Film Essent Archive for November, 2009

I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night with KISS

Image064.jpg Just got home from the KISS concert, and it was even more awesome than I’d anticipated. Seattle’s Key Arena was pretty packed with rock fans (where but a KISS concert would I overhear in passing a conversation starting with, “So the old lady and me were on the way to the Tacoma Dome to see AC/DC, and then the cops pulled us over and we’d been working through a couple 12-packs of PBR on the way down …”). When my daughter Neve and I arrived at the Key there was a long line waiting to get through security, and a stern recorded female voice was lecturing us about the Key’s security rules (no cameras, no weapons, no outside food or drink, we might, perhaps, be cavity searched if we looked suspicious).

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Hey, You! Go Make Out with Violence

Yo, LA folks.
There’s this great little horror film called Make Out with Violence. I wrote a little about the film< in my wrap-up of the Oxford Film Festival earlier this year, where it scored the Best Feature Award. I know, I know, you’ve seen lots of zombie movies, why do you want to see another? I hear you. But trust me on this one. It’s not your ordinary zombie film — it’s more of a twisted tale of love, lust, possession and objectification with the zombie bit as the wrapping.
This an awesomely shot and produced film, particularly given what had to be a shoestring budget (hell, maybe only half a shoestring), and moreover, the Deagol Brothers, the guys who comprise the writing/producing/directing team behind the film, have worked their collective asses off to promote it. It’s hard out there for an indie filmmaker, bu these guys have been nose-to-the-grindstone doing some excellent publicity work on behalf of their baby, and I believe that smartness and savvy deserve to be rewarded.
So. Make Out with Violence has a FREE (yes, that’s FREE) screening in the LA area. This is a once-and-only-once event, so even though it’s in Alhambra, you should get a group of your best horror movie-loving pals together and carpool out there to support these guys and see a great little film. Also, the soundtrack rocks, so even if you hate the film you’ll probably like the music. Screening details are after the jump; help spread the word for these great guys, and best of luck to the whole Make Out with Violence team.
And if all that hasn’t convinced you to go out of your way to see and support this film, check out this video interview I did with them at SXSW this year. Don’t you just want to hug them and give them a lucrative distribution deal?

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Ghosties

I don’t watch or write about television shows much, but right now it’s 6:30AM and I’m sitting here wating Cartoon Network’s The Othersiders with my 10-year-old son. He totally digs this show, but his younger sibs wouldn’t let him watch it last night, so I promised to watch it with him today.
The Othersiders is a kids’ reality show about a group of teenagers who investigate places reported to have paranormal activity. I actually really like this show — not just because of the paranormal stuff, which is occasionally kind of cool, but more for the way in which it presents the teens on the show.
As a mom of a pack of kids, one of whom has already navigated her teen years, and the other four who are heading that way, I feel like teenagers often get a bum rap. Yes, they can be loud and annoying, particularly when they run in packs. They can me mouthy and rebellious and slam doors and roll their eyes spectactularly. Guess what? So did we when we were teens. I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I was a real pain in the ass. I know, it’s hard to imagine, but it’s true. Just ask my mother.
On The Othersiders, though, the teens are presented not as irritating creatures to avoid, but as intelligent beings who have smart things to say. The teens have “jobs” on the show — webmaster, technical manager, etc. They go into creepy, dark places — haunted camp grounds, haunted houses, Alcatraz — in search of proof that ghosts and such exist. Honestly, some of the places they go creep me out just watching them on TV. I don’t think I would be as calm and rational as some of these kids are.
At the end of each episode, the whole team gathers back at their headquarters and reviews all the evidence they gathered, and then votes as a team on whether they think the place they’ve investigated might actually be haunted. This is my favorite part of the show, because I like seeing how carefully these teens peruse their evidence. Zack,the nerdy-but-cute technical manager, and team leader Riley are always the hardest to convince. They don’t actually agree as a group very often that a place really is haunted.
On a recent episode at a haunted campground, though, the team gathered evidence ranging from unexplained thermal “hot spots” to ghostly voices recorded on their high tech recorders. In that case, when the team analyzed all the evidence, they voted unanimously that the camp was haunted – rarely do they all agree that way.
On the Alcatraz episode, KC and Riley just clearly heard banjo music from the shower … that’s the place where for years there have been rumors that one-time Alcatraz guest Al Capone, who reportedly went insane in the prison, used to play his banjo. Creeeeeeepy. Is Alcatraz haunted? Jury’s still out, we have to watch the rest of the episode to find out.
These are smart kids who will later be able to apply their gig on The Outsiders for grown-up jobs. Imagine a future job interview: “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?” “Well, I was in Alcatraz and heard Al Capone’s ghost playing his banjo ….” Groovy.

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“Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private… if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn’t be posting this now. I don’t want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street… So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him… I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O’Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the L. A. Times.”
~ James Gunn

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner