Choose Me

This year has produced some weird movies by this point. “Repo Man“, “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai“, “Electric Dreams” are all examples of the odd sensibilities that could come up in the year. Cultural touchstones like “Ghostbusters” or “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” seem to litter the year as well. Small, independent films show up to play on the field as well. Taking a cue from the off beat and independent minded directors like John Sayles and Alex Cox, former Robert Altman protege Alan Rudolph supplies an odd little love story in the form of a comedy/drama with an interesting cast, sexual politics, and enough ambiguity to satisfy cineastes of the intellectual variety.

choose_me_xlg“Choose Me” starts off like a music video. There is a sensual Teddy Pendergrass vocal of a Luther Vandross penned song. A bright neon sign lights a dark skid row street, and couples engaged in romance filter out of bar. As they move into the street, partners switch and the ladies of the evening sway in rhythm with the dance moves of a gentleman who takes their hand. Most of the customers are black, but a well dressed white woman strolls comfortably though the doors of “Eve’s Bar”.  This film is an exercise in style, but only partially is it visual style that it is pushing. The tone is one of overwhelming loneliness and longing. The characters are interesting but maybe a little too off for us to find believable. There is some violence and sexuality, but none of it is explicit and most of the really tough moments involve the things the characters say about themselves.

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Brother From Another Planet

When you have no budget, a cast of unknowns, and a weird idea, how do you turn it into a movie? Writer/Director John Sayles gives us some guidelines for doing just that with this way off center look at cross cultural science fiction.

brother_from_another_planetIt is hard to imagine the creativity that is required to work within the limitations that this movie seems to have had. In 1984, this was indie movie twice removed. The info I found says that Sayles payed for the film partially with funds from the MacArthur Genius grant he received. He was most known for scriptwriting for Roger Corman films and being an ace script doctor. Oh, and he made the influential “Return of the Secaucus 7”. I’ve only seen four of his movies and this was the first one I saw in a theater.

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