After so many films I think I can finally summarize just what it is that Rollin is doing in these movies that I find so enthralling - and it's that he's creating a cinema that's one of the purest distillations of a classical aesthetic of death and decay I know of. So many of the images he composes are drawn from a deep tradition, a kind of collective unconscious that he feeds on to inspire feelings of the sublime, to…
La Cérémonie 1995
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
One of the big problems with the way I review movies is that I usually do so not long after seeing them, almost always on the same night, so my reviews aren't so much my congealed thoughts about a film as much as they are my first, unformed impressions, the stuff that I was immediately thinking about after I finished the film and while experiencing it for the first time. Oftentimes that's fine, and nothing much changes or occurs to…
Reflections in a Golden Eye 1967
Bizarre hothouse melodrama of its time, full of homoerotic sexual repression and shot in (sometimes drained looking) sepia. Huston has always been hit or miss with me and this one tilts towards the latter, never really managing to find a consistent tone or through line as interesting as it can be in its surreal and unique style; Elizabeth Taylor's performance is mostly like an imitation of her Tennessee Williams' efforts while Brando's is roughly the same ratio as most of his other films from this era and past the 1950s in general (i.e. 95% bunk, 5% inspired flashes of imagination and talent). The ending is risible.
The Incident 1967
Another of those films that brought to mind that J.G. Ballard quote about how his aim with his work was to "rub humanity's face in its own vomit and force it to look into the mirror", because The Incident sets out to show the very worst instincts of society all confined within the space of a NYC subway car at the end of the 1960s. Two young ne'er-do-wells, played by Tony Musante and Martin Sheen (in his first ever performance)…
The Piano Teacher 2001
Back in the days of the Old Hollywood there was a whole subgenre of the woman's picture that revolved around women essentially coded as spinsters/sexually repressed discovering themselves and their potential for romance, in Hays Code friendly ways of course - think Now, Voyager especially as the ur-example of this. At first this film hints that it might be a kind of modern take on the same material, and it is certainly a film about deepset sexual neurosis, but it…
The Children's Hour 1961
Mary Tilford vs Veda Pierce deathmatch for the title of most loathable child in cinema