Friday, 4 January 2013
The story revolves around 2 slackers, David and John, particularly David. It deals with the effects of a drug called ''soy sauce'' that not only gives its users heightened senses and psychic abilities, but it also allows them to travel dimensions. However, when the doors to these dimensions are opened it means things can come into our world. It turns into a hallucinogenic, surreal, hilarious nightmarish mind warp as Dave and John try to save the world from nasty creatures.
The creatures in this movie are fantastic and original (a meat monster for instance). It's very old school but with it being a breath of fresh air. Coscarelli films have always made great use of set-ups and looked rather awesome despite always being low budget. He's a very talented director that won't ever get the credit he deserves beyond his loyal fan base. The gore is well done albeit very cheesy looking but it's not supposed to be serious and it adds to the films charm. All of the actors as I said are fantastic. Perfect casting choices and a nice cameo from the Tall Man, Angus Schrimm.
This had the same effect that seeing movies like Evil Dead, Braindead, Bubba Ho-Tep, Idle Hands and other surreal, off beat masterpieces had the first time I watched them. Most of those directors have went on to do blockbusters now and probably won't ever return to their roots (not that I don't like their blockbusters). It's just nice to see Coscarelli still around to produce the magic. Cinema is a magical thing, but Coscarelli is a more masterful wizard than most.
Happiness is centered around the lives of 3 sisters who live in different worlds. There's Joy, a lonely songwriter who's unlucky in love and in luck. She tries to do good but only bad things happen to her. Helen is a successful writer with an obsessive neighbor who makes violently graphic phone calls. When he can't live up to his threats, Helen is disappointed. Lastly, we have Trish. On paper she has the perfect life; a family, a successful husband, carpool, etc. However, she doesn't have the creativity her sisters have. Her husband also happens to have some uncontrollable urges. The sisters parents are also on the verge of separation. Not exactly the Brady Bunch, eh?
I don't know if Happiness is supposed to be a satire on American family life, but it certainly is effective. Each character is searching for happiness but only end up with disappointment. It's a daring movie that really makes us think. We get to know each character so well and genuinely want them to find happiness, but then again, how can you root for a deranged neurotic telephone pervert or a pedophile who has openly sexual conversations with his son? Damn, it's funny though. At the end of the movie when little Billy says, ''I came'' you'll laugh, but you'll also cheer for the little guy because, in a way, it's a happy ending (no pun intended lol). You see, ''cumming'' was all he wanted to do the entire movie so at least one of them found ''happiness.''
Disturbing content? You betcha. However, it's all presented in a humorous way that you'll be laughing with ease. We shouldn't laugh at these people but we do. We even kinda like them, and some of them we definitely shouldn't. I really recommend this.
Thursday, 3 January 2013
... And intentionally so.
If there's ever a movie that just wants to piss everybody off then it's this piece of garbage. I don't think I've ever watched anything this repulsive. It's not just the acts portrayed that are disgusting, but the characters and the actors/actresses playing them are genuinely horrible human beings. This movie has it all; cannibalism, chicken sex, incest, on screen fellatio, poop eating, chained up women forced to give birth so their offspring can be sold to lesbians, streaking, more poo, a handcapped grandmother who eats eggs in her crib, murder, rape... You get the picture. But it's all conducted in the silliest manner possible. This is definitely in your face, balls to the wall, filth for the sake of being filthy and it laughs at us as we watch. I don't know what else to say. I enjoyed it but it's terrible. Many claim it's a masterpiece. It's certainly original. It's an ''exercise in bad taste'' and it does it job successfully. I won't ever watch it again but I need to applaud John Waters ''fuck you'' attitude.
I mean it. This is a guaranteed cult classic and it's going to split opinions. So far reviews have been very polarising, but with a movie with this much experimentation it's bound to happen. Fortunately though, the experiments pay off. In fact, they come together seamlessly. Imagine if John Hughes and David Cronenberg in the 80's made a movie. Throw in some David Lynch, Todd Solondz and Alejandro Jodorowsky and you have an idea and it mixes together with ease. I really can't praise this enough. I laughed, I cringed, I related on an emotional level and at times I felt genuinely disturbed.
There's a few recognisable faces on board, in particular genre favourites such as John Waters, Ray Wise and Malcolm Mcdowell. We also have that dude from Desperate Housewives who was also in Hostel. The stars of the show are Traci Lords and even more so, Annalynne McCord, who not only escapes her 'Naomi from 90210' image, but she makes Pauline her own. This was a demanding role and she sells it more than convincingly. If movies like this won Oscars then she'd be shoe in. Richard Bates' imagery is very macabre and at times, dream like. Despite its depravity at times, it's rather beautiful to watch.
Overall, a masterpiece but see it for yourself and decide. It's an opinion divider for sure. I found it to be sick, twisted, yet tender and emotional fun. At it's heart, it's a teenage/family angst story turned up to extreme volumes.
The 3 brothers are hired by Eva Longoria's character to get her godson back from her gangster ex-husband, played by Bill Bob. It also so happens that her godson is in a wheelchair. After failing to kill Thornton's character, he sends out assassins to track down the brothers and kill them. It's a simple story; the great American action road movie through the South with killers in pursuit, including the insatiable Zoe Bell and her murdering biker gang of prostitutes. Throw in some Clutch and Skynyrd, guns and army vehicles and you have quite the romp.
There's already a shootout by the time the opening credits get rolling and it sets the tone for what's to follow. This is action packed to the max and it doesn't disappoint. The banter between the brothers is hilarious and really endears them to the audience and gets us rooting for them. It almost makes you forget that they too are ruthless killers. Their relationship with the kid they need to recover gives the movie some sweet charm, but overall, it's just a free for all with no morally redeeming characters whatsoever. This is a fun 90 minutes indeed if you like these kind of films. I love them. Think Smokey and the Bandit meets True Romance. Or as another reviewer suggested, Tarnatino directing Dukes of Hazzard.