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Justin's 24 Hour Movie Fest Write-Up!

Justin here with my reflection on this weekend’s excellent 24 hour movie fest.

Danger: Diabolik

I opted to show the first movie with Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik. The best way to describe this movie is as a companion of sorts to Barbarella. They are both Dino De Laurentis movies shot in Italy in the 60’s with an assortment of local and international talent. John Philip Law stars as Diabolik, a master thief who loves to make fun of the authorities. Based on a comic book, the movie follows an episodic format. In each act, Diabolik pulls a bigger score than the last. It also sports my favorite Ennio Morricone soundtrack: an assortment of sexy mod psych-pop pieces to match the sexy mod set design and Diabolik’s sexy mod compatriot, Eva.
Witness for the Prosecution

Beth went second with the excellent Billy Wilder courtroom drama, Witness for the Prosecution. Even though he is third-billed, Charles Laughton turns in an amazing performance as the defense attorney for a murder suspect who has all the evidence against him. I really loved this one. Laughton directed my favorite movie, The Night of the Hunter, but I think this was the first acting role I saw him in. This would make a great double feature with Anatomy of a Murder. Movie Advocate commenter “Qzac” has fallen asleep during every black and white movie ever shown at our movie fests… except this one.

The Taste of Tea

Eric and Suzi had the next pick with a quirky Japanese movie called The Taste of Tea. Essentially the movie blends the directing and cinematic style of Wes Anderson with magical realism to tell a family drama that’s part slice-of-life and part fantasy. The movie is quite endearing and genuinely moving in spots. However, I felt that there were a lot of loose ends that weren’t tied up as well as they could have been. Some of the coming-of-age metaphors employed in the movie worked better than others, but the movie was charming and beautiful to look at if a little slow-moving.

Space is the Place

Luke’s first pick was the Sun Ra movie, Space is the Place. I had rented and watched this movie several years ago amidst a big Sun Ra phase – however, I didn’t remember a damned thing about it. Space is the Place is kind of like a less gross Sweet Sweetback’s Badaaaaaaaass Song but science fiction. I don’t have the space here to describe what Sun Ra was about or what this movie was trying to achieve. Ra’s message is garbled and confusing at best, but this movie is still really great for the spectacle and uniqueness of it.

Slap Shot

My wife, Miranda decided to play one of my personal favorite movies, Slap Shot. I think the movie was generally well-received, but may have been held at arms length by some attendees. Slap Shot is a really underrated movie. The writing is whip smart and (as I’ve mentioned before) I think it provides an uncomfortable and honest looks at adult male sexuality and aging.

The Magnificent Warriors

Beth’s second pick was the fantastic Michelle Yeoh movie, The Magnificent Warriors, essentially an Asian riff on the Indiana Jones movies. Yeoh plays the Indy character as she teams up with a rag tag group to fight off the invading Japanese during WWII. The movie is great fun and has some incredible action scenes. Watching this made me a little sad that Yeoh never caught on to the degree she deserved to in the West. Also, I thought about how awesome this franchises’ Temple of Doom would be, they could go to America looking for an Indian artifact while exploiting Anglo stereotypes.

Night on Earth

Suzi and Eric’s second pick was Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth. Overall I liked this movie quite a bit and more than I expected – but I think that showing this at midnight was cruel and unusual torture. The movie features five 25 minute vignettes of taxi cab rides from around the world, including New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Helsinki.. It was not very visually stimulating. The writing and acting were great though. My personal favorite story featured Roberto Benigni in Rome with a priest in the backseat. The score by Tom Waits was also a highlight.

Josie and the Pussycats

I got a big second wind with Keith Garcia’s selection of Josie and the Pussycats, a movie I’ve secretly wanted to watch since it came out a decade ago. What I thought was going to be a simple guilty pleasure movie turned out to be the harshest movie on the music industry I’ve ever seen. This movie is MAD. The volume of product placement is mindblowing, the songs are hilarious, and the commentary on consumer culture was catty as hell. All in all, this was my favorite movie of the fest.

Shogun Assassin

This was my second pick. I’ve already said about everything I have to say about this movie here. I decided to show the Shogun cut as a cheat so I could get away with showing the best parts of Lone Wolf and Cub parts 1 and 2.

Wild at Heart

This is where I hit the wall. Ben’s pick of the Nicholas Cage and David Lynch movie hit me weird and hard this early in the morning. If this had been a more conventional movie, I think I probably would have been able to make it through. As it stood though, I would nod off for a few minutes and then wake up and something incredibly weird and disturbing would be going on. After about an hour I gave up and fell asleep in the corner. I will definitely be revisiting this soon though.

The Explorers

Unfortunately I slept through Luke’s entire choice. I will be watching it soon though. Sorry Luke!

24 hours of movies. Coffee. Tasty food. Naps. Friends!

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