Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heather O'Rourke Remembered

Young Heather O'Rourke  died of Crohn's Disease on February 1, 1988.

Her birthday was yesterday.

Her death, apparently, sabotaged the publicity campaign for her last film, Poltergeist III, because it was felt that the film itself was cursed.

RIP, Young Lady.


a certain troll and occasional contributor of worthwhile 
comments to this blog inspired and encouraged this post

More Seen and Unseen deMullotto



Courtesy of a close friend of Mr. deMullotto comes this selection of seen and unseen work.

In the past, some have complained that the CGI pieces are primitive and unconvincing. Please understand that Mr. deMullotto was one of the very first practitioners of the art to attempt 3-D graphics of this nature. To criticize these for their technical crudity is akin to unfavorably comparing the first black and white TV's to the plasmas of today. The plasmas are impressive, but the real magic of the form was in its invention.


Some of these examples of the artist's work have appeared previously in books and on his defunct website.

He remains an unsung master of the form alongside Robert Bishop, John Willie, Eric Stanton, and Tom of Finland.


I have more of these, and will post them within the next two weeks.

Fincher's Dragon Tattoo

 The original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a favorite of mine. Lurid sex, feisty women, grisly violence, bloody crime scenes, rape, perversion, action, murder... as Mary Poppins once said, "these are a few of my favorite (cinematic) things..." Ugly material works in the movies because it elicits a reaction from the audience and is sure to provoke a reaction dramatically.

David Fincher, the director of the American version of the story, is no slouch. His Zodiac is a favorite of mine, and I'm quite partial to Seven also. He's a director who applies his mind to a film's details and clearly has a plan. His films never feel like they're driven by a paycheck or a crass commercial motive -- not that a film shouldn't make a tidy profit (it actually needs to), but we shouldn't smell the urine-scented sweat of the accountants at the ledgers.

Fincher's Dragon Tattoo is not a lot different from the Swedish version. It's not quite as sexual, and it's colors are much more muted than those of the original, but it retains its source's essence of vice and corruption. The Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross score is more soundscape than musical accompaniment and is all the better for it. Rooney Mara, who plays the sensuously named Lisbeth Salander, is totally convincing, hot as coals, and compelling in the lead role. Daniel Craig, taking a break from Bond, acquits himself very nicely as the American version of  Mikael Blomkvist.

Before coming to this version, I feared that elements of the original would be toned down or changed. Does Salander seduce and fuck Blomkvist in Fincher's take? With gusto? Yes. Does Salander get thoroughly sexually abused in this take? Yes. The abuse is not as explicit, protracted, or depraved as it was in  the Swedish adaptation, but we get the point.

I didn't enjoy Fincher's version as much as Niels Arden Oplev's version because I knew the story too well. I didn't know the points Fincher changed, but there were few surprises for me. None of this is to say you shouldn't give it a go, even if you have seen the original. On the contrary, mainstream rarely gets as dark as this.

Still, for me, the American version is a little too visually calculated and dour. But it was great to see some honest fucking in American movies and take a message home that someone, at least, is comfortable telling us that not all sex without matrimony leads to despair, depression, and disaster (eventually).  

Poster for the original: more sexual, more 'European' in a Eurosleaze way

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mission Impossible 4

Publicized and reviewed (perhaps the same thing?) as the best of the series, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is surprisingly languid and uninvolving. Generic set-up has Tom Cruise's team disavowed by the people who pay them and compelled to stop yet another nuclear maniac from destroying the world. They operate as "ghosts", so to speak, which explains the silly title. Every second action film these days focuses on the tired exploits of  "rogue" agents or skilled individuals who are abandoned by their bosses. It's getting old.

The film, directed by Brad Bird, who made The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, can rightly brag about two excellent action sequences -- the first of note involves Cruise (who is, admittedly, very good in this film) dangling from the world's tallest building; the second (and best) feels like an extension of a specific action scene in Jackie Chan's Twin Dragons. Cruise and the villain trade blows in an automated parking garage where expensive cars are rotated, parked, and dropped by high tech machinery. The dueling duo have a brilliantly brutal time going up and down and falling from impossible heights as they both attempt to acquire a case containing a computer.

Certainly a film to be appreciated on the big screen, but not the best cinematic thing since sliced bread.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tohjiro's Output

I've been a fan of Tohjiro's work/output for quite some time. He's taken porn in very unusual directions. Recently, "output" describes the content he's focusing on.

Frankly, I don't find excessive vomiting terribly erotic, although it does possess a certain Grand Guignol audacity.

The freak show dominates the director's work and, to some extent, that of other Dogma 'auteurs'. Japan's bizarre censorship laws permit explicit focus on the anus and its expulsions while draping quivering mosaic shapes over the vagina and its surroundings.

Ultra-hard S/M remains a constant on Tohjiro's horizon. Although the covers convey a rich aesthetic, the productions themselves often lack such riches -- reduced, unfortunately, to handheld, poorly lit tableaux.

My introduction to Tohjiro was a screening (approximately ten years ago) of the best piece of lesbian erotica I've ever seen. It was a film he produced prior to forming Dogma and involved two beautiful women in a traditional Japanese setting.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

6000 Seconds of Silliness for 10 Billion Cents

 Tarsem, please stick with commercials, mate. You're a very decent teller of the thirty second story with a product at its center. Unfortunately, you're all at sea when you have six thousand seconds to fill with something other than product -- at least, we expect something other than product. Is that unreasonable of us?

I must confess that I find anything to do with Greek Mythology terribly silly. It reads OK in books, but when you portray absolutes like gods of this and gods of that on the silver screen, it's dull and stupid. Greek Mythology makes for good, symbolic story fodder, but it's non-intimate essence makes for godawful fucking drama.

The gods in Tarsem's Immortals do what gods usually do: They look down on things from an elevated position of authority and smugness. These bored pseudo-Bohemians throw comments about, bicker amongst themselves, and create rules that suit themselves. We don't care really. They can suck their own dicks. We're as bored as they are.

As he did in The Fall, Tarsem focuses 99% of his energy on the visuals and 1% on characters who wouldn't need such visuals if they were interesting. The entire film takes place on sets against green screens and it looks like it. The skies are impossibly beautiful, the ocean is impossibly perfect, and the rocky escarpments are too polished to be real. As for the people... it's a stretch to call them that.

The story involves a quest for a bow that fires an arrow made of lightning. Mickey Rourke, looking fat and pleased with his paycheck, plays the bad guy.   He sports a scar and kills his help when he feels like it, or when the writers need to wake the audience.  Henry Cavill, who plays Superman in the upcoming "reboot" (fuck, I hate that word!), is Theseus, the hero given the job of locating the bow and arrow by Zeus. Along the way, Theseus beds a pretty virgin (pictured below) with a great, art-directed ass, and has trite ego clashes with Stephen Dorf, who's totally underutilized.

Although the action isn't non-stop, the non-action involves a lot people standing near cliffs spouting utter shit about life, liberty, immortality, and future outcomes they know nothing about. There's not a human being to be found. Ex-Elephant Man John Hurt shows up now and then to fireside chat with Theseus because Theseus has no friends. Like everybody else, Hurt's wise old codger talks a brand of of goop that's stultifying.

When the action comes, it's as bloody as CG can be and confusing to watch. Hundreds of thousands of CG-spawned soldiers attack a hole in a wall and exchange steel blows in a corridor with a low ceiling. The outcome is predictable.

This cost more than a hundred million dollars. Couldn't 5% of that be spent on a decent script?

Pompous and boring: That's what you get for your ten billion cents when you embrace the silliness of Greek Mythology.   

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

POND SCUM Trailer (HD)

Indie filmmaking is about persistence. 
A large dose of psychotic optimism doesn't hurt, either. 
I'm grateful for the stellar human beings who are taking this tough journey with me. You all know who you are.
Despite the fact that Pulp IS a way of life, I'd be careful who I recommend it to.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Special People

Not special enough
Not for long
Promises made
Promises kept
Smiling in limbo land
Gazing forever
Reported lost
Wanted not
No answers
Just the silence of the grave
That you can trust
Slow death
Accelerated life

I found these tragic people in a small curio store close to the border of Texas and Mexico.

A modest rescue was enacted.