Thursday, December 30, 2021

We Are The Robots

Robotrix (Jamie Luk, 1991)

It goes without saying that both James Cameron's The Terminator (1984) and Paul Verhoeven's Robocop (1987) were hugely influential science-fiction films when they were released. Both of them spawned a slew of rip-off movies, including Jamie Luk's hybrid of the two, Robotrix (1991). An outrageous Catergory III co-production from Japan and Hong Kong, featuring Chikako Aoyama and buxom pin-up Amy Yip. Intentional or not, it's an aptly named movie considering the film's protagonist is a dead police officer brought back to life in a robotic body and is turning tricks.

"I, I, I'm just a love machine
And I won't work for nobody but you

 Always great when you find a diamond in the rough, but I can't honestly put my hand on my heart and say I'm a big fan of this film; it's largely a dull mess, and based on whatever information I could dig up regarding Robotrix's production, the cast had about as much idea with what was going on than I did. For me, the biggest cardinal sin a movie could commit is being boring. This is the major distinction I will make when defending far more notorious exploitation films, like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975) for example. At least there was never a dull moment in the stalag. There are a few eyebrow raising scenes lightly sprinkled here and there during its run time, but not enough to maintain my interest. Not even Amy Yip or the quarry fight scene could keep me interested.

 Robotrix (Quarry Fight scene)
(Jamie Luk, 1991)

The BBFC didn't pass this film for release until over seven minutes worth of cuts were made. Not to side with the bane of my youth, but I would have let Jamie Luk's problematic issues slide with no worries, if his film had a real sense of direction and offered a little something more than just sleaze.

File this in the "one man's trash is another man's treasure" section.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

You're On His List, Not What You Wished

Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)

Other than Steptoe And Son Ride Again (1973), the amount of shite on TV during the festive season had me going, "Bah, humbug!", so I figured it was time for me to hit the shelves and watch something decent once again. Admittedly, this humble blogger has been avoiding most content on TV since it all went Orwellian during the eighties. What classic yuletide movie would suffice for someone with  a delicate palate such as myself? Obviously, it had to be the original Black Christmas (1974) The go-to movie for any insufferable slasher aficionado with the eternal urge to bore me to death that it predates John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) by a number of years, and thus it's the first modern slasher (they're dead wrong, though). Here's a Christmas story that must be told by Bob Clark, the very man who gave us surefire classics such as Murder By Decree (1979), Porky's (1981) and Karate Dog (2006).

Figured I would list all the things I love about this superb, holiday-themed slasher from the land that gave us Leslie Nielsen, David Cronenberg and Maestro Fresh Wes.

Pi Kappa Sigma
Love how this grand looking sorority house is such an interior decorator's nightmare, unless of course you're Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. To add to the seventies era of vomit coloured walls and carpenting, we have the complimentary house mother Mrs. Mac - an outrageous alcoholic with enough hidden booze in the crib to open a speakeasy during lockdown.

It's A Giallo; It's A Slasher 
Don't honestly care what box people put it in, but it certainly has elements of both genres. Stylistically speaking, you can definitely see similarities with the likes of Dario Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970). The scenes of the calls being traced were also reminscent of the archaic computer from The Cat O' Nine Tails (1971). The film effectively toys with shadows and depth of field, along with some fancy Mario Bava style colour palette choices. There's the whole killer's point of view we're given, which is another reason as to why the film is compared to Carpenter's seminal movie. In terms of substance, Clark delivers an obvious red herring (or is he?) in the form of Jess' unstable boyfriend, Peter the aspiring concert pianist with a penchent for smashing up musical instruments.

Billy, AKA The Moaner
Outside of a few hand shots and a crazed looking brown eye (pause!), we hardly see much of a proper reveal of our resident psycho. Proof that less is more. His insanely, terrifying obscene phone calls are like a nightmarish ventriloquist act that leave me wondering as to how his different voices and sound effects are layered over one another, without the aid of audio recording equipment?

This sassy sorority sister was hot as hell with her hair up in a bun and a kinky choker that accentuated her slender neck. Barb clearly subscribes to the ubiquitous trope of birds wearing a bloke's shirt - giving off the morning after look that I love. A cigarette in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other completes the liberated lack of all innocence ensemble. It's all backed up with some memorable smart-mouthed sarcasm and a killer prank she plays on Sgt. Nash. Wouldn't surprise me if Margot Kidder landed the role of Superman's signifcant other based on her portrayal of Barb alone.

Sergent Nash 
Every worthwhile slasher has a secondary villain at odds with the concept of human survival; completely devoid of any common sense. They're usually the preppie mean bitch or the jock quarterback, who would have no issues with putting anyone, including those in their immediate social circle, in serious jeopardy to save their skin. Sgt. Nash is mostly planted behind the counter of a police precinct and his dumb arse can't process the severity of the situation for the girls of Pi Kappa Sigma. This is all kicking off while a child is missing and found dead during the film's time frame. Dumb as he is, Nash is blessed with one of the most memorable lines from any slasher film, "Jess, the caller is in the house. The calls are coming from the house!"  

The finale is perhaps the biggest grievance I have with the film. The fact that Jess, the sole survivor of this merry bloodbath is left alone (save for a lone police officer outside) by emergency services in the murder house where her friends died in is huge cause for disbelief. You would think that anyone suffering from the ordeal she went through would be whisked off to a hospital instead of spending the rest of the night at a serious crime scene. Further to that, is the fact that the sorority house was swarming with cops, and in all that time they didn't search the attic and find the two corpses and Billy hiding in there. The cops, including the gawd John Saxon failed Jess - #defundthepolice. Huge logical flaw right there. Still enjoy it, regardless.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Caught In A Bad Romance

The Night Porter (Liliana Cavani, 1974)

Call me an old romantic, but I'm a sucker for a love story that tugs at my heartstrings like Alabama and Clarence. Liliana Cavani's dark, psychological drama The Night Porter (1974) is anything but a conventional love story, but leaves an intense impression on me, regardless. 

A sadomasochistic relationship founded in the most monstrous annals of Second World War history is enough to turn most people away. The emotional bond between Max, a former S.S. officer turned night porter and Lucia, a survivor in his concentration camp, is the stuff nightmares are made of. Max, played brilliantly by Dirk Bogarde, is completely and utterly in love with the waifishly demure Lucia (Charlotte Rampling). A chance r-encounter with her while employed as a night porter in a post-war Viennese hotel, reignites his old feelings for her once again. Lucia's feelings for Max are what makes the film so intriguing to me. Partly attributed to her finding 'love' in the atrocious hellhole she is placed in, and also, her destructive desire to relinquish her current life and relive her past. Fatalism at its finest.

"Danke schön, darling, danke schön
Save those lies, darling don't explain"

 Other than Max's worried Nazi chums forcing our couple to be imprisoned in his apartment, I really don't want to dwell too much on further plot details, because as important as they are, the real focal point for the film was the psychological makeup of Max and Lucia's relationship. Call it Stockholm Syndrome, or whatever shrink diagnosis, I personally found it fascinating, how any kind of 'loving' relationship could be formulated via such a monsterous origin. In one particular scene, the viewer is witness to physical scarring on Lucia's body, so one could hazard a guess, her mental submissive state was attained via physical torture. There's also a scene where Max presents to her a gift box with a decapitated head in it. During this scenario, Max is giggling like a mischievous school boy, awaiting her reaction. The film's finale conveys acceptance from our protagonists, as they are dressed in the clothes of their true selves. Max and Lucia stop hiding in the dark and step into the cold light of a new day.

"It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Oh, Vienna"

Superstar critics like Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert gave this a critical mauling labelling it exploitative and pornographic, but I think what they chiefly overlooked was our protagonists' relationship was built around the concept of insanity. Breaking it down into a digestible ready meal of outrage, plays into the hands of misinterpretation. Prior to The Night Porter, Cavani had worked on archival material from the war, where she came to the conclusion, that extreme events creates extreme behaviour. This is a point that resonates for me; we might be sane now, but if we were thrown into those evil and depraved events, would we truly remain unchanged by it? Not even going to pretend that I totally understand a character like Lucia (sincea her damage was deep enough for her never to have a real future), but I do accept mental and physical trauma does play a heavy hand in molding us as adults. It's how we deal with it that matters the most.

"Hold it down boy, your head's getting blurred
I know you can't stop thinking of her"

Monday, December 20, 2021

Firm Biz (Remix)

The Firm (Alan Clarke, 1989)

Not to be confused with the Tom Cruise snoozefest, nor the vile British chart topper, Alan Clarke's BBC drama The Firm from 1989, depicting three rival football firms vying for the right to lead a nation of British thugs to the 1988 European Cup Championship in West Germany, was the business. Focusing mostly on Inter City Crew leader Gary Oldman's character Clive "Bex" Bissell, we follow his destructive path and his lasting effect on everyone around him. Over thirty years on, its ending is still as poignant today as it was back then.

Importantly, The Firm managed to shed an educational light on football hooliganism in the eighties; it revealed that it wasn't just the poor and feckless that were up for a ruck, but some of these violent participants were both well educated and living afluent lifestyles during Thatcher's Britain. The wide boys had moved up in the world and had become organised.

"Check the misfit, time to rip shit"

Clarke's direction was brave enough to never back away from the violence that unfolded, but neither did he focus longer than necessary. He also let his cast improvise when needed, giving the film greater realism. When aired as part of Screen Two's series of made-for-TV dramas, the BBC made cuts to the film, and it hasn't been until recent years that a restored director's cut made the light of day. Not to side with Auntie, but I doubt the unedited violence would have gone down too well with the Beeb during that time. Some of the restored footage is surprisingly shocking - even by today's standards. Ironically, the broadcasted edited version already proved to be controversial anyway. Can't imagine how many 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' letters came flooding through Anne Robinson's box while she was presenting Points of View.

Peak performance by Oldman here, easily amongst his best to date. Without question, my favourite scene would be Bex casually popping over to his parents house and going into his old bedroom, full of old football memorobillia. We're given the most intimate side of Bex here; as we're privy to hallowed ground, while he pulls out his personal stash of weapons. What follows is Bex repeatedly bashing a retractable cosh on his bed while bellowing "Yeti!" and "Oboe", the names of his rivals, over and over again. Sterling supporting performances too by Lesley Manville playing Bex's better half, and her scenes with Oldman play out with sincere authenticism, which is unsurprising as they were real-life husband and wife at the time. Rival leader Yeti, played by Phil Davis is also superb; resembling a pony-tailed albino with a psychotic grimace, he's impossible to forget.

"Come into my bedroom (In my bedroom)
Baby, don`t you know you belong to me (I've got something I want to do tonight, baby)"

There's a veritable who's who of recognisable British actors here from some of the most popular British TV shows of all time. It's particularly funny knowing that Bex's crew includes: Charles Lawson, AKA Jim McDonald off Coronation Street; Steve McFadden, AKA Phil Mitchell off East Enders; Patrick Murray, AKA Mickey Pierce off Only Fools And Horses; and, the late Terry Sue-Patt, AKA Benny off Grange Hill

Alan Clarke passed away the following year, but he left behind an important legacy in British drama that is still respected today. In 2009, Yob Culture aficionado, Nick Love directed a remake of The Firm that I always meant to check out, but for one reason or another, never did.

The Firm (B.F.I.Trailer)
(Alan Clarke, 1989)

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Best Films of 2021

It's been a year when everyone got familiar with the Greek alphabet and learnt how to play Red Light, Green Light. The quantity of films improved in comparison to 2020, but in terms of quality, it was still slim pickings. Only nine titles made the grade.

Took into account the respective release dates of each film according to my region and not some obscure film festival premiere that hardly anyone attended. That's especially important considering the world still hasn’t recovered from the effects of the pandemic. 

I provided some Honourable Mentions further down below. Liked them, but not enough to make my personal list. Close but no cigar, lads.

"Hey, gotta, gotta payback! (the big payback)
I'm mad (the big payback)"

Best 2021 I Watched:

Dinner In America (Adam Rehmeier)

Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven)

Last Night In Soho (Edgar Wright)

Apples (Christos Nikou)

Oxygen (Alexandre Aja)

Boss Level (Joe Carnahan)

Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond)

 The Last Duel (Ridley Scott)

 The Suicide Squad (James Gunn)

Never would have expected a punk-themed romcom to draw me in a way like Dinner In America did. Easiy the biggest surprise and my number one film pick of 2021. Insane to think this was made by the same director who gave us The Bunny Game.

 Dinner In America (Watermelon Song scene)
(Adam Rehmeier, 2021)
Honourable Mentions: Enjoyed Denis Villeneuve's Dune (or Dunc according to the poster art) and it's certainly his best film since Sicario, but found it a real slog to sit through at times; experienced similar pacing issues with David Lowery's utterly gorgeous The Green Knight; Rodney Ascher continues to be an exciting documentary film-maker with his utterly bonkers A Glitch In The Matrix; Bob Odenkirk became the most unlikeliest action hero in Nobody; Morgan King's The Spine Of Night made me crave for the return of Ralph Bakshi; Antlers got it right and went back-to-basics with a straight no chaser horror film; it's a good thing James Herriot isn't around today to watch Lamb; and, it might be a new cut of a classic eighties film, but Rocky  IV: Rocky vs. Drago was a noticeable improvement. 

Could have just picked out any one of the above and rounded it out to a nice even ten entries, but it wouldn't have a sat comfy with me. Knowingly having one movie listed there that I wasn't totally happy with would have made me flip out like Raymond Babbitt, or something. Nine companions. So be it.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Home Format Releases of 2021

"I got the blu's but I don't mind
All I have to do is get to you
And then I feel just fine"

Not even gonna pretend this was my entire haul this year. Another bumper year for blu-rays which burnt a serious hole in my wallet. A bunch of big omissions I still haven't copped yet would be Citizen Kane (Studio Canal) and Deep Cover (Criterion), but I'm holding out for future sales when it comes to more mainstream titles.

Both Vinegar Syndrome and Severin had another strong year again. Arrow Video was also impressive with its releases, but their rep definitely took a big hit during the combined fiascos of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage and the True Romance releases; truth be told, they haven't been very consumer friendly since the Zavvi deal. It's turned them into real villains in the game.

Three personal holy grail titles got the release treatment in 2021: those being Herman Yau's problematic, Cat. III classic, Ebola Syndrome (1996) released by Vinegar Syndrome; the neglected, head-severing, giallio Trauma (1993) by Dario Argento - also released by Vinegar Syndrome; and, Severin delivering Denis Héroux's sadistic Born For Hell (1976), based on the Richard Speck murders. 

Byron Mabe & Donn Davison's 1967 film, She Freak is an obvious rip-off of Tod Browning's 1932 horror classic, Freaks, but I dug the hell out of the spectacular picture quality. It might be light on the chills, but it's a wonderful window into carnival life from the sixties, that made it a firm fave for me this year. High hopes for more AGFA + Something Weird blu-rays in 2022.

Home Format Film Releases of 2021:

Ebola Syndrome (Vinegar Syndrome)

Shaw Scope: Volume One (Arrow Video)

The Dungeon Of Andy Milligan Collection (Severin)

The Great Silence (Eureka Entertainment)

Riki-Oh: Story Of Ricky (88 Films)

Deep Red (Arrow Video)

Born For Hell (Severin)

The Laughing Woman (Mondo Macabro)

Perdita Durango (Severin)

The Curious Dr. Humpp (AGFA + Something Weird)

Shatter Dead (Saturn's Core)

Evil Dead Trap (Unearthed Films)

She-Freak (AGFA + Something Weird)

True Romance (Arrow Video)

Erotic Ghost Story (88 Films)

Murders In The Rue Morgue / The Black Cat/ The Raven: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi (Masters of Cinema)

Trauma (Vinega Syndrome)

Flesh For Frankenstein (Vinegar Syndrome)

Hunting Ground (Mondo Macabro)

With the insane costs of 4Ks and boutique label blu-rays (not to mention the expensive shipping), I think it's time to slow down and take it easy. Planning to spend much less cash on movies in 2022 as a new year's resolution, but I'll probably stick to it like most people hitting the gyms in January.  

EDIT: This lot arrived from Severin while I was writing this post 😀.

"You overdid it, Holmes"
"You overdid it, holmes"

Thursday, December 16, 2021

I Gotta Habit

Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven, 2021)

Never would have expected a movie which is essentially The Devils meets Blue Is The Warmest Colour to drop this decade, let alone this year (definitely can relate to that, since bloggin' isn't exactly a popular activity these days). Leave it to the always uncompromising swagger of legendary, Dutch auteur Paul Verhoeven to deliver a historial drama based around 17th century, miracle nun, Benedetta Carlini. The result is a lesbian-romance drama filled to the absolute brim with enough sex and violence that would have given Mary Whitehouse a coronary if she were around today.

"Holy Diver
You've been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh, what's becoming of me"

 As someone who occasionally dips their toes into the nunsploitation subgenre, Benedetta was a way more professional and lavish offering compared to any of the titles I watched in that sphere; even with the unexpected toilet humour. However, the film still packs a walloping punch in terms of controversy, even when compared to some of the more notorious entries in the subgenre. 

A personal highlight is when our devout heroine drops her vocal pitch down a few notches and ends up sounding like Paul Shane during her stigmata scenes.

It's a phenomenal feat for an octogenarian like Verhoeven to still deliver the goods, when most of his peers have either popped their clogs already, or fallen the fuck off  (*cough* Spielberg *cough*). You won't get anything like this from any major Hollywood studio. A more than welcome gatecrasher to the party this year.

Benedetta (Trailer)
(Paul Verhoeven, 2021)

While I'm still here, Benedetta reminded me of the pain in still not tracking down Alessandro Allessandroni's soundtrack to Giulio Berruti's Killer Nun after so many years.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Choons of 2021

"We're walking in the air
We're floating in the moonlit sky"

Figured I'd post the songs I bumped the most this year and since I created this blog in December, lists feel like a necessary obligation. Also, it's a therapeutic way to rid 2021, before I start stretching my feet and getting my groove on with the type of content I want to focus on in the new year.

Choons of 2021

Judge Bitch - Night Owl (2021)

Cyberthing! - Megaweb Storm (Masked Remix) (2021)

Thee Lakesiders - Can't Fool Me Twice (2021)

beabadoobee - Last Day On Earth (2021)

LukHash feat. Meredith Bull - Dying Breath (2021)

Redman - 80 Barz (2021)

 El Michels Affair - Murkit Gem (2021)

Painkiller - The Ripper (2021) 

Sexual Purity - Don't Touch (2021)

Lady Wray - Under The Sun (2021)

Boldy James & The Alchemist - Double Hockey Sticks (2021)

Sha Hef - Money Counter (2021)

The Weeknd - Take My Breath (2021)

Joy Crookes - Feet Don't Fail Me Now (2021)

Solemn Brigham - Dirty Whip (2021) 

Ka - I Need All That (2021)

Raheem DeVaughn & Apollo Brown - I Still Love You (2021)

Homeboy Sandman - Go Hard (2021)

Isaiah Rashad - Headshots (4r Da Locals) (2021)

Yota - Blame Me (2021)

Thee Sacred Souls - Will I See You Again? (2021)

Ozzy Osbourne & Motörhead - Hellraiser (30th Anniversary Edition) (2021)


 Not So New Songs Discovered In 2021

Atomic Rooster - Devil's Answer (1971)

Janko Nilovic - Roses And Revolvers (1973)

Vivien Goldman - Launderette (1981)

Lex - Fourteen Days (1983) 

Steffanie - Run For Your Love (1985)

Ozric Tentacles - Kick Muck (1989)

Congress - 40 Miles (1991)

The Jimi Entley Sound - Charlie's Theme (2002)

Turbulence - Notorious (2006)

Yuno - Fall In Love (2018) 

Trish Toledo - Can't Wait To See You (2020)

Aaron Frazer - Over You (2020)

Night Owl went from my least liked track off Temple Serpent to my fave over the span of the year. It's easily my go-to running in the park like an absolute nutter choon this year.

Bangers for sure, but both the LukHash and Ka joints were the only real strong cuts off their respective albums to me. At this point, the former is a one hit one wonder, while I expected so much more from Ka, to be honest.

Was completely taken by surprise by just how much I love that new version of Hellraiser; the video is a real eyesore compared to the classic Lemmy and the lads playing poker with Pinhead video, though.

I feel like Iron Maiden's The Time Machine deserves an honourable mention since I'm typing away; it's the only song I begrudgingly like off Senjutsu. That's largely attributed to three minutes of Bruce Bruce's warbling and melancholic filler before it truly gets going with the vintage Maiden sound. Just like Quentin Tarantino, the boys badly need an editor not afraid to give them the snip.

Worst Films of 2021

Imagine thinking 2021 would put the horridness of 2020 behind us. It turned out to be another year of lockdowns, furloughs and isolation for most of us. This humble blogger naively expected the entertainment industry to step up with some quality escapism; a mental release of sorts. Leave it to Tinsle Town to add salt to the wound with some utterly horrendous atrocities to cheer us up.

It goes without saying, many movie theatres remained shut during the lockdowns, so studios really took advantage of the lack of a middle-man and released their brand spanking new turds via a huge premium to rent out. What did we get in return? We were served up with more played-out deconstructionist hero nonsense; horror movies that fancied themselves as musicals or soap operas; and bait and switch 'memberberries, for anyone yearning for a more happier time.

Worst 2021 Films I Watched:

Zeros and Ones (Abel Ferrara)

Karen (Coke Daniels)

The Last Rite (Leroy Kincaide)

Fear Street: 1994 (Leigh Janiak)

Mortal Kombat (Simon McQuoid)

Coming 2 America (Craig Brewer)

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (Michael Chaves)

Those Who Wish Me Dead (Taylor Sheridan)

Candyman (Nia DaCosta)

Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green)

No Time To Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga)

Demonic (Neill Blomkamp)

Silent Night (Camille Griffin)

Wrong Turn (Mike P. Nelson)

Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)

Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski)

Guerilla filmmaking might have been on Abel Ferrara's agenda for his turgid, sixth-form student looking Zeros And Ones, but I was left way more conviced that it might have been shot by an actual gorilla than a human being; based upon the way the camera was held. So shite, there's an awkwardly appended Ethan Hawke facetime convo during the credits, that felt like regret to me rather than praise for Ferrara's feature.

Films Of 2021 That Let Me Down

Prisoners Of The Ghostland (Sion Sono)

Army Of The Dead (Zac Snyder)

Titane (Julia Ducournau)

Copshop (Joe Carnahan)

The Night House (David Bruckner)

The Many Saints Of Newark (Alan Taylor)

Goes without saying there were plenty of other duds released on Prime, Netflix and Hulu that came and went during their respective release hype stage. Fortunately, my complete apathy and spidey senses let me steer clear of them.

"Yo, baby, you got to cut that garbage off"

EDIT: Added the latest Matrix movie to the list.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Sending You Forget Me Nots

Apples (Christos Nikou, 2021)

Apples (Trailer)
(Christos Nikou, 2021)

When Yiorgos Lanthimos ushered in his bonkers 2009 film, Dogtooth to unsuspecting audiences, he also opened the floodgates of Greek Weird Wave to the world. Christos Nikou's feature length debut, Apples follows this trend with a way more accessible offering for the uninitiated. 

Love the concept of a pandemic leaving the afflicted with amnesia and how it affects Aris, the film's protagonist in his reintroduction into society. The hilariously sinister treatment method is easily the film's largest draw for me; which could have been a Farrelly Brothers film in another life. Also worth mentioning are the charming supporting characters, particularly Anna, a fellow amnesiac and potential love interest.

"Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it
Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it
Shake it like a Polaroid picture! Hey ya!"

Easily a firm contender for one of my fave films out this year and definitely a stand out from all the overly melodramatic and depressingly gloomy Greek films I've seen to date. An exceptional film.

Somewhat ironic how both Christos Nikou's Apples and Camille Griffin's Silent Night feel very relevant in today's current climate, despite being filmed before shit hit the fan for us. Can't say I'm full of the same praise for the latter film, however.

We'll Both Ride Home In My Automobile

Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

It's that time of the year when every blaggard sitting in front of a computer starts to compile their best of lists (including yours very soon), and sifting through Sight And Sound's Best Films of 2021 list of entries compiled by some of today's most pretentious film critics really does highlight the cultural barrier between the chin-strokers and the great unwashed.

"I've been driving in my car, it don't look much but I've been far
I drive up to Muswell Hill, I've even been to Selsey Bill"

Having endured a laborious three-hour sit through of Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car, I'm baffled how this film even made it on any critic's list, let alone a whole flock of them. Hamaguchi taps into themes pertaining to guilt and regret (something I definitely felt while watching this, might I add ) amidst the backdrop of a pre-production of Uncle Vanya, by the film's playwrite/actor protagonist. Performances are generally solid and the photography is capable enough, but it's the pacing that kills it for me; to the point where every pregnant pause takes the piss and every scene achingly outstays its welcome on the screen. If I were to hazard a guess, shaving off around forty-five to sixty minutes in the editing room, would have helped the film in a major way, as it stands, it annoyed the hell out of me.

Sure your typical, condescending pseudo-intellectuals are fawning all over it, but this is just another case of the emperor's new clothes to me. An agonising endurance test and the latest example of my disconnect with today's film critics. One for the Oscar chasers.

EDIT: Props to the dapper dressed gent, Kim Newman for at least keepin' it real.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Born Dead

Of all the places to start afresh, an ancient necropolis such as this place would hardly be ideal, but that's where all the appeal lies for me; every other popular alternative such as Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram appear to be populated by your typical narcissistic psychopath, and yours truly simply can't get down with that. I actually appreciate the peace and quiet here.

Gonna write and rant about what I know and love; to hell with the living dead.