Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Faulty Subtitles Ruin The Viewing Experience
This film would have been interesting if it hadn't been ruined by its flawed English subtitles. On viewing it for the first time it appeared as though English and Swedish words were jumbled up together, but the main problem seems to be that apostrophes are replaced by Swedish letters and accents throughout.
I managed to contact Carlos Alperin, CEO of Galloping Films four months ago and asked him why his company had released the DVD apparently without checking that the subtitles were correct. Firstly he told me that I must have bought it from Scandanavia where his company doesn't have any rights. I replied that it was an American region 1 disc. He asked me for a picture of it and I sent him one. He told me he would contact the North American distributor and offered to send me a link to view the film on my computer for a month, on the understanding that I would not share it with anyone else. I said that I had bought the DVD so that I could watch it on my tv as often as I wished and that being able to view it on my computer for a limited period was not adequate compensation. He then questioned whether my multi-region player was up to the task.
A month ago he told me he had received no word from the distributor and that he would contact him again and insist on a reply.
This is not the first time I have purchased a DVD only to find the viewing experience ruined because of faulty subtitles. One such DVD was 'Long Twilight' (1997) directed by Attila Janisch where the English subs appear several seconds after the Hungarian words have been spoken. According to reviews, the same fault is present on the DVD 'Wir Sind Die Flut' (2016) directed by Sebastian Hilger.
In my view companies which offer for sale an inferior product should acknowledge their failure and should be ready to provide an adequate replacement.
Venus Drowning (2006)
Great Performance By Jodie Jameson
I was motivated to write this review because of the comments made by another reviewer, curiouscarnivore, who cannot make any sense of this film whatsoever, and thinks this must be due to poor acting, a failure to provide explanations and the plot being unrealistic.
While there is no cure for a lack of imagination, maybe if the film had been described as a surreal mystery instead of a horror movie, then it may just have given that reviewer some kind of clue. But it's all subjective. There are films with a clearly defined beginning, middle and end, where the director takes you by the hand and gently explains everything that happens, if this is what you require, so that there is no confusion left in your mind.
'Venus Drowning' isn't one of them. It is virtually a one-woman show, the whole thing being held together by Jodie Jameson's astonishing performance. I have seldom seen an actress who looks so natural and plays her part so convincingly. I have since managed to obtain a copy of her short film 'f2point8' directed by Paul Hills.
That's not to say that 'Venus Drowning' is perfect. Which film is? There are parts that I would have edited out, but then I'm not an editor or a director. I am simply a collector and I like to think a discerning one. The majority of DVDs that I buy end up either on Ebay or at the charity shop. This one I decided to keep, and realized to my surprise that it was one of only four British films in my collection.
1999 - Nen no natsu yasumi (1988)
Unlike Anything Else I've Seen
This is a weird one. After watching it I was left with two questions - what's it all about and why was I so intrigued by a homoerotic drama? A boys' boarding school has closed for the summer. Four pupils have stayed on to look after themselves because they don't have homes to go to. Boy One has fallen in love with Boy Two but has been rejected, so he's jumped into the lodge and presumably drowned. The other three carry on as normal until they're joined by a newcomer, Boy Five, who looks exactly like Boy One, but he calls himself by a different name and manages to convince them that he's another person altogether. His arrival causes consternation, recriminations and jealousy. Eventually Boy Two falls in love with this newcomer, who then admits he's really Boy One and that he wanted to exact revenge by rejecting him in turn. The only way to resolve the situation is to commit suicide together and they jump into the lodge. Boys Three and Four attempt to rescue them but only succeed in saving Boy Two. Then another newcomer arrives and wouldn't you know it, he looks exactly like Boy One. There's a lot more going on here than immediately meets the eye. I like the weird computers. I like the way the boys remain disciplined although there are no adults to supervise them. And I like the way the boys fall in love with each other, with no implied sexual experimentation, as though it's the most natural thing in the world to do. The master stroke was using actresses to play all four parts. It allows a sense of intimacy to be created which would undoubtedly have been difficult to achieve using male actors, and it makes the whole story more palatable for heterosexual viewers. Definitely an oddity and worth seeing.
Impressed With This Film From Kazakhstan
It wasn't easy to get a copy of this on DVD, but it was worth the effort. I don't think I've seen a film from Kazakhstan before and I'd like to see more if they're as good as this. A man is driving with his wife and young son, apparently to meet up with someone, and loses his way in the middle of nowhere after looking for a shortcut. They seem to be going round in circles so he stops for a break, then the car won't start, he and his wife begin to argue and neither of them can get a signal on their phones because the area is so remote. After snoozing in the car he wakes to find his family gone. At a desolate house nearby he meets an old man and his daughter who appear to know all about him and are anything but surprised to see him. Ayganim Sadykova who plays the daughter looks quite magnificent. She could make a career in vampire films and that is meant as a compliment. All the actors are first rate. I've read that the director, Akan Sataev, had planned to make an English language version, to be called 'Lost', but it's hard to see how he could improve on this. Compared with most of the films I've seen recently, this is a gem.
Ôinaru gen'ei (1999)
This Film Has Ended My Interest In Kurosawa
The first film I saw which was directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa was 'The Cure'. I thought it was one of the best Japanese films I had seen, and I eagerly looked forward to seeing more of his work. I have now watched another eight of his films and even though I didn't really expect to find another 'Cure', I have to say that I have been disappointed with each one of them. Now that I have seen 'Barren Illusion' I know that I am not going to take the trouble to view any more. For me, this film is the worst of them all and appears to be nothing more than a collection of out-takes from a couple of films which have been stitched together, given a title and released on an unsuspecting public. There is nothing of interest here, let alone anything to get excited about.
Does Anyone GENUINELY Like This?
People who suffer from feelings of inadequacy long to convince others that they are aware and sophisticated, and it's people like these who claim to appreciate films like 'Stalker'. "It's directed by Andrei Tarkovsky" they'll tell you. "He's an auteur. This film is a classic." Those who attempt to impress by portraying themselves as intelligent and knowledgeable run the risk of associating themselves with another classic, Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Emporor's New Clothes'. 'Stalker' is described as science fiction but has nothing to do with science, in fact it is difficult to decide what category it should belong to. My apologies, that should read genre. It's not an action film, that's for sure. And it's certainly not a comedy, unless I recall what I paid for the DVD, in which case the joke's on me. A case could be made for calling it a psychological horror, as the director has made a creditable attempt to bore the viewer into a psychotic meltdown. Stung by criticism of his 'masterpiece', Tarkovsky is quoted as saying "The film needs to be slower and duller at the start so that the viewers who walked in the wrong theatre have time to leave before the main action starts" and "I am only interested in the views of two people, one is called Bresson and one called Bergman." These are two other directors you're supposed to venerate, in case you didn't know. I don't feel the need to pretend that I enjoyed this film, unlike those who try to pass themselves off as intellectuals. I sat and watched all 155 minutes, and as the mind-numbing tedium continued, I was reminded of an ex-work colleague who, when confronted with something which didn't meet with his approval, would snort "Crap with a capital K!" On reflection, I consider these words to be an accurate summary.
Could Have Been So Much Better
This film lasts just over two hours, and the first hour and fifty five minutes are fine. A German serial killer, whose hobby is raping boys and using their blood to paint pictures, is apprehended but refuses to give much away under interrogation. A policeman travels to the city hoping to question the killer about the murder of a young girl in the village where he lives. The prisoner responds to him but demands to be told about the cop's family and his sex life before he'll answer questions. All good gritty stuff, but it's all ruined by an incredibly tame ending. Christian Alvart (Pandorum) wrote and directed, and I have to believe he was pressured to alter his original script. After multiple pedophile homosexual rapes and murders, the god-fearing village cop's introduction to anal sex with a friendly lady, and inflicting sodomy on his wife when he gets home, drawing blood in the process, Herr Alvart must have known that 'happily ever after' wasn't the way to go.
Can I Get My Money Back?
I clearly wasn't thinking straight when I bought this DVD entitled Decoder, assuming it was the German film directed by Muscha. Why did the Japanese feel the need to change the title? Paid for it, might as well watch it, I thought, and then found I couldn't switch off the Japanese subtitles. The non-stop chatter and the histrionics gave me the impression that the script was written by a teenager and the only reason I ended up watching the whole silly film was because the cat went to sleep on my knee and I didn't want to disturb her. Unconvincing story and unconvincing performances. I'm not saying the acting is particularly bad, but it's English soap opera / sit-com level. The credits state 'This motion picture is a work of fiction'. No kidding. I've ordered a copy of Decoder. The right one this time.
The Destroying Angel (1976)
Not For Me
I decided to purchase the DVD because the reviews said 'one of a kind surreal horror.' OK I thought, I've watched a Jeff Stryker film, a bit of homosexuality isn't going to put me off. Hmm. Trying to look past my copy's poor picture quality, what can I say? Amateurish? Yes it's certainly that. Intriguing story line, but that's where the quality ends. What struck me most was the realization that there are as many flaccid cocks in gay porn as there are in straight porn. No wonder someone found it necessary to introduce a cucumber to the proceedings. If these actors can't maintain an erection, what are they doing in the porn industry? To gay/bisexual reviewers - can you get aroused even though the participants can't? I watched it late in the afternoon and I wouldn't say it gave me an appetite for my evening meal. I can't see myself watching it again.
The Joke Is On Me
I paid money for the DVD because critics described it as bizarre, surreal, experimental, disturbing etc. Now I'm stuck with it. Serves me right. The trailer attributes this quote to Time magazine - "makes Eraserhead seem like Ernest Saves Christmas". The nearest this film gets to Eraserhead is a ten-year-old with a faulty camera playing at being David Lynch. It isn't even good enough to be called amateurish. Basically what you see is a grainy murky monochrome picture of people dressed in rags carrying and dragging a convulsing body across muddy ground and occasionally putting it down and prodding it. For those who are able to convince themselves that this film has merit, and religious significance, my copy is available. I wish I could be so easily pleased. Anyone contemplating watching it for the first time, be aware that it will take seventy eight minutes of your life that you'll never get back.
Ann och Eve - de erotiska (1970)
Could Have Been So Much Better
First I got the Danish version on DVD and realized it had been censored, although Another World insisted that it hadn't. Then I got the Something Weird version, which although shorter by fifteen minutes and having inferior picture quality, does not obscure the lesbian bedroom scene and adds a couple of seconds to the lorry scene. Finally I managed to get a copy of the Japanese DVD only to find, much to my disappointment, that it was exactly the same as the Danish version. Abrupt endings to scenes in all three versions and interesting pictures on the cases which aren't shown in the film prove that censors were active before the first DVD was released. Maybe there's a Swedish VHS version that shows it all, then we would find out exactly what the dwarf and the singer got up to. But if you watch it on DVD to see the delectable Marie Liljedahl in action, then the Something Weird version is the one to go for.
Je t'aime moi non plus (1976)
The story line was intriguing but the film could have been so much better, like with a better script, better actors, better direction etc. Apart from the 'Je T'aime' song, the music in this film is particularly inappropriate. When I think of Joe Dallesandro the word 'wooden' comes to mind, and the others taking part are on a similar level, although Jane Birkin should get a mention for effort. Nothing much happens apart from the garbage truck driver attempting anal sex with the waitress. The question remains, did they finally achieve this satisfactorily in the back of the truck, or had he inadvertently managed to find the right hole? I don't suppose I'll ever know.
I too first saw the X certificate version called 'Teenager' at the cinema, then on a rented video cassette, and I found myself fascinated by the cute bubbly blonde girl playing the part of Irene. She shows such enthusiasm and looks like she's thoroughly enjoying herself. It was much later that I discovered that 'Teenager' was in fact an edited hardcore film (so the opportunity wasn't wasted after all) and the blonde girl's name is Marilyn Jess. My DVD copy is titled 'Teenager Internatsreport A La France' and the soundtrack is in German, which is unfortunate, but then there's always the mute button. This version lasts 80 minutes, some scenes have been cut from the softcore version, which I find just as irritating as when mainstream films are censored. There are various romps and couplings involving the pupils and teachers at the college and in a swingers club, where two of the schoolgirls are taken on as escorts. Another pretty girl, Maria Catala playing the part of Rosemarie, fantasizes about her teacher and eventually has sex with him in his car. Ah 1979, those were the days when girls had pubic hair and there weren't the present day obsessions with tattoos, piercings and feet. The picture quality of hardcore films has improved since then, but that's about all.