John Otteni

Freaky Fridays: Halloween

Halloween (1978)

If you weren’t aware a new Halloween movie is coming out on October 19th. The film is a sequel, or is it a soft reboot? Either way it’s the first Halloween film in nine years. Or as the makers want you to believe, the first in 40 years. What this means is that writer/director David Gordon Green along with his fart-ner (funny?) in crime Danny McBride have penned a direct sequel to the original Halloween. One that erases Halloween’s entire legacy after John Carpenter’s 1978 original.

What I aim to do every Friday from here until the release of this new film is answer the question “Is this a legacy worth remembering?” Which means I will review every installment in the Halloween series (even the Rob Zombie ones). I’ve seen all the films before but I thought it might be fun to revisit the franchise in this format. After all, everyone is entitled to one good scare. That’s a tagline for the original Halloween. Doesn’t really make any sense how I used it.

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Criterion Month Day 30: Blue is the Warmest Colour

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

Does anyone want to hear what a straight white adult male has to say about Blue is the Warmest Colour? I don’t. Like Persona earlier this month Blue is the Warmest Colour is a movie I wanted to see but didn’t want to write about it because I don’t feel I have anything to offer to the conversation. I can tell you that I liked the film and it was romantic and sexy and funny and sad but not much else. I’ve also been waiting to finish it for five years. Yes, I started watching it in 2013 before giving up forty minutes in. Not because of the film’s content. Because the film is 179 minutes long. Which is funny considering this will be the shortest (and last) review of Criterion Month.

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Criterion Month Day 28: George Washington

George Washington (2000)

I dare you to find a director with a weirder body of work than David Gordon Green. Not more diverse or worse, just weirder. Bursting onto the scene in the early ‘00s, Green looked like the heir apparent to Terrence Malick. The southern gothic settings and stoic narration of his early films had all the makings of the next great American auteur. Then Pineapple Express happened. Okay, maybe Green’s just trying to test the market. Make a film that can result in actual box office dollars instead of pinching pennies from arthouse cinemas. Then Your Highness happens. Okay, maybe he had such a fun time he wanted to give it one more go. Then The Sitter happened… He’s dead, Jim. So let’s bypass all the gloom and doom for now and go back to a simpler time. The time of Washington.

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Criterion Month Day 27: Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

I’d planned on reviewing Lynne Ramsay’s 1999 drama Ratcatcher for today. Unfortunately, the film isn’t on streaming or any online rental service that I’m aware of, so I needed a backup. Why did I gravitate to Wim Wender’s 1999 music documentary Buena Vista Social Club? I don’t know. Maybe because it was convenient. Or maybe It was the island rhythms I could feel percolating from within. Let’s find out.

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Criterion Month Day 24: Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

Not a lot of filmmakers can get away with making a feature-length film about nothing. You can call Stranger Than Paradise a film about “social misfits exploring the dark side of the american dream”. At least that’s what the writer/director Jim Jarmusch said about his film on his guest appearance on The Simpsons. Though I would argue Stranger Than Paradise is about nothing. Which I would also argue is what makes the film so great.

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Criterion Month Day 21: Stalker

Stalker (1979)

I’ve been in a sci-fi mood lately. I’ve been watching James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction and though today’s film isn’t discussed on the show—gotta make room for films that matter like I Am Legend and Avatar—it got me thinking about the great sci-fi films I have yet to see. Stalker is a film you’ll find on most “Best Sci-Fi Films” lists. But you know another film on most lists? Solaris, also directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. I bring that up because Solaris is one of the most boring films I’ve ever attempted to watch.

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Criterion Month Day 16: Persona

Persona (1966)

I knew this movie was special from the moment I heard the Persona Blu-Ray’s menu music. I popped in the disc, went over to make a sandwich and was hit with a cacophony of dissonant strings and percussive clicks. It was the scariest sandwich I ever made. Though Persona isn’t a horror movie. You could call it a psychological thriller. Or an avant-garde drama. Or all of the above. Or none of the above. This is experimental art house cinema in its purest form and must not be taken lightly. Put down that sandwich.

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