Thursday, November 30, 2006

RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN




After the assault on the public's eyes, ears, and brains that November rained down in the form of Running With Scissors, Marie Antoinnette, Babel, Borat, and Deja Vu, I'm glad today is the 30th. Texas' new chilly weather should freeze the disease that that lot left behind. (Did you notice how steamy and muggy it was?? And everyone I know got sick!!)

But last night, a knight - by name of Ugetsu - swept me away!
Like Snow White, I have fresh breath again.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh........



This simple Japanese film cleansed the palate, because it brought everything back to base fundamentals. Ugetsu is a moral tale about two couples struggling in 16th century war torn Japan. The women are the wiser, for they know that in desperate times the most important thing is to keep the unit together. But the men are distracted by their lofty male ambitions - one wants to be a Samauri, the other is obsessed with his pottery business.

I used the word simple to describe Ugetsu, but that's not fair to say of a film that relies so heavily on it's visuals. Director Kenji Mizoguchi liked long takes and preferred to use as few cuts as possible. In one scene, a seductress moves from a character's right, to his left, and then pushes back without the camera cutting. This gives the dialogue she's using tremendous emotional heft because it moves with her in one swoop. (kind of like the one shot "staircase scene" in The Magnificent Ambersons, where as the tension in converstion rises, so too does the actors position on the staircase)


Speaking of "actors positions",Mizoguchi was always aware of the space & setting his characters lived in. Everything in the frame matters. Like the work of Jean Renoir or Robert Altman, you can gain a lot of clues/exposition/symbolism from objects and/or characters in various parts of the screen. You have to be an active viewer. In fact, sometimes the second viewing is the better. It's kind of like when you hear that one song for the 3rd time and then it hits you and becomes a fave! You feel like you and the song worked together to achieve the pleasure.




Well....since it is November 30th, that means it's "month close" here at work.
So, I gotta go!
But first......but first.....but first!!!!.....I am gonna go buy a big fat juicy......


MINT MOCHA!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SEPARATED AT BIRTH


Couldn't MGM have done a better job coming
up with a cover for their new Rocky Collectors Edition DVD???









Monday, November 27, 2006

MASTERHATER




The 2006 Class-Assassination Cruise has it's newest member in Wassup Rockers. All across Los Angeles, director Larry Clark debases the upper, middle & lower classes. Clark's films have never mattered, and after the first five minutes of Wassup Rockers, you're assured that it won't either.

The first shot is a split screen - used for no visual purpose at all - of main character Johnson talking about sex, suicide and c*m. (Clark also inserts about 6 medium close-ups of Johnson's crotch throughout the movie ... har har "johnson", get it?? blech.....) The second shot is a flashback of Johnson's recently departed friend being murdered. Larry Clark frames the kid's splattered blood against some wall grafitti. This is how much Clark values young life. It's as vital to him as spray paint on a wall.




Where have our teen films gone?

Amy Heckerling and John Hughes put their characters in real life situations and made them face real consequences. Think about Fast Times & Clueless or Pretty in Pink & Sixteen Candles. In these films you have all classes, all races - in one arena - figuring each other out. Football players, punkers, the unattractive...they all have hopes for a future. Larry Clark is too crass to care. I'm convinced that Clark doesn't want his subjects to evolve (in any of his films). They are always downtrodden youth with no future. He gives them no window. Wassup Rockers is a film for people who don't like to feel when they are entertained.

The most embarassingly caustic thing about Wassup Rockers is it's cultural stereotyping. It's so bad, it's almost like race-baiting propoganda. The blacks are thugs, the whites are racists (and one's a murderer b/c of it), and hispanic females are loose and/or strippers. Clark even makes the gay character a child predator (then throws him down the stairs for humor).




There's some sick irony in this, b/c the real child predator is Larry Clark himself. Not for his infamous use of teen nudity & sex, but because he prays on teens youthful vulnerabilities and innocence, then freezes them futureless.

Friday, November 24, 2006

HIM, HIMSELF AND HE



Deja Vu.
This could be used to describe the cinema of Tony Scott, not just the title of his new film. I thought "hey, maybe he'll play with the title and poke some fun at himself." Nope. He thinks he's being a badass all over again....




You have the:
surveillance (Enemy of the State)
Denzel (Man on Fire, Crimson Tide)
men on "fire" (Man on Fire, The Last Boy Scout, True Romance...)
hot chicks that cause "fire" (ALL of his films)

Admittedly, the story gives you a bit of a techno buzz for the first 45 minutes, and the film is easy on the saturated cynicism that dominated his last two bummers (Domino, Man on Fire) but then it's down the dire hill of dehumanization all the way home.




But all of these complaints are innocent.
What irked me the the most about Deja Vu,
was it's explotation of the pain in post-Katrina New Orleans (by using it as it's setting), and the films mocking of military gravitas.

I don't think this crudeness is intential by Tony Scott.
He's too wound up in the video vavoom to care about the vitals.
Why else would he make 3 innocents get into a massive car wreck, in passing, to propel a scene where Denzel is "pursuing justice". (it's also awkwardly used for comic relief).

Word has it that Tony Scott is remaking The Warriors next.
This is sadly interesting, b/c the original director - Walter Hill -
was a man that understood the ethics & morality of street justice. This remake signals another victory for our pop culture miasma. Oh baby...I'm having a case of deja vu...the bad kind.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ALTMANAC




I guess it's fitting that Robert Altman passed away this week so we can all give thanks to him this Thursday. (seriously, when you're there with your in-laws & extended fams, give a toast to him!! It's okay if you get weird looks.)

But until then....

I'm gonna use this post for the rest of the week to link to various Altman obits, tributes etc.

It's kinda hard to speak on a 50 year career of someone you really admire.
I guess I will just start by recommending 5 movies of his that I feel are "overlooked" when the "Altman discussion" comes up. Maybe you can rent one of these on this holiday weekend:

  • Dr. T and the Women (2000)

  • Vincent and Theo (1990)

  • Quintet (1979)

  • A Wedding (1978)

  • Brewster McCloud (1970)

First up on the tributes is The House Next Door. There is a brief obit, and then some links.

Some words from David Thomson.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

ROBERT ALTMAN
1925-2006


You were awesome.
I love you forever.
more later.....
HE'S THE MAN




There is a great pop moment near the end of the Leonard Cohen Documentary I'm Your Man. On a tight stage, backed by U2 and red streamers, Leonard Cohen stands like a proud bird with chin up, neck extended and arms down. It's like he knows this is not just the climax to the film but the climax to his life.



He sings the 1988 tune "Tower of Song".

It's about being divinely chosen to be a songwriter and not apologizing to anyone (yet still being empathetic) for who this may cause some friction. Leonard Cohen is a confident performer and writer, but he's also extremely humble. It's this balancing act - being unapologetic yet empathetic & confident yet humble - that makes his work so economically efficient, yet mighty in mass. This characteristic comes through in the fourth verse with the line:

"there's a mighty judgement coming / but I may be wrong / You see, you hear these funny voices / In the Tower of Song".
Again, on stage with U2, you witness this humility in his body and words:

"I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get? / Hank Williams hasn't answered yet / But I hear him coughing all night long / A hundred floors above me / In the Tower of Song".

He's cocky enough to know he's good, yet he's still places himself 100 tiers below another giant.



A very interesting thing I noticed about Leonard Cohen while watching the film, is that he leads his life the way he approaches his songs. Everything is carefully, calmly calculated. At one point, he corrects himself in conversation but he does it with such grace that he avoids the nonverbal hiccups. It's like his nose sniffs out the mistakes his mouth makes, and he corrects it before you catch it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME






Mark it down!
Write it down!
On your arm, with a permanent marker.

Predicting "Best Picture" nominees before most of the
films have even been seen is becoming a fun new game.

These films will be nominated for best picture (trust me) :

The Departed
The Good German
Dreamgirls
Pursuit of Happyness
Children of Men


Outside shots*:
Blood Diamond
The Good Sheperd
Little Miss Sunshine
We Are Marshall
Bobby


* If one of the "outside shots" makes it in place of the original 5 picks, then I was still right.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

JUST SAY NO






















My earliest baseball memories can be traced back to when I started collecting baseball cards. My first proud moment in the trade was when I scored a Dwight Gooden ("Dr. K") 1985 Fleer rookie card from my neighbor. (Looking back, I probably ripped the kid off, but looking front, it's not worth anything today so...). I kept the card in it's own sleeve so I could admire it like a masterpiece.

For non-baseball card people, a "sleeve" is where we kept our most prized cards. Let me rephrase that. The order was "case", "sleeve", "page", then "box". The lesser the value, the lesser the storage.

CASE





















SLEEVE





















But Dwight Gooden quickly became one of my first sad memories.
I didn't know what cocaine was, or what it did,
but I heard on the news that Dwight Gooden got in trouble for it.
I saw that my dad was disgusted by this news.
It made me feel ashamed for liking Dr. K.
That masterpiece on my dresser lost it's glow.
As my friend Victor pointed out, Dwight Gooden just wasn't sweating
on the mound (this was kind of a famous image of him back in the day)
because he was hot, he was sweating because he was hopped.

As with most hard drug users, the addiction softened his best instincts.
He dovetailed as a player.
He was plagued by injuries (it's believed the "coke" pressed him to overpitch).
He was accused of rape.
He looked lost on the mound.
DUIs, alleged wife beating.....and on and on down the well.

Today's is Dwight Gooden's 42nd birthday.
He's currently in prison for breaking probation.
I hope he cleans himself up one day.
I'd even sell some of my baseball cards to help him get a fresh start.
He made me happy when I was growing up, I could try to do the same for him.


TWO RAMS



















Over at Like Anna Karina's Sweater, the old love/hate (or maybe love to hate) relationship between Pauline Kael & John Cassavetes is being revised.

Such strong-headed and creative personalities can't be around each other
without something classic happening. My friend Kurt told me this story
sometime ago, and I pass it along now:


Cassavetes was no doubt bothered by Kael's opinion of him, and his various run-ins with the esteemed critic certainly didn't help matters any. He tried to ban her from a screening of Husbands, but Ben Gazzara intervened on her behalf. In his excellent biography, Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the American Independent Film, Marshall Fine relays the following anecdote, which plays like a scene from one of Cassavetes' films:



"Cassel recalled a taxi ride to a bar after a screening that he had been to with Cassavetes and Kael. Kael was talking about the film they'd just seen and Cassavetes looked at her with a suspicious grin. "Pauline, you don't know what you're saying," he said. Before she knew what was happening, he reached down and snatched the shoes off her feet. Even as she squawked in protest, Cassavetes hurled the shoes out the taxi window. Once they arrived at the bar, Cassavetes and Cassel chivalrously offered to carry the diminutive Kael into the bar. She walked in her stocking feet instead."


Get the full rundown, and your fill of classic quotes here: Kael vs. Cassavetes
WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?



Um....Kansas?..... # 3 team in the country, Kansas?

....how did you just lose to Oral "freaking" Roberts?!?!?!





















**The above figurine is actually a pretty good
representation of what a Oral Roberts basketball player looks like.**

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

HORRORJUKU GIRLS


The high drama of female adolescence will always
be tempting territory in the horror genre.
Unfortunately, many seem to fumble the opportunity.
Young American directors like goofball Lucky McKee (May, The Woods)
constantly get it wrong because they fail to understand
the real frustrations of teenage girls.
Cheers to first time South Korean director Yun Jae-yeon
for bringing her wisdom to the screen in Wishing Stairs.














At the moment, South Korea is the hotbed
for all that's right about this genre:

Bloody Beach (2000) played off the tech-obsession of youth.
Phone (2002) does the same with cell-phone culture.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) sprung on the bond of siblings.

While none of these films are total home runs,
it's refreshing to watch horror films that reach out to the
emotions and real life experiences of the audience.

What Yun Jae-yeon brings to the teenage table in Wishing Stairs
is the high-stakes competition inherent in the halls of an all-girls art school. But she piles on more...
Universal female worries like boob size, crushes, weight gain, and sexuality add to the estro-bubble that eventually bursts all over their tidy uniforms.













Brian DePalma's Carrie (one of the titans of Teen Horror) is an obvious
touchstone here. Jae-yeon makes this clear by referencing the famous
"shower" & "prom queen" scenes in one swish of the camera.
While taking a shower, the protagonist is rained in blood.
The urge to think of Sissy Spacek is undeniable.













Rumor is, American studios may be remaking these K-Horror films.
Let's hope they put a female director on assignment instead of some
playboy goon like Eli Roth. He'd be too busy firguring out the WRONG
way to use menstrual blood (see Cabin Fever's sick "up-skirt" bed scene).
God...that guy....really, what an idiot.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

CUBA LIBRE


I feel bad for Cuba Gooding Jr.

Post-Boyz N' Tha Hood his "Tre" became
a favorite anti-hero of many a suburban white boy.
I wore out my sisters VHS copy of BNTH.
I thought I was privy to the streets,
because I was witness to "the struggle" for two hours.
I would - and sometimes still do - answer the phone "Who Dis?"

But "Tre" was a romanticized stereotype.
And up until Jerry Maguire, it was Cuba's commercial high.
It took another cultural stereotype - (Football star in JM) -
to really elevate his status.


















This success lead to a two-pronged "kiss of death":
Winning an Academy Award,
and...
Winning an Academy Award as a black man.
(something the media will never let you forget)
Overnight, this unfairly paralleled him
with Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, & Sidney Poitier.

But he wasn't that good.
He was never that good.
He backed his way into an Academy Award,
and from then on, every decision he made
had to please the intelligentsia or he was a failure.

This is the run that got him in trouble:

1999-2003

Chill Factor
Men of Honor
Pearl Harbor
Rat Race
Snow Dogs
Boat Trip
Radio
















Amoung the movies I've seen in that list, yes, they are bad.
But Cuba was good.
Just good.
Competent, having fun, working.

Maybe we just feel comfortable when we see him sticking to stereotypes.

If there was a subplot in Snow Dogs that gave A.O. Scott some white
guilt, maybe he would've "recommended" it and then hurried over
to a panel discussion about it on C-SPAN.

Walk on Cuba Gooding Jr.!
Make what you want.
Do what you want.
Leave the "imporant" roles for Brad Pitt & Sean Penn to fight over.

Monday, November 13, 2006

AIRSHIRT


This is sure to humble many a freeway power chord chugger (myself included):




From the AP:

T-Shirt Turns Air Guitar Into Music


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Scientists announced Monday that they have developed a high-tech T-shirt that turns the strumming of an air guitar into music.

The T-shirt has motion sensors built into its elbows that pick up the wearer's arm motions and relay them wirelessly to a computer which interprets them as guitar riffs, said Richard Helmer, an engineer who leads the research team from the government's Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

One arm is interpreted as picking chords while the other strums. The "wearable instrument shirt" is adaptable to both right and left-handed would-be rock stars.

"It's an easy-to-use, virtual instrument that allows real-time music making even by players without significant musical or computing skills," Helmer said in a statement.

"It allows you to jump around and the sound generated is just like an original MP3," he added, referring to the digital audio file format.

The shift is a collaboration between CSIRO researchers in computing, chemistry, electronics, music composition and textile manufacture.

Helmer said sensors could be used in the future to reproduce a person in the virtual world so they could get feedback on their actions and improve their sporting techniques.

5 LETTER WORD


If a butterfly flaps it's wings in Morocco...
(or rather),
If the developed world flaps it's wings,
a poor Moroccan boy becomes armed...

This is one of the morals among morals in
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's latest immoral guilt fest.
21 Grams dipped your head in the toilet,
but it was a treat compared to Babel.
The former kept it's gloom stateside, the latter globalizes it.
















It goes:
(don't worry, these aren't SPOILERS)
Wealthy Japanese man gives gun to Moroccan as sign of gratitude...
Moroccan sells gun to buddy...
Buddie's kids shoot Cate Blanchett...
The shooting keeps Cate and Brad's illegal alien nanny from going to son's wedding...
Nanny persists and takes the kids along with her to Mexico...
That's the setup.
The remaining 120 minutes is a freefall.
Like a skier sliding down a slope of sharp glass and razors,
only to cross the finish line and get a 4 x 4 to the head instead of a ribbon.

We have 6 weeks left in the year, and it's coming down to
Babel vs. Borat for worst film of 2006.
But wait... Children of Men is coming down the pipe:


"I can't really remember when I last had any hope,
and I certainly can't remember when anyone else did either", goes the trailer.

GREAT!
Again, I wonder, why our artists continue to throw in the towel?














There is room, there is a need, for looking
upon mean truths and into damp corners.
Using cynicism as a sage, and anger as an ignitor.
Directors such as Robert Altman, Bernardo Bertolucci,
Andrei Tarkovsky and Mike Leigh have all mastered this.
They do it (did it) with dignity and the best of instincts.

Perhaps the greatest was Robert Bresson.
He targeted greed, poverty, betrayal.
But Bresson stood with his subjects.
He was not above their sins.
He wouldn't point a finger without dragging himself along, thumb in teeth.
Inarritu wouldn't dare invest himself that much.
Like Sasha Baron Cohen, he fancies himself a superior.
They don't sympathize with their subjects, they despise them.
(And then lick themselves clean afterwards.)






















One of the many lessons in "Babel" is that while we are all connected,
we lack a common language. But there is one word I can think of
that is universally understood:
"BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

Friday, November 10, 2006

POST-WARRIOR



















NYers, for the next month,
take advantage of this good man.
HOLLABACK BOY


"Morris Brown" by OutKast

Sometimes your moods will lead to odd interpretations.
When I listened to "Morris Brown" this morning,
I came to what may be my own visions.
I like 'em, though.

OutKast's latest album "Idlewild" went nowhere.
The public didn't want it.
Admittedly, it's overreaching, and probably their weakest effort,
but it still has it's "Hey Ya" feel good moment in "Morris Brown".
Like the recent rejection of Republicans,
sometimes artists gotta recoil and come back hot.
So why not Andre 3000 against Obama in '08?















Back to my visions.
My hope is that "Morris Brown" is Big Boi's love song to Andre.
And like every romantic troubador, he hired a marching band to accompany him. "And everybody wanna know whus really goin' on / Is you and 3000 still makin' songs? / ....Hell YES!", Big Boi chugs, before riding into the chorus:

"Music makes the world go round / Where it goes / Ya' just don't know / My heart is like a marching band / Im a fan in the stands / Yes I am and Im hollerin' hey baby / Sayin hey baby / So baby please dont leave me / Dont you go / Baby no, no, no"

The "baby please don't leave me" & "don't you go" stand out if you follow OutKast and understand that Andre (arguably the MVP of OutKast) has been edging toward a solo career for quite some time.

Next verse:
"Two dope boyz in the Cadillac still / 'Kast...the crown on ya Cadillac Seville"
Awwwe :) How sweet is that?
It's like River Phoenix putting his arm around Will Wheaton.















And more:
"Ridin' in the Cadillac / Beatin like some beat it up/
The game dun' changed / Out-Kast came to heat it up", goes the bridge,
but a GOOD bridge, not a "Bridge To Nowhere" that the Republicans fell off of. Man, this vision is becoming clearer....
I see....Andre 3000....Michael Steele....that looks like Mike Pence maybe...
Republicans 2008 : The Game Dun' Changed.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

POPULIST POP


Go ahead and add Girl Talk's (aka Gregg Gillis) Night Ripper to the list
of measuring sticks in sample-based/dance music.















Post hip-hop, you have Massive Attack's Blue Lines, DJ Shadow's ...Entroducing, Moby's Play, The Avalanches' Since I Left You, Bassment Jaxx's Rooty, and Daft Punk's Discovery as stone classics that pushed the genre toward a more "song friendly" accessibilty.

"Friendly to songs" would be the apt way of describing Girl Talk's approach to music. Less mashing-up, than glueing hooks onto the heels of other hooks (with loops thrown in). Some may say this makes Gregg Gillis an adjunct to the more "sophisticated" samplers, but that logic would just trace itself back to discrediting anyone who thieves any type of sound.

Discriminating against nothing and no one, Gillis brings together:
The 69 Boyz & Fleetwood Mac.
"My Humps" & "...my heartbeat".
This is unification through pop music.
The blues and the reds.
Long beards and dirty dreads.
Punkers and hip-hop heads.

















No kidding, I actually feel liberation in my car when Notorious B.I.G. raps over the tinkle of "Tiny Dancer", or when Ciara's "Oh" and Elastica's "Connection" collide into orgasm. I find myself hoping that producers take note when the tapping riff of "1979" gives the already great "Stay Fly" second life.

But Gillis saves his most generous gift for tunes that were dead to begin with:
James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face" sounds funky.
The hook of 2005's irritating "Laffy Taffy" is turned into one of 2006's BEST!
And I never thought I would be so excited to hear the bassline
from Better Than Ezra's "Good" even again.

So let's hope ol' blue eyes gets away with it
(NONE of these samples have been cleared).
So far, so good.
We need to hear more.

Monday, November 06, 2006

WINDOW PAIN


Hey!!
Go ahead and run after me with an axe.
Shoot at me.
Gimme some tear gas.
Slide out a bear trap.
Try to eat my arm.

...these things don't scare me.


But THIS does:











I don't care if it's Jimmy Stewart on his sweetest morning, if I feel someone staring at me through a window, my hairs go up like some blonde astroturf.

Why is this?
I have no idea.
There is a barrier between me & the perp, but it's still worse than a sword at my throat!!!
Maybe it's the confidence in their eyes.
Maybe it's the invasion of privacy.
Maybe I'm scared they'll catch me dancing.















One moment has chilled me so much that I still think about it to this day.
It's so creepy.
Man.....I don't know.....
Should I risk the trauma all over again, just to entertain you???
...
...
...
ok....well......here goes:

















no......NOT Ted Danson as a father.....


THIS:

















THIS!!:


















YES!! The Three Men and a Baby demon!

Legend has it that a child was killed in the apartment they shot in, and this was his ghost.
I don't believe it, and SNOPES doesn't either.
But there it is again....
A calm, well-postured figure staring on his subjects with confidence (and it looks like he might be smiling too!!!!! ack!).

I need to find a cure for this.
Should I be macho and bust-up the next
person that wraps on my window?
Nah...........
Cuz what if it's just that kid selling magazines
so he can have a chance to learn?????
WAIT!! That's perfect. Some two birds, one stone action!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

"CITRUS" - The Hold Steady

It may be the simplest song in The Hold Steady songbook,
but its also the most affecting.

















Over easy plucking and strumming, coming in just under 3 minutes,
"CITRUS" also serves a showcase setting for their secret weapon: Craig Finn. Here, he proves his worth. This song is bare bones musically, but add the voice and lyrics and it's a stunner. I'm not questioning the rockability of the other traveling players, but their's little doubt who the MVP is here.

Out on a bar-to-bar field trip, Finn uses the Jesus/Judas division to sort out what he sees:

"I see Judas in the hard eyes of the boys who worked in the corners/I feel Jesus in the clumsiness of young and awkward lovers"

And after his visit in bar 2:

"I feel Jesus in the clumsiness of young and awkward lovers/I feel Judas in the long odds of the rackets on the corners/I feel Jesus in the tenements of honest, nervous lovers/I feel Judas in the pistols and the pagers that come with all the powders"

But someone hurt Mr. Finn (I guess that's why he's drinking) because his parting shot is not from cupid's bow. It's beyond what Judas did:

"Lost in fog and love and faithless fear/I've had kisses that make Judas seem sincere"

yikes...

An immediate comparison that springs up is Big Star's "Nighttime". Also a song about a night stroll with observational lyrics. While "Nighttime" has a much more positive uptick on its emotions, both put similar imagery in your head. (I kinda picture the "Streets of Philadelphia" video for both but with much different characters, of course.)

I'm about to head out for the night. I hope Craig Finn is too.
Maybe one day, me, Hirsi Ali, and he can share some queso.

WARNING: IMAGAES CONTAIN GRAPHIC CONTENT
(this is a title AND a true warning!)

















Charlie Manson must be proud.
His cult of personality is turning into a horror film sub-genre.
It's "Slasher Chic" or "Serial Killer Cool". I haven't finalized it yet.

It's members include:

Haute Tension
Wolf Creek
The Devil's Rejects
House of 1000 Corpses

They are artfully shot and frozen in tone.
This techinique is very deliberate. It establishes a "serious" mood and it allows no room for humor or humanity. Not in the slightest!!! You can't breathe in these movies. The hero is the rapist, the molester, the torturer, the cannibal, the pig-f**ker. Sometimes - MOST TIMES - these coalesce into one beast.














Even a movie like Hostel - which I despise - let's in a little ridiculousness.
Some B-movie gore, some dark humor. And a sicko like Herschel Gordon-Lewis was at least aware of how over-the-top & silly his depravity was. You can see it on screen.

These are fine lines for sure. Maybe Gordon-Lewis' funhouse feel was because of low-budget & poor production. But he gets a pass (somewhat), in my book. His movies are bores (the 1 hour running time of Blood Feast feels like 16!), but at least the killers end up in the dumpster & the porn stars embrace at the end.

The newest member to the "Slasher Chic" group is Calvaire.
It's plot is set-up along the Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Deliverance "babes-lost-in-wilderness" line. Following on precedent, there are rapists, molesters, pig f**kers, and torturers....but no cannibal if I recall (woo-hoo! some restraint!!) There's no light. A cloud of misantropy lingers for 88 minutes.















I wonder how this sub-genre will "evolve".
How will they ever top themselves??
I mean...
Haute Tension had decapitated skull-f**king.
House of 1000 Corpses had narcoleptic incest.
Wolf Creek had a torture/sex-chamber with trophy body parts & a madman wielding a bloody dagger around like a sex organ.

Are you disgusted yet?
Me too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

TRICK OR TREAT


This weekend, charitable humans will be mocked on screen.
I'm referring to Borat: Cultural Destruction of America for Make Benefit Odious Hipsters and Cynics.

"But you haven't even seen it yet!!"
But I've seen it before.
On You Tube & on Da Ali G Show
Amoung his most recent victims were a High School Football Coach & a Personal Trainer. Two men of genuine propriety, manipulated to look like middle-class buffoons. The reach of man's goodwill is cut off at the wrists and audiences bathe in the blood.
















For Sacha Baron Cohen this cruelty is worth the $42.5 million in his pocket.

Class assassination seems to be in vogue (and profitable) these days...from Little Miss Sunshine to The Departed. It's a shame critics froth over that rot, while ignoring the sensitivity of a She's The Man or Akeelah and the Bee.

Time will ride it out.
People will tire of this fad like they do most negative stereotyping.
Just don't call it film.
Invert the middle two letters and you'll have a much more accurate noun.