Stranger than Pairs of Dice

It looks like I’ll be shelling out some bucks later in the year, thanks to the following DVD announcements:

Stranger Than Paradise: Criterion Collection (September)
Twin Peaks: The Complete Gold Box Edition (October)
Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair (4-DVD deluxe edition, November)

Add to this the special edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that I mentioned a day or two ago, and you’re looking at one soon-to-be-broke movie lover.

I’ve discussed Jim Jarmusch’s haunting Stranger than Paradise on a previous episode of the Cinemaslave podcast, so I won’t rehash it here, except to say that I’m completely in love with Eszter Balint, and still in awe of the film’s lush black and white cinematography. It’s surprising how riveting a movie composed entirely of static master shots can be. That’s the power of good writing and acting.

Incidentally, I watched a quirky little Dutch film called The Celebration last night, and it reminded me a lot of Stranger Than Paradise. The thing that kept going through my mind was that this is what the abysmal Little Miss Sunshine should have been — a lyrical, well-acted exploration of the ultimate dysfunctional family, without a trite, tacked-on ending. I think I’ve gone at least a dozen blog posts without reminding you just how much I hated Little Miss Sunshine, so consider this a long overdue reminder. But check out The Celebration if you get the chance, and marvel at how fascinating a no-budget DV film can be, as long as you have have something worthwhile to say.

Twin Peaks is a toss-up. I own the complete series on DVD already (including the rare pilot episode, which I got as an import disc from eBay), and I also have the laserdisc of Fire Walk With Me, though I can’t say I dig it out that often. But I love the heck out of this show, and if this new set is a worthwhile upgrade, I might conceivably re-buy it all again. After all, that’s some damn fine coffee.

As for Kill Bill… well, what can I say? Uma and her yellow “Bruce Lee” outfit rocked my sad little world, but I held off buying the current bare-bones DVDs because I knew a deluxe edition would eventually follow. Can’t wait to see what the feature set will be on this monstrosity.

Other films I’ve recently watched include:

Invaders from Mars (original version)
This 1950s sci-fi classic’s superbly chilling first half is quickly derailed by a ponderous, action-heavy conclusion that trades suspense for bad special effects. A cold-war parable that gradually loses its way. A pity, because the first 45 minutes are pretty darn flawless.

A Tale of Two Sisters (Korean, subtitled)
What an amazing film! A complex, engrossing story full of well-developed, deeply layered characters, lovingly photographed with deep, rich colors. I understood the story (more or less), but the movie begs to be watched and analyzed multiple times, just like David Lynch’s best work. I find myself quite shaken by the experience (in a good way), and am sure I’ll be reflecting on it for weeks to come. No. I won’t try explaining the plot to you, but the film certainly gets a big recommendation from me.

Fired!
A competent but uninspired documentary made by actress Annabelle Gurwitch, who got axed from a play by its director… some guy named Woody Allen. Feeling hurt and rejected, she made this film to explore what effects being fired can have on a person’s mental state and sense of self-worth. Her conclusions are hardly surprising (Getting fired can lead to depression and feelings of inadequacy? Really???), but it’s still fun to watch. Participants in the documentary range from celebrities (Tim Allen, Andy Dick) to the most humble of blue-collar workers. Interesting viewing, but not mandatory.

-CSJ

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One response to “Stranger than Pairs of Dice

  1. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

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