Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2015 - Jon Sieruga ""

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Film Discoveries of 2015 - Jon Sieruga

Jon Sieruga writes under the name Moonspinner55 and has reviewed 4811 movies & TV programs at imdb. He works at the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a news assistant, and has been in love with movies since his parents took him to see the musical "Lost Horizon" at the drive-in back in '73. He can still sing all the songs.
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Ken Russell's dance of lunacy has eluded me up until this year. Russell loves turning biographies on their ear, much to the concern of film critics who thought he should have shown more reverence to his subjects. Although this passionately intense drama about the life of Tchaikovsky begins with a linear story and fully-embodied characters, it doesn't take long for Russell to abandon what are essentially bio-pic pretenses and shoot the works visually. A visual knockout, plus a splendid performance by Glenda Jackson.

How did I, a lover of hothouse melodramas and teenage potboilers, miss this one?! Erskine Caldwell's novel about a sharecropper's daughter--broken-hearted after being rejected by her fiancé--turning from timid girl to tramp, is sweaty and sinful. Director Gordon Douglas is no Delmer Daves, but he gets intriguing performances from his cast, particularly Diane McBain as Claudelle. Delicious backwater soup.

Forget "The Time Machine"! This ultra-cheap, ultra-fun sci-fi adventure from American International is...just a wee bit insane. Four people from 1964 get stuck in the strife-ridden future after their experiments in time travel have opened up a portal to 2071. Has the markings of a cult film rather than a camp film, with genuine feeling for the characters and a fascinating depiction of the future.

2. PARANOIA (1969)
Method actress Carroll Baker just paying the bills...and more bills the better! She's a widowed American artist, sick of New York City, who recuperates at an Italian villa; a hunky young man arrives with car trouble--yeah, that's it, he's got car trouble. A hedonistic, kinky affair complete with a jaded, jaw-dropping conclusion. Baker and sensational Lou Castel (who reads "Batman" comics in paperback form) delve into the dirty doings with aplomb.

1. TORMENTED (1960)
"Demented" would be a better title! How this one escaped under my B-movie radar, I have no idea. Richard Carlson is terrific as a jazz pianist involved in the death of his revenge-seeking ex-girlfriend; she haunts him from beyond her watery grave. Saxophones, supernatural happenings, otherworldly blackmail and a dilapidated lighthouse make up the head-spinning ingredients for one outrageous tale of ghosts and guilt.

1 comment:

beamish13 said...

MUSIC LOVERS is genius. One of the loudest films I've ever seen in 35mm! One of Russell's most underrated, along with CRIMES OF PASSION and WHORE