Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: Romance


We've made it to this Thursday. I mean, THIS Thursday. The one closest to THAT day, without being too late. You know the day. I'm talking about the one that causes a spike in the sales of flowers, greeting cards, cheap wine, and condoms. Yeah, I'm talking about Valentine's Day. I think, somehow, my lovely wife is working with our gracious host, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, to make sure I don't forget that day. That means, the topic for Thursday Movie Picks is Romance. Okay, I'll bite. Quite literally...


Ganja & Hess
(1973)
Dr. Hess Green (Duane Jones, Night of the Living Dead) is an anthropologist studying an ancient African, but extinct tribe known for drinking blood. The guy helping him do some research on the topic goes crazy, picks up one the tribe's ceremonial daggers that Hess has collected, stabs the doc and kills himself. Hess survives, but yeah - vampire. Soon enough, the crazy dude's estranged wife, Ganja (Marlene Cook), comes by looking for him, gets intrigued and yup, she gets vampirized, romance blooms, and bodies pile up. This is a very underrated, but highly artsy-fartsy horror flick that deserves a bigger audience. Spike Lee remade it in 2014 under the title Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.



Thirst
(2009)
Sang-hyun (Kang-ho Song) is a priest who volunteers for a medical experiment in hopes of helping to find a cure for the fatal Emmanuel Virus. The experiment fails and infects him with the disease. An emergency blood transfusion saves his life, but yeah - vampire. As if that weren't enough to go against everything he believes in, he also falls in love with his friend's wife, Tae-ju (Ok-bin Kim). She was looking for a way out of her marriage anyway, so yup, she gets vampirized, romance blooms, and bodies pile up. It's a true case of love raging out of control and has one of the most beautiful and perfect endings ever. (My Full Review)


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
(2014)
Arash (Arash Marandi) is just a dude living in a small town and struggling to take care of his drug-addicted father. He's a bit of a social outcast and tries to keep to himself, but dad's misadventures makes that pretty tough. He takes a liking to another loner, a mysterious (unnamed) girl (Sheila Vand) who spends nights walking up and down the street. Sounds harmless, but yeah - vampire. She is. We watch as each of their actions affect each other, romance blooms, and bodies pile up. This is a quiet, dark, moody flick with a really odd relationship at its core. (My Full Review)



26 comments:

  1. Thirst is the one film in that list I've seen and I fucking love it. I really want to see A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as I've heard so many cool things about it.

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    1. I really enjoyed AGWHAAN. Hope you get to see it soon.

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  2. Well Dell what an unusual theme within the theme for romance week! I heard of the second two of these but have seen none. I have to say that the first though is the one that sounds the freakiest and coming right smack dab in the middle of the blaxploitation craze sounds like it was part of that genre with a bit of a twist. One of the movie stations has been running a series of those in the last month, Coffy, Friday Foster, Vampira (SO stupid!) to name a few, so maybe it will find its way onto the roster.

    I went considerably less bloodthirsty for mine, more the course of true love is never smooth.

    Waterloo Bridge (1940)-A distinguished officer walks slowly across London’s Waterloo Bridge one evening during WWII pulling a talisman out of his pocket he falls into a reverie of his great lost love. On that same bridge in WWI then young soldier Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor) meets ballerina Myra Lester (Vivien Leigh-fresh off GWTW) when they are forced into a shelter during a bombing raid. Falling almost immediately in love they plan to marry but Roy is called to duty before they can and Myra pledges to wait for him. Having stayed out with him beyond curfew she is dismissed from the ballet and when Roy is reported killed in action full of hopelessness she falls into a life of degradation. On the stroll a year later in Waterloo Station Myra meets Roy, recently released as a prisoner of war and he whisks her off to his family estate in Scotland but is it too late for the pair? Beautifully directed by George Cukor, tragic and heart wrenching romance was the personal favorite of both Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor of their respective filmographies.

    The President’s Lady (1953)-In 1789 newly appointed Tennessee Attorney General Andrew Jackson (Charlton Heston) seeking living quarters at the farm of the Widow Donelson (Fay Bainter) meets her daughter Rachel Robards (Susan Hayward) recently separated from her abusive husband Lewis. They strike up a friendship and after an abortive attempt by Rachel to repair her marriage fall in love. Word soon arrives that Lewis has divorced her and the pair marry. Two years hence they discover that Lewis never finalized the papers and their union is bigamist, he is now suing on the grounds of adultery however. Truly free they remarry but scandal plagues them for the rest of their days as Andrew rises higher and higher in politics towards the presidency but their love remains strong. Tender romance with a very strong central performance by Susan Hayward looks at the mores of an earlier time and shows that mudslinging and the damage it causes are nothing new.

    Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)-Young naïve Angie Rossini (Natalie Wood) finds herself in quite a predicament after letting her guard down once and having a one night stand with feckless musician Rocky Papasano (Steve McQueen)….she’s pregnant. Seeking Rocky out she finds he at first doesn’t remember her but he steps up to help with the situation and despite interference from her very Italian family, his former showgirl squeeze and Rocky’s fears an attraction slowly blooms but there are bumps ahead before romance triumphs. Two movie stars at their peaks make this both gritty and swoony at the same time.

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    1. Whenever blaxploitation horror is discussed, Ganja & Hess will invariably be mentioned. However, if you actually watch it, you'll see that it doesn't belong. It's a label unfairly thrust upon it because it has an all-black cast, black director, and came out in the early 70s. For comparison's sake, Blacula and its sequel are both thoroughly blaxploitation. This movie has almost nothing in common with either of those, other than being about vampires. Even then, this has a completely different take. Ganja & Hess an arthouse film through and through.

      I haven't seen any of your picks for this week, though I am interested in Waterloo Bridge.

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  3. I haven't seen these films but I love your theme within the theme! I really want to watch A Girl Walks Home Alone One Night.

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    1. Thanks! A Girl Walks Home is a good one.

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  4. I haven’t seen these films but love your theme and the bodies would pile up. I wouldn’t mind seeing your first pick because it sounds more stylish than the regular stuff during that time.

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    1. Thanks! It is way more stylish than most movies. This is much more arthouse than horror.

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  5. I love your theme within a theme! I really enjoyed both Thirst and A Girl Walks Home At Night. I haven't seen your first pick.

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    1. Yay! Glad to see some love for those movies. I think they're both fantastic.

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  6. I own a copy of Thirst and haven't pulled the trigger on it yet--I really need to. Ganja & Hess is on one of my many lists, so I'll be getting there eventually.

    I loved A Girl Walks Home.

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    1. Please watch Thirst soon. It's probably my favorite vampire movie of all-time. I'm very curious to see how you feel about that and Ganja & Hess. A Girl Walks Home is fantastic.

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  7. I've heard such great things about Thirst and still have yet to watch it. I need to fix that. Same with A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.

    Love this theme within the theme!

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  8. I've only seen A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (I loved it by the way) but I loved your theme!

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    1. Happy you love it. What a wonderful take on the vampire.

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  9. Awesome theme within a theme! Thirst is one of my all time favorite movies. Ok-bin Kim's performance is remarkable!

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    1. Yay, Thirst! Ok-bin Kim is beyond remarkable. She owned that movie and disturbed me in the best way possible.

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  10. I've only seen Thirst, which is amazing, but really want to see A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. As far as vampire romance goes, I also really liked Only Lovers Left Alive!

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    1. Yes, Thirst is amazing. A Girl Walks Home is another good one. Sorry to say, though, I hate, hate...HATE Only Lovers Left Alive.

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  11. Good choices Wendell! When I watched Thirst, I wasn’t expecting it to be erotic and romantic. I was thinking would be closer to Oldboy, but it turned out to be less violent than that one.
    The vampire element is interesting, I see it as an allegory for illness, being afraid of that illness, yet turning into a vampire also is perceived as a cure. A film I want to rewatch, thanks for reminding me!
    The Thirst score is beautiful, especially the main theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCEL61nuyAQ

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    1. Thirst is all that and more and very different from Oldboy. I think the main reason the vampire endures is because it is extremely malleable. It can stand in for all sorts of things, allegorically and metaphorically speaking. It can always be used as part of a commentary on whatever ails the world.

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  12. NOt heard of your first pick. Was actually staying away from Thirst but how you've explained it makes me want to see it. I LOVE A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night - such a great film. The imahery is superb and beautifully shot. The romance is subtle too, despite the whole, vampire thing. Love it!

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    1. Most people haven't heard of Ganja & Hess. I hope you do get to see Thirst. It's an amazing vampire flick.

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  13. Love your theme within a theme...there are lot of Vampire romances out there.

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    1. There are tons. Thankfully, 99% of them don't involve the Cullen family.

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