Metrograph and Criterion are both in Doris Wishman Mode, but I’m afraid I can’t join in. This is an outrageously bad movie with a groovy jazz soundtrack (must be library music, not credited), somewhat enjoyable to watch just to goggle at every bizarre decision. Between the makeup and sets, I wouldn’t be surprised if Anna Biller was a fan, and there’s something of Blaze’s posed, modeling manner (with a long pause after every line) in the Love Witch performances. The one thing that could save Blaze is The Mads/Rifftrax, if Something Weird would lend them some cheap titties titles.

Blaze is a hot Florida celeb being hounded for autographs, supposed to marry Tony, her agent with a preposterous mustache. She discovers there’s a nudist resort nearby and checks in under a fake name, spending weekends hiding from other obligations, finally dumping her mustache man and running off with the nevernude colony leader. In the colony, everyone smiles too much and pretends to be having great fun doing boring activities like drinking coke and picking flowers and shooting suction-cup archery, just because they’re nude. The movie’s main technical achievement is its careful avoidance of showing anybody below the waist from the front, just as carefully as it cuts to reaction shots to avoid dealing with sync sound in dialogue scenes.

Blaze, discontent:

Hot nude chess:

Blaze: content:

“It’s impossible to live without reason.” A series of unreal scenarios.

After talking about being afraid of the sled dogs on trips to northern Canada with his dad when he was little, cut to Willem Dafoe bartending in northern Canada with sled dogs out back – I buy this, this is the most grounded the movie is gonna get. He’s watching a guy play video slots when they’re both suddenly attacked by dogs. A pregnant woman gets naked for him in front of her grandma. He goes into the basement and is suddenly sliding down a rock cliff… has conversations with other Willems Dafoe… by the time he sleds past a scene of mass executions towards a cave that becomes a madhouse of nudes, the movie still has no coherent reality and is nearly half over. Since there’s no real cause and effect, one scene bleeds or jerks into the next – he goes from tundra to desert to greenery, he has sex with a girl who turns into his mom, he sleeps outside then a fish talks to him. It almost has the unstuck-in-time feeling of Je T’aime X2, but it’s more unstuck in different Dafoe movies. There are a lot of bare-breasted women; Ferrara still knows what’s important. Maybe it’s meant to be a fragmented story of a haunted guy with guilt over his parents’ deaths and a failed marriage seeking solace in the black arts?

The best piece I’ve found is Neil Bahadur in In Review:

The figure of Dafoe’s character Clint himself seems to be on a quest to narrativize his own life, only just barely possessing a grasp on reality by journey’s end, having montaged his life’s experiences and ideas throughout the film’s runtime instead … The terror of Siberia (possibly Ferrara’s first true horror film) is in Clint’s back to nature resolve, only to discover that the dreams of the 60s have shattered and nature is nothing if not ruthless. The true horror is determinism — the entire film is driven by an anxiety that people cannot shake their past … not just in choice but even in their own genetic code.

Here I am, thirty years late, the last person in the country to watch Basic Instinct. I watched because it’s A Paul Verhoeven Film and on all the best-movies-of-whatever lists, but then, impressed by the degree of nudity in this I decided movies need more nudity and sought out more naked 90’s films. Unlike the others, this would seem to have little rewatch value – it’s kind of a brown/grey cop procedural. Some noirish aspects, Michael Douglas smart enough to draw connections but never the big ones, surrounded by smarter women who are playing him.

After Mr. Boz is killed with an icepick, Douglas and partner Gus question Boz’s girlfriend Sharon Stone, who got rich writing novels about icepick murders. Either she committed the dumbest murder, or one of the other psycho women in this movie is framing her – Stone’s hottie friend Roxy, or the police psychiatrist both investigating and sleeping with Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn. At the end a couple cops and suspects are dead and we don’t know for sure that Stone wasn’t the killer all along.

I’d just rewatched Walker with Katy, hoping she’d want to go on a multi-part Walker journey before graduating to Stray Dogs, but nope that was quite enough for her, so I watched this recently-surfaced movie alone.

The walker is slower than ever, an even more hardcore viewing experience than the first movie.

Lovely urban digital photography.

Suddenly we are nude bathing with Miike (and Nightmare Detective) actor Masanobu Andô!

Shots seem indifferently framed, scenes make no sense, the cameras seem low-grade… but his films are far-between now, and this showed up on best-of-decade lists, and in particular the experimental/avant-garde/art list I’ve been following… and Godard has spent more time than anyone thinking about the moving image, so even if I’m not especially entertained, there must be something here.

The sound pans, then cuts abruptly, as does the picture. Was that… a fart joke? Yup, and a conversation about pooping later. Really a lot of nudity and flickering televisions. At least one of the nude couples is an affair (“What does your husband do?”). I assumed while watching that the couples in the first half and second half were the same, maybe at different times, but no, the wikis tell me they were “intentionally cast to physically resemble each other.” The four lead actors were not well-known – their recent roles at the time included Woman in tears, Boxing trainer, Hotel receptionist, and French woman #3.

Originally, I put this off because I couldn’t see it in 3D, and maybe I should’ve put it off some more, because THE SHOT is missing in my version.

Beginning of THE SHOT:

A quarter of the movie is Godard taking his dog for a walk. White God came out the same year, so Godard’s dog Roxy had to settle for the Palme Dog runner-up. I’d still like to see Mommy and Mr. Turner and Saint Laurent from that year’s competition, the others not so much.

AO Scott called it “baffling and beautiful, a flurry of musical and literary snippets arrayed in counterpoint to a series of brilliantly colored and hauntingly evocative pictures.” There’s more writing, and I meant to watch this twice, but who’s got time anymore. I liked it about as much as other Godard features I’ve seen from this century: Notre Musique, In Praise of Love, Film Socialism… but give me Nouvelle Vague any day.

At end of the last movie, the family was moving from seaside town Tocopilla to Santiago. Mom still sings all her lines, dad is still violent, but this time young Alejandro is the lead character, discovering art and poetry and breaking away from his parents. Just as the kid’s performance is starting to feel limited, we jump a few years so he can be played by Adan Jodorowsky, the filmmaker’s son and director of Echek, for the rest of the film.

The mix of realistic (and not) effects, JR-style retrofitting of modern buildings, dreamlike sets with visible stagehands rearranging furniture, Orpheus references, random nudity, shock color, head shaving, prankster poets, sad clowns and street parades, with the poetry and deaths and parental issues… it all worked for me.

Shot by Chris Doyle! The first I’ve seen from him since The Limits of Control.

“To die so that the god may live is a privilege, Kevin”

British dude casually finds some 1700-year-old coins in the backyard, and an elongated skull – I thought this was Hugh Grant for a while until the real Hugh Grant appears a couple minutes later and I realized I had no idea what Peter Capaldi looked like prior to The Thick of It. They meet at a white worm party – with a white worm costume and a band playing a rowdy white worm folk song – along with the Trent sisters. Grant is out with Sammi Davis of Hope and Glory, and her sister Eve is Catherine Oxenberg of the Yugoslavian royal family, who started her career playing princess Diana on a TV movie, and most recently appeared in Ratpocalypse and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf.

Our fearless foursome:

Everyone is talking like they’re on a sitcom, but a few short minutes later, Lady Sylvia Marsh is introduced sucking on the leg of constable Ernie (Return of the Jedi‘s rancor keeper) and the movie gets good ‘n’ crazy, and stays that way. It’s cool that Grant and Capaldi are here, but Amanda Donohoe is the movie. Looks like I can see her with Sammi Davis and Glenda Jackson in Russell’s The Rainbow, and I probably should.

Lady Marsh takes a boy scout home and feeds him to the worm-god in her basement, and Eve is taken captive next. Sylvia is excessively horny during these scenes, while the others are eating damp sandwiches, searching for signs of the long-missing Trent parents. Grant gets the Stendhal Syndrome and climbs inside a painting. Snake imagery abounds, the script is all entendres, and the visuals flit between ace makeup/lighting and insane greenscreen dream-mayhem. Most horror filmmakers are content to make normal-looking movies with a few crazy visual bits – Russell isn’t happy unless the crazy bits completely overwhelm the normal stuff.

After my second reference this month to a christian order building atop pagan grounds, Grant steps up to his destiny, and plays snake-charming music on a PA system while the team attacks the castle with help from a worm-hunting mongoose. Mary is accosted by her undead mum, then by the possessed cop, but Capaldi saves the day with snake-luring bagpipes and drops a hand grenade down the worm-god’s throat. This plan obviously took some prep, but it’s also an emergency rescue mission, so was it necessary to change into the kilt?

There’s an Oscar Wilde quote – Russell made a Wilde movie the same year. Grant appears here the year after starring in a James Ivory film, Capaldi five years after Local Hero. Partly based on a Bram Stoker novel, partly on the legend of the Lambton Worm, and I guess largely made up by Russell.

Too many closeups for a movie with such horrid dubbing. I listened to the English version for a few minutes, which seems to have a more balanced sound mix, but reluctantly returned to the Italian. I bought the Criterion box set of this trilogy, and in the extras you hear all about the difficulty in making these, the world travel adventures, filming on an active volcano, and the artistic work, recreating Bosch paintings with live actors, designing compositions and colors inspired by Dürer and Paolo Uccello… but while watching them, you can’t shake the feeling that they’re hastily-dubbed, silly-ass sex comedies.

You know the setup: a diverse bunch of weirdos gather around, their guide says that on the way to Canterbury they should each tell a story. Firstly, old rich dude (wicked-eyebrowed Hugh Griffith of the Dr. Phibes movies) seeks a wife, finds hot young Josephine Chaplin (Shadowman), but she falls for hip young Damiano and cucks her blind husband. Buncha stuff happened in the second chapter – a dude is burned to death, the devil (Accattone star Franco Citti) tricks another dude into hell – then ol’ Chaucer, played of course by our Pasolini, gets the idea to start writing these down.

From one Chaplin to another – highlight of the movie is Ninetto Davoli, the messenger from Teorema, doing a Chaplin parody as a cheerful tramp who is easily distracted by gambling and prostitutes. More silliness follows, overlong episodes lacking the sped-up film effect of the Ninetto. Two young dudes fight over Michael Balfour’s wife Jenny Runacre (star of Jubilee and The Final Programme). Laura Betti of (A Bay of Blood) marries a dull anti-feminist and so bites his nose off. More wife-stealing, and multiple fart jokes – I liked the section where some stupid young men go on a quest to kill Death, and almost immediately get distracted and murder each other.

Also featuring Welsh wrestler and Jon Langford subject Adrian Street – I think this is him?

I love the convenience and the selection of the Criterion Channel… and the quality, and the extras, but it’s tough to take screenshots, which ruins my blog flow. This was presented with Biller’s The Love Witch, which I was sorely tempted to watch a third time, but thought I’d better check out her debut while it’s online. Set in the early 1970s, it’s more campy than Love Witch, with self consciously horrible dialogue, shot like a cross between a sitcom and an advertisement. These aren’t complaints necessarily. Of the actors, I only recognized Sheila’s horrible husband Mark, who led the ren-fest scene in Love Witch.

Anna plays Barbi, whose husband Rick leaves her for weeks at a time. Anna and her friend Sheila decide home life is dull, so they sneak off to a modeling agency and get jobs as call girls. Anna as “Viva” meets a nudist musician, a hot girl named Agnes, and a big-deal artist… stars in a few musical numbers and a psychedelic animated fantasy. On one hand, as Viva she becomes a glorious sex goddess, but still everyone she meets is abusing her.