Monday 28 November 2011

DVD Catch Up: Cabin Fever 2, The Yuck Factor

Plot: This sequel to Cabin Fever sees the flesh eating from the first film unleashed on a high school getting ready for prom night, a night the students will never forget...

This sequel to Eli Roth's minor cult classic Cabin Fever (the story of a flesh eating virus unleashed on a bunch of unsuspecting teens) came much unloved. Released straight to dvd, this was disavowed by its promising young director Ti West (who has made a name for himself with the excellent House of the Devil), who left the film unfinished after some heavy interferences from the studio. So is it such a disaster? Far from it. The film is miles away from cheap straight to dvd horror sequels you might expect and it is all to Ti West's credits that you can still clearly see where he was going, with a strong and unique style, an unusual indie soundtrack (with the added bonus of hints of the Angelo Badalamenti score from the first film) and a gallery of oddball characters.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Foodie Films - Pan Fried's Labyrinth

If you are on Twitter, you cannot fail to have noticed a game that consists of creating puns with film titles following a given theme, that journalists, bloggers and bored office workers (aherm) enthusiastically take part to. For example, #catfilms gave us the lovely Divine Secrets of the Meow Meow Sisterhood, #CheapRemakes The Discount Of Monte Christo and Xmen: Second Class etc... And one theme recently, #FoodieFilms got me really inspired not only to find some new puns but to actually imagine what these foodie films might turn out to be, should they ever be made! So I include a few of my own puns and others I have borrowed, and I have been dreaming up storylines...

Thursday 24 November 2011

We Were Here Review

We were here is a documentary that charts the devastation of the AIDS epidemic on the gay community in San Francisco, through testimonies from various people who lived through it, and how it found the strength to deal with it.

You might feel that this is a familiar subject and that a documentary on the subject might not cover any new ground. And to put it bluntly, with such a strong subject, any lazy filmmaker would just need to shove their camera in front of witnesses of the time and have some powerful footage. So it is all to the credit of directors David Weissman to have crafted a documentary that feels relevant and balanced, offering enough context to understand what was going on in the background of the epidemic, and giving the crisis a human face by not spreading themselves too thinly with too many witnesses, thanks to some very moving stories of the times.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Catch Gigola on DVD Now!

The naughty but nice Gigola is now out on DVD. I caught it at the LLGFF earlier in the year and wrote a review. I am unashamedly republishing that exact same review. I recently compared watching Gigola to finding a bottle of absinthe and some saphic pictures in your French nan's bedside cabinet. This is what I had to say when I first saw it:

Saturday 19 November 2011

The Human Centipede 3: Throwing Up Ideas

The Human Centipede twitter account was recently asking fans to suggest ideas for a third film in the vomit inducing franchise, and this is worrying. The serie was always conceived as a trilogy, and you have to wonder if Tom Six could possibly ever top the second film, which smashed the boundaries of taste and violence. So has he run out of ideas for the third one? If it is the case then I have a whole lot of ideas for him. Some I have actually lovingly ripped off from some Twitter friends, so thanks to @PPlasticHelmet and @beatricecolbran for their genius ideas. Others are mine.

Thursday 17 November 2011

The Rum Diary. Why, why??

Plot: There is not much of a plot. If narrative threads were fireworks, then somebody forgot to light them up. Ok so an American journalist accepts a freelance position in a failing paper in San Juan. He gets exposed to colourful local characters and empties his hotel room's minibar.

Review: While coming out 13 years later, The Rum Diary can actually be seen as an indirect prequel to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, being an adaptation of an earlier book by Hunter S Thompson. Fear... was a flawed but minor classic, best remembered for the, well, fearless performance of Johnny Depp as well as the usual visual fireworks of Terry Gilliam. It was messy, made little sense and was no patch on the book but at least it was crazy and fun.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Eat, Pray, Love, Slash Your Wrists

"Plot" (I use the term loosely): A recently divorced American woman travels the world, eats, prays, loves. Audiences shut their eyes, throw up their guts, slash their wrists.

My blog has run the danger lately of only featuring positive reviews. Since I can decide what I write about, it makes sense to only mention the films I feel passionate about. But now and then comes a film whose awfulness is so immense, it has its own gravitational centre. And I feel it is my duty to avoid any more people having their soul sucked into the bottomless pit of this filmic, dimensions bending singularity. I will never be able to unwatch this. But I did it so that you will not have to.

Saturday 12 November 2011

The Future Review

Plot: Thirty-something couple Jason (Hamish Linklater) and Sophie (Miranda July, who also directed and wrote the script) have the feeling that life has passed them by. Having decided to adopt and care for an ailing cat they rescued, they are told they will need to wait for a month for it to be released to them. They soon realise that a new life of responsibilities lied ahead, which forces them to reconsider their goals and future.

It is an understatement to say that I was actually not planning on seeing The Future originally. It did not make it to my line-up at the London Film Festival due to the negative feedback, and over the years, I have become slightly bored with a certain type of quirky independent cinema that can be as formulaic as any blockbuster, with added pretension. Yet, as I was reading more about it, and on the back of a rather positive from trusted British film magazine Sight & Sound, I decided to give it a try. Having polarised opinion so much (some described it as knuckle-gnawingly awful), I figured it would be anything than boring, and I will always prefer to hate a film than be bored by it. Besides, having seen how much negative reaction one of my favourite film this year, Damsels In Distress, had received at the festival, I went in with an open mind.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Takashi Miike Is Ace (Attorney)

Maverick Japanese director Takashi Miike is having the most versatile and prolific career. Having clocked up an average of three films per year since the start of his career in the early 90's, in a variety of genres, he came into prominence in the West with a serie of infamously gruesome films, Ichi The Killer and especially Audition, as well as the impossible to describe, disco zombie/evil dead/sound of music mash-up, The Happiness of the Katakuris. And he continued to surprise everybody with the absolutely brilliant period samurai action film 13 Assassins last year, followed by his less well received, other period samurai drama, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, which was in Cannes this year.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Close To Leo Review

Plot: A family in a small town in Brittany tries to keep the HIV positive status of their older son a secret from his younger brother. When he begins suspecting something, his elder brother takes him on a trip to Paris to help him face the facts and strengthen their ties.

Christophe Honore has quickly risen within the ranks of French cinema in the last decade, thanks to its particular style that sees him quite happily navigate between the unsentimental and the whimsical. The majority of his films are about one thing and one thing only, love, and if you have not seen that absolutely fantastic Les Chansons D'Amour then I'm afraid you have not lived yet.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

DVD Catch Up: The Hole. Definitely Not For Kids!

Plot: Divorced mum Susan (Teri Polo) moves in a new suburb with her two sons, who quickly realise that in their creepy new basement hides a seemingly bottomless hole, which, once open, unleashes some very dark forces.

Review: American director Joe Dante is best known for his early work, Piranha, The Howling and especially Gremlins. He might have have had not the career some had promised him on the strength of his first films, but has nevertheless always been interesting, making such underrated gems as Matinee and Small Soldiers. One of his most distinctive characteristic is the way he has always managed to put on a very dark spin on seemingly harmless "family" films, never looking down on his audience no matter how young or old.