Movies, music, cartoons, comics, food, and television. That's just the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
Pink Flamingos is nice, but Female Trouble is his best film.
In the wake of a tragedy the public starts to look for answers on why everything goes wrong. A common scapegoat for a tragedy is music. Musical artists like Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, and Marilyn Manson have all felt pressure from the public because of misinterpretation of their music. (In Marilyn Manson’s case it was just a witch hunt, since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of the Columbine High School Massacre didn’t even like his music.) While the artists are not directly involved, they still feel the guilt over the calamity.
In the movie Black Metal, Ian (Jonny Mars), the lead singer of the band Crown of Horns, begins to go through a period of bleakness after one of his fans kills his teacher in cold blood. While Ian may have the ghastly black metal persona on stage, off stage he’s actually a calm parent who seems to live a typical life.
The tragedy begins to take a toll on Ian after a fight in a convenience store where he is confronted by a passer-by who blames him for the incident and even goes so far as to say that it was probably Ian’s child who committed the acts of murder. (This doesn’t bode well for the passer-by)
While it may be difficult to tell a story in under nine minutes, writer and director Kat Candler does a pretty good job of showing you the traumatic event and the chain reaction that comes from it. The film also doesn’t feel like it’s trying to capitalize off of the black metal controversies from Norway. Rather, this film depicts an artist influenced by the music who finds himself in his own dilemma caused by murder.
Jonny Mars is really good in Black Metal, due to time constraints it’s not easy for someone to give a a completely developed performance in a short film, but Mars was able to do it. While the title would have you think that you would see more of his black metal persona, you only really see it in the very beginning of the film. The majority of the film sees Ian as just an average guy.
The cinematography in the film definitely stands out. From the shots of the grisly murder scene, to Ian talking to his daughter in the middle of the night, everything is shot superbly well.
While the film has a somewhat abrupt ending, it’s very well done and worth a watch. I don’t watch a lot of short films (Unless you count cartoons as short films), but Black Metal was something that I couldn’t help but watch because of the subject matter. Even though it isn’t my favorite metal genre, it does have an interesting history behind it. However as I said before, this movie isn’t about that history, it is merely a backdrop for the story. You don’t need to be a metal fan to enjoy this movie, wouldn’t hurt, though.
Black Metal is an official selection for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and can be seen for free on YouTube.
Yeah, this review is pretty late, but I just got around to watching Looper the other day. 2012 had me skip out on a lot of movies, so I’m trying my best to catch up.
In the future when the mob wants to kill someone they send them back into the past, where one of their hired guns, a looper, waits to assassinate the target. However, every looper must live with the realization that one day the mob will come after them and eventually meet the same fate that every one of their target’s met, this is called closing the loop. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) eventually encounters himself (Bruce Willis) one fateful afternoon and is knocked unconscious. Now he’s on a mission to take his future self out before the mob decides to kill them both.
Looper is written and directed by Rian Johnson who has directed some great Breaking Bad episodes and one of my favorite High School movies of all time, Brick. (Which also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt) Beyond that, I haven’t seen anything else that Johnson has directed. He doesn’t have a large amount of things under his belt, so I still have time to catch up on his work. For the most part though, he’s been a part of some excellent projects and I hope to see more from him soon.
The two principal actors who play Joe in the film do a really good job on both their parts. While Levitt plays Joe with an arrogant bit of swagger, Willis plays him with a more mature attitude about life. Even as Willis pleads with Levitt to help him, Levitt wants nothing to do with his future self’s plan. It’s surprising how similar Willis and Levitt actually look. I’ve never noticed it before, but as you watch the film you do start to notice that there is a certain something about the both of them that makes them look like future and past versions each other.
While Willis does play an important part in the film, he doesn’t show up in it nearly as much as Levitt does. In fact this is mostly a Levitt film, with Willis showing up every once in a while to be a bad ass or to be gloomy about the turn of events. Still, this doesn’t take away from his performance in the film. Just don’t come into Looper thinking that Bruce Willis will get as much times as Levitt.
Levitt is strong throughout the whole movie and never once lets you down. His character grows during the movie and not once does it seem forced. The entire performance seems real natural, which is good because the brash nature of his character could have come off really bad if it was in the hands of a weaker actor.
Special appreciation should be given to the story of Looper, time travel movies usually deal with one of two problems: Either the film goes too in depth with the way time travel works, making the movie incredibly convoluted and confusing to follow or they don’t put enough work into it, leaving room for major plot holes. How does Looper counteract such problems? In a meeting with himself, young Joe brings up the possible outcomes that may come of them meeting together and what dire complications it could have for the future. Future Joe shuts him up and tells him that if they were to go into everything about time travel it would just be too complicated. By doing this it saves the movie valuable time and doesn’t become a burden on the film.
The music in the film is okay, it has moments where it stands out, but the music by Nathan Johnson never reaches the same heights of beauty as it did with Brick. Which is too bad because the soundtrack in Brick is one of my favorites. Still, it’s not like it’s bad, just a tad bit flawed. (And in case you’re wondering, yes, Nathan Johnson and Rian Johnson are related. They’re cousins. Pretty talented family, right?)
Looper is a great movie that is more closely related to crime thrillers than science fiction, the action is ever present and never gets boring. I can see why it made so many ‘Best of 2012’ lists. It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to see it in theaters when I had the chance.