Monday, January 16, 2012

A double movie report

I saw Videodrome back in 1983 when it first came out. I was pretty stoned when I saw it but I remember thinking that it was mindblowingly cool and Debbie Harry was even sexier than I had ever imagined in my feverish imagination. I saw it again the other day when the cold winter winds howled and it's still one of the most mindbendingly cool films ever. And Ms. Harry is still insanely sexy.

James Woods plays a skeevy TV executive who works for a tiny yet provocative TV station that broadcasts everything, as one character in the film says, "...from soft core porn to hard core violence." By chance he sees a snippet of a broadcast of a show called 'Videodrome' and his life is changed forever. Reality and hallucination begin to mix in his mind, and ours as well, until we don't know what's real in the film and what he is hallucinating. It's all very twisty and turny and I'm not sure what we're supposed to believe by the end of it all. Was the whole story a product of his imagination? Was none of it real? Was some of it? Either way, it's all very interesting, gory, and sexy at times.

Even though some of the film is really dated now, VCR's and video cassettes are featured prominently throughout, it holds up really well. This is highly recommended.

Green Grow the Rushes is exactly the kind of gentle comedy that made the British film industry a giant of the 1950's and '60's. And it's precisely the kind of gentle character study that would never ever get made today, especially if that asshole the Prime Minister of Britain gets his way.

This sweet little film tells the story of a small British coastal community that was given a special dispensation by King Henry the Third to elect their own magistrates, enforce their own laws, and to levy their own taxes, basically they're an autonomous province in all but name only. So for hundreds of years this corner of Britain got to do things their own way and as a result some of the residents have taken to smuggling and other slightly dodgy ways to make money. The powers that be can't let well enough alone and they investigate the little marsh community in order to bring it in line with the rest of modern post WW2 Britain and inevitably they clash with the locals and hilarity ensues. It's all very low key and very British, which means there's more than a touch of class consciousness and the like. It's all very effective and endearingly fun as well.

Richard Burton is impossibly handsome in this film and Honor Blackman, best known in the USA for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, is super sexy in an innocent way in the movie as well. But the real comic performance that rocks this film is that of Roger Livesey as Capt. Biddle. His timing is impeccable and his dry as dust slightly crooked sea captain performance is a thing of beauty.

I highly recommend this beautifully shot black and white beauty.


Professor Chaos said...

Weird. I just happened to watch Videodrome the other day on Netflix. At least i think I did.

Lazarus Lupin said...

Videodrome is classic Croenberg. He is the most cold and distant person to regularly deal with sensuality on film. Good review on your blog.

Lazarus Lupin

Lazarus Lupin said...