Wednesday, September 25, 2002

VARIOUS HOLES

I had read that China is drilling a five-kilometre deep hole into the earth's crust in a bid to better understand earthquakes and volcanic movements. Situated in eastern China's Jiangsu province, they will use it to take regular samples of the earth's core. With this "telescope inside the earth" they'll better understand the movements of oceans and continents.

My immediately thoughts were:

If this was the in the '30s then the English engineers (you wouldn't see any Chinese except as coolies) would climb down and find cool clay-mated dinosaurs.

If this was in the '40s then the singing cowboy drilling engineer would get involved in a 12 part serial where he'd do fisti-cuffs with helmeted and caped bad guys from an underground city.

If this was the '50s then the hole would keep getting bigger till they decided that dropping a nuke in a nearby volcano will fix it. The real story would be how America and China via Britain (this would be a Brit flick) learned to trust and cooperate for the good of the world.

If this was the '60s then it would be revealed that the hole is actually a clandestine tunnel to drop a nuke to fracture the crust of the United States (this would be an American film). A team of Yankee Hunky heroes would sneak in and stop it killing heaps of non-speaking evil Chinese extras.

If this was the '70s then Doug McClure would fall in, find an ancient civilization, run from cheesy looking monsters (guys in very rubbery suits), have a sword fight with Christopher Lee, the evil leader who makes all the nice people slaves, and finally he would get the girl with the big tits.

If this was the '80s then they wouldn't have made it as there's no opportunity for Arnie to have a good shotgun fight or Stallone to leap and go Urrrrgh!

If this was the '90s then lots of larva would come out of the hole. People would run heaps till it stopped. I know it doesn't sound like much, but you're supposed to go "oooo" and "aaah" at the breakthrough digital effects.

And in the '00s it's a half hour special on Discovery Channel.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Notes Towards a Review of PULSE aka KAIRO

An existential ghost story of cataclysmic proportions.
An atmospheric mystery and disaster epic.
Perhaps the worldís first Armageddon ghost story.
An exploration to the sense of self and self worth while being a mega creep out.
A significant piece of dark light entertainment.
A not too serious gaze into the very heart of the human condition.
A set of deftly executed deceits that encourages one to go where normally we would be too frightened.
A well engineered dimming of the sun so one can maintain a gaze at ideas usually too harsh to see.
The seeking of ancient truths as ingrained within technological modernity.
Very Japanese themes made very universal.
A game one can feel compelled to play but where the rules are not fully explained till the end and then you realise the real game has only just begun.
A horror tale, a character drama, a commentary on post-modern society where each enhance the strengths of the others.
A natural progression of themes, ideas and frights of the contemporary Japanese horror movie.
Any good horror story makes you doubt mundanity but this one makes you doubt your own idea of normality.
One of the few major peaks rising out of the sea of fantastical mediocrity.
A major rejuvenation of the supernatural in cinema.
The traditional joining with the unconventional.
A horror film with a point.
A fully justified fright fest.
An allegorical fantasia on post-GenX alienation.
Po-mo kabukiís lament of the lost soul.
An aesthetic and intellectual mind-fuck.
One of the best horror train rides in many years.
Cool freaky shit.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

FUCK IS THIS MOUNTAIN

I am Kink. Call me Kinky and Iíll smash your face in. Iím a drinking buddy and harsh critic of he who owns this site. I have my own site, which I run with my partner Stacey. Itís at www.tossthepc.com and is dedicated to the culture of the Cybergoth. Be sure to check out Staceyís muffin recipes. Anyway, Prat of the Mountain is hiding in his bedroom reading a book. He says reading a book is very creative. Itís like directing your own movie but without ever having someone say you canít direct for shit.

Iíve come down here to see for myself what shit heís pulling.

Some weeks back, he was doing his wanky "Iím a hip, on-the-edge critic" crap, then suddenly says he isnít doing it anymore and prattles on about some mystical mountain. Regardless, he happily lets other people, whom I know Ė to my own sadness - to write their own pieces of bollocks right here. Iím writing this on his site right now and Robin doesnít seem to give two shits. Actually, he gets irritated if I try to talk to him instead of writing. He shouted out that he's 416 pages into an 827 page DeLillo and he ainít gonna stop now. He says when heís finished heís gonna throw a party to celebrate. I betcha he wonít. He hardly finishes anything.

But regardless, my irritation is with two bits that turned up on this web log not so long ago. They were two short and positive reviews for two films Iíve never heard of. Now who wrote those if it wasnít him? He says he didnít. Says he wouldnít write a wanky piece of up himself grandstanding like that pseudo-philosophical bull-crap that is the review for HEAVEN. Frankly, I think he would. But heís adamant he didnít. I must admit it does sound typically like the sad kindía shite Francher would write, but heíd only go to the effort to express his hatred for a film. To hate it is to know it, is Francherís motto, or the other way round.

Jessica may have written it, but it reads too much like one expressing an opinion and Jessica would never do something as controversial as that. So who wrote the HEAVEN blurb if not Robin?

But the CATíS MEOW does read like the bastard. I can tell. Itís got his sad paws all over it. Itís that ďIím so cleverĒ and ďlook at me, Iím a wordsmithĒ type of typical shit he writes. I can imagine heís secretly smug with that last line, pretending to be innocent and humble, but underneath thinking heís superior to lesser critics he believes fills the world. ďWeíre all critics,Ē is one of Robinís favourite sayings. But then heíd add, ďItís just some of us are better at starting and winning arguments than others.Ē Prick. Another one he likeís to say is, ďMy opinion is no more valid or important than anyone elseís. I just happen to be right, thatís all.Ē

But he says he didnít write them. Says he hasnít even seen the films. He thinks theyíre made up. Someone snuck in and made up reviews for movies that donít exist. But then a mutual friend of ours, whoís in her tenth year of academic study, says, ďAll reviews are of films that donít exist.Ē Oh, Zen and the art of movie criticism. Donít give me that sad crap. ďOne cannot understand the nature of film by watching film. One must watch what film watches.Ē She got first class honours closing a 15000 essay with that line. What is the sound of one reel flapping? Thatís what Iíve got to say about it.

So I ask Robin, more accurately shout at him, if heís gone all Zen and isnít watching movies. He shouts back ďname me a film youíve seen and Iíll tell you three more just like it you havenít. So donít talk to me about how I should go back to watching movies. And leave me alone. Iím reading a book. Itís like directing your own movie butÖĒ Yadda yadda.

If he didnít have beer in his fridge he lets you raid; youíd hit him. Maybe I should hit him anyway. Hey, maybe I should hit him on the head with a film encyclopedia and see if he achieves enlightenment or satori or whatever. Maybe if I hit him hard enough with a heavy enough book heíll go straight to nirvana.

And what the fuck is this mountain?

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

I WASNíT HERE. I DIDNíT WRITE THIS

HEAVEN
Polish writers, German director, Australian and American leads, set in Milan with much of the dialogue in Italian. Doesnít sound like Hollywood. And thatís a relief. Aesthetically this film makes you relax and allow all to reveal itself at its own pace, even within what there is of tension and suspense. And thatís needed. For what is powerful in this film is something not in the open. Itís hidden, underlying, requiring you to be susceptible to its cryptic and subtle narrative. You almost have to make yourself vulnerable to it before you understand its purpose of tale. Itís as if you have to let it drift into your unconscious. And once residing there itíll hopefully make you question. And question what, you ask? Well, what is the most fundamental thing to question? Why your faith, of course. Faith in whatever you have faith in. This is one of those films that may perplex you, especially at that moment the final shot goes to black. You know it means something, but you must leave the cinema, taking the film with you, and figure the meanings out for yourself. I suspect they are different for each of us.

To tell you any more would spoil it.

CATíS MEOW
There is film as history and even film as alternative history. Peter Bogdanovichís return to cinema is a film of speculative history. There was an event back in 1924 that has become infamous over time as whispered tellings turned it into a Hollywood myth. On a party cruise were, amongst several others, William Randolph Hearst (think CITIZEN KANE), his mistress Marion Davies (also think KANE), gossip columnist Louella Parsons, creator of the movie western Thomas Ince, novelist Elinor Glyn and Charlie Chaplin. A few days into that voyage someone on board died under mysterious circumstances. To this day no one knows what happened. Based on the Steven Peros play, as well as adapted by him, this is a fancy based on the strongest and juiciest rumours. How true it is will never be known. Certainly, this film offers a solution to the mystery, but it also raises the question of how twists of fate could easily have altered what has come to be. Our idea of Hollywood could have been different if events had been in a slightly different sync. However, the primary purpose of this tale is to reaffirm what we already believe about that cheap, but expensive, tinsel town of fame. This modest and entertaining film is about the ghosts of the glamour past. But it is also about how todayís Hollywood remains as flimsy and as insubstantial as it has ever been. And youíll never look at the Charleston in quite the same way again. Indeed, after this little film you can easily imagine todayís big stars bopping away, with silly grins on their faces, and us hiding and watching from the dark.