IFC has always been a trustworthy source for wonderful films for me. Even before they got into distribution or bought their theater in the West Village, when all they had to their name was a cable TV channel, I saw many of my favorite films of all time for the first time through IFC. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant), The Brood (David Cronenberg), The Slums of Beverly Hills (Tamara Jenkins) - so many more that I can't even remember.
I hadn’t been to a Terror Tuesday at Alamo in a while, due to the fact that for the past three months I have signed myself up for a ridiculous amount of work, and at times it was physically impossible for me to be in two to three places at once, unfortunately. Not to mention a ridiculous cold that went around the city like wildfire, but what better film to return to Alamo to than David Cronenberg’s 1988 weirdo-twin movie, DEAD RINGERS.
So, I think it’s pretty safe to say that UGLY SWEATER PARTY, written and directed by Aaron Mento (Flush, Choose Their Kill) is perhaps the most ridiculous movie I’ve seen so far this year, and believe me, that’s saying A LOT. It took me a while to decide whether or not it was the good or bad kind of ridiculous. By the end of the film, I landed on good.
I was wracking my brain for about a week before the illusive BHFF Secret Screening at Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My mind went to a lot of weird places. I was thinking “oh whoa what if it’s Dario Argento showing the original Suspiria” (they told us it could be an old classic or a new film), then I thought it could be The Ranger since I know a lot of people affiliated with BHFF are in with The Ranger folks. I also just sort of hoped that it would be Lords of Chaos or The House that Jack Built simply because I want to see both of these movies today, now, immediately.
I have to admit that prior to seeing HIGH LIFE, I hadn’t previously watched a Claire Denis film, and for that, I’m embarrassed, and I plan on making up for it post-haste. HIGH LIFE is the best kind of “science fiction” film, because it’s not really about the futuristic aspects of the plot. The Sci-Fi is all in the setting and the action is about the emotion that the setting provokes.
It’s not that often I am surprised by the strangeness of a film. Mostly everything that can be done has been done. This has been true for years, but the challenge that filmmakers face is taking all the raw material that artists prior to them have created and transforming it into something new. Mickey Reese succeeded fairly well at this task with his entire oeuvre, which has included 31 films over the course of 10 years, which is a similar trajectory of the genius auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who directed over 40 films in 15 years until his untimely death in 1982.
When I first saw the title LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT on the list of films for the 56th annual New York Film Festival, I thought, “Oh wow! A new adaptation of the classic Eugene O’Neill play”, but I was 100% incorrect in that assumption. While the play is a drama with quite a few twists and turns, that’s about the only real similarity shared with this film of the same name.
Israeli director Guilhad Emilio Schenker’s feature debut MADAM YANKELOVA’S FINE LITERATURE CLUB is quite the fascinating film. Set in some point in time in Israel, which I assume might be modern day but at the same time it’s hard to tell. There are no cell phones or computers, and someone sends a telegram, but all the men in the film dress in the modern styles of today.