Rockie’s Vulcan Video Staff Picks #3
Rockie has been working at one of the last video stores standing, Vulcan Video in Austin, TX, for nearly a decade. The best part about working there is being able to share a recommendation with a customer. Sure, some of his recommendations have been shot down in flames, but the ones that hit always make it well worthwhile. For his Staff Picks, here are a few selections he has mined from the mighty Vulcan Video.
Yes, that movie with cinematography so lovely you could care less that it was shot entirely on an iPhone. This technical marvel is thankfully backed by a heartwarming story that blossoms in the most unlikely of places. A lady of the night is convinced her pimp has done her wrong, so with the aide of her friend they begin a day long trek to get answers or maybe beat some ass. This journey is worth every ounce of your time as it unflinchingly shows you how tough and ridiculous it can truly be out there in that line of work. Bouncing from (oddly) understanding cops to interesting hook-ups, Tangerine is never stale and is endearing towards an intense lifestyle. The final shot of this film is one for the ages and will melt your heart.
Holy Motors (2012)
Fair warning: this one is an odd duck, not made for most. So, what is this movie about? Who cares, I say! From frame one this weird ride is pure art. While being respectful to the many genres cinema has to offer, it is also very radical with how it delivers itself to the audience. Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) is picked up from his home, in a limo mind you, and is then driven to random appointments where he acts out various colorful roles. That is pretty much your plot in a nutshell. You're thrust into each scene with little to no set up and the results are dazzling. Mo-Cap technology, the 1954 Godzilla's score, musical numbers, tragedy, murder and an erect penis are forced to coincide with one another and against all odds it works. Could be pretentious but it never falters. Need something off the wall and different? Holy Motors has you covered, gang.
One False Move (1992)
To the Bill Paxton fans who have not seen this movie, I am envious of you. This film almost never made it to theaters. Great word of mouth changed all that and, wouldn't you know it, it became one of the best reviewed films of 1992. One False Move is calm and brooding, yet precise with its violence in a confident way. A ruthless trio go on a killing spree, the motive of course being money and drugs. Paxton plays a cop sent to catch the crooks. Old demons begin to surface as cops and robbers tread grey areas in tandem. Director Carl Franklin truly made a neo-noir here, that also plays like a Western minus the horses. Billy Bob Thornton, wearing two hats here as co-screenwriter and actor, here he plays one of the thieves, another broken character he's known for portraying. Should this film leave you wanting more from director Carl Franklin, make note of Devil in a Blue Dress. I recommend watching them back-to-back actually.
This one completely blindsided me, mainly because there have been no good MMA movies before this, most just being forgettable action rides with suspect acting that go straight-to-DVD. Warrior flips things around by using real MMA stars and placing them in background roles, allowing mega talents like Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte to do all the heavy dramatic lifting. And lift they surely do. All the leads are a sturdy tripod that support this underseen sports film. In truth, the sport really doesn't matter. Hell, it could have been football or boxing. MMA is only there to help push the drama to the surface more effectively. A powerful family drama about forgiveness and letting go, Warrior is severely underrated and deserves another look. Drunk Nick Nolte screaming the audiobook for Moby Dick will rip you apart. Cry at an MMA film, why don't you?
This Wim Wenders documentary is a peek into the mind of a brilliant dance choreographer Pina Bausch, who moved the art of dance to unpredictable places. Dancers recreate her avant-garde pieces on and off stage in celebration of her genius. I know nothing about dance, mind you, but after the second routine, I truly felt in awe of the undeniable talent on display, and I think you will, too. Every collaborator here is fully committing themselves to the performances; they put their mind, body and soul into it, physically contorting and gyrating as if possessed. How did Pina Bausch even think these dance moves up, let alone combine them together so intricately? Hypnotic, even to the layman; it's another good doc from Win, y'all. (My fellow Vulcan co-worker, Ben put this film on mute then played random music over it. I suggest you try this as well.)