9/23/2017

Orgazmo (1997) ****

This film still makes me laugh so much. I can't believe it's 20 years old and I can't believe I still like it so much. Now I'm a man.







9/20/2017

Bruce Campbell 'Hail To The Chin: Further Confessions Of A B Movie Actor' (2017) ****

Bruce's previous 2 books are incredibly entertaining, just like his performances and persona and this book is no different. I'll devour future books in a heartbeat. Definitely one of my heroes.

The Stuff (1985) ***1/2

Enough is never enough. Effortlessly rewatchable Cohen cult concoction.

9/15/2017

Mother! (2017) ***1/2

Mother! is a dizzying, heavy-handed affair. It's easy to see why it would divide most (American) mainstream audiences with a love it or hate it response. I sit somewhere in the middle. Being that I watch a lot of "challenging" cinema, I've seen enough disturbing, perplexing, WTF films that this is nothing new to me.

The first half of the film reminded me very much of Andrzej Zulawski (who I'm willing to bet most people have never heard of) with dashes of David Cronenberg (who more people have at least heard of). The tight close-ups, handheld camerawork and grainy 16 mm look all give a sense of claustrophobia. The frenetic pace and explicit sound design all heighten the sense of everything being constantly "off." Some of the scenes get a bit too "shaky cam" for my tastes though. This is the first time that Aronofsky hasn't worked with composer Clint Mansell, instead choosing to work with the also excellent Jóhann Jóhannsson (though I honestly don't recall much in the way of the score on this first viewing).

Aronofsky has done here what he did with The Fountain - made a "pretentious" (eye-rolling at times) art film with A-list actors. He waits until the final third of Mother! to really hammer home his concept. What is he trying to say about religion, celebrity, the creative process and how we treat nature/women?

As with The Fountain, a film that has moments that frustrate me to no end (yet I keep returning to it), I'm hoping that Mother! will offer new discoveries upon subsequent viewings. Even if I didn't love this film, I certainly appreciate it.

9/13/2017

The Last Circus - English Dub (2010) **

Reposting my review from my first viewing below but subtracting a 1/2 * for the film itself because I don't think it held up as well and subtracting another 1/2 * for the terrible English dub.

Beautiful visuals, highly stylized, but a bit silly and takes itself a little too seriously, trying to incorporate real life events.
This film had the potential to be really cool and bizarre, but plays by the numbers in the last quarter of the film. It started out very promising, but turned into a series of clichés.
It reminded me of Santa Sangre, but wasn't nearly as good.





9/08/2017

It (2017) ****

I'm going to tip my hat to my friend Brian Izzi and agree that this was A Nightmare On Elm Street meets Stand By Me. I've never read the novel and have only seen the 1990 film once, as recently as 2015 (and merely thought it was decent), so I can't comment on faithfulness as an adaptation, but as a horror movie with heart, this one is a winner.

As a child of the 80s, I certainly felt a pang of nostalgia and It hit all the appropriate beats nicely, despite some bunk CGI and a few shaky cam scenes. Minor quibbles really and hopefully this one will stand the test of time. It was the character moments that meant the most to me and not the jump scares (although those were good too). Also, it's really funny.

I saw some young teenagers in the audience and they were excitedly chattering about the film after it finished. This is exactly the kind of film I would have been extra thrilled with at that age, the kind that hits you at just the right time in your life to leave a mark.


P.S. I wasn't expecting that Cure song (something from 'Disintegration' would have been more fitting, given that the bulk of the film takes place in 1989), but it was still a nice addition.

9/05/2017

9/04/2017

Ronin (1998) ****

Queens Of The Stone Age 'Villains' (2017) ***1/2

I was re-reading my review of the previous QOTSA LP, '...Like Clockwork'here and remembered how it seemed that a lot of fans were let down by that album. Well, I think 'Villains' is the album that is really going to alienate fans, split camps, and I don't think Josh Homme really cares.

Of course, as many were, I was wary of the fact that Mark Ronson produced this album and the first single, "The Way You Used To Do" didn't do a whole lot for me (it's still my least favorite track but works within the context of the album).

As a QOTSA album, it's definitely their cleanest, slickest sounding LP (and my least favorite of theirs) and I'm a bit adverse to the sound. But I've listened to it a bunch of times through now and I like it, honestly. I kind of see it as kind of a spiritual cousin of 'Era Vulgaris' (which is definitely much better), pushed much more in the pop direction.