…and the quest to see everything

Posts tagged “Pam Grier

TIFF: Machete Maidens Unleashed!

The Marcoses have supported the arts including, shockingly, subversive B-films that put his dictatorship in question. One of the first voices we hear in Mark Hartley’s documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed! is director John Landis, poking light fun at the taglines that got people in the drive-ins screening those B films. The film is the story of American B film-making in the Philippines. B directors, American and Filipino ones mostly under Roger Corman reminisce about the golden age of the B film, talking about large breasts as selling points for these films. Touchy, off-putting conversation, but hang in there.

ph. TIFF

The film also paints Corman as someone who goes through phases of genres lasting a year. It’s hard to find differences between genres because the cast looks the same, but there are war films to horror to jungle prison films where the Stanislavsky trained Pam Grier got her start.The female leads feel ambivalent towards their work, from Grier’s humourous take on it to others shocked at how DVD’s will put their past into permanence to one who points out how these films gave more decent work to black actresses in the 70’s.

I also wanna point out how little interference Hartley has with the tone, keeping it groovy even if the subject is exploitation or violent conditions in the Philippines. He doesn’t force a bleeding heart over the death of a stuntman. The ones interviewed have honest reactions of maturity about the films’ accident prone shooting conditions. I call it refreshingly educational. 4/5.


But Melanie … Ralston … Is A Badass Too

I love how every stoner posits him or herself as a medical or legal expert, such as Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda) in Jackie Brown. You’ve had one of those in your social circle.

ph. Miramax/A Band Apart

Coughing’s good! It opens up the capillaries. You know, when you cough you’re pulling in air, or in this case – smoke, into parts of the lungs that don’t normally get used. So, coughing’s good, it gets you higher.

I mean, she’s white. She must have gone to college or something. And Fonda never hesitates nor clings on a word and just lets them fly out of her mouth with such certainty and security. While depicting drug addicts or questionables or damaged an actress can either go shrew or 33 variations of victim, and thankfully she’s neither.

For some reason, everybody watched Jackie Brown last Tuesday or Thursday nights when it was on at CBC at one in the morning. I only caught the last two hours of it, but I remember past viewings when Samuel L. Jackson shoots Chris Tucker. And by watching the rest, I guess I get the picture. I just love Bridget Fonda’s performance and character here so much. I’m not alone. She’s well-traveled, liberated, subversive. I had to blog her.

Quentin Tarantino is a great director in a technical side, deftly showing his audience the shot-counter shot relationship through Melanie, such as shot.

Counter shot.

Stop hating, Jackie.

Bechdel time!

Hey, girl, what’s up?
Hey, are you getting that suit?
Yeah. You like it?
It looks really good on you.
You got something for me?
You betcha.
I put a cherry on top. Booh-yah!

Good enough.

Melanie the character also has one of the greatest swan song in movies. Melanie started this precedent of women dying awesome in Tarantino’s oeuvre. O-Ren Ishii’s (Lucy Liu) decapitation, Elle Driver (Bo Derek) losing an eye, Bridget von Hammersmarck (Diane Kruger) getting strangled. For Melanie it all started with ‘Louisss…Lou-isss…’

And she gets shot. The end!