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10 Foreign Language movies to go

By The poster art can or could be obtained from Fox Searchlight Pictures., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4314096

Super Troopers - (2001)

Jay Chandrasekhar's breakthrough film about a group of super-likeable state troopers that are struggling to justify their station not being shut down is pretty funny. I think I'd seen it before, but nonetheless it was both amusing and fun to watch. There's humour that's both in-world and not as their whole modus operandi involves them pulling pranks on each other and living up to dares they put forth to their partners. This means they're the craziest, most ineffectual state troopers out there - but as long as they're having fun, who's gonna complain? Not me. The characters are so damn loveable you'll be cheering them all the way, big time. The villains happen to be their rivals - the actual police, who they often have to one-up to justify their very existence. Not much else Chandrasekhar has done seems to come close to this - but I've heard Beerfest is fun.

7/10


By [1], Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33740424

Let it Ride - (1989)

I've spent a long time avoiding Let it Ride, thinking it was probably just a middling comedy not worth seeing. I was wrong. It has a 27% rating at Rotten Tomatoes (that's the critic's ratings - the audience score is 75%.) I'm on the audience's side - Richard Dreyfuss single-handedly gets us to care about his Jay Trotter. Gambling addict - sure. Cynic - yeah. But you can tell he's been on the losing end of everything he's done for his entire life. We get to see his one glorious day in the sunshine, and it's fun. The light hearted comedy is matched by great acting and really good filmmaking - and the races themselves build an enormous amount of tension. This movie is a lot better than I ever had reason to believe.

7/10
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Killer Klowns from Outer Space - I gotta hand it to this 1988 horror/comedy. It takes a goofy premise and stretches and manipulates it so that it covers most of it's hour and a half runtime in a surprisingly satisfactory manner. Director Stephen Chiodo and his brothers Charles and Edward wrote and also produced this. They're probably best known for their special effects work and their collective creativity obviously served them well while filming this.

It opens in familiar fashion in a small nonspecific town where the couples at a lovers lane witness an unidentified bright light speed overhead. Mike (Grant Cramer) and girlfriend Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) of course decide to check it out. There's also the requisite old guy, Farmer Gene (Royal Dano) who also has to go have a look. He finds a space age looking circus tent and it isn't long before he and his dog are the first victims of the extraterrestrials. The couple have a hard time convincing the authorities, one of which is Debbie's old boyfriend Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) and his hardcase fellow officer Curtis Mooney (John Vernon). The invading aliens infiltrate the town and start bagging people up as future edibles.

The Chiodos manage to effectively riff on the circus clown concept and wring out every last bit of gallows humor before the denouement. I thought the actual space clowns were uniquely sinister creations. They're still popular Halloween costumes. It's not a perfect horror flick but it still has enough gonzo moments to make you want to recommend it to friends.

80/100



Victim of The Night



Killer Klowns from Outer Space - I gotta hand it to this 1988 horror/comedy. It takes a goofy premise and stretches and manipulates it so that it covers most of it's hour and a half runtime in a surprisingly satisfactory manner. Director Stephen Chiodo and his brothers Charles and Edward wrote and also produced this. They're probably best known for their special effects work and their collective creativity obviously served them well while filming this.

It opens in familiar fashion in a small nonspecific town where the couples at a lovers lane witness an unidentified bright light speed overhead. Mike (Grant Cramer) and girlfriend Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) of course decide to check it out. There's also the requisite old guy, Farmer Gene (Royal Dano) who also has to go have a look. He finds a space age looking circus tent and it isn't long before he and his dog are the first victims of the extraterrestrials. The couple have a hard time convincing the authorities, one of which is Debbie's old boyfriend Dave Hanson (John Allen Nelson) and his hardcase fellow officer Curtis Mooney (John Vernon). The invading aliens infiltrate the town and start bagging people up as future edibles.

The Chiodos manage to effectively riff on the circus clown concept and wring out every last bit of gallows humor before the denouement. I thought the actual space clowns were uniquely sinister creations. They're still popular Halloween costumes. It's not a perfect horror flick but it still has enough gonzo moments to make you want to recommend it to friends.

80/100
The shadow-puppets.





Re-watch. Good movie though really needs to be watched along with the Gomorrah series.
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The shadow-puppets.
Yes. It's filled with these type of small but eye-catching moments. The Chiodo's worked on Pee Wee's Big Adventure and you can definitely discern certain similarities.

Too bad all the followup plans have been in development hell for all these years.




Barbarian (2022, Zach Cregger)

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Especially that first half up until the introduction of the 'Mother' and AJ. Masterful buildup of tension growing into a palpable atmosphere of dread via clever use of cinematography and editing. Yes, some of the protagonist's decision making is downright maddening but I'm so into it I don't really care. I didn't love the second half as much but it was still solid, taking things to some truly bizarre and disturbing places as the plot unravels, and we take a trip back in time to reveal the relevant background. This movie is absolutely bonkers, and it's really well made. It's not perfect (esp. in the second half and toward the end) but it's fun, it's scary, and it's entertaining (despite it's grim subject matter).



3 From Hell (2019)


I'm not a fan of these kinds of movies, but in the spirit of Halloween, here we are....I have seen Devils Rejects and thought it was fine, but I never saw House of 1000 Corpses. This one lacked originality, direction, intelligence, and I dont really know why it needed to be made haha a slight rating above 1/5 simply because it made me laugh a couple times





The Lobster, 2015

In a dystopian near-future where being single is very illegal, David (Colin Farrell) is relocated to a singles hotel after his wife leaves him. Given a limited number of days to find a compatible partner or else be transformed into an animal, David sets his sights on a ruthless woman (Angeliki Papoulia) and attempts to match her cold-hearted point of view. But he is destined to intersect with a group of Loners who live in the woods outside of the city.

Yorgos Lanthimos (from whom I've also seen Doogtooth, The Favourite, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer) certainly has a distinct brand of dark comedy. I would say that this is up there for me in terms of his films.

Obviously the subject matter of the film is pretty bleak. But the humor is there in a pretty perfect balance, managing to keep the characters in the sweet space between being people we genuinely care about and people we can laugh at.

After this and Killing of a Sacred Deer, I think that Farrell is pretty aces at nailing the detached/repressed line delivery that makes the dialogue really sing. This is a world where everyone is guarded, and all of the actors do a great job of putting emotion behind a wall of emotionless neutrality.

The central conceit of the film, and the reduction of partnership to basically having a single shared interest, is sad and kind of terrifying. One of the men David meets in the hotel, a man distinguished by a limp (Ben Whishaw), goes to extreme lengths to make sure that he is perceived as a perfect match for a young woman (Jessica Barden) with a nosebleed problem. While this is often a pressure that people put on themselves when looking for a partner, it takes on a more pathological bent when it becomes something that is judged by the outside world. The notion of compatibility becomes even more superficial.

The overall look of the film is very good, with the crispness and beige of the "civilized" city standing in contrast to the grit and color of the forest where transformed singles roam as pigs, dogs, and camels. The life has been sucked out of the city in the same way that joy has been sucked out of couplehood. The forest is less safe and more unpredictable, but it is alive.

As someone who doesn't deal well with animal violence/cruelty, there were obviously challenging moments for me. Honestly, I spoiled the animal content for myself ahead of time (thanks, doesthedogdie.com!), which let me make it through the film okay. I'm sure for some people the animal stuff would sit well within the dark humor. For me it didn't totally get there, but I appreciate that everything in the film felt like it was done for a purpose and not just for shock value.

Something that I like about the film is that I can't quite decide how I feel about the very end. Is this
WARNING: spoilers below
the closest thing to a happy ending I've ever seen in one of this director's films?
. Maybe. It's certainly a powerful and intense last 5 minutes of the movie.

+






Mandy - Finally watched this after months of remembering and forgetting and then seeing or reading something that jogged my memory of it. Found it on Tubi of all places and was pleasantly surprised to find out it was commercial free. I guess they knew innately that it was a film you simply don't eff with. It's something I can see myself revisiting. Partly because there was so much mind-f*ckery going on that you can't possibly absorb it all. And also because it was a damn fine movie.

Nicolas Cage in a role that seems to have been conjured just for him. He plays Red, a taciturn lumberjack living somewhere in the woods near the Mojave desert with his wife/girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). The movie doesn't fill in either of their backstories to a large degree but hints at Red being a teetotaler and Mandy having had a rough childhood. They lead a quiet and mutually supportive life but one day on her way to work at an isolated roadside market she catches the attention of cult leader Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). His dead-eyed followers call themselves Children of the New Dawn and Cosmatos is largely successful in conveying the claustrophobic creepiness and insular groupthink of the cult members.

Sand himself is a failed musician and poser and, to anyone with a passing familiarity, the whole things reeks of Charlie Manson. When he asks his number two, Brother Swan (Ned Dennehy) to fetch him "the girl" it sets into motion some cataclysmic and batsh*t insane events. It's equal parts Mad Max combined with a warped and rabid Arthurian quest for the holy grail and all of it taking place in a psychedelic hellscape. Like I said, this demands repeated viewings.

90/100






Mandy - Finally watched this after months of remembering and forgetting and then seeing or reading something that jogged my memory of it. Found it on Tubi of all places and was pleasantly surprised to find out it was commercial free. I guess they knew innately that it was a film you simply don't eff with. It's something I can see myself revisiting. Partly because there was so much mind-f*ckery going on that you can't possibly absorb it all. And also because it was a damn fine movie.
Yeah, I went to Shudder the other day to watch something and this was playing on their ShudderTV or whatever and I had to watch it.

Honestly, I find the first half a bit too much emotionally, so I tend to rewatch the second half more frequently. But it is great and it's rewarding on every revisit.





The Lobster, 2015

Something that I like about the film is that I can't quite decide how I feel about the very end. Is this
WARNING: spoilers below
the closest thing to a happy ending I've ever seen in one of this director's films?
. Maybe. It's certainly a powerful and intense last 5 minutes of the movie.

+
Here are my thoughts on the final scene as I think it's perfect:

WARNING: spoilers below
For the first half of the film, given all the bizarre laws of the aboveground society David lives in and given the manipulation the occupants of the hotel do to avoid turning into animals, one gets the impression that living amongst the loners in the forest, while not without its drawbacks (the hunts from the hotel obviously pose a threat), would be a far more preferable society to live in. When we get to the second half though, it's revealed that the underground society isn't any better as it comes with its own set of bizarre laws and punishments the occupants are forced to follow. Due to this, the dystopian society in the film is one where both the above and underground suck and, as the film continues on, it's clear David can't live comfortably in either one. When we get to the ending, though David is back in the aboveground, he technically isn't a part of either society (he's a wanted fugitive and (I think) an illegal alien) but has an opportunity to escape from both societies altogether and live peacefully with the short sighted woman, provided he blinds himself. Whether he decides to blind himself or not, both alternatives come with their pros and cons and neither option seems good.

Due to this, the dystopian society in the film remains disturbing all throughout since there seems to be no way to comfortably escape from it, neither by choosing one of the two societies to live in or by attempting to exist in neither. The laws of each society and the effect both societies have on each other will always affect you in one way or another. I love how the ending doesn't erase this strength but instead acts as the culmination to it.
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Evil of Dracula (Michio Yamamoto, 1974)
6/10
Legion (Jon Hess, 1998)
5/10
The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg, 2016)
6.5/10
Adieu Godard (Amartya Bhattacharyya, 2021)
6/10

Indian villager Choudhury Bikash usually watches porno videos with his friends, but one day he brings home a Godard film and although his friends think it sucks, he's intrigued enough by it to organize a Godard film festival.
Terror Creatures from the Grave (Massimo Pupillo, 1965)
6/10
Alligator (Lewis Teague, 1980)
- 6.5/10
Girl in Room 13 (Elisabeth Röhm, 2022)
+ 5/10
To Leslie (Michael Morris, 2022)
6/10

Leslie (Andrea Riseborough) blew $180,000 of lotto winnings on booze and drugs, but Marc Maron gives her a job and tries to help her make her original dream for the money, a diner, come true.
Legion (Jon Hess, 1998)
5/10
Mondocane (Alessandro Celli, 2021)
6/10
Mortuary (Tobe Hooper, 2005)
5/10
The Automat (Lisa Hurwitz, 2021)
+ 6.5/10

The Automat was the most popular restaurant in NYC for decades because it served the best food at the cheapest prices, had the best atmosphere and it would not refuse service to anyone regardless of race.
An Angel for Satan (Camillo Mastrocinque, 1966)
6/10
Run Sweetheart Run (Shana Feste, 2020)
5/10
Avarice (John V. Soto, 2022)
5.5/10
Hello, Bookstore (A.B. Zax, 2022)
+ 6.5/10

The Bookstore in Lenox, Massachusetts is where people have hung out and communicated with the owner Matt Tannenbaum for 45 year, but with the recent pandemic the store may be forced to close for good.
The Long Hair of Death (Antonio Margheriti, 1965)
6/10
Djinn (Tobe Hooper, 2013)
5-/10
Alligator II: The Mutation (Jon Hess, 1991)
5.5/10
Ocean's Eleven (Steven Soderbergh, 2011)
+ 6.5/10

Fun, complicated heist movie with Brad Pitt and George Clooney the leaders of the 11, trying to get back at casino owner Andy Garcia who stole Clooney's ex-wife Julia Roberts from him.
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The Big Sick, 2017

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is a stand-up comedian trying to break big in the Chicago scene. At a show he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan), and the two begin a romantic relationship. Their romance hits a rough patch when Emily learn that Kumail has been hiding her existence from his family, who he believes would disown him for not being with a Pakistani woman. It's during their breakup that Emily falls seriously ill and has to be put into a medically induced coma. Kumail ends up spending a lot of time with Emily's parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano) while they await the outcome of Emily's worsening condition.

I've had this one on my to-see list for a while. (I have a weird, sort of second hand connection to the couple, so for some reason that's made it strange to think about watching).

Anyway, this was great!

The inherent risk in this story--and more specifically the dynamic of putting it on screen--is that Emily spend a LOT of time in her coma. A LOT. I was really pleased to see how much time the film spent exploring the relationship as it developed and then the rift that forms over Kumail's conflicted feelings about his family's plan for an arranged marriage. A lesser film would have been all to eager to get her in that coma, but the extra time taken to let us know Emily goes a long way toward giving emotional heft to the rest of the film.

It is of course strange to watch someone acting out the story of their own life, but Kumail is a likable and empathetic lead. It must be said, though, that Hunter and Romano are absolutely aces as Emily's parents. Their bonding with Kumail serves as a way for him to work through his own doubts and fears about committing to a partner without his family's approval. A scene where Hunter defends Kumail from a racist heckler is funny but also heartbreaking as you realize that her anger largely comes from the helplessness she feels as her daughter rests in a hospital bed. Romano also finds some great characterization in little moments, like Terry's need to write down everything the doctors say, or his feelings about when it's worth taking a risk on a tuna sandwich.

As Kumail's loving but traditional family, Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff land in just the right spot as people who care about Kumail but are very set in their ways. The running joke of Kumail's mom constantly finding him potential wives pays off in some unexpected ways, as honestly at least two of the women seem really cool. Like, big props to that one woman who did the magic trick. It's really typical with jokes about arranged marriage to just have every potential match be hilariously unattractive, which always feels incredibly cruel as it isn't these single women perpetuating this system. I appreciated that this subplot managed to be funny without feeling like it was taking shots at the women who, like Kumail, didn't choose this tradition.

If I had one criticism, I would say that I didn't need as much time in the scenes that take place in the comedy club. They just feel like they go on too long. Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler are all perfectly likable as Kumail's fellow comedians, but we watch a lot of snippets of so-so comedy sets and it doesn't feel like a good use of run time.

Overall a very solid and very funny romantic comedy.




Here are my thoughts on the final scene as I think it's perfect:

WARNING: spoilers below
For the first half of the film, given all the bizarre laws of the aboveground society David lives in and given the manipulation the occupants of the hotel do to avoid turning into animals, one gets the impression that living amongst the loners in the forest, while not without its drawbacks (the hunts from the hotel obviously pose a threat), would be a far more preferable society to live in. When we get to the second half though, it's revealed that the underground society isn't any better as it comes with its own set of bizarre laws and punishments the occupants are forced to follow. Due to this, the dystopian society in the film is one where both the above and underground suck and, as the film continues on, it's clear David can't live comfortably in either one. When we get to the ending, though David is back in the aboveground, he technically isn't a part of either society (he's a wanted fugitive and (I think) an illegal alien) but has an opportunity to escape from both societies altogether and live peacefully with the short sighted woman, provided he blinds himself. Whether he decides to blind himself or not, both alternatives come with their pros and cons and neither option seems good.

Due to this, the dystopian society in the film remains disturbing all throughout since there seems to be no way to comfortably escape from it, neither by choosing one of the two societies to live in or by attempting to exist in neither. The laws of each society and the effect both societies have on each other will always affect you in one way or another. I love how the ending doesn't erase this strength but instead acts as the culmination to it.
I also think that it's a perfect ending for the film.

My conflicted feelings are just to do with
WARNING: spoilers below
how I feel for the two characters in this moment. It feels optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. I appreciate that the film didn't just go straight-up bleak, but it's a complex final scenario.




Interface (Justin Tomchuk, 2021)

A web series starting in 2017 I believe and has now been compiled into a two hour film. Interface is many things: The quietly humourous adventure of a pink clown eldrich god-being and a man who does not age, a sci-fi/alternative history tale set in a present where the Philadelphia experiment was a real thing that happened, but most of all its a profoundly beautiful and haunting musing on loss, change and the passage of time and a triumph of independent animation. An absolute must watch.



My Halloween movie, the best of all vampire flicks, Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's closer than most vamp movies to the original Stoker book, which, while it's fairly tame now, was a sensuous potboiler when it was released back in the late 19th century. Coppola mainly used old-school stagecraft in this movie, kept the Victorian feeling. It's full of subtle humor, with Keanu Reeves doing quite sell as the shallow, naive Harker, Gary Oldman as the snarling vampire and Anthony Hopkins chewing the scenery from beginning to end and frail looking Winona Ryder as the frail Mina. It has blood, half nude enslaved vapirettes, amped up color, and poor Lucy with her outrageously red hair, turning into a vampire. Tom Waits chews even more scenery as the fly-eating Renfield. It's the one to see.