Netflix Director Spotlight : The Films of Gaspar Noe

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If you want to see how innovative, experimental, impressive and immersive camerawork may be you should see the films of Gaspar Noe. And if you want to see how plodding, disjointed, padded. uncomfortable self-indulgent and uninteresting film can be … see the films of Gaspar Noe.

Both of his films, currently available on Netflix required liberal use of the fast forward button to get me through them.

However, I do believe that the pyrotechnic visuals of Noe, tempered by a real story/script and a director with an actual viewpoint, could one day make a great movie rather than just these masturbatory visuals in service to violent fragmented moments of fragmented damaged lives.

When that day comes I for one would not bet against Gaspar Noe; but until that day, Noe’s films are curiosities at best, and at worst you come out of them feeling… the whole thing was a tedious waste of two perfectly good hours of your life.

I will say this… I prefer the trippy, lost indulgence of ENTER THE VOID to the violence strewn IRREVERSIBLE. The first 15 minutes of IRREVERSIBLE, the descent into hades, is some virtuoso, ‘you are there’ film-making, but past that point and the film has nothing to offer but bile and tedium.

Though both films I feel, would have been twice as good if they were half as long. That is to say a judicious use of editing was very much needed.

Grade: C-/D. Have the Fast Forward button handy.

A far more intriguing and compelling and absolutely bonkers but mesmerizing alternative to either of those Gaspar Noe films is a film by Yorgos Lanthimos called DOGTOOTH. Streaming on Netflix only for two more days, so watch it now.

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Now Playing: Recommended NetFlix Streaming Movie of the Day… DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY

Now Playing: Recommended NetFlix Streaming Movie of the Day… DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY!!

Directed by John Hough this 70s road thriller and petrol fueled powerhouse is a sleek, adrenaline inducing, justifiably acclaimed masterpiece of the genre. It is to car and road movies, what JAWS is to shark movies; the standard by which all others will be judged.

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Wonderfully performed by Peter Fonda, Vic Morrow, Susan George, but particularly Adam Roarke as the taciturn mechanic, this film in a word is… Awesome! Great direction and editing, phenomenal stunts that even in the age of CGI or especially because of the age of CGI remain… jaw dropping; and a wonderful script that is an evocation of the times, and a loving homage to the road movies that came before.

Highly Recommended!!

You can currently watch it for free on streaming, but once seen you are going to want to own this movie. It is too good to leave it up to the vagaries of streaming licensing deals, your ability to see this baby whenever you want.

Get it on Blu-Ray here, while you can: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry / Race With The Devil (Double Feature) Blu-Ray

Director Spotlight : The Films of Kasi Lemmons

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With the perhaps unnecessarily color titled BLACK NATIVITY headed to theaters this November, I thought now was the perfect time to take a pictorial gander at the films of its director Kasi Lemmons; a director who unfortunately like too many directors, particularly directors of color, does not get a chance to work enough.

Her 1997 debut film EVE’S BAYOU remains a personal and perennial favorite, being equal parts coming of age story and southern gothic tinged horror and magical realism. In the nearly 20 years since that film’s debut she has managed to make 4 feature films and one short, which is good to have at least that much work from a unique and talented director, and is also a tragedy to only have had that much work from a talented and unique director.

I do think the economics of making a theatrically viable film in Hollywood has kept her from truly exploring the promise of her first film; as I would have loved to see a dozen movies from Kasi Lemmon’s in her unique and dangerous southern gothic magic realism vibe. In the directorial genes of Kasi Lemmons, you had the promise of a director with the unique output of a David Fincher or Nicolas Winding Refn.

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However the films we do get from her, even hampered by the constraints of producing more accessible and conventional movies, still are never completely… conventional. There are stylistic choices and decisions that in places, take your breath away. Particularly she has never shied away from strong Black protagonists, and Black male protagonists as heroes, leading men, rather than comedy relief or the sexless partner.

Kasi Lemmon’s cinematic viewpoint of Black Masculinity, even when that masculinity is dangerous or flawed, is never less than riveting and dignified and hopeful, and as such is a viewpoint that is virtually forbidden/extinct in Hollywood films. I doubt BLACK NATIVITY will be likewise blessed, but I will still support the film and go see it, in the hopes a respectable opening gets Lemmons back to making films, that transcend… convention.

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