Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where Our Lives Are Reduced


 Now and then, I observe friends and acquaintances participating in a reduction of their lives, a blunting of their humanity.

So many of us spend a lifetime pleasing others and trying to say the "right" thing. In many cases, these two missions are associated with income. If I tell this person what I think of them, they mightn't employ me. If I tell this person how I really feel, they may not do me a favor in the future.

What a bunch of fuckin shit.

 The great Marquis de Sade learnt the price of Truth

When you reduce youreself to verbal grovelling, you give up your individuality, your humanity, and your sense of self. When you put financial favors in front of the truth, you begin a process of intellectual retreat.

Moreso, the favors you think you will receive by kowtowing and pleasing others are unlikely to follow. What a garbage human being hates even more than being challenged is being faked out by the likes of a kowtowing butt-kisser.

There's no denying that incomes can be forsaken and associations can be shattered by truth. This happens all the time. The majority of human beings are unable to trade in truth as they lack the maturity needed to confront its consequences, so they construct castles of delusion for these weakest of butt-kissing lemmings, and these masters of straw domains prosper on the backs of these subsidized drones.


Unfortunately, we now live in a political age where an expression of brutal honesty must be followed by a televised apology to the offended subjects of that truth.  As a result, the active aspect of that truth is pushed back into a recess where it will fester, harden, and scar the collective consciousness.

Saying the "right" thing is saying what you truly feel.


The wrong thing is to express an opinion with the purpose of pleasing another with that opinion.

If you're doing that for the majority of your life, you're not living, you're participating in a global reduction of your humanity.


You're also conceding that you're a piece of shit whose individuality is meaningless and whose measuring stick for all that matters is the dollar. You've become exactly what you hate. 

Congratulations!

Romano Scavolini's Nightmare


Romano Scavolini's Nightmare (aka 'Nightmares in a Damaged Brain'), now out on DVD via Code Red, has been an enduring favorite of mine. Over the decades, I've consulted it whenever I needed a shot of bleak, and it's always provided the charge I was craving.

The more I watch it, the more it reminds me of another favorite, the superior Clean Shaven ('93), Lodge Kerrigan's amazing odyssey of a schizophrenic man searching for his daughter. Both films are set in muted coastal regions (Nightmares in Florida, Clean Shaven in Long Island, NY), and take full advantage of their regional isolation, and sense of industrial decay. Downbeat and introspective, they'd make quite a double feature, something to slash your wrists by.



Grouped a little too lazily into the 'Slasher' category, Nightmare is a film about a man hunting humans, but it's also a film about his pain and the failure of the establishment to contain him.  As you do, he focuses his murderous desires on a family, and forms a strange type of relationship with a young boy, the family prankster. As this is a horror film, family members end up dead and dismembered, and director Scavolini (working with Tom Savini and Ed French) delivers the gore without restraint.


It's not a perfect film. It's slow in parts (particularly the middle) and the killer's decisions are not clear. Why does he pick this particular family to stalk? Did he once live in their house? Perhaps. Baird Stafford, who plays the killer, does a good job embodying the man with a damaged brain, a brain damaged further harmed by experimental, psychotic drugs. Although the marketing point of this film is graphic violence, it lifts itself out of the slasher ghetto inhabited by swill such as Final Exam, Savage Weekend, Chopping Mall and Prom Night by creating a truly disturbing aura around the killer and providing a sleazy, uneasy atmosphere of hopelessness. And, as noted, the violence is very graphic and features some underage mayhem.



The Code Red DVD features three versions of the movie. The version on the second disk in the best. An unbelievable misstep on the part of the distributor is the inclusion of a 95 minute Italian language interview with the director that is not subtitled (!) Yes, they didn't bother to get subtitles done. A rumor circulating is that somebody who was supposed to do the subs didn't come through with the goods. Come on, how hard would it have been to find someone who spoke Italian? Jesus! With street dates approaching and no subtitles done, wouldn't it have been wise to find someone else to do the job? Or am I too logical?

Gripes aside, it's great to see Nightmare out and about at last.

Ed Wood Made Nothing This Bad


Poor old Edward D. Wood Jnr., he really got a bad wrap.  Those idiotic fuckheads, Michael and Harry Medved, who wrote The Golden Turkey Awards, gave Ed the nod as one of the worst directors of all time.  It was undeserved.

Come on, folks, Ed's movies were technically inept, but the guy was passionate and his films were never boring. In Tim Burton's Ed Wood, and in Nightmares in Ecstasy, the book on which the film is based, Ed comes across as a passionate, somewhat deluded adventurer, who made what he could from minimal resources. He wasn't the greatest quality controller, and clarity wasn't his strong suit, but he made a bunch of fascinating films that have endured and will gather new fans as the decades roll bv.

I felt particularly sorry for Ed while driving home from a screening of Lily and the Syphon, because it will probably never be denigrated with the glee Ed's films have been. It should be.

The film's first time director, Lloyd Lee Barnett, who's worked as a digital compositor on films such as Avatar, Speed Racer, and Apocalypto, made the film over a three year period between his studio gigs. Despite much effort and devotion, I'm sure, the film is a hideous, vomitous mess, and resembles something made by a bunch of unfocused, drug-fucked, pretentious high schoolers.

Travis Mendenhall plays Clay Foster, a man who talks to his dead wife Lily (played by Shannon O'Dowd). A physical presence in his house, Lily sits on the sofa rotting slowly as Clay engages her in conversation. We never see Lily's lips move because Clay is a nutcase and imagines she is speaking to him. We just get close-up shots of dead Lily while Clay chats to her. Throughout the movie, other characters are introduced, and the story of how Lily ended up dead is revealed. None of this is mildly entertaining. The performances are either flat (Mendenhall) or totally over-the-top (everybody else). The score, which was played at a nauseating volume, is a grating headached-inducer. It reminded me of a young kid at a party smashing his fists on a piano to annoy his parents and their guests.

On top of the rotten storyline and actor misdirection/lack of direction, the film indulges in irrelevant, repetitive, nonsensical dream/hallucination/who the fuck knows? sequences that throw cheap, shoddy, cliched images of death, space, and ghoulishness, and laughable, end-of-days proclamations at the audience. For example, a Satanic version of a character already introduced in the main story (?) stands in a space-like vortex espousing nonsense like "Your soul is damned!" while surrounded by Goth women with fangs. Huh? What the Christ?  This drawn out sequence has as much to do with the story as 9/11 has to Smurf birthing practices. A repeat of the same returns near the film's climax.  The result of the film's blending of hallucinations and dull narrative is a ninety minute bore that, for sheer ineptitude, eclipses anything poor Ed Wood ever did.

Prior to the screening, the director did something kinda stupid. He stood up and told the audience that they were in for something dark, violent, disturbing, and shocking. Unless you are going to deliver these things, don't promise them, let the audience discover the film on their own. On the other hand, if he truly did believe that the film was delivering these things, I totally get why Lily and the Syphon (awful title) is the beast it is. Grand delusion!

Unfortunately, I can't even recommended this as a fun, so-bad-its-good diversion. No, it's so bad it's sad (for the producers, actors, and audience).

Recently, the film has been retitled Death Do Us Part.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Will Michael Bay Attach to Live Action 'Overfiend'?


Watching Transformers 3 - Dark Side of the Moon, I came to the conclusion that Michael Bay ought to make a big budget, live action version of Legend of the Overfiend next. I say that with some seriousness for the following reasons:

1)Clearly, Bay's greatest passion is shooting beautiful women. In this flick, he introduces the token beautiful woman (a Victoria's Secret model!) with a gorgeously lit, low angle shot of her ass and creamy thighs. When she appears a little later in another scene, the dialog heard over a shot of her is "What a beautiful box!" I kid you not. The line is referring to a box someone is holding, but this is Bay's sledgehammer subtle attempt to ease some sleaze into a PG-13 film. He succeeds.

It must be so frustrating for the man to have to make films like this when all he really wants to do is make big budget porn.

2)Bay's second greatest passion is destroying property and people. He has an affinity for special visual effects and his quality control criteria (where special effects are concerned, at least) is thorough. This film has some arresting, visually spectacular sequences that, momentarily, help us forget the tedious in-betweens like character interaction. Some of the outer space footage echoes the otherworldly vistas seen in the animated Overfiend, and it's not a stretch to hypothesize that Mr. Bay gets a big, purple stiffy for space!



3)The Bay-meister needs new material that is not based on a toy. You can only do so much with a toy's backstory, and here they're scraping the bottom of the barrel. Overfiend, which does have a denser backstory than the current film under discussion, would provide the director with more than enough material to play with.

4)At its base, Overfiend mixes outer space, destruction of property, and the wholesale rape and penetration of women of a youthful persuasion. It goes about as far as intergalactic rape can go with females being bounced on industrial strength fucking machines and bodies ripped apart at the point of orgasm.



Michael Bay, this is your life, brother!





Or your future, anyway, if you decide to embrace your true nature and quit living a lie.



Go on, you know you want to.

Aside from the above-mentioned assets, Transformers 3 is a stinker. The biggest deficit is the Shia LeBeef character. Not only is he an arrogant, irritating asshole, he's irrelevant to the story. In this outing, it's so obvious that writer Ehren Kruger struggled valiantly to make The Beef matter. Crikey, the initial scenes with him feel like they're from another movie entirely.

We crosscut between the 'Transformers' story and nonsensical, attempted comedy involving LeBeef looking for a job. He also exchanges horrendous dialog with the new token vagina (a lovely British lass), and gets hassled by his parents (his mother looks and acts uncannily like Bam Margera's mom). Eventually, the two stories, if you can call them that, are forced to blend. That means injecting LeBeef and his rotten stage presence into a military operation. He then does stuff like telling special ops guys what to do and making reckless decisions that keep him in the story. Honestly, the little fucker isn't needed. He's a non-essential. He's like a key ring on a condom. Maybe he's there because he puts bums on seats? These days, that really is hard to believe. Would 'Transformers' diehards picket the next film if LeBeef wasn't aboard for it. I doubt it. In fact, I'd wager they'd applaud any decision to oust LeBeef.


In case you're wondering, yes, the film still features the annoying, "hilarious" sidekick robots;  director/actor John Turturro embarrasses himself and earns a great paycheck; and hideous, jingoistic dialog is mouthed by military, government, and mechanical spokesholes. The robot battles go on and on until they're like wallpaper, and the token vagina never gets her lily white clothes dirty, even though she's pouting about in a filthy war zone.

I really don't know who this movie is for. Audiences went to it in throngs, but did any of them actually enjoy it, or was it just another oversold lemming event?

Michael Bay, it's time to right your wrongs through interstellar penetration.

Unzip your creativity and go for it, dude!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pond Scum

 


As production ramps up and the light at the end begins to glow, I thought I'd share these screen captures from my new feature Pond Scum. It's been shooting for a while now in Los Angeles and will be completed by year's end and ready for distribution.

It stars the indefatigable and extraordinary Renae Boult as a woman who hitchhikes to LA with a list of terrible scores to settle.




Harboring a fatal secret and dispensing with the social pressures one encounters as a woman, she aims to right many wrongs and achieve a simple, eternal goal.

Unfortunately, standing between her are various ambassadors of human garbage.


  
But nothing will prepare our heroine for her first meeting with the man who will change her life forever and enable her true nature.


 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rape/Revenge is Back in Hong Kong




If you got into Hong Kong films in the last couple of years, you'd be forgiven (I guess) for not being familiar with the rape/revenge genre. These fine flicks, a staple of the late 80's and early 90's, traded in deliberately nauseating but stylish rape imagery, its grisly, traumatic aftermath, and the obligatory revenge. Usually, the revenge was far bloodier and more permanent than the rape itself. Traditionally, the rapist and his cohorts came to a sad end. If you want to get sticky with these beauties, I suggest a mini home movie festival. Be sure to include Red to Kill, Love to Kill, Her Vengeance, The Untold Story, Peeping Tom, The Rape After, Dr. Lamb, and Diary of a Serial Rapist. Most of these have been lovingly praised on this blog. I won't call them guilty pleasures as I experienced no shame enjoying them. Hopefully, you won't either. If you do, perhaps this blog is not in your future stars.


Juno Mak is a glutton for punishment in Revenge: A Love Story

If a return to Hong Kong-style rape-revenge gets your engine revving, please consider Ching-Po Wong's Revenge - a Love Story (Fuk sau che chi sei; 2010), a cracking, marginally improbably rape-revenge sickie with a generous helpings of perversion. Not surprisingly, I loved it. In addition to the traditional elements of this unfairly maligned genre, you get a Japanese porn actress (the mouth-watering Sora Aoi) leading the cast's vagina brigade, and you get a subplot involving fetus buns ripped from pregnant ovens. It would be spoiling matters to reveal the plot's specifics, but I'm going to step out on a limb and recommend this baby with minimal reservations.

As noted above, credibility does get its muscles strained towards the end, but my irritation faded when I wisely decided to accept that if you'd been stabbed and filled with bullets on several occasions, you'd still be capable of kicking rapist butt, anyway. You'd have a few minor abrasions and you'd limp like a three-legged mutt, but bullets and torture wouldn't prevent you from achieving your sociopathic goals.

 Actress Sora Aoi has a healthy adult film career in Japan

The film's lighting and post-grading are sensational thanks to the talented Jimmy Wong, who also shot the delightful Extreme Ecstasy: Sex and Zen, the 3-D must-see. Juno Mak, who plays the film's hero and victim by association, is superb in a physically demanding turn.  The film's fight choreography is solid, the gore is splashy, and the bad guy is one foul muthafucking see (c) you (u) next (n) tuesday (t). Where Revenge A Love Story rises to the upper ranks of its above-mentioned brethren is in its balls-to-the-wall portrayal of a sickeningly evil villain. This guy made me physically angry as he proposed raping a traumatized young woman and carried it out over and over again (in a police station, by Crikey!). Are the rape scenes full-on, you ask? They're not Red to Kill, but they're filmed to muster maximum outrage from the audience and they're lit like an expensive TV commercial for vomit.

Accolades must go to production company 852 Films and producers Andrew Ooi and Josie Ho for soldiering forth with yet another graphic horror pic that ignores China's recent influence on Hong Kong's movie production. Since the communists took back Hong Kong, their filthy, conservative influence has been felt in the colony, and films possessing the gruesome, lurid, graphic content that was once celebrated by the Category III rating have been as rare lately as penises at a lezbo gangbang. I reviewed 852's last film, Dream Home, in a recent blog, and, despite my admiration for it, had several reservations about its muddled structure. Revenge-A Love Story has no such structural deficits, and manages to unfold in a novel way thanks to a script that knows what it is and a director who squeezes maximum dramatic juice from its creative nipples.


 The Panorama Blu-Ray, recently released, sports a dashing, low contrast transfer (which suits the film's muted color scheme), and includes four mini movies centering on different aspects of the project.

I assume broader distribution is imminent. If it isn't, someone fucked up.

Some recent criticism that the film is hypocritical (rallying against violence while writhing in its excesses) is old news to me and predictable. Most rape-revenge thrillers are "guilty" of having it both ways. In fact, it's virtually impossible to make good exploitation without the moral outrage. The two have always gone hand in hand.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Yellow Sea


 It's refreshing to see stabbing making a comeback. Shootouts have lost their basic luster for me because I've seen too many and they've become too damn generic. And too permanent. When someone brings a gun to a fight, it tends to neuter the the drama and suspense. Stabbing, on the other hand, is a hit and miss affair, and that's what makes it cinematically vital. A missed slash of a knife can be a beautiful thing. Any dope can fire a gun and hit a target at close range, but it takes a skilled, focused individual to score points with a sharp knife. Stabbing has an intimacy to it that gun-to-gun combat lacks. If the stabber is lacking skills with a blade, it's still a rousing experience to watch him give the art the old college try.

The comeback of stabbing is most obvious in current Korean cinema. I Saw The Devil's stand-out scene is the film's villain stabbing two guys in a car. The camera circles the vehicle on velvet tracks as blood and arterial spray splatter windows, faces, and consoles. The stabbing doesn't stop until the screaming victims are reduced to inert bags of crimson meat. The scene is shocking for its intensity and raw intimacy.

In The Yellow Sea (Hwanghae, 2010), another reason to celebrate contemporary Korean cinema, there is a heavy emphasis on the knife, with good guys and bad engaging in close to a dozen sweaty, gore-soaked differences of opinion. Guns barely get a look-in as the tense, unrelenting drama unfolds on the streets and waterfront of Seoul. Being the odyssey of a Chinese man who agrees to kill a Korean academic, it is a blissfully brutal experience that springs as many surprises on the viewer as it does its protagonist.



Director Hong-jin Na made the exceptional The Chaser (reviewed on this blog) a couple of years ago, and this is his follow-up effort. The Chaser was notable for its ingenious plotting and superb craft. Here, the director serves up a darker beast -- as impossible as that may sound -- that plays like an American crime thriller of the late 70's. When it looks like it's turning into an Eastern First Blood, it resets and launches itself in an unexpected direction. There are several hair-raising car chase sequences and a handful of tense foot chases; The Chaser boasted a couple of those, too.

In a very real sense, Korean movie makers today are doing what their Hong Kong brethren were doing in the mid-80's to the early 90's. Their work possesses a vigor and sense of purpose that makes cinema a church worthy of your faith once again. I don't smell the cynicism of current American filmmaking (Hollywood!)  in the glorious battering rams of Korean genre cinema. I smell energy and the taking of delight in the process. That delight is what makes The Yellow Sea a damn fine experience.

Title is taken from a shipping land that lies between China's Eastern border and Korea's West peninsula. 

Highly recommended for lovers of brutal, bloody drama.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Fish Rots From the Head Down


Let me start with "This is a great fucking film" because it's the most adequate, all-encompassing  piece of praise I can think of.

Two weeks ago, I rose at 5 am and quickly  prepared a breakfast of Quinoa Flakes, blueberries, stevia, pineapple, and hemp milk. Excited, I slipped the (British) Third Window Films' Blu-ray into my player, took a seat, dug my spoon into the Quinoa, and waited for Cold Fish (Tsumetai nettaigyo, 2010), the second latest film from Japan's Sion Sono, to unfold.

Would it remain a film, as most do, or would it bolt from the pack and become an experience?

Before I placed the empty, blueberry-stained bowl on the tray beside me at 5:22 am, the film had already become an experience and more.

On the rear sleeve of the Blu-ray, it is described as "a psychotic cavalcade of sex, violence, and comedy".  It's much more than that, of course, but a little simplification doesn't go astray now and then. Director Sono's skill is in balancing the elements and building a strong foundation for them that is his characters.

 There's no arguing that Sono has found some very strong ones in this deliciously vile outing.  

The launching place for Cold Fish is a true story known as "The Saitama serial murders of dog lovers". A married couple, both professional dog breeders, sold overpriced dogs to a variety of people, including some yakuza types. When it became apparent that they'd been ripped off by the breeders, the unhappy customers complained. The couple addressed these complaints with murder. It's said that they murdered at least ten people.

In the script by Sion Sono and Yoshiki Takahashi (who also designed the striking, Straw Dogs-inspired poster art), the dog breeders have become fish breeders, and the climax has been changed completely. But according to crime journalist Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice,  the film follows the tenor and details of the original crimes very closely -- at least up to the point where it veers into very different thematic territory.



Shamato, who runs a tropical fish shop with his second wife, is put at a disadvantage when his bratty daughter, Mitsuko, is caught shoplifting. When it seems likely that the store's angry manager will call the police, a kind stranger (fish shop entrepreneur Murata), intervenes on the girl's behalf and smooths matters with the manager, negating police intervention. This apparent act of kindness turns Shamato into grateful, humbled putty in Murata's murderous hands.

The original killers, Gen Sekine and Kirokoo Kazama, become Murata (played with chilling conviction and humor by Denden) and his wife Taeko (Megumi Kagurazaka) here. Like Sekine, Murata  is a charming, charismatic rogue whose ability to manipulate those around him is a wicked joy to witness. As audience members, we know where it's all heading, but it's the machinations of his manipulation that are so fascinating. His greatest skill lies in forming bonds separately with each member of Shamato's family. Mitsuko, for one, detests her father and stepmother. When Murata offers to drive her home in his shiny red sports car, he encourages her to disparage her father in the meanest, most disrespectful way. This encouragement endears Murata to her, and puts her at ease with him (all the better to molest her later). Not too much later, Murata catches Shamato's wife Taeko in a vulnerable moment and deviously molests her, groping her breasts and crotch. When he drops her home after an afternoon of lurid intimacy, it's clear that he opened a door into Taeko's psyche (and body) that Shamato lost the key to long ago.

In a series of brilliant master strokes, the shockingly brazen Murata takes informal custody of Mitsuko, endears himself to Taeko, and involves Shamato in a murderous spree from which the psychologically beaten husband and father feels incapable of escaping.

I'm loathe to reveal too many more plot developments, of which there are plenty, because Cold Fish's plot surprises are just some of its bountiful joys; even greater joy, for me, at least, is derived from its approach to sexuality and thorough examination of what asserting your true nature actually means.

Not since directors Masaru Konuma (Wife To Be Sacrificed, Erotic Diary of an Office Lady) and Norifumi Suzuki (Beautiful Girl Hunter, School of the holy Beast) has a Japanese filmmaker approached the subject of  sexuality (and violence) as freshly and thoughtfully as Sono. Although he doesn't make what anybody would call "pink films", he incorporates pink film elements such as extreme fetishism and sadomasochism seamlessly into his scenarios.

Outside of pornography, sexuality and its broader expression (fetishism) is usually bundled (lazily) into the "perversion" basket. For mine, "perversion" is an abstract moral judgment of a particular sexual act provoked subconsciously by religious dogma. It's a meaningless word flung around by repressed, terrified, immature idiots who wouldn't know a human psyche from a hole in the ground. Because "perversion" is used in the West as a banner for sexual acts outside the "norm" (read: admitted to), and has negative religious associations, we're rarely treated to a thought-provoking, Western exploration of it. In Japan, where Christianity hasn't hijacked young minds and old ways, sex is more easily explored for the brilliant, shattering, euphoric force it can be (if you're game). In one of Cold Fish's most mind-blowing sequences, a violent confrontation between Murata and a yakuza gang is intercut with Murata's wife groping the hired help in a nearby closet. The juxtaposition of two forms of fiery passion (anger and lust) creates an atmosphere rarely seen or felt in cinema, and the impact on the viewer is incendiary (on this viewer, anyway). The audaciousness of the scene reminded me of Sono's previous film, Love Exposure  (reviewed on this blog), a work that explored fetishism, romance, and the dangers of religious faith.... and, like Cold Fish, balanced the often disparate elements with unbridled skill and gleeful abandon.



When Cold Fish detours from its source, it does so to address thematic issues. From the outset, its hero Shamato is a beaten man. Tensions between his daughter and her stepmother are high. Shamato has lost control of them, their mutual hatred a gulf in the family home.  Murata's intervention into their lives is not initially an unwelcome one. It rattles the family, wakes them from their domestic slumber, gives them an pronounced electric charge. Naturally, heaven turns to hell (which is simple physics), and Shamato's feeble grasp on everything becomes more pronounced. Eventually, he becomes Murata's puppet, more an abused son than a business colleague, and his unassertive ways threaten to bury him (literally). And then there's the detour, where the true story falls away and Sono asserts his theme.

The detour is about Shamato gaining control. I hesitate to write "regaining" because I'm not sure if he ever had it. In Japan, there is an entire genre of literature about fathers being beaten up by their wives and children; "Stupid Dad" is one of these. To varying degrees, the Dads of this genre are idiots (?) who work all day and have no relationship with their children. Their lives are of servitude to spoiled ingrates. For their efforts, they gets punished. For performing the traditional "duty" of bread winner, they get hung, burnt, stabbed, and dismembered. In Cold Fish, Shamato is Sono's "Stupid Dad", a man physically and psychologically beaten by the people he's supposed to protect. Unable to moderate the war between the two fighting females in his household, he's retired to a room in his head where the weather conditions outside can not touch him. When Murata enters Shamato's life, Shamato is happy to pass the "Stupid Dad" baton to him. When Shamato finally takes the baton back, the result is bloody and somewhat surprising. Not only does Shamato confront his abuser, but he asserts his fatherly role via several brutal acts of violence against his own family. These acts provide an incredible catharsis for him and the viewer, and represent a full reversal of the "Stupid Dad" genre.

For me, what makes Cold Fish great is its original, ballsy approach to hot material. It takes a line and walks it. It doesn't stop along the way to fuck, piss, protest, or suck a producer's dick. That's rare.

 Enthusiasts for Fred and Rose West (I know you're out there!) and the Moors Murderers (you, too!) will find much gristle to chew on here.

An interesting tidbit ripped from the Blu-ray extras is that the yakuza were instrumental in the conviction of the real life murderers. Their unconventional interview methods uncovered information the police couldn't. 

***

The Third Window Films Blu-ray of Cold Fish is a stellar presentation of the work.

Extras include an interview with co-writer Yoshiki Takahashi and crime journalist Jake Adelstein, who once met the actual murderers the film is based on.




Friday, July 1, 2011

The Tangerine Connection?

 

This observation may not be of interest to many of you, but I'd like an opinion if you have one. As I've documented many times on this blog, I love the Spanish horror film In A Glass Cage. The extraordinary musical score, never released officially, is by Javier Navarette, who also scored Pan's Labyrinth, Mirrors, Inkheart, The Devil's Backbone, and close to fifty others.


Today I was listening to Tangerine Dream's third album Zeit ('72) in an airport lounge. I'd recently purchased an electronic copy from emusic.com and have been catching up on various albums I used to have on scratchy LP's a long time ago.

I might be wrong about this, and I might be clutching at straws, but the first track on the Zeit, 'Birth of Liquid Plejades', sounds exactly like one of Glass Cage's most haunting cues. Coincidence? Who knows. Perhaps Navarette was inspired by some of the band's early music? Perhaps he borrowed the piece unconsciously? It's a brittle, haunting, drone-like track that becomes quite funereal. It's the first three to five minutes of the track that echoes -- actually, echoes is an understatement! -- Navarette's score... or, to put it more correctly, Navarette's score strongly echoes the Zeit cue (recorded fifteen years earlier).


On a related topic, a cue from Klaus Schulze's electronic score for the little-seen serial killer masterpiece, Angst (aka Fear, 83), reviewed here on this blog, can heard in Michael Mann's Manhunter.

 Electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze

The track, Freeze, is a strange, melodious number that takes us into Lector's troubled but brilliant mind. It is played when Will Graham (William Petersen) visits Lector the second time to get his take on some information.

Mann, clearly an electronic music aficionado, has used the work of many electronic composers (European and American) in his work.

If anybody is familiar with In A Glass Cage and Zeit, I welcome your opinion on this strange coincidence (?). If you're not familiar, I recommend both as exemplary, mind-expanding experiences.

 Brian Cox as the first and scariest Lector.

Recommended Klaus Schulze albums:

Mirage
Body Love 2
X
Dune
Timewind
Moondawn
Big in Japan
Irrlicht
En=Trance
Dig It