The Horrors: Questioning A Corelation Between Genres and Film Audiences

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I’m curious. Can I love a theatrical experience for the crowd as much as I can hate it? We talk about the theatre as some discuss church. We love it. We admire it. We want it to be perfect. At the same time however the ways in which we enjoy it are flexible, and that flexibility comes from so many factors which are personal as well as external.

A couple of nights ago I went to my local — if movie theatres were religious denominations it would be the Lutheran headquarters of the world — theatre, Carib 5, to see Oculus, a film I was saddened I missed at TIFF from their Midnight Madness programme which I adore. Part of the alure of the Midnight Madness programme, in case you haven’t heard me tout it on any of the billion podcasts I’ve released in the last two years since I first ventured to Toronto, is that weird loveable crowd that gets behind the weirdest and goriest of horror films. They know that they’re dumb and enjoyable while still, at times, being down right frightening. When you’ve done a full day’s work or festing and you find yourself in a crowded theatre of people who will scream “RRRRRR!!!!” at a anti-piracy warning before the film comes on it’s glorious. Continue reading

The Inverse Relationship Between Your Enjoyment of Movies and Their Ability to Agree With You…

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This past week I made my brother, Douglas, watch Network for the very first time. A film which, if you’ve never seen, is about a famed news anchor and journalist who has a mental breakdown on air and becomes a televangelist who is allowed to spew his truth about this universe just because he magically got ratings. While watching this movie I had a bit of an awakening of sorts, though not to the same degree of Howard Beale.

I watched closely as my brother’s disdain for the film grew and later on he said nothing other than, “it’s just a bunch of monologues.” If it’s one thing he’s not wrong. Continue reading

Blindspot: Sholay (1975)

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The reason why I love films like The RockDrunken MasterThe Good The Bad and The Ugly and even Blazing Saddles is that more than anything else the films have that “did you see that?” quality to them. They’re ridiculous, flashy and keep us moving in a way that doesn’t ask too much of the audience. Sholay is a film that does just this and possibly more. Infusing western cinema with the idea of the vast western, riffing on well known motifs, and sometimes even lifting complete shots from films such as Once Upon a Time in the West and The Magnificent Seven we see the answer to the question of what would be if India adopted Westerns with a tone of Blaxspoitation cinema and threw some musical sequences in the middle of it all.

It seems apt that I make Sholay my blindspot entry from the month of May, because it feels like the perfect summer movie. It feels as if someone was in a lab constructing this film from all the best elements of entertainment for maximum enjoyment while at the same time lost in how to reign in any sense of control over what they were doing. When half-way through the film we discover the reason for Thakur’s (Sanjeev Kumar) reason for his need to have Gabbar (Amjad Khan) captured you feel as though we’ve seen a too much. Continue reading

Nine Best Non-Chase Scenes in Cars

Locke

This week, people who live in places with good theatres, are going to get to enjoy the latest Tom Hardy effort, Locke. As far as I can tell it’s Tom Hardy on the phone fixing life problems in one night while taking a leisurely drive around town. That sounds amazing, mainly because it’s simple, but mostly because it’s Tom Hardy just talking to me calmly. I think it would do good as a late night film on TV that will lull me to sleep and I can imagine how his voice was digitized and manipulated to be the Bane joke it is today, I’m really glad we’re past that gag.

Anyways, it made me wonder about cars in film; and more importantly non chase scenes in films in cars. Cars are a big part of the world culture, but for the most part they’re used as cut aways in transport or straight up crazed action scenes. However, this week I wanted to highlight some great scenes in films that take place in cars (that aren’t chase scenes).

9. “Maybe it’s the power trying to come on?”; Jurassic Park (1993)

Yes we all remember the T-Rex chasing Goldblum down the path and people shouting them to go faster. However, what we all remember more than that is the water vibrating and being told to pay close attention. I keep remembering how much time they spent just sitting in the cars just waiting to see what’ll happen and as the tension builds it gets more and more glorious on screen for us.

8. “This is bat country”;
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Remember that time that Johnny Depp gave Spider-Man a lift to Las Vegas? I do. It was in bat country. We all adore Gilliam’s drug infused story of Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo adventures to Las Vegas, and more that recognizing his insanity as he slips in an out of inner to outer monologue due to his own drugged filled state.

7. “Pull up here”;
Gun Crazy (1950)

Earlier this year, with True Detective running and a great long take being revealed to us all half way through the season, the internet ran into a big panic filled nerd rage over long takes in cinema and this one kept coming up. It’s great. After about forty or so minutes of build up we finally get to the first real bank robbery and we don’t ever really get to see it. We’re stuck outside with Annie as she’s in the car waiting for Barton to come out with the money. This nice continuous shot from the backseat of the car helps add tension to what is already a very tense moment.

6. Shot Marvin in the Face;
Pulp Fiction (1992)

A reminder of all the things I love about Tarantino filmmaking. It’s holding us with a tangential conversation about Cops and how it isn’t always what you think it means and book-ending it all with someone being shot in the face to the point of a blood filled explosion in the car. It’s what Tarantino does best. Distracts us from the big money-shot to the point of being excited and shocked by it when it happens.

5. “Could’ve been a contendor”;
On the Waterfront (1954)

I forget sometimes how great just letting actors role with scenes can be. Here we see Brando explain clearly to his brother what it was he did to him. It wasn’t about anything other than the fact that he was the one that did it to him. He asked him to dive thinking it was okay, but it wasn’t. It showed him that the world wasn’t fit for him and that didn’t just lose him on money or fame, it lost him on life.

4. “How about some Bohemian Rhapsody?”; Wayne’s World (1992)

I actually can honestly remember when I first saw this movie and this scene has always been the one that stuck out. Also, I hadn’t ever heard Queen before and had no clue what this music was. I assumed it was a fake song they made up for the movie. Cut to me more than a decade later discovering Queen and enjoying it even more.

3. “You’re damn unlucky”;
I Saw the Devil (2010)

Remember when I said I wanted to focus on non chase scenes. I consider this not counting. Here we’re treated to one of those special kung-fu-esque moments in cinema where in a tight space it becomes even more glorious to watch our hero (or in this case villain) fight his way out of a corner.

2. Trunk Love;
Out of Sight (1998)

About a month ago the internet was a buzz with conversations about sexy films (with the release of Nymphomaniac). I was touting Take This Waltz and now somehow I’m saddened that I forgot this amazing film by Soderbergh. Something about this scene of Lopez and Clooney being locked in the trunk trading lines and just kind of being status quo about the whole situation just works. It’s a scene that exists for us to know that the chemistry between these two characters are real and make us want them to be together knowing that it’s improbable with their vocations being on opposite ends of life.

1. “We Can Make It”;
Children of Men (2006)

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Note, the scene was not embeddable from YouTube. Go watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfBSncUspBk

This is a film that will live on longer that me I imagine and this scene is one of the many reasons why. In this continuous shot all taking place within the car as we sit with all these characters attempting to get out of town to save humanity it begins calmly enough with some laughs and fun, but it quickly turns sour as some violent attackers descend on them and it becomes a state of panic. I read FIlm Crit Hulk’s writing about long takes and it helped me understand why it is we as a community of film lovers flock to them, it’s their natural ability to create tension when at times there isn’t even any to begin with. This scene is one where it feels not just that the scene is creating tension as much as it’s teaching us about this technique as it’s all about tension building.

Which scenes did I miss out?

 

Netlflix Selections: Apr 14 – Apr 20

Far Out

As you would’ve noticed I’ve been on and off… here’s my next attempt to turn this writing machine that is my brain back on. I want to keep this netflix column going, so here we go.

Short Term 12 - PShort Term 12

Do you like feeling things? Have you not felt them in a while? Then possibly this one will kick start that good-old emotion engine you’ve been neglecting as of late.

Last year people were really hyping this small indie darling that did a big round of the festival circuit and I was really beginning to worry that it was all hot air. Happily (or not so much if you take on the subject matter as seriously as the film does) the film was anything but that. With some fascinating characters that exist in its world

Laurence AnywaysLaurence Anyways - P

What happens when a man decides he wants to be a woman. More than that, what happens in relation to his girlfriend? His job as a school teacher? His life?

While I don’t think these questions are new to cinema, Laurence Anyways remains an interesting jaunt again into the world of sexuality and society’s view of it.

 

Far Out - PFar Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story

Now for the documentation out there who loves discussing art and the source of passions for the artist this movie is perfect. It deals with the struggles of making art and trying to figure out not just how to inspire it but how an artist deals with this moments of not being inspired.

When you add in the fact that the art we see, as Tomi Ungerer was one of the biggest children’s book writers/artists of his time, is down right phenomenal you can’t help but be intrigued.

Here Comes the DevilHere Comes the Devil - P

Hmmm… Should I recommend this one?

Here’s one that I caught at TIFF 2 years back and haven’t seen since. It’s about a couple of children that are lost one day in a mountain and when found are unlike what they were before. I’m noticing more and more that Mexican horror is becoming more prevalent among the more beloved horror films of today and I really like some of the ideas that this film plays. Especially when dealing with some fears of the unknown as it relates to what you want and don’t want to see in your own home.

It’s really moody, really slow at times, and low budget enough that it could be off putting to some. However, if you’re that guy who digs into horror like the cookie monster does into cookies and you haven’t seen this one then maybe you can give this a try.

As a note while I was off Netflix also added Michael Winterbottom’s EVERYDAY. You should all watch that.