make extreme itchiness look sexy.

    I love this line: "You killed him because you don't like doing the same thing twice?"

    And that sequence where the camera's perspective and angle set up expectations that are met with surprise—very clever.

    Lots of little things make this an interesting entry in Satô's pink filmography. It's very watchable compared to his nastier films.

    Could be a great place to start.

  • Patty Hearst

    Patty Hearst

    ★★★½

    I streamed this on the Criterion Channel recently. Not bad. I have some selective thoughts about it…

    It's a bit different than director Paul Schrader's MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS, but I thought about it while watching HEARST. Both deal with historical political figures and events and explore the extremes of ideology. MISHIMA is an art film through-and-through, HEARST is an aggressive, politicized crime thriller/biopic. Yet HEARST gets artsy too: it features constructed sets, designed to represent Patty's state…

  • The Carpenter

    The Carpenter

    ★★½

    I have to be on the fence with this one. I feel equal amounts of enthusiasm as disappointment. So, the chance of it growing on me is 50/50.

    Or higher. It has an ideal framework: domestic thriller and gory slasher which "house" the is-it-psychological-or-supernatural? trope. Add goofiness and "gaffes" and Wings Hauser to get a paragonal model of Eighties horror.

    But it can feel clunky, Hauser's dialog can be dull and repetitive, it needs one more death by carpentry, and…

  • Desperately Seeking Susan

    Desperately Seeking Susan

    ★★★

    This one did not get into the groove. There's a notable lack of excitement to all of it. Which is too bad, because the performances were good and the cinematography was nice. The lighting was wonderfully colorful. Rosanna Arquette and Madonna were real cute too.

  • Rad

    Rad

    ★★★★

    Need another Very Eighties Movie?

    This is a perfect choice. It might be a tad dated, perhaps more wholesome than some adults uninterested in nostalgia and sentimentality would want. Regardless, it is consistently entertaining, it landed every beat it went after, and it's loaded with charm.

    If anything, the bike tricks and sick tunes will provide a ton of mileage for any Eighties Fiend.

  • The Last Seduction

    The Last Seduction

    ★★★★½

    American Psycho: Relatable...and Hot

    [See comments for spoilery insights.]

  • Dead of Winter

    Dead of Winter

    ★★

    I'm not the type of viewer who gets mad when protagonists take the wrong course of action. I can accept that people make mistakes, and that my vantage point "outside" of the story gives me advantages bordering on the omniscient.

    But throughout most of DEAD OF WINTER, I thought, "Katie, you can take them! You absolutely could! You saw the red flags waving!"

    Then the explanations and motivations were revealed, which I found unconvincing.

    Despite some technical merits, standard good acting, and mostly competent direction and storytelling, there were too many missteps.

  • Killing American Style

    Killing American Style

    ★★½

    Fun hot garbage. Not as incredible as SAMURAI COP, but it is still an entertaining piece of action trash.