Tag Archives: 80’s

Fun Film Fact #1: You speak Swedish in the edit

I’m working two different film production jobs and spend quite a bit of time editing various programs.  I once remarked to someone that whenever you’re rewinding footage, everyone sounds like they’re speaking Swedish – and then I watched the delightful 80’s spoof film Top Secret! and one scene in particular had me cracking up… Continue reading

Let Me In: “A dirge for American goodness.”

Let the Right One In was the recent horror phenomenon usually known as “the Swedish vampire flick.”  A combination of excellent actors, in-depth character development, and mature execution made it a top notch vampire film that blew other blood-sucker tales out of the water.  Hence, when Hollywood announced that a re-make was in the works, the original film’s fan base made their consternation known.    Even I went in with the most cynical of sentiments (“Did they just make it into an English language film for those too illiterate to struggle with subtitles?”).  Surprisingly, I left the cinema sunk deep in stunned reflection. Continue reading

The Expendables: Full of action, yes. Worth $10, no.

It’s harder to find straight up action packed cinema these days, with more and more studios walking the PG-13 line for bigger box office figures.  Notably, Bruce Willis couldn’t even say his catch phrase in Live Free or Die Hard because an F-bomb is an R-rated offense.  In contrast, The Expendables is a violent swearing sailor that pisses drunkenly on these sad sods that call themselves “action films” – but that doesn’t make it the best. Continue reading

No Wave Cinema on display in”Blank City”

Most documentaries recounting the glory days of a bygone era always run the risk of becoming curmudgeonous dirges that directly lament the facile present.  Blank City‘s account of the No Wave and transgressive movements in music and film in late 1970’s New York avoids these punji pits–but do we care?

New York City’s late 70’s East Village looks like a bombed out city from World War II, but this was the playground for a community of eccentric young artists who would experiment with music and filmmaking through till the 1980’s.  Toss on a dollop of social unrest, growing conservatism under Reagan, and the fear of crime and AIDS, and it’s no wonder art in the area was so shocking, entertaining, and fresh.

The film is interesting in an informative way, but it lacks a strong arch to pull us through.  With most of the highlighted films still unavailable on DVD or even VHS, there is a very narrow audience to reach (mostly those who know the music scene of the time).  With such a niche and the absence of a consistent entertaining or emotionally appealing element to fuel the entire ride, it hits flat.

I will say that this film opened up a history of American cinema I wasn’t aware of and will dig around for more info.  However, Blank City is unable to invite the uninitiated.  Rabid fans of No Wave alumni (Steve Buscemi, Amos Poe, John Waters, Debbie Harry, Jim Jarmusch), hardcore film nerds and paper writing students will enjoy this like a flashy Wikipedia article, but that’s about it.  An interesting and well made film for first time director Celine Danhier, it just needs to display the same filmmaking vitality it discusses.