Darker than dark - Page 2

'Not Necessarily Noir III' film fest roars into the Roxie

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Let's go get a taco: Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The early going bears closest resemblance to Reservoir Dogs, and is the most inspired. (Later when the film gets to its prolonged actual climax, it devolves into a more ordinary Western-style shoot-'em-up between the raiders and Egan's cop-turned vigilante, though there's a doozy of a final twist.) Writer-director Ferde Grofe Jr., whose career in features sprawled sparsely from the early 60s to the late 80s, demonstrates a real flair for memorable idiosyncrasy, if less so for action. In style and content, Wolves is a perfect time capsule: groovy rock score (with "acid" guitar, bongos, and flute), very wide lapels, and a dune buggy chase. This near-classic B movie will be shown in one mightily color-faded, "pinked-out" 35mm print, an ostensible flaw that plays more like a finishing touch.

"Not Necessarily Noir III" mixes more such rediscoveries with fairly well known cult faves of the last decades, from neo-noirs to Hong Kong action to 70s New Hollywood questing (exceptional 1978 drama Who'll Stop the Rain with Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld; the seldom-seen '71 Cisco Pike with Kris Kristofferson, Gene Hackman, and Warhol superstar Viva). Among its more rarefied titles are two Me Decade Franco-noirs with Jean-Paul Belmondo (who performs some amazing stunts himself in 1971's The Burglars); 1968's very disturbing crime thriller Night of the Following Day (wherein white-blond Marlon Brando is the good guy), and a supernatural blaxploitation double bill of very odd, arty 1973 vampire tale Ganja and Hess and the next year's wacky, tacky voodoo revenge saga Sugar Hill.

Particularly worth checking out is Darker Than Amber, an attempt to launch a James Bond-style series featuring John D. MacDonald's best-selling Florida sleuth Travis McGee. Unfortunately this 1970 maiden effort flopped, and the film has seldom been seen — especially without cuts — since. Admittedly it has pedestrian TV-style direction from Robert Clouse (who'd hit his sole career peak later with Bruce Lee's 1973 Enter the Dragon), and the production values are just B-plus. But it's an ideal vehicle for Rod Taylor, the brawny, wry, relaxed Aussie who should have been a huge star in the 60s and 70s, but despite a couple memorable films (1963's The Birds, 1960's The Time Machine) never got the right break. He's surrounded by a memorable gallery of MacDonald characters, with two body-builder villains (William Smith, Robert Philips) in addition to the frequently shirtless star making this an notably homoerotic entry for the era in a macho action genre.

"NOT NECESSARILY NOIR III"

Oct. 19-31, $6.50-$10

Roxie Theater

3117 16th St., SF

www.roxie.com

 

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