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OKG Newsletter


Topic: book
raisinghell

‘The Devils’ made me do it

Read any good books lately? About movies, that is?

When I’m not watching movies, there are few things I like doing more than reading about them. Luckily, the weeks leading up to the holidays brought three brand-spanking-new ones to my desk for my reading and reviewing pleasure.


Should you forgo a few matinees and time from your Netflix Instant Queue to consume the words they hold within? You’ll know in a matter of minutes ...

Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils
Richard Crouse
ECW Press


The sign of a good “making of” book is if it’s compelling even if you’ve never seen the film whose production it documents. Such is the case with Richard Crouse’s Raising Hell, covering the shooting and subsequent public skewering of 1971’s The Devils.

While director Ken Russell (Altered States, Tommy, Lisztomania, Trapped Ashes) had his troubles with oft-blitzed leading man Oliver Reed, the real storm rolled in after the film was released. After all, would you expect a historical horror epic that combines Christianity with sexuality to be controversial? Of course!

With a mix of his own reporting and other sources, Canada-based film critic Crouse paints an intriguing portrait of the events both on-set and off. One actress quips, “Have you ever tried writhing sexually for 10 hours at a time? Try it one day. It’s not easy.” The real tumult arrived once word of its content — particularly a “rape of Christ” sequence — leaked; while branded with the X rating in England, it somehow scored an R in good ol’ America, yet that hardly resulted in big box office.

Today, Warner Bros. still hasn’t released The Devils in any post-VHS format, at least not uncensored. Other than locating a *cough* torrent *cough*, reading Crouse’s book may be the next best thing. While it’s not on the masterful level of Julie Salamon’s The Devil’s Candy, it is a fascinating read that peels back the veil on the Hollywood studio system and those mavericks who, God bless ’em, attempt to shake it up every once in a while.  

Queue Tips: Discovering Your Next Great Movie
Rob Christopher
Huron Street Press


With tens of thousands of titles available at your fingertips at home, it’s easy to forget that your local libraries are a viable outlet for renting movies. (Hell, these days, they may boast a better selection than dying dog Blockbuster Video.) I think I’ve only rented one there, because back in 2004, my wife and I needed some instructional video to teach our kids about how that bump got in Mommy’s belly. Therefore, one free VHS rental later, animation narrated by Howie Mandel taught our kids about the birds and the bees, but all I remember is him referring to the orgasm as a “really big tickle.”

That’s a roundabout way of getting to Queue Tips, a fun paperback published by an imprint of the American Library Association and edited by Chicago critic Rob Christopher.

Sticking to no particular number, he and his guests tick off recommendations for unusual romances, disaster flicks, Nicolas Cage vehicles, Westerns that aren’t Westerns, unconventional Christmas films, half-good flops and more. Novelist Barry Gifford (Wild at Heart) offers his choices for “late-night spooky films,” while Saturday Night Live vet Julia Sweeney simply discusses random titles that were on her mind.

You can build up quite a “to see” list of your own, but even if you’ve seen a majority of the works referenced, the presentation is lively enough for rediscovery. I have one big complaint: It’s too damn short! Lists about movies can be a blast, and the 24 here are just that ... but 24 is not quite enough to satiate my addiction.

Contemporary Erotic Cinema
Douglas Keesey
Kamera Books


SEX! And now that I have your attention, you might want to read an entire book about it, or at least movies that deal directly with "it," and rather frankly at that.

California film/lit professor Douglas Keesey digs through decades upon decades of blue movies and smutty skinema for flick-by-flick examinations of more than 100 examples. Divided into specific fetishes themes like incest, gay, anal or Nazis, he discusses the acts and themes present — often in all their glory — in The Reader, Porky’s, Boogie Nights and even Team America: World Police.

It's certainly not for the prude, and the full-color photo section in the middle should be kept from young, prying eyes. Speaking of eyes, I sure got some strange looks as I read the book while waiting in line to vote in the presidential election. USA! USA!

While his mini-essays can verge on the pretentious, I cannot deny reading every page. I’m just not sure I learned anything beyond what movies I can go without seeing for life, as many entries end with having raised more questions than providing any answers. Often, he literally closes with a question, i.e. “We see them in their all, but do we really know them?” or “Is the man insufficient just because the woman enjoys her own sex?”

You be the judge, I guess. It’s certainly not taxing study. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Horror Films book review     
Lisztomania DVD review   
Phallic Frenzy: Ken Russell and His Films book review    
Samurai Films book review   
Trapped Ashes DVD review   

by Rod Lott 01.08.2013 1 year ago
at 05:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Game Change

Sarah, we hardly knew ye ... which is exactly the point.


Drama

Rod Lott
Nearly every scene of the made-for-HBO Game Change, I recall from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's excellent nonfiction book of the same name. But the movie directed by Jay Roach (of the Austin Powers and Meet the Parents franchises) tells only half — maybe even just one-quarter — of the story, ignoring the 2008 presidential-campaign narratives of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for the one it finds most compelling: that of Sarah Palin and John McCain, and not the other way around.
 
Thursday, January 10, 2013

All Superheroes Must Die

Packs a mild punch.


Thriller

Rod Lott
At least All Superheroes Must Die isn't like every other comic book-inspired cinematic vision that currently serve as the buttered bread to Hollywood's rumbling stomach. That alone is not enough to make for a good movie, but it's a head start.
 
Monday, January 28, 2013

Neiman seed

An eye for photography is all in the family of a Neiman Marcus executive.


Visual Arts

Louis Fowler
Reflections: The Photographs of Allison V. Smith & Stanley Marcus
through March 30
[Artspace] at Untitled
1 N.E. Third
artspaceatuntitled.org
815-9995
free
 
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

High school was tough.


Drama

Phil Bacharach
John Hughes, for all the love people heap on his ’80s teen movies, was far too easy on high school. Maybe your high school experience was different than mine — and, if so, congrats. For many of us, however, those years were a marathon of self-pity, heartache, passion and anything else you’d find on an album by The Smiths.
 
Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Lucky One

Generates no Sparks.


Drama

Rod Lott
Life can change in the blink of an eye, according to the opening minute of the turgid romance The Lucky One. It's the kind of empty observation that has become such a cliché, it no longer holds weight. But somehow, against God and every force of nature, grotesquely arrogant novelist Nicholas Sparks has built a lucrative career stringing such things together.
 
Monday, August 27, 2012

Argo

2012's presumed Best Picture winner hits home video.


Thriller

Phil Bacharach
Generating suspense from a story that is a matter of historical record is no easy thing. That was the primary challenge facing Ben Affleck and Chris Terrio, the director-star and writer, respectively, of Argo, a thriller inspired by a real-life covert operation that helped rescue six U.S. embassy workers out of Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.
 
Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Frankenstein Theory

The modern prometheus gets a modern movie update.


Horror

Rod Lott
The Frankenstein Theory is like no other Frankenstein film you've seen: rendered in found footage.
 
Monday, February 25, 2013

Remembering

Metro author Jim Ross reflects on his wartime experiences in a new memoir.


Nonfiction

Tim Farley
Jim Ross
2 p.m. Saturday
Barnes & Noble
13800 N. May
BN.COM
755-1155
 
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One in Three

Oklahoma City’s Nathan Mickle makes up a third of the new vocal group The American Three, dedicated to belting out standards.


Music

Louis Fowler
Press materials for The American Three tag the new vocal group as “fun and wholesome,” with a little Rat Pack thrown in “just for flavor!” It’s that extra flavor that Three member and lifelong Ol’ Blue Eyes fan Nathan Mickle believes fits his song stylings to a T.
 
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
 
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