movies: two “eh?”s and one “bleh!”

this last week or so i watched a few things…
first up is eraserhead. an old david lynch film that he made over a number of years. it was done in the early 70’s and was filmed in black and white on the cheap. at the end of the bonus interview stuff on the dvd, lynch says it’s a personal film with meaning but in all of the years it’s been around and reviewed he’s never seen anyone give an accurate analysis of what it means in his mind. which isn’t too surprising, once you’ve seen much of lynch’s work. eraserhead is considered a classic, and it certainly has its own dynamic. i can see why it made the midnight showing rounds for so many years, and why so many people preferred to watch it while under the influence of something. it’s an odd, disturbing film, telling a story that generally makes some kind of sense with numerous oddities and rapid excursions into the absurd. the characters sometimes recognize the absurd, at other times they seem to accept it as completely normal. i think that, along with the constant sound of humming and machines and vibrations through the whole film, is what sets and keeps the viewer on edge. some of the techniques and effects seem dated now, but there is a lot of camera and lighting work that holds up well and helps to solidify the style of the film.
next up is tetsuo: the iron man. this is a japanese film done in the early 90’s. it is also in black and white. it’s about…i think it’s about a guy who gets infected with metal by shoving a piece of conduit pipe into his leg (so he can run fast or something), then he gets hit by a car while running down the street in pain from the alteration he just did to himself. the driver and his girlfriend put the body in the car and dump him somewhere. the guy who got hit and the guy who hit him both start to become metal/machines, and they fight a number of times through the rest of the movie as it follows the metamorphesis of the driver. the driver also ends up with a huge drill as his…member. it’s a very disconcerting and odd film, and parts are pretty goofy, but there are some really cool visuals in it. the effects and style are pretty unique. i could easily see this playing in clubs where you can see it, but instead of the movie soundtrack you hear whatever the club is playing. it’s just rather visually arresting.
finally, i have to mention heights. when it came in, i read the blurb on the sleeve and couldn’t recall for the life of me why i would have put it in my queue. i thought maybe someone recommended it to me, but later i decided i probably just read a very short synopsis and thought it sounded interesting. i believe it now holds the honor of being the first netflix film i’ve gotten that i actually responded with “i hated it”. the acting was okay, the filming was generic, but it was the storyline that just completely didn’t do it for me. first off, the main subject matter was people in relationships being unfaithful. (as you might guess, that’s a somewhat sore spot for me.) beyond that, it treated it as normal and/or acceptable, at least on some level. another issue i had was that the main affair was a gay affair. movies centering around gay issues, gay relationships, etc., or using them as plot devices, is just not something that interests me. that’s part of the reason i’ve never bothered to watch brokeback mountain (and probably never will) — it’s just subject matter that holds less than no interest for me. this movie also held the gay affair back as the surprise twist at the end. whatever. it was not very good no matter how you slice it, but the whole “gay surprise” tactic just really showed how desperate the movie was to try and be something it wasn’t.

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