Archives for March 2010 | Varied Celluloid

Archive for March, 2010

Roger Corman Cult Classic Releases!

Posted by Josh Samford On March - 26 - 2010
No name in the cinematic phone book quite epitomizes the word American Cult quite like that of Roger Corman. The man has produced a true cacophony of cheaply made but well loved works that have established themselves throughout the cinematic landscape, and the good people at Shout Factory are doing the world a service and re-releasing a good number of films from his catalog. You have probably already heard about this, as the company has been heavily promoting their new Roger Corman Cult Classic series, but we now have some release information!

First up is The Ramones vehicle Rock & Roll High School which is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary with a special edition DVD and Bluray release! The special features are listed as such:
* New Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.85:1)
* Special Introduction And “Thank You” From Director Allan Arkush
* Audio Commentary With Director Allan Arkush, Producer Mike Finnell And Screenwriter Richard Whitley
* Audio Commentary With Roger Corman And Dey Young
* New Audio Commentary With Director Allan Arkush, P.J. Soles And Clint * Howard
* Back To School: A Retrospective Including All-New Interviews With Allan Arkush, Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Dey Young, Marky Ramone And More . . .
* Staying After Class: A Roundtable Interview With P.J. Soles, Vincent Van Patten And Dey Young
* Interview With Roger Corman Conducted By Leonard Maltin
* New Interview With Director Allan Arkush Including A Look At Rare, Behind-The-Scenes Stills From His Personal Collection
* Audio Outtakes From The Roxy – Audio Recording Of The Ramones Shooting The Final Scene
* Original Radio Ads And TV Spots
* Original Theatrical Trailer
* Original Theatrical Trailer With Commentary By writer/director/actor Eli Roth Courtesy Of Trailers from Hell.
* Additional Roger Corman Trailers
* And more TBA!

GET YOUR PRE-ORDERS FOR THE BLURAY IN AT AMAZON!

GET YOUR PRE-ORDERS FOR THE DVD IN AT AMAZON!

Also being released on DVD is the Punk rock study from Penelope Spheeris, Suburbia. Well regarded, this should turn out to be a worthy purchase as well! Special features look like so:

* New Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.85:1)

* Audio Commentary With Director Penelope Spheeris

* Audio Commentary With Producer Bert Dragin And Cast Members Jennifer Clay And Christina Beck

* Still Gallery

* Trailers




PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE DVD FROM AMAZON!

Keep your eyes peeled to Varied Celluloid, as we’ll be covering quite a few films from the Roger Corman Cult Classics series!

Blue Velvet Review

Posted by Josh Samford On March - 19 - 2010
Welcome back! I’ve actually been working a little bit here lately, so it’s been trickier to sit down and do web editing but hey – work is a good thing my friends! I’ve learned that much with all of my free time! Anyway, I did some writing on a film here that I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time. My first time tackling it was back in 2002 and was… well, it left a lot to be desired. So I decided that at this point, I might as well try and put what little talent I have towards getting this out there and now here we are with a review for David Lynch’s Blue Velvet! Hope you enjoy!

The Plot: Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle Maclachlan) is a fresh faced young man back in his home town of Lumberton after his father falls ill and is spending some time in the hospital. While strolling, on one of his regular visits to his father, he stumbles upon a severed human ear just sitting in the forest. He takes the severed appendage to the local police and they assure him that they will get right on top of the situation. When Jeffrey decides to follow up on the ear, by visiting the Sheriff in his own home, he meets his lovely daughter Sandy (Laura Dern) who clues Jeffrey into the gossip about local singer Dorothy Vallens (Issabella Rossellini) who appears to be mixed up in some rather dark situations. Jeffrey eventually sneaks into Dorothy’s apartment and discovers her situation is more sinister than anyone could have envisioned. She has a husband and a son who are both being held hostage by the psychotic gangster Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) who uses her for sexual purposes. As Jeffrey slowly delves further into this world of dark forces, he slowly loses his grip on the sunny and peaceful Lumberton that he grew up with.






CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

Blue Velvet

Posted by Josh Samford On March - 19 - 2010
The Plot: Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle Maclachlan) is a fresh faced young man back in his home town of Lumberton after his father falls ill and is spending some time in the hospital. While strolling, on one of his regular visits to his father, he stumbles upon a severed human ear just sitting in the forest. He takes the severed appendage to the local police and they assure him that they will get right on top of the situation. When Jeffrey decides to follow up on the ear, by visiting the Sheriff in his own home, he meets his lovely daughter Sandy (Laura Dern) who clues Jeffrey into the gossip about local singer Dorothy Vallens (Issabella Rossellini) who appears to be mixed up in some rather dark situations. Jeffrey eventually sneaks into Dorothy’s apartment and discovers her situation is more sinister than anyone could have envisioned. She has a husband and a son who are both being held hostage by the psychotic gangster Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) who uses her for sexual purposes. As Jeffrey slowly delves further into this world of dark forces, he slowly loses his grip on the sunny and peaceful Lumberton that he grew up with.





The Review
I originally had a review written for Blue Velvet back when this site first opened its doors in 2003, but I actually put it on the side as my writing just wasn’t up the standards that I think the film ultimately deserves. Truthfully, I think the content was a bit over my ability to grasp and put into words. Truthfully, it probably still is. After another recent viewing of the film though,I feel compelled to discuss it. David Lynch is a filmmaker that demands a lot from his viewers. He asks for your patience, he asks you to be open minded and in some cases he asks you for your sanity so that he can dispose of it. Blue Velvet came off the heels of Dune, a project that Lynch still feels a pretty sore about to this day, and reflects his attempt at creating a piece of art while also paying more heed to the general laws of cinematic technique than he would in later years. While not conventional in the least, just by comparison you might think that Blue Velvet is a more toned down work, but just as in the movie, things are not as they seem.

The opening sequence, aside from being absolutely brilliant in its simplicity it’s also very important to understanding the film. It essentially tells us everything there is to know about Blue Velvet and the ideas it looks to convey. Lynch starts things off by showing off the town of Lumberton, where the film takes place, with its series of white picket fences and the serene landscape where a fireman waves at us from the side of his fire truck. We see a man watering his flowers with a hose, his dog hovering in the background, but as we draw closer the man grabs at his head and falls to the ground. The audio becomes a sound-scape of odd pitches and noises, as the dog bites at the water firing from the water hose. The camera then zooms into the wet grass, where we discover that underneath this serene image lies a cavalcade of insects. A chaotic scene of violence, as we see these beings all fighting and snapping. All of this beneath the dull scenery. From there David Lynch expounds on this allegory and takes it into different and perverse directions, exploring the human existence and ultimately making one of the best films of his career.

Blue Velvet is a film that deals in slow revelations. Following in the foot steps of that opening shot, the entire movie could be seen as a larger version of the same metaphor. When we first meet Jeffrey Beaumont, he’s tossing rocks while walking through a country shortcut. He is the perfect snapshot of Americana. Tall, dark, handsome and full of boyhood naivete. When he discovers the dismembered ear, just lying in the dirt, it’s a confrontation for him unlike anything he’s ever faced up close and personal. I enjoy these early scenes with Jeffrey more as I’ve grown as a viewer, because I see now what Lynch was doing. Generally, in the first thirty minutes of the film – everything seems a bit ‘off”. The performances come across as shelled and lacking in emotion, stilted even. There’s a scene where Jeffrey brings the ear he has found to the sheriff who simply looks at the piece of flesh and comments “Yes. That’s an ear.” without the slightest bit of hesitation or surprise in his voice. This is a bizarre Ozzie & Harriet style universe that we’re introduced to early on in the film, but as we root along through the underbelly of this city – things become more realistic the darker things get; presenting the abnormality and falsehood that the pleasant and wholesome outer surface of Lumberton truly is.

Blue Velvet is ultimately a film about themes, dealing with the faces we hide from the public and there’s certainly some commentary within about repressed sexuality and desires. That is actually one aspect up until this point I haven’t talked about, as the sexuality in my opinion is needlessly considered “controversial”. Roger Ebert was actually very offended in his initial review for the film upon its release, saying that Isabella Rossellini was exploited and brandished about with no decent reasoning. I could not possibly disagree more and I’d like to hope that Roger has changed his mind on the film at this point, seeing just the type of filmmaker that David Lynch has went on to become. Truthfully, if you’ve ever seen a naked woman or a man before, then there’s really nothing that shocking within Blue Velvet. The sex isn’t graphic and generally the violence isn’t either, but it most certainly is cold and rather disturbing. Much like the mad man that is Frank Booth.

Really, you have to comment on Dennis Hopper’s performance here. The character of Frank Booth is not three dimensional or well rounded, but what he lacks in emotional depth he more than makes up for in explosiveness. When Hopper steps in a scene, the screen is blown apart by violence. He tears the film apart with his manic presence, bringing chaos to every scene he is in. Every conversation the character has is awkward and ultimately ends with him shouting or going insane, before taking a deep inhalation from his oxygen mask. What is he inhaling? I have no idea, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s just another one of these perverse elements that bring us the creature that is Frank Booth. The rest of the cast are all equally great in their roles, especially Rossellini, who manages to not be overshadowed by the insanity that Hopper delivers.

The Trivia
  • Robert Loggia, who later went on to play another one of David Lynch’s psychotic creations “Mr. Eddy” in Lost Highway, was originally very interested in playing the role of Frank.

  • Made in the wake of Dune, which showed David Lynch being forced into a more commercial setting, Blue Velvet would turn out to be a controversial and divisive film that split critics and had to be distributed by a secondary company created by Dino De Laurentis.

  • The role of Frank was originally offered to Harry Dean Stanton, an actor that Lynch would subsequently work with on frequent occasions.


  • The Conclusion
    There’s really not a whole lot that I can say about Blue Velvet that hasn’t been said before, in much better terms, but if my opinion means anything of consequence to you as a reader take this bit of advice into consideration when watching: observe everything. When Lynch is at his best creatively, he makes films that get better upon subsequent viewings and Blue Velvet is certainly such an example. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a divisive film to say the least but if you have the patience and you are of the right temperment; it can deliver so much to the viewer. It gets my highest rating and my greatest recommendation, five out of five.



    Save the Green Planet Review

    Posted by Josh Samford On March - 11 - 2010
    Hey everybody! Back with another bit of Asian cinema for you all! The modern, and truly bizarre, South Korean science fiction film: Save the Green Planet! A gem of a title, it throws you in many different directions to the point that you’re not sure where you’re heading. Definitely check out this review and the film as well if you haven’t seen it!

    The Plot: Byeong-gu (Shin Ha-kyun) is an expert on extra-terrestrials, but his conviction in his beliefs far out-do those of your average internet conspiracy buff. He believes aliens are walking amongst us and have taken our form, but he alone has been able to spot those who come from Andromeda. His simple and slightly dumpy wife has recently been brought on board for his conspiracies, and believes anything that her honey tells her. Byeong sets his sight on a corporate CEO who seems to fit all the right aesthetics of being one of these Andromeda beings, and without too much trouble manages to kidnap the man and lock him up inside of his basement. When the man awakens, he is angered and has no idea what Byeong-gu is talking about, but that doesn’t stop the subsequent testing that appears more like torture. Byeong can not be bartered with and simply refuses to believe anything other than what he perceives as the truth. Outside of the basement, a pair of police officers who are generally laughed at within the station are actually making some room in the hunt for this kinapping foe. Will they be able to make it in time to save the man or will Byeong-gu do something that might get him into even worse trouble?






    CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

    Save the Green Planet

    Posted by Josh Samford On March - 11 - 2010
    The Plot: Byeong-gu (Shin Ha-kyun) is an expert on extra-terrestrials, but his convictions far out-do those of your average internet conspiracy buff. He believes aliens are walking amongst us and have taken our form, but he alone has been able to spot those who come from Andromeda. His simple and slightly dumpy wife has recently been brought on board for his conspiracies, and believes anything that her honey tells her. Byeong sets his sight on a corporate CEO who seems to fit all the right aesthetics of being one of these Andromeda beings, and without too much trouble manages to kidnap the man and lock him up inside of his basement. When the man awakens, he is angered and has no idea what Byeong-gu is talking about, but that doesn’t stop the subsequent testing that appears more like torture. Byeong can not be bartered with and simply refuses to believe anything other than what he perceives as the truth. Outside of the basement, a pair of police officers who are generally laughed at within the station are actually making some progress in the hunt for this kidnapping foe. Will they be able to make it in time to save the man or will Byeong-gu do something that might get him into even worse trouble?






    The Review
    South Korean cinema really exploded into world wide fan consciousness in the late nineties and has been on a rampage ever since, with the genre-film market being fully covered. There have been art house flicks (The Isle), romantic comedies (My Sassy Girl) and of course there have been horror pictures (A Tale of Two Sisters). So, with all of the bases loaded, there would have to be a Science Fiction film mixed in the bunch! Yet, in much the same way that every genre has been turned on its head within the South Korean film market; Save the Green Planet is about as far from a conventional Science Fiction flick as you are going to find. Truthfully, it’s arguably not EVEN a work of Science Fiction. So, just what does that make Save the Green Planet? Since finishing the movie thirty minutes ago, I’ve been trying to piece that together in my head as well. Although not a surrealist piece of arthouse cinema, the complexities and strange ingredients that make up the film are enough to confound any viewer.

    Partially a thriller, partially a comedy – Save the Green Planet is another sterling example of what I have enjoyed so much about South Korean cinema. The more famous, or popular, films from South Korea often take ideas or themes from Hollywood productions and twist them in such a way that not only do they reflect a socially valid view of contemporary Korean life, but they also twist and turn the limits of what is permitted within the confines of whatever genre they are working in. Rarely will you see a South Korean movie appear as bland or run-of-the-mill as your average Hollywood production, even amongst the most mainstream of work. This comes from a base, or maybe even a market of receptive viewers, that simply refuses to conform to cliche territory. Films like Shiri took on the Hollywood pot boiler, My Sassy Girl gave the romantic comedy a swift kick in the backside by being appealing to both sexes and Save the Green Planet takes the world of Science Fiction and mixes it in with both a comedic twist, as well as a distortion of the serial killer genre. What you’re left with is a compelling, and epically strange, piece of cinema.

    I have mentioned it considerably at this point, but this isn’t a movie that can be held down into any one genre. It is a strange ride that takes you on a strange voyage through so many emotional states. The cover art for the DVD elicits the idea that you’re in for a joyous or light hearted affair, but nothing could be further from the truth. The first twenty minutes might also clue you into this fact, because it comes off as a quirky little title about a confused man who kidnaps an executive. However, confused or not, quirky or not – when driven by an idea, no matter how silly it may be, people can be monstrous. This turns out to be one of the main themes, as we watch this character who obsesses over UFO’s make the switch from being a likable protagonist who has got himself mixed up in something that seems above his head – into something that is considerably less likeable. Something almost evil, but at the same time pathetic. This is where the power of the film comes into play and this crux that it rests upon is solid enough to support these wide range of ideas that the filmmaker throws at those of us in the audience.

    This character and the emotional ride that he goes along with, is reflective of what we the audience are forced to endure. Save the Green Planet is a dark film. The cinematography is dark, there’s brutal violence and it covers some very disturbing themes. However, it is engaging in every twist and turn. With a split narrative that follows the police as they hunt down our UFO tracking protagonist (who may very well be our antagonist as well), the film crafts a nearly two hour length that does fall to a few lulls in the action every now and then, but the blitzkrieg of information that abounds the audience in the final reel and the speedy opening sequence will keep your attention easily.

    The Conclusion
    I can’t say that this is a film for anyone but a very select audience, but for those who are open minded enough and can recognize honest and interesting cinema; this is absolutely worth searching out. I feel ashamed that I have had it sitting around for years now without having watched it. I give it a solid four out of five, and hope that you’ll take this bizarre South Korean trip… somewhere, over the rainbow!



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    Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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