Sunday, November 06, 2011

Coasting Netflix

Many of the movies in my Netflix queue express my occasional desire to put my brain in neutral and coast. Lately I have noticed that even among these dregs, there are flickers of quality.

Last night I watched "Vampire Circus." The script, acting and special effects are all bad, and even though it is scarcely 1.5 hours, it drags. But it has moments of delicate beauty that feel like they belong in an entirely different movie.

I could make almost the exact same criticisms about "It! The Terror From Beyond Space," except that it manages to squeeze its badness into a mere 69 minutes. Nearly all of it takes place on a spaceship returning home from Mars - a spaceship crowded with equipment and supplies. The clutter gives the director and/or cinematographer opportunities to play with light, shadow and depth of field to surprising effect.

Then there's "The Man Without A Body." While I can imagine that "It!" might have been effective in its day, the very premise of this one - a wealthy guy tries to cheat death by having Nostradamus's brain attached to his body - is so ludicrous that I can't imagine that anyone ever watched it without laughing out loud. I mean, I almost hurt myself.

But here's the thing - even while marveling that this movie could get financing and distribution, part of me noticed that some of the cinematography was quite artful.

I don't know what to make of these recurring cases of art amidst dreck. Maybe there was a flourishing of camera talent in the 50s and 60s that outstripped Hollywood's ability to come up with decent scripts.

Whatever the reason, it makes for some nice surprises.

posted from Bloggeroid

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