If, like me, your knowledge of New Zealand cinema is limited to Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi, then Housebound will both delight and surprise you. I went into Housebound with zero knowledge of the plot, but you should know that it’s essentially a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a red herring. Just when you think you’ve figured out what kind of movie it’s going to be, it turns into something else. Rather than being confusing, it makes the movie that much more fun to watch.
Even though it’s a movie that still feels fresh and influential, Beetlejuice came out almost a quarter of a century ago. It’s no secret that many of Tim Burton’s biggest fans feel like he hasn’t done anything in the last 20 years to rival it. Those people need to see Suburban Gothic immediately.
When Jimi Hendrix’s estate refused permission for writer/director John Ridley to use any of Hendrix’s songs in his movie, it seemed like the film was doomed. Yet, while watching Jimi: All Is By My Side, the lack of original Hendrix music seems nearly irrelevant. Like Todd Haynes did with Velvet Goldmine, his loosely-based-on-David Bowie love letter to glam rock, Ridley manages to make it work. Without the specter of “the hits” looming over the film, All Is By My Side plays like a stadium-filling band performing deep cuts in a tiny club. It’s more snapshots and impressions than a by-the-numbers biography.
What would happen if the only other person remaining after the apocalypse was your annoying co-worker who always had his headphones on? What if the only other person smelled terrible? It may sound comical, but these are the hard questions you have to ask yourself when watching The Battery. Despite taking place after an apocalypse (of the Z-word variety), there are definitely funny moments, but on the whole, The Battery is a brutal movie. Things get fucked up and people die.
iNumber Number is a thoroughly enjoyable heist film from writer/director Donovan Marsh. There’s not a bit of flab to be found in its taut 96 minutes, all of which crackle with tension.
“Rich people design it; poor people build it.”
—João in Brazilian Western
If you’ve heard the song “Faroeste Caboclo” by Legião Urbana, the storyline of Brazilian Western will be familiar to you. For those who haven’t, it follows the song’s same storyline: a poor young man named João moves to the city for a better life, becomes a drug dealer, and falls in love, only for his life to end in tragedy.
Revealing this information won’t ruin your enjoyment of the film. From the opening scenes—which are very much in the style of a Western—we already know the ending is a sad one. Watching the events unfold is what makes Brazilian Western worth seeing.
This year’s Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 – September 15. Rather than focus on some of the highest-profile films in the Festival (a few of which are already on my Top Ten Movies To Watch In 2013 list), I thought I’d pick 20 that are a little different.
New this week on Popshifter: Brad reviews yet another Scream Factory reissue, this time it’s The Burning; Jeff finishes up this month’s Waxing Nostalgic Cover Albums series with Replicants’ eponymous album; Paul informs critics that being average is not worse than being bad; John pays tribute to The Olivia Tremor Control’s Bill Doss; I embrace the post-punk transvestite stylings of The Garden on their new album The Life And Times Of A Paperclip; and enjoy a lot of good movies new on home video and in theaters: Trance, Kiss of the Damned, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, and Berberian Sound Studio.
New this week on Popshifter: Brad is a big fan of two new Scream Factory Blu-Ray releases: Ninja III: The Domination and The Howling; Jeff rethinks not having given Bulletboys a chance before and urges others to give the 2006 version of The Wicker Man another chance; I review the vinyl reissue of White Fence‘s self-titled debut as well as the splendid Lenses from Soft Metals, and marvel at the brilliant, hilarious Computer Chess.