Had a re-watch of Insidious the other night and I’m pleased to report that it still contained a good few scares (even though I knew the twists). Bit of a grab-bag of freaks at times but, hey, it still works…
Anyway, the Ethan Hawke starring Sinister from the producers of that film and Paranormal Activity looks promising … Here’s the trailer … It’s out in UK cinemas October 5th…
This review also appears over at Memorable TV…
Paolo Sorrentino’s (Il Divo, The Consequences of Love) intriguing and poignant American debut arrives on DVD and Blu-ray after a largely successful theatrical run earlier this year.
Focusing on Sean Penn’s retired goth-rocker Cheyanne, the movie plots a rambling course from the weary Dublin home he shares with his life-partner Frances McDormand to America, in search of the Nazi war criminal that tormented his father in Auschwitz. Along the way the kohl-eyed, child-like Cheyanne encounters a variety of weird and wonderful characters, while the majesty of the American countryside is beautifully captured by Sorrentino and his team.
A soundtrack largely conducted by David Byrne, Will Oldham and the Irish vocalist Michael Brunnock – performing as the amusingly named, and completely untrue – The Pieces of Shit – adds a serene, stoned lilt to proceedings, and marvellously matches the mood of the subject matter. Byrne himself makes a gloriously odd cameo, performing the title song and then offering Cheyanne some sage-like advice, appearing angel-like bathed in light. It’s a scene that reminds the audience of Sorrentino’s strengths in subverting the supposed reality of a situation and blurring it in dreamlike fashion. It is also featured in extended form on the extra features.
The discs come with a good supply of extra features which cast further light onto this fascinating film. Interviews with Byrne, Sorrentino and various crew members (but sadly not Penn) are informative and entertaining but it is with the deleted scenes that fans of the movie truly strike gold. These – particularly the scenes showing Penn’s Cheyanne watching an 80′s music video of him and his band performing ‘Every Single Day is a Weary Wait’ (by Italian band Nino Bruno e le 8 tracce) in full youthful Cure/-style glory – give a better background to the character of the lead and help to clear up some of the motivation and emotional frailty of the character. All in all, a worthy home release for a memorable and truly unusual film.
This Must Be The Place is out now on DVD and Blu-ray
The London Underground Film Sessions are back at The Horse Hospital, London WC1 with another eclectic selection of cinematic wonders. Curated by myself and David Sharkey, the event promises to be a night of visual excess. Plus, there’s cake.
A limited number of discounted tickets are available in advance from: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/182071
Tickets will be available at the door for 6 GBP.
DREAMS AND OTHER NIGHT FEARS
Hermes Pittakos (2012)
Hermes Pittakos is a recent London College of Fashion graduate with a BA in Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance. Dream Archive Vol. 1-4 is a film showcasing his work. The film follows a mysterious protagonist (played by Ron Athey) into his dreams, where he experiences aspects of his psyche through meetings with strange beings created by Hermes Pittakos using makeup, wigs and prosthetics. Each dream sequence is inspired by one of the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The original script and concept came from Hermes’ personal experiences of sleep-paralysis. He has used his dreams as inspiration to create a fictional world filled with mythology, ancient rituals and surrealist characteristics.
THE BRITISH ARE CUMMING: SELECTED SELF IMPROVEMENT FILMS BY PAUL KINDERSLEY
Paul Kindersley (2012)
Paul Kindersley is a London-based artist known for his performance work “Albert; Sketch for a Ballet” and his surreal online make-up tutorials. His recent video work has veered into self-improvement films and music videos. We have worked with Paul to put together a short programme of his recent self-improvement films, including the low-fi, high-brow bedroom compliment operas, for your delectation.
ONE MINUTE VOL. 6
Kerry Baldry (2012)
We are very pleased to welcome back artist and filmmaker Kerry Baldry who has curated another collection of artists’ moving image pieces all running under sixty seconds. Entitled One Minute Volume Six – we screened Volumes Four and Five back in 2011 – the project features a wide range of material taking in a whole variety of styles and imagery. Audiences can expect to be challenged, provoked and entranced by the wealth of visual artistry on display.
VEXXED MAGAZINE DJs
Our old chums Baking And Alchemy bakingandalchemy.wordpress.com will be selling a selection of cakes, and drinks will be available from the bar.
See you there!
Work Harder !
This review also appears over at Memorable TV…
Described as Home Alone meets First Blood, The Aggression Scale is a taut and nervy thriller from writer Ben Powell (Satanic) and genre director Stephen C.Miller. Featuring strong performances, well executed set pieces and a reunion for Twin Peaks alumni Dana Ashbrook and Ray Wise, this slick and well crafted movie doesn’t pull any punches as it blazes down a grim highway of thrills, spills and nastily booby-trapped jumps.
Dana Ashbrook (above)
Concerning itself with violent criminal Reg Bellevance’s (Wise) attempts to track down his horde of illicit cash, the film largely follows his motley crew of hit men (including Ashbrook) as they aim to hunt down and kill anyone involved in said money’s disappearance. It gets, as Bellevance instructs, “loud and messy”. After reaching the Rutledge’s remote new home, the gang of scary guys (most of who seem to be bald and wild eyed, The Hills Have Eyes style) quickly discover that at least one member of the family won’t go down without a fight…
Ray Wise (above)
From the 80’s style hot-pink title credits (reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn’s hugely influential Drive) to its explosive finale, The Aggression Scale fills its lean 82minute running time with a barrage of violent shocks and none-more-black humour. With an impressive showing from its young leads Ryan Hartwig and Fabianne Therese, the film is an intelligent and classy brutal sugar rush of a thriller.
The Aggression Scale is released on DVD and Blu-Ray 3rd September
Hallo. A bit of a catch up on some DVDs I’ve seen over the last couple of months but haven’t as yet reviewed …
Kicking things off is the grim and grubby Zombie 108. Apparently the first Taiwanese Zombie movie, like, ever, this uncomfortable melding of zombie standards with torture porn is decidedly dodgy in almost every way. Using the familiar plot kick-starter of ‘bad-science’, the movie very quickly becomes embroiled in a torturous, serial-killer’s fun and games that have little bearing on the rest of it. Unfunny jokes and dull slapstick further despoil proceedings. A baby zombie (as featured on the cover, above) might have been interesting, but she (it?) barely features… avoid.
Moving swiftly on, we have a completely different proposition in the form of Blackthorn. Imagining what life would have been like for Butch Cassidy had he survived the conclusion of late 60s classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Mateo Gil (a former screenwriter for Alejandro Amenabar, including the script for Open Your Eyes) delivers a taut and effective epic western of the kind that most of us didn’t think could be made anymore (at least, not without Clint Eastwood)… Sam Shepherd is wonderful as Butch – or, Blackthorn as he is known incognito – and the sombre, occasionally explosive, mood hits all the right notes. Also featuring Stephen Rea as a corrupt official, Blackthorn is a classy widescreen picture of the sort that never goes out of fashion…
Finally, we have ID:A. From Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa Productions (although the great Dane himself had nothing to do with it, as shall become startlingly clear), this memory damaged thriller recalls vastly superior films such as Memento, Mullholland Drive and Christian Petzold’s Yella but has nothing like the wit and verve of those particular titles. Following Tuva Novotny’s troubled lead across Denmark and Holland as she seeks the key to her identity, ID:A rarely makes much sense. This would not be any sort of problem for me if there was more to the script than tired gender specific clichés and poorly executed action sequences. Novotny’s lead is bland in the extreme and subsequently we don’t really care what is going on in her past, present or future. Like some kind of anti-Nikita, ID:A probably tells us more about the maker’s world-view than they’d care to admit…
Zombie 108, Blackthorn and ID:A are all available on DVD now…
Robert Pattinson (Twilight saga, Cosmopolis) steps out of the emo shadows and brings his cheekbones and serious acting chops to the world of costumed drama. Pattinson’s rather dim ex-solder Georges returns from war to 1890s Paris with a vague notion of getting cash. Hooking up with notable society ladies Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci, he gets rich and has lots of sex but seems curiously befuddled by it all. Closely resembling the superior Dangerous Liaisons, Bel Ami, although enjoyable in patches, has got the looks but not the wit.
This review also appears in the current issue of Clash Magazine…
Samsara – out now…
Released in selected cinemas 31 August 2012
This review appears on Memorable TV
A hallucinatory nonverbal trip tackling the central theme of humanity’s relationship with the world, Samsara is a remarkable work five years in the making, taking the audience on a tour through twenty five countries.
Primarily the vision of Ron Fricke, the director and cinematographer best known for Koyaanisqatsi (1983) and Bakara (1992), the film is a series of thought provoking images and scenes, wonderfully bound together by astute and intelligent editing and a haunting soundtrack, including work from Lisa Gerrard of 80’s and 90’s ambient/soundscape artists Dead Can Dance.
From the introductory scenes of a group of Buddhist monks etching a wheel in the sand – Samsara roughly translates as ‘wheel of existence’ – it is clear that we are in the realm of the sublime. What follows is almost like a detective story where the audience…
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My review of ‘back to ’93 music doc ‘Glastonbury – The Movie In Flashback is over at Clash Magazine…