Sunday, November 29, 2009

Major Lazer- "Keep It Goin' Louder" ft. Nina Sky & Ricky Blaze

I wrote about my excitement regarding Major Lazer's album 'Guns don't kill people, lazers do' when it first come out. Though I haven't been listening to it much recently, I was playing it a lot for a while and asking myself why they weren't completely breaking into the mainstream.
Here is the answer (the awesome and disturbing "windowlicker" like video for their new single "Keep It Goin' Louder" ft. Nina Sky & Ricky Blaze):

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Trick 'r Treat

I rented 'Trick 'r Treat' (2008) the other night and cannot figure out why the film didn't get a proper theatrical release or distribution deal. It is the funnest horror movie to come along in ages, simply reveling in Halloween lore and atmospherics. It is also very clever with the way it plays with audience expectations. I highly recommend it for any fan of Halloween- the most important holiday in my opinion.
'Trick 'r Treat' isn't a deep, social message carrying film. Instead, it has more in common with some horror movies from the 80s where the goal was to excite and entertain as opposed to beating you in the face with gross out, torture porn imagery like so many recent horror films. At times it is a bit gory and a little bit scary but mostly the film is a just a fun celebration of Halloween and all that the holiday entails.
Structurally, the film tracks four interwoven tales occurring in the same small town on Halloween night. The main thread that unites the anthology is the oddly cute and creepy burlap pumpkin mask wearing character Sam (as seen on the poster). My favourite of the four stories is one that follows a group of young pranksters that go too far when tormenting a girl and pay a fatal price related to a local urban legend about a school bus massacre.
Check out the trailer below and rent it next Halloween. I know I will:

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Frey Mudd

I have been saying for a while now how sick I am of "punk"/grunge/greaser styled editorials and models. When Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert and Rihanna are incorporating these styles into their mass produced looks, it is time to switch things up and move on. Where do we go from here? I don't know. I just think we need a blast (not a breath) of fresh air. If I see one more shot of an angry male model glaring into the camera while smoking a cigarette and wearing a leather jacket I am going to rip up the magazine.
Enter the strange beauty of Frey Mudd, reminiscent of a young Bowie and like Bowie, seemingly from another planet.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cannibal Holocaust

Before 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999) (which I love) and 'Paranormal Activity' (2009) (which I have yet to see), there was 'Cannibal Holocaust' (1980), a gory, controversial film that was on my 'to-see' list for years. While searching for something to watch at a friend's house during my Europe trip, I happily came across a 2 disc special edition and watched it on my own one morning. Man, was I impressed.

Notorious for being graphically violent, sexually explicit (including numerous rape scenes)and PETA's worst nightmare (a real live muskrat, turtle, snake, tarantula, pig and monkey are all slaughtered on camera), 'Cannibal Holocaust' tells the story of a rescue team sent deep into the Amazon jungle after four documentary filmmakers fail to return. The filmmakers are not found, but as in 'The Blair Witch Project,' their film canisters are recovered.
Structurally, the film is complex and sometimes unravels a little too much. Two timelines are followed throughout the film, one that depicts the rescue team's trip into the jungle to determine the fate of the documentarians, and the other involves the subsequent analysis of the recovered footage made by the missing filmmakers. The majority of 'Cannibal Holocaust' is composed of the recovered film's content, which functions similarly to a flashback and grows increasingly disturbing as the film progresses. Though the plot is a bit all over the place, this form provides director Ruggero Deodato with the opportunity for social commentary that elevates 'Cannibal Holocaust' above mere exploitation. Without spoiling the ending, the film is undercut with the dark message that modern, "civilized" humans are as barbaric and savage as how we view uneducated, "primitive" tribes. In the end, we are no different and not as far removed from animalistic instincts as we would like to think.
'Cannibal Holocaust' is powerful and strange and also includes an awesome soundtrack composed by Riz Ortolani that is at times ironic, weirdly beautiful and reminiscent of what Goblin was doing for Dario Argento's films.
Check out a clip of the eerie main theme:

I think the film is important for the themes it explores and because it's plot structure and cinema verite style have proven to be so influential to horror cinema- especially for 'The Blair Witch Project,' even though directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez have denied it. Even the marketing scheme behind 'Cannibal Holocaust' was innovative and seems to have inspired the marketing of 'Blair Witch.' Deodato had his actors sign contracts with him and the producers ensuring that they would not appear in any type of media, motion pictures, or commercials for one year after the film's release in order to promote the idea that the film was truly the recovered footage of missing documentarians. Similarly, almost 20 years later, Artisan Entertainment and Haxan films plastered the streets of Sundance with 'Missing' posters bearing the faces of actors Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael C. Williams, purporting that 'The Blair Witch Project' was real. Humorously, the contract Deodato had his actors sign regarding 'Cannibal Holocaust' came back to bite him in the ass when the film was confiscated ten days after its premiere in Milan and Deodato was arrested. The courts believed not only that the four actors portraying the missing film crew were killed for the camera, but that the actress in the impalement scene was actually skewered in such a manner. Deodato claimed that he had not killed the group but of course questions arose as to why the actors were in no other media if they were alive and the deal had to be exposed.

Check out the trailer and go rent it:

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Egon Schiele

I have finally arrived back at home after a month and a half of traveling through Europe and attending film festivals with my short film, 'After.'

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting the Leopold Museum in Vienna and being introduced to the work of Egon Schiele. I wasn't familiar with him until stepping into the exhibit and I was blown away. The grotesque eroticism of his paintings and the intense fury and torment with which they seem to have been rendered had me gasping. Though his landscape paintings and nudes of women are beautiful, his disturbing self portraits and studies of nude males are what really struck a chord with me.

Check out some of his strong images below.

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