August 30, 2014
on The Rover by David Michod. A complete misfire Apocalyptic musing movie from Michod after the somewhat impressive local crime drama Animal Kingdom. Guy Pearce is uber grim as a completely unlikeable main character, basically, trying to get his car back in a sad sack Mad Max universe that’s filled inexplicably with lots of Asian outback extras. Guy Pearce’s part is one dimensional and dreary – but at least he can act his part and carry it. He is joined by Robert Pattinson in an excremental role of a semi retarded American hick side kick – who for some reason is in the Aussie outback – being forced to go with Pearce. Normally just wooden, Robert Pattinson is bordering on the embarrassing in this film as his overwrought attempts at acting chew the scenario and his put on accent grates the ears and nerves. The nondescript script is also somewhat weak and meanders all over the place. Has a few nice moments of grim violence and nihilism and a new take on a local Apocalypse – but that fails to hold together and redeem this rather dull and bleak film.
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.
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.
October 31, 2012
Excellent Halloween News marking a Special Event:
The 20th Anniversary of The Hellfire Club will take place Sunday December 16 at:
The LuWow Tiki Bar and Nightclub
62/70 Johnston St., Fitzroy.
Stand by for fliers, ads, event details, giveaways, performers, DJ’s, merchandise, old cards and posters on Sale and all other kinds of Hellfire related mayhem, madness and kinkiness.
My Hellfire Club – back in the last month of 2012.
I attended a lecture on the subject of censorship, pornography and free speech at Melbourne Free University (a tiny gallery space in Lygon Street) whose speaker was author Jeff Sparrow, author of Money Shot.
To provide some background: I was banned from MFU three months back for talking on the exactly same topic – due to what they perceived as my political indiscretions that they either wished to silence, side line or shun. Even though I never would have really touched on that topic, of course.This was a rather perverse irony as it was all about free speech (supposedly!) but here were the advocates censoring what THEY didn’t understand. The average leftist liberal is all about diversity and difference on the surface – unless of course you really are diverse or different – then you are a persona non grata. I didn’t raise the banning of me from MFU as I am polite.
Also the entire audience was Anglo Saxon or European apart from ONE half Asian chap. I’m sure there are many Far Right meetings more ethnically diverse. Doubly Hilarious!
Author Jeff Sparrow from Money Shot I had met before. He had asked me for an extended interview 2 years ago on LA Zombie – which I happily and graciously gave him over a long friendly lunch. I thought we had got along fine – but Sparrow hid his thoughts. As a limp wristed Marxist wannabe he objected (like MFU) to something I had said somewhere in internet land and decided to caricature me a bit in his recently published book Money Shot – on porn and censorship.
Which is fine – I find that kind of thing funny from a perspective of ideology, etc.
But allow me to return the favour a little: Sparrow is a fey, glib, myopic and innocuous twit in a RRR T Shirt and knows little about the topic on which he speaks. He reduces censorship and the whole debate to an under graduate reflection on dialectical materialism – which is how the not so sly devil slips his outdated Marxist crap in to his rather constructed and biased narrative. He was ungracious – not acknowledging me after being in a chapter of his book. He was not generous when I asked politely if I could have a copy of his book – he was selling them there as a chapter was on me – he said no, rather rudely blaming his publisher. I am well aware from many books readings and appearances that a simple word from him would secure a copy for someone featured in the book.etc
When I questioned the poverty of his method of approach – in the question time – relying mainly on the issues of commodification and materialism and ignoring the whole ontological, Libertarian, Libertine and hedonistic aspects of the debate – he stone walled. Other questions were absurd: one women felt ‘pursued by porn’ I wanted to ask her did it chase her down the street or around her apartment? This kind of attitude reveals a repressed desire to indulge in pornographic Libertinage and hedonism. Other questions concerned the ban of porn in Aboriginal settlements in the NT – which is plain patriarchal racism. But as it was implemented or maintained by Labour there was much pussy footing around that issue. When I pointed out that his own left liberal views, as he admitted!, are the views of the current censor regime – making him the the defacto enemy he is supposedly criticizing and investigating – he was gob smacked and moved on quickly.
Again not even willing to engage in any kind of real debate or discussion. This is what he is like and what goes on at these type of events. Nothing is said – everything is omitted. It’s self censorship – of the very worst kind – and an act of cowardice.
Which If I had to caricature Sparrow – that is how I would do so – as a coward. Touche to you Jeff.
And, also allow me to add: fuck you pal for being such a rude, inconsiderate and unappreciative journo pretender.