totally biased
by request: an angel at my table (jane campion, 1990)

what i watched last week

Zontar: The Thing from Venus (Larry Buchanan, 1966). A 60s equivalent of those SyFy original movies, Zontar was an early example of a made-for-TV film. American International did good business packaging its films for the TV market, and managed to pad out those packages with 16mm color remakes of their earlier B&W classics, which went straight to TV. Zontar is a remake of It Conquered the World, and it’s been a long time since I saw that one, but I’m pretty sure it was better than the remake. The earlier film, directed by Roger Corman, had people like Peter Graves, Beverly Garland, Lee Van Cleef, and the immortal Dick Miller. Zontar wasn’t directed by Corman, and had Shirley Temple’s ex-husband in the lead, and no one you’ve ever heard of filling out the cast. As for the plot, this summary from IMDB gets right to it: “A misguided scientist enables an alien from Venus named Zontar to come to earth in order to help solve man's problems.” Needless to say, Zontar has ulterior motives. In all honesty, Zontar: The Thing from Venus isn’t as awful as I’m making it sound. I wanted to watch a crappy Creature Feature, and I did. Zontar delivered on that level, at least. 5/10.

2 Days in New York (Julie Delpy, 2012). A sequel to 2 Days in Paris (which I haven’t seen). Julie Delpy seems to have grown on me: I liked her in Before Sunrise, loved her in Before Sunset, and brought that love to the table when watching this film. Which is one way of saying I’m ready to forgive her a lot. Not that she needs my forgiveness; 2 Days in New York is a fine comedy. I’m not sure why I liked it, considering how rarely I “get” modern comedies. It had plenty of the things that are required in these kinds of movies: humor both smart and infantile, fart jokes, lots of talk about sex. But it’s not like those other movies. Some have compared Delby’s work here (she directed and co-wrote as well as starred) to Woody Allen’s, and I can see that. Maybe it’s because half of the film is in French, but it has a slightly classy sheen compared to something like Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I don’t know. I suspect when I look back on this film five years from now, it will seem rather slight, but in the afterglow of seeing it, I’d call it quite charming. 7/10.

Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997). 9/10.


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