Friday, July 22, 2005

Film Review; The Devil's Rejects

Spoiler Free you whiny nerd.

Rob Zombie's second film The Devils Rejects has been touted as a raw slab of primal horror fury, the end result of a lifetime viewing the best grindhouse cinema has to offer.

the problem? people said the same thing about his first film, House of 1000 Corpses. when that film was released, audiences were treated to a colorful, silly splatterfest....and not much else. it had it's moments, but at the end of the day it felt more like a haunted house ride at Universal Studios than the cinematic nightmare it had been branded.

the good news is Rejects is a more successful strain of grisly old-style film making. the look of the movie is fantastic, the returning characters have been strip-mined of their more cartoon aspects, leaving us their violent puply counterparts, and the film has a powerful anti-protagonist in William Forsythe, who blends Dennis Hopper's holy-rolling character from TCM 2 with the corrupt lethal insanity of Tom Siezmore's character in Natural Born Killers. the soundtrack also showcases some really beautiful seventies southern rock gems that fit the film like a goat-skin glove.

now a few of the failings the film have lie not within itself, but within the hype-machine surrounding it. if you go into the film expecting to see a near 2 hour blood drenched mind-fuck that will make you see technicolor corpses everywhere you go, than you may be dissapointed, there are several really violent and unsettling scenes in the movie that are pretty effective, but in retropsect they feel a little forced and appear to be there for the sake of being there rather than having a real purpose. the power, or lack thereof, in these scenes also has a lot to do with the length and pacing of the film. if the film had been 25-30 minutes shorter, with the ice-cream socials and other malarky cut down, the scenes may have had more of lasting effect.

much like House, the movie may not be able to live to the much more blood-soaked hype surrounding it. if you take the film as it is, however, it's a pretty decent road film/revenge western, with a few good characters and interesting twists along the way. again though, much like the first film, it feels less than the sum of it's parts. you could have taken one of these characters and fleshed them out and build something around them (William Forsythe as a bible quoting vigilante cop? that's a movie in itself. Ken Foree as a pimp running a bordello that includes E.G. Daily of Pee Wee's Big Adventure as one of the hookers? that's a movie in itself.), but again Zombie throws all his eggs into one basket, making a mess of things. the characters become underdevolped, as well as clashing into each other as they're attempted to be tied together. some of the scenes drag and feel needless (the last 10 minutes of the movie being shot in slow motion while "Free Bird" plays in it's entirety? puh-lease), and Zombie once again shows his weakness for not knowing when or how to end a movie, but i won't spoil anything for you.

this is where this film succeeds; by not trying to be something more than it is, by not shying away from a slit throat or a tit shot, by not pouring on the special effects and needless plot twists that go nowhere. it's devoid of pretension, irony, and Calvin Clien models making their best "pouty faces" to the camera. it's a not-bad little piece of wannabe "grindhouse" cinema.

again though, it's not much else. it doesn't fall prey to most trappings of horror films these days, nor does it rise above them. it's just there.

for those who wish to wax nostalgic about the days when cinema didn't care about being nihilistic or morally abivelent, it might be best to stick with the films from that era (or Jim Van Bebber's Manson Family, released earlier this year on DVD). this is good for a midnight viewing, but it still is no substitute for the Last House on the Lefts and Maniacs of the world.

why?

because those films reflected their times...took place in their times. Devil's Rejects is a period piece, taking place in the seventies. thing is though, it's not the seventies anymore. there really needs to be a film to represent the ugly unsure times we live in now, a film that takes place in these times rather than running to a time machine, all guns blazing, to the past. the films of the era Rob Zombie is influenced by remain timeless artifacts. they were social commentary where as Devil's Rejects is nostalgia.

fun? yes. but still, nostalgia.

i'm sick of nostalgia. the seventies are over. it's time to stop trying to recreate them. bad shit happened then, but bad shit is happening right now. film needs to start refelcting on that.

well that's wasn't where i intended to go with this, but it will have to do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

NP:Jesu-Your Path to Divinity

this is one of those days where i don't know what do to with myself. i've been increasingly anxious, what with awaiting a response about the manuscript to the band recording to me trying to conjur up a stronger set of nerves so i can deal with a certain someone. it's exciting, the amount of stress i'm puting on myself, and it's stressful, the amount of excitement i'm feeling. the really obnoxious heatwave is also having an effect on me. you can't step outside without being drenched with sweat within minutes. i've been indoors all AC'd up, breathing in chilled recirculated air, which can't be too good for you i'd imagine.

..i have been writing a lot in the last few weeks, so that's the plus side of things. already this month i've written almost 15 songs/poems/whatever, as well as a whole bunch of tangents and material for the next book entitled Bricks are Delicious.

Friday afternoon i'll be seeing the Devil's Rejects. the remainder of the weekend will probably be spent at the studio until i'm sick of the sights and sounds emminanting from it's otherwise barren womb.

NP:Jesu-Friends are Evil

Sunday, July 17, 2005

NP:Wilson Phillips-Hold On

i don't think i have ever heard a song that was so life affirming yet so malicious. it's like, the person they're singing about wants to die, or at least wants to hate everyone for the crummy life they've had to lead. so these 3 banshees are telling this person "it's your fault you're a piece of shit", yet at the same time they're saying "but don't kill yourself because someday things will get better". these women are selfish. sounds to me they are afraid of dealing with loss, so instead of facing their own fear, they find someone who is depressed, lonely, possibly suicidal, and make it their mission to teach the person that it is they're fault, but at the same time they want to "save" this person.

yuppies are evil.