Monday, January 21, 2013

Possession 1981

Possession from "1981" (Not "The Possession" 2012) is one of the wildest things I've ever seen.

Possession Poster The film stars a young Sam Neill and a beautiful Isabelle Adjani. After watching this an John Carpenter's "Mouth of Madness"(Seen here "Mouth of Madness") and I'm convinced that Sam Neill's best performances are the ones where he unhinges himself and radiates either madness or a sense of mad passion.

It is very difficult to describe this plot other than it's basically about a man who's slowly losing his mind because he feels his wife (Isabelle Adjani) is cheating on him. Basically but the film tapers and not even slowly, the first act is like a deep breath, and the 2nd and 3rd are like the plunges deeper into madness.

Basically halfway through the film you start to realize that Isabelle's character is probably not having a real affair with the man Sam's Character thinks she is. 
but with a monster. 
Basically that's it. (There is a twist that I almost predicted but it's so out of left field and is part of a trope that's so unused and strange that it just tickled the back of my ideas while watching the film. But it comes from something that's a part of me that I understand, so if you know me really well, you'll understand but I won't spoil the twist cause it's just too strange.)

This film contains a type of dream or nightmare logic, like I described in my "Kill List" review, but with its strange ambiguity, I feel it rather unintended by the director just accidental. Because films like "Kill List', "The Shining", and even "Rosemary's Baby" while not being about dreams specifically or hallucinations like films like "Altered States" but it's a film that has a loose dream-like logic. However almost all the films described (other than "Altered States") have a rather even slow pacing to slowly rope you into it's own strangeness. "Possession" from performance, to camera, to editing after about 40mins in is easily one of the if not the most manic film I've ever seen. It's bat-shit crazy. Complete with wild explosions a crazy motorcycle chase and an amazingly passionate shootout in an apartment...the likes of which you wouldn't expect from a film about a love affair.

Some of the dialog in the film is so out there and vaguely philosophical but not tapered down to a regular logic, to come across as rather schizophrenic like a man on the side of the road reading philosophy and begging for change.

I cannot really recommend it. This film plays as if a foreign director saw the 'Frank' storyline in Hellraiser and 1/2 of "Jacob's Ladder" while reading a bunch of philosophy, doing uppers, and decided to change the last act into a twilight zone episode and a completely wild unkept action sequence. I FU*@(&*@(*&CKING LOVE IT!!! But it makes no sense. So I can't really recommend it.

But if you enjoy films that are really out their, that truly try to touch the void of madness. It is highly recomended. I was so curious about this film I bought a Korean copy of the DVD from Amazon (because the film is out of print I can't find a real good DVD copy and forget about Blu-Ray)

So if you like crazy cult films and hidden gems. Check it out. (The score is great and spooky too)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominations.

 Biggest Oscar Snub of the year. "Dredd" easily could have swept every catagory from Sound Mixing to Best Foriegn Language Documentary Romantic Ensemble.

And another snub for scary Carl Sagan in "Beyond the Black Rainbow" (A film I'm proud to say I saw in theaters.)

... Joking aside...

My favorite film of the year is "Cloud Atlas" but because of the divided nature of the critics, the fact that it didn't make money, the fact that the film is really for a certain type of person, and has scenes in it that are either 'hard to follow' or 'quite silly' I knew it wouldn't get nominated for much...but still am deeply surprised it didn't get anything at all not even; costumes, score, or even visual I guessed it might not...but I was surprised that it was a complete shutout. But especially score.

Same with "Dark Knight Rises"  (On a lot of the technical categories too. But I know it won best stunt team and will probably be nominated for MTV's "Best Fight". But since Zimmer was disqualified for submitted "The Dark Knight's" score...I surely thought he'd be nominated for this one.

Last year my favorite film was "Drive" and I can't really explain why. A lot of people thought it was slow and Gosling should have talked more. I thought it had that 80's throwback feel and an operatic sense of storytelling, as well it reminded me of films like "The Taxi Driver" and crime films about a brooding loner, which is a genre I tend to enjoy. And that film was nominated for a Sound category but was snubbed for a Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks.

Two reasons I love the oscars, irregardless of if whatever I loved that year was nominated or not is ... A.) I love the hooplah, yes film hooplah, ridiculous montages, weird dresses, strange speeches, disapointments, unusually happy know the hooplah. B.) A lot of times films I haven't heard of are nominated for things or films I just didn't care about get nominated for major awards peaks my curiousity to check those films out and sometimes I discover a film that I end up loving that I never would have thought to watch before. (Not always the case, but sometimes.)

Films, like most art speak to use on a personal level. So don't get so bent out of shape on the nominations. But irregardless of is my two cents.

(This will be a long blog, in order of catagory.)

NOMINATIONS A SLOPPY SPEWING OF MY OPINIONS: I'm not listing them all out so here they are.

Sound Editing and Sound Mixing: Who cares. I mean sound mixing is phenominally important...but why don't they have a catagory for you know "Best Sound"? I don't disagree with any of the nominations. But I guess all the nominees are pretty deserving.


This year the only one I've seen and care about is . . .  "Paperman" because this short was attached at the begining of "Wreck It Ralph", and it is delightful charming and moves very well. :) I love it.

Visual Effects:

Most of these nominations I think are pretty fine. (I haven't seen "Snow White and the Huntsman" so I don't know if either is better than "Cloud Atlas" or "Dark Knight Rises" but minus a few sequences even those films aren't peppered with special effect after special effect, "Cloud" and "Knight" have pause moments that make them less than just 'visual effects' I think this catagory is fine.)

Adapted Screenplay: (Haven't read any of the scripts or nominated books.)

Original Screenplay: "Zero Dark Thirty", is forced, ovbious, and doesn't move well. It jumps from sequence to sequence and the main character is overcooked by far. It has some brilliant scenes don't get me wrong but structurally it's total crap. Maybe it reads better than it views. "Looper"   is easily the one snubbed in this category. I am surprised and happy to see "Flight"  here.  Minus the message of the film is a bit obvious it does move well and is filled with some great surprises. Nobody would have missed "Zero Dark Thirty" in this category...NO ONE! (Accept maybe the screenwriter)  Easily a long shot for horror fans to be nominated for anything given the nature of the film...but easily a more brilliantly nuanced and as original as an idea as you can have more than a film based on a true - story (listed as original) and much more deserving. Sorry "Cabin in the Woods" in the hearts of horror and fun movie deserved the award.

Original song:

And the winner is . . .
 . . .
Yeah it's one of the best Bond songs in years. Oh I haven't seen Les Miserables yet...but (on principle) SCREW!!! it being nominated in this catagory. Writing a song that wasn't originally in the stageplay is a pathetic ovbious ploy to get nominated in this catagory. (Okay that was me being too harsh, I haven't heard the song, seen the film, read the Hugo novel, or even seen the stage play...but I find it hard to believe that what is considered the greatest stage musical of all time needed an addition, maybe for pacing reasons, and that that addition is better than anything in the musical. *You know the musical that's considered by many critics and musical lovers the greatest stage musical of all time.) And in that case if you're going to pick songs that were written long ago (or supposed to be) nominate the "Misty Mountains" song from "The Hobbit" it's a beautiful moment in that film...though the song was written many years ago.

I haven't seen "Magic Mike" yet, heard the song in it was very good though.

Production Design:

These are fine. I might have thought "Prometheous" maybe, but then again it is similar to the same designs from Alien in the 70's so sort of a great design but just reusing designs from years ago, so I can see why it not.

Music: (Score)

I mentioned before my surprises with "Cloud Atlas" and "Dark Knight Rises" but the scores for "Argo" and "Life of Pi" were very good. I didn't notice Bond doing anything 'original' or that different from every other Bond film so I'd say one of those could easily have replaced that.


"Amour" will probably win. I haven't seen it, but it's nominated for a lot of catagories.   Including "Best Picture" and already won the big award at "Cannes". Also . . . I find most of this directors films that I've seen extremely slow and boring, minus the film "Funny Games" which I think is a brilliant twist on the home invasion genre and quite a little nod to the idea of violence in film. But the rest of this directorss work I've found slow. I still want to see more, but he's put a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth...but maybe this one is great.  (*Funny Games)
I'm not familiar with any other film that's nominated. I've heard the name but don't know what they're about.


A lot of buzz is around "Searching for Sugar Man" (I started it. Got 5 minutes in but had to get a shower and leave for something...first 5 minutes is a great hook I must say. Got my attention.) and people say "The Imposter" was snubbed. I haven't seen a lot of documentaries this year, especially any that would probably get nominated.


"Zero Dark Thirty" has a handful of good scenes but jumps time too much and it has those types of padding shots of villiagers and people and does that way too much and the ending is so long and poorly paced (Attempting to keep it in real-time) it's embarassing. I'm easily saying "Argo" for this catagory. (I haven't seen Lincoln by the way :( ) But again "Cloud Atlas" could have got something out of this catagory. But then again I knew it wouldn't.


I had joked after Ekio Ishioka died that she might be able to win a posthumous Costume Design Oscar...and she's nominated for "Mirror Mirror".  

She is one of those artists that has a style that's all of her own. And other than that this catagory is cool.

 I do love Django's blue outfit though. (*Not nominated)

Colleen Atwood is up again for 'Snow White' and Colleen is a beast. She's easily the living favorite in costumes. 


"Life of Pi" should win. It tells it's story with it's camera and is beautifully inventive. And one of the best looking 3D films I've ever seen. (It also manages to make a variety of looks in just one tiny boat.)

"Skyfall" - Is gorgeous, almost needlessly so. It's beautiful. Deakins is a beast and legend. But the look of the film is doesn't tell the story with the lens, it just looks great. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's a rather talky . . . the rest of the noms are fine I guess. Django has some great looking stuff in it too.

Hairstyling and Makeup:

"The Hobbit" - Um Yes the Makeup and Hair work is great. 
"Les Miserables" - I haven't seen it* Maybe there is some good old age makeup or something, the rest just looks like hair or dirt on their faces. I'm not sure this one is worthy. But maybe.

 "Hitchcock" This is the actual man. And this is a characture of a frog. Okay it's good. But it's exaggerated enough to look like a good characture, not the real man. I easily saw Lincoln in this. 
But honestly I'd love to have seen "Prometheus". . . the old age makeup later on in the film SUCKS!!! true-dat. It looks way too packed on. (Old age is also considered the hardest to do.) But this makeup is brilliantly realized.

Ben Affleck! Tarantino! AFFLECK! AFFLECK! AHHHHH Why the F(*&*(&!(*! is Haneke here! I love one of this director's films. But he is notoriously slow. Maybe it's brilliant but I doubt it is. *.* I haven't seen "Silver Linings". "Life of Pi" I think is great and very well directed. "Lincoln" is obvious. And you know the "Beasts of the Southern Wild" director did get a stellar performance out of a 6 year old girl...A NOMINATED FOR BEST ACTRESS!!! 6 Year old girl. So I'm kind of happy he's here. An NO if you didn't get my feelings Kathryn Bigalow doesn't deserve to be here "Zero Dark" doesn't have the bite it should. ("Beasts of the Southern Wild")


This year there isn't that foreign or independent film that no one's heard of. All of these are pretty big and sadly I've only seen two of them. And I LOVED "Wreck it Ralph" that's the winner for me. It had heart in what could have just been a slightly nuanced gimmick film. (Oh I did see "Pirates Band of Misfits" and I will say as much as I love Ardman was kind of forgettable.)

Actress: (Support)

These seem the obvious choices.

Actor: (Support)

(One of the biggest snubs of the year.)
He is breathtaking and almost steals the movie for me. And this was a risk, he is horribly racist and an extremely evil villain which he plays with beautiful relish.

But I haven't seen "Silver Lining" yet but very happy to see Bob De Niro  back in the game. Christof Waltz is great in Django too but he's won an Oscar and I sincerely thought this was a great chance for Leo.

Actress (Lead): 

Finally an actress nominated whose character is named after Southern Fried Soul Food. "Hushpuppy" in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" historically nominated at 6 years old as one of the best performances of the year. 
I've been ragging on this movie a bit too much. (It's okay, it's not best film of the year though and if I did a top 20 or 30 list of the year it wouldn't crack it for me.) But Jessica is good in most of this movie, but towards the end I feel that she lays on her performance a bit too thick. It's way to agressive and not really nuanced...but she is good. Not great. I've heard Naomi Watts has got this. 

Actor (Lead): 

This actor was very good in Zero Dark Thirty but I don't think worthy of the nom, I just wanted to mention it. 

I am very happy to see Denzel Washington here. He was brilliant in "Flight". 
And one of the biggest surprises is despite Jaoquin Phoenix talking crap about this Oscars...he got a nomination. So I'm happy despite what someone said didn't cause the Academy voters to get in a tisy and they actually voted who they legit thought was one of the best actors of the year. (It didn't seem agenda based but maybe I'm being naive.) 

Okay in my dreams would this have gotten nominated.

Also in my dreams. (Love this movie so much fun. But fun isn't a category, unfortunately.)

I have not seen Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, or Les Miserables. (Which some of my friends are lukewarm about and some have told me it's a masterstroke.) Yeah "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is quite a feat however it's still that pity, good for you, indie film nomination that's almost a shoe in because of the 10 categories stretch. "Amour" is the one that seems go be a big surprise for everyone. I've not yet seen it but do have my opinions about the director. I do hope it's excellent though. All the other ones were pretty obvious based on the buzz and other award nominations they'd get in this category. 
But out of the one's nominated...that I've seen...Django is my favorite.

(Giving credit where credit is due - BadAss Digest had this to say, (and I pretty much agree) The Oscars are silly - I know it, you know it. They employ a lot of back-patting and politics and often have very little to do with a film's true worth. But people seem to care, and they are sort of fun. Fancy dresses, for instance, are totally fun. Predicting things and then yelling "I knew it!" is also pretty fun. Drinking games are fun.) 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Cult Influence Poster 2

New Poster. This is a new poster design for "A Cult Influence" 2 basically just a more cartoony version of the original by David Slaton.