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Great Polish Sci Fi – SEXMISSION

SEXMISSION is a testament to what you can do with a clever concept tailored to your budget.

Seksmisja, or Sexmission (1984), is a cult Polish comedy that tells the tale of two bumbling scientists who volunteer to be hibernated for a 3 year experiment only to awaken 50 years in the future, after a mysterious nuclear war has wiped out the world’s male population. Finding themselves prisoners in an underground society run by women, their best-case scenario turns worst-case when the ruling matriarch judges that they are to be either killed or “naturalized” through castration. This nowadays-familiar plot (courtesy of Futurama among others) feels fresh in the hands of director Juliusz Machulski, who explores universal themes of totalitarianism and blind obedience in a subversive criticism of the Polish regime of the time. In tone and production values the movie recalls John Carpenter’s Dark Star, Woody Allen’s Sleeper, and the BBC series Red Dwarf, and fans of those works and of dystopian fiction in general will find it a rewarding experience. There’s plenty of humor, ample nudity, a fantastic twist in the third act, and a final freeze-frame that rivals the 400 Blows for the most memorable in film history. And curiously enough, though the only on-line trailer I could find has audio issues, a simple search will yield the entire film, complete with English subs!

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June 18, 2010   No Comments

Great Neon Noir – BODY DOUBLE

BODY DOUBLE is a b-movie excuse for De Palma to let loose.

Some people dislike this 1984 DePalma thriller, a Vertigo/Rear Window tribute transported to seedy Los Angeles, co-starring Melanie Griffith as Holly Body – an aptly named porn star who becomes embroiled in a murder plot – and featuring the largely unknown Craig Wasson as a claustrophobic loser who finds himself the target of an elaborate frame-up. I personally love it – as a guilty pleasure you don’t get much better than young undressed Melanie Griffith, out-of-its mind camerawork, a lead character so plagued with neurosis and guilt he makes Woody Allen look like Charlton Heston, and layers of homage and self-reference that remind us how manipulative the medium can be. De Palma is an amazing visualist, one of the best, but was at a turbulent point in his career: he had just made Scarface, would soon direct the Joe Piscopo dud Wise Guys, and then follow that one up with the classic The Untouchables. And this fluctuation continued through the 1990’s, when at the strike of the new century his fairy godfather Alfred Hitchcock turned his career into a pumpkin, once and for all. But during the 80’s he was still magic. Check out this amazing rear-projection to see the sort of eye candy this incredible movie-lover’s-movie has to offer:

June 3, 2010   3 Comments

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