These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing
I fell in love with Kineto Shindo after his mesmerizingly-fantastique, Kuroneko. He instantly became my favorite Japanese director (specifically for the purpose of me not having one yet, despite having seen a fair share of Japanese films). I quickly gathered myself after watching Kureneko during the, Seafarers Annual 31 Days Of Horror Fest, and clicked the Wish List on each of the films that followed his carrer in Criterion. A friend and fellow writer of The Seafarers, reached his purchase before mine was even shipped; apparently, I wasn't the only one in on this fixation.
If you don't love or aren't familiar with Japanese culture, it'll be obvious when sitting and watching a film like Onibaba with you. And next will follow a series of play-on-word-puns from those friends, and eventually joining in because of its addictiveness: "She must feel so alonibaba," "Quick! Throw the stonibaba!" "This guy is such a moanibaba," "This movie has such an odd tonibaba,""This guy wants a little bonibaba." Are those even play-on-words? A double entendre, maybe? Anyways, luckily I had my notebook, or I wouldn't have remembered anything else.
Quite close are the themes in both films:the two main characters are a lonibaba mother, whose lost her son to the war, and her lonibaba daughter-in-law. The sexual repression is steaming from the moment we enter the film. The women sleep with their chests bare, due to the sweltering nights of Japan, that enslave their sexual fantasies and heighten the sense of deliriousness to those famished by small rashons of war. And we are constantly presented with fantastic shots of wheat, waving like a mother wanting back the son she's lost.
As the younger gets involved with the returned samurai, the sweat and anything leading up to that sweat, is a metaphor into the mothers lost and wanting womb: beating clothes on logs and licking lips, licking chickens as a form of flirting. Not that I don't love the metaphors and cinematography - the young woman meeting the samurai through the wheat field and their outlines becoming only bodies, later used for the satisfaction of lust - but the tediousness does settle in a bit with the mothers progression of jealousy. And it's until she decides to do something where we find ourselves again, lost in the folklore of Shindonibaba.
This mother has been enslaved by her lonibabaness, if the girl runs off with the samurai, she'll have nothing. After seeing the couple together for the first time late at night, she runs out to a large and thick tree and throws her arms around it - crying and wanting the lust of this tree to repress her thoughts of loneliness, like it does for the young couple.
I liked Onibaba. I think you can see the progression through Onibaba, to Kureneko and how much Shindo had grownibaba'd. But Onibaba leaves you satisfied during the strong hits of release upon the mask of torture. And when the mask is removed, all the sins are presented to us, not in the afterlife, but upon the earth that stirs up its hate.
These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing
We don't know much about Bill Maury's character, Don, but latch onto his lazy and seemingly un-caring characteristics to find out why he's the way he is. We find him in the first moments of the film being left by his girl friend, who's reason for leaving is she can't go on alone, could only explain carelessness of his character so perfectly. Some might find this trait of character uninteresting or annoying. But I find myself curious with his nature and watch to wait for a development in his character or a purpose at all for any motivation.
Don has a next door neighbor who's also his best-friend and is married with plenty of little kinder. Don doesn't seem to be jealous of his kids, but so much sadness surrounds Don's face we know his unhappy life could only be worsened by those who surround him. But his friend Winston truly loves his friend and motivates Don enough (almost forcing him) to go on a journey.
I love the subconscious personal elements of the interaction between people Jarmusch presents to the audience: while Don is sitting waiting for his plane, he notices a pretty girl sitting to his left about two seats away from him. They look at each other, without absolutely any knowledge of that other persons personal experiences in life or reason for traveling, other than what they can see with their eyes. Tilting their heads, peripherally-flirting, and constantly wondering who this person is, where they're going; knowing they will never see each other again, and never knowing of things that once could be between them. Thinking about that aspect of lost relationship in their mind, while tingled eyes glair at rims of skin.
There were most definitely irks. One in particular of a tilting 90 degree shot of a plane landing overhead that for some reason made me want to turn the film off. I think it was because I just was so mad at how bad a shot it was that I couldn't feel Jarmusch would actually put that in his film, and personally feel he didn't... A cliche - turn the T.V. on and see the plot happening in the movie - sequence made me do a little eye-roll, and the dream sequences, although complemented with great editing and color, felt empty to any meaning of development in story. But those were just little annoyance I felt were necessary to explain my overall feelings toward the movie. I dislike when people talk about things negatively for the purpose of being negative, when focusing on the positive can be a much more satisfying and progressive force. I'm speaking of these small problems on a technical outlook and wish to not leave my readers with questions about my criticisms; to why I feel the way I do. Having that being said, I left the most positive aspects for last.
There's a scene where Don visits and delivers flowers to one of his ex-girlfriend's gravestones who he recently, because of this journey, found out she'd passed away. This is the first time we get to experience compassion with and for Don. Finally learning that things in his life have actually meant something to him, or maybe they always do and he just hides it. Or maybe it's this one person in his life that left such an impact on him, he's the way he is now. Not having to actually travel to the graveyard where she's buried, Don goes there anyway to give his condolences. As Don puts the flowers down whispering a sweet but sad, "Hey there, beautiful," we sit with him by the tree and our eyes swell with bits of rain slowly starting to descend. The scene ends a little short but Jarmusch doesn't want to toy with tearjerking emotions.
We see a similar look in Don at the end of the film and remember why we followed him through this journey, and with small, supportive talk of philosophical advice, Jarmusch ends his story with swirling cameras reflecting thought.
These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing
Sleeping Beauty is my second favorite Disney animated movie. Maleficent is the most truly evil, well written, best voiced and has the most interesting character design of any Disney villain; Prince Phillip the most righteous prince (only he could supersede my jealousy of being with Aurora); Aurora the most luscious princess. When the fairies cast their blessings over Aurora in her crib, I tear up during each spell. The music mixed with the abstract art colliding in the galaxy, somehow finds that certain connection in my brain on which to pull upon. Maybe it's because I wish the spells mine, or maybe it's because I wish to be a part of the world before me, or maybe it's because I wish so desperately for Sleeping Beauty to be mine (no, not as a baby); but it's most likely because it's such a beautiful display of art in each medium mixing together in harmony.
Although, over the years
I've acquired certain criticisms with Sleeping Beauty that
would seem to make my viewing, a less spiritual one. Gender and pretty bad
woman stereotypes, for one. For some reason it seems odd to criticize an old Disney
classic; it feels as though I don't have the right, or because it's a classic
there's no need to. But when you grow you realize the conservative thought of
the creators and of the time. Take Snow White's, "it's off to
work we go." How are they possibly going to make clothes for sixteen
years without a single spindle? I think about these criticisms before
the film starts, and during I am totally enveloped in
the renaissance of time. During my last viewing, I was completely
transfixed by one thing in particular.
"I wonder. I wonder. I wonder why each little bird has a someone..." Auroras voice... You can see her lips that shame the rose, and hair like the brilliance of the sun in her voice. The vibrato and soprano so controlled at its quite volume, she delivers a most wonderful performance. The lines are poetry. Not hard to decipher, the meaning creates a relation with its listener and questions life by creating imagery. In one minute and 20 seconds we find a song that transcends the majority of music in today's society. Whether you look at it objectively, technically or subjectively, I know that you feel in your heart of hearts the truthfulness of this statement. This song is a true love song. Because, instead of speaking about a kind of man or women she's finally found in her life, she's directly questioning love and the life that exists around it. I live by the words "I wonder." To always wonder and to always question anything I can. I know that Sleeping Beauty taught me to do this at a young age. To teach the young to grow, and old the new, is an achievement I can only hope to present in my aging life. And to find someone who feels the same would only influence this love for relation. I hope someone will find me someday "and bring back a love song to me."
Alright so I'm going to be doing a series of film posters for The Seafarers Film Blog. Not much else to say as images speak for themselves, that's why they're images. Contact for information about obtaining prints. Enjoy!
A limpid fog … exists … outside your car windows. Up ahead you make out a fork in the road. On the right you see a glow of light that reads “vacancy.” Above that reads Bates Motel. You turn left. A sign reads “Welcome to Whitewood,” you pass a church and stumble upon The Raven’s Inn. And as luck has it, there is one more vacancy left just for you. Preparing for bed, you open the bedside drawer and discover an impaled crow. You hear music, chanting, coming from under the floorboards. Today is Candlemas Eve. The holiday of the witches.
What makes Psycho a near perfect movie is the craft, skill, and intelligence that went into making the film. It's Hitchcock, but it isn't a classic horror. What Horror Hotel lacked in symbolism, Psycho lacked in atmosphere. Satan’s on earth and he lives in Whitewood, the only evil in Bates Motel is Norman. Black shrouds, gothic architecture, graveyards, Christopher Lee, crypts. Horror cliché’s stem from this hardly known nightmare.
So next time you turn around an old lady on a chair, don’t expect Mother. It might just be the burnt corpse of a hundred year old witch looking for her next sacrifice. As for me, I’ll be expecting Vera Miles.
Psycho came out August 25th 1960. Audiences everywhere were shocked when their heroine was slaughtered in the first thirty minutes. What next? Where was Hitchcock taking them? The reaction to Psycho, like a tidal wave, crashed on the shores and destroyed beach houses. Less than one month later, September 12th 1960, Horror Hotel does not shock or horrify when the heroine is brutally sacrificed in the first thirty minutes of the film. What next? “Who cares, I’ve already seen this in Psycho, let’s just leave this rip-off movie.” Oh, but if they had stayed! Burning witches, satanic rituals, ghosts, animal sacrifices. All done in a pitch-perfect horror film style. And what rip-off could this film be? Production on Horror Hotel started before Psycho. How the two films can have such eerily similar elements and even shot for shot, identical scenes is beyond me. Perhaps, beyond this world.
Censorship! Psycho came under controversy for its showing of an unmarried man and woman sharing a bed, dressed and for showing blood. Let me remind you that witches are burnt, engulfed in flames alive, in Horror Hotel. If that was not shot down by the conservative 1960s “man,” what could be? Three lines. The censors cut three lines. Language? Not exactly. "I have made my pact with thee O Lucifer! Hear Me, Hear Me! I will do thy bidding for all eternity. For all eternity shall I practice the ritual of Black Mass. For all eternity shall I sacrifice unto thee. I give thee my soul, take me into thy service." A witch screams this as she is being burned alive, flames overtaking the scene. 1960 was not ready for this, but they were ready for Psycho.
Psycho can be found on any “Top 100” list related to films. Psycho was given a blu-ray release on it’s 50th anniversary. Horror Hotel can be found at your local Walmart cheap DVD bin, or the whole movie can be seen on Youtube.
These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing
I loathe when people see a photograph, or some kind of art piece where objects have been shifted to fit a metaphor, and criticize it because they argue, they could've pieced it together or taken that photograph. That's not a criticism; it's a selfish examination on the artistic redundancy of pride. I'm not making an excuse for art pieces who are an example of pretentiousness without any thought to define emotion or societal opinion (obviously not the only two things); deflated-paper mache-basketball with spilt toothpaste on top. These are the same people who point their fingers at works of such kind, but widen their eyes for any painting simply because they cannot paint; "Well, this person just shoved a bunch of stuff on sand then took a photograph of it. I could've done that."
I've heard the same about film. Some plots being easier to explain than others, gives people the idea that it's not hard to make a film, or because the plot is easy to explain, it hols no kind of artistic depth or integrity. A kind of snobbish hindsight. It's true that some of these people could carry the wit and intelligence to maybe think of a simple plot, but they don't carry the integrity to create.
[Rec] has a cleverly fantastic plot that pieces together perfectly into a well paced story. The pacing is due to the fact that people who cannot leave a controlled area are quickly becoming infected, which then incorporates it's tension that lingers throughout the duration of the film filled with yelling of bizarre-possessed animal noises...and people.
Swaying malnourishment with an antenna'd hammer to dine. The infection is its feast and we are left wavering, confused of the reason; the, why this is happening. Wanting to know; fixated on its past, pondering its future. Is this an ending that finishes directly with the credits and does not carry on it's story in our mind, like David Fincher's Fight Clubadaptation? Closed eyes to the green of invisible light. Crawling towards the hope of life and we're left, not stopped, when the black takes hold.
I’m going to begin this particular review by stating that very few of the following words will hardly be appropriate to articulate why director Andrew Jordan’s first film Things not only exists, but why it works. Shot on the beautiful lo-fi super-8 (R.I.P.) in 1989 by possibly brilliant, perhaps deranged, absolutely under appreciated beer-swilling Canucks, this movie got buried and lost into obscurity until Intervision Picture Corp. and Mondo Video gave it a proper modern release on VHS!
On any given day, 83 minutes is a pleasant, brisk span of time to power through a low budget Canadian horror film. Not on the day you decide to feed this thing (ha!) into your VCR. The most awe-inspiring aspect of Things is that, more than Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Star Wars or even Night of the Living Dead, this film absorbs you into its world. This isn’t a voluntary assimilation, but a forceful, malignant and stupefying transportation into a completely alien version of the real world. Think of the chalkboard explanation in Back to the Future II or the end of Evil Dead 2/ beginning of Army of Darkness. You’re there, and you’re screwed. Deal with it.
There are few horror movies that nail tone so perfectly. Some may dismiss Things’ poor (read: horrific) ADR and cheap, knockoff Suspiria lighting techniques and nearly plotless story and practically indecipherable dialogue and fuzzy, off-focus cinematography as poor filmmaking and/or budgetary constraints. Screw the naysayers says I! There is absolutely no way that all of these things, that every aspect of the filmmaking process, was unintentionally skewed. These were madmen seeking to slyly make others nutty via home video in a clamshell case.
But let’s pause, get grounded, and discuss the story. I guess it’s about a woman who had some unseen malpractice that makes her give birth to giantspiderant creatures in some cabin for some reason, and a couple of guys drink beer, argue and try to deal with the situation... or something.
None (not one) of the explicit horror tropes succeed. The blood doesn’t even look like food-colored corn syrup or even ketchup, but more like watery Aunt Jemima. The creatures are not bad looking; their appearance being somewhere between purposefully manufactured for the film and oddity toy store fare. Obviously whatever budget existed was for beer and thing effects. That being said, they hardly make one even bat an eye. Oh, and of course there is full-frontal nudity from a woman wearing a plastic Satan mask, which is odd, but not a contributing factor to the subversive punch to the gut that this film delivers.
This film really has to be seen to be believed. Scratch that. You need to watch it, but you still won’t believe it. Pardon my French, but it's going to fuck you up. Bad.
Some may say that this film is not for everyone, or some may not enjoy it, or that it’s only for deranged, tasteless, obese cinephiles, but I say this flick is for the whole family. Pain is gain. Invite your girlfriend/boyfriend over, I guarantee your relationship will grow because of the experience, and what could be better than mutual bonding through the art of cinema? Nothing, that’s what.
These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing.
I've seen Videodrome before, but watching it again, I feel like I haven't been giving myself enough reason to like it. Although I can extract the surface content and love the practical effects, I wasn't digging myself in it personally. I feel like I should be able to protect the things I like; I thought of that while watching for a second time.
The climbing acceptance of immorality and desensitization of people based around a box of sadomasochism in a metaphor form of addiction; the surface theme. Not hard to see, nor feel with the lash of a whip. I knew it was saying it in a "cool" way, but didn't feel like that was enough for me to like it to the extent I did; or, enough reason to protect the aspect of me liking it against those who would appose it's greatness. I kept my eyes on the skin of change.
Emotional connectivity is found through the acceptance of death, or the contemplation there of. There is a slight silence by those who could feel Max's confidence in his "belief." His faith in the "new flesh." I wanted this confidence, and most importantly, I liked it. Is the new flesh an evolution in the body, or is it the progression of abstract thought, leading to death? Are those the same thing? When does Max's body coincide with his mind, and which does this evolution take course through; mind or body? Is Nicki God, or just the projection of Max's subconscious; or, a projection of what Videodrome wants Max to view as his subconscious?
What is justice, in this world Cronenberg has placed us in? Max's killing is justified because of the sympathy you feel towards his character, his charm (because of our suspension of disbelief and the little we know of his character background) supersedes morality. The world Max lives in, or more the atmosphere Cronenberg has created, represents confinement; much like Terry Gilliam'sBrazilwhich were both made in the 80's, two years apart from one another. Even the outside shots make me feel enclosed in a space that stretches lips and hands into whispers of masochism. A television. I don't know if I can analyze this movie. Are five question marks in a review good for a critique? Six. Questions are necessary for progression, so do people like and understand the use of questions in a critical analyzation. I didn't question mark that. I think if we learned anything from Terrence Malick, they most certainly are. So when I ask these questions, do I and the people I'm writing to learn around me, or is this just subconscious scat?
When I was constantly questioning myself during Videodrome and caught the, acceptance of death, I was excited; proud even. I found something I could attach myself to. I then realized the answer of my fondness towards the film; I was connecting myself without the conscious knowledge of why, which is the purpose. I had found purpose and could then transform my purpose to intellect; which I know, must transform even further, and find the deeper meanings that cannot be accepted nor understood by my current mind. Death to Videodrome. Long live the new flesh...
These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing.
Was not playing in 3D when I saw it.
The camera dolphins through fields of unknown, and we sway through the waves; innovation through aviating esotericism, and we haven’t even seen the caves. The cave itself is an interesting source without the drawings; the daunting exterior bares a story unto its own. The interviews, shown in intervals create a personal sense of intimacy; feeding information while oddly adding an additional background for nonfictional character development (Herzog exceeds in this originality within documentaries). When the drawings are revealed, the earth is lost with arguments of evolution; depth and creativity within pre-primitive humanity. These are no mere stick figures; these drawings are carved within the curves of eroded rock to accentuate depth of field. Minds that could not bend metals, only, art into glittered stone. The length of the film bares no issue. It might drag on a bit with the repetitiveness of mammoth rhinoceros and elephants, but eyes are lost in the unbelief that surrounds 35,000 years.
The original score, by Ernst Reijseger, covers the cave with blankets of warm avant-garde stimulation. One of the best original scores I’ve heard since Jonny Greenwood’s, There Will Be Blood score. Though, they almost can’t be compared because of the lack of theme in Reijsegers’; so, maybe I should say, the most pleasing I’ve listened to, and will continue to listen to after I’ve bought it, and when I buy the documentary at its release (dragging on).
The content created by albino crocodiles, forgoes any dreary eyed criticisms (which I personally was not apart of) that might’ve been yawned; serving as both the clinging climax, and ultimate fall of the film. The separation is so extreme, you find comfort and similarity within the cave, and, these forgotten creatures. The separation evolves into a warm attachment and is subconsciously helped through the progress of the story. You never feel uncomfortable with it's difference simply because there's not one.
Herzog has directed, written and narrated another documentary, ending with the sagacious earnestness of opinion, and filling its story with such an artistic expression, that the film revolts back into itself. While controversy might rise from Herzog's fictional talent (another party I’m not attached to), there is no argument against the genius he protrudes within the nonfictional medium of film.
Lights, trees and roads swirl seamlessly in front of me. Everything is moving. Everything is alive, coordinated with melancholy and emotion. The juxtaposition of power lines and nature sets the tone for The Seven Fields of Aphelion's music video "Michigan Icarus." Emotional, bittersweet piano melodies and surreal, atmospheric synthesizers create a soundtrack to a kaleidoscope of images that constantly dance in rhythm with the music. The sparseness of the song and of what is happening visually is really impactful and effective in creating such a rich ambiance. It's impressive how imaginative art can be when said art is presented in such a simple way. No amount of complexity can really account for the aesthetic of stepping outside and bearing witness to unfathomable landscape laid out before us like an oversized canvas we can step into and change. This video accompanied by such an emotionally captivating composition is a constant reminder that beauty does exist within nature and inside of the things that humans can create.
In the shadow of a lesser giant there skulks a creature. No longer a man, this specter roams the ethereal realms surrounded by transvestites, aliens, crippled doctors and Susan Sarandon’s underwear.
It was only one year earlier, this phantom took refuge in The Paradise, the embodiment of pop music. Hub of what was new, what was in. In droves the sheep entered The Paradise with the promise of a killer show. Only one man could provide the entertainment they slutted for: Swan. The face of Death Records. The man behind the man behind the man of the nostalgia revival. Birthing the doo-wop Juicy Fruits and beach-bash Beach Bums. But what creates nostalgia? Time, vague memories, a phantom of the reminiscence? Yes, a Phantom! One does not find this phantom on rainy nights. Not within the walls of mysterious castles with hunchback handymen. No, it is found within The Paradise. Haunting those who stole his face, his voice, his love, his music. Revenge driven by passion, passion driven by soul, soul sold to the devil himself.
Phantom - a person or thing of merely illusory power. This is the obfuscated life, death and rebirth of Winslow Leach. A person of legend, of myth. Why, then, have few heard of his tragedy? Because they are blinded by Brad and Janet! Deafened by Dr. Frank-N-Furter! The beauty. The irreverence. The horror. The comedy. Passed by, forgotten, a tape compiling dust in a pawn shop. Eclipsed by the shock value of a truly rocky, mildly horrific picture show.
Constantly settling for what is popular, such is the grave nature of man. The reason time has forgotten Phantom of the Paradise. A film as deserving a cult following as that other sci-fi-horror-rock-comedy-musical. “He sold his soul for rock n’ roll” and all you have to do is watch.
Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise was released in 1974. It was all but forgotten when The Rocky Horror Picture Show snowballed it’s way into midnight showings across the nation in 1975. Fox’s Glee aired it’s Rocky Horror Picture Show themed episode in 2010. As of now, Phantom of the Paradise is up for consideration to be included in the Criterion Collection.
The Trost Brothers made a movie you need to see. It will change you.
Now pay attention.
The badassery on display in the film constant, hilarious, straight-faced and, well, badass. Not the rough kind that we’d get from Dirty Harry or Snake Plissken, or the over-the-top kind like Macho Man Randy Savage, or even the honorable kind in the likes of Atticus Finch. No... think more like the story mentality of The Warriors with costumes and set design from The Return of the Living Dead speaking like they all came from some Mythical Ebonics Trash Talk 101 class. Let me (try to) explain:
The FP takes place in a futuristic(?) Fraizer Park, California. There are gangs that all want control of the mountain town, and will settle all disputes with a Beat-Beat Revelation showdown. So when main character JTro’s bro goes down, yo, and he leaves town for a year, The FP goes to hell under the domination of L Dubba E, a rival gang leader who looks like a cross between Mr. T and 2015 Marty McFly.
JTro gets commissioned by KCDC and old friend of hid older bro, BTro, to come back to the FP and Beat-Beat to victory. The story follows the common ‘prodigal returns, meets old flame, gets inspiration, does training montage, has final showdown...’ Despite all of the reused story lines, the movie is incredibly funny and smart (which honestly surprised me). The vernacular that the Trost Bros created is amazing. They seem to speak only in trash talk/wigger-speak. Where Malibu’s Most Wanted failed so very, very (very) miserably, The FP succeeds and then goes beyond conceivable possibility and, perhaps, decorum. (Ha.) It is never repetitive and had me falling out of my lawn chair gasping for breath.
That’s because my brother and I drove to The FP to see The FP as put on by the Cinefamily and The Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow. With filmmakers and stars in attendance and locals and non-locals alike yelling at the screen “You got this JTro!” and “You know you want that dick!” it was pretty fantastic. Also the parking attendant called my brother and me assholes, but that’s neither here nor there.
There is some really solid comedy work going on here that makes me excited to see the promised FP 2. There's one scene in particular that practically killed me due to asphyxiation when the morning of the big Beat-Beat-off, (Ha.) JTro tries to save Stacy from her dad and L Dubba E... well the rest won't make sense and I couldn't possibly do it justice.
Basically, The FP is the kind of high-quality, thought-provoking cinema that you will be discussion for hours. The attention to detail and color is second to none and the dialogue will be dissected (a la A Clockwork Orange) for years to come. Seek it out, have your mind expanded, eat a Spaghetti-o and Waffle sandwich and roll together, die together. Hell yeah.