Monday, February 16, 2009

Obscure and Underground

I have always found ad mats of films that did no business or got lost in the machinery fascinating.

Behind the creation of every piece of movie marketing is "H" for Hope.

Another "H", Hindsight, is what gives these a strange, sad resonance.
From Michael Cimino, the Academy Award-winning director of The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate, The Sicilian, and Year of the Dragon.

This Woody Harrelson drama of '96 disappeared quickly.

Cimino is currently in production on Man's Fate after more than a decade of absence from feature production.
Great documentary on the 10th Mountain Division, an arm of the American military that trained for mountain battles; the film focuses mostly on the preparation of the unit in Colorado.

Jorg Buttgereit's '87 arthouse horror flick did not receive many theatrical bookings due to its graphic subject matter, but it did play at New York's Cinema Village.

The film can rightly boast of an amazing score by Hermann Kopp, Daktari Lorenz (who also stars), and John Boy Walton (?)

An excellent Coming of Age film, and one of Scarlett Johansson's first leading roles.

Clean, Shaven ('93) is one of my favorite films of all time from an unsung visionary, Lodge Kerrigan.

Peter Green, who went on to play Zed in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction ('94) as a result of his performance here, is hypnotic as a schizophrenic man searching for his daughter.

Kerrigan's Claire Dolan ('98) and Keane ('04) are also must-see propositions.

Solid little crime drama from '95 that is not available on DVD.

Director James Bruce has mostly toiled in TV since, even doing a producer stint on The Apprentice.

I saw this when visiting New York and enjoyed my solitary afternoon viewing experience; I'm sure the Quad Cinema didn't enjoy it so much, nor did the producers.


  1. I too, loved 'Sunchaser', Phantom. It is almost ten years since I have seen it, but seem to remember Woody is a- doctor, and the kid is a troubled youth- dying of leukemia, was it? Both in the desert- Monument Valley, or similar? (testing my memory) Sadly underrated- must watch it again.

    'Clean Shaven' also a beauty- Kerrigan is one of those rare directors who captures mental illness with any kind of authenticity. Schizophrenia is very hard to capture on film unless it is a doco, and given that his films look like doco's, I quess any distinction becomes moot when you watch Peter Green for the first time and are mesmerised when he gets out his razor, and when he stuffs his car with toilet paper.

    'Manny and Lo' I also like very much and have on tape- in this case I doubt a DVD purchase is necessary- it's all there, and the transfer and aspect ratio or any special features tend to become redundant given the performances, and efficient script. And Mary Kay Place- what can I say? My favourite actresses- as opposed to my favourite 'pin-ups'- tend to be types like Mary Kay, Louise Lasser, Sissy Spacek, Illeana Douglas, and the like.

    And 'Necromantick'? Never seen it, but always wanted to.

    As Alice said, I love the dead...but can I live without them loving me back?

    'Live with the question...'

  2. Yes, 'Sunchaser' is underrated, mandingo.

    'Clean, Shaven' holds up to repeat viewings, as does the great 'Manny and Lo'.

    You must catch 'Nekromantik'. The original is better than the sequel, although the same filmmaker's 'Schramm' is also worth considering. All films have great synth scores.

    I can live without loving them back, too...for now.