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Weird Wednesday at The Alamo Drafthouse New Mission in August

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 29, 2019 06:25pm | Post a Comment

Sun Ra, Space is the Place

Amoeba and Alamo Drafthouse continue their partnership for Weird Wednesday at the New Mission theater in SF this August! Weird Wednesday is Alamo's weekly celebration of movies that are too outrageous for prime time. The August line-up proves to be daring, imaginative, and downright interplanetary. You won't want to miss any of these.

Murderous Intent (1985)
Wednesday, August 7. 9pm
Jamaican-born, NYC-based director Len Anthony originally set out to make several films, but was never able to finish any of them. All the leftover footage was smashed together and Murderous Intent was born. Opening with an explosive Alvin Ailey-esque dance troupe number, you will never be able to predict where this movie is headed. It's like if Dangerous Men was an art film -- or a horror film -- or both -- or neither!

Murderous Intent

Caged Heat (1974)
Wednesday, August 14. 9:30pm
This women-in-prison tale is the debut feature from future cinema legend Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Something Wild, Married to the Mob). Thrown into the penal hell of Connorville, petty criminal Jacqueline (Erica Gavin) fights against the ruthless inmates, a cruel warden (Barbara Steele), and her depraved staff. She forms an uneasy friendship with two hardened inmates; when these three unite, they seek escape, money, and revenge. Composer John Cale (formerly of The Velvet Underground!) also offers a stark, experimental, blues-inflected score — and the story takes a number of odd turns including several strikingly surreal fantasy sequences, with Steele getting the best moment in a stylish cabaret number.

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November 28, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, November 30, 2008 06:29pm | Post a Comment


Jean-Claude Van Damme, Critical Darling: The Mythopoiesis of JCVD (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 22, 2008 07:18pm | Post a Comment
The white meat is on the run
and the dark meat is far too done
and the milkman left me a note yesterday
get out of this town by noon
you're coming on way too soon
and besides that we never liked you anyway.
-- "Sweet Revenge" by John Prine (with a nod to Hunter S. Thompson) 
 

Who'dathunk it, but the Muscles from Brussels has finally starred in a film that's been getting some good critical response. JCVD is an attempt to explore the heart and mind of Jean-Claude Varenberg, the man behind the dissipating Van Damme legend. Director and co-writer Mabrouk El Mechri might've called the film I'm Not There had the title not already been taken. It's a pomo-biopic trying for more versimiltude than Being John Malcovich, but any honesty in the film is more of an accidental byproduct of the essential cluelessness of its eponymous star than the result of actual introspection. 'Tis the the age of schadenfreude, and that's why I went to see this film. As Dostoevsky said, we love "the disgrace of the righteous man," only Van Damme ain't righteous, just famous. As he admits in the movie, he's just a commodity, who's benefited greatly from being so. The film asks us to care about the toy that starts feeling suffocated by its packaging. The resulting drama, however, comes closer to a VH1 special about a boy band member deciding he's a real artist. If you were crying along with Dave Mustaine in Some Kind of Monster or get choked up reguarly watching Oprah give shit away to bourgeois housewives, then JCVD might be something other than comedy relief. This is a date movie for WWE fans.

But I came to bury Jean-Claude, not praise him. Unfortunately, JCVD spends too much time on its plot, rather than the philosophy of the man (e.g., "To me, life is... you open the shutters, you see the dogs outside, you look left, you look right, in, what, a second and a half? And that's a life." -- osu!). As JC, he's taking time off from Hollywood in his native hometown, where he mistakenly gets blamed for a post office robbery despite his being one of the victims. His supposed friends in Hollywood and the powers that be almost take it for granted that he's to blame, but his true fans stick behind him. The armed robbers make him continue with the illusion if he wants to keep the hostages alive. No wonder Jean-Claude was willing to take the piss out of himself to resurrect his career. With satire like this, who needs critical praise? The definitive answer has been given to WWJD, anything that helps. And it seems to be working; despite the noxious narcissism, many have found the faith. Surely, Oprah's delivering a virgin birth will arrive before everything comes to a screeching halt in 2012 (to be released in 2009, under the direction of Roland Emmerich). However, for ye of little faith, the only thing really intentionally funny is the teaser trailer:
 

I suppose there's an academic thesis somewhere on the fact that Jean-Claude plays a simulacrum of himself, JC, but the latter turns out to have more depth than the real thing. If you ever wanted to see him cry while performing a soliloquy, now's your chance. Evidently, he -- or the specular JC, as constituted by the writers -- feels really bad about his earning so much for churning out pap in a world where people just as talented don't make squat (JC can't quite bring himself to say, "more talented"). Yep, he's learned a thing or two over the years (namely, to produce tears on demand). I don't think I'm giving away too much to say JC lives in the end. As he's being held at gunpoint by one of the criminals with the gendarmerie all around, he experiences his Last Temptation: a dream of rolling under the gunman and taking him out, then standing up and flexing his muscles to his cheering acolytes. But the older and wiser JC resists the lure of popularity, and instead elbows the criminal, merely to fall to the ground. He's subsequently arrested as a suspect, with few of his fans knowing that he sacrificed his reputation in order to keep the hostages alive. JC gives and he gives and he gives. Pop martyrdom and religious allegory -- where have you gone Marty Scorsese?

MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM WHEN JEAN-CLAUDE WAS JUST A MAN

Van Damme vs. Chuck Zito


"My father taught me how to fight when I was 5," says Zito (who would later pick up five martial-arts black belts). But his most memorable knockout was not in the ring. It came in 1998 in the Scores strip club, when tough-guy movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme cursed out Zito publicly. Zito responded with a straight right and a left hook, screaming, "This ain't the movies! This is the street, and I own the street!"