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Category: Movies

Starry Eyes (2014)

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MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer2
BOREDOM    Monstrometer1
FEAR    Monstrometer2
TIME    Monstrometer2

 

Better The Devil, You Know…

Sarah (Alexandra Essor, fearless), an aspiring actress, pays her bill by working at Big Tatters, a family restaurant with boobs where the waitresses wear potato-skin-inspired very tight pants. She shares a house with a bunch of bros and hoes, endlessly discussing the movie they will never shoot. For some obfuscating reason, the scene is in Los Angeles.

Sarah gets an audition for “The Silver Scream”, produced by Astreus Pictures, a once prominent company now on an eclipse but planning their big return to the horror genre. It does not go well and she throws a fit in the bathroom, banging her bag on the wall (with her cellphone in it, one presumes), screaming and pulling off her hair, a rather mild reaction after such a disappointment. Her rage attracts the attention of the casting director who’s not played by a terrible actor and she’s asked to replay her fit, only with epileptic shaking.

By the time a disheveled Sarah walks the streets while synth music plays, two things have become obvious: the movie will follow the same Halloween-inspired horror nouveau template than features like The House of the Devil or Girl Walks Alone at Night, and it will neither be great or awful. But it has a certain something in the slow burn vein.

At her second audition Sarah is asked to disrobe completely, which she does reluctantly at first, until she experiences some kind of an epiphany possibly induced by the flashing strobe lights. Are they trying to give her a seizure? The casting matron sports a pentacle pendant, so one knows that some cult is behind Astreus. Ominous name, check.

Three being the charm it is, she’s invited to met the producer, a libidinous creep who tells her in a conspiratorial tone things like “Ambition is the blackest of human desires” and “I want to capture the ugliness of the human spirit” before feeling her up. Being the epileptic goody-two-shoes she is, Sarah backs off and storms out. Her one female roomate who’s not passive-agressive is appalled: “You don’t mean sex!” she scoffs as if the casting couch was an alien notion in LA.

Sarah takes the walk of shame, begs for her job back at Big Tatters and threatens to spiral into depression. She musters the courage, or is desperate enough, to beg Astreus for a second chance. At this point, one would be allowed to think of her as a tad irresolute.

She goes to her meeting with the head of Astreus dressed as a hooker, because life is for doers, not quitters, and she also gets to meet his other head. “Show me the real Sarah”, he says, to which she doesn’t respond since her mouth is full. The producer has a pentacle tattoo and a very vulgar diamond watch. A masked silhouette observes Sarah, well, performing.

Morning after is a b****. She feels nauseous, gets fired, flashes her roommates and loses her hair while wandering the streets on obsessive dialogue loops. Visions of herself dolled up like a drag queen alternate with losing tooth and nails in he fashion made popular by The Fly. At the point her vagina bleeds and she throws up worms, one wonders what it was she actually swallowed the night before. Astreus explains her that she has to die for a new star to be born.

But not before killing her roommates, in a slasher segment which provides a welcome rush to the movie pace. The worst of the lot has the best death scene, Torn Curtain-style, before it is time for Sarah to lay down and die.

In a finale which does not make any dreadful mistake (ultimate jump scare, loose ends, call for a sequel, to name but a few), Sarah is born again as Annie Lennox, complete with Savage wig and make-up moves from the Why video. Part character study, part body horror, part slasher, part satanism, Starry Eyes does not really coalesces into a coherent whole. The idea that to become part of the Hollywood elite you have to suck c***, lose your teeth and vomit maggots seems eerily adequate, though.

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Damien: The Omen II (1978)

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MONEY    Monstrometer3
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FEAR    Monstrometer2
TIME    Monstrometer1

 

Thorne in my side

After a popular The Omen featured a spooky child and some memorable death scenes, including the possibly best decapitation ever filmed, a captivated audience wanted to know what kind of a teenager Damien, now an orphan, would become. The answer was not the one they expected: the Devil’s son had become KD Lang. With Dumbo ears.

The beginning, a cartoonish jeep ride hysterically scored by a Jerry Goldsmith searching for the face of Jesus and manically played by an Ernest Hemingway wannabe, sets the tone for the rest of the movie. A priceless statue of the Whore of Babylon is discovered in some architectural digging site, along with a fresco depicting Damien, conveniently painted at the age he is now. The archaelogists are promptly dispatched and we can meet the Beast.

Damien (KD Lang), now living in his uncle’s (William Holden) estate, is quite the rascal, and a douche. Aunt Marion (Sylvia Sidney) dislikes him and wants him separated from his cousin Mike. This causes a feud at the diner table, after which it’s time for The Super Duper Whore of Babylon Slide Show, during which the evil eye of a raven stops Aunt Marion’s heart in her upstairs room.

Uncle Richard is president of Thorne Industries, a vague yet powerful conglomerate which apparently owns an agricultural compound in New York City. The firm’s new executive director wants to rule the world through seeds, which confirms than Monsanto IS the devil. This is established after another ridiculous ride, this one on a golf cart. So we have the demon, we have seed, let’s spawn!

Enter Joan Hart (Elizabeth Shepherd), in flamboyant scarlet red, and one gasps. The “young woman” announced during the slide show must be well in her forties. She’s a good looking lady, but calling her a “young woman” is pushing the envelope a bit, underlining how geriatric the cast mostly is. The lady in red cranks hysteria up to 11 as soon as she appears, yelling “You are in danger!” to Uncle Richard. But she is unable to be more specific. She goes to Damien’s football practice (hey, why not?), recognizes the face of Evil and flies to her prompt demise, a ludicrous raven attack during which Jerry Goldsmith, all barrels blazing, manages to overscore himself.

One would thinks that after such a blast we would all have a moment. No such luck. Let’s go jet-ski and have a snowball fight turned epic battle by Jerry in a trance! This is Damien’s birthday, see, and no expense has been spared. There is the most hideous cake ever, a Polaroid with flash and even a firework which everyone watches in awe, sporting brightly coloured Aran sweaters. “Suspicion of destiny. We all have them”, sagaciously observes one of the evil guys. The Thorne residence is full of random woodwork, delirious curtain arrangements and atrocious antiques. The most hideous family room ever doubles as a movie theater.

People on the East Coast do love their sports; it’s now time for an ice hockey match on the estate’s frozen lake. Another good guy, who is clearly too old for this kind of activity, drowns when the ice breaks. Uncle Richard is devastated, his very bright yellow cap somehow undermining his grief.

Back to military school, Damien is even more a douche then before. His sargeant (Lance Henriksen, always a good sign), wisely advise him to read the Book of Revelations to understand who he is. True to its name, the read, a bit like a user manual, allows Damien to locate the exact spot where the number of the Beast is tattooed on the skin of his skull. Accompanied by the 666 horns of The Goldsmith Fanfare, Damien runs through the woods, to the end of a pontoon where he screams “WHY ME???” to the dark heaven. Oh God. Why, indeed?

A school visit is ludicrously set to take place during a very delicate checking process at the Thorne plant, now a chemical facility. Toxic compounds are released, killing another good guy. Damien has not been affected by the leak and a doctor runs some tests to understand why. His lab is for some reason full of bubbling red alembics you would expect in a witch lair, but not in a modern research facility.

After discovering Damien has jackal blood (what, not hooves?), the good doctor is offed in an attempt to equal the surprise decapitation of the first movie. No raven this time, only the filmed evidence that the butter-cutting wire is a demonic invention.

Uncle Richard starts having his doubts about Damien. Well, it only took him five violent deaths in his immediate entourage to get there. He nevertheless remains in denial when the curator of the Met brings him a letter of Revelations and a box. What’s in the box? What’s in the box? WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!?!? The Megiddo daggers, the only weapons able to destroy Damien. These, as the Whore of Babylon statue, will remain loose ends.

Cousin Mike (remember him?) is troubled. He follows Damien out in the snow, where he has his head telepathically crushed. A huge funeral ensues, with mountains of flowers, a motorcade and more Goldsmith that it is humanly possible to endure.

The Met curator is killed by nothing less than a locomotive, in true Final Destination fashion. A incongruous boogie-woogie cotillion happens for Graduation Day. Uncle Richard unsuccesfully attempts to kill Damien and is shot by his wife, screaming “DAAAAAAMIEEEEEN!”

Should one mentions that the end credits roll on a bombastic “Ave Satani Versus Jesus” choir? Jerry, calm down. There is still one movie to be scored. There is no card indicating how many horn players were harmed during the recording of the soundtrack. Oh, and in case you did not believe the casting:

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Sinister 2 (2015)

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MONSTROMETER
MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer2
BOREDOM    Monstrometer3
FEAR    Monstrometer1
TIME    Monstrometer1

 

The Right Snuff

A “What’s down there?” format with blatant but still mainstream paedophilia, Sinister 2 follows two conflictual twin brothers, one being a pussy and the other an alpha male, so any educated viewer won’t have any major problem discerning which one is the ghost and which one is not.

As a way to put things in motion, some Children of Super 8 Corn Film Club cult has established base camp in the twins’ basement and its members each in turn shows snuff movies of their family demise. We are shown a fishing trip and a Christmas morning, by which we are led to understand that “the murder are captured through Art”. Art doesn’t in any way improves the twins relationship, their mild humiliation turning to domination/submission; “Fuck you, cunt!”, says one 10 year old to the other. This is as close as bromance as we will get.

But ah, the Art. Who the hell is editing the home movies, by now showing an elaborate brasero involving rats and entrails? How the hell can we think that Dad is not abusing his son(s), creating the Bogey Man who says “Boys have to eat”? And, ahem, eat what exactly, Dad? I mean, if I may ask?

As for a finale, New Kid on the Snuff painstakingly recreates the pre-title sequence as if no one told him that it has been done again, not better but the same, nevertheless proving that a 10 year old boy is able to crucify his family, setting them on fire, then attempt to finish them off with a scythe while filming/editing. Up yours, Orson Welles.

Some telekinetic and nonsensical jumpscare end ensue. Apparently Evil comes from Norway. Well, rutabaga.

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Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

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MONSTROMETER
MONEY    Monstrometer2
LONELINESS    Monstrometer4
BOREDOM    Monstrometer3
FEAR    Monstrometer3
TIME    Monstrometer4

 

It Could Be Better But Not By Much

With a title bound to leave you out in the cold, begging to be let in to experiment immortal love, this Jim Jarmush movie is not exactly the easiest beast in the zoo. It captures a moment in the story, or the absence thereof, of Eve (SWINTON!) and Adam (Tom Hiddleston), her only love and creation. She lives secluded in Tangiers like a Jane Bowles character, he’s a recluse musician collecting guitars in Detroit. They are both vampires and survive on a strictly no-kill diet with the help of catering “French doctors”.

They hide well, those low-profile vampires, only betrayed by the odd turn of phrase or an out of period detail that only specialists would notice. Their sources of supply are dwindling down, because time has not stopped for the rest of the world and finding clean blood becomes more and more difficult. Drinking human being have simply become too much of a risk, as one of the character will, unfortunately for everyone involved, experience.

Eve is strong and has faith on eternity. She shares jokes about the good ol’days with Christopher (John Hurt) her best (only?) friend, and they laugh as if those moments four centuries ago were yesterday. They savour blood in small liquor glasses, a delicate ritual with a rush so strong it slows down everything in a brilliant series of ecstatic close ups. This movie takes its vampirism seriously, the drinking of blood more communion than consumption, more celebration than desecration. It starts spinning on embroidered djelabbas and priceless mandolins and it never stops swirling, like dervishes, life and death entwined, forever and ever.

Adam is more of a tortured soul. He’s sick of depending on “zombis”, human vassals, to be fed. He has a secret art project commissioned, one small object made of the toughest African wood possible. Eve senses something is wrong and flies to Detroit, from one city in decay to another. He plays guitar and she dances, the high priestess of an intimate cult. “You missed all the fun in the Middle Ages”, she tells him. Their lovemaking is reminiscent of l’amour courtois with its taking off the glove and symbolic undressing. They sleep in total darkness, in love like in death.

It takes its time and unfolds rapturously, a trip to the Jack White’s house now and some urban exploration in a decrepit movie theater then. Blood lollipops and poison mushrooms. “I suppose it could be worse, but not by much” says Adam. So evidently it becomes much worse.

Ava (Mia Wasikowska) Eve’s younger sister, reappears, even though an unfortunate incident in Paris drew them apart 87 years earlier. Eve is welcoming, Adam is annoyed by the selfish and greedy girl. They go out in a club where Adam’s unreleased music is playing. Mia drinks a zombi and falls sick “What did you expect, he’s from the music industry”, Adams hilariously observes.

Blood rarefies. They fly back to Tangiers only to discover the French doctor has been peddling bad stuff to Christopher. His death scene is a delicate balancing act between drama, tenderness, and the offhand revelation of his true identity. It reminds one of the painting La Mort de Murat and it is lovely made. Lovely, lovely, but oh so sad.

It ends with two brilliant scenes, one in a cabaret with a commanding Arab songstress and one outside at night, Eve and Adam watching a young couple making out, obviously hot for each other. In both scenes, the dialogue is brilliant but one has already quoted too much.

Only Lovers Left Alive is one of the three great vampire movies of this young century, together with Let The Right One In and Byzantium. It is the trippiest of the three and it has to be watched or you’ll wander in endless darkness, wondering what immortal love feels like.

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The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966)

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MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer3
BOREDOM    Monstrometer3
FEAR    Monstrometer2
TIME    Monstrometer4

 

Horrible Bosses: Genesis

Starting with the most legitimate voice-over in the history of film, the ambitiously titled The Bible starts at Genesis 1.1 and treads majestically until the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. The first ten minutes or so are elemental stock shots, God’s PowerPoint on His creation. Gods creates stuff in the morning and evening of each day, so one wonders what he’s doing of His afternoons.

Then comes Adam, a thigh coily raised to avoid full frontal, but one’s get some butt candy, quickly followed by Eve, in full frontal with her wig glued to her breasts, then one’s salacious eye gets double butt candy and that will have to do until debauchery reigns supreme in the Cities of the Plains. So far it’s The Blue Lagoon with a Prokofiev soundtrack.

God, not unlike Barbe Bleue, likes to test His staff so he forbids A&E to tamper with “The Tree of the Knowledge”, because knowledge is power and power is evil, one assumes. Apart from this caveat, they are blessed and free to multiply. Not having knowledge of how one multiplies, Adam tries interpretative dance, jumping around Eve like a horny baboon.

Everyone knows what happens next, they bite The Fruit of The Tree of The Knowledge, Eve has her first orgasm and discovers grrrl power over men. Knowledge breeding fashion sense, A&E create the monokini. God, jealous not to have thought of it first, reverts to Olde English to fire his employees of the month from Eden Industries.

Interpretative dance is an effective multiplier: Eve gives birth to Cain and to Abel. By the time they reach adulhood, A&E’s fashion acumen has expanded to fur capes and leather shorts. Adam, reaching the twilight of his years by way of a fake beard and a stick, gives a last show and retires from interpretative dance, having trained Cain to succeed him.

But high art comes with a price: yes interpretative dance can multiply, but it can also divide, and substract. Cain kills Abel, the later moaning softly while the former pants heavily in a relatively awkward scene. The Eye in the Sky is pissed off and Cain is banished, multiplying a thousand times into vast tribes learning the secrets of the Earth.

A&E have one last dance and give birth to Seth, who in turn, etc. and here comes Noah (John Huston himself), ridiculed by his fellow tribesmen for building a boat on dry land. They take turn making jokes at Noah’s expense, inventing standup comic in the process. Noah is not fazed, and with nothing to promise to his brethren but a life of hardship with the occasional cruise, he scrupulously follows the Boss’ orders, even when his sons doubt them. “Thou shalt be ashamaid”, scorns his mother. “We have need of more pitch”, utters Noah, when, come on, this must have been the easiest movie to pitch to the studio like, ever.

Fourty days and night of rain are forecast, but humble as he is Noah does not build an executive cabin for his family so they share the hull with wild animals unused to being at sea and everything goes very well thank you. Luring them Hamelin-style with his double flute, Noah packs an Unesco list of the animal reign into the Ark, the male family members keeping themselves busy by fondling the ostriches’ behind. For obvious reasons, music turns to a pastiche of Saint-Saens “The Carnival of the Animals”, but there are no reptiles in sight. Are there no motherfucking snakes on that motherfucking Ark?

As right as rain as rain can be, rain starts right on time. Fellow tribesmen cry for help, inventing choral music before drowning. At this point one muses about the Ark capsizing, Poseidon-like, creationism then giving way to darwinism, a theory worthy of more investigation that this already too lenghty a review allows. One is helped in his musing by a rather long documentary on biodomics, but aren’t animal reaction shots cute? Look, they invented Hungry Hippos!

Fast forward to the summit of Mount Ararat, a not overly hospitable place, but it feels soooo good to touch stone while elevating music plays. Noah puts the whole family on speakerphone for the Boss’ congrats. By the way, God’s voice is also John Huston’s.

After a brief interlude during which Nimrod, a degenerate wearing gold lamé, make up and jewellery, shoots an arrow to the sky and God promptly fires him, ten generations pass. Ten generation, people. That’s a tad more impressive than the usual “Two years later”…

Then, boom, Abraham (George C. Scott) pops up, looking like a drifter and a drunk, two traits Ava Gardner could never resist in men. She plays his wife Sarah, wearing what appears to be a mix of two designers as old as the Old testament, namely Issey Miyake and Missoni, and she looks like a Texan divorcee unhappy about her prenup. “I bring love to thy tent”, says Abraham, to which she answers something like “I place thy hand over my bossom”, but she’s nonetheless menopausal so God creates pregnancy by proxy through cattle sacrifice, which seems to work as well as interpretative dance was in the old days.

So Ava weaves like Penelope, Abraham fucks the maid and Isaac , ” as his name should be called”, is born. By that time, thy stoppeth to be ashamaid to be just ashamed, which somehow depreciates the feeling. “I tried to wax the whole, should I have pleasure”, says Ava, but almost three hours into the movie one could have misinterpreted her line.

Meanwhile, some decadence is blossoming in Sodom, or Gomorrah, or either or both. Lot, his wife and his daughters are sent to said Cities of the Plains in order to multiply (have they ever heard of interpretative dance, one wonders) with the last righteous men possibly living there. There are under protective custody of three angels, all played by Peter O’Toole in a hood.

In Sodom (or is it Gomorrah?) interpretative dance has been pushed to its artistic limits by way of leather short shorts, bestiality and general promiscuousness. No righteous male being found, God nukes both cities, Lot’s wife is punished for her curiosity and Operation Sodom is a fiasco, not only they didn’t multiply or even save anyone but they lost one agent.

God still being an horrible boss, the movie finally reaches its climax with attempted human sacrifice. Abraham, senile by then, brings his son to a three day trip to Sodom in order to tie him up and penetrate him with a big blade. Ahem. A lenghtly guilty trip ensues, Abraham neveertheless proceeds but God, always partial to servile obedience, withholds his hand. The son smiles, because Dad is awesome, he did not kill him and stuff.

And then… And then the movie ends. One is snapped out of slumber thinking “What? I paid to see the Bible and I only got half Genesis!” As Baroness Margaret Thatcher, another horrible boss, would have put it, “I WANT MY MONEY BACK!”.

A quick IMDB check reveals that Dino de Laurentiis originally hired Robert Bresson as à director. This leaves even the most jaded film buff speechless…

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Double Interrupted Feature

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

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MONEY    Monstrometer4
LONELINESS    Monstrometer2
BOREDOM    Monstrometer4
FEAR    Monstrometer1
TIME    Monstrometer2

 

Bleebeedee Blup?

Bleebeedee bleebeedee shtoing blip, I am a baseball with a soup bowl on it, cling bleep bleebeeduk shtoomp. My master is a resourceful human female with a argumentative and poorly coordinated black sidekick. Kluk. She lives in a dangerous environment where everything is blown up to pieces all the time. I find myself being a target for villains of the First Order, so she is too. Didoo didoo didoo wizzz.

After yet something else explodes she meets Mr Han Solo. He also has a sidekick, Mr Chewbacca, who resents to always be bottom. Me would have though that with such a name Mr Solo would have prefer using his own hand to topping a furry creature. Widooyoo beep boodiblurp?

The bad guys are everywhere. They are in the walls! They have scary dialogue like “Oversee preparation. Yes Supreme Leader!”. Bloogy bool? It’s confusing, Kilo, Mr Solo’s son, is with the Supreme Leader, human family being such an enigma… Bedoo glorgle, didoo glurp shtoing, or as Mr Chewbacca would put it succintly, “Grooooooar!”.

Me don’t get either the human urge to go to taverns where they ingest barely cooked weird food, like they do in fantasy series with dragons and many banquets. Gluckee woodoolidoo pop! Everything looks dirty, but the stormtroopers’ white armour is always spotless.

Didoo didoo didoo bleep doolooloo bleep, a planet just has been destroyed. Mr Solo likes to try Mr Chewbacca’s toys. Me is confused. An now there is a woman, Mrs Organa, with other droids. She apparently mothered Kilo, but that was a long time ago so she should have lost weight by now. Bleebeedee blup?

The black sidekick is oogling a pilot who lets him keep his jacket because “it suits you”. I can’t understand humans. Bleeeeeep bleeeeeep bleeeeeeep.

Auto-destruction programme initiated.

Bleebeedee boooooooom.

After one explosion woke one up, one was drawn to the conclusion that one has slept during the rest of the bleedepeblup. In order to make up for this unprofessional behaviour, one turned to a documentary focusing on Mr David Prowse, the actor playing Darth Vador in the three first Star Wars movies…

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I Am Your Father (2015)

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MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer3
BOREDOM    Monstrometer2
FEAR    Monstrometer1
TIME    Monstrometer2

 

Papa Don’t Preach

Arguing that Darth Vador is the evilest villain of movie history and a universal figure, this wet dream of nerdy guerrilla aims at giving character actor David Prowse the place in the Star Wars pantheon that George Lucas, Hollywood’s evilest villain, has denied him by replacing him with another actor when the time finally came, at the end of Return of the Jedi, to drop the mask off and die. The concept is to set the record straight by reshooting the scene in question, this time with Mr. Prowse. The director of the piece is obviously very proud of his idea, so proud that he promptly becomes insufferably self-satisfied, but one can aquire a wealth of useless knowledge before pressing the stop button, which one is ashamed to confess he did.

The first shocker comes with the fact that George Lucas was supposed to direct Apocalypse Now, but he dropped out to make Star Wars, which is a great loss if you imagine Apocalypse Now’s final 30 minutes with Ewoks. The horror. the horror.

A tall and muscular man, Mr Prowse was a personal trainer at Harrod’s in 69, where he was scouted and cast to play the Frankenstein creature. Hé then played the Green Cross Man, a British superhero teaching children to cross at zebra lines. “Walk straight across!”, he enthuses in a somewhat gayish voice at the end of a vintage TV ad.

Through trials and tribulations, he got the role of Darth Vador, with one caveat: his West County accent sounded funny for a galactic villain. One has to side with George Lucas on this one: an universal villain from the future could only sound American, so Edouard James Olmos dubbed Mr Prowse, whose voice, he remarks with legitimate amusement, has become deeper with age and is now pretty close to Olmos’.

Firmly establishing himself between a sycophant and a conspiracy monger, the director then gets to the heart of the matter: the father issue. No one knew about Darth Vador being Luke Skywalker’s father during shooting, the soundbite having been added in post-production (no doubt one of the foundations of the legend according to which quite about anything can be fixed in post-prod). But wait! Mr Prowse had foreseen this development and mentioned it casually during an interview! He got ostracised by Lucas Films in retribution. Did one mentioned that George Lucas was evil incarnate?

A scene at a Star Wars convention – event to which Mr Prowse is never invited – shows a crowd of whatever-they-are-called (Warsies?) wearing short pants, Superman t-shirts over beer bellies and heavy spectacles, questioning the bleedeeblup midget about Darth Vador.

So was Mr Prowse the man who talked too much? Interviews of two producers prove inconclusive. The nice guy says it was not right to deprive Mr Prowse of his big death scene, because an outside source leaked the father thing to the press. The bad guy says George Lucas has nothing to do with Mr Prowse’s banishment, because outside people are in charge of the conventions and stuff. Hmmm.

At that point, the ax unsurprisingly falls: Lucas Films does not approve of the reshoot. The director gets all whiny while managing not to alienate Hollywood’s most evil villain completly. At that point, one’s thumb hits the Stop button. Not much of a Warsy…

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Spring (2014)

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MONSTROMETER
MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer3
BOREDOM    Monstrometer2
FEAR    Monstrometer3
TIME    Monstrometer4

 

We Will Always Have Bari

Spring is an exquisite tale. A story of the innocent abroad meeting the wrong the only woman in true Henry James fashion, it uncoils along the Puglian coast in long, broad, carnal lapses that are as much satisfaction than longing for that unaccessible moment, the surrendering of self, the end of the world.

Yes it has flaws, mostly uselss CGI, but one guesses it is a 21st century thing, a bit like too much gilding in rococo or too many conversations sacrées during the Renaissance. Spring is as much about growing pains that it is about blossoming. But the acting is right and the camera work is fluid. What the story owes to Lovecraft is more than mitigated by things as simple as a bottle of wine, an olive tree, love lost and found.

The best movie monsters are those one could actually love. Spring has such one, but holds much more. It has a prey that is human, full bodied and sweet as a Negroamaro. One can not foretell that at the beginning, when the film seems aiming at an Italian rendition of Hostel, but this rare feast is accomplished with near nothing, a bit of alien dialogue, a tree dying to allow the growth of a new one, and the moon over the ocean. It has, of course, the unspeakable, almost unfilmable splendor of Italy.

A volcanoo is erupting at the end, but this is not what is really happening. A couple of sound effects does the trick.This is where the Rite of Spring has led us, gaping, the ocean rolling its indifferent waves, and we feel happy, and amazed, and wiped out. This is a lovely movie.

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Grand Piano (2013)

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MONSTROMETER
MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer3
BOREDOM    Monstrometer3
FEAR    Monstrometer1
TIME   Monstrometer3

 

Va Piano, Va Insano

After playing a dwarf with gigantic feet in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Elijah Wood plays a short piano concert player with gigantic hands in this playful Hitchcock rehashing. Please suspend your disbelief and imagine

  • Elijah Wood as a concertist, playing  Rachmaripoffs with virtuosity while being threatened through an ear piece by:
  • A mostly invisible John Cusack as the motormouth vilain who wants the McGuffin,
  • the movie’s high concept:

Imagine the concert hall scene of Sir Alfred’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, with suspense based on one cymbal crash covering a gunshot (why, since the Ambassador will die and wreak havoc? No idea.) expanded to a whole movie. Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the audience, apart from a useless prologue at the airport, this movie is a classical concert with a conceptual twist.

And oh boy, what a twist. The pianist comes and goes in and out of stage, courtesy of a peculiar programme placing an intermission between movements of a same concerto. Please note that this is a two movement concerto, with loooong orchestral passages, which comes as a convenient choice when you have do stop doing your piano stuff to pay a visit to the boiler room.

The villain wants a specific sequence of notes for the McGuffin, but does all to prevent the hero to play it right, so obsessed he is by killing his wife (Kerry Bishé), some actress/singer/something who mesmerises the classical audience by singing a torch song from her VIP box, a loooong scene just before pianist and villain fall right on the priceless Bösendorfer. Also the orchestra director does some kind of a stand-up routine, which might strike one as a little odd in front of a connoisseur classical audience. They lap it up nonetheless.

What does one forget to mention of such a classical rollercoaster ride? Oh, “La Cinquette”, an unplayable piece flawlessly played by Elijah Wood’s giant-fingered hand double, a piano equivalent of the blue inflated lady’s number in Luc Besson’s The Fith Element. Understand “painful to watch and even more painful to listen to, but unmissable”. And a half hearted Argento murder in a room full of mirrors. Half a point for the editing of that one.

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