Tom Baker (a drinking buddy of Jim Morrison who reportedly stepped in… MoreTom Baker (a drinking buddy of Jim Morrison who reportedly stepped in after Morrison backed out of the role) has intimate, one-on-one scenes with several women whom he aims to seduce. "I, a Man" has no real plot and the scenes could be arranged in any order. The most alluri about this early Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey collaboration is that Baker's targets include Nico at her most beautiful (her scene is frustratingly brief) and future Warhol shooter Valerie Solanas (her salty lesbian persona is a sharp contrast to the more vacant beauties appearing elsewhere).
The premise is rich with potential: the final apocalypse's impact on a… MoreThe premise is rich with potential: the final apocalypse's impact on a set of bratty, self-absorbed Hollywood actors (who portray themselves). But the story loses steam after the cast is whittled down to the core players, and an excess of vulgar "dude" humor and an obnoxious, implausible Danny McBride character become major problems. Jay Baruchel's grating Christian Slater impersonation also wears thin.
Jack Clayton ("Room at the Top," "The Innocents") directed this Harold… MoreJack Clayton ("Room at the Top," "The Innocents") directed this Harold Pinter script, crafting a somber portrait of a sham household. Jo (thirty-something Anne Bancroft, playing a jaded, older woman just as she did in "The Graduate") is stuck in her third loveless marriage, trying to fill the void with an abundance of children (presumably, the film's title is a reference to a pregnant woman's shape). Her current husband (Peter Finch) is a famous screenwriter whose work compels him to spend ample time away from home. She stays behind to weather the chaos of six energetic kids, but is prone to dark moods. Admirably, the story avoids cheap sentimentality and offers no easy solutions. The young Maggie Smith has a brief role as a sexy house guest.
Personal identification was a major factor for me here -- I'm pretty… MorePersonal identification was a major factor for me here -- I'm pretty close to the mentality of the lone-wolf record collectors in this documentary but, thankfully, far enough removed that I can tell myself, "Well, I don't go *that* far." And more often than not, I also prefer CDs. So take that, you oldies-minded purists!
Regardless, it's fascinating to hear these collectors (mostly forlorn, homely, underachieving bachelors) detailing their record-buying habits more with shame than joy, as if it's a destructive addiction they're struggling to master. However, director Alan Zweig's own self-filmed musings grow tiresome -- he has a grating voice and manner (imagine a more Jewish version of Kevin from TV's "The Office") and just wasn't someone whose company I wished to share for almost two hours. (The 110 minutes pass slowly, considering the footage is virtually nothing but raw interviews in dingy living spaces.)
I would have enjoyed more "fun" exposure to the nutty rarities that these people own, but "Vinyl" really isn't about music. It's about the psychology of collecting. Wherein these weary misfits buy piles of records that they may not enjoy or even play, seemingly because they're just afraid of regretting a missed purchase later. Or because they don't want the records to fall into enemy hands. Or simply because a kitschy sleeve gives them a laugh. (Heck, we've all bought records for this reason, haven't we? Um...haven't we?)
Writer/artist Harvey Pekar, actor Don McKellar and director Guy Maddin turn up without any special introduction -- in fact, I can't even recall where Maddin appeared.
Robert Bresson's low-budget attempt to de-romanticize the King Arthur… MoreRobert Bresson's low-budget attempt to de-romanticize the King Arthur myth has no romance, no gallantry, no smiles, almost no score and just a smidge of what might be called "acting." Instead, the film is mostly about Bresson's strange obsession with incidental sound. Lasting impressions of this film are not about dialogue or plot, but rather rattling armor and listless, unnaturally loud footsteps trudging across forest duff and castle floors. Not exactly compelling. Violence usually occurs off-camera, though the bloody opening minutes can't help but evoke Monty Python & the Holy Grail's notorious "only a flesh wound" scene. The homely, untrained cast is just another way to rob the viewer of any easy pleasures. The story itself skips all the glories of Arthur's court and picks up after the failed search for the Grail, so the mood is nothing but bleak. Approach at your own risk, and don't bother bringing a shrubbery.