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FOlmstead's reviews view profile

damn good.  
on September 19, 2006 - 11:44 AM PDT
  of Brick (2005)
8 out of 10 members found this review helpful

I didn't think I was going to like this one. I love film noir, Hammett, Chandler, etc, but I had yet to see a "current" picture trumpeted as "film noir" that wasn't just a pale imitation.

Well, here it is. Set in today, a high school, with totally unreal dialogue. I don't know why that last point should bother me at all. Have you ever seen a film noir that was real? That's part of what I love... that tough talking shorthand. I don't know why, but I always thought that was how they talked "back then". Now I see it was just as unreal then.

What Rian Johnson has accomplished here is creating great dialogue, putting it in a milieau I have long since left and am therefore unfamiliar with and made one hell of a movie. The setting is brilliant. I don''t think many high scool students would get it, but I sure as hell do.

To me, the closest to this is David Lynch. Another director who, in my opinion, makes great "unreal" movies.

If you love "noir", don't miss this one.
did that just happen???  
on June 3, 2006 - 8:45 PM PDT
  of Demonlover (2002)

I can't give you a synopsis of this film because it's sort of like the layers of an onion. You think you've finally got it and then... another layer peels off and suddenly everything is different.

Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Who knows what the REAL truth is? Even the dialogue suddenly switches between French and English and back again.

I'd say this film can best be compared to something made by David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino as a co-venture. Surreal, Violent, Impossible to explain.

In the interviews, that part of the additional material, both Connie Nielson and Chloe Sevigny note that Olivier Assayas, the director, didn't give them much direction and sort of let them find their own way. Considering what this film is like, I think that is exactly the right way to go.

I also think that those folks who are trying to define this as a corporate thriller are really off the mark.

Bottom line... did I like it? Absolutely.
Still good after 20 years  
on May 5, 2005 - 1:45 PM PDT
  of After Hours (1985)
8 out of 8 members found this review helpful

I saw this film 20 years ago and enjoyed it then, so I thought I'd check it out again in my clean and sober persona, which is where I've been for the last 19 years. Who knows? I could have been hallucinating.

I'm glad I did. This movie is Martin Scorsese at his best. When a BIG picture fell through, he took on this small project. When it was done, he said to the producers, something like, "Thanks for showing me I can still make films". No kidding.

This is a real NY movie... capturing the city better than pretty much anything I've ever seen. And the travails of poor Griffin Dunne just trying to get back home uptown, are absolutely hilarious.

I won't spoil it, by recounting the plot. Suffice it to say, I cannot imagine anybody being disappointed.

Either I'm living in the past, or this movie really holds up 20 years later.
Don't Miis It.  
on May 18, 2004 - 8:06 AM PDT
  of The Cockettes (2002)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

I lived through this period, albeit in NYC and this doc captures the spirit better than anything I've ever seen. Transvestites who, for the first time, didn't emulate the likes of Judy Garland, who didn't go in for fancy gowns and "high-drag", but instead donned raggedy finery more suited to the '60's. A wonderful mix of insanity, avant garde theater and wild abandon.

In New York, there were Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling and the whole Warhol crew. I knew them all.

The Cockettes were the San Francisco incarnation of that crazy, exciting exhibition of glitter, rag-drag and performance art. Back then, with typical NY atitude, we sort of looked down The Cockettes as somehow "less than". In retrospect, I see that was just pure NY chauvnism. They were wonderful, wild, free spirits... girls who just wanted to have fun.

I wasn't out there in the heartland, but I think this is something that, probably, many of the people who lived that period missed. If so, too bad, but, whether you were there or not, don't miss this picture.

It brought it all back for me.

2 thumbs up!
Another opinion  
on December 19, 2003 - 7:11 AM PST
  of Kiss Me Deadly (Criterion) (1955)
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful

A damn sight better than I expected. I know thausman was disappointed and I was set to be after reading his review, but instead I was pleasantly surprised. As a fan of the "hard boiled" novels many noir films are based on, I often at odds with the casting and interpretation of stories that I had developed my own mental picture of. Maybe it's because I've never been a great Mickey Spillaine fan, or that I don't really recall anything about the original novel, but I give this one a thumbs up. Of course there are "cardboard characters" and yes, "too many women throw themselves at the protagonist". But I find both criticisms true of many noir films. Anyway, if you like the genre, try it... you might like it.
Leave well enough alone.  
on January 9, 2003 - 7:14 AM PST
  of Apocalypse Now: Redux (2001)
7 out of 10 members found this review helpful

When I first saw Apocalypse Now twenty some years ago, it blew me away. I was never in Vietnam, but I absolutely believe this is what it was like. Nobody really knowing what was going on. Soldiers out there on their own, with no CO, stoned out of their minds, firing at nothing in the darkness. Craziness, like Robert Duvall's obsession with surfing, even under enemy fire. Missions that made sense to no one.

At the time I was working at ABC News and I asked Ted Koppel, who was there, about it. First off, he said he hadn't seen the film because he wasn't ready to revisit it all. Then he told me a story about being dropped off on a beach somewhere with a group of newly arrived totally green soldiers, and as the chopper flew off, realizing that somehow, there was no commanding officer with them. Suddenly they came under fire, and Koppel took command, because he was the only one there who'd seen combat.
Anyway, I hadn't seen this film since it's original release, but it certainly ranked up there on my list of all-time greats.

In this new version, "Redux", I don't know what was added, but I do know it seemed way too long. Also, I don't know if any of the music was redone, but there were some scenes where it came off pretty sappy. Maybe those were added scenes? Or, maybe music styles and my tastes have changed.

Granted I'm borderline ADD, and have problems with any film that's over 2 hours, but 202 minutes is just too much. The performances and depiction of the Vietnam insanity were still great, but it just didn't hold me till the end. I finally decided I'd watch the last hour or so the next night, but couldn't bring myself to come back to it. I tried the night after that, but I still couldn't do it. I finally gave up and mailed it back.

In the end, I wish I had rented the original. For anyone who's never seen this picture or who wants to revisit it, that's what I suggest. Why take something that was really great and turn it into something that's just pretty good?
noir it is...  
on December 23, 2002 - 2:21 PM PST
  of The Grifters (1990)
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful

If you're into noir or Thompson, rent this film. I read the book 20 years ago and don't remember the details, so I can't say how faithful the film is to the book, but it definitely captures that sinking feel of Jim Thompson.

There was a reprint series awhile back that had both a forward and an afterward in each book, and somewhere in there, they described Thompson's novels, which were originally published in paperback in the 50's. The gist was that unsuspecting readers looking for a little escapist pleasure, were snagged by the lurid covers and racy blurbs, "He loved 2 women at one time!"... thinking these were your run-of-the-mill 50's crime paperbacks, where the murder is solved and all's resolved in the last chapter. The kind of book you take on a trip and when it's finished, you put it down never to think of it again. Instead, they were thrown into a scary world, where each hope and dream, all plans and schemes only seem to lead to misery... and finally, just when you think the protaganist has found a way out, a trapdoor opens and he falls through into the bowels of hell.

If you like that kind of thing, then this is your kind of film.
don't miss this one  
on December 21, 2002 - 8:35 AM PST
  of Hands On a Hard Body (1997)
6 out of 8 members found this review helpful

The description of this documentary really says it all. Sounds like a bad idea, but turns out it's really good.

Whether you're city folk like me, or you connect thru your country roots this is great choice.


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