Six Men Getting Sick

My Neighbor Totoro
August 27, 2008, 00:02
Filed under: 1980`s

Info: In the world of Hayao Miyazaki, the curiosity of two sisters drives the narrative for a story that seems created purely for the sake of whimsical pleasure. There are no villains, and the family actually cares for each other. What’s more, the imagination of little girls in the natural and spiritual world is encouraged and celebrated. While unheard of in an American animated adventure, all these elements create a joyous family film that is lighthearted fun for children, yet full of enough nuance to please an adult audience. With Miyazaki’s hand-drawn style of sweeping backgrounds and fuzzy creatures, the simple exploration of a backyard is transformed into a magical journey. Unlike typical Disney films, the children’s antics never seem contrived or fall into the battle-against-adults story line. My Neighbor Totoro embraces the creativity inherent in a little girl’s play time, while honoring it with the subtle details of a dramatic work. The features of Totoro and the Cat Bus are rendered lovingly, and the family is portrayed as a positive and comforting presence. However, My Neighbor Totoro is not a sugar-coated fantasy; some scenes portray the very real-life fears of being alone at night at a bus stop and being separated from an ill loved one. There are also some humorous bits that reveal a careful observation of children, as well as some genuinely inspiring moments in keeping with the ecological themes Miyazaki frequently returns to. This film does not suffer from a lack of conflict; it succeeds as an adventure fueled by the innocence and wonder of a little girl.

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August 21, 2008, 15:27
Filed under: 1990`s

Info: A post-apocalyptic future becomes the setting for pitch black humor in this visually intricate French comedy called Delicatessen. The action takes place within a single apartment complex, which is owned by the same man that operates the downstairs butcher shop. It’s a particularly popular place to live, thanks to the butcher’s uncanny ability to find excellent cuts of meat despite the horrible living conditions outside. The newest building superintendent, a former circus clown, thinks he has found an ideal living situation. All that changes, however, when he discovers the true source of the butcher’s meat, and that he may be the next main course. This dark tale is played out in a brilliantly designed, glorious surreal alternate world reminiscent of the works of director Terry Gilliam, who co-presented the film’s American release. Like Gilliam, co-directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro hail from an animation background, and have a fondness for extravagant visuals, absurdist plot twists, and a sense of humor that combines sharp satire with broad slapstick and gross-out imagery. This mixture may displease the weak of stomach, but those attuned to the film’s sensibility will be delighted by the obvious technical virtuosity and wicked sense of humor.

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Forbidden Zone
August 17, 2008, 17:07
Filed under: 1980`s

Info: Forbidden Zone is a 1982 musical comedy film based upon the stage performances of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. The film stars Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell and members of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and features appearances by Warhol Superstar Viva, Joe Spinell and The Kipper Kids. Originally shot on black-and-white film, the story of Forbidden Zone involves an alternate universe accessed through a door in the house of the Hercules family. Directed by Richard Elfman, who cowrote the film with fellow Mystic Knights member Matthew Bright, it was the first film scored by Danny Elfman. The film was completed in twenty one days over a period of ten months with minimum production costs and Villechaize being the only actor paid for the film.

Forbidden Zone was made as an attempt to capture the essence of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo’s live performances on film, and also as a means for both Richard Elfman to retire from music to work on film projects, and to serve as a transition between Oingo Boingo’s former cabaret style and a New Wave-based style. Amidst negative reactions to content in the film that had been perceived as being offensive, the film was screened as a midnight movie, received positive notice, and developed a cult following. In 2004, the film was digitally restored, and in 2008, the film was colorized.

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Cinema Paradiso
August 15, 2008, 18:05
Filed under: 1980`s

Info: Cinema Paradiso offers a nostalgic look at films and the effect they have on a young boy who grows up in and around the title village movie theater in this Italian comedy drama that is based on the life and times of screenwriter/director Giuseppe Tornatore. The story begins in the present as a Sicilian mother pines for her estranged son, Salvatore, who left many years ago and has since become a prominent Roman film director who has taken the advice of his mentor too literally. He finally returns to his home village to attend the funeral of the town’s former film projectionist, Alfredo, and, in so doing, embarks upon a journey into his boyhood just after WWII when he became the man’s official son. In the dark confines of the Cinema Paradiso, the boy and the other townsfolk try to escape from the grim realities of post-war Italy. The town censor is also there to insure nothing untoward appears onscreen, invariably demanding that all kissing scenes be edited out. One day, Salvatore saves Alfredo’s life after a fire, and then becomes the new projectionist. A few years later, Salvatore falls in love with a beautiful girl who breaks his heart after he is inducted into the military. Thirty years later, Salvatore has come to say goodbye to his life-long friend, who has left him a little gift in a film can. In 2002, over a decade after the film’s original release, Tornatore brought the original 170-minute director’s cut to American screens for the first time.

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August 15, 2008, 10:24
Filed under: 1980`s

Info: An art-house circuit sensation, this feature-length documentary is visually arresting and possesses a clear, pro-environmental political agenda. Without a story, dialogue, or characters, Koyaanisqatsi (1983) (the film’s title is a Hopi word roughly translated into English as “life out of balance”) is composed of nature imagery, manipulated in slow motion, double exposure or time lapse, juxtaposed with footage of humans’ devastating environmental impact on the planet. Starting with an ancient rock wall painting, the film moves through sequences depicting clouds, waves, and other natural features, then into man-made landscapes such as buildings, earth-altering construction machinery, and cars. The message of director Godfrey Reggio is clear: humans are destroying the planet, and all of human progress is pointlessly foolish. Also notable for its intense, atmospheric score by new age composer Philip Glass, Koyaanisqatsi (1983) was a labor of love for Reggio, who spent several years filming it. The film was followed by sequels, Powaqqatsi (1988), Anima Mundi (1991) and Naqoyqatsi (1999).

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August 14, 2008, 11:55
Filed under: 1980`s

Info: The title of this David Cronenberg sci-fi horror film, Scanners, refers to a group of people who have telekinetic powers that allow them to read minds and give them the ability to make other people’s heads explode. The children of a group of women who took an experimental tranquilizer during their pregnancies, the scanners are now adults and have become outcasts from society. But Darryl decides to create an army of scanners to take over the world. The only person who can stop him is his brother Cameron, who wants to forget that he was ever a scanner. Winner of the International Fantasy Film Award at the 1983 Fantasporto Film Festival, Scanners was followed by a pair of sequels, neither of which involved Cronenberg.

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Breathless (original title: A Bout De Souffle)
August 12, 2008, 16:06
Filed under: 1960`s

Info: The first feature film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and one of the seminal films of the French New Wave, Breathless (original title: A Bout De Souffle) is a story of the love between Michel Poiccard, a small-time hood wanted for killing a cop, and Patricia Franchini, an American who sells the International Herald Tribune along the boulevards of Paris. Their relationship develops as Michel hides out from a dragnet. Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts, deliberate “mismatches” between shots, and references to the history of cinema, art, and music. Much of the film’s vigor comes from collisions between popular and high culture: Godard shows us pinups and portraits of women by Picasso and Renoir, and the soundtrack includes both Mozart’s clarinet concerto and snippets of French pop radio. When Breathless was first released, audiences and critics responded to the burst of energy it gave the French cinema; it won numerous international awards and became an unexpected box-office sensation when it was released in 1960.

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