Art Stukas's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Charlie Chan's Secret
4 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Charlie's on his own - no number one or number two sons - and Warner Oland seems rather shaky as a result. The plot contains the usual elements - a murder, lots of suspects with good motives, and some supernatural hokum. The events take place at a spooky old house and comic relief is provided (or perhaps over-done) by British character actor Herbert Mundin. Of course, all things are relative and this is just a slightly less compelling entry in the still highly enjoyable series about the Chinese detective from Honolulu. As comfort food, the episodes are likely to be more-or-less interchangeable.

7 Up
7 Up (1964)
8 months ago via Movies on Facebook

Freedom versus discipline is suggested as one of the potential predictors of future differences in these 7 year olds from different backgrounds. We shall see...

Sorry to Bother You
9 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Black comedy that gets darker and darker (and crazier and crazier) as it proposes some "alternate reality" possibilities for late capitalism (with racial inequality simmering under the surface as a key concern). Cassius Green (LaKeith Stanfield) is a telemarketer who is seduced by the perks associated with being a "power seller" (a role he attains by using his "white voice" â" not just a nod to double consciousness but an actual voiceover by David Cross; Patton Oswalt lends his white voice to another black character). His financial success causes tension with his girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a local artist who also belongs to an activist group protesting against a new company, "Worry Free", who offer lifetime contracts (including food and shelter but no other wage) for their employees. That company is run by Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) who denies that he is dealing in slave labour (but Green soon finds that the power seller deals he seals are utilising Worry Free workers to make big profits for morally corrupt companies). His friends, also telemarketers (but not power sellers), are soon striking against the company in order to secure a living wage but Green remains a scab, until he stumbles onto a bizarre secret at one of Lift's parties. To say more is probably criminal â" you should enjoy the surprises this film has to offer on your own. Boots Riley may be new to directing but he has certainly grabbed the opportunity with gusto â" the film is bubbling over with (political) ideas, satire if you will, deep with meaning, but still so very freaky. Thumbs up!

Wise Blood
Wise Blood (1979)
9 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I haven't read Flannery O'Connor's book (her first, from 1952), which must be quite weird, because this (supposedly faithful) adaptation by director John Huston is also very strange. It is hard to get a good grasp of the central character, Hazel Motes, who returns from the war (WWI in the novel, but given the 1970s cars on display here, perhaps Vietnam for the movie) and soon takes up preaching an anti-religion ("the Church of Christ without Christ"). Brad Dourif plays Motes as perpetually antagonized ï¿ 1/2" by almost everyone he meets, but especially by con men posing as preachers (as played by Harry Dean Stanton or Ned Beatty). Perhaps this has something to do with his (now deceased) grandfather, played by Huston himself, who was also a preacher. A distant memory has Hazel filling his shoes with rocks as a child, potentially as a punishment for sinning. Soon, he turns to similar self-punishment as an adult (after a particularly violent act against a false prophet). But this synopsis may make Motes seem more focused than he appears in the movie ï¿ 1/2" he is purposeful but his goals are unclear (perhaps even to himself?). An odd subplot involves another young man, new to the city, who wants to help Motes find a "new Jesus" but ends up running around in a gorilla costume. To be honest, without reading the book, I'm at a loss when trying to discern the deeper themes of the movie (based on O'Connor's Catholicism, they say). In the end, Motes is sacrificed but has his spiritual purging led to salvation? Or is Huston criticizing the sort of lunacy that can lead to such an end? All told, the movie's resistance to easy understanding makes it that much more compelling ï¿ 1/2" and its dead-end ï¿ 1/2~70s' vibe is always a pleasure (see also Fat City, 1972).

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man
9 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Musician Scott Walker died in March this year (2019), so I took the opportunity to watch this documentary about his career (up until his first 4AD album, The Drift). I was more or less oblivious to Walker's music (including his chart-topping British hits of the 1960s with The Walker Brothers) until I bought a used CD of Scott 4 (1969) sometime around the turn of the century. What I found there was gloomy portentous singing over sixties adult contemporary pop/rock â" but not sounding like anything else I knew (particularly the lyrics). This album proved to be the last of Scott's self-composed songs (influenced we are told by Jacques Brel) until the Walker Brothers reunited with a strange album, Nite Flights (1978), that led to further opportunities for Scott. His subsequent solo records were spaced far apart but became progressively weirder and more unique, as Walker simultaneously became a recluse seen only with a baseball cap pulled down over his eyes. Surprisingly, then, he is very engaging and accessible when interviewed by documentarian Stephen Kijak for this film. He offers some interesting insights into his way of working and his goals (artistic and not commerical, of course). There are the usual famous talking heads, mostly British rock celebrities, who have nothing but praise for the iconclast (except for Marc Almond who hated the later work, particularly Tilt, 1995). Of course, the real reason to treat yourself to the film is to hear the work of Scott Walker â" although we get only excerpts, it does convey his musical journey aptly (at least up until 2006 â" he subsequently released several more albums, including one with Sunn O)))!). Worth a look, if you are curious.