Category Archives: Films

Liquid Sky

Where to begin about Liquid Sky……

Years ago I found some list of lesser known cult/underground horror/whatever films and Liquid Sky was somewhere on the list. I read the brief description and saw the poster and was very intrigued. I mean look at this fucking poster:

This is the only film on that list I set out to watch and couldn’t find a real copy quickly.  Some kind soul uploaded a VHS rip to youtube. I watched it with a friend one night and FUCK! What a goddamn amazing  movie. How did anyone pull this off and get it made?????

It’s shot in Manhattan in the early 80’s starring Anne Carlisle in a dual role. I won’t waste much time attempting to explain the plot but it involves models, drug addicts, rapists, aliens, a German guy, and much more. The aesthetic/ makeup/ music/ and sets are all truly incredible and a visual feast. I urge anyone to find and watch this film. After I watched it I became quite obsessed. Like HOW did anyone get a small amount of money, come up with this idea and script, and finally film and release it! It seemed like something that shouldn’t exist which is what interested me. It was too fucking cool to have actually been made basically.

Limited information existed on the internet but I found out a bit about the director and some actors. I was still left with more questions concerning the conception and execution of this film. I mean where was it filmed precisely? How many people did the costumes and makeup!? Who wrote “Me and My Rhythm Box”??? The list went on…. it was just too cool. I bought the novelization, written by Anne Carlisle as well. It’s a good read and gives you more background about the main characters including the “rich cunt from Connecticut”. I also find an interview with the director Slava Tsukerman in an old issue of Heavy Metal, I posted scans HERE. I’m still looking for more background and interviews with ANYONE involved in the production.

Still the film intrigues me so, I urge you to find it and watch it.

Last year I ventured to Seattle, as a quick Nirvana and First Blood pilgrimage. The first record store I went to I found absolutely nothing but then just sitting in some sort of “special new arrivals” section I found the fucking soundtrack! I could have ordered this at some point but when you run across things you are not even thinking about it is a real rush. I was a bit boggled but then remembered more people have seen this movie than I thought. It was just long before my time.

I recently was able to see the film in theaters are it was quite the treat. I wish I could live in a Liquid Sky like world, for better or worse.

Me and my rhythm box out~

Liquid Sky: Interview With Director Slava Tsukerman In Heavy Metal Magazine

So I will write a longer “piece” on the amazing film Liquid Sky in the future. Let’s just saw I came across on some list of weird movies and I didn’t need to see any more after I watched this one. I became and still am pretty obsessed with this movie. I bought the July 1984 issue of Heavy Metal magazine because it featured an interview the director Slava Tsukerman. I was desperate( and still am) to learn anything and everything about this film and it’s production. So I finally scanned the interview in case anyone else wants a small bit of insight.

Enjoy.

Gary

Turkish Delight: Rutger Hauer and Paul Verhoeven’s Lovely Exposition

Turkish Delight is the second film directed by the accomplished Paul Verhoeven. Released in 1973 it stars a young Rutger Hauer, a personal favorite, and the gorgeous Monique van de Ven. The couple’s entire relationship unfolds before the viewer,set in the Netherlands. Rutger plays a real sex fiend whom finally finds his raison d^etre. Much like The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and maybe even The Notebook?(never seen it), It’s about that young romance you live for despite life’s inhibitions, warnings, and short nature. I once saw a Sydney Pollock interview where he claimed the “happy couple” moments were the hardest to film vs. before and after the relationship(referring to The Way We Were). This film walks a fine line of the before, after, and during.

The interesting symbols I noticed, whenever Rutger rides his bike anywhere he literally hops off it and lets it crash into something, every time! Similar to my gab about The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Both characters are in constant rushes to depart their vehicles early. Here Rutger’s character is young and very “fast” and “over the top”. With women and his interactions, he seems to throw caution to the wind and act rather than dwell in the consequences. To this extent he finds the love of his life, however nothing holds forever. The other symbol I noticed was maggots. He is criticized at work for sculpting maggots into a biblical scene, to be more accurate. Second he grabs his wife flowers  and it is shown they were holding maggots. They fall on her chest. Finally maggots can be scene at his disgusting apartment. Maybe the maggots that exist on real life and in his mind in his own sense of lingering death. Death is all around no need to fake it. Maggots mostly eat dead things. Draw your own conclusions.

In short it was a really great film, two young attractive people in love is a beautiful thing. But life is short, and things fall apart. It’s what they do, it’s the second law of thermodynamics. Watch if while you can, and know it while you have it. I really liked films like this when I was aged somewhere from 12 to 19. I never really had a close relationship with a girl prior to my early 20s, I was totally a lonely “late-bloomer”. I don’t know if the relationship aspects of films gave me hope or showed me the beauty of life, but let’s just say some set the bar high. It was probably escapism on my part. But I digress. Check out this film.

Gary

1982 Yamaha XT 250

So a guy I knew was selling a 1982 Yamaha XT 250 in a sorry state. He got in because it came with another bike, an RM minibike or something. Being such a fan of the film First Blood(as you can see from my other post), I bought it despite the sorry state it came in. The problems he noted were broken clutch perch and incorrect rear wheel. I gave him $150. Well several years later and I FINALLY got the damn thing running. Over this time I slowly and slowly fixed and ordered the parts I could. I even picked up a spare parts bike for about 120$ a few years ago.

I bought a new rear wheel, which made me sorry for my mailman because the shipper literally saran wrapped the hell outta the damn thing and slapped a sticker on it. I bought a new sprocket, chain, clutch perch,clutch lever, countless bolts, and more over time. The carburetor was a nightmare I will condense here.

The bike had compression but with a new battery and plug I had spark but not gas. I pulled the carb off and noticed a piece near the bottom accelerator pump was broken. This carb is overly complex. The 1980 First Generation XT 250 used a simpler carb. The carb I have has this “accelerator pump” type device add on. It was a feature from 1981-1983 on the XT 250. The 1984 250 Carb and bike were very different. So make note of this unique carb it is tricky to find at all, let alone a working one will still bring a few hundred dollars.

Luckily I first found a junk carb for parts on ebay for 40$. I was able to replace the broken part and try it again. No luck the bike never fired and I got tired of kicking the bike over dozens of times to no avail. In the meantime I fixed other stuff, repainted the exhaust, and little things like made sure the brakes work and fixing the clutch cable. A few years later I finally bite the bullet and spent 80$ for a complete carb rehaul kit, this included almost all the gaskets and jets needed to rebuild the carb. So I took apart both carbs and cleaned the shit out of them. I used the best parts and the kid to make one good carb. After all this work still fucking nothing, no “pop” it didn’t even want to start. After spraying some carb cleaner in the cylinder the bike ran for a few seconds, so the problem was still the carb.

I’m no expert mechanic but through trial and error and my old man’s wisdom I have a basic understanding of how a bike works. After this I just kept watching ebay for a spare carb. They would sometimes pop up for about 200$ and sell. Eventually one was up for 250$, they included a video of the bike running before they took it apart, so this should be “plug and play”. I bit the bullet and paid more than the price of the bike for it. Upon further inspection of it, it was missing a choke lever and had an extra hole in one side which puzzled me.

I finally put it on my bike with some fresh gas. I gave it some more kicks and I felt maybe a little more kickback but no signs of life whatsoever. So after a deep sigh I was about to give up and maybe try again a few days later. With some carb cleaner in the cylinder we tried again. Nothing at first at all, which was weird. Then somewhere around the sixth kick it was brought to life, I assumed it would die in a few seconds but this “priming” actually worked and it kept going! Big relief this was, since if this didn’t work I was ready to pay someone to take this shit from me on Craigslist. Now my only hope is the clutch works and it goes through all the gears. Once this bike is settled, I’ll finally have a dirt bike, or rather THE bike from First Blood. Did I mention how much I like that film?

 

Gary

Last Year at Marienbad

So I finally got around to seeing this film and it was quite a sight. It’s difficult for me to sit down, put down distractions and sit through a film of almost any length at this point. I’m sure I don’t have ADD, if that is a real thing, but it remains hard. Computers and smartphones and all that “social media” have really run amok on my brain and focus. I suppose it is entirely my fault and I don’t blame them, but alas literally doing anything anymore is getting harder. I’m glad I dumped Facebook a few years ago but I still scrape reddit as my goto distraction. Why? I really don’t know. I should probably work on being more “disconnected” with this crap and actually doing stuff, any stuff!

I used to spend more time listening to (new to me) music, watching films and spending tons of time online in search of more and more. This was probably 2002-2008. I graduated High School in 2008 and I probably have been losing focus ever since. I first heard of Marienbad when Criterion released it and later on when it went OOP and seemed like I could never afford. The few screenshots and reviews I read intrigued me and I totally bookmarked the film on my mental to view list. It was only a few months ago I finally saw it.

It definitely drew me in and by the end I was a bit less concerned with phone and more so with what was going to happen for the finale. It’s a love story between two possibly reuniting lovers and nothing is a certainty really. The film plays very dream like and it was left very open for interpretation in regards to what the characters reveal and what reality may exist inside this film. Memories fade, corrupt, and even wish themselves into your brain. Not only that obviously every eye has a different story or memory to tell.  The close moments in the film are very well placed and much of this film teases you, like love in reality. Delphine Seyrig looks absolutely stunning in this film in every sense of the word. Her wardrobe and style throughout keep you coming back much like the main character. Literally everything else in the world is worthless upon sight of her. I knew why this guy keeps hounding her.

But in the end we don’t really know. Much like how anyone stands in the future, who knows? The point is it doesn’t matter the thrill of the ride was far more satisfying and life inducing then anything. The mere thought of having this woman, even on credit, is enough to silence all thoughts and drive someone beyond. But in the end you’re probably old and alone. I lived once but that is long behind me.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

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I recently caught the start of this movie on some dismal cable tv movie channel and was intrigued. I then did laundry, later I sat down when it was on again and watched the whole film. Similar to my ppost of Lilya I will mostly focus on one small bit of the film I caught.

In regards to the film I thoroughly enjoyed it and the excellent performances by Merryl Streep and Jeremy Irons leaves no questions, this is a classic. A couple stories of two lovers who spend more time in misery over the short time they DID have together. Well pretty much. I think that happens in life quite a bit, perhaps why it’s labeled a post-modern film, who knows. Sydney Pollack once remarked about how difficult filming the “happy times” in a doomed love story. The begining is easy as is the breakup, the tranquil and exciting “heart” of the romance is a challenge to leave on film. This film is no exception.

Anyway Jeremy Irons’ characters are both successful English men in two time periods. Be it cab, car, or train in either timeline he always refuses to depart when the transport stops moving. Watch the film, he ALWAYS gets off the carriage, train, or car before it stops moving.

This means to me his character can’t wait for anything. He wants it all now and then it quickly departs. He can’t stand still alone. He is in a rush for the woman he desires and can’t wait the second for the transport to come to a proper hault. I wonder why he is in such a hurry to seek love and happiness yet the sooner he achieves something like it, the sooner he is left in misery albeit with his wife and kids…….. Sometimes the best laid accidents were never meant.

 

In closing watch this film. It’s very good.

Lilya 4-Ever

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It had been referred to be 10 years ago by a classmate in high school. I had been Netflix friends with this individual. 2005. Back when Netflix was mail only. I quickly rented it and copied it. I didn’t even know but I’d already seen the director’s first film and liked it. Fucking Amal, the title attracted me and the good reviews shortly after it came out. I still love that movie. I guess I am a sucker for certain romances caught on film. Now consider this a spoiler filled mini review focusing on only one aspect. A symbol/theme.

Now to this day I am still terrible at identifying symbols in music, film, literature, and art. I haven’t forgotten the tools from High School and college especially but unless forced to identify symbols they are usually immediately lost on me, or never found. However, after watching Lilya one of the thing’s that hit me in the face was the McDonald’s symbolism.

In the film Lilya is treated to McDonald’s food and ice cream first by the man whom traffics her to Sweden by posing as a romantic interest. I recall the famous photograph of 100’s of Russians lined up in 1990 to try McDonald’s when it first opened in Russia. Fast food was a treat and a curiosity in the former Soviet Union, thanks to American capitalism and business tact. In the beginning of the film she is believed to be going to America with her Mother and boyfriend but she is quickly left to rot in the former Soviet Union, with no money and support.

Second after Lilya is taken captive in Sweden she cleans the apartment she is held prisoner in. A large McDonald’s bag and leftovers are among the items she cleans. The garbage remains belonging to the prisoner whom no longer lives there. A small burger join that started in America reaches desolate Russia and Sweden the same. You don’t get a chance to escape McDonald’s.

After Lilya is finished with her “customers” she is taken to eat through the drive through at McDonalds. Her “reward” for making money for the piece of human garbage who keeps her prisoner and sells her body to sick old fucks. Basically forced to eat McDonald’s because it’s fast,convenient, and cheap for that dirty Swede. Thanks to the American capitalist “give me convenience or give me death” ideology. They can thank the US later for the concept of drive-thru.

Three instances, a symbol I finally noticed and still think about. The McDonald’s is America, capitalism, freedom and a future. America would be a future with hope. Lilya’s only options to eat, as stated by her Aunt are to “spread her legs in town”. She does this without a complaint. A seemingly normal boyfriend leads to her becoming a forced sex slave. The freedom and globalization of America just goes to show it remains out of reach. You can taste American style food but you can’t live there. Instead it will taunt you and offer a reminder of useless hope that freedom is out there, but untouchable. You can taste America but you will never live it. It’s all the more worse when you learn the film was based on a true instance of events.

The Saint of Fort Washington

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So when was I a kid growing up we didn’t have the luxury of cable television, only whatever channels were broadcast over the air poor us right……The first world problems this led to was, Me not developing ADD, if such a thing exists and B. not knowing what shows and movies my classmates were talking about often.

 

Weekends were pretty dull at many points throughout grade school. I would often grab the Sunday paper and look at what movies would be on our select few channels. UPN,WGN, and others would all together maybe have 5 films or so. This was the late 90’s bear in mind. All I would have is the title and a short few word description of the film. I won’t even try to remember what the description of The Saint of Fort Washington was but I was intrigued and when next Saturday came around I sat down and watched it.

 

It features Danny Glover and Matt Dillon as two homeless individuals struggling around Manhattan. Dillon is quickly evicted by his slumlord and a schizoid man who finds himself on the streets with not a lot more than cigarettes and a camera sans film. He quickly finds Danny Glover’s character, a veteran homeless man whom shows him how to stay alive. The two become quick friends and help each other along the grim wasteland Manhattan was, gradually shelling from its poor reputation in the 80s.

 

This first time I saw the film at a young age, I can’t recall how I felt about watching it, sad I would imagine. But I knew it was a good movie and I liked it. I never forgot about it. Years pass and eventually it’s on a cable channel in HD,(my brother got cable and a nice tv when I was in High School sometime maybe like 2006). I sat down and watched it again, now in a more grown and conscious state I really got into the film and enjoyed it even more. It really stands out and holds up, maybe I like it more than I should be I can’t shake it, the story,the performances it still disserves more than what I imagine happened. Released in 1993, so-so reviews, poor box office performance, and soon relegated to spending the rest of it’s life unrented in Blockbuster video. I’m sure some 90’s video store junkies still have this cover engrained in their heads. Too bad they never bothered to rent it.

 

Alas I have given to little to no explanation or description of the film and why I like it as I do but it’s a great little gem that shouldn’t perish. I won’t attempt to rate it but I would advise one to find it and watch it when possible. Directed by Tim Hunter, whom direct River’s Edge, another favorite of mine. Both films are recommend. Definetly an underrated director.

Linda Manz and Me

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I never really heard of a woman named Linda Manz, nor recognized her. When I was roughly 12 or 13(2002,2003), and getting into Punk Rock, old movies, and such I was listening to a Dennis Hopper interview he had done with Nardwuar. I knew of Nardwuar from an interview he did with Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in early 94’. Nirvana was the reason for my foray and serious interest in music and then film but anyway. In this interview Nardwuar loves to mention his native Canada, it just so happens Hopper had shot a film in Vancouver, called Out of the Blue. I’d never heard of this film and the Neil Young reference may or may not have been lost on me at the time. Nardwuar made explicit reference to the Pointed Sticks whom appear in the film (a pop punk band I now really enjoy). So I eventually Netflixed this film (through the mail) and saved a Friday night to watch it (I had plenty). The film was incredible, my 2nd Hooper directed film I’d see after Easy Rider. Needless to say the film floored me. At the time I loved the Sex Pistols and really dug the “fuck you” attitude of lead character Cebe. I must say I loved the film. I now sought after Pointed Sticks and Neil Young records. This wonderful little gem sat in my closet for years and maybe I’ll watch it in another decade when I’ve completely forgotten it. I once watched it again with a former friend who texted through most of it. I no longer hang out with him. Excellent film, check it out especially when you’re a teenager and hate every fucking thing. I’m not longer a teen but seem to be revisiting my attitude and feelings of 13-17 when I was at my most pissed. I might argue I’m still there.

Years and years pass…punk rock teaching continues…I branch out and explore more of music as a whole….don’t really limit myself to any one genre. I seek out the inspirations for the bands I like and go back as far as possible, now I’m a huge Iggy Pop and Velvet Underground fan. I’m in the home stretch for high school for junior/senior year. My interest/love in offbeat/obscure/renowned/foreign/gutter film continues. Seeking out as many movies as possible off the internet/Netflix/blockbuster/tape trading etc….Eventually I stumble across Gummo, little is known about it by me. It was mentioned several times in a most disturbing film thread and I often sought these films to see how bad they were. So eventually I seek it out and watch it alone one Friday/Saturday night. After watching it I knew I was a slightly new person. And the mother in the end seemed vaguely familiar. The film changed me mostly for the better and I was no longer a sheltered little Chicago boy, I had, through the film, a better understanding of humanity at its highs and lows. I mean Requiem made me feel lousy and all but this was more real and gutter, god knows what goes on in the backwoods ass parts of America. I still believe more in humanity over God but I could see how that would be difficult for many reasons. Regardless, I could write a paper on Gummo, probably not the Citizen Kane or Chinatown of an era but I’d call it a good film and worth seeing at worst. So this is probably 2007/2008.

Few more years pass…few college film classes done with. At this point I kept up with Criterion’s releases religiously as well as collected some. I once had over 100 DVDs but sold most of them on DVDTalk because I thought I was going to off myself or something. Kept the Criterion’s though…shows how gung ho I was about that endeavor… Anyhow I learn of Days of Heaven through the upcoming Criterion release and soon explore the man that is Terrence Malick. I first watched Badlands which had a very nice voice over narrative and visualized Starkweather for me. I didn’t know much about Charlie except for an excerpt in Please Kill Me where Legs McNeil compares him to Dee Dee Ramone and James Dean I think. The film is quite a nice delight and I still think about that black Cadillac Martin Sheen steals. There is something so visceral about his performance knowing exactly what he had done and what will happen to him in the end. Truly a man ahead of his time, kind of like that movie Ace in the Hole, a fucking classic also a Criterion. I probably wouldn’t know half of these movies if Criterion hadn’t released them. Lucky I started following whatever the hell they were releasing, despite not being able to afford many. Anyway so naturally next comes Days of Heaven and who do I see, the little girl from Out of the Blue! Same size and still she plays a child. Days is quite the beautiful film, few films offer such beauty that make up for lack of substance of story. Days is more impressionists and quite the film. I suddenly knew why people held Malick in such high regard. His two first films are exceptionally good. So now I finally learn this woman’s name and call it a day just wondering how she made it from Days of Heaven to Gummo to Out of the Blue! Just such an odd menagerie of films that I happen to all seek out no less! And she’s in all of them and very little else. What a coincidence I think…

Little is heard of hear from me for a while…more years go by…I continue seeking out film after film; eventually amass almost 500 DVD-R’s from Netflix. I would copy them and send them back the same day to get as many as possible. Aside from this however I find a nice forum of people preserving alternate edits and such of films and transferring Laserdisc extras to DVD that are no longer in print. I get a copy of The Game ripped from the Criterion Laserdisc with all the extras (along with Se7en in the same vein as well). Now this film drew me in right away, Michael Douglas as a very rich ass smart, sarcastic man who drives a BMW 750il. Anyway now in a scene he arrives at a home and a short woman answers the door smoking a cigarette. I knew it was none other than HER immediately and couldn’t believe how they fuck did she end up in this movie too! I knew then I would love the film before it even ended. As an aside I did like the movie. At this point I finally did some basic research on her including checking her imdb and Wikipedia page and just would often think how random and obscure is it I saw all these films she is in without even trying. She is in an odd but great mix of films how did she know to pick these and not some other crap? What a fabulous actress she is, I just thought I should document my strange unintended obsession with Linda Manz, an American actress.

So this is how I explored and discovered the majority of Linda Manz’s filmography. There will never be another actress with such a tight and interesting repertoire. She also appeared on the latest Ratatat album! At this point I knew I had to document how I find her in the most interesting/greatest places without even looking. I hope I see you again somewhere else without looking. I’m sure I could easily keep digital tabs on her but it just wouldn’t be any fun.