The best movie(s) I'd never heard about

Started by Pas, April 05, 2011, 08:42:12 PM

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So few racing films actually feel dangerous, understandably, but that one does. Still dreaming about Cronenberg or Michael Mann's take on the Ferrari movie.


That's happening:

QuoteMichael Mann & Hugh Jackman Are Still Set To Make A 'Ferrari' Movie, And They're Hoping To Shoot Next Spring
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Michael Mann's passion project for almost two decades may finally get made, as he prepares to shoot "Ferrari" with Hugh Jackman as early as next spring.

This, of course, may come as a surprise to some, given that we just had a movie where Enzo Ferrari played a big role: James Mangold's "Ford v. Ferrari" last year, which Mann executive produced. But it turns out, in this economy, you have to choose between Ford and Ferrari, you can't have both.

The news comes from Deadline, with a report that Mann recently reworked the script by the late Troy Kennedy Martin ("The Italian Job"). The film racing drama is reportedly part of the Cannes virtual market, where four-time Oscar-nominee Mann will present the project for buyers early next week.

Hugh Jackman is gearing up to play the titular Ferrari founder, Enzo Ferrari. The film is set in the summer of 1957, during a turbulent time for Ferrari. The company he built was going broke, his marriage was on the rocks after the death of their son, Dino, while Ferrari's other son was struggling to find his place in the world.

According to Deadline, "Ferrari" is being described as having an almost "The Godfather" type feel. The film's biggest set piece will be set on one 1,000-mile race across Italy, the 1957 Mille Miglia, and Mann will reportedly build a fleet of replica race cars from the era.

"The real power of this piece is in the emotionally charged lives of these people in complex, extreme circumstances," Mann said. "In addition, there is the explosive power and lethal beauty of racing. It has a great drama at its core and that's why 'Ferrari' stayed with me."


i saw Pit Stop doubled with Spider Baby in 35mm at the Egyptian with Jack Hill and Sid Haig in person, this was it, like a hundred people were there it wasn't sold out i know that's crazy


Jean-Claude Brisseau's Un jeu brutal aka A Brutal Game (1983)

The film follows a famous scientist who rules over his errant disabled daughter with an iron fist. He's meticulous and tyrannical, while she is impetuous but equally cruel in her own immature way.


Quote from: Letterboxd user Mike D'Angelo"Suggests The Glass Menagerie if Amanda were a tough-love serial killer instead of an aging Southern belle," reads my drive-by from back then, and that barely scratches the surface of how bizarre this movie is; hard to choose sides in the battle of wills between a father we know is murdering children and his disabled, deeply disturbed daughter, who's introduced fantasizing about bombing a crowded marketplace for fun. They actually rarely share the screen (which I hadn't remembered), yet it's implied that his disciplinarian tactics do in fact gradually shape her into a more compassionate, less warped person, even as it's made abundantly clear that they're part and parcel of his homicidal mania. In short, this film feels dangerous, in the best sort of way.

Available restored on blu-ray in France from Carlotta (no subs), and on DVD in the UK


Great film lost to time, and the only film he ever made. Watched on Amazon.

Wendell B. Harris Jr.'s Chameleon Street (1989)

William Douglas Street is bored with his life. Working for his father is getting to him, his wife wants more money, and he's had enough. His solution is to re-invent himself. He becomes a chameleon, taking on whatever role suits the situation. From reporter to doctor to lawyer, he impersonates anyone he feels a need to be and he can earn money being. The movie is based on the real figures William Douglas Street, Jr. and Erik Dupin.

Quote from: Brian FormoI've seen Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight a handful of times and in a knockout top-to-bottom cast, Jenifer Lopez's boss Daniel always stood out in a cast of who's who. His honey voiced/above it all reading of the line "whatever" with the eye roll and the hands up is just so goddamn perfect. Anyway, Daniel is played by Wendell B. Harris, Jr. and Soderbergh hired him because the year after sex, lies, and videotape changed the Sundance Film Festival forever, Soderbergh served on the Jury the following year and awarded Harris the Grand Prize for Chameleon Street, a film that Harris wrote, directed, starred in and produced, and also that Hollywood completely screwed him over with right after Soderbergh's prize should've set the groundwork for a major career.

You see, this micro-budget film, has a Hollywood story right there: the true story of a black ex-con (Harris) who successfully passed himself off as a Detroit Tiger, a doctor, a French graduate student, and a lawyer, and even performed successful surgeries that he learned on the fly. Hollywood had a leading man remake in mind when it was purchased, it wasn't purchased to show on its own. The film that they bought, and didn't release, was shot like an industrial film and uses narration to fill in the gaps (but also hit you with some belly laughs). Chameleon Street lacks standard pizazz, but has an angry undercurrent on how black men have to adopt personas in order to get respect and/or equal opportunity. (Did I mention it's funny?)

Chameleon Street is quite a feat to watch today, and we're benefited by watching the 90s independent film movement unfold, as it shares some look and tone of other indie gods like Hal Hartley and Gregg Araki. But Harris beat them to the punch and suffered for it. Warner Brothers had no intention of releasing his film, just remaking it, and so the film languished in obscurity, the prize-winning videotape that followed sex, lies, and videotape that was gobbled up by lies and never saw actual distribution until Harris released it on home video in 2007. (A remake was never done either, though Six Degrees of Separation shares many character similarities and Smith was considered for the remake role.)

Street benefits greatly from Harris' voice, which stood out in Out of Sight, a syrupy tone that moves slowly; and as it moves, it unfurls. First, a hint of education in every word, and second a "fuck you" tucked away to rebut your entranced state. This is a distinctly 1990 Sundance Film in all of the absolute best ways. It's intelligent, it's personal, it's all put together by someone who had no access to Hollywood. And it features a scene where Harris is dressed up like Jean Cocteau's Beast and though he's been found out by a fellow French student that he's not actually French, he's still in awe of the translated insult that comes his way. Instead of responding incredulously to being labeled a "skinflint transvestite" who should be drinking "lukewarm cat piss," Harris' eyes roll into an orgasmic state behind the Beast mask and he says, "Oh, I wish I could speak French like that." True indie movie heaven.

Quote from: IMDB user loganx-2Beyond easy designation of social relevance (race, class, etc.), Street's chameleon like behavior is in microcosm the way everyone behaves at a certain basic level, learning to read the people and situations life brings us to, often playing them to our advantage (maybe more than we are even fully aware of), and only occasionally putting our foot down to announce what we are not, at those times when we either cant or refuse to cut through the "baggage of our personalities". You can't be everything to everyone, and the film asks even if it's possible to be yourself to yourself.

Chameleon Street is not a perfect film, not the funniest ever, or featuring the best cinematography, no one is going to clamor about the use of soft-focus, shadows, mood, blah, blah, blah, and it will not be praised for it's soundtrack (typical of it's time and unimpressive), but like Hal Hartley, Bill Gunn, David Blair, or Mark Rappaport, Wendell B. Harris Jr. is sui generis in his sense of style, focus, and concerns, and if nothing else deserves praise as a great neglected American auteur. There is more personality in this one movie than in some director's entire oeuvre's. Personally, this is my new favorite film the kind you watch twice back to back because you can't believe what you've seen, and pick up your jaw up off the floor hours later. The kind you rant and rave about to everyone you know, fully aware most wont like/get it/care about it.

Quote from: IMDB user sol-Highlights include the protagonist lecturing a drunk on how to conjugate the F-word, a fake epileptic seizure that gets out of control and him rambling off a whole string of "J'accuse" sentences while trying to speak French.


at the end of the trailer i got to see him dressed up like Jean Cocteau's Beast, which is what i most wanted, and there's even a vo explaining that he's The King of Comedy if that were an impressive movie

while trying to refind Lawrence Joseph Bader, who is mad dope, i found Joseph Newton Chandler III, who geez

update: a bit later i remembered he's Zelig


Chameleon Street is coming from Arbelos Films, restored in 4K from the original camera negative under the supervision of Wendell B. Harris Jr.