The best Christmas movie we could find on netflix at the time. Katy had never seen this, did not know the joys of a flipper-fisted Danny DeVito and leather-suited Michelle Pfeiffer and fright-wigged Christopher Walken and Burton’s light-and-shadows pop-color photography and Elfman’s huge soaring music all stealing Micheal Keaton’s own superhero film out from under him. Batman has an undeveloped love interest in Pfeiffer, some last-minute heroism (diverting DeVito’s city-destroying rocket penguins into the zoo), obligatory Batman/Bruce identity crisis, but no major personality or emotion or story developments. And that’s fine with me – Batman movies could’ve gone on forever like this.

Totally missed noticing Paul Reubens as Penguin’s father, damn. Doug Jones (Abe Sapien in Hellboy) played a clown, and Jan Hooks (just-deceased SNL actress) Penguin’s mayoral campaign handler. Happy to see Michael “Tanner ’88” Murphy as the mayor and the great Vincent Schiavelli as Penguin’s monkey man.

Also watched the first 15 minutes of the first Burton Batman movie. Forgot that Jack Palance plays the crime boss who sends Nicholson into the Joker-backstory factory. Billy Dee Williams plays Harvey Dent, who does not get two-faced in this one.

Katy’s first time watching this, and of course she liked it (though she complains that Edward ends up alone, the tearjerker snow-story somehow not enough to compensate for a romantically unhappy ending).

I thought I knew Kathy Baker, the housewife who tries to seduce Edward, but I guess it’s just her resemblance to Katey Sagal. 1980’s mainstay (and director-substitute in Synecdoche, New York) Dianne Wiest is excellent as Edward’s host mother. Anthony Michael Hall is strangely cast as Ryder’s miscreant boyfriend.

The movie lost its only oscar nomination, for best makeup, to Dick Tracy – a movie I don’t remember having an Avon lady trying to make a scissor-scarred artificially-pale boy look normal, so I call bullshit on that.

N.P. Thompson: “the most numbingly inert movie musical ever made”.

Watched it twice in a week, the second time with good sound.

Barber is imprisoned and wife-snatched by judge, returns years later (with young sailor) for revenge, kills blackmailing rival barber, finds then loses interest in own daughter, starts meat pie business with neighbor, mistreats and tries to kill young assistant, kills judge, neighbor, and (accidentally) own wife, is killed by assistant while young sailor rides off with barber’s daughter.

Loving the songs, especially “not while I’m around,” “pretty women,” “I’ll steal you joanna,” and “these are my friends”. The actors all do wonderfully, and the ol’ Burton goth murk is back with a vengeance. Katy disliked the horror aspects and wished that any character besides the two kids in love was a likeable protagonist, someone she could root for, and not a horrible corrupt monster. I thought the two kids were plenty enough brightness in the black, black. I wouldn’t call it numbingly inert, but for a musical it doesn’t exactly pop off the screen. Maybe Thompson will dig the 3-D re-release.

Watched many times before, but never in dolby disney digital 3-D with cool polarized-lens non-headache-inducing glasses! The 3D effect was great, adding layers of depth (not pop-out-of-the-screen gimmicks) to an already gorgeous movie. Of course seeing the movie on a big screen again gives new appreciation to the intricate visual details, but why were some of the camera-panning motion scenes so blurry? Did the 3D effect do that, or have they always been that way?

fun fact: Chris Sarandon, lead actor in master-of-horror Tom Holland’s “Child’s Play” and “Fright Night”, voices the non-singing Jack Skellington.

Katy sorta likes it. Maria did not. Kids today… sigh.

FEB 2017: Watched at The Ross, followed by a Q&A with the great Danny Elfman.
I think Katy likes it more than she used to.

Watched some of the earliest shorts I downloaded, over a year ago, and had never seen before.

The World of Stainboy (2000, Tim Burton)
Stainboy is a hero of sorts whose only power is creating stains. He takes on a giant darth bowling ball, a poisonous chemical hazard, a power-sucking robot, a girl with a hypnotic stare, and a match-prostitute, then in the final episode he flashes back to birth and the orphanage (where “boy with nails in his eyes” has a cameo). Pretty okay little show, short with funny bits.

image

Breakfast (1976, Michael Snow)
Decided not to watch it because the quality is too low. Don’t know how I’m going to see the Michael Snow films, but not like this.

Vibroboy (1994, Jan Kounen)
Loud, cartoonish, full of threatened sexual violence, feels like taking a beating or watching the Shelly and Leo home scenes from Twin Peaks for a half hour. Explorers spirit away ancient statue from Mexico, it’s entrusted to transvestite Francesca, who comes home to his trailer park to find his pet murdered and his neighbors Leon and Brigitte fighting. Leon is a violent shit, and threatens both “women”, ends up shooting F. (not fatally), breaking the statue, retrieving the metal dildo within and turning into Vibroboy, who just goes on beating the two girls but with the dildo now. Stylishly shot, but why film such a piece of shit story? Real disappointing because Kounen is someone I’d decided I was interested in before seeing any of his movies, so now I don’t know what to do about Dobermann and Blueberry. (Update: a Kounen fan advises to check out the uneven Blueberry and the doc on psychedelics and skip Dobermann)

image

Escargot de Venus (1975, Walerian Borowczyk)
Camera pans over color drawings of half-snail-half-women having sex with each other and themselves and various snaily men, while renfest flute music plays. Halfway in, a woman starts narrating in French, didn’t catch most of it except some of the dirty words. We actually see her flipping through the drawings, closes with her feeding a snail to an iguana. Nice, sexy images, liked it better than his DOM short. Internet says the woman is Bona Tibertelli De Pisis, and the drawings are hers.

image

L’Amour monstre de tous les temps (1977, Walerian Borowczyk)
Close-up on a painter at work, nicely edited with music by Richard Wagner. Final painting involved a beast and human nudity, so right up Walerian’s alley. A good one. Can’t find who the bearded painter was.

image

Lapis (1966, James Whitney)
finely detailed geometric images (points of light?) falling inwards and outwards to and from the center into infinity. Sound (indian music) didn’t play right on my copy, but when it did, it adds to the trance effect. Would be pretty awesome to see this in a theater. Apparently used motion-control camera (“analogue computer equipment”) and the circular shape is a mandala, “a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual meditation aid”. Director’s brother designed the motion-control for the title sequence of Vertigo!

image

Recreation (1956, Robert Breer)
extremely rapidly edited shots of objects on plain backgrounds, a little animation, some guy talking in French, FIN.

image

A Man And His Dog Out For Air (1957, Robert Breer)
flowing line drawing animation forming many abstract shapes but nothing quite recognizable until right before the end, when they form a man and his dog out for air. Neat.

image