Back in the days when there were video stores, you’d find 1977’s Chatterbox in a faded box stuffed on a dusty shelf alongside Roller Boogie and Slammer Girls . Released by ubiquitous B-movie merchants Vestron Video, Chatterbox isn’t good or bad enough to be a cult hit or sexy enough to be a softcore pud tugger. One would think a movie about a singing vagina would have one or two money shots, but no, not even a closeup of a lip syncing labia. What it does have is Tarantino’s favorite sex kitten Candice Rialson (Candy Stripe Nurses, Hollywood Boulevard, Summer School Teachers) in the role of Penny and the erotically challenged Rip Taylor and Professor Irwin Corey.
Chatterbox isn’t a total bust as you will see in the following clip where Penny’s vagina (named Virginia and dressed in what appears to be one Liberace’s fur coats) belts out a show tune, “Cock-a-Doodle-Doo,” accompanied by a bunch of Studio 54 bartenders in molting bird costumes. It all comes to a mindboggling climax on a giant spinning donut.
Lift up your skirt and sing along if you like.
A DM reader brought to my attention that it’s Rip Taylor’s birthday today. Happy birthday Rip!
French special effects genius Geoffrey Niquet collaborated with Gaspar Noe on the creation of the mindblowingly wonderful Enter The Void. Here’s a clip that shows the multi-layered visuals that were composed for the film. It’s like looking through a glass onion. For those of you have seen the movie, this will be a reminder of its loveliness. For those of you who haven’t experienced the Void, this will tantalize and perhaps compel you to see it.
The phrase “they don’t make movies like that anymore” is an apt description of Gaspar Noe’s psychedelic epic Enter The Void. When was the last time a movie directed by a major film maker was created with the sole intention of blowing your mind, not merely with special effects but with grand metaphysical aspirations? In attempting to replicate what he imagines as being the stages the soul passes through after bodily death, Noe has created a magnificent head trip that recalls the visual scope and poetry of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the pataphysical leaps of spiritual fantasy that infuse the similarly lysergic El Topo. The fact that Noe had cutting edge digital technology at his disposal and knows how to use it makes Enter The Void not only a provocative intellectual experience but a ravishingly visual one as well. But it must it must be seen on the big screen…uncut.
Noe has experimented with psychoactive substances since he was a teenager. More recently, he went to Peru to experiment with Ayahuasca. The psychedelic experience not only informs Enter The Void, it ISEnter The Void. The subject of the film is the film. Noe understands what few contemporary movie directors understand: film is a chemical with the potential of being alchemical. Of all forms of art, film can best approximate dreaming or visionary states of consciousness. Enter The Void aspires to nothing less than altering your brain chemistry. And as much as a movie can, it succeeds. I staggered out of a screening of Enter The Void like someone coming down from an extended DMT trip. It took me a few minutes to orient myself well enough to drive my car. And other than seeing the film, I hadn’t had anything stronger than one glass of wine. I noticed that groups of people leaving the film seemed likewise in a daze, many of them laughing giddily like stoned freaks.
Enter The Void is not perfect. It is repetitive at times and probably 20 minutes too long (though I was never bored). Noe claims 2001 as an influence and like that film the performances in Void are often stiff and unconvincing. But the acting is hardly the centerpiece of Noe’s film. Afterall, the main character is a disembodied spirit.
Noe goes for sensation over narrative rigor. He loves constructing lavish and lurid spectacles that are charged with sex and and shot from weirdly skewed perspectives. It’s not all tryptamine, there’s opium in there too. And like another one of his heroes, Kenneth Anger, Noe likes to play with the dark side. For all of its soulful yearning, the movie has scenes of transgression and horror (a gutwrenching car wreck) every bit as disturbing as Noe’s Irreversible and I Stand Alone - two films that on the surface are profane, but at heart deeply religious.
Enter The Void is haunted by the ghosts of the dead and the living dead. In its depiction of the afterlife as just another dimension of this life, the movie blurs the distinctions between living and dying. Throughout the film there are references to the “Tibetan Book Of The Dead” (almost comically so) and it seems that Noe is passing through his own Bardo planes as an artist, traveling through darkness to get to light. Noe explores the idea of the soul in transition like a man possessed. There is a sense of spiritual urgency in Enter The Void that recalls the beatitudes of a Carl Dreyer’s The Passion Of Joan Of Arc. Only this time it’s day-glo.
In my reverie over Enter The Void, I’ve failed to discuss the amazing technical accomplishments of the film. Put simply: the film is a visual marvel unlike anything I’ve ever seen…on a screen. The camera is in constant motion, following the action from every perspective imaginable, from heaven above to inside the womb. There’s a jawdropping shot of a penis from the point of view of the interior of a woman’s vagina. I laughed to myself imagining what it would have looked like in 3D. The wet neon of Tokyo at night is gorgeously shot by Benoît Debie. Color, lighting and set design blend in an orgy of eye candy that makes most Hollywood films look like they were shot a century ago using cameras powered by steam. With shuddering surround sound, the whole experience is like being immersed in a hot tub full of peyote tea.
Gaspar Noe wants to fuck you in the head until your brain cums and in Enter The Void he gets some long strokes in.
Enter The Void is being released on DVD and Blu-ray January 25. I strongly recommend you see it on the big screen. But if that’s not possible, you can buy it here. There are several cuts of the film that have been released. It appears that the DVD is the 160 minute version I saw. At this time, that’s the definitive version.
Update: The 160 minute cut of Enter The Void will have its first theatrical run in New York City at the IFC Center from January 14 through January 20. The film will also play at The Landmark Nuart Theater in Los Angeles on January 21 for a special midnight showing.
Peter Yates has died. Along with his many accomplishments as a film maker, Yates will be fondly remembered among action fanatics for his groundbreaking direction of one of the baddest badass car chases in the history of cinema. Watch the clip from Bullit below and be amazed.
Yates directed two of my alltime favorite films: Breaking Away and The Friends Of Eddie Coyle. When he was on his game, he was among the best.
4-time Oscar nominee Peter Yates—who helmed such celebrated and dissimilar films as Bullitt, The Friends Of Eddie Coyle, Breaking Away, Suspect, and The Dresser—has passed away in London after a long illness. He was 82. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he was a stage actor before working as an assistant director for Tony Richardson. Yates’ feature directorial debut was the early 1960s low-budget Summer Holiday (1963) with Cliff Richard And The Shadows. He soon graduated to the 1967 crime thriller Robbery, a fictionalized version of Britain’s The Great Train Robbery. It was a short jump to his first American film, Bullitt (1968), starring Steve McQueen in one of the definitive cop movies of all time thanks to that car chase through the streets of San Francisco. Other films he directed included John and Mary (1969), Murphy’s War (1971), The Hot Rock (1972), For Pete’s Sake (1974), The Deep (1977), Eyewitness (1981), The Dresser (1983), Krull (1983), Eleni (1985), Suspect (1987), The House on Carroll Street (1988), An Innocent Man (1989), Year of the Comet (1992), Roommates (1995), and Curtain Call (1999). He earned two Oscar nominations (director and producer) for Breaking Away, and another two (director and producer) for The Dresser.
For a fascinating inside look on how the car chase in Bullitt was created click here.
Bullitt starring Steve McQueen. No CGI, just great cinematography, editing and stunt driving.
My Best Friend’s Birthday is the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino. Shot in 1984 for $5000, the rough cut was 70 minutes long before a fire at the processing lab destroyed all but 36 minutes of the film. It’s never been officially released.
Co-written with Craig Hamaan and photographed by Roger Avery, My Best Friend’s Birthday stars a motley collection of Tarantino’s video store co-workers and friends from acting class.
The stylistic foundations upon which Quentin built his career -Scorsese, Godard, Cassavetes, blaxpoitation and rock and roll - are evident in this clumsy but fun little flick. And the dialog is unmistakably what was later to become known as Tarantinoesque.
Here’s an excerpt from the 1990 punk melodrama Kiss Napoleon Goodbye directed by Babeth Mondini-VanLoo (who filmed Teenage Jesus & The Jerks in the 1970s) and written by Lydia Lunch. It was filmed by the legendary Mike Kuchar and stars Lunch, Henry Rollins and Don Bajema.
An ex lover drives a wedge between a couple trying to rekindle their love. At the core of this plot is a story that delves in topics like jealously, rage and obsession.
Douglas Sirk gone goth or a No Wave telenovela, I’m guessing everyone had their tongues firmly implanted in their cheeks (and each other’s) during the making of this bizarre potboiler.
You can buy the DVD of Kiss Napoleon Goodbye here.
Another clip from Kiss Napoleon Goodbye after the jump…
It appears as if Amazon reviewers are having a good ol’ time writing reviews for Carrot Top’s 1998 film Chairman of the Board. I’ve never seen Chairman of the Board, but my God are some of these reviews absolutely hilarious.
“I have one word to describe the experience of seeing this movie - floored. Not since “Becket” with Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole (chronicling the unsteady friendship between Henry II and the Archbishop of Canterbury in 12th century England)have I been so impressed with performances by two actors. Larry Miller plays the antagonist with such deft nuance a lesser critic would swear he couldn’t act, until the climax arises wherein he chews scenery until his gums bleed. Carrot Top steals scenes and hearts with a continuous stream of hijinks, tomfoolery, and shenanigans that makes us laugh until we realize at the end of the movie that he’s also taught us how to love.”
“This story is just gripping and takes you on an emotional roller coaster you could only simulate if your cat died, followed by intercourse with Pam Anderson, followed by an infomercial on Tony Robbins, topped off with a Pizza Party thrown at your house by Jay Leno. I was so emotionally spent after this film, I called in sick to work for the next 5 days. Do yourself a favor and see this masterpiece.”
Read more reviews of Chairman of the Board after the jump…
James Dean interviewed by actor Gig Young for an episode of the Warner Bros. Presents TV show during the filming of Giant, and just thirteen days before his untimely death at the age of 24 on September 30, 1955. It says all over the web that this is an speeding PSA, but that’s not accurate, although they do discuss the topic. Instead of saying the then popular phrase “The life you save may be your own,” Dean ad-libs the cryptic line, “The life you might save might be mine.”
This segment was never aired for obvious reasons, but was added as an extra feature to the DVD release of Rebel Without A Cause.
Cinefamily, here in Los Angeles, is probably the single best art house cinema in America (or maybe it’s a tie with Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse). When such a hallowed venue decides to deviate from their normal mission of screening novel cinematic fare 365 days a year, in order to show just one single film for an entire week—they never show most movies even twice—this movie is, in all likelihood, fucking amazing.
Combining the gripping, unpredictable tension of a prime Polanski thriller, the perfectly-executed production design of a Wes Anderson contraption and the dangerous freaky-deakiness of a David Lynch nightmare, Dogtooth is easily one of the most unique filmic creations of the last few years, spinning forth from the dark imagination of new Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos. Topping critics’ lists as one of the best films of 2010, Cinefamily is proud to bring a full week-long of one of the coolest films you’ll see in 2011!
On par with Antichrist and Enter The Void for sheer audacity, this hyper-stylized, intoxicating mixture of physical violence and verbal comedy is the story of three teenagers perpetually confined to their parents’ isolated country estate, and kept under strict rule and regimen—an inscrutable scenario suggesting a warped experiment in social conditioning. Terrorized into submission by their father, the children spend their days devising their own games and learning an invented vocabulary (a salt shaker is a “telephone,” an armchair is “the sea”) — until a trusted outsider brought in to satisfy the son’s libidinal urges starts offering forbidden VHS tapes(!) as a key to the outside world.
Fully utilizing every last inch of onscreen space, Lanthimos paints the blackest of portraits here using austere, antiseptic visuals, and elicits total warped commitment from his entire cast, resulting in an indelible immersive experience into a claustrophobic emotional netherworld never before seen. Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009, 35mm, 94 min.
Some of the YouTube comments posted beneath the trailer said things like:
“This movie sucked every peace of joy out of me.This is one of those movie that really have a deep impact. Still I liked it,the message is brought to the viewer in such a way that it crawls deeply in your soul. God I think I will need therapy after this.”
“The movie is totally sick..raped my mood.”
“Christ and I thought my parents were overbearing but these guys their love for thier children hinges on sociopathic.”
“One of the most disgusting films ever. It made my guts turn upside down. I am very confused about what people found in it.
Intrigued yet? The film starts tomorrow at Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California