Monthly Archives: September, 2012

The Raid – Out Now on DVD and Blu-ray

My review of the excellent martial arts thriller ‘The Raid’ from writer/director Gareth Evans is over at Flickering Myth now…

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Racing Dreams – Released DVD 17 SEPT

My review of the kids and karts documentary Racing Dreams is over at Flickering Myth

Dragon Wasps – Released on DVD 17 Sept

My review of the execrable Dragon Wasps is over at Memorable TV now… and it’s out on DVD from 17th September…

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The London Underground Film Sessions – 27 September!

Update!

robertwmonk

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.

PROGRAMME

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…

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A Night in the Woods – Released on DVD 10th September

My take on the dreadful (not in a good way) A Night in the Woods …. is over on Flickering Myth...

Know The Score – This Must Be The Place

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KNOW THE SCORE – This Must Be The Place

Due to appear in a forthcoming issue of Clash Magazine, this is a brief look at the soundtrack from This Must Be The Place

Paolo Sorrentino’s unique tale of a goth-rocker avenging his father’s Nazi era torment is beautifully complemented by a soundtrack dreamt up by Will Oldham and David Byrne. Performing as the amusingly named – and totally untrue – The Pieces of Shit, the duo (along with vocalist Michael Brunnick) contributes some of the film’s most dream-like songs. Also featuring Nino Bruno’s sublime Every Day is a Weary Wait from and classics from Iggy Pop (The Passenger) and Byrne himself, the score is a perfect accompaniment to one of this year’s most haunting releases.

Berberian Sound Studio – Peter Strickland Creates a Giallo Flecked Master-work

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To paraphrase former war leader and whisky fan Winston Churchill, writer/director Peter Strickland’s impressive second film Berberian Sound Studio is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma – and the chances are a stiff drink will be appreciated after exposure to the wayward elements of this unsettling and masterful film.

Chronicling the dreamlike journey of the inexperienced and sheltered Gilderoy (the inscrutable Toby Jones), the film throws the mild-mannered sound engineer from Dorking, Surrey into the chaotic world of 1970s Italian giallo film production.  Gilderoy is quickly confronted with one flamboyant character after another, as he struggles to come to terms with the language and exuberant personalities working on the post-production of witchcraft and murder film The Equestrian Vortex. Gradually Gilderoy begins to find the whole project genuinely unnerving, as the horror soundtrack of battered fruit and veg mixed with female screams starts to take its toll on his fragile psyche. The Englishman is left battling for his senses in the wildly intoxicating and claustrophobic world of the studio…

Berberian Sound Studio is undoubtedly informed by a deep love of giallo films and, even more evidently, a fannish devotion to the mystical and weird soundtracks concocted by the likes of Ennio Morricone and the band Goblin. What it is not however, is a film specifically about giallo. While it takes the post-production studio as its primary setting, the film is largely concerned with just what is going on in Gilderoy’s head. As hints become apparent that he may not be as normal as he first seems – and that his relationship with his mother especially appears somewhat troubled to say the least – the film’s focus on the 70s horror film processes is like an obsessive impulse, a slavish quirk of opportunity and a further clue to the central characters mental frailty.

In what is the film’s most stunning scene, a dreaming (we assume) Gilderoy is woken by scratching and hammering at his door. Woozily getting up to the strains of demonic organ music, he opens the door to find no one there but himself inside a movie theatre. Staring around in a profoundly agitated state, the picture of the cinema peels away from its cigarette marks, leaving a countryside scene of Box Hill in the Surrey countryside running, complete with BBC English voiceover – exactly the sort of nature documentary Gilderoy is attuned to working on. As a cinematic tour de force it is an incredibly effective visual realization of the intensity of the character’s internal conflicts; and for its audacious deployment Strickland deserves full praise.

A haunting piece that manages to mix enough humour, scares and philosophical questions into its 94 minutes than most do with nearly double that length, Berberian Sound Studio is a film to savour.

[REC] Genesis Released Today (3 September)

This review also appears over at Memorable TV...

A veritable car-wreck of a movie, REC Genesis systematically subverts everything that made the first two Spanish zombie virus films so compelling and leaves us with a stinking, putrid, ill-conceived mess. And that should definitely not be viewed as any kind of a recommendation!

Directed and written by Paco Plaza – notably without Jaume Balagueró, with whom he shared creative duties on REC 1 and 2 – the film shambles through a graveyard of unfunny jokes, non-existent scares and puny acting. Dispensing early on with the handheld camera approach of the first two instalments, the clear intention (summed up by a top of the range camera getting smashed to bits by a blander than bland hero figure) is to put the action into a more Hollywood-like setting. This as it turns out is a minor mistake. The real villains of the piece are a lame setting, a horrible mish-mash of styles and a confused, badly arranged script. Seemingly attempting to channel Tarantino, The Evil Dead films and the worst excesses of the Romero imitators, what’s left is a boring, uninspired, festering corpse of undead-waste.

The film begins with the wedding of Koldo and Clara, presented in familiar camcorder fashion and as it turns out, the only reasonably worked out segment of the film. What follows is infected (see what I did there?) by a terminal incompetence and dismal production. Aside from the dreadful acting and written on a fag packet script, this travesty also includes a shockingly bad soundtrack, summed up by cheese-ball symphonic strings mixed with flamenco renditions of The Damned’s Eloise. Torture horror certainly…

Apparently Balagueró is returning for the fourth instalment, but how much damage he can repair to the wounded franchise remains to be seen. Probably best to pretend that this one never happened…