Raoul Ruiz – Treasure Island (1985)

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Raoul Ruiz’s surrealistic modern-day riff on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel.

Review by timmy_501 @IMDb:
While this film is related to the Robert Louis Stevenson book of the same title, it certainly doesn’t resemble a traditional adaptation. The entire film is about the relationship between people and works of fiction. Treasure Island is the most important and notable of these works, but it isn’t the only one. A substantial part of the plot is about a group of people who attempt to reenact Treasure Island each year; they get so caught up being their characters that they sometimes forget they are just acting and none of them seem surprised when the bodies start piling up. Continue reading

Robert Altman – Fool For Love (1985)

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“At the center of Sam Shepard’s ‘Fool for Love’ are two people whose hurts are so deep, whose angers are so real, that they can barely talk about what they really feel. That does not stop them from talking, on and on into the hurtful night, and eventually we can put together their stories, using what they have said, and especially what they have not said.

One of the characters is a blond slattern named May, whose natural beauty has been rearranged into a parody of the classic movie baby doll — Brigitte Bardot, say. The other character is named Eddie, and he is a cowboy who drives through the empty Texas reaches in the obligatory pickup truck with the obligatory rifle rack behind his head and the obligatory horse trailer behind the truck. One night May is working behind the counter of a restaurant in a crumbling motel, and she sees Eddie’s pickup coming down the road. She runs and hides. Standing in the shadows of the rundown motel is an older man (Harry Dean Stanton) who simply waits and watches. Continue reading

Andrei Konchalovsky – Shy People (1987)

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Diana (Jill Clayburgh) and her rebellious cocaine snorting daughter (Martha Plimpton) travel to the Louisiana bayou to meat their distant relatives. They find a wild gun-toting marsh woman (Barbara Hershey), and her grown children who she protects from the outside world still, going as far as putting one in a cage. Diana came to write an insightful article about her lost family, but may have gotten in over her head. The atmosphere is beautiful. There are some great performances by the brilliant Barbara Hershey (won best actress in 1987 Cannes), and Martha Plimpton. The turning point of the film is a bizarre rape sequence involving Martha Plimpton, cocaine, a big barrel of honey, a dozen goats, and Patrick Swayze’s brother, Don Swayze. This leads to both Jill Clayburg and Martha Plimpton being alone in the swamp, fighting for survival, and also a serious conflict within the family. Photographed by Chris Menges (The Killing Fields, The Mission). This film is incredible. Continue reading

Gualtiero Jacopetti – Addio zio Tom aka Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971)

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Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco E. Prosperi, best-known for the groundbreaking shockumentary Mondo Cane, directed this bizarre and shocking look at slavery in America. Set in the deep South prior to the Civil War, Zio Tom finds Jacopetti and Prosperi travelling back in time aboard a helicopter to investigate the nuts and bolts of slavery as it happened in the United States prior to abolition. Along the way, the filmmakers go aboard a slave ship as frightened Africans are brought to America under inhuman conditions; they witness the dangerous and degrading process by which slaves were made ready for market; and they visit a “breeding farm” for slaves after laws prohibit the importation of slaves from abroad. Also included is a sermon from a preacher who argues for the moral and spiritual necessity of slavery (while another man speaks out against it strictly on grounds of economics and practicality); the contrasting thoughts of men and women on the matter of miscegenation; and an interview with an educated slave who feels his circumstances are better for him than conventional employment. Also shown is the brutal torture and punishment of slaves for any number of real or imagined grievances. Re-creating both the opulence and the ugliness of the Old South on a grand scale, Zio Tom concludes with present-day African-Americans reading The Confession of Nat Turner and contemplating violent overthrow of the white-dominated culture. Understandably controversial, Zio Tom received a very brief theatrical release in the United States under the title Farewell Uncle Tom, where it received an X rating from the MPAA despite being trimmed by approximately 20 minutes from its original Italian running time. Continue reading

Menahem Golan – Mivtsa Yonatan aka Entebbe: Operation Thunderbolt (1977)

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Plot Outline :
In July 1976, an Air France flight from Tel-Aviv to Paris via Athens was hijacked and forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The Jewish passengers were separated and held hostage in demand to release many terrorists held in Israeli prisons. After much debate, the Israeli government sent an elite commando unit to raid the airfield and release the hostages. The film is based on the true facts and follows the events since the flight’s takeoff and until the hostages’ return to Israel. Continue reading

Menahem Golan – The Apple (1980)

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Review
This 1980 attempt to cut in on the “midnight movie” market created by The Rocky Horror Picture Show has become a camp classic for all the wrong reasons. The Apple is fascinating because it takes a conceptual wrong turn at every angle: the ‘futuristic’ production design looks garish and cheap instead of sleek, the tone constantly veers back and forth between comedy and melodrama and the script is a mind-boggling muddle of religious overtones, heavy-handed “showbiz” satire and silly attempts at an anti-totalitarian message. The Apple’s serious intentions are further crippled by weak performances: George Gilmour makes a stone-faced, emotionally inert hero and Catherine Mary Stewart is too bland a romantic lead to inspire any interest in the film’s romantic subplot. The only actor who escapes unscathed is Vladek Sheybal, who applies a light comedic touch to the villainous Mr. Boogalow that escapes the rest of the cast. Despite these seemingly insurmountable flaws, The Apple remains surprisingly watchable if one has a taste for schlock: director Menahem Golan keeps up a speedy pace that delivers the film’s bizarre melange of mismatched elements at a breezy clip and the outrageous musical score delivers an unintentionally funny but always catchy musical number every few minutes. The finished product seldom makes sense but delivers so much sheer oddness at such a high speed that it is virtually impossible to be bored by this film. As a result, The Apple will probably baffle most viewers but trash devotees will find it to be a ‘schlock musical’ classic worthy of Can’t Stop The Music or Grease 2. ~ Donald Guarisco, All Movie Guide Continue reading

John Cassavetes – Love Streams (1984)

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Quote:
Love Streams is at once a culmination of the director’s obsessions and his most atypical film. It’s a movie that gives up its mysteries slowly—flirting with theatricality, inserting dream sequences, concluding on a brazenly surreal enigma. Cassavetes stars as Robert Harmon, a tough-guy novelist with unorthodox research methods. Rowlands, magnificent as ever, is Robert’s sister, Sarah Lawson, a divorcée who turns up at his doorstep with two taxis full of luggage and an entire barnyard menagerie. An emotional live wire and by default a social rebel, the embarrassingly demonstrative Sarah is kindred spirit to A Woman Under the Influence’s unhinged housewife Mabel Longhetti and Opening Night’s aging stage star Myrtle Gordon: All are women with a raw-nerved, overwhelming capacity and need for love. The enormously moving interplay between Cassavetes and Rowlands gets at the heart of the performative spectacle unique to his films: an interaction beyond words and gestures, predicated on the invention of a shared language so hyperbolic and specific and almost inexplicable it must be love. Indeed, the movie—as its title suggests—performs an anatomy of its subject. More explicitly metaphysical than the other great Cassavetes films, it nonetheless shares their view of love as a way of life and a form of madness. Continue reading