The Zero Boys is a horror/action movie from 1985 that raises the bar of ineptitude stunningly high. You would have to try with all your might, and maybe someone else’s, to come up with a film this insipid nowadays. It may be a testament to the filmmaking talents of director Nico Mastorakis that a movie as totally brain-dead as The Zero Boys is as entertaining as it is.
By Tyler Hodg
Hardcore Henry, a Russian-American first-person POV action movie from Ilya Naishuller, delivers a unique cinematic experience. The film relies heavily on the visual gimmick, and for what it’s worth, is completely memorable for it.
By Brian Baker
At one point, during the film Green Room, “Welcome to the meatgrinder” is uttered.
No other phrase can sum up the misadventures of an out-of-town punk quartet—with left-of-the-middle politics—as they take on a last-minute gig at a white supremacist roadhouse outside of Portland, Oregon.
Green Room is director Jeremy Saulnier’s third full-length feature and much like his cult favorite Blue Ruin, it’s a lovely shot of adrenaline directly into the scrotum called fear.
James Booker collected nicknames like some people collect vinyl. The New Orleans piano great has been called (by himself or by others) The Piano Prince, The Ivory Emperor, the Black Liberace, and the Bayou Maharajah. Filmmaker Lily Keber went with the latter, Bayou Maharajah, as the title of her documentary, now being released on home video.
Another week, another beloved and peerless musician has left us. In case you’ve been on some sort of Luddite retreat, you’ve heard the news that Prince has passed away at age 57. There are far too many good articles contemplating his death online to list them all here, but you might enjoy this one, in which I ponder what it means to lose our heroes, “The Beautiful Ones U Always Seem 2 Lose.”
Here are two vastly different new releases you might want to check out: Cherry Red Records has released Tiny Tim: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-1970) about which Hanna writes the following:
Hearing a grown man do a believable Shirley Temple imitation is always a beautiful experience, and “Mickey the Monkey,” a song from the perspective of a monkey in a zoo providing his story to the child listener, seems almost a comment on Tiny Tim’s own position as a novelty performer: “While you’re watching me, I am watching you, too / You’re as funny to me as I am to you.”
On a totally different segment of the musical spectrum is Trágame Tierra, the long-awaited follow up to Big Black Delta’s self-titled debut. Why this record isn’t blowing up I cannot imagine. I’ve seen only two other reviews for it, and one of them is the most ghastly and insulting thing imaginable, on a website whose name rhymes with “Consequence of Sound.” Ignore that crap, and just read about how great this album is.
Unicorn Booty’s got some music news for you on this week’s NOW HEAR THIS, including the Afropunk festival lineup and more.
Game of Thrones fans are gearing up for the new season which starts tomorrow and at Everything Is Scary, Tim Ford discusses the most frightening characters on the show. None of them is Cersei Lannister. If vintage sitcoms are more your speed, you can check out the first two episodes of the TV or GTFO podcast, in which our own Sachin Hingoo teams up with Gary Heather to talk about Perfect Strangers and Hulk Hogan’s Thunder in Paradise.
Movies? You want movies? We got ‘em. Well, we have reviews, at least. Dump those copies of Bride of Re-Animator in the trash, but not before picking up Arrow Video’s glorious new reissue, which Tim Ford assures us is the definitive edition. Sachin reviews a couple of Hot Docs movies, the new ten-part film essay from Werner Herzog, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World and the more-horrifying-than-an-actual-horror film Tickled. Women In Hollywood has their always-welcome list of women-centric, directed, and written films for the week, including the fantastic High-Rise, which I’ll be reviewing next week.
Unicorn Booty is the best site you’re not reading, unless of course, you are already reading it, in which case, yay! The excellent “A Trans Person Explains What’s Really Behind Transphobic Bathroom Bills” does exactly what the title suggests, but there is oh so much more good stuff in there. There’s also a rundown of why Harriet Tubman should be on the US $20 bill as well as some huge developments in world LGBT politics.
Oh, and if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, by all means, do not read this creepy assessment of H.P. Lovecraft’s uber-creepy short story “The Festival” by Peter Counter on Everything Is Scary.
I think most of us are familiar with the “Wikipedia hole,” where you’ll go to the site to look something up and find yourself entangled in a long series of links to related-but-unrelated entries, only to forget what you came for in the first place. A rabbit hole like this is the only way I can describe Tickled, because it’s a documentary that begins with the most benign and banal of subjects and ends up as a three-continent-spanning pursuit of, well, I’m still not sure. The characters along the way have a Lynchian surrealness to them, never as repulsive and pitiable on the surface as they are under the skin, which is really saying something because some of them are pretty gross externally, too.
In Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, a ten-part essay film that’s as far-reaching and excessive as its title, Werner Herzog explains the Internet as though you’ve never heard of it. If I didn’t know any better, I could actually believe that Herzog never has. He approaches this sprawling, impossible-seeming project with the often childlike point of view of a complete outsider and, one might say, Luddite. This usually manifests itself in a funny way but it also allows Herzog an entry point that’s not bogged down with jargon and which never seems patronizing. In fact, it easily and readily walks the line between wonderment and revulsion.
By Tim Murr
The follow up to 1985’s cult classic comedy gorefest Re-Animator, 1989’s Bride of Re-Animator, was a wild and rollicking film, amping up the craziness and gore with comic book flair. Directed by Brian Yuzna (who also directed the next sequel, Beyond Re-Animator) on a very short time frame, Bride picks up several months after the “Miskatonic Massacre” that ended Re-Animator.
The Death Walks Twice box set from Arrow Films highlights two gialli by director Luciano Ercoli. One is better than the other, but they follow the gialli formula to the letter and are both a lot of fun on a party night where Apples to Apples just won’t cut it.
Photo credit: Loma Vista
Hey, have you seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yet? Did the onslaught of haterade scare you away? Read Tim Murr’s review and reconsider your negativity, man.
Lots of MRA types have been guzzling the haterade after watching the trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One. Here, Film School Rejects praises the oft-misunderstood “Mary Sue” qualities of the trailer, and many other movies. At Rue Morgue, Alex West gives Scream’s Gale Weathers some long overdue credit in “The Final Girl Chronicles.”
There are a lot of blockbusters and superheroes getting (deserved) attention these days, but sometimes you want something with fewer explosions. So if Canadian film Sleeping Giant is playing near you, please go see it. It’s a low-key but emotionally riveting film.
Meanwhile, on TV, Tyler Hodg is reviewing the tenth season of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix. I recapped the shocking season six finale of The Walking Dead, but Laury Scarbro (Yay! Welcome back!) has even more thoughts and feelings about it.
Two killer episodes of Lucha Underground and one (hilarious, natch) episode of Broad City are dissected by Sachin Hingoo and then… we try something completely different. Anime n00b Tyler tackles Brotherhoood Final Fantasy XV, currently watchable on YouTube.
Oh Iggy Pop. Where would my life be without you and your music? I attempt to explain in my concert review from the April 9 show at Toronto’s Sony Centre. Iggy and David Bowie go together like well, peanut butter and chocolate, so here are five times that David Bowie literally helped save the world. (I never get sick of talking about David Bowie.)
MOAR MUSIC! Melissa Bratcher talks about how Janiva Magness’s new album Love Wins Again made her cry and wonders if The Lumineers are doing OK. Brian Baker rides the waves with Shark Toys’ Outsider Sect LP, and Tim Murr goes full metal with Graves At Sea, Tombs, and the folk-metal stylings of Kralthazar.
There’s still so much more going on in music and Unicorn Booty knows you need the info. This week’s “Now Hear This!” dishes on Beyonce, funny feminists, Snoop Dogg and Janet Jackson, and the sad struggles of Ke$sha.
Until next time, Popshifter fans!