Tuesday, May 16, 2006

MORE LINKS THAN A FARMER JOHN CORPORATE PICNIC (Say it like Vin Scully!)



Well, against all odds, I did make it into Beverly Hills to see Three Times Saturday night. I even got free parking! Despite some faint hope of being joined at the Laemmle Music Hall by the Mysterious Adrian Betamax, I saw the Hou Hsiao-hsien film by myself. But that’s okay—it’s a nearly two-and-a-half hour movie in which Shu Qi and/or Chang Chen are on screen for the entire running time. As photographed by Hou’s regular cinematographer Pin Bing Lee, these are not actors that are difficult to look at, and Hou’s leisurely pace allows them and Pin’s wondrously textural imagery to wash over the viewer with sublime abandon. Sorry, M.A.B., he said with a wink, but what better company could I have asked for? I hope to have some thoughts on that film, and a couple others I saw over the weekend up and ready to read in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, answers to Professor Van Helsing’s quiz keep pouring in, largely generated by all the new exposure afforded this humble blog by fellow blogger, critic and new friend Jim Emerson. In fact, there are so many lists of answers posted and linked to in the comments column of the quiz that I’m going to have to take steps to rethink my approach to the traditional post-quiz answer roundup. Back in the days when getting 15 responses was more than I expected, putting together a roundup which touched on just all about all the answers in one way or another was a doable feat and one I looked forward to. But with the Van Helsing quiz, not only did I trump my own roundup by getting overly excited by the first batch of responses, after I turned that I post in I watched at as nearly 20 more flowed through the gates. And the gates are still open (hint, hint, M.A.B., psaga!) for more. I am now thoroughly intimidated at the prospect of trying to create a readable digest from so many responses and giving such a high percentage of them their due. I think I’ve come up with a solution that won’t take two weeks for me to put together, or two weeks for you to read, but only time will tell if I’ve succeeded. Success or not, it’s coming just around the bend.

There are other things I’ve got on my mind and on my plate, original material-wise. But the Internet is such a vast and wonderful resource that I just can’t help but put together another set of juicy links to tide you over until I can get my own act together again. I really do love linking to all these great articles and blogs—I discovered most of these pieces through the same method, courtesy of others who took the time to post them on their sites. But there is only one Green Cine Daily, and not only could not I possibly compete with David Hudson and his comprehensive list of daily links, I wouldn’t want to. He’s just too good at it. That said, he provides an excellent example for those of us who, like the old man played by Jack Gilford in the Cracker Jacks commercial, are into sharing. A couple of these I was directed to by David and Green Cine Daily. Others were pointed out to me by friends or other blogs. But regardless of where I heard about them, I want you to hear about them too. And now some more sharing…

Yes, there are a few of us who are eagerly anticipating the release of Robert Altman’s latest film, A Prairie Home Companion, starring Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Kline, Woody Harrelson, Lily Tomlin and Lindsay Lohan, among many others. The film recently closed the San Francisco Film Festival and has been getting good-to-very good reviews as it is has made the rounds over the past couple of months. But one of the big stories about Prairie’s production was the on-set presence of Paul Thomas Anderson, director of Boogie Nights and Magnolia, who served as an officially credited “stand-by director” during the shoot. Of course, this led to all kinds of speculation that Altman was on his last legs, that he was expected to keel over at any minute—the supposition being, I suppose, that in the event of Altman’s incapacitation or collapse, Anderson would pick up the megaphone and keep the cameras rolling as they hauled the famous director’s wheezing body off in an ambulance. But there’s nothing like a memorable, and relatively vigorous, walk-on at the Oscars to accept a lifetime achievement award, and to reveal a heart transplant that took place 10 years ago, to set people’s heads straight. Of course, the real story all along is that Altman, being healthy but also 80 years old at the time the movie was filming, was a bit of a risk for the insurance company due to his advanced age, and as a contractual precaution they insisted on someone to be present just in case. Anderson, a friend of Altman’s whose own films pay testimony to the elder director’s profound influence, got the call, and he talks about it with Henry Rollins this week on IFC’s The Henry Rollins Show. The episode originally aired last Saturday night and will be repeated two more times, this coming Thursday, May 18, at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. PST. And speaking of good stuff on IFC, from a completely personal perspective, of course, the ever-eclectic channel is offering, among many others things, a chance to catch up with John Sayles’ rarely seen Matewan (it shows Wednesday, May 17, at 12 noon and again Thursday, May 18, at 4:30 a.m., and several times again throughout the month); David Thowy’s largely unseen undersea thriller Below (which was vastly underrated by those who did see it), which shows Wednesday, May 17 at 10:00 p.m. (and throughout the rest of the month); and, though I may regret it, William Lustig’s notorious Maniac starring and co-scripted by the late, great character actor (and character face) Joe Spinell. This scalp-and-splatter classic, which I’ve never had the nerve to sit through, despite the presence of the lovely Caroline Munro, screens throughout the month as well. You can check IFC’s May schedule for further dates and times on these and many more titles, most of which will probably far more worth your time than, say, Maniac.

The ever-amazing Tom Sutpen has done it again. It was only a few months ago that he posted a terrific audio recording of Pauline Kael reading her infamous anti-auteur theory “Circles and Squares” essay to a rapt audience. Now Tom has added another rare, irresistible recording to match the first one in significance and sheer fun. The post is called ”When FilmCritics Gather”, and it’s a real doozy—on the same stage, Dwight MacDonald, whom Tom, in the delightful text he writes to provide some context for the audio, describes as the “former Partisan Review editor and recidivist Trotskyite,” Pauline Kael, just before her appearance on the national stage and around the time (1963) when she was programming a Berkeley art-house and enraging listeners on KPFA Pacifica Radio, and famously vicious film/theater critic John Simon, whom Tom says was once “rather unkindly” described by a friend as “the Slobodan MiloŇ°evic of arts criticism (unkind and also unfair; to the best of my knowledge, MiloŇ°evic was never heard to exclaim 'Gays in the theater! I can't wait until AIDS kills them all!').” And that’s just Tom’s lead-up! The recording is in two parts and runs about 73 minutes in toto, and I can’t wait to get a chance to stop sampling bits and pieces and just sit down and listen to it from start to finish. It should be a fascinating document from a time when film criticism was about to reach popularity commensurate to the seriousness with which film had begun to be taken in the late ‘60s, a time when film criticism had yet to be taken for granted or, as it is increasingly in our day, pooh-poohed as being irrelevant and overly intellectual by the “I-just-want-to-be-entertained” crowd, or even out-and-out threatened with extinction by the gathering storm cloud of entertainment coverage and junket “reviews.”

Speaking of terrific modern film criticism, which roughly translates into a film critic who takes film and writing as seriously as the old fogies (see above) did while never losing touch with his own youthful vitality and rigorous standards, Matt Zoller Seitz’s The House Next Door has finally posted Jeremiah Kipp’s fantastic interview with one of film criticism’s best-kept secrets, Film Freak Central’s Walter Chaw. I’ve read and treasured Chaw’s acerbic wit and his no-holds-barred approach for years—he champions art films, which gets him branded an elitist and a snob by readers who don’t want to bother following him down those paths, but who also conveniently ignore the raves he’s given to arty fare like Spider-Man 2, V for Vendetta and Peter Jackson’s King Kong. (Chaw’s review of Kong was a rare occasion when I thought one of the writers I love to read on a weekly basis “got it,” who didn’t roast the movie based almost solely on its length, who understood what Jackson was going for, where he was coming from, and went with him all the way. His review sent me into the theater on a cloud of expectations which were handily met.) But, as Kipp says in his intro to the interview, “when you find an online critic with writing chops as strong as Chaw's, you don’t want to keep him to yourself. Where many Internet-based reviewers mimic the acerbic aspects of Pauline Kael, Chaw takes his caustic, occasionally hostile wit so far that one sometimes wonders if the Paulettes might ask him to tone it down a little. Barbed language aside, though, Chaw's approach owes less to the obvious film critic models than to satirist, science fiction author and cultural pundit Harlan Ellison, who famously said, ‘Not everyone is entitled to an opinion. They are only entitled to an informed opinion.’” Chaw has those and more. Enjoy his talk with Kipp here.

Frequent SLIFR commenter and fellow blogger Robert Hubbard is back from a film shoot and today alone sent me two bits of information that I have to pass along. First, for those whose completism re David Lynch’s Twin Peaks is not quite complete, Robert directs me (that is, us) to Not Coming to a Theater Near You’s Guide to Twin Peaks, which, in addition to its stunning page design, provides links to detailed essays (with accompanying unsettling screen grabs) for each episode of the much-too-short-lived ABC TV series. Just the thing to get that fire walkin’ with me again.

Robert also alerts me to an upcoming event that will be of interest to SLIFR readers in the New York City area, specifically Brooklyn, coming in June. In the wake of the passing of director Richard Fleischer, film critic Elliot Stein will host an evening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as part of his “Cinemachat” series, which will focus on Fleischer and his films. Stein will screen Fleischer’s well-regarded crime picture Violent Saturday, starring Victor Mature, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, J. Carroll Naish and a host of others, in July. And then, on June 14, Stein will host a very rare big-screen presentation of Fleischer’s notorious 1975 drama Mandingo. (Here’s yet another point of view on the film that may pique your interest in seeing it on the silver screen.) This is the sort of event that makes me wish I could afford plane tickets at the drop of a hat. But if you’re in Brooklyn in June, consider yourself enlightened. (Check on the full Cinemachat schedule here.)

If you’re a subscriber to the Los Angeles Times, you’re probably already aware of David L. Ulin’s consideration of above-the-title screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. But if you’re not, you may want to be, not only so you can argue with Ulin as to whether Kaufman is the greatest writer of his generation or not, but also so you can read his sublime description of a child’s birthday party uncomfortably attended by himself and his wife which unexpectedly slips into Kaufman territory itself.

I haven’t had a chance to read it yet myself, but fellow blogger Andy Horbal directs us to a piece written by Armond White for Slate entitled ”Dear Wes Anderson, Why Does It Take You So Long to Make a Movie?”. Love him, hate him, or love to get exasperated by him (I’m all three), White’s take on Anderson and a whole crop of filmmakers he brands American Eccentrics should be well worth the reading time. Horbal, by the way, also offers up some further observations and links re the recent dismissal of Jami Bernard and, as it turns out, Michael Wilmington too.

Finally, courtesy of Anne Thompson comes word of an addictive new film rating site called Criticker. Thanks, Anne! But really, these bastards! Don’t they know I already spend too much time rating movies on Netflix? Doesn’t anyone want me to sleep?! ;)

Speaking of which…

26 comments:

Steve said...

I've got the DVR already set up to record Maniac. Despite being an exploitation fanatic, I recently lamented to a friend, I'd never seen that film, neither I Spit on Your Grave nor The New york Ripper -- for some reason, the reputations garnered by those three kept me at bay even as I consumed other films that no doubt outstripped them. By the end of the week, that statement will be untrue -- saw Grave last Thursday (not the film I was expecting, FWIW) and rented Ripper last night (to watch tonight), so that leaves just the Lustig. So I'm that many steps closer to out-Joe Bobbing Joe Bob Briggs.

Jay said...

White's piece on Slate is definitely worth reading. And I say that as one who loves/hates/is exasperated by his writings (most often the latter), as well.

I did take exception with his lumping of Tarantino and Shyamalan with uber-hacks Ratner and Bay as the "Entertainment Specialists." While I wouldn't include Tarantino and Shyamalan among the "Eccentrics," at least in the way White describes them, he almost seems to dismiss them by analogizing them with Ratner and Bay. Tarantino's body of work at least, imho, is of far better quality than Wes Anderson's (though one or two more films on par with Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums would force me to reconsider).

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Jay: I'd agree that Anderson's career has not, in my view, lived up to the brilliant promise of Rushmore. I think if he can resist the temptation to seal himself in amber and settle into arch, unintentional self-parody (which is how I received The Life Aquatic), there's still a great talent there. I still haven't made time for Armond White's piece, so I can't comment on it specifically, but at the risk of coming off like a Tarantino apologist, White has always seemed to have it in for Tarantino, as much for the man's own films as for the deleterious influence they've had on copycat independent film culture. It's as if he's taken it upon himself to balance Tarantino's books by crying foul in the face of everyone else's enthusiasm. That said, I like the films Tarantino has directed, though I'd stop short of proclaiming them all-time greats or anything like that, as some seem to want to.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Okay, Steve, I'm gonna tape it tomorrow night too. I've seen some horrific movies in the years since Maniac was released. Sure, it's probably still pretty grisly, but how bad could it be in the shadow of stuff like Hostel and Wolf Creek, right? (He said, chuckling nervously). Just as long as Caroline Munro doesn't get scalped... I don't think I could take that.

Jay said...

No risk in sounding like a Tarantino apologist with me, Dennis. I've spent sick days from work geeking-out on Tarantino films from morning til night. Not to mention when upon hearing that Lady Snowblood was a major influence on Kill Bill, I moved it to the top of my Netflix queue...with Mizoguchi's Ugetsu on deck and Ozu's Tokyo Story in the hole. Oy. Let's just say that in this case, homage was far superior to the original.

Unintentional self-parody is a perfect way to describe The Life Aquatic, agreed. I always took it as whimsy for whimsy's sake, and rather dull as a result.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Again, I don't know from Lady Snowblood (though it's not hard to imagine how that might have influenced Kill Bill Vol. 1!), so the homage may indeed be superior. But I think you'll find Ugetsu and Tokyo Story both utterly unforgettable and singular experiences. Let me know what you think.

And at the risk of getting served with divorce papers, I think your term "whimsy for whimsy's sake" pretty well sums it up for me re Anderson. I did manage a few words on Aquatic way back when-- here they are.

Tom Sutpen said...

If we warrant (as I do) the auteurist funadmental that every director worth writing about indeed has a set of aesthetic fingerprints which cannot be completely duplicated by another, then my immediate view of Wes Anderson . . . admittedly unsolicited, but here it is anyway . . . is that his set is now comprised of so many lines and whorls and whirls that they've started to lead him in one useless direction after another. His films have become the Hollywood equivalent to Ken Burns documentaries: overdressed, and immensely pleased with themselves (far more pleased than any mere viewer could ever be). Like J.D. Salinger, he's gotten lost in his own preciousness.

The Life Aquatic was, I thought, apalling . . . and I was positive when I saw Rushmore for the first time that this is something I would never find myself saying about this director; so much did I love that film (and still do). It was worse than whimsy, it was baroque whimsy. And I have a horror that he achieved virtually everything he set out to do in it (would that we could call it's failure as cinema a matter of dashed intentions).

As for your write up on 'le blog' . . . what can I say? You do our corner of the blogosphere an honor it may not fully deserve. But that doesn't lessen my appreciation of it.

Not one whit.

Thanks, Dennis!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Tom: You never need an invite to throw in your two cents here, and yet you are always invited to do so. (How much damage to the space-time continuum have I done with that one?)

"I have a horror that he achieved virtually everything he set out to do in it (would that we could call it's failure as cinema a matter of dashed intentions)." A lot of people I know and respect still think highly of Wes Anderson and were intrigued and charmed by The Life Aquatic, finding in it a whole lot more cause for celebration than I did, and you did. Yet I think your observation is exactly right-- some may see it as a failure, a promising director circling around and eating his own tail, but that's definitely not how Anderson sees it. This is no folly on the order of Apocalypse Now or Heaven's Gate, where the director fought economics, the elements, his own demons, studio intereference, incoherent actors, the fraying and dissolution of his own vision, or whatever-- Anderson is doing exactly what he wants to do in all of his films, and most certainly in Aquatic, the first of his films where I got the distinct sense he didn't care if audiences could penetrate his precious, hermetically sealed world or not. A sad development for a director capable of the soaring inclusiveness, razor-sharp wit and ability to draw viewers in with characters who don't necessarily always display the most honorable behavior that was the hallmark of Rushmore.

And just a few minutes ago, in linking to White's Slate article, David Hudson at Green Cine Daily asked a pretty pertinent question, regardless of whether you like Anderson's films (or Tarantino's, or Spike Jonze's, or ALexander Payne's) or not: Do these "American Eccentrics" really turn out movies slower than "entertainment specialists" like Brett Ratner or Michael Bay? And do we really want these directors turning out movies faster? I'm not sure the blanket answer is yes, but in Anderson's case, it seemed like all the time for all the dithering in the world over Aquatic did him no good at all. Maybe a quick month-and-a-half shoot on a project he didn't generate himself would get him back in touch with reality and inform his next film for the better.

Brian said...

Dennis, thanks for the pointer to the Slate article. It was interesting reading White write a piece pretty much free of his acerbic condescension that usually accompanies any mention of certain of these "eccentrics" he lists. I agree it's odd to see Taranatino and Shyamalan lined up with Michael Bay and Brett Ratner; it seems like a sign of avoidance of real engagement with their work (though I know White has wrestled with Tarantino at least quite a bit) but perhaps it's really more of a sign of my avoidance of real engagemtn with Bay's and Ratner's.

I'm very much looking forward to reading your thoughts on Three Times and your mutated version of the Van Helsing suammry.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Brian: I just printed it out White's article myself and am now going to read it before my eyes get too heavy.

A friend of mine has suggested that, since the Professor's lists are so many this time, that a more complete summary is more warranted than ever. I'm in the midst of deciding whether I agree or not, though I understand the logic completely. I don't have a great workspace to wrestle with a bunch of paper, so if I can format a way to keep all the entries under better control, I'll go for a more complete digest.

As for Three Times, I was so excited to even have gotten the chance to see it that I was worried it might not have held up to my expectations. I would have written about it tonight, but I've been working at my daughter's school proctoring state student testing, and as a result felt a little too weary to take it on. But I'm very much looking forward to processing my own thoughts about the film and the experience of it.

I saw Charley Varrick again the night previous to seeing Three Times, and while watching the Hou film I was struck by the similarity in the way the two films evoke such a strong sense of place, of observation regarding their specific locales, almost to the point of being able to feel the aridity of the New Mexico desert in the Siegel film, or the humidity and the smells attendant to Three Times. Admittedly an odd connection to be making while watching the Hou film, which couldn't be more different in pace, feel and sensibility from Siegel's tough, bruising thriller--I'm sure it had more to do with the proximity of the two on my schedule than anything else, but it was an interesting comparison nonetheless. More tomorrow!

I'm sorry, but I don't remember-- did you get a chance to see Three Times at the San Francisco Film Festival?

Jay said...

Dennis: I did see Ugetsu a few months back. It was indeed an "unforgettable and singular experience." What struck me immediately is how seamlessly Mizoguchi was able to tie the two narratives together - one, a realistic story about the horrors of war, and the other a ghost story. I'm sure there is much more to get out of this film and I look forward to repeat viewings, now that my Criterion dvd arrived in the mail yesterday.

Tokyo story still awaits. I've received two damaged copies from Netflix so far.

As for Anderson, I maintain some glimmer of hope due to his new AmEx commercial, the catalyst for White's Slate piece. I just hope that White is wrong in his conclusion that the commercial's success stems primarily from its (short) length.

Tom Sutpen said...

I can well understand people (even those who admire Wes Anderson's work) having a high regard for The Life Aquatic. Again, it does seem a rather fully-achieved work (something we don't see all that often), and God knows Anderson's films evince a sensibility which is unique and, to me, altogether welcome in American cinema. I have no quarrel with those who admired the thing since it represents one big, heaping, Cinecitta-enhanced slab of Wes Anderson's aesthetic dumped in our laps. I think everyone would agree that this is preferable to getting a lapful of, say, Brett Ratner's ugly-ass mise-en-scene (now, there's a forbidding thought).

My problem with Aquatic is there was so little to the film beyond its quirk-ridden surface that it became (again, to me) genuinely annoying after awhile; like a Noel Coward play from the 1950s, running on its own weary charm. You were watching a sensibility here that had reached a kind of creative apogee with The Royal Tenenbaums and was now almost painfully turning in on itself.

When an artist's work beomes so self-referential that its like watching someone spin in a circle endlessly, then they're in deep trouble. No matter how long one pauses to look at it or even admmire the skill and the sheer stamina it takes to do it, eventually the spectacle just isn't worth watching. After a time, the only ones left in the audience are ghouls.

He needs to adapt someone else's work.

That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

I'm with you, Tom. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS was the full flowering of Anderson's hothouse style, and LIFE AQUATIC was flat-out unwatchable. If it hadn't been for those cool Bowie songs in Portuguese, I would have turned it off. Bill Murray is starting to calcify on screen, as well.

When it comes to Tarantino, I still maintain that his finest hour is JACKIE BROWN, the greatest homage to the '70s aesthetic that an action thriller can be mostly stylized talk that I've yet seen. And a brilliant, brilliant performance by Robert Forster. That's the Tarantino I'd like to see more of.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Tom, of course you're right. I'd rather someone give Anderson half of one of Ratner's budgets and see him at least attempt to realize something beyond the elements of a rudimentary plot. The Life Aquatic could never be mistaken for hackwork, and I wouldn't question the taste or sensibility of those who hold it in high regard. It ultimately just seemed pointless to me, despite its attempt to make some sort of generational statement about loyalty and the familial ties (blood or aquatic) that bind.

And at the risk of turning this into a happy sewing circle, TLRHB, I too think Jackie Brown is Tarantino's finest work. It's true to Elmore Leonard, yet it manages to incorporate all of the elements that have become familiar Tarantino tropes, all at a slightly different pitch than might be expected. And it has a strangely lovely gravitas, thanks to the fine work of the entire cast (all, with the exception of Bridget Fonda and Chris Tucker, well over 40), and a deliberate pace that many took to be sluggishness in comparison to Tarantino's other films. At the risk of making too much of a generalization, maybe his other films are, while still being very good, a shade too hyperactive at times?

David Lowery said...

Three Times is almost two and a half hours long?!! For some reason, I thought it was only ninety minutes. I need to see it again.

The more I think about A Prairie Home Companion, the more I really love it. By the way, the PTA appearance on IFC can be viewed here.

And speaking of the other Anderson - I loved The Life Aquatic, but not because I thought it was a great movie (Rushmore still takes the cake). What fascinated me about it was that it seemed like Anderson was taking steps towards something more expansive than the calculated whimsy that, on the surface, marked most of the film. There were moments where his deliberate style broke down by design (as opposed to those where it collapsed under the weight of its own pretension), where the movie suddenly became something very wonderful, very alive, something closer to avant gard. Examples are some of the montages on Eleanor's island and (my favorite) the rapid fire sequences into which were slipped frames of solid color.

So anyway. Do let us know what you thought of Maniac, Dennis!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Hi, David!

Yeah, by my calculations, it was about 2:15, I think, based on when the show started (9:55), when I walked out (12:25 a.m.-ish), minus 10+ minutes of trailers and ads for local public radio stations.

Yet a quick check on IMDb says that the run time for prints here in the USA is 120 minutes, which the site says indicates 19 minutes cut from the version seen at the Toronto Film festival (there was apparently also a 132-minute version the screened in France.) So unless the trailers ran longer than 10 minutes, my guess is that it was about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

At any rate, for a movie that some viewers might characterize as moving at a glacial pace, my interest certainly never flagged and I thought it seemed to go by pretty quickly too. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.

Oh, how I can't wait for A Prairie Home Companion! Your reaction has me hoping for the best! Thanks for that link to the P.T. Anderson appearance on The Henry Rollins Show. Against all odds, I managed to catch it myself last night. Didn't P.T. seem just kind of amazed at being paid to basically sit on the set and watch on the great American film directors at work? I loved his description of how he'd get all balled up over something happening on the set, and Altman would just wave the stress away and move on. Good example for directors and everyone else, I suppose!

I seem to recall P.T. Anderson catching some of the same kind of flak for Punch-drunk Love that has been leveled against Wes Anderson re The Life Aquatic. So it's interesting to note P.T. talking about how, after making that film and feeling somewhat burnt out, he took the road to adaptation, filtering an existing novel (Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!) through his own sensibility, using the process and act of adaptation to regain his bearings as a personal filmmaker. (The picture is apparently going to be called There Will Be Blood.)

And speaking of blood, David, I did indeed dub Maniac last night as well, and I happened to spot-check the movie during a particularly horrific scene. Oh, boy! Yes, I will check in with some thoughts on that one, undoubtedly! Have you seen it?

Steve said...

I ended up just watching Maniac instead of taping it. My take: It's impossible to get offended by it, as offense implies belief in a strong point of view, and Maniac doesn't believe in anything - not even itself. Made for a singularly dull and dispiriting viewing experience, IMO. I'm interested in what your thoughts are, though.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I think I'll try to take a look at it tonight. Like I said earlier, I spot-checked the recording and happened upon a scene that didn't promise a whole lot in the way of pleasantries. On the other hand, it also seemed like a movie that might come off a little tamer than it would have before I got exposed to a whole lot of other things-- giallo, grotesque adults-only Japanese anime and other genuinely sick psycho killer movies-- that have come in its wake. I'll be sure to have a copy of this ready to pop in the DVD player in its place, should it become necessary.

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