Seen: At the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, part of the Boston Underground Film Festival.
I remember when Amer came out some years ago and it caught my eye first for its truly gorgeous poster, and second for its female co-director/co-writer, Hélène Cattet, since there aren’t a ton of women making horror films. I never actually got around to see Amer, but I did take advantage of BUFF’s screening of The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, the Belgian directing duo’s latest feature. Stylishly surreal, visually sumptuous, and employing a range of different techniques, the film is beautiful and weird in many ways but unfortunately suffers from a dragged-out pace and tedious repetition. I started out really engaged but ended up just feeling really uncomfortable for two hours. I wrote a longer response to it over at 366 Weird Movies, so check it out!
An aside: The best part of the screening was actually the short film shown before the feature, “Belagile” by local director Anastasia Cazabon. It’s got witches and a catchy lo-fi pop soundtrack and self-empowerment and psychedelic color schemes. Cazabon works at the Brattle Theatre (where BUFF takes place) and filmed part of it there, so it was neat to see a recognizable setting!
Though I’m finding the whole thing rather baffling, I am set on finishing the Evangelion reboot film series. Mostly because I lost interest in the show itself and feel like this is a faster way to find out what happens at the end. Plus the animation is better. The third entry in the film series is the most inscrutable yet, but so beautifully animated and so god-damn weird that I guess I liked it. I GUESS. It shifts the action 14 years in the future where everything is terrible, more terrible even than before, and punctuates the snippets of exposition with big robot battles. For my full review, head over to 366 Weird Movies!
And if you need to catch up, here are my reviews of 1.0 and 2.0.
Seen: At the Kendall Square Landmark Cinema in Cambridge.
So this was my birthday movie, which was kind of exciting since I like weird movies and John Dies at the End is definitely weird. Appropriately, I wrote about it for 366 Weird Movies! Know that I haven’t read the webserial/book, and that I found the movie as a whole pretty uneven and a little lackluster towards the end, but that I definitely think it’s bizarre and imaginative enough for their list of weird movies. The most interesting thing to me about this movie is that it had several unexpected connections to Buckaroo Banzai, which is not something I can say about too many movies. But seriously, they both have inter-dimensional beings who are also Jamaican, gross slug creatures, stories that don’t make any goddamn sense, and Clancy Brown! Whoa!
Anyway, check out my full review, half-written sleepily on a morning train ride, half-written on a couch in my parents’ house.
Seen: On dvd on our projector set-up, rented from netflix.
So last semester I wrote a paper on pop culture in museums and used MoMA’s Tim Burton exhibit as my focus. Since then I’ve had a hankering to revisit some of his early films, but also I was encouraged to check out Forbidden Zone, a weird and wacky musical that grew out of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, which Burton cites as a reference (and of course features his frequent composer, Danny Elfman). While the film is somewhat notorious for its stupid use of blackface- done out of juvenile ignorance, I think, not racist beliefs- it’s mostly a strangely compelling, almost completely nonsensical live-action cartoon that pulls from jazz greats like Cab Calloway and Josephine Baker as well as German Expressionism, Betty Boop, and whatever fucked up notions the screenwriters had in their heads. The music is fantastic, it’s got Susan Tyrell and Hervé Villechaize, and the visuals are artfully DIY.
I don’t know, man, I am not at all condoning the blackface, obviously, but I was able to look past its limited screentime (about a minute total?) due to the fascinating weirdness of the rest of it. And I listened to Richard Elfman on the commentary where he’s like “I didn’t really think about being offensive, and when people talked about Jewish stereotypes I didn’t get it since my actual Jewish grandfather played that role and he basically played himself”, and he gave the whole “I grew up in a black neighborhood, I have tons of black friends”-type excuse. I think he just wanted to reference these old-timey cartoons that inspired him and he didn’t really understand how it would actually come across. Again: Totally Not Ok, but I think the film is worth it for its music and imagination and great cast.
Head over and read my full review at 366 Weird Movies!