Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Friday, February 29, 2008

Hot three-way (review) action

The opening scene of Belle de Jour is one of the most clever scenes I can remember seeing. At first, it's a normal scene of marital discontent; then, it's a horrifying scene of domestic abuse, as the woman's husband has the coach drivers carry her into the woods, tie her up, and then (presumably) rape her; it gets a lot more interesting when the woman seems to be into it; and finally, it's revealed that this is all a dream (or a fantasy) by the wife. Director Luis Bunuel seems to have tapped into the forbidden nature of transgressive female sexuality in the 60s -- a wife wasn't expected to like sex, much less have hot dreams about being tied up and raped by strangers.

But the rest of the film sorely fails to live up to the promise in the first scene. The young wife, Severine (played by a radiant Catherine Deneuve -- she's always beautiful, but her skin seems exceptionally smooth and bright in this film), won't have sex with her husband, but after she hears about a brothel in the middle of Paris, she goes there and gets hired as Belle de Jour in order to live out her fantasies. It's never quite explained why she won't have sex with her husband, but nevertheless, the movie turns into an episode of Law and Order: SVU after Severine falls for a young thug who comes to see her at the brothel all the time. It's almost as if she's punished for expressing her sexuality the way she does, a move I would expect from a morality piece, but not from Bunuel. The final scene moves away from that moralistic judgement of Severine, but not enough to turn my opinion competely.


There's no way I could try to defend The Gore Gore Girls as a good movie. Instead, it's relatively entertaining and the epitome of all things H.G. Lewis. The story of a strip club (sort of, the girls are almost never topless and certainly never bottomless) that's being tormented by the brutal murders of their dancers, reporter (maybe? maybe he's just a gent who likes solving mysteries?) Abraham Gentry is recruited for $20,000 by young, hot Nancy Weston from a local newspaper to solve the mystery. I could have sworn that Gentry was supposed to be gay, because he seems really averse to women and is quite the dandy in mannerisms, but the final scene begs not.

Anyway, you don't watch a H.G. Lewis film for plot or believeable characters or any of that. The gore is here in full-effect, the goriest Lewis film ever (one of the first rated-X horror films, apparently), and even though it doesn't look real, there's still face-ironing, bare asses being tenderized, an eye gouged, put back in the head, and then taken out again, and much more. It's funny and gross at the same time. So if you can bear some of the worst acting ever (I prefer the ridiculous over-acters to the ones that don't seem like they know they're in a movie) and definitely the worst stripping ever (weirdo dancing to circus music for five minutes that isn't remotely sexy), The Gore Gore Girls is for you.


By the same token, there's no way I can defend I Know Who Killed Me as a good movie. Maybe there's something about horror movies about strippers that just doesn't work? But for the same reasons I didn't mind watching The Eye remake, I had a good, mindless time watching this one -- and I even watched it all at once (which I don't often do, to be honest). Reason one: I like Lindsay Lohan. I don't know why. I always have, and I was sincerely disappointed when she had that bad summer last year. But she seems to be (more) on track these days, even if she did just win the Razzie for worst actress. I didn't think she was terrible here, a bit out of it in some scenes, but mostly pretty competent. Plus, the girl is pretty hot. Reason two: when it comes to horror/thrillers, I am pretty easily entertained. This movie has some of the biggest plot holes I've ever encountered, and is truly one of those films that's best if you don't think about it at all after you watch it, but there's still some thrills and some really gross gore. So if you're like me, and you can zone out to just about any horror film, get yourself a double bill of The Gore Gore Girls and I Know Who Killed Me. It'll be a fun night (especially with a few beers).


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