Monday Mosh / The Misfits / “Halloween”

Happy Halloween!  This cut of this classic Misfits tune is off of the rare, unreleased 12 Hits From Hell album, which was recorded back in 1980.  The cancellation of its planned release in 2001 was one of the few things Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only could agree on post-breakup.  It’s a shame, because it’s one of the few well-produced Danzig-era Misfits records out there, featuring a handful of their classics with crisp, clean sound (for some reason, Danzig retroactively insisted on having his Misfits records sound like shit).  It’s also the only Misfits album to feature two guitarists, as both Bobby Steele and Doyle Frankenstein play on this one.  Shame it’ll probably never see the light of day, but it’s all over the internet, so it’s their loss, monetarily speaking.

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HomeVideodrome: Yul Brenner’s Amusement Park

This week’s edition of HomeVideodrome is available at Parcbench and Big Hollywood!  Also, be sure to check out the latest episode of the podcast, in which Jim and I discuss, among other things, the pronunciation of John Cazale’s last name, the personality of Tommy Lee Jones, and the goings-on at the Austin Film Festival.  Enjoy!

From Hand to Mouth

It’s been awhile, but a new episode of the Midnight Movie Cowboys podcast is available!  This time Stu and I talk about the career of documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the guys who made fascinating films like Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, and Some Kind of Monster.  The wait for the next show won’t be as long, we have a very simian show coming soon.  In the mean time, go listen to this one, and enjoy!

HomeVideodrome: Everything is Terrible

This week’s edition of HomeVideodrome is available over at Parcbench and Big Hollywood.  Also Episode 6 of the podcast is available over at The Film Thugs, and Jim and I stumble through this week’s onslaught of movies.  We talk about, among other things, Kevin Smith, shitty sequels to The Crow, and why Jack Sparrow is an awful lead character. Go read, listen, and enjoy!

Monday Mosh / Dream Theater / “Breaking All Illusions”

This here’s my favorite cut off of the new Dream Theater record (which I reviewed a few weeks back).  The departure of virtuoso skinsman Mike Portnoy was cause for alarm, but as this song shows, Mike Mangini gels with the band nicely.  Glad to see they haven’t missed a beat.

Review / “Fear X”

Fear X is a film that crawls just beneath your flesh that is both compelling and frustrating all at once.  John Turturro’s performance in the lead as a grief-stricken mall cop shows how much acting can be accomplished simply in the eyes.  Turturro is an actor who can crank it up and claw at the scenery with great effect, or tone it down to the level he does here, where he can form mental scar tissue with a simple look.

Co-written by director Nicolas Winding Refn and novelist Hubert Selby Jr. (the author behind Requiem for a Dream and Last Exit to Brooklyn), and released in 2003, Fear X finds Turturro’s protagonist, Harry Caine, suffering in the wake of the shooting death of his wife in the parking lot of the mall where he works.  Killed alongside a D.E.A. agent she apparently didn’t know, Harry finds the circumstance surrounding his wife’s death to be shrouded in mystery, and obsessively combs through mall security tapes in an effort to find the killer.  After unearthing a few loose clues, Harry finds himself in Montana looking for a mystery woman (Deborah Kara Unger) who may or may not know the man who pulled the trigger.  But as Harry finds himself closer to discovering the answers he desperately seeks, more questions pop up as his initial quest slowly turns into a frightening photo-negative of itself.

The story in Fear X is not unlike one’s we’ve heard before, but what sets it apart from the rest is that it is not a revenge movie (also, it’s probably the only serious movie about a mall cop in existence).  Harry isn’t a character Hell-bent on killing the bastard who shot his wife and subsequently submerged him in a sea of pain.  “I’m not a murderer,” Harry informs people privy to what he’s doing.  His motives are far less cliched, but somehow more terrifying because of it.  Harry simply wants to know why his wife was shot and killed, searching for ideal answers to tough questions in a chaotic reality.

The third act of Fear X is where the movie’s oppressive tone of dread comes to a fever pitch, helped in large part by the score by Brian Eno and J. Peter Schwalm, as well as Kubrick vet Larry Smith’s cinematography.  Where it ends up going narratively sets it apart, as most will find its refusal to provide answers to the questions posed frustrating.  David Mamet said that drama explores topics the way we explore them in dreams, the topics are discussed, but it isn’t necessarily up to the dramatist to answer those questions.  Today, movies rarely do anything but attempt to supply answers, for fear of facing the wrath of the audience.  Fear X‘s refusal to do so is initially jarring because of this, but thanks to its resolve, it ultimately it haunts you the way truly good movies do.

HomeVideodrome: Affable Product Placement

This week’s edition of HomeVideodrome is now available over at Parcbench and Big Hollywood, as well as the podcast, which you can listen to over at The Film Thugs.  This week’s big releases are Terrence Malick’s beautiful Tree of Life, as well as Martin Campbell’s disappointing Green Lantern film, which I’ve written way too much about in the past on this here blog.  So go read and give the podcast a listen!

 

Monday Mosh / Lamb of God / “Omerta”

It’s going to be a Lamb of God sort of week.  Randy Blythe has the most metal voice in music, the man sounds possessed.  I met their drummer, Chris Adler, at the Drum Shop here in Memphis before the played Minglewood a couple years back, and he was nice as could be.  I’ve seen them live twice, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Review / “The Ides of March”

My review of George Clooney’s The Ides of March went up yesterday over at Parcbench!

A sample:

“George Clooney is Hollywood star who has never been shy about his left-of-center politics, so whenever he directs a politically-oriented film, it causes ears to perk up.  His latest movie, The Ides of March, features Clooney as a politician running in the Democratic primary, who plays as a mix of Bill Clinton’s governor running on his record and Barack Obama’s vapid cult of personality, all wrapped in Clooney’s screen charisma.  This gives Clooney a few opportunities to espouse what are clearly his political views from the podium, which contain various liberal talking points and, much like our current president, promises no one could keep, including the elimination of the internal combustion engine in four years and free puppies for everyone.  But Clooney wisely keeps his politics in the background for the most part, not using it as a vehicle for his views, but rather as the setting for a tight, solid thriller that is well-acted, well-written, and directed with a steady hand.”

Head on over to Parchbench and read the rest!

HomeVideodrome: The Poo-Poo Platter

This week’s HomeVideodrome is up over at Big Hollywood and Parcbench, as well as the podcast, available via The Film Thugs!  This week we’ve got one of the goriest movies ever made, a one-two punch of Tarantino blu-rays, and some good Disney movies that they pooped on with a 3D retrofitting.  Follow the links and read/listen if you haven’t already!