Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

The horror, the horror

Some random notes on the film (WARNING: plot twists and narrative discussed in explicit detail)

Saw The Shining on DVD-- remastered and restored, it says, but as far as I can see not letterboxed (apparently what Kubrick intended, for better or worse).

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg, 2022

Porn to be wild

Always thought David Cronenberg had a gift for granting the people in his films at times obvious at times cheesy often memorable names-- Seth Brundle; Stathis Borans; Murray Cypher; Nola Carveth; Max Renn; Brian O'Blivion. Even his more realistic films (A History of Violence) feature the odd evocative moniker-- Tom Stall-- and he continues to indulge the quirk in his latest Crimes of the Future: Saul Tenser (has Cronenberg read The Demolished Man?); Detective Cope; Investigator Wippet; Caprice.

O and don't let the marketing campaign mislead you: this isn't Cronenberg's long-awaited return to full-on body horror but his sexiest funniest film to date.

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)

The dispossessed

(Warning: plot and narrative twists discussed in explicit detail)

Watching Andrez Zulawski's Possession (1981) again I was struck not so much by the violence and bodily fluids being flung about as I was by the feelings being wielded like so much casual cutlery. When it comes to extreme horror the film has been sadly left behind by more recent arthouse efforts such as Lars Von Trier's Antichrist or (for sheer masochistic suffering) Pascal Laugier's Martyrs-- 'sadly' not because this film should stay top of the heap but because the genre has chosen to go in this rather fruitless direction, to the point of numbness.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Pila Balde (Fetch a Pail of Water, Jeffrey Jeturian,1999)

Slum dunk

Last year there was a small yet significant spurt of worthwhile Filipino films. The mini-renaissance began in earnest (though many would disagree with me) with Tikoy Aguiluz’s Tatsulok, in 1998; it came into full bloom with the Good Harvest Festival, which featured no less than four exciting new films.

There was Ed Leano’s fizzily entertaining Sabado Ng Gabi, Linggo Ng Umaga. (Saturday Night, Sunday Morning-- and yes the title does sound like the Tagalog translation of a well-known film, not the first time it's happened); Jeffrey Jeturian’s solidly constructed  Sana Pag-Ibig Na (rough translation: If Only Love), script by Armando Lao; Lav Diaz’s flawed but brilliant Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion. (Criminal of Barrio Concepcion); Mario O’Hara's inspired Babae sa Bubungang Lata (Woman on a Tin Roof) and insanely imaginative Sisa.

Then nothing. Not a peep, though there were bigger, more ambitious productions: Joel Lamangan’s Sidhi was noteworthy for the performance of Nora Aunor and for Glydel Mercado’s surprisingly fine acting; Erik Matti’s Scorpio Nights 2 showed a talented young director struggling with an incoherent script. Otherwise, silence-- the local film industry, after displaying much promise, slumbered for most of the first half of this year.

Pila Balde finally if belatedly fulfills that earlier promise. It’s another collaboration between Jeturian and the quietly formidable Armando Lao--who, judging from his last two scripts and the amazing Takaw Tukso back in 1986, has to be one of the most underrated screenwriters still active in this industry.