Failed folk musician goes decades without realizing his records became a bootleg sensation in South Africa, flies there for massive concerts then returns to his humble Detroit life. “It remains too strange to be true.” Archive footage, some of it just vintage mood stuff, bit of rotoscoping, some fun jump cuts. Repetition or rambling in the interviews is preferable to the dodgy dialogue editing we usually get in these things. This won an oscar (vs. three govt/military stories and an AIDS activism doc) and Rodriguez has now played a bunch of live shows, for which he hopefully got paid, since he’s getting nothing from the oscars or those album sales.
Opening with Birth of a Nation seems cool – I’ve been uninterested in ever watching that film, but watching it as a horror would be an idea. Higher priority, I should watch the Blacula movies… less so Def by Temptation.
A real podcast-hangout kind of doc, and not usually in a good way. Contains a blatant promo for Tales from the Hood 2. The doc is leading up to Get Out as the culmination of Black horror art, allowing Jordan Peele to talk about that and the original Candyman (which was problematic, has room for improvement, possibly with a remake?). This could be a blu extra on the Get Out disc, easy.
Ken Foree and Keith David:
General Enrique and his rich family hide inside their mansion from the sidewalk protestors after he’s exonerated for genocide, and go on trying to act normal, though the servants flee and the General roams the house with a gun and the chanting continues. New maid Alma is teaching the kids how to hold their breath, because ghostly flashback reveals the General personally ordered her own kids to be drowned. Not that we ever suspected he was a nice guy, but at least his family’s eyes are opened before he inevitably dies.
Alma’s reward for starring in a well-liked foreign film is to be 30th billed in the new Black Panther sequel. A more popular Llorona movie came out the same year (per Indiewire a “schlocky jump-scare machine”) but this one is about real-life horrors in Guatemala, so it got lots of award nominations.
daughter little sister is getting married and it’s up to the eldest to find an uncle willing to attend the wedding, while the bride-to-be acts moody and annoyed. Iman is also dealing with early menopause symptoms, and has a pet turtle who only exists to fulfill an on-its-back helplessness visual metaphor. Plodding 66-minute movie containing powerfully condensed disappointment.
Ensemble movie of intersecting characters around NYC, packs plenty into under 90 minutes. I might’ve mixed up a couple of actors, but… Buddy Duress gets beaten up for attempting to scam record collector Bene Coopersmith… whose roommate George Sample III is in trouble for instructing his computer guy Benny Safdie to publish revenge porn of his recently-ex-girlfriend Marsha Stephanie Blake. Clockmaker Philip Baker Hall unwittingly holds material evidence that widow Michaela Watkins murdered her husband, and cub reporter Abbi Jacobson embarrassedly tries to get the dirt on that case, egged on by her slimy metalhead boss Michael Cera. Short-haired teen Tavi Gevinson hangs out with best friend Olivia Luccardi (who has a boyfriend) speaking pretentiously and acting like she definitely doesn’t want a boyfriend. Movie ends with a dance party, as all movies should.
Also: Isiah Whitlock Jr.:
Hell yeah, Unwound:
The filmmaker likes light and shadow, and inserting grainy digital stills between scenes. I only would’ve made it 20 minutes in I was watching fest screeners, but then I would’ve missed the scuba photography.
A lot of pissing and sleeping in this movie! Breaking into derelict apartments? Building a useful neighborhood from the remnants of the abandoned city. The hushed, hypnotized narrator shows up irregularly, telling us stuff related to the sleepy, casual goings-on. Sometimes we see the filmmaking equipment. Sounds carry on from previous scenes. Some philosophical content made me chuckle, the movie not worth taking seriously.
On Letterboxd: In the City in the Rain by The 6ths feat. Lou Barlow
Self-consciously arty/stagey flick, part of the Brisseau canon of horny old frenchmen filming in their apartments. Cut from a sleeping couple to their “dreams” on 4:3 b/w lo-gauge film, my second movie in a row to do that. Shots and setups take their time, but there’s no apparent story so it’s not like we have anywhere else to be. Opens with a camera roaming a film set peeping through a keyhole-shaped mask, and easily tops that in the scene where an electric train-mounted camera drives beneath a nude woman. Seems to devolve at the end, with a break for a misogyny mass murder montage, getting really into being eaten by gators and strangling blondes. Overall more engaging than my previous Bressane, seems to bode well.
Star actress Zoë Kravitz is shot dead at her home and her assistant Lola Kirke seems to have been set up. This has my favorite aspect of Katz’s Cold Weather – normal people pretending to be detectives. The celebrity aspect and introduction of actual detective John Cho derail some of its pleasures, but some of the neon-electric mood stuff sticks.
On Letterboxd: Guided by Voices “Strumpet Eye” (sorry)
Reminder that Mati Diop was in the last movie I watched:
Global, less insular Piñeiro universe than Viola, with actors from La Flor (and onscreen drawings like La Flor). Title of the movie comes from the Midsummer Night’s Dream characters played by a couple of minor players in rehearsals that we never see – there was more Shakespeare in the Kids in The Hall sketch I watched the previous day than in this.
Carmen is returning to Argentina from a NY institute and Midsummer translator Camila is taking her place, causing some identity confusion. Camila ends up dating Carmen’s institute guy Keith Poulson and getting visited by Carmen’s America-roaming friend Mati Diop. They’re supposedly at this institute to work but they spend more time worrying over their parting gift. Camila looks up her long-lost father (Sallitt) and her long-lost boyfriend (Dustin Guy Defa), and Ted Fendt is in the credits to round things out. There are strange turns and visits to Argentina and a sudden film-in-a-film and I’m not convinced it all works, but it’s also flirty and pleasant.
On Letterboxd: “Hermann Loves Pauline” by Super Furry Animals