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COEURS NOIRS Day 30: Gut (2012)

Gut (2012) film/Bluray thoughts… This choice for my COEURS NOIRS closer might be confusing to some, as it it always promoted as a horror film. The truth is Gut, directed by Elias is a psychological horror/neo-noir. One of my favorite indie films in years, Gut recently had it’s Bluray debut and I wanted to give it a once over again.

Tom is married with a young daughter but is “looking” for some else to make his life more fulfilling. The grass somehow is greener on the other side of the fence. His childhood friend, Dan, who he works with and is quite clingy, is upset they don’t spend time together anymore. Tom says he pretty much has moved on from “hanging out”, but Dan will not let it go. He tells Tom about a “film” he got off the internet and he has to view it, he has never seen anything like it. Since they used to like horror films together, Tom pretty much gives in. The “film” is a semi clothed woman strapped to a table who proceeds to have a scalpel cut methodically into her stomach area and is seemly killed. Tom can’t believe what he has just seen and tells Dan he is nuts. But sadly, Dan is a tad unstable and will not let his relationship with his old friend go.

Gut is dark and moody. While it’s a lower budgeted affair, all players and the director pull out all the stops to make this film extremely good. Jason Vail plays Tom as basically having a partial mid life crisis in his late 20s, becoming obsessed and trapped into the world of what is on the discs. Nicholas Wilder’s Dan reminds me of someone in my past, so I was able to relate to this character. I do also have to note the experimental music of Chvad SB, especially the end title theme, it sets the tone for this film completely. It’s bleak. Do order the Bluray of it if you can, the DVD is still available and of course GUT is on most VOD services.

 

 

 

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COEURS NOIRS Day 29: City That Never Sleeps (1953)

City That Never Sleeps (1953) film thoughts… I actually had the VHS of this film a couple of years ago, intending it for the 30 Film Noirs in 31 Days series I did but had more films than I needed then. Gig Young plays Johnny Kelly, a Chicago cop who just doesn’t care for his job or the marriage that he seems stuck in. He has a girl on the side and the plan is to run away with her to California and start over. He has an opportunity to make a small windfall before the trip and decides to take it. The problem is all the twists, double crosses and misunderstandings in this film are preventing him from making that task easy…

I did really like City That Never Sleeps. It doesn’t seem like the cheap programmer it was, the actual Chicago locations and the great look it has elevates it up to the bigger pictures. It  does have a lot of changes in the story that keeps you on your toes. Before you think you know where it’s going, they throw another curve ball your way. Good acting from all players and I liked that Marie Windsor had a devious role in it. Definitely one to add to your film noir collection.

 

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COEURS NOIRS Day 28: Play Misty For Me (1971)

Play Misty For Me (1971) film thoughts… I am not the biggest Eastwood fan but I have always heard about this film, just never got around to it. He plays Dave Garver, a Jazz DJ in Carmel, California who ends up meeting one of his fans who always calls in and asks, “Play Misty For Me”. The fan is played by Jessica Walter, who has sex with Dave. He being the upright, alpha male type, thinks it’s just a one night stand. He is sadly mistaken when after he makes a couple of nice gestures, she becomes consumed with him. She is always there at his house, always demanding his attention. After he tries many times to brush her off, one incident pushes her over the edge and Dave’s life becomes a true nightmare.

The film is important for at least a couple of things: it’s Clint’s first film behind the camera and there really hasn’t been this “type” of film before. It’s now a common film trope to see an violent, obsessed person in a movie, but there really wasn’t anything like this previous. I do like Play Misty For Me but it does suffer from things that are just my preferences. It’s truly dated, from the look, the film style & the editing. They try really hard to make it look like there are stabbings but the editing is too quick and choppy. Today, they make this more direct. While I do like Walter’s performance as the crazy lady Dave wishes he never met, I found the acting a bit over the top at times. I know Clint is beloved as an actor but he is pretty one note as he is in most of the films I have seen him in.

All in all, Play Misty For Me is a solid neo-noir. You know right from the beginning nothing good is going to happen in this film.

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COEURS NOIRS Day 26: Tight Spot (1955)

Tight Spot (1955) film thoughts… As I was looking for a film to close out the month’s viewing, I noticed this one on a TCM Film Noir Classics set I have. Ginger Rodgers in a lead dramatic role sounded good. She plays Sherry, a convict who apparently has been set up by the mob, has been taken out of prison by Edward G. Robinson, a US Attorney, in order to convince her to testify against the mobster Costain (Lorne Greene). Brian Keith is the man assigned to “break her down” and they are put up in a fancy hotel, thinking she will be safe there during this process. Little do the authorities know is that Costain has an inside man on the job (Guess who?) and proceeds to try and take out Sherry out. Will she testify? How many first class hotel meals can she consume before she makes her decision? You will have to see Tight Spot to find out.

I did like the film very much. It’s stage roots are apparent but that doesn’t mean it’s “stagey”. The actors are all great. Ginger Rodgers is chewing the scenery, along with the first class meals and Brian Keith plays his dual role out well. Everyone is in a potential no win situation which all will get sorted out in the end. Tight Spot is a definite recommend from the Fiend.

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COEURS NOIRS Day 26: The Big Sleep (1946)

The Big Sleep (1946) film thoughts… Volumes have been written about this very famous film noir starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, so I don’t think I have to go into the plot too much. I am guessing I was not alone trying to figure out exactly what was going on throughout the story, it is a long one and somewhere in the middle you think the puzzle has been solved but no. What I wanted to comment on was how solid the acting was especially the depiction of the females in this film. It’s like Philip Marlowe must be the most desirable male on Earth. Women pretty much stop dead in their tracks and (if the Hays Code wasn’t in full effect) drop their panties. How on Earth does the man get a day’s work done with all that temptation? I don’t know.

Overall, this might be my favorite of the Bogart/Bacall films. I do need to see To Have and Have Not yet, but do finally get the appeal to them. I’m late to the party as always.

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COEURS NOIRS Day 25: Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) film thoughts… Ok, I get it. I “understand” why this film is beloved. For me though, after ignoring it for eons, it just didn’t do it for me. It’s a very dialogue heavy film that bordered on a high pretentious level. I know it was a stage play and it’s stage play roots are there. Zero of these characters are likeable, even Lemmon’s gets grating after a short bit.

Half way though, it just got repetitive. Glengarry Glen Ross just didn’t do it for me but I’m sure many of you have more glowing film thoughts than I.

Truth be told though…coffee is for closers. 😉

 

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COEURS NOIRS Day 24: Night Train (1999)

Night Train (1999) film thoughts… I have owned this DVD from Synapse Films for quite a bit and thought it actually might fit COEURS NOIRS well. After viewing, I’m wondering to myself why I barely hear anyone talking about it. Joe Butcher was once a top of the hill criminal, along with his brother. He gets sent away to prison for a stint, upon release finds out that his brother is missing, last seen in Tijuana. Determined to find him, he jumps a “night train” to that destination and his decent into hell has begun.

Wow…I don’t even know where to begin because I feel if you like film noir/neo-noir and experimental films, you will find Night Train to be highly interesting. First time director Les Bernstein rightly put his name above the film title as the insane concept he is given you is all his. Shot in B & W on old German film stock, Night Train throws everything and the kitchen sink at you. So many films try to do this type of film in a modern age but fail. Here, the old fashioned film effects and styles work. Be warned: if you are squeamish, you will not like some of the extremely graphic images with in the film. There is nothing conventional about Night Train, even the main character is against Noir type, he is oafish, crude and quite an idiot. Even though visually stunning, it is not a style over substance film, the story is solid. Low budget and taking years to complete, Les Bernstein shows if you have patience and determination, you can make a quality film.

Dark and brooding, it has moments of humor and even John Waters-like excesses. Night Train works and it’s another one of those films that will stick with me for a long time.