Monday, April 29, 2013

Rob managed to make less entertaining witches than Hocus Pocus

Lords of Salem: Rob Zombie, once again, can do absolutely nothing except trot out a cast of his wife and friends and lovingly ape the styles and environments of his favorite filmmakers. Lords of Salem may be his most visually and aesthetically impressive film to date, but it also never rises above pastiche and reference. The individual sequences were great - Kenneth Anger meets Ken Russell, but don't have a narrative to give them context and heft.

We heard music from the following:

Suspiria, 1977 - Goblin
Delta Force, 1986 - Alan Silvestri
Iron Man, 2008 - Ramin Djawadi
Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971 - Various


Monday, April 22, 2013

Pour one out for tangible media

Original airdate 4 - 22 - 13

On this week's show we discuss the downfall of physical media, as we pour one out for the closing of one of our local entertainment superstores.

The Place Beyond the Pines was reviewed by the Boom Operator this week, and was very much a movie in three acts, two of which were fairly interesting and drew you in only to be laughably disappointed by the wrap of act three. Can we please cast Ryan Gosling in something other than the crazy silent type role? You know, all of his characters would have restraining orders on them in the real world...but since he's sexy...that's another story.

Regarding Oblivion: A curious mixture of over-explaining things best left to our imagination and over-explaining plot points that were far too obvious. On the plus side the visuals, Icelandic scenery, and Tangerine Dreamy score by M83 created an interesting palette. The weak side, sadly, is what makes (and will make) most sci-fi like this unmemorable, the inability to properly handle a complicated, disturbing concept (cloning), not because this film came down on the optimistic side of a bioethics issue for once, but that it did so shallowly. Who cares if Tom Cruise #2345 dies? We have a spare!

We heard music from:

King Solomon's Minds, 1985 - Jerry Goldsmith
Flashpoint, 1984 - Tangerine Dream
The Place Beyond the Pines, 2013 - Mike Patton
Oblivion, 2013 - M83


Friday, April 12, 2013

April is totes the cruelest month

Original Airdate: 4 - 8 - 13
What else could we talk about tonight but the deaths of 3 major cinematic figures (among others) this weekend, none of them particularly untimely? Discussions will, of course, be dominated by talk of Roger Ebert, who truffle-shuffled off this mortal coil last Friday, the day after announcing a break from reviews due to cancer-recurrence. Like him or hate him, he was/is probably the biggest American critic this side of Pauline Kael, and that's exactly why his body of work is controversial. Some would argue that Ebert was the driving force behind the commodification and reduction of film criticism; that the "thumbs" and "stars" he used to package his writing turned an art form into a sale. In a nutshell, I agree, though I think Ebert was less responsible for this development than late capitalism and the post-industrialism narratives at large in his lifetime. He certainly didn't help it. Movie ratings are reductive and often diminish a (we hope) complex apparatus into a marketable nugget, an arbitrary scale that, like money itself, assumes it is a neutral, transparent medium; its power of abstraction/value-form as a universal equivalent places its stamp on everything that is expressed in its terms, which is why according to Ebert - Nicolas Cage's Knowing is among the best films of all time and M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening is better than A Clockwork Orange (uhh).

Some of the nastier obits are probably justifiable reactions to a hagiography that has been in place well before Ebert's death, when he developed a cancer that would claim his lower jaw. He wrote and reviewed in spite of this, which many people claimed was courageous, and he started swinging at popular trending issues in the political sphere, giving him a popularity outside film media.

Other deaths, sadly foreshadowed but arguably more relevant and interesting for film culture were the deaths of visionary documentary filmmaker Les Blank, whose Burden of Dreams remains a pillar of documentary technique and the scion of artful trash, Jesus "Jess" Franco, who fathered an entire dash-sploitation era in horror films, marrying elaborate, artful technique with trashy subject matter.

Appropriately, our review tonight was of the Evil Dead remake. No one was more surprised than us, but this movie was awesome. I had forgotten that a horror film could be, well, horrifying. Evil Dead was, for our show, a rebuttal of our truism that a remake is a diminished copy. While I continue to wish that young filmmakers could push their efforts into incorporating rather than mimicking, but the analogy for the new Evil Dead was more akin to a good artist covering a good song, making the material his own with another's words. A pleasant surprise.

We heard music from:

Fitzcarraldo, 1982 - Popol Vuh
Vampyros Lesbos, 1971 - Jess Franco
Count Dracula, 1969 - Bruno Nicolai


Monday, April 01, 2013

We retaliate on G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Original Airdate: 4- 1 - 11
When I was in high school, people who love to piss me off because they thought I was disarmingly funny when I was at my angriest. Dance, monkey, dance! Sometimes I think the Universe itself plays the troll to the Boom and I, as tonight's show was pretty damn funny precisely for that reason. Not that rage and mordancy aren't usually up our bag of tricks, but fresh, energized anger doesn't always take hold the way it did tonight. That energy kept us bouncing around from silly topic to topic: I remember us debating on whether it would be cool or not to be immortal. With my luck, 5 minutes after achieving immortality I'd get buried in an earthquake and spend millennia under the dirt waiting for the sun to go nova so I could float somewhere else, being totally catatonic and/or insane at that point. What? Anyway, our only capsule review was on the important and worthwhile G.I. Joe: Retaliation, or the moment in Jonathan Pryce's film career where he actually uttered the phrase, "Get me Storm Shadow!" I wonder what the moments after that scene were like, Pryce weeping into his hands, awash with self-disgust and the memories of Brazil. Sad shit. Anyway, we had a good time trashing a film that was already in the garbage, particularly its hilarious understanding of nuclear weapons and geo-politics, even for a movie based on toy ninjas and snake terrorists.

Oh, and during a moment of bored depravity I watched A Serbian Film and laughed through much of it, either because I'm desensitized and sick or because the movie was, at heart, real goddamn silly. You decide.

Lined up for next week are discussions of the Evil Dead remake and the 3D-icized, unnecessary Jurassic Park release.

We heard music from:
Near Dark, 1984 - Tangerine Dream
Shallow Grave, 1994 - Simon Boswell