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LATEST REVIEWS
DELUGE
"Pre-code, post-apocalyptic."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Deluge" was not the first film to offer up the end of civilization as we know it on screen, but may be the first to do so in such spectacular fashion, even if the film itself was not a blockbuster or major release. It is, in fact, not far off from the end of the world tales that would appear more frequently decades later, just done in early-talkie style." (more)
MODEL SHOP
"Very much Jacques Demy in California."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I wonder, a bit, if certain potential viewers might be more tempted to watch Jacques Demy's 1960s films (and then maybe dig deeper into his work) by having them described as forming a "Lolaverse" of sorts than by talking about the French New Wave and his particular style, just as a different way to introduce this particular slice of film history. If so, "Model Shop" must seem an odd end to the cycle - picking up half a world away in another language and hinting at other tales - but maybe by the time a viewer gets there, they will be more intrigued by Demy's style than rotating cast of characters." (more)
THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD
"Ahead of its time and sharp as ever."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It is sadly not surprising that "Thousand Pieces of Gold" is Nancy Kelly's only narrative feature, with just a few documentaries following in the thirty years since; it's a fine movie but women didn't always get a lot of second chances for anything other than immediate hits, and this wasn't one. It is, nevertheless, a terrific little movie whose honesty is often heartbreaking without ever being cynical." (more)
LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER
"A fun last act but a rough time getting there."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2019 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Deliberate camp is awful most of the time, which is a fair description of "Lake Michigan Monster", a tough slog for as long as the joke is looking at it and laughing at how low-rent it feels, but kind of fun once it finds itself more in the realm of the weird. Despite it only being 78 minutes long, it seems to take forever to make that jump, and I can't say that I found it worth the investment." (more)
APE (1976)
"Not weird enough to be a memorable King Kong rip-off."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "You think weird things watching a random B-movie like "Ape", like how many of the giant-ape movies to come after it used CGI models based on real apes while the ones before used guys in suits or stop-motion and thus had human gaits, and this one often has its ape hunched over but not actually able to get its knuckles to the ground, like they kind of wanted to do better but, oh well, whatever. It's lazy and cheap, but sometimes just bizarre enough in how that pans out to kind of be fun." (more)
DEERSKIN
"A bit more introspective but still kind of 'Wrong'."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "About six years and three features ago, when reviewing Quentin Dupieux's "Wrong Cops", I joked that the director of some of the decade's most entertaining bits of cinematic nonsense was "only a few films away from doing something eccentric but basically sensible". "Deerskin" doesn't have him quite there, but it's grounded in a way Dupieux's other films are not, for better or worse. It's maybe more mature, but less zany fun." (more)
CALL OF HEROES
"Who's not going to enjoy an all-star kung fu spaghetti western?"
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It took me a shamefully long time to recognize what filmmaker Benny Chan Muk-Sing was up to with "Call of Heroes", because while samurai movies and westerns tend to cross-pollinate in one way, kung fu usually mixes with westerns by having Chinese people show up in the American West. A movie like this - more or less a spaghetti western that has been picked up and dropped straight into Guangdong - is something else and a whole ton of fun." (more)
SHATTER
"A less impressive Hammer & Shaw crossover."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "The second and final film in the brief collaboration between the Hammer and Shaw Brothers studios is easily overlooked; it doesn't quite so immediately announce itself as the fusion of their two styles as "The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires". The behind-the-scenes turmoil had Hammer eventually dumping the film, while Shaw seems to have provided production support without much attempt to put their stamp on it. It's not a bad bit of grindhouse fare, as such things go; although still most noteworthy for the odd place it occupies in genre film history." (more)
DONA FLOR AND HER TWO HUSBANDS
"Maybe not quite so sexy as it seemed, but still worth a look"
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "The recently restored and re-released "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" is billed as a sex comedy, but it really doesn't get into that material until fairly late in its second half, and the forty-odd years since its original release have not been kind to its first half. It's just good enough and interesting enough that viewers will spend time figuring out how to make it work for them, maybe coming to a different conclusion in the twenty-first century than they would have at the time." (more)
PAHOKEE
"The kids are doing better than you might think."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There's a lot of high-school football in the middle of "Pahokee", enough to make one wonder if that was sort of the plan or if it just sort of evolved that way because that's what this sort of small town is like. It doesn't truly feel like a plan, but this isn't the sort of documentary you necessarily make with a plan. You take what you get and put it together as well as this." (more)

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