Variety

1983

Drama

98
IMDb Rating 5.7 10 374

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 11, 2020

Director

Cast

Luis Guzmán as Morales
Mark Boone Junior as Business Manager / Porn Customer
Will Patton as Michael Harriston
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
923.44 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.67 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
100 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 6 / 10 / 10

an obscure 80s feminist neo-noir that may be obscure for a reason...

Variety was shot on the super-cheap on the streets of midtown NYC in 1983, which is for a short while part of its not exactly charm but precise and evocative mood. This is a Times Square that most wont recognize since the clean-up in recent years; it's dirty, loaded with porno theaters and video stores, and with some exceptions (like the Variety movie theater boss played by Luis Guzman) there's no lack of sleazy males. In this movie the main character, Christine (Sandy McLeod) seems to be a fairly normal girl just looking for a job and finds one at Jose's Variety theater at the ticket window. Little by little she becomes intrigued by the porno movies playing and by a mysterious gentlemen caller (Richard Davidson) who takes her out on a bum date to Yankee stadium, stranding her up as he just 'goes away' on some urgent matter. What follows is a series of scenes of her following him around- even going as far as to the Jersey shore where he does some mysterious "business" shaking hands with people outside of amusement parks- and little by little she sinks further into this porno-type of funk, like a misguided femme fatale sitting in her room and playing 45's in sultry clothes and purple lighting. Some of this sounds interesting because it is - Bette Gordon has a point to make here on the feminine condition in an Urban setting, kind of like a Taxi Driver only replacing the guns with more of the porn, and there are some effective scenes early on showing McLeod surrounded by this creepy but intriguing setting. But there's also passages that, I hate to admit, were just too dull to really be engaged. She follows this man to a fish market, and then we're treated to lots and lots of footage of fish and the like. Why? What does this really add to the atmosphere? It's like Gordon doesn't always know if she wants to make a neo-noir or a documentary, and the shuffle between the two forms (both engaging on their own) becomes confused. I also didn't care for those passages where Christine gives those ridiculously detailed descriptions/synopses of the porno movies she sees to her exasperated boyfriend (Will Patton), and McLeod in these scenes reaches her most annoying points. She's not a terrible actress throughout, but here she sounds like she's reciting remembered lines as opposed to acting, and one sympathizes with what Mark has to put up with. We're putting up with it too. There is a reason this has something of a very minor cult status, and that it even got Bette Gordon a re-release screening at the Tribeca film festival this year. It's very much a New York movie, made on the dirty streets, meant to capture that dingy side and to give some kind of naturalistic feeling of a strange woman in this environment. But its own mystery undercuts itself. Variety would work far better, maybe even be truly great, as a short film. At 100 minutes, for all of its little moments of pleasure (i.e. when Chrisitne imagines herself up on the screen in a room with the enigmatic criminal Louie) and John Lurie's intoxicating jazz, it's too long and too unfocused for what works well to really strike it home. Luis Guzman steals the show.

Reviewed by bob_meg 8 / 10 / 10

A low-fi downtown classic of sorts, but it could have been more

I have a soft spot for Variety, mainly because I associate it with Working Girls, Lizzie Borden's groundbreaking 1986 sex-drama that easily places in my Top 100 list of all time. The projects share a lot of the same sensibilities, some of the same cast and crew, and an authentic NYC downtown vibe that's almost documentary in its rendering. The dialog is whip-smart, the acting relatively free from affectation, and the characters non-airbrushed and compelling. The premise for Variety is quite ambitious and even daunting. Christine (portrayed with a visceral honesty by Sandy McLeod) is a somewhat sheltered, vaguely aimless young woman trying to make her mark in NYC. It's unclear how, only that a lot of her friends are artists --- Nan Goldin, for one, who gets her a job as a ticket taker at the very real (at the time) Variety Photoplay porn theater. For the first third of the film, McLeod breaks our heart and keeps our attention, even when doing something as seemingly mundane as pacing around her dump of an apartment, chain-smoking and listening to the messages on her PhoneMate. Her admitted lack of a center or any real goal sucks her into this job, at first intriguing her, then obsessing her to the point where it threatens to devour, rather than fill her time. She becomes attenuated to every sexual nuance, a one-woman erotic red-alert sensor that both frees her and imprisons her. This obsession is embodied in her fascination with one of the theater's patrons, the slightly smarmy Louie, a low-level Mafia type played by Richard Davidson, who portrayed a similar character in Working Girls. Unfortunately, Variety loses a lot of people at this point. The second third of the film, and a good part of the last third, consist of Christine stalking Louie around New York, as his whereabouts seem to coincide with info that her reporter boyfriend (a very young Will Patton) has disclosed to her. I've heard Variety referred to as an anti-noir in these segments, since it almost turns itself into a neon-drenched mini-mystery here. Unfortunately it's a bit too heavy on the Anti: for about 30-35 minutes of the film, not much "happens" on-screen. It's virtually nothing but tracking shots of Christine following Louie. And following. And following. While the photography is always interesting and sometimes quite beautiful to watch, it's off-putting and will try many people's patience. Add to that the stiff narratives Christine spouts, trance-like, to her boyfriend, that read a bit too much like screenwriter Kathy Acker's erotic play-by-plays (at their most self-conscious), and Variety is guaranteed to lose all but the most hardcore art crowd. I really get what Gordon was after here, feminism-wise, and I think it showed great daring to do so without portraying Christine as a little-girl-victim. I just wish it gave us something a bit more to chew on regarding Christine's spiral and her journey through it.

Reviewed by liebezeit06 8 / 10 / 10

a snapshot of a different nyc

i had seen this film when first released in early 85. though the pacing is slow and deliberate i find myself hypnotically fastened to the visuals aided by a good john lurie score. this is one of the few films i've seen where the long lingering visuals (fulton fish market scene,etc),in its unflattering documentation of a bygone nyc era, actually adds the sense of smell to picture. i could actually taste/smell times square while watching. there has been enough written about the plot/theme in others comments. though i find it an ambiguous film in that the character of christine's awakening of alternative sexual desires seems to leave her more frustrated than fulfilled. the pacing reminds me in a good way of wim wenders early b&w dramas. could someone please inform me though if that British accented woman at the bar is an uncredited gina birch of The Raincoats?? i grew up during that period in manhattan, especially around the sleaze of times square. so i may be simply nostalgic in an odd sense when i watch the film.

Read more IMDb reviews

0 Comments

Be the first to leave a comment