Monthly Archives: November 2008

Make Your Own Kind of Music

For a while now I’ve been mentioning the fact I joined a band. This isn’t just your usual friends-get-bored-and-decide-to-play-instruments-and-write-songs-together band, this was brought together by Cat and Dave at Jimmy’s for patients and ex-patients. We had 5 people, but now we’re down to 3… technically I didn’t want to be in the band, but I made the mistake of opening my mouth to sing, and unless we find someone else who’s better (or if I have my say, ANYONE else regardless), it looks like I’m going to be in the band. We don’t have a name yet, but we started working on our first song – written by me! It is called “You and I”, but I’ve been toying with the idea of changing the title to “U+I”. As always with today’s technology, I recorded the playback on my mobile phone so forgive the quality, but here it is…

It’s a work in progress. If I can instigate it, I want the song to have more of a… what did someone call it… Avril Lavigne meets Green Day type sound to it!

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Return of the Dead

I know I said I’d have reviews of these 4 horror films up yesterday, but I forgot about Band Practice and my lack of being able to stay awake during the day! So here’s a brief overlook of the highlights and lowlights!

Dance of the Dead: 4/5 – The plot was probably my favourite of the night. But it just came off a little too condensed, it would have been great had it explained why the dead came back to life, rather than just keep on pointing to the Chemical Plant and blaming that (the most it went to explain was when three of the characters ducked out of the carnage into the sewers and saw everything covered in green slime).
Tokyo Gore Police: 5/5 – Fabulous look; fabulous sound; classic revenge plot; gore overload; plenty of WTF?! moments. I honestly cannot wait for the sequel and I hope to get my hands on the soundtrack soon. If you liked Battle Royale or Kill Bill Vol. 1, but thought they weren’t gory enough, you will LOVE this.
Deadgirl: 2/5 – No light aspect, everyone in it seemed to have no conscience and was constantly horny. The website says “a depraved journey into the psyche of two disaffected teens,” the only problem is we see nothing in the plot as to why these “two” (it’s more like 5) teens got like this. In that area, it left a little too much to the imagination, and in a film like this that’s a bad thing. I feel a bit bad for saying this, cos it’s a great plot, and I’ve seen I got some hits yesterday from people searching for Deadgirl reviews.
My Name Is Bruce: 5/5 – Best film overall of the night! Sounded great, used the Psycho theme with a jaunty twist!!! The b-movie plot meets spoof/reality plot should NOT have worked but it did. In the beginning it relied a little too much on slapstick, and took for granted everyone seeing it knew who Bruce Campell (I know who is, but past the first Evil Dead that’s really all I’ve seen of his work), but after about an hour the plot kicked in and I could easily forgive it. Not disappointed to hear that a sequel is in the works, I hope the original gets a wider release.

That’s it for my journey into the Leeds Film Festival, but I’ll definitely be back next year!

Not Quite Hollywood and Black Ice

Catch-up Reviews from the Leeds Film Festival! Okay, so, yesterday I wrapped up my mammoth long film festival marathon with Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation. It was the only documentary I’m going to see this year and, without seeing any of the others that were in the festival, I can confidently say it was the best! If you’re a fan of Kill Bill or Halloween or Saw you’ll appreciate seeing this. I also think I can put that invitation out there to those of you who are fans of Eli Roth’s first films and, obviously, any fans of Wolf Creek. The “film” actually works cos it kind of has three acts; it starts out with the nudie films, the first real Ausie exploitation films, explaining, albeit a small bit, why they came about in the early 70s. Act two discusses the gore flicks, and here is where my interest peaked. My mind was opened up to lots of new and potentially exciting films from across the other ocean. Through a little bit of online digging I’ve found out they’ve actually started releasing Ozploitation Volumes of DVDs in Region 4 – so I may have to get some, if not all of those. The film rounded off with a look at Outback car chases, stunts and generally craziness. As a whole the film was very good, edited beautifully. It just lacked a little on the solid facts (a little like this blog – Tom) and actually probably won’t appeal to everyone (as I heard one irate European express on the way out, it didn’t really give reasons of justification to the girls exploited, it just kind of glorified it – she was very angry)!

So, back track to Monday night, and you’ll remember I went to see Parting Shot and Black Ice. On reflection Parting Shot was a lot better than two of the four films I went to see yesterday. But Black Ice has so far been my highlight, in terms of actually feature filmness (57,000km Between Us was almost indie in its own rights, cinema verite, as I called it). The film is essentially a Finnish Cruel Intentions with twenty-somethings instead of high school students. But it becomes so much more than that as it progresses and almost becomes surrealism by the end, with a twist that would make the later Saw films blush with embarrassment. There’s nothing I can really say bad about Black Ice, I’m just going to tangent off and share with you my thoughts on who would play Sara in the remake (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and petition Film4 to show this! If they had their little spin-off channel still they would! Okay, so it may become a little too far fetched for some, but I loved it. It’s certainly not fantasy! There’s nothing fictional about its content. It’s still a black drama at heart, but it just gets a little out-there when it wants you to believe some of the actions of its characters.

I’m going to end my journey into festivals this year with what I hope turns out to be my best day: Return of the Dead! Four back-to-back bloody films – My Name Is Bruce, Deadgirl, Dance of the Dead and Tokyo Gore Police. But for the reviews, you’ll have to wait till next week.

The Class and Momma’s Man

I loved The Class! It was very brutal, maybe more so than the last film I just watched. So why’d I give that one 2 and this one 4 stars? I think cos we were told this story through the perspectives of the victims rather than the bullies. It was likened to Gus Van Sant’s Elephant in the guide, but I think it was very different. We got to see about 7 days leading up to the dramatic, albeit expected climax. The format in which it was told was almost documentary-like, and I think it was based on real accounts of school violence. The soundtrack was unique and fitted great, I think. The plot was something I could partly relate to, having been the victim of school bullying myself (not to the extent of Joosep though, thank God!). The portrayal of all the students was handled well, though I thought the naivety of some of the teachers was a bit unrealistic, but it could be that they felt forced to do nothing, I mean, I certainly can think back to some teachers like that.

After that I watched Momma’s Man. My first fully English Language film of the festival! I’m kind of glad it was, because in a foreign language I don’t think this film would have worked. It barely works (or moves, or does anything) in English as it is. But I get the type of indie film it’s trying to be. That could be my problem with it though, it was trying to hard. It left things unexplained to the point of annoyance sometimes. It must be hard to be an indie movie in America, I feel I understand enough about “the biz” to give it some slack and just appreciate it for what it was, and not felt let down it didn’t deliver that little something extra that most indie films strive for (which, I guess, by not having one, sort of gives it a unique one)!

Next? Not Quite Hollywood. (Review coming tomorrow)