January 16, 2014
My Best Albums of 2013 (for what it’s worth)
In a rough descending order –
Young Galaxy –Ultramarine
Arcade Fire -Reflektor
The National –Trouble Will Find Me
Atoms for Peace –AMOK
Momus – Bambi
Non – Back to Mono
Ministry – From Beer to Eternity
Pet Shop Boys – Electric
The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
Portugal The Man –Evil Friends
Austra – Olympia
Kirin J Callinan –Embracism
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away.
SNOG – Babes in Consumerland
Erasure – Snow Globe
OMD – English Electric
Polica – Shulamith
Pankow – And Shun the Cure They Most Desire
David Bowie – The Next Day
Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
January 16, 2014
August 13, 2013
I’m over ‘the Other’. People always accuse everything of being racist, so I’m having a little go at it and accusing the concept of ‘the Other’ as being counter intuitively racist. In what sense are foreign people ‘other’? Are we not just as ‘other’ to them, also? It seems to me to be a crit theory lazism catch phrase and magic ‘give me a grant’ wand that supposedly embraces foreignness and diversity. When I was in Uganda, I did not see the people I met or hung out with who were African as Other – I saw them as human beings – plain and simple. Often in a shitty country, run by corrupt officials and thieves our Government is well in bed with. Ricky Anyway Richards, my ‘brother from another Mother’ in Uganda was a just a bush bloke, former LRA soldier and now a peace worker. He was doing a good job, but he was human and smart too and he could see through the ‘otherness’ bullshit and our Western hypocrisies. There is no ‘other’. There is only people, regions, power, geopolitics and the way things are on the ground. There is much we can do to make foreign lands more prosperous and to flower in their own unique way- and to really help people – etc – and ditching the idea that they are ‘other’ might be a good start. They are not exotic and strange, even if they may appear so at times to us. They are simply themselves and their culture, as we are ours. Difference reigns, equality is a nice concept, but as anyone knows who has traveled, it is not exactly a reality.
August 13, 2013
I hope you all picked up the Yeats reference of Tread Lightly or Softly – because you tread on my dreams (He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven) – from the new Breaking bad episode. From Whitman to Yeats – that’s the arc. Breaking Bad is a tragedy, even though Walt has crossed over to Macbeth territory – it is still tragic and sad what wake his dreams have wrought. I think the key idea of Breaking Bad is that of Meta Tragedy. Not necessarily that of Walter White, but us – wasted potential, wasted generations, wasted civilization, wasted History, wasted conquests – like Ozymandias – “look upon our works ye mighty and despair. ” The Tragedy is Us. http://whatculture.com/tv/amc-release-breaking-bad-ozymandias-trailer.php
August 13, 2013
Spoke to a number of different people at MIFF about the films they saw. Most said the fest played films that rank about 5 or 6 out of ten. With a few exceptions of course. I have noticed a dulling of taste and curation in art and Indy film circles of late. People like safe and mediocre things. Even in genre and geek land these days. Things that do not challenge or stand out too much. Things that are somehow a little passionless and lifeless. I have noticed this trend in other festivals outside MIFF – of it’s ilk and caliber. And a dulling of the critical mind and even a sense of outrage. Look at that film The Act of Killing – that is essentially a collaboration with genocidal maniacs who still heavy Chinese people who they once massacred – IN the film. This is a sick film on many levels. Sicker than any Horror fiction like Human Centipede and Serbian Film. The film subtly normalizes genocide. And the art house and fest circuit lap up this repulsive dreck – mostly without a peep. That’s an odd case, sure – but many other films at MIFF and those that play at many other festivals are just so, so. They lack passion, a directorial or authorial voice, they are gimmicky and niche driven, they lack something to say in general and are a kind of like an ersatz cinema – not as interesting or confronting or original as the the cinema that moved me in the 70’s to the 90’s. Cinema has died and Cinema 2.0 is in it’s birth stages. It’s a critical time to foster authentic and independent voices and help bridge the aesthetic crisis of the art itself. Thoughts?
Well, this is one of the best films of the year – so, don’t believe any of the negative hubbub floating round net land. A tale of dueling psychopaths – one rich, one poor – and the women left in their wake. Christian is a classic Ellis character up there with Clay and Patrick Bateman – a manipulating trust fund kid movie producer control freak with Daddy issues and a nice pair of rubber gloves and accompanying blade. Best line: “I will kill him and get away with it. Look at me, babe”. The script is tight and a slow burn toward a psychologically powerful climax. This is plot wise most like parts of Glamorama and The Informers from Bret’s oeuvre, so his literary fans will find plenty to commune with. This is Schrader’s most accomplished directing effort in 10 years – from the haunting title sequence to The Hills type mise en scene – but darker and smoother. It’s reminiscent of his earlier masterpieces American Gigolo and Comfort of Strangers and sits in their company. James Deen is a revelation as Christian – the looks, all stone cold menace and boyish insecurity – not unlike a young Tony Curtis – but with more gravitas. Lindsay Lohan gives her best performance in years, that is hard to fault and is rather sympathetic. Who cares if she behaved like a brat who needed a slap on the ass on set a few days – or has some drug issues. Whatever – when is that new there in Hollywood? Her Tara anchors the film down with some level of emotional humanity and is delicate, sassy and most importantly – lost. Ryan, the third wheel to this pair, is played by Nolan Funk who steps up as the financially challenged second narcissist and rival to Christian. An ice cold portrait of contemporary LA in all it’s blank ‘glory’ – from a uniquely assembled team alchemizing a truly impressive new piece of cinema2.0. on a micro to low budget. Look at it, babes.
July 18, 2013
Back from Only God Forgives. First Up: The film is not a Drive – sadly. It is ‘interesting’. Which means it’s OK on some levels – but is really not that good. The rumours out of Cannes about it being a bit crap had some legs. Nicholas Winding Refn tries to sort through his Mommy issues in a odd, stilted and strange tale of a revenge cycle taking place in Bangkok. The huge mistake of the film is the use and embrace of an out of place formalism. Bangkok is SO not the place to make a formalist movie – as it’s so hustle and bustle – but Refn tries is darndest. It’s influenced heavily by a little seen film – Soi Cowboy – by Thomas Clay (MUFF 2009) another Euro filmmaker going all formalist in Thailand – it’s almost a copy of that movie. Gosling wanders around silently for most of the film with a look on his face wondering “WTF am I meant to be doing in this shot?”. It has all the ear marks and potential to be a great film. But the rather poor to non existent script and out of place formalism makes it a lesser work in the Refn oeuvre, in my humble opinion. Kristen Scott Thomas brings some life to it in a fairly impressive turn as Gangtser Mom -but she can’t save it and it never really rocks. It’s worth a look of, course. If you are a formalist cinema fan you may like it. It’s well shot and has a certain strange charm, still that gets you thinking about it. Oh and the good news is: I’m in it! – for a blink and you’ll miss it uncredited cameo as Gosling approaches the Sukhumvit Road when he is following Vithaya Pansringarm in a white T-shirt. As Gosling turns on to Sukhumvit I enter frame (top left) for about two seconds looking sleazy. That completely random synchronicity of fate or whatever tells me I’ll work with one of these guys (Gosling or Refn) one day.
June 1, 2013
The quest for controversy is well underway once again as submissions for the Melbourne Underground Film Festival are open until 28 June.
MUFF are seeking innovative filmmakers to follow the revolutionary path of James Wan and many others to take out a MUFF award at Australia’s wildest independent film festival. If you are a low budget cinematic insurgent then submit your film, long or short, by following instructions available on www.muff.com.au.
MUFF is renowned for showing the type of transgressive, progressive, transcendental and just plain mad productions that will never be screened at Hoyts. We don’t care if you shoot on the latest red camera or an old and banged up PD150. If your original film demonstrates passion, spirit, inventiveness and guts in any genre then we want you to receive the recognition you deserve.
MUFF has been discovering Australia’s most interesting cinematic talent for close to fifteen years so if you’re a creative revolutionary then we want you to get involved.
MUFF will be publicly exposed from 6-14 September. What has been seen can never be unseen.
Me with Guru Shaun Partridge – receiving spiritual guidance for MUFF 14, Feb 2013, Portland, OR.
March 4, 2013
Well, at great personal pain I am 50 minutes in to Mental starring Toni Collette and directed by PJ Hogan.
Being the regular font of wisdom on Australian Cinema (and it’s ills) that I am, I think I’ve divined what is going on here.
In the 90’s and much of the 00’s the funding bodies made these awful art movies on worthy topics (mental illness, asylum seekers, Aborigines, health, women’s issues, etc) that no one saw (or wanted to see). In the late 00’s there was a change of tactic due to an on going irrelevance of the National Cinema (due to these cinematic abortions) toward a more commercial and genre driven type of cinema. A good move in theory. But guess what? Instead of good genre films, based on exciting, edgy and original topics or ideas, etc., back came all the tired social causes (mental illness, asylum seekers, Aborigines, health, women’s issues) to further and condescendingly pollute our National Screen and bore a whole new generation of local cinema goers. The funding bodies would then attempt to make quirky comedies and feel good dramas about these ‘worthy’ social issues with equally, if not even MORE disastrous results. We are seeing the proof of this on our screens on a now monthly basis down under. See Save Your Legs and Goddess for further proof of this. Or the aforementioned Mental, Not Suitable for Children, Lore and many others from last year.
So, that’s where we are at the moment in mainstream Australian Cinema.
Addendum: I finished watching Mental and apropos it’s ‘worthy’ cause of Mental Health issues – I have never seen a more insulting and absurd movie about the issue in my life. So, these films are even failing as ideological engines of social responsibility. Is it not long overdue that we had some kind of National Forum on Cinema with the funding bodies to address these and other issues? We can’t allow Australian Cinema to so languish in the doldrums and for funding to be so wasted without responsibility or accountability.
November 3, 2012
The Last Days of Joe Blow Trailer on Vimeo.
We have had to cut it a bit to meet their silly sexuality guidelines.
Trust me the feature is much juicier.
It is at the AFM right now, folks, with the Producer Jason Byrne. So if you’re from a fest playing next year and want to see it – drop Jason a line and meet up/make contact. etc.
Otherwise sit back and enjoy the trailer. http://vimeo.com/52599100
Director/C0-Producer-Richard Richard Wolstencroft, Producer-Jason Byrne, Co-Producer-Tait Brady, Associate Producer/Editor-Mark Bakaitis. Camera-Mark Mark Savage & Richard Wolstencroft, Music-David Thrussell, Damian Whitty and others. Featuring Michael Tierney as Joe Blow. Also featuring William Margold, Ron Jeremy, Eric John, Missy Woods, Charlie Chase, Jeremy Steele and many others. Special guest commentators Bruce LaBruce and Andrew Richardson.
A few stills below. A couple with raunch.