Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Video Views: Tuesday July 28

The video views column is a new one that I will be doing every Tuesday from now on, where I run down the releases on DVD that week, with links to the reviews of movies that I have already posted, and a few thoughts on older movies getting a DVD release. So with that said, let's get on with this week's releases, which are pretty slim.

New Releases:

Fast and Furious ** ½
By no means a very good movie, but an entertaining action movie for people who want to see a bunch of fast cars driving around really fast. Vin Diesal is good as always, and the rest of the cast in merely average. But let’s be honest - this is the fourth film in this franchise, and it was never all that original in the first place, and this is just more of the same. See below for my original review published in April.


Older Movies:

Bad Lieutenant (Abel Ferrara, 1992) ****
Without a doubt Harvey Keitel's best performance - he finally got the role DeNiro always did in the Scorsese movies. He plays a cop, strung out on drugs, corrupt to his core, who is obsessing over his most recent case involving the rape of a nun - who refuses to name her attacker. Director Ferrara has always been a provocateur - sometimes it has made for some terrible movies - but this is his best. The scenes where Keitel verbally rapes two teenage girls in a car is one of the most unforgettable scenes I can recall in a movie.

Ichi the Killer (Takahasi Miike, 2001) *** ½
Miike is the most extreme of all of Japan’s current directors, and Ichi the Killer is as good of a place to start as any I suppose. The film is about a psychotic young man named Ichi, who is normally weak willed and cowardly, but becomes dangerous when he becomes enraged. He has been “programmed” to confuse sexual arousal with homicidal lust, and is being manipulated into killing a will. The other major character is Kakihara, a sadomasochist Yakuza enforcer, who is searching for Ichi – at first to solve a mystery, and later, because he thinks Ichi maybe able to inflict the proper pain on him. The film is extremely violent, but also entertaining in the extreme, and has a strange power over the audience. This is not mere exploitation cinema.

Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965) ****
Roman Polanski’s masterpiece about a young woman (brilliantly played by Catherine Denueve), who is both repulsed and turned on by the idea of sex. She is left alone in her apartment, and is slowly driven insane by her repressed memories and paranoia, eventually becomes a murderer, as her hallucinations make it impossible for her to tell fantasy and reality. One of the best films of Polanski’s career, and also one of the best performances Denueve, one of cinema’s greatest actresses, ever gave, this Criterion release is definitely the DVD release of the week.

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