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

 

John Grant – Pale Green GhostYoungGalaxy_Ultramarine

 

Polica – Shulamith

 

Pankow – And Shun the Cure They Most Desire

 

David Bowie – The Next Day

 

Depeche Mode – Delta Machine

 

 

on 12 years a Slave. This years companion piece to The Butler is 12 Years a Slave, a sort of Django Re-Chained starring a guy whose name is almost impossible to pronounce (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Just as we get two or so big ‘Oscar Worthy’ (snort) WW2 holocaust movies each year from Hollywood, it seems we now get same about African American subjects and oppression, etc, etc. 12 Years a Slave is the latest one – and it’s a rather turgid, dull, painful to watch and pointless experience. Here the nastier aspects of Slavery are gloated over in a, it must be said, rather Sadomasochistic way by English gay film maker Steve McQueen. McQueen uses his video art stylistics to present slavery vignettes and tableaus better suited to kInk.com – that as one now tarnished New York Film Critic noted – reek of ‘Uncle Tomism’ and a sadistic gloating over the nastiness of 19th century Southern slavery. Naturally ‘White Man is The Devil’ in this movie: you get the gentle kind Slaver in Benedict Cumberbatch, you get the chip on his shoulder racist young man in Paul Dano (who get’s a good whipping from the main character in this – that was fun I will admit), you get the whitey opposed to Slavery but who works with Slaves in Brad Pitt and FINALLY you get the Totally Psychotic Slave owner in Micheal Fassbinder. The latter fucks one of the more attractive slave girls and yet beats the skin off just about everybody else in a pointless and nihilistic way to make the point about the heart of ‘evil whitey’ over and over again. You get the idea. The main problem with these type of films from Hollywood is a Nietzshean one. You are being presented with a sympathetic slave morality in these films MADE by people who clearly live by the more morally ambiguous Master Morality. So, in the final analysis this film is at it’s essence deeply inauthentic and hypocritical. You can take that to the bank and as Michael Fassbinder might say in the movie “that’s scripture!”
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on Her. (some mild spoilers): This vacant and deeply solipsistic movie seems like it was dreamed up inside the head of the gadget departments at Apple and Google. It feels like an aspirational style ad for a New Operating System that you can fully interact with. “Like WOW Consumers!” This is fine, sure… but pointless as a feature film. The film rolls out along these lines and then, somehow, goes awry after about 90 minutes and has a kind of soppy, bummer ending. It is in (virtual) reality the fourth film of the much lauded cinematic wunderkind, Spike Jonze. It has received much, almost universal praise from mainstream press and critics – like it is a new film from a recently resurrected Stanley Kubrick. But sadly this is not the case. It is the empty and dull story of a man called Theodore Twombly, who is a dickless nobody who writes greeting cards and letters and lives in some ‘five minutes in to the future’ version of LA/Malaysia. Ted instead of jerking off to net porn and dating a real human being gets some new OS from Apple or Google (Coming Soon for just 666.66$) and then falls in love with it. One hour of pointless navel gazing follows where you want to walk up to Joaquin Phoenix or Spike Jonza, slap their faces and demand they read the works of Martin Heidegger or Friedrich Nietzsche. Audio book versions for Spike Jonze as, apparently, he ‘doesn’t read’. Then it descends in to the aforementioned tawdry melodrama – The End. We saw this before with Andrew Nichols (flop) film SimOne from the early 00’s and this is the rehash. Has a subplot riffing on Jonze’s break up with Sofia Coppola – that seems to be about the only ‘real thing’ in this movie. The mise en scene and locations are impressive and original, that is only stand out aspect of this film I can give it praise for, but it is all just background. This film is, at it’s core, just a lame ass Romance Movie about a guy falling in love with his latest AI iPhone (available in the lobby 999.99$). That’s all. That’s it. That’s supposed to be profound. It’s not. It’s empty as the phone you have in your hand right now, and the lives many of us all revolve around it. It’s also meant to be some supposed critique of our technological isolation and loneliness. It does touch on this theme, but does so in a way that totally sells this lifestyle, also. The film is insidious in it’s embrace of this atomized lonely world of technological solipsism – even if it also acknowledges some down sides in the small print. No doubt fixable by some new individualizing app! Overall I found Her a trite and unsatisfying light sci fi romance romp for the hand gadget obsessed and alone, New Gen worker clones. Not unpleasant to watch, it washes over you in a quiet way – but a sense of cinematic dread and despair also fills you as the 2 hours of this film play themselves out, as you realize, people really do LOVE this SHIT and are that shalllow. Download that, suckers.

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Joe Blow plays Monsterfest. Thanks to Neil Foley, Grant Hardie and the Monster Team.

From the Monstser site:

Actor and Independent filmmaker Michael Tierney enters the world of pornography to become porn star Joe Blow. He travels the world many times over and works with all the top female stars. But after five years in the business, he finds getting out a lot more difficult than he expected.

links:

http://monsterfest.com.au/films/films-a-z/film/33/the-last-days-of-joe-blow.html

Ticket’s can be booked here:

http://www.cinemanova.com.au/catalogue/monster-fest/mfthelastdaysofh

Joe Blow gal pic

 

 

 

New Movie (3).Movie_Snapshot

The MUFF 14 Awards results. Winners are Grinners.

 

OZ and International –

 

Best Film (Tie) – Jugular (dir: JJ DeCeglie) & Thanatomorphose (dir: Éric Falardeau)

 

Runner Up Best Film – Model Behaviour

 

Best Director – JJ DeCeglie

 

Best Male Actor – Gregory Pakis – for  Jugular & The Joe Manifesto

 

Best Female Actor – Lindsay Lohan – The Canyons

 

Best Supporting Male Actor – Don Baker – The Late Men

 

Best Supporting Female Actor – Samira Amira – Model Behaviour

 

Special Jury Prize – The House Cleaner – director Timothy Spanos

 

Best Guerrilla Film – Made in Australia – Director Matt Pastor

 

Best Documentary – Burn – directors Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez

 

Award for Innovation in the New Cinema – The Late Men – director Van Poynton

 

Best Screenplay – Bret Easton Ellis (The Canyons)

 

Best Short Film (Tie) – Butterflies (dir: Isabel Peppard) and Year of the Golf Ball (dir: David Thrussell)

 

Runner Up Best Short Film – The Side Entrance

 

Best Short Director – Chris and Robert Smellin. (She’s Having a Baby & Last Night)

 

Best Screnplay Short – Seamus Ryan and Michael Taylor – The Side Entrance

 

Best Male Actor in a Short Film – Seamus Ryan – The Side Entrance

 

Best Female Actor in a Short Film – Maya Jean – Ravenous

 

 

INTERNATIONAL

 

Best Foreign Film – The Canyons

 

Best Foreign Director – Paul Schrader – The Canyons

 

lindsay-lohan-james-deen-the-canyons-ifc-films

 

Best International Short – The Child, the Woman and The Men

I’m over ‘The Other’

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.

The Rocket looks a bit lame – it’s not really an Australian film. The same filmmakers who made their kitchen sink dramas no one wanted to see are now getting their Screen Australia Travel vouchers and going all Orientalist and ‘other’ as they examine and ‘come to be one’ with foreign cultures – ohmmm – in films no one really wants to see. No doubt in between their five star hotels and full body massages, naturally. I should see it to be sure – but it looks a bit like a PC white guilt ‘don’t we just love the ‘other” and aren’t we so foreign and exotic outing. Go on a OS holiday and get the same feeling.

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-rocket-keeps-rising-with-miff-award-20130813-2ru6g.html

I think when foreigners – like Australians – go to a foreign land and feel they are somehow spiritually connected to it by making a work of art there – they are often deluded. We all love travel. It’s one of life’s great pluses. But don’t kid yourself your connected to the plight of Laos or Cambodia or China or whatever. You are not. And the people who live there would tell you that to your face if they could articulate the disgust they must secretly feel at your barely repressed Colonial fantasies and pretentiousness.

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

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Thoughts on Cinema 2.0

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?

The MUFF 14 Poster

August 10, 2013

Here it is. One month to MUFF 14 – and here is the Poster and it’s a good one.

Take a look and come along! MUFF is back for 2013. Catalogue online this week.

Muff Poster Fisrt Draft