5 Jan

The best of 2011 – The final word

Posted by Bryan White | Thursday January 5, 2012 | News

I’m always late with these year end wrap ups and I almost didn’t do one because looking back, back when I was in the mid-December funk, I couldn’t think of much that I liked in 2011 and of the stuff that I liked, I couldn’t find the words, but there has been a good deal of talk about 2011’s genre offerings over on the old Facebook between us networked movie bloggers and while most of the most of the bloggers are collectively jizzing on the indie darlings of last year’s film fest circuit,  I didn’t see any of that shit. Nor do I think I would have given a rat’s ass about any of it anyway. Seriously. If I have to hear one more rave review of ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ I’m going to fucking punch someone. So here’s my lowbrow wrap up of 2011’s best trash and cheap thrills.

Fubar: Balls to the Wall ReviewFUBAR: Balls to the Wall
A lot of Americans love to make sideways jokes about Canada for reasons that I have a hard time putting into words. I work with a dude from Canada and he takes a lot of heat for the fact of his nationality. Not mean spirited heat, mind you, just the usual shit about clubbing baby seals. Thing is, I think Canada is the shit! They’re just like America only not so fat and stupid. They have an ace in the hole, too. Through some kind of historical lottery, Canadians manage to be born with a ridiculous comic potential and even though a lot of the cultural comedy goes right over my head, for instance, dudes from Calgary getting a right proper ribbing from dudes from Vancouver. I don’t get it but I do get a few things and this year one of my top picks was the righteous Canadian riff on Wayne’s World, FUBAR: Balls to the Wall. If any comic duo is heir apparent to the thrones of Bob and Doug McKenzie, it’s Terry and Deaner. FUBAR follows a loose plot about two rocker burnouts who move to the oil fields of Alberta to find what they think is a big paycheck for easy work and while that happens for them, everything else doesn’t really go as planned. It was ruthlessly funny from start to finish as the two dudes can’t spend their paychecks fast enough, a cancer scare produces hilarious results and the bonds of friendship are tested when the town pump comes between them. Good stuff. Total sleeper. Should be an indie comedy classic. Its director, Michael Dowse, has chops and for that I want to see Take Me Home Tonight and cannot wait for his violent hockey comedy, Goon.

Turns out I’m a pretty big fan of James Wan. I like the first Saw flick, I like his Death Wish riff (actually based on the first of Brian Garfield’s novels, which were the basis for the Bronson franchise), Death Sentence and no one was more surprised than me when Insidious actually scared the pants off me. Literally. One minute my pants are on. The next minute they’re in heap next to me and I find myself gripped with fear. It also gave me nightmares. THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN. Ever. Sure, Insidious goes off the rails in the third act and loses its footing but the setup and conflict is positively fucking gripping. The finale was enough to be a deal breaker for a lot of people but I didn’t feel that way at all. Wan was remarkably restrained in his novel approach to the haunted house flick and as I’ve been saying all along, that’s the only way you’re really going to scare people. There were a couple of cheap jump scares but for the most part, Wan’s set ups were enough to let your imagination do the heavy lifting. Insidious left a strong impression on me. I recommend it to everyone.

The Disco Exorcist ReviewThe Disco Exorcist
Yeah, yeah. Get it out of your systems, skeptics. For the third year in a row, a Richard Griffin movie makes my best of the year list and for the third year in a row I’m sure some sour grapes asshole will call me some kind of shill for Griffin because every one of his movies winds up on my favorites lists. The Disco Exorcist turned out to be scaled way back from its original plan to be shot on nasty old 8mm film stock but it turned out that aesthetic authenticity was, in fact, a disposable commodity seeing as how the flick, from former Cinema S contributor Tony Nunes, was exceptionally fucking funny and, dare I say, smart. The gang’s all here, finally affording Griffin regular, Michael Reed, his moment to shine as a womanizing king of disco who scorns an insecure crazy bitch with a direct line to the dark side in favor of a night with his favorite porn star. Brandon Aponte also turns in one of the funniest characters of the movie, for once not playing an over the top mobster and horror movie drag queen supreme Babette Bombshell turns up mostly out of costume in one of the movie’s funniest scenes. Like most Griffin flicks, the irreverent gags come fast and furious and to its merit, the film leaps forward in terms of film craft, making huge gains over the previous feature, Atomic Brain Invasion, a top pick from 2010. It’s hilarious and unexpectedly sexy.

Red StateRed State
I never mentioned this but back when Kevin Smith was in the early stages of promoting what would turn out to be his final feature, he opened up his home to movie bloggers since a lot of movie bloggers had this idea that he hated reviewers and chief among them, movie bloggers (like me). To prove the naysayers wrong, his invitation was extended to bloggers big and small and among those invited to his place to see the film was myself. Basically I bugged the shit out of him on Twitter until he pulled me in. I got the details and was about to book a flight to Los Angeles when it turned out that a bunch of writers, pissed off that they didn’t get the invite, called foul, acting like inviting writers to his house to watch the movie was some kind of bribe for good press, and they changed the terms. Maybe it was a bribe. I was certainly captured by the novelty of it all. No longer was it in Smith’s house, though. It was at a screening room in Hollywood and Kevin would not be in attendance. With the novelty of this offer gone, I backed out and sent my friend Wes from American Nonfiction to see it and write about it. He liked it. Months later I saw the movie. I liked it, too. Quite a bit, in fact. Word out of early screenings was that Smith’s horror movie was not actually a horror movie and was some kind of weird siege flick but upon inspection, I came to the conclusion that in spite of what so many writers claimed, Red State was actually a horror movie. In every sense of the term. I’m not sure what everyone was expecting but my shock, surprise and good vibes about the movie seemed to be the common reception. Unsuspecting victims. Morbid and absurd circumstances. A morally ambiguous third party. It definitely felt like the small movie that it set out to be but it was also extremely hard to accept the fact that it was directed by Kevin Smith. The camera actually moves! Shots are tight and expertly composed and there is no sign of Jason Mewes anywhere to be found! I didn’t expect it to hit my best of list but I can’t help it. Red State was the shit!

Hobo With A Shotgun ReviewHobo With A Shotgun
This list isn’t any sort of order but if I had to put one title at the top of the list, Hobo With A Shotgun might be it. I have a strong aversion to hype, even when that hype is about something I’m likely to appreciate. Hobo With A Shotgun, an expansion on the fake trailer that won that Alamo Grindhouse contest, was on the receiving end of a lot of hype. Even before it started its inevitable film festival rotation, photos and set reports from Halifax were coming out of every one of the internet’s orifices and I am immediately suspicious of that sort of thing. Then trailers dropped and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The end-product turned out to be an awesome time machine trip back to the 80’s where five bucks and a seedy little neighborhood video store could occupy your evening with morally reprehensible trash. Hobo With A Shotgun was pure Troma-style fun. It brought to mind the kind of goofy crap that could only exist in Tromaville and evoked other video gems like Street Trash and Frankenhooker. The cherry on top? Rutger Hauer, who made his name in Blade Runner but proliferated under a dozen cheapo action flicks that sunk at box offices but took flight on video shelves. What the world needs now is more outrageous crap like Hobo With A Shotgun.

28 Jul

Comic Con Recap: Telepresence Style Part 2!

Posted by Tony Nunes | Thursday July 28, 2011 | News

Every July it happens.  Four days long, and bigger every year.  An event that outshines all others.  Like Jawas on a droid heap they converge. They come by way of TARDIS, Serenity, or Warthog from their homelands of Latveria, Winterfell, Krypton and all points south of Venusville. They are the truest of the true believers. As this army of believers unleash their Andúril swords and pokéballs they prime themselves for this four day battle with a gutteral scream to the cosmos. “Khannnnnnnnn!!!!”

Comic Con that is, the four day nerdosphere where comics, video games, television and movies converge into the core-demo (ages 18-34) raping media Transformer that it is. If you understood any of the references in that opening paragraph then chances are that you fall into that very demographic.

I’ve never attended San Diego Comic Con, thou I have (and will again in October) attended the also spectacular (though a bit less so) NY Comic Con. Being the geek that I am however, I track every announcement and bit of news leaving the Con. This year, myself and Cinema Suicide editor Bryan White have decided to put together a collection of our favorite chunks of Comic Con greatness from this years convention with a cross site sharing on CS as well as my site Dreaming Genius.

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29 Sep

Humanoids Publishing preps Alejandro Jodorowky and Moebius’ psychedelic comic, The Incal.

Posted by Bryan White | Wednesday September 29, 2010 | News

The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and MoebiusI’ve moaned and moaned about the aborted Alejandro Jodorowsky project, Dune, an adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert sci-fi novel. Jodorowsky’s hubristic vision was a ten hour art film epic that starred Orson Wells as the Baron Harkonen and Salvador Dali as the Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. The budget was astronomical for an indie art film in the mid-70’s, mostly due to some outrageous demands from Dali, who wanted $100,000 and hour and Wells, who would only act in the movie on the condition that Jodorowsky hire his favorite gourmet chef to personally prepare his meals. The soundtrack would feature sweet prog-rock by Magma and Pink Floyd and the concept art for House Atreides would be handled by legendary French comic artist, Moebius while the House Harkonen designs would be handled by H.R. Giger. It was a sprawling nightmare of preproduction and by the time the bottom fell out of the entire movie, Jodorowsky had somehow burned through $2m of his $9.5m budget. Eventually, the movie would land in the hands of Dino DeLaurentis and David Lynch and you either love that flick (like me) or you fucking hate it with every fiber of your being.

Jodorowsky was still left with all these great ideas that were poured into a script by Dan O’Bannon and something tells me that he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t do something with them. The result of his valiant effort to make Dune was a comic book published in France in the early 80’s with Moebius, The Incal. I’ve never read the comic. I actually have a volume of Jodorowsky’s follow-up and expansion of The Incal, The Metabarons, and while I think it’s home to some seriously flawed science fiction writing, shit with names like techno-this, hyper-that or psycho-whatever, it’s an absolutely sprawling science fiction saga about tribal politics and the most fearsome warriors in the far future of mankind. The art is also fucking amazing euro-comix illustration; supremely detailed and brilliantly colored. Two page spreads of battles on land and in space become downright erotic, I tell you! The Incal, however, features the ongoing adventures of John DiFool, a sort of mercenary asshole left to care for a massively powerful artifact called The Incal in a situation similar to the origin of The Green Lantern. DiFool, the reluctant hero, is  more or less forced to become a hero again and again throughout the story and it mirrors the metaphoric tale of becoming told by the major arcana of The Tarot, a topic of which Jodorowsky is an expert. From what I gather, The Incal is a seriously fucking weird comic brought to life by the brilliant work of Moebius. Ideas and designs were alleged to have been sourced heavily from The Incal during the production of Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.

Since its French publication in 1981, imprints of both Marvel and DC have published it in English in varying degrees of censorship. Humanoids Publishing, an imprint of DC who published the book in English last, is readying a new uncensored edition of the book for American and European markets. The new edition is a single volume publication, 300 pages in an oversized European album. Humanoids looks to have this Classic Collection edition of Jodorowsky’s vision on comic and book store shelves in November so keep an eye on your Previews catalogs and get your orders in now. This is going to be huge! Below are a few more samples from the new edition. Check it out!

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal Classic Collection

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal Classic Collection

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal Classic Collection

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal Classic Collection

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal Classic Collection

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal Classic Collection

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal Classic Collection

8 Jul

The American Nightmare (Running Scared). Watch it now for free, y’all!

Posted by Bryan White | Thursday July 8, 2010 | News

The American NightmareI caught this documentary on IFC years ago, it would seem, and it’s incredibly awesome. American horror came to a crossroads in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead. It was a pivotal moment that would change the rules of horror filmmaking forever and usher in a wave of big scares and fresh ideas going into the 70’s. Nothing was sacred. Everything was fair game and among the exploitative trash that was clogging the pipes in cinema in the 70’s were some big gems from young American Filmmakers. The American Nightmare documentary explores what it was about George A. Romero, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven and John Carpenter and the films they produced that made the horror genre so vivid and culturally relevant and explains how the genre has always been a social mirror to reflect the times that we live in.

13 Aug

Magnet readies Six Shooter film series

Posted by Bryan White | Wednesday August 13, 2008 | News

Magnet Releasing is fast becoming one of my favorite distributors and the Six Shooter series, which launches on October 24, 2008 in Los Angeles and New York, only cements their place in my current genre movie crosshairs. I’ve known for some time that they were handling the US releases of Let The Right One In, Timecrimes and Big Man Japan, three movies that I am very much looking forward to but I didn’t know what they had in store for the releases.

Let The Right One In Special Timecrimes

As I mentioned, October 24th kicks out the Six Shooter series which is six quirky genre films representing a different nation. The series kicks off with the Swedish vampire flick, Let The Right One In about the mayhem that ensues when a bullied 12 year old hooks up with his new neighbor and only friend, a child vampire. The movie has gotten a ton of press since it started showing at various festivals.

Following Let The Right One In will be the US entry, Special, about a meter maid played by Michael Rappaport who has a psychotic reaction to some medication administered to him in a clinical trial and believes that he has super powers. This opens on November 21.

From Spain comes Nacho Vigalondo’s “mind-bending” time travel flick that is getting a shit ton of positive press at this time, Timecrimes, which I personally cannot wait to see. I’ve read so much about this, mostly through the nonstop reporting on it from Twitch Film. It’s slated to be remade by David Cronenberg so we’ll have an opportunity to get a look before it’s Americanized (Canada-ized?). After that is the French Sci-Fi flick, Eden Log followed by the UK’s Doney Punch and the series winds up with the faux-ducomentary about daikaiju and the dude who fights them, Big Man Japan (aka Dainipponjin).

Eden Log Donkey Punch Big Man Japan

This is a staggering line-up of movies that the press has been drooling over since they began making the rounds at film fests. Eden Log actually makes it’s North American debut at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. I’m out here reporting to you from the sticks where the movie theaters don’t book this sort of stuff, so I’ll have to wait a little longer for DVD releases, but those of you in larger markets will get a chance to see some of the world’s finest genre stuff from this year and last. What begins on a bi-coastal scale showing only in LA and New York will eventually widen

13 Aug

Nine Inch Nails. Year Zero. HBO.

Posted by Bryan White | | News

Year Zero Coming To HBOI’ve never really been a fan of Nine Inch Nails. Something about it just doesn’t connect with me. I think the only album I ever liked was Pretty Hate Machine and it probably has something to do with managing to keep one foot in that late 80’s industrial sound characterized by common Waxtrax artists which I always had a thing for. However, I kept an eye on the Year Zero alternate reality game as it went down instead of taking part in it (because I just don’t have the time or the cognition to notice the details that push those games forward) and I will say this: Wow. THAT’S how you do an ARG. Leaked tracks left on thumb drives at concert venues, images in the music when viewed through an audio spectrometer, an actual live music event for those who took it all the way only to be raided by a SWAT team. That is some ambitious shit right there.

At some point I may need to give Year Zero a listen because I’m a sucker for a concept album. In spite of their mediocre rock posturing, an album that I take out every now and then is Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime because it’s a bad ass story and the music is pretty okay. Year Zero sounds like it follows suit with a story about a near future dystopia, the US under strict government lock down and a devastating war with Iran. Sounds like pure Cory Doctorow. The LA Times is reporting in an interview with Reznor that the concept album/fucking incredible alternate reality game, Year Zero has been pitched by Reznor to HBO to become a two season TV series”

I just pitched it to HBO two weeks ago in L.A. It went great. Ideally, we’re trying to get them to do a two-year limited series. I prefer that over a film. We would have a second ARG tying into the second album and ties into the series and they all happen together with a budget needed to pull that all off. There would be a tour down the road. The record completes the story, the ending that no one knows. I know what happens. I knew when I started it. And it’s not what people think.

12 Aug

Tired of waiting for Worst Case Scenario? Me, too. Dod Sno.

Posted by Bryan White | Tuesday August 12, 2008 | News

Dod SnoI’m fairly convinced that Worst Case Scenario is going to come out on the eve of December 21th, 2012 and the joke will be on us. So while we wait for the eschaton we might as well indulge in some Nazi zombies that will hold us over. Looks like Norway is going to step up to the plate. Twitch Film repoted that filmmakers in Norway are readying a zombie stomp on those motherfuckers everyone (except white supremacists) loves to hate.

I’ve made my zombie fatigure pretty well known in these parts but way up around that arctic circle of ours, I haven’t explored too much in terms of movies so I’ll give these guys a little of my time. Plus, they have some kick ass watercolor posters to pimp the flick. Norway is also the official home of black metal and I loves me some black metal.

Not much else to go on but here’s the official website for the movie.

11 Aug

Ever heard of Nollywood?

Posted by Bryan White | Monday August 11, 2008 | News

Photo by Michael Stevenson, click for large I know two things about Nigeria and that’s about it.  It’s in Africa and there seems to be a lot of royalty there with money tied up in red tape.  One thing that I didn’t know was that Nigeria is home to the world’s third largest film industry and that they release between 500 and 1000 movies a year.  That’s a shitload of movies! Particularly from such a poor country. What’s even more impressive is how quickly this industry has sprung up. Since 1995, the Nigerian film industry exploded and they continue to crank out films today that deal with a huge variety of topics that are relevant to what seems like Nigerians and Nigerians alone. To quote the Michael Stevenson article that I will inevitably link to:

The aesthetic is loud, violent, excessive; nothing is said, everything is shouted.

Consider me immediately fascinated.  I think I’m going to have to do some real research and track some of this Nigerian cinema down.  I know I’ll wind up with some cheap action and horror movies but would you expect anything else?  I usually don’t care much for a particular nation’s culturally significant movies.  There’s something to be said about the lower end of their cinematic spectrum.  What a bunch of effete intellectual filmmakers are doing with storytelling and imagery represents nothing to me.  What does is what the average people are going to see which is why I tend to gravitate to gun-porn and martial arts in the East and ghetto action from France.

Anyway, for some really striking photography that represents common elements and stereotypes of Nigerian movies drop by Michael Stevenson’s page for a quick exhibit of photos by Pieter Hugo. In the meantime, I plan on tracking down Welcome To Nollywood as an introduction.

11 Aug

No one understood him but his woman. RIP Isaac Hayes (1942 – 2008)

Posted by Bryan White | | News

Isaac HayesJesus. First Bernie Mac, now Isaac Hayes. Yesterday, the 10th of August, Isaac Hayes was found dead in his home. The cause of death is not known at this time.

Over the last ten years of his life, Hayes was probably best known for being the voice of Chef on South Park, who crafted more smooth soul means for laying down with ladies than Hayes did in his entire real-life career but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he was also responsible for what is probably the best and best-known blaxploitation soundtrack ever (he also won an Oscar for it). Spend ten minutes with the Shaft soundtrack and dispute me. I dare you.  Aside from that, Hayes is also credited with roles as Truck Turner and The Duke of New York (A #1!) in my personal, all-time favorite movie, Escape From New York.

Another legend down. He will be missed.

6 Aug

Rotten To The Core: Journey To The Center Of The Earth

Posted by Todd Rigney | Wednesday August 6, 2008 | News

Journey To The Center of the EarthIn the days of my youth, back when I was filled with hopes and dreams and unsightly boogers, the local neighborhood convenience store was where my friends and I would hang out and discuss the intricacies of life. We’d also spend our lunch money on sugary foods, high-calorie carbonated beverages, and, occasionally, cheap knock-off G.I. Joe figures encased in flimsy cardboard containers. As I tore away the colorful packaging to interact with my latest molded plastic purchase one sunny summer afternoon, my unfortunate investment’s arms and legs immediately fell away, leaving only his head and torso to answer for this unsettling crime. And while I can’t recall the exact name of this ultra-cheap cash-in, I do remember the overwhelming sensation of sadness when I discovered I’d been completely ripped-off by a shady corporation looking to make a few bucks off skinny little suckers like me. Bitterness, I’ve found, never really goes away.

Instead, it lies dormant, waiting for the opportunity to live again.

Not surprisingly, this debilitating series of unwelcome emotions came screaming to the surface after viewing Scott Wheeler and Davey Jones’ opportunistic adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. In true Asylum fashion, the film makes it direct-to-video debut around the same time New Line Cinema’s Brendan Fraser 3-D extravaganza dances its way into cineplexes all over the entire world. There are, however, a number of significant differences between this low-budget nonsense and the source material, though I seriously doubt that anyone who purposely rents this drek knows how to read. No offense to those who simply have absolutely no taste in film, as I’m sure your ability to comprehend the written word is outstanding.

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