Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dead End Drive-In (1986)

Why the hell did it take me so long to check out this beautiful gem?

Like a perfect mix between Street Trash & Troma, it features retro-futuristic punk nihilism with drops of Kafka and a sprinkle of The Cars that Ate Paris topped with Mad Max. I'm telling you, this film's got it all!
The cinematography is also fantastic and the colors are like a surreal candy dream that almost makes me wish I still was into acid.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Ebola Syndrome (1996)

If ever you find yourself cheering more for the badguy than the do-gooders trying to sabotage their evil plans, then this film is for you.

It's the story of one of the most disgustingly lovable baddies of all time. We follow an ugly, bad-smelling psychopath on adventures of rape, murder and cannibalism, as he abuses a bunch of undeserving victims, and even contracts Ebola along the way.

Honk Kong cinema legend Anthony Wong does and outstanding job as the most obnoxious human being on the planet, whose utter indifference to basic decency is nothing but a delight.

And if that all sounds extremely depressing, then trust me when I say that it's actually not at all. The general fucked uppedness of this whole thing makes it into a pitch black comedy of sorts. But make sure to get the full uncut version though, as that's kind of the whole point.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Night Comes for Us (2018)

OH YES! This is a pure orgasm of a film that made me so euphoric, it reminded me of why I fell in love with movies in the first place.

The story is not that important. There's some stuff about Asian Triad-mafia, hitmen with exceptional skills, and a little girl who everyone wants to kill. It's pretty much just a bunch of shallow excuses to set up one over-the-top fight scene after the other, where barbaric killing machines effectively turn each other into so much minced meat.

As you might have guessed, this is not a film for people with a low tolerance for pain. Every punch is a bone-cracking hammer of raw agony that you almost feel on your own body. Blood gushes onto walls and body parts fly, while knives, machetes and axes chop away huge parts of meat from a never-ending flow of willing victims. 

Of course there's also a sprinkle of eccentric characters with their individual favorite weapons, who drops ├╝ber-cool lines likes:

- You're going to regret that.
- What? That I called you a bitch?
- No. That you're wearing white clothes.

The choreography is a masterwork in itself, and the camera work is the best I've ever seen. The filmmakers don't rely on hyperactive editing to make things more intense, but instead lets the camera follow hand movements, so that we smash into the victim along with the fist.

The whole thing is so brutally awesome, that it makes The Matrix look like your mother's favorite cooking show. And just like The Matrix once raised the bar for the action genre in a way that has been mimicked ever since, we can only hope that The Night Comes for Us will have just as much impact. There's little doubt that this is the best movie of the year, and Hollywood better take notes as THIS is the way action is supposed to be.

There's also a heft dose of pitch black humor, and the carousel of violence had me giggling like a child, clapping my hands with each new mutilation. And when it was finally over, all I wanted to do was to wipe the blood from my eyes, and go again.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Kill List (2011)

At first, Kill List appears to be a gritty drama about a kindhearted family man. However, when we discover the protagonist is a professional hitman, the genre takes a turn toward hard crime. And as he kills, the genre twists again and again, tearing away the false sense of security that was established in the beginning.

This playful approach to filmmaking put director Ben Wheatley on the map, and I can promise you that this is not the last time I will write about one of his genre-bending movies.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Men & Chicken (2015)

When asked who is the greatest Danish filmmaker of all time, most people will say Lars von Trier, Nicolas Winding Refn or maybe Susanne Bier.

They would all be wrong.

Because none of those can compete with the greatness that is Anders Thomas Jensen. Although his name is not even half as well know as those above, it only takes a short glimpse at his filmography to realize his superiority. Actually, I found it quite astounding to discover that all the greatest Danish films from the last 20 years, were either written or directed by the same guy:

In China They Eat Dogs, The Green Butchers, Adam's Apples, Flickering Lights, At the World's End... all from the mind of Anders Thomas Jensen. Heck, the first thing the guy wrote was the short film De Nye Lejere, which was later remade into the Oscar winning The New Tenants.

Everything he touches turns to gold, and Men & Chicken is no different. As a perfect mix of drama, comedy and mystery, with a hint of sci-fi, it entertains to no end.

So don't be left out. Jump on the Jensen train!


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Neal Brennan: 3 Mics (2017)

I'm not recommending this stand-up special because it is funny. It is funny, sure, but that's not what makes it interesting.

The show is actually three in one, where comedian Neal Brennan gives three quite different performances, into three different mics. As he jumps from mic to mic, he also changes subjects, and while one mic is dedicated to snappy zingers, he only lingers there for a short while before moving on to another mic where he tells a rather tragic tale about his own dysfunctional father. And if the honesty starts feeling a bit heavy, he quickly changes mics once again to bring in a new brand of humor.

In a world of stand-up comedy, where everyone is all focused on getting the most laughs, this way of mixing in moments where he simply focuses on the human condition in a most naked way, comes across as fresh.

It feels like were watching a guy talking to his therapist, spicing up his tragic episodes with gallows humor. Brennan is certainly not the only one doing this, and "stand-up therapy" might even be a sort offbeat genre in recent comedy, with other examples being Tig Notaro, Carl Barron, Henry Philips, and of course Louie C.K. All of them can be hilarious when they want, but they're also bringing so much more than just lulz.

However, Brennan takes it to a new level in this special, and while certainly not for everyone, it might just have a sort of cathartic effect on those who are just as sad as they are happy.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

"Doobidoob, yarbles! Great bolshy yarblockos to you. I'll meet you with chain or nozh or britva anytime, not having you aiming tolchocks at me reasonless."

If that all seemed like nonsense to you, that's only because you've somehow managed to miss out on one of the most celebrated films of all time. This is another one of those that everyone has seen hundreds of times, and it's such a big part of popular culture that not having seen it basically renders you less intelligent.

But for those that are already in the know, it's also quite fun to revisit the dystopian society of Clockwork Orange and view it through the glasses of current times. Like any classical science fiction, the future that director Stanley Kubrick imagined in the 70s, has turned out to be both wrong and right in so many ways.

So why not give it yet another go, and get lost in the colorful future of the past. You might still not understand my first paragraph afterwards, but I can guarantee you that you will enjoy it nonetheless.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Brazil (1985)

If you look up satire in a dictionary, there might just be a picture of this film. The colorful retro-futuristic dystopia in which even the simplest thing is over-complicated by walls of paperwork, is just as relevant today as it was when it was released some 30 years ago.

Drawing heavy inspiration from George Orwell, the film was originally supposed to be called 1984 ½, but the title was changed so as not to be confused with the other adaptation of 1984 which came out the year before.

It's easy to spot where the hellish predicament of 1984 still lingers in the script, however the genius of former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam, is that he also injected his movie with a hefty dose of fun! And as such, this might be the most entertaining nightmare you'll ever experience.