Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Currently Untitled (2010)
How do you film nothingness? How do you film emptiness? How do you film the unfilmable? Close your eyes and rub them hard with your fingers. Push your eyelids as hard as you can. Then, release. See those images? Those fluttering, static-y "images"? How do you film that? No matter what advances we've made in modern technology, there are simply some things that can't be filmed in any meaningful way. We can allude to them, make references to them, talk about them -- but there is no way to accurately present them, no camera built yet to make this happen. It's this frustration that often seems to motivate Adam Cooley's work as a filmmaker. He wants to film scenes -- and emotions, thoughts, ideas -- that can never really "exist" in a "filmed" way. He doesn't use sped-up footage and reverse footage like most directors, who use them in dream sequences or cutaway centerpieces; he uses them as just another tool in editing. He uses it just like he uses elliptical editing and jump cuts and every other style of editing we've taken for granted for 50 years. Indeed, he -- stylistically and aesthetically -- is just trying to present an awkward, cold, disillusioned reflection of his own personal demons, drama, and psyche. He gets as close as possible to filming the unfilmable, the real drama of his life and "career" as a musician and filmmaker: filming director's block.
This film is about making a film. Or, rather, NOT making a film. Adam Cooley starts with himself, a good 10 minutes where he stares directly into the camera, and tries every trick he can think of to present something "meaningful" and "important". He plays with color schemes as if to ask, "How SHOULD I create this; how SHOULD you see it?" Indeed, there are an infinite number of ways to present a scene -- the colors, the music, the structure of a scene; instead of presenting one way, Adam presents different interpretations of the same scene. He may repeat a scene -- or a scene very similar (there are constant reoccuring images of Adam holding toy guns for seemingly no "reason") -- to show that he CAN, but has no idea how to, show a scene in many different ways.
Editing ranges from sloppy, amateurish, and jarring to stylistically unique, individual, and daring. Minutes 11-20 focus on Adam and a girl and their love. Should the film, then, become a romance? What is this film trying to say? Soon, the film begins to dump animation, HUGE crowds of people, and more, into the framework, everything but the kitchen sink is eventually explored.
All of it adds up to nothing. The first 30 minutes or so is basically saying: "I make films because I don't know what else to do. Oh, I CAN do other things, but I love making films so much that even if I have nothing to say, I want to say SOMETHING. At the same time, I want to entertain -- I want people to watch. But how do I get them to watch? How many tricks can I use?" Adam does, indeed, use many tricks: musical numbers, LOTS of animation that is at least as good as anything you'd see on Adult Swim, and some pretty insane editing and sound (keep in mind this was all filmed on a $24 camera, with no budget whatsoever, primarily with only two actors, and all did with Windows 95 freeware programs). Eventually, though, things chang. The final "part" of the film becomes REAL. Whereas the first 80% of the film is a somewhat absurd recreation of apparently true events, the final part is a straight-up documentary: the first part of the film is shown to an audience, in a theatre, and Adam documents the failure of the film. His director's block led him to create something worthless. This film -- to quote the title of another of Adam's work -- has no reason to exist.
The actual meaning of this project will vary greatly depending on whoever watches it. But no one can deny that a LOT of work was put into this thing. There are many haunting moments of piano, lots of rather insane stop motion/time lapse animation; before your eyes, you will see landscapes covered in snow and then all the snow melting. You will see arms get infected with bloody wounds and then the wounds scabbing and healing. You will see buildings being created. You will see people disappearing from landscapes. Day turning to night turning to day turning to night. Hair growing. People getting older. People completely changing their dispositions. People become characters and then become real.
Maybe "fiction" and "reality" aren't too far off. Maybe the truth and lies are one in the same, in some strange way. Whatever CURRENTLY UNTITLED means to you -- and, really, the meaning is probably right there in the title -- it is certainly one of a kind in the world of experimental, underground filmmaking.
Film socialisme (2010)
As a longtime Godard fan (especially his later works, like "Every Man For Himself" and "King Lear"), the wait for his latest film was excruciating; it had been 6 long years since the brilliant "Notre Musique" confounded and shocked me with its eye-popping imagery, jarring editing, and poetic dialogue. Something I've noticed about Godard is that he always strives for more and is always willing to take his ideas and methods and approach further and further. I was expecting a pure information overload with "Film Socialisme", and I was not let down. There is a lot going on in this picture, and it's going to take many, many watches for me to understand everything, to piece together all the information. No matter -- Godard's works have always been densely-layered and offer rewards for those willing to keep watching.
Such is the case here; Godard seems to be be in Histoire(s) du cinéma mode here, since this film -- for the most part -- resembles his work with that brilliant "film essay" series, as well as calling to mind films like Numero Deux and Comment Ca Va? Godard, for the first time, shot this entire film on digital, and the results are fascinating, sometimes even... funny. During one part, the crappy digital camera he had been shooting with appears to have been failing -- or at least, there was some failure when transferred to the computer for editing -- as parts skip ahead, and backwards; there are artifacts on the screen, audible and visual glitches, obscuring moments of a character's speech. This wasn't my DVD -- this was definitely part of the film. Other parts of the (early parts of) movie seem to have been filmed on really crappy webcams, then the footage was oversaturated... the results are quite jarring, especially when some of the "crap" footage is put next to some of the most beautiful digital filmography I've ever seen. There are audio messups, video glitches; recording synch sound on a boat in itself is absurd, as you mainly hear wind, people screaming in the distant, the engine of the ship; in sequences filming a party, you basically can't hear anything but fart sounds, a loud distorted booming and crashing. So, Godard seems to be using new technology against itself, in a way. He plays with jump cuts (which he popularized 50 years ago and has rarely used since), stop-motion (filming a camera being reassembled), dramatic pausing, silence, glitching, and slow motion. The first 40 minutes are all kinda like this; voices from who-knows-where delivering lines that were important to Godard, as image after image is shown in very quick bursts; some images were jaw-droppingly beautiful, some were distorted beyond comprehension -- all were striking. Godard is first and foremost an artist, and rest assured that the first 40 minutes are highly artistic. Not a dull moment in what can only be described as a postmodern documentary. Has Godard been watching the Current Channel? Has he been surfing Youtube? There definitely seems to be a lot of influence from outside sources in this part of the film, maybe even some of video art manipulating master Ryan Trecartin...
Then, the next part of the film -- a good 30-40 minutes -- is extremely "Godardian". It should be very familiar to people who have seen any of Godard's recent films. There's not a lot of image or sound manipulation here; just lots of long, quiet takes of characters discussing life... usually filmed in front of strikingly beautiful backdrops. This section calls to mind every film he's made in the last 30 years, Some people call this "alienating", but his style is so brilliantly personal, I can't help but be fascinated. The direction in this section is topnotch, of course...
...and it leads to the final 30 minutes, which is mostly a film essay, with dialogue over top of mostly stock footage (scenes from other films).
So, it's an overwhelming experience, but I never felt it was 'tiring'; I could've watched another hour or two of this stuff, definitely. Therein lies its brilliance. While, indeed, its difficult to sum up in a few words, its not difficult to understand why its so compelling; this is one giant ball of images, sounds, quotes, hitting us so fast that we can barely keep up. I'm not qualified to put forth everything this film meant to me, after just one watch, but I do know I will be watching this film 100 more times in the future, because it's just so captivating.
Forgot to mention... LOLcats are on this, as well as a lama who lives in a garage.
A truly brilliant experience that a lot of people will find "difficult" or "challenging", but to be completely honest, this is one of Godard's most easy-to-get-into films in a long time; by adopting the elliptical "youtube editing" and by going into "Sensory overload" mode (at least, for a lot of its length), Godard has actually managed to make a film that even an A.D.D.-addled teenage could probably enjoy... all the while, commenting on aspects such AS sensory overload, technology, language, and how impersonal and cold everyone in 2010 is. Characters speak but don't "converse". Talk, talk, talk... but no one listens. No one responds. In many ways, this is a style Godard has always utilized, but this is his best display of it; this might be the ultimate Godard film.
PS: I originally had a LOT more written on each section, but I had to keep removing chunks of it to get it to the 1000 word limit. I suspect anybody who tries to review this film will probably face the same challenge; there is just simply too much to say about this film. Truly the best film of the past 10 years.
The Limits of Control (2009)
The limits of the viewer's patience?
Mystery Train, Broken Flowers, and Dead Man are neat little films, but for the most part, this director's films are usually a bit too dry for me to get into.. they always feel overlong and don't seem to do much of anything that interests me. It's hard for me to criticize his work -- certainly, there's' nothing particularly BAD about ANY of his films -- but it's just not something I usually get into.
Along comes this film, which COMPLETELY blows me away -- I truly think this is up there with REFLECTIONS OF EVIL, NOTRE MUSIQUE, SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR, SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY, and a few precious others as the best film of the decade.
Without getting too into what the film means to me, I think this was sort of an update on the classic film BRANDED TO KILL (which the director has noted as a big influence on his work before, there are tributes to it placed in Ghost Dog for example).
This film is a huge influence on me, personally speaking... I've watched it 10 times now. An absolutely incredible film experience. I hope he makes more films like this; at the top of my head, I can't think of another film of recent memory where sound and image came together in such a compelling and beautiful way. Simply an incredible movie experience, one that is rare and should be treated with the utmost respect for its rarity, as well as its quality.
Inevitably, some people will be put off by this "boring" "mess" of a "pretentious" film, or whatever. I didn't see anything about this film that wasn't directed with the utmost care and quality, in shot composition, storytelling, dialog, character development.. what a beautiful film -- there are some truly beautiful camera movements, costumes, quotes, etc. embedded in this film. Most viewers will be hard-pressed to walk away from this film without taking some facet of inspiration.
A true work of art, one that will continue to inspire people for the rest of the humanity's existence. It's too bad no one gave a crap about it, or even tried to.
Shaye & Kiki (2004)
The best (and only) DVD in my collection
I recently went through a severe DVD and CD cleansing, pretty much selling or giving away everything I own.
I... just... can't get rid of this one.
Every time I show it to someone, they lose their mind..
This is, by far, the craziest thing ever made, and some of the most entertaining as well.
Also, Eric Fournier, the creator of Shaye St. John, died recently, so this will be the last we see of him. Extremely sad.
Do whatever you can to get this.
Full disclosure review.
Vomit of the brain.
To put it mildly, Adam Cooley's no-budget "ME, MYSELF, AND MY THIRD EYE: 4 ENLIGHTENED STORIES FOR 1 IMPERFECT GOD", is not for everyone. With an overabundance of information -- both aurally and visually -- this is probably going to be too much for most people to take. But the film was designed in such a way to make watching, and rewatching, not feel like a chore. There is a lot to behold, in every frame, but since the running time is relatively short, and the pacing superfast, you can watch the film a thousand times and probably pick up on new little details. There are actually 30-40 hours of compressed footage here, made from thousands of short little videos, but it's sped up, chopped up, layered, and fractured to a such an absurd degree that you never really get lost in a scene, or get comfortable with the action. That being said, you also likely won't be bored either.
The film is also designed like a musical... there is very rarely NOT some kind of background sound playing, except when there are some shocking, jarring moments of complete silence. Unlike most movies where music underscores our emotional involvement in the picture, and drifts from scene to scene in big, epic ways to prepare us for the next event and to tie everything together; the music in this seems to be detached and with its own agenda, a blur of weird avantgarde electronics, dark dronescapes, and beautiful piano tinkerings.
The most compelling aspect of this film to most people will probably be how urgent everything feels. This was shot in about 2 months, with a large cast compared to most of this director's previous stuff, and nothing was really stopped and thought about. A scene was filmed, a scene was edited, and then the movie continued. Not everything works, of course, as not every experiment can be a success, but there are a lot of little visual tricks and treats that are quite inspired, for those willing to invest some time into this.
Also note the completely desaturated look of the film; even in the more colorful parts of the movie, there is a weird haze. The whole thing is quite blurry, actually, as if scenes from a hazy memory.
This film feels like no other that's ever been made, or probably ever will be made. This film follows 4 separate stories, wherein characters search for themselves, search for God. Lives in transition. No-budget, and shot on a crappy kid's camera. Interesting.
On a packed DVD through Sun Cult video that is extremely limited and maybe not be available by the time you read this. Will one day be worth tons of money, so you might want to pick up a copy now. Just sayin'...
King Lear (1987)
This is by far one of the weirdest films ever made, as I've said before. Godard is probably my second favorite director (right behind Kitano), and this isn't his first really weird film or anything (I'd go so far as to say all of his films in his unfairly-neglected-but-superior "late period" are quite strange in some way, either in their fractured narrative, or in their hardcore deconstruction of typical movie-making -- "Where's the story?" indeed...). But this is kind of a mix of everything he'd done with his newer stuff, when it came out; all the themes and elements and ideas he had been exploring, and it even predicts a bit of his stuff after this. People usually get interested in this film for its genesis and some of the bizarre happenings in this film (Godard signs a contract on a napkin; Godard recorded telephone conversations with producer and put it in the film, which peeved the producer off; Godard never actually reads past page 3 of King Lear itself; this film was made from like 4 or 5 different aborted scripts cobbled together; a father and daughter sign on to do this movie, do 5 takes or so, and then walk off the set in disgust, all of which is captured in the movie, with a voice-over explaining this; Woody Allen was hired to be in this film and he had no idea what he was doing so he drinks some coffee, puts some safety pins in some film, recites a few verses from the play King Lear and that's about it).
Well, it goes far beyond that, as far as strangeness is concerned... seeing Molly Ringwald in a Godard film is just bizarre, first of all (keep in mind she was HUGE at the time; Pretty In Pink and all that stuff). Second of all, Godard's narration is absurd. I mean, you can barely even tell what he's saying, in English (this is also his only English film from beginning to end!). He might as well have been recorded through a voice box. Godard plays a guy with a headdress made of hi-fidelity wires, so he can jack himself into the unknown at any time. He is looking for "The image". Since Godard never actually read King Lear, the film instead asks if King Lear is even an important work of art, if it's even valid a radioactive, post-Chernobyl landscape. So, the main actor (who actually says the line, "Oh yeah, by the way, my name is William Shakespeare Junior the Fifth." in a comical tone) is "searching" for, uh, something, and he encounters a bunch of crazy characters, in an extremely, EXTREMELY fractured narrative, with scenes ending abruptly, double (sometimes triple) voices of characters constantly on the soundtrack, and pretty much everything crashing, colliding, and being completely out of sequence, out of time, out of tune. Oh, let's not forget the soundtrack, which is made of slowed-down and electronically-manipulated versions of Beethoven symphonies; also, there is a loud, annoying, seagull sound about every 3 minutes in the movie.
Sounds like a disaster, doesn't it? Well, I gotta say, it's one of the best films -- not just by Godard -- but EVER. Even beyond the "strangeness" that attracts me, there is a strange, otherworldly beauty to the proceedings. Godard designed the film to fail, but he did so in a way that's really, really interesting, and is actually extremely experimental, especially when you consider that this was designed to be a mainstream film! Godard himself said he never got page 3 of King Lear, it didn't interest him at all... he said the film was the first 3 pages of King Lear and the rest of it is him trying to "Get past" the rest of the play. Which is hilarious, absurd, and reason enough to check it out...
A powerful film, misunderstood to be certain, groundbreaking and unconventional in every way, I'd say anyone into Jodorowsky and stuff like that should probably want to seek this out and have their mind blown.
The Brown Bunny (2003)
Brilliant, haunting, what's not to like?
This film has received a lot of hatred, and I've racked my brain trying to figure out why. Then, it occurred to me: This film was not "meant" to be seen by most of the people who have seen it. See, there are art house flicks -- designed for art house audiences. Then, there are more, sort-of mainstream flicks -- designed for mainstream audiences. This all seems obvious, and it is, but it'll probably help to understand if you've heard something bad about this amazing film. Because of the controversy surrounding one short scene in this, some people who usually don't watch "art house" films have jumped on this film, and have walked away confused. Confusion leads to hatred, usually, since we fear what we don't understand, and often hate it too. On the other hand, while a lot of lovers of underground/experimental/artsy stuff are extremely open-minded, you'll find quite a bit of them who, pretentiously, will dismiss any new Hollywood vehicle for whatever reason -- just the fact that this film has Vincent Gallo and Chloe Sevigny in it is enough for some people to hate it.
So, you've got "underground" people giving it crap, you've got "mainstream" people giving it crap, you've got people misusing the word "pretentious" endlessly. So, in all this fire, the film itself is lost. Me, I don't really swing either way; I love Mean Girls as much as Dog Star Man, Home Alone as much as Water & Power, Freddy Got Fingered as much as Oh, Woe Is Me. So, I can appreciate this film on every level, because let's face it; if any film is worth appreciating, it's this one.
Yes, this film provokes -- as any great art should, and does. It is thought-provoking, but it also tests the audience. It tests the patience, and the thinking power, and forces us to see things in a new way, to try to figure out what the characters were dealing with. It's beautiful. Simply brilliant. Also, it's genuinely moving, which is rare amongst films of this ilk. It's almost effortlessly moving, in fact; so good that it feels like Mr. Gallo wasn't even trying. He's just that talented.
I don't even like the guy. He seems like a cocky snob. But he made a great film. Lonely, haunting... one of the most depressing films I've ever seen, actually. I loved it! If you enjoy stuff like Cassavettes, Fassbinder, Kaurismaki, Jon Jost... stuff that isn't simple and easy, and doesn't wrap up everything nicely, you'll probably dig this. Also, loved loved loved the endless driving shots. It felt like I was on a trip somewhere with the character. Driving shots never get old.
Will be looked back as a classic in many years from now.
Den-en ni shisu (1974)
The greatest film of all time?
Not sure if it's the absolute greatest, but if not, it's really, really, REALLY close to being.
Words can't describe this thing. This thing, which is pretty much "unavailable" unless you go through backdoor means, is so beautiful, so flawless, that after one viewing it immediately went up to my top 10 of all time. Never has a film blown me away so much, so quickly. Within 20 minutes, of the strange oversaturated colors, the rows of clocks, the insanely beautiful soundtrack, etc... I was just in total awe.
I literally cannot describe this film. Think "The Holy Mountain" (a lot of similar direction), a bit simplified yet more experimental (if that makes sense) -- extremely personal, kinda like the films Godard always tried to make after 1980 (a film that comments on film, a film which cannot actually be made). A director directs his childhood and then turns the film off, shockingly, and then VISITS his childhood and modifies events, tries to change things.
It's touching, personal, and the ending is actually definitely the best of all time. OVERWHELMING AND INSANE. A masterpiece!
Pisutoru opera (2001)
Dogs follow their masters, but I am a stray cat.
This is one of the best films ever made. An intense fever dream of surrealism, dream logic, and a beautiful painter's touch. I've never seen any other films that could straight-up be called "avantgarde action"; I wish there were more films like this...
What really strikes me are the colors, though the story (which is relatively straightforward; ignore the other reviews) is one extremely philosophical, awesomely existential dilemma after another.
Brilliant in every way a movie can be. Masterpiece. Hated by the same people who hate Izo and El Topo (aka people who can't wrap their head around true brilliance).
Don't understand how ANYONE could hate on this film, even if they didn't "get it" all. The visuals alone are reason enough to see this.
Elevator Movie (2004)
This film is amazing! I see everyone talking about Tetsuo and Eraserhead, but I see more Bunuel (specifically L'Age D'Or) and Fotopolous (Migrating Forms is very similar to this). Not that it matters... this film is truly original, not even in its concept, but more so in how it handles the subject matter. Two people in a room for 90 minutes, talking about their lives -- does that sound interesting to you? Well, it doesn't to me, to be honest, but to actually see this in execution will make you a believer.
It helps that the cast is excellent, all two of them. There is a real chemistry here, and both characters are actually charming, though flawed, and very real -- very human. Both posses a rather dry sense of humor, but I found them both quite hilarious. When one character passionately and sincerely talks about her uncle finding Jesus in his f-f-feces, the other character exclaims "Holy sh*t!" Priceless! It had me rolling.
The film is loaded with "mistakes", but these "errors" don't detract from the viewing experience; in fact, they add to the atmosphere quite a bit and make what could have been an entertaining-enough character-study, into a truly surreal, original, brilliant little film. Sometimes, the audio doesn't match the lips that are moving, sometimes scenes abruptly cut off, there is a constant flicker and "bad" lighting and "bad" framing. But I think this film is highly artistic, and it adds to the atmosphere quite a bit and makes this film highly recommendable. People who complain about its "badness" aren't schooled enough in film to realize that the editing is actually quite brilliant, the pacing is flawless, the writing is pitch-perfect - everything is clearly intentional, even the "mistakes", as randomness has a certain place too. Why would you want to watch something completely clean and complacent? This film wears its non-budget proudly... why else would the title sequence be done in paper and permanent marker (with awful handwriting)? I love this sloppy approach, it really puts this film over the top to me.
What this director does with 2 characters in one room for 90 minutes is more entertaining and thought-provoking than what your average "experimental" Tarkovsky wannabe can do with tons of characters, years of filming, and lots of "perfect" editing.
The best thing about this film really is the pacing. The director/writer doesn't forget that he is telling a story here, and so he adds little surreal touches to keep the film moving along at a good pace. He doesn't offer all his secrets up front; this film really builds, and when it gets there, it's wonderful. You'll cream the first time you hear music, after so long of there being only background hiss.
Fascinatingly gritty, strangely touching, absurdly brilliant, and somehow wonderfully realistic in its depiction of humanity, suffering, religion, and interactions between people. This is a BRILLIANT debut and one of the most exciting underground films I've ever seen... if you're a boring person, you'll be bored by this. But if you're an enlightened person, this will be your new favorite film.
Mizu no naka no hachigatsu (1995)
Brilliant and beautiful
Within 5 minutes, this film completely blew me away. The dreamy music and atmosphere just did it for me. There's not much of a plot, just reoccurring images of space and pools. This gets by pretty much just on atmosphere alone. Luckily, it's some of the best atmosphere you're likely to find in a movie.
Some insane editing, awesome direction, and beautiful cinematography of Japanese cityscapes seal the deal for me. Trippy as hell, with speaking dolphins and odd, 5 minute shots of people diving into pools.
Some kind of masterpiece I need to watch a few more times to completely wrap my head around.
Dandy Dust (1998)
10/10 just for being the most insane movie I've ever seen. Visions of Suffering, Death Powder, Reflections of Evil, and a few other movies have held that title over the years, but no way will this be replaced.
Stop-motion, supersaturated colors, completely just.. insane, ridiculous.. fast cuts... about a BILLION cuts, by the way. Completely chopped-up narrative. Okay, there's not much of a story. This is all style. It doesn't matter. Just so BIZARRE. Dialogue that doesn't match voices. Almost the whole film takes place in black rooms with high-contrast props and insane costumes.
Sorta like a cross of the films of Adam Cooley and the early films of Tsukamoto. Worth a watch. Don't mistake my rating: This isn't a GREAT movie, but it is just... wow... INSANE.
Enjeru dasuto (1994)
This is one of the best, best, BEST films I've ever seen. Really blew me away. Hard to describe what makes it work so well, though, so bear with me here. Nearly every scene had me just saying to myself, "This is brilliant." A very slow, moody, subtle, mostly-silent work for a lot of its length, so the moments of screaming and insanity will really break your mind to pieces if you're paying close attention. There's a lot going on here, a lot to take in, and probably a lot lost in translation. No matter, the atmosphere, the amazing/insane editing, and the dialogue -- which goes from oddly philosophical to philisophically odd -- is mindblowing.
A cold, disconnected, existentialist treat for the senses.
Oh! Sûpâ Miruku-chan (1998)
Sublime, surreal, unensical humor. Totally unreal. Totally unlike anything you will ever see. Minimalist, strange, headscratching, sublime. Occasionally annoying, especially to those who don't understand the point of this humor.
The key to understanding this show is that every episode is a remake of the first episode. They all hit on the same exact points, but at different times, and getting there is always different, smart, and inventive.
The thing that always strikes me about people who dislike this show is because of its brief run on Adult Swim. People said it was too random or too stupid or that the art style is terrible; the truth is, that describes just about every Williams Street-produced show ever (you know, Aqua Teen, SeaLab, etc.). I like those shows, but come on -- this is more Adult Swim than Adult Swim itself, the epitome of what makes those shows watchable.
This is just an amazing piece of work and there are layers and layers of absolute brilliance. Check it out. What I really like about it is that it's somewhat insane, but it's somewhat restrained as well. Every episode isn't a grabbag of hyperactive weirdness, really, the weirdness is served in small and hilarious chunks. Just great.
The Bed You Sleep In (1993)
WOW!!!!!!!!!! I've never seen anything like this. This is so brilliant that it's ridiculous. Beautiful imagery... very twisted, seemingly pointless, abrasive, and sloooooooow. Not for everyone. Hell, not for most people...
But somehow it works. I don't know how, to be honest. This film eventually settles into a groove and you are highly rewarded for watching. This is definitely a film that works on many levels. Many layers to unravel and one viewing is not enough.
I loved it. Will you? No. Jon Jost is a god, a genius, and probably the most important independent director in the history of North American cinema. Go worship Jim Jarmusch or Guy Maddin if you must but for real GENIUS, check here. One of the best films ever.
Bad Biology (2008)
Is Henenlotter the best horror director of all time?
Look at your supposed "maestros" of the genre: Tobe Hooper (has made one good horror film), Sam Raimi (has only directed 4 horror films ever), Wes Craven (hahahaha!), George Romero (has directed some of the worst films ever -- Jesus, have you seen his half of "Two Evil Eyes"?!).... now look at Henenlotter: 6 BRILLIANT, off-the-wall, gory, amazing horror movies unlike anything else out there. It's good to have you back, Frank! Even though he hasn't made a movie in nearly 20 years, everything about this production felt like 100% Henenlotter. Artsy and hallucinatory visuals at times, strange in every way a horror film can be strange but still be considered horror, not to mention that this is fast-paced, to-the-point, and entertaining beyond belief. No filler whatsoever -- this is straight-up, hardcore Henenlotter, in your face, not giving you a chance to breathe.
Also, in a stunning development, the directing/cinematography is better than it's ever been, the acting is top notch (featuring a female lead for the first time!), and the sex scenes are strangely hot. This whole film is extremely powerful... I can safely say there are some genuinely disturbing scenes you won't be able to get out of your head for a long time to come.
This is just another ace in the hole for Henenlotter, who has made 6 amazing, arguably perfect horror films. So often, horror (as with any genre) is contrived, dull, made to appeal to the lowest common denominator. If you're the type who gets off to crapfests like "Saw" and a billion crappy horror movie remakes, this won't be your bag. However, if you like surreal, INTELLIGENT, and -- most importantly -- different horror, this is for you. A future classic and probably the best new film that's come out in forever.
Desu pawuda (1986)
This film is a one of a kind gem. If you want to see what Pinnochio 964, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Meatball Machine, Electric Dragon 80000v, Rubber's Lover (etc., etc., etc...) would be like if they were even MORE insane... then, here's your movie.
Combining extremely bizarre and nightmarish imagery (ever seen an image of a gigantic eyeball from a slime monster superimposed over a bizarre doorway that sorta looks like it was made from line-drawing?) with a noisey soundtrack and TONS of surrealism and just an overall bizarre atmosphere, this is one of the best films I've ever seen. Really, it's the epitome of a perfect film: Never gets boring, a perfect length, and you'll always find something new to love every time you watch it.
I've noticed in recent years, there's been a renewed interest in this film. Hopefully I will live to see the day when this will officially be released on DVD in America. This is a lost classic, to be certain, and there's certainly an audience for it (albiet a small, art-house audience.. there's still an audience). Whatever means you can do to find yourself a copy of this now, though, don't hesitate to do it, especially if you're concerned with cinema that places emphasis on weird visuals over a coherent story. There, uh, isn't really that much of a story to speak of, I think, but that doesn't matter. There's so many weird parts in this film you won't mind (what's the deal with the random mosaiced faces?). Love it.
I've watched all of season one 3 times, so I feel like I can safely review this series now. And you know what? I'm still laughing at something new with every episode.
This is truly a work of genius and is probably the funniest show currently on television. Just consistently mindblowing in every way! So loaded with jokes... the humor is very dry and probably isn't for most people, but there I moments where I almost cry from laughing so hard in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. Can't say that for any other show currently on television.
Fake reality shows are not a new concept, and the look and concept and feel of the show might be a reason for most people to write it off without thinking twice. But trust me, give this one a look. It'll be a show people talk about in 10 years from now. A future classic...
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
Absolutely, to the max, 10 stars, my highest recommendation. It's very rare nowadays that a film actually motivates me to go see it in theaters; often, anything that looks the slightest bit interesting still gets the, "I'll wait till it's on DVD" treatment from me. But I was extremely fond of the first Crank, so I thought I might as well see this one... and it totally blew me away. It's way better than the first one, and definitely the best mainstream film, in any genre, I've seen in a LONG time. I'm talking years. This film isn't all action like the first one, though there's tons of it here. No, this one is all about the humor. I mean, this is one of the funniest films I've ever seen. Between a scene of a bullet ricocheting and then not seeing where it ends up for a good 5 minutes, a hilarious Godzilla-esquire fight scene, all sorts of ridiculous hyperkinetic editing tricks, the insane Mike Patton score, the constant cameos (from the likes of Ron Jeremy, Maynard James Keenan, Jenna Haze, that Linkin Park guy, Lloyd Kaufman, and more), I felt like my brain was going to explode. I kept just saying, "That was amazing!" This film is surprisingly daring, giving fans exactly what they want and not at all catering to critics' or most mainstream moviegoer's wants for a movie. The film often just completely stops in the middle of an action sequence and goes into something completely unrelated, like a talk show (which is hilarious, showing Chev Chelios as a child) or various funny news reports. Add to the fact that this movie was made with, what, only $12 million dollars (which is less than the price to cast Keanu Reeves for one of those boring Matrix movies, just to put that into perspective) and you have one of the, all-around, best films ever made, from every possible angle. Just so clever, so exciting, so consistently brilliant, so funny, and so smart that it makes all other mainstream Hollywood flicks look like completely garbage in comparison. A must-watch.
Actium Maximus (2005)
So-bad-it's-AMAZING sci-fi epic!
I haven't commented on this site in a while but I just had to when I saw all the negativity aimed at this great film. I'm not going to pretend that this film is "good" in a conventional sense. And it takes a very, very small and very particular percentage of the world to truly appreciate what's going on here. I used to seek out "so-bad-they're-good" films when I was younger but I kept seeing films that were INTENTIONALLY bad, and that just didn't cut it for me. What makes this film so great is that it's all so SERIOUS! And, in all seriousness, you can tell that the director put a lot of effort, time, and money into this. It is very cheaply-made, but it still does actually have plenty of special effects and decently-constructed monsters. This film was actually filmed as a pilot to a TV series that never got made, and actually this film was incomplete as well, so the fact that this actually got released in the first place is quite remarkable, but I'm glad it did. And it is REALLY hilarious and entertaining from beginning to end, despite what other people on here might tell you. It's not conventionally "GOOD", and its not recommended unless you like this crap -- but for fans of the worst acting and special effects ever, this is gold. Let me repeat: You have never seen special effects this bad, a plot more nonsensical, a film more horrible (though well-intentioned). In my eyes, that makes it extremely special.
Star Worms II sucks, by the way.
Xavier: Renegade Angel (2007)
Nothing short of absolute genius
Surreal, bizarre, completely 100% nonsensical at times... but so, SO unbelievably consistently hilarious, intelligent, clever, and mindbending. This is an absolutely brilliant show, from top to bottom, and is probably way too intelligent for the average Adult Swim viewer. So, if you're the typical Hot Topic-shopping "oh man look how funny this is when I'm stoned!" Adult Swim fan, you may want to pass on this one...
...but if you're into the films of Lynch, Giuseppe Andrews, Jodorowsky, etc. or the music of The Residents, Harry Partch, Captain Beefheart... you know, the truly bizarre and "outside" part of the entertainment world... you will most likely love this exploration of existentialism and absurdity. This show is probably the most insanely and violently brilliant thing on modern television. Ever. So unbelievably packed with sight gags and clever quips, an 11 minute episode has more energy and ideas than an entire season of.. oh, I dunno.. Stroker and Hoop or whatever Adult Swim fans like.
So, yeah, this probably isn't for your typical AS fans, but personally I think it's the most brilliant thing I've seen in forever, and I've fallen so hard in love for it that it's ridiculous.
Migrating Forms (2000)
Another James Fotopoulos gem
Wow, James Fotopoulos is a rare voice in the world of experimental film, doing something truly different, that most people probably won't care about (check the other ridiculous reviews if you want evidence of that). Yes, this is essentially two people in a room, having sex, and saying a few things, with some cutaway shots of ... other things ... while a cyst grows on a girl's back.
It is purposely abrasive, minimal, disorienting, and hard to take. It is sloooooooow, the music is headache-inducing. It's probably a painful experience to the uninitiated. But I thought it was brilliant. Really some next-level stuff, especially in the field of "no-budget cinema" (though, obviously, this HAD a budget, since it was shot on FILM, and film costs money, you know!).
I can't reveal what I took out of this film, because I took a LOT.. it was a completely beautiful experience. Existentialism is talked about a lot in films but this film truly explores themes I've never seen explored in other films. I loved the glacial pace, the beautiful black and white 16mm cinematography, etc. If you're into films that are different or want to see a director who has really honed in on the vibe Lynch had on Eraserhead, check out this film or any of this other guy's features. I have an odd feeling, since he hasn't worked since 2002 that I know of, that he is no longer making films, despite making a bunch of full lengths and 100 shorts. Has hardly gotten any recognition whatsoever, despite unique, winning winning "film of the year" at a famous NY underground film festival, and clearly being the work of an absolute genius (a misused word if there ever was one). Regardless, this film is a masterpiece and my life feels enhanced for watching it. Forget mumblecore -- this is cutting edge, the future of independent cinema, and James is going to take over the world. My favorite filmmaker besides Godard, Fassbinder, and Kitano.
Back Against the Wall (2002)
Wow. This film blew me away! I was a fan of James Fotopoulos from "Zero" and "Migrating Forms", but this takes things to a whole new level. Basically, this an art film, but more in the Eraserhead vein. Employing beautiful black and white 16mm photography with a bizarre, noisey soundtrack and some abstract images, the film slowly (probably too slowly for most people) unravels layers of a lingerie model and the corrupt people she deals with. Just a beautiful film, structurally, thematically, with some truly shocking and chilling imagery handed out in small doses, not to mention a few scenes of beauty (love the constant shots of the seagull flying on the shore). Brought a tear to my eye. In a day and age where idiot hacks like Guy Maddin are put up on pedestals while people pretend to know what "art film" means, this guy is doing something completely fresh and intelligent and DIFFERENT. This is one filmmaker to watch, especially if you're into cinema that is a bit different than the norm, and I think he needs to be supported. No-budget film-making at its finest!
Homo Erectus (2007)
As a huge Giuseppe Andrews film (easily the best director making movies today), I often wondered, "What would happen if Tyree (a star in many of his films) crossed over to a 'major' motion picture?" While this isn't really a MAJOR motion picture, it is certainly the biggest budget movie Tyree has ever been in, and he's absolutely hilarious! I just wanted more Tyree, more!!! His "Old Fool" is one of the best characters ever! Andrews and Dougal were hilarious, as usual, as was Adam Rifkin! The creator of classics "Psycho Cop 2", "Invisible Maniac", and "The Dark Backward"... didn't realize he was such a charismatic, memorable, and funny actor too! This movie, all in all, is beyond stupid and I didn't laugh that much, and most people will probably hate it. But if you're a Giuseppe Andrews fan, this is worth watching. Now if we could only get Vietnam Ron in the sequel!
Kantoku · Banzai! (2007)
Nothing short of brilliant
How many truly unique films have come out since the year 2000? Not too many. In an age of remakes, rehashes, and parodies, where every film by every director looks exactly the same, it's hard to find an innovative film, especially in the "comedy" genre. Yet once again Kitano delivers in this surreal comedy gem that is unique, deeply personal, affecting on a spiritual level, and is absolutely HILARIOUS.
Takeshi's previous film, "Takeshis'" was a surreal compilation of every film Kitano had made prior to it. This film is something of a compilation of all the kinds of films he hasn't made yet. The first half of this film explores that to a hilarious degree, but the second half is when this film really shines. Some of the most off-the-wall, UNREAL humor I've ever seen in a film, specifically a brief animated part near the end that is probably the greatest scene I've ever seen in a film, period.
Though for nostalgic reasons, my PERSONAL favorite Kitano films will always be "Hana-Bi" and "Sonatine", I have noticed that Takeshi has actually been getting better and better in recent years (excluding "Zatoichi") as he is starting to explore the more surreal, beautiful, and bizarre moments only hinted at in his first few films. Indeed, like many people, I find Takeshi to be the best director currently working in the world today, and his films are always gems... he's completely tearing apart the very essence of cinema, yet still not jumping into a black hole of impenetrable artiness. "Art for art's sake", maybe, but this is still some brilliant, hilarious stuff, and I'm very happy Takeshi is taking all the money he earns from his acting and personal appearances and pouring them into these brilliant films. The "critics" and Japanese audiences may not care for them, but I'm sure in 10-20 years from now, these films be looked upon as classics of cinema.