Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Hopefully you guys have been checking out my reviews for the flud watches website in addition to this blog (links for recent flud reviews are on the right, or click the "flud reviews tag" on the right as well). The content from the old flud website is gone, but thankfully i saved everything. Here's the 4TH installment of older reviews that aren't up anymore. And make sure to check out the new flud site if you haven't already...

If Robert Bresson and Todd Solondz ever collaborated on a movie (with a pinch of Michael Haneke's sensibility), chances are it would be Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth. In my opinion, this is the true definition of a dark comedy. After hitting last year’s festival circuit, Dogtooth finally made its way to the U.S. and I must say it does not disappoint. This film follows a strange family who’ve secluded themselves from the outside world in order to live life on their own unique terms. The mother and father intentionally lie to their children about the outside world, none of the children have ever left the house/land they live on, the son (clearly in his early 20’s) still has nightmares and sleeps in his parents bed from time to time and the two sisters have a strange sexual tension towards each other. The family’s only contact to the outside world is the father, who does hold down a regular job and appears to be normal to the outside world, but in reality he’s just as "off" as the rest of his family. Ultimately this is an allegory about parenting and how it can rub off on your children. The symbolism may seem a bit heavy handed, but the film is so well made and acted, I honestly don’t care. The intentionally monotone, deadpan acting, and long polarizing shots may not be for everyone, however the subtle yet shocking comedy and quick spurts of violence may even things out a bit.

The movie’s called “Trash Humpers”, its directed by Harmony Korine, so you can only imagine the possibilities. The film walks the line between fiction & documentary, in the same vein as Orson Welles’ “F for Fake” or Werner Herzog’s “The Wild Blue Yonder”. I guess you could label the movie as a mockumentary. At the Q&A for Trash Humpers, Korine called this movie a “found object”, in the sense that he tried to make it seem like an artifact, or a lost videotape dug up or discovered after 20 years. The almost plot less story follows the day-to-day adventures of a group of (whom i assume to be) mentally disturbed friends who dress and act like old people. Through the course of the movie, they hump trashcans (hence the title of the movie), order obese hookers, murder of a few people, steal a baby, teach a little kid to put razor blades in fruit and eat pancakes with dish detergent instead of syrup. …yeah. Imagine the last 10 minutes of “the blair witch project”, mixed with ALL the disturbing shit from Korine’s earlier film; “Gummo”, in the form of a feature length film. The movie was shot on old home camcorders, to make it appear as if what we’re watching is real. Although the “plot” of the movie is somewhat different, the whole idea of what Korine was trying to do isn’t all that different from what blair witch did a decade ago. Bottom line, if you’re a Harmony Korine fan and you’re familiar with what he’s capable of, you’ll probably go see it. If you aren’t that familiar with Korine’s work (like the 2 women who sat next to me at the screening), i would NOT recommend this. I mean, before the start of the film, Korine himself said; “If you’re prone to walking out of movies, you might as well walk out now.” And plenty of people did in fact walk out before the end of the movie.

I gotta be honest, this movie was VERY disappointing. Id expect a movie like this to come from M. Night Shayamalan (predictable “twist”, you can see coming 2 minutes in to the movie). But when you’re Martin Scorsese, there’s no excuse for this. What’s even more fucked up is that if anyone else had directed this same exact movie, it would’ve gotten hated on immediately. But since Scorsese’s name is attached to it, people feel like; “well, it is directed by Scorsese, so it must be good. I HAVE to like it. Maybe I just don’t get it.” All respect due to Scorsese, but I’m just sayin’… Anyway, In Shutter Island, Leonardo Dicaprio plays a detective on an assignment to find an escaped patient from insane asylum. Through out the film, we piece together that he lost his entire family, and is still haunted by it. The first few minutes in (Literally), you can clearly see what’s going on, making the next 2 hours of the movie somewhat of a letdown. When something is billed as a mystery, and you can figure out the mystery in the very beginning, it kinda takes the fun out of the rest of the movie. The last decade or so, hasn’t been that great for Scorsese. What’s happening to him now, is what happened to his peers in the 80’s & 90’s. Scorsese’s contemporaries like; Coppola (Godfather, Apocalypse Now), Bogdonovich (Paper Moon, Last Picture Show), Friedkin (French Connection, Exorcist) and Lucas (THX, American Graffiti) made their classics in the 70’s, and slowly fell off through out 80’s and 90’s. Scorsese was one of the few great American directors from the “New Hollywood Era” to actually survive the 80’s & 90’s, but it looks like he finally hit that “weird” patch in his career. I’m not saying he should go back to making gritty, mafia, new york city movies, but shit like shutter island, the aviator, departed, etc just ain't working for me. Shutter Island is also an example of why trailers, are ruining movies. It’s getting to the point where you don’t even wanna see certain movies, because the trailer crams everything in to 2 minutes, and you feel like you’ve seen everything in the trailer. What’s the point of paying 12 dollars to see a movie when you’ve pieced everything together in the movie before you actually see it.

I’m sorry, but I don’t share the same enthusiasm that most people have with the Predator re-boot. I mean it’s better than the one with Danny Glover or any of those Alien vs. Predator movies, but it aint as great as a lot of critics and movie-goers are making it out to be. If Predators, sequel to the original, actually had a beginning and a completely re-worked 2nd half, this would’ve actually been a damn good movie. Unfortunately Predators is a kind of a mess. However at times it’s a fun mess (if that makes any sense). The plot is just another re-hashing of the 1920’s short story & film The Most Dangerous Game (humans being hunted like animals in a secluded jungle). We’ve all seen this theme explored before in other movies like; Surviving The Game, Hard Target, Naked Prey and Battle Royale. In this version of Predators, the Aliens are now abducting who they feel are the best killers on planet earth, and dropping them off on their planet so that they can be hunted for sport. The group of abducted killers is pretty similar to any other ragtag group you’d find in a Predator/Leviathan/Aliens-type movie; The white guy who automatically takes charge (played by Adrian Brody doing his best Snake Plisken/Christan Bale Batman voice), The black guy (take a wild guess at how long he lasts), The tough latin chick (played by Sofia Varga. I guess Michelle Rodriguez was busy…), the quiet and mysterious Japanese Yakuza assassin, The Russian guy, The Mexican guy, etc. Once they all realize why they were abducted and whats going on, they join forces to fight the Predators. And just like any other movie of this genre, each member in the group gets taken out one by one (and if you consider that a “spoiler”, name me a Predator movie where that’s never happened before). There’s also a pointless subplot that involves two different Predator species at war with one another. Like I said before the movie is a fun mess at times. So no matter how hard you try to make sense out of stupid parts in the movie, chances are you’ll still enjoy yourself when you see it. You may even find yourself laughing at parts that I’m sure weren’t intended to be funny. There are some nice references to not only the first Predator film, but other classic films ranging from Aliens to Seven Samurai. In fact, I found the best scene in the film to be the one-on-one samurai fight between the Yakuza guy and one of the predators. Never in a million years would I have expected a predator movie to reference a Samurai film by legendary director; Akira Kurosawa. So check this out if you just wanna be entertained and amused at the same time. If you’re expecting something on par to the original Predator, you’ll be disappointed.


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