Wednesday, November 10, 2004

DVD: The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1969)

It sounds better in Italian. L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. I’ll take that over the American reissue title, THE PHANTOM OF TERROR.

Dario Argento has made some riveting horror movies, most notably SUSPIRIA. But his straight thrillers leave me cold. This one plays like a rip-off of BLOW-UP. (So does DEEP RED, which goes so far as to use BLOW-UP’s star David Hemmings.) The dream logic that adds to Argento’s supernatural films works against the plot here, and the set-pieces are so stylized that they’re drained of any suspense. The movie pulled off the unique trick of making me appreciate Brian DePalma’s sense of story and characterization.

The plot summary on the envelope from Netflix noted that the film starred Tony Musante from TOMA. I wasn’t sure that series was a selling point until I mentioned the actor’s name to Rosemarie and she said, “From TOMA?”

Noticed: About Schmidt (2002)

Look fast in this Alexander Payne movie and you’ll see Jack Nicholson’s motor home roll past a theater marquee advertising SIDEWAYS.

Miscellaneous: Link

The New York Times ventures to the Screenwriting Expo’s pitch-a-thon. Here’s a perfect example of “helpful” Hollywood thinking. A computer geek from Texas pitches his sci-fi epic to a pair of producers. They pass, then say:

“Why don’t you fire another one at us? ... Pick your best.”

Considering that the guy paid over eighty bucks to get in, I’d assume that was his best.

Miscellaneous: Huh?

Spotted this on one of those music kiosks now taking up space at Starbucks everywhere, in reference to the album LARGO by Brad Mehldau:

“The counter-melody propels the lyric, sending the listener into a glistening sea of contemplation.”

Incidentally, the song being played was an instrumental.