"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘???’

Mad God

Friday, July 15th, 2022

MAD GOD is a bizarre stop motion journey through the large intestine of a nightmare. It’s hard to describe (or know) what it’s about, but its version of the STAR WARS opening scroll is an actual scroll inked with a menacing threat from Leviticus. It ends, “I WILL MAKE THE LAND DESOLATE SO THAT YOUR ENEMIES WHO SETTLE IT SHALL BE APPALLED BY IT. AND YOU WILL SCATTER AMONG THE NATIONS AND I WILL UNSHEATH THE SWORD AGAINST YOU. YOUR LAND SHALL BECOME A DESOLATION AND YOUR CITIES A RUIN.”

Gee, thanks God!

The God of this movie may or may not be a weird priest played by REPO MAN director Alex Cox, one of a few live action characters seen briefly. He’s the one who sends a character I know from reading is called “The Assassin” – a man in a gas mask who is lowered in a diving bell past towers and rocks and layers of dinosaur bones and stone idols to a war-torn wasteland. He seems to be on a mission to set off a suitcase of dynamite deep in the earth, and most of the movie is a long journey downward, following an ever-crumbling map.

People who demand a strong narrative will melt into a puddle and be lapped up by weird crab monsters with human teeth. There’s a story here, but it’s all dream logic, told with mood, atmosphere and symbolism, not words. There’s virtually no human language that can be heard clearly – just some grunts like in those original Aeon Flux shorts. The score by Dan Wool of Pray For Rain (Cox’s guy since SID & NANCY) is crucial, but so is the sound design by Richard Beggs (TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM, CHILDREN OF MEN), which helps bring life to these inanimate objects. It’s all ticking clocks, whirring servos, tinkling music boxes, puttering engines, rattling cages, crackling flames, clicking gears, flittering wings, collapsing earth, air raid sirens, explosions, gunfire, gnomes chirping like Jawas, babies crying in the distance, and most of all the sounds of the Assassin’s thick coat shifting around, and his boots crunching into dirt. (read the rest of this shit…)

Crimes of the Future

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

(warning: to the extent you can spoil a movie like CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, this review contains spoilers)

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE is your typical undercover story – a guy is working for The Man and thinks he’s doing the right thing, but through his investigation he starts to see a different perspective, rethinks his loyalties, and questions whether or not to narc these people out. In this case the guy is a performance artist famous for growing inexplicable new internal organs and having them removed in front of an audience by laying in a machine that looks like a chrysalis, with robotic bone arms cutting him open under the control of a partner sensually poking her fingers into a gooey bladder. And the people he may or may not bust are (spoiler) an underground movement of people surgically altering their digestive systems so that they can eat plastic. But you’ve seen that before too. Just a good old fashioned organ opera like the ones we all grew up on.

Okay, yeah, on second thought maybe it’s fair to say that this is a weird fuckin movie that could only be made by writer/director David Cronenberg (TOP GUN [offered but turned down]). When he did that trilogy of more reality-based Viggo Mortensen joints (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, EASTERN PROMISES and A DANGEROUS METHOD) people thought he’d moved beyond slimy mugwumps and uncharted glands and shit, and that this is a throwback. But he wrote and tried to make this before all those, so maybe he’s just getting back on track.

Either way, this has a scene where Mortensen (AMERICAN YAKUZA) has had a zipper installed on his belly and can open it up, and Léa Seydoux (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL) pleasures him by spreading it open and licking his innards. So it was cool to see at a multiplex on a giant screen with Minions ads and shit playing before it. The summer movie season has finally begun. (read the rest of this shit…)

mother!

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

mother! is the new movie! from Darren Aranofsky (THE WRESTLER) and it’s marketed as horror, because… I mean I don’t know what else you would call it either. It is in the business of exploiting our fears, but it’s not exactly a genre story, unless you count the occasional bloody wound festering in a wooden floor. Mostly it’s a heightened, surreal portrait of a marriage. And a house.

Jennifer Lawrence (AMERICAN HUSTLE) is the nameless female lead (credited as “mother”), married to an older man (Javier Bardem, PERDITA DURANGO, credited as “Him”) who’s a famous poet suffering from writer’s block while she looks after him and painstakingly rebuilds his house after it was destroyed in a fire. When some random doctor dude (Ed Harris, knightriders!) shows up at their door, the husband invites him to stay without taking her feelings into account, and this is the breeze that will become a tornado of escalation intrusions, insecurities and violations. By the end she’ll be (spoiler!) caught in the middle of huge riots and uprisings even though she will never leave the house. (read the rest of this shit…)

Meet the Hollowheads

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

tn_hollowheadsYou know what they say about people who work in movies as some job other than director: they really want to direct. It happens to actors, it happens to writers, it happens to Mel Gibson’s hairdresser who directed PAPARAZZI. It also happens to special effects makeup artists. Tom Savini directed the quite good NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake. Stan Winston directed PUMPKINHEAD and A GNOME NAMED GNORM and Michael Jackson’s GHOSTS. John Carl Buechler directed TROLL and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII and a bunch of other stuff. Kevin Yagher (partially) directed HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE. Of all these, the weirdest is the one that Tom Burman did, MEET THE HOLLOWHEADS.

Maybe Burman isn’t as well known as some of those other guys. In recent years his work has been on hospital-set TV shows – Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Chicago Hope, Nip/Tuck. Good work if you can get it. But he’s been in the business since the ’70s, creating the titular heads of THE THING WITH TWO HEADS, doing makeup for FROGS, THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF, THE FOOD OF THE GODS, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, and the Wookiees in The Star Wars Holiday Special. His work spans from classic gore moments (MY BLOODY VALENTINE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HALLOWEEN III) to werewolves (TEEN WOLF) to fantasy (SCROOGED) to action movies (DIE HARD 2, THE LAST ACTION HERO, CON AIR). He worked on Sloth in THE GOONIES, the monster in HOWARD THE DUCK and the Supreme Leader in CAPTAIN EO.

But in the late ’80s he decided to make his own movie to exercise and showcase the skills of The Burman Studios, the company he ran with his sons Barney and Rob. I remember it was on the cover of Fangoria under the title LIFE ON THE EDGE, and that might be the only reason I was aware of it. (read the rest of this shit…)

My Soul To Take

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

tn_mysoultotakeI don’t know if “good” is an adjective I would apply to Wes Craven’s little-seen latest horror movie (his first writing/directing joint since NEW NIGHTMARE). Other than the synonyms for “strange” there aren’t many adjectives that really do the job here. So it’s hard to explain what this movie is like, exactly, but I’ll try.

MY SOUL TO TAKE looks like a pretty typical glossy teen horror movie, with characters that could be in FREDDY VS. JASON or a FINAL DESTINATION, plus your standard Marco Beltrami score infused with an occasional rock song. Although it’s not a remake, a sequel, a prequel or a prequmake it does fit your modern mainstream horror mold by being released in last-minute-post-production-3D (LMPP3).

Yeah, it looks normal from a distance, but when you get up close it’s clear that something’s off here. (read the rest of this shit…)

Gummo

Saturday, January 1st, 2000

What this picture is about is these two kids who go around riding their bikes and hunting cats, and there are alot of filthy houses, and ugly rednecks talking shit about the blacks and punching each other. Then they find a dead cat and just keep shooting it with pellet guns. In the opening scene two kids are making out in a junkyard and the boy finds a lump in the girl’s tit. Later this guy is trying to make out with a black midget and Chloe Sevigny teaches her little sister how to pull hairs out of her nipples with duct tape. (read the rest of this shit…)