Thursday, March 23, 2017

City 40

Clandestine filmmakers break into Obersk, a contaminated Russian secret city and home to its nuclear reserves in this gripping, chilling documentary. Featuring footage of nuclear weapons tests, civilians wearing gas masks, shocking aerial footage of the burning rubble of Chernobyl immediately following the infamous accident, haunting photos of an abandoned school and amusement park, and affected civilians sweeping radioactive dust, City 40 is an eye-opening film showing the human and environmental effects of the nuclear arms race.

Oops, someone accidentally replaced the trailer of City 40 with a video of Vladmir Putin singing the Radiohead classic "Creep". Let's try that again, shall we?

Ah, here we go. That's much better.

When you get a chance, kindly stop over at Cultured Vultures and check out my review of American Poltergeist.

The Boys From Brazil

Alt-right war criminals organize to kill retirement-aged men and bring about the 4th reich in this absurd science fiction film. Featuring cloning, doberman pincers, old men biting each other, an inexplicable appearance by Steve Guttenberg, and the phrase 'The Right Hitler For The Right Future', The Boys From Brazil is a dated, ludicrous film. Seriously, who would believe a worldwide rise in Nazism in 2017?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hieronymous Bosch: Touched By The Devil

Paintings by the enigmatic Dutch artist is curated for a 500th anniversary in his hometown in this dry, academic documentary. Although featuring astonishing extreme closeups of the 500-year old artwork in HD, examining details of each bizarre creature in Bosch's iconic altarpiece, The Garden Of Earthly Delights, and the delicate restoration of a damaged paining, most of the film is spent focusing on the bureaucracy of the negotiations to loan crucial pieces of his limited extant oeuvre for an exhibition in his hometown on the 500th anniversary of the artist's death. Stay tuned to the end of the film, when the triptych's right panel is shown in all its frightening, nightmarish glory.

Fun Fact: Although 'neoclassical dark wave' band Dead Can Dance named an early e.p. "Garden Of The Arcane Delights", Bosch's artwork makes an appearance on their Aion album cover.

See, wasn't that fun?

If you have a moment to spare, check out my review of the horror film American Poltergeist at Cultured Vultures.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion

A high ranking police officer kills his mistress and intentionally leaves taunting clues behind in this satiric, political thriller that was the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film of 1971. Dry, stylish, and blackly humorous, Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion follows the story of a 'law and order', anti-leftist police officer, who murders his mistress and initially covers up his crime by insinuating others could be suspects. After then leading the trail of clues to himself, he confesses to the crime, only to discover that in spite of clear evidence, no one believes him.

Painting a vivid portrait of the political environment of right-wing Italy during the early 1970s,  Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion has a frighteningly modern feel. With its scenes of political protest, intrusive surveillance, terrorism and threats of terrorism, an authoritarian police force obsessed with maintaining 'law and order', politicos seemingly exempt from prosecution, and a roundup of 'subversives', Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion seems remarkably fresh and current for a nearly 50-year old film. Plus, it has a great score by Ennio Morricone and 24 killer ties.

I said some stuff about the horror film American Poltergeist at Cultured Vultures. Strangely enough, the film doesn't have many poltergeists in it.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

De Palma

The career of the filmmaker is examined in this fascinating documentary.

It's De Palma. Just De Palma. OK, maybe a few other notables, but for the most part, it's just him.

Interviewed before a static camera, Brian De Palma candidly revisits his warts-and-all career and personal life. Punctuated by clips from his influential films including Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise, Carrie, Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, and Body Double, he discusses being influenced by Hitchcock and Godard, and the business of film and the techniques he uses; i.e. split screen, casting, scoring, lighting, editing, blocking, syncing, mixing, scoring, budgeting, and negotiating. It's an advanced class on film in and of itself. Oh, and he charmingly uses the phrase, 'Holy mackerel', about a million times.

Check out my review of Death Race 2050 at Cultured Vultures.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Bickering anti-heroes save the universe in this humorous comic book film. Featuring a great 70s soundtrack (well, except for Blue Swede IMO), it's an appropriately CGI'd, action-packed film based on a Marvel franchise I have very little familiarity with. Utilizing a novel concept where the film makers introduce the plot and characterization of an existing comic book property without slowing down the film to an almost complete halt, it's a superficially complicated, funny, boy's odyssey in space, which is certainly not a bad thing in the current dour superhero film climate. Exciting and surprisingly touching, it's a shame Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Batman Vs. Superman wasn't nearly as entertaining as Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Check out my review of Death Race 2050 over at Cultured Vultures. 

Alice Through The Looking Glass

When I started this blog 300 years ago, it was my mission to watch every bad movie from beginning to end, no matter how bad, and no matter how much my soul cried out to stop, however little soul it's rumored I have. I stayed on task for the most part, but I seriously do not have the time to waste on the Mad Hatter.

An overly CGI'd children's adventure/accidental horror tale, Alice Through The Looking Glass begins with Alice commanding a ship through stormy seas, and ends with Johnny Depp's Easter-themed mismatched eyeshadow and nightmare-inducing china doll-like contact lenses. It was never my intention to stop watching this film just as Johnny Depp shows up, who looks like a ghastly pink skeleton wearing acrylic-looking orange ringlets and aggressively caterpillar-like eyebrows, because I don't believe it's fair to comment on an actor's appearance and to judge a film solely on his off-putting and distracting purple cheekbones, and how I kept wondering if his startling, inexplicable costuming had anything to do with 19th-century mercury poisoning from millinery, or if it merely an excuse to have the makeup department spend many thousands of dollars to make Johnny Depp look like a microwaved package of Peeps.

Why does he look this way? What is the point of it? Was there something wrong with this one?

Or this one?

If they're trying to copy this one, maybe less is more. More is certainly not more, which is also the case with Peeps, where zero is acceptable.


Anyway, if anyone has the answer, as to why the Mad Hatter looks the way he does, don't tell me, I'd rather not know. 

So, needless to say I didn't continue watching Alice Through The Looking Glass because the temptation was too great, and I know I wouldn't discuss how Anne Hathaway, Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, and Rhys Ifans' talents are squandered in a loud, garish, and hollow 'Wonderland', and I would be forced to mention that Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter looks like a satin and velveteen dumpster fire filled with Easter baskets, and that's not fair to anyone.

If you have a spare moment, check out my review of the film Death Race 2050 over at Cultured Vultures. I don't have much to say that's kind about that one, either.