New this week on Popshifter: Chelsea thinks Xenia Rubinos’s Magic Trix is a “thrilling listen”; Metal Mayhem continues with Jeff’s take on Dangerous Toys and Judas Priest; Jeff also says that Big Country’s The Journey is the best new album he’s heard this year; Melissa B. parties traditional style with the new album from Kermit Ruffins and gets transported to the past with the reissue of Marty Robbins’s El Paso City and Adios Amigo; I recommend both the glam psychedelia of Burnt Ones’ You’ll Never Walk Alone and the party music of Dead Ghosts’ Can’t Get No, and revisit 2002′s excellent, unsettling One Hour Photo, recently released on Blu-Ray.
I saw One Hour Photo when it was released in theaters in 2002. I’ve never forgotten it.
It was the first film I saw with Robin Williams playing against type as a truly disturbed character. Even 1991′s The Fisher King was Disney compared to One Hour Photo.
Writer and director Mark Romanek cut his filmmaking teeth on music videos for Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Michael and Janet Jackson, and Fiona Apple. With the success of filmmakers like David Fincher, the stigma of transitioning from music videos into feature films has thankfully diminished. For a first feature, One Hour Photo is astonishing, but it would still be were Romanek a veteran.
New this week on Popshifter: Jeff starts some Metal Mayhem with Night Ranger and Mötley Crüe (more installments are coming throughout the month); Luke reviews the “brilliant” cooperative game Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine; Brad gets transported back to childhood through Jason Lapeyre’s new film I Declare War; and I am impressed with ChristCORE, a new documentary on the Christian hardcore scene seen through the eyes of a nonbeliever.
In the May 1989 issue of SPIN, born-again Christian evangelist Bob Larson followed the band Slayer on tour and presented his account in an article called “Desperately Seeking Satan.” By the end, Larson determined that Slayer’s “root of evil” was “rock’n'roll stardom” and that their “act of iniquity” was not with Satan, but with the “Billboard charts and T-shirt sales.” Still, he prayed that “both their eternal and artistic souls” would be saved.
Almost 25 years later, musician and filmmaker Justin Ludwig decided to follow two bands from perhaps an even more mystifying and misunderstood genre of music: Christian hardcore. As Ludwig explains in the beginning of the documentary, hardcore music helped him to break free from the shackles of organized religion and the oppression of conformist thinking.
If ChristCORE were a fictional Hollywood story, it’s easy to imagine that by the end, Ludwig will recant and become a born-again Christian. But, this is real life, or at least the documentary film version.
Regardless of your gender, I Declare War will take you back to your childhood fantasies. The film opens with children playing a war game and the rules are quickly established. These two teams are deep in the woods playing Capture The Flag, but things change when some soldiers decide to take their lives in their own hands and defy their Generals.
During the film we are sucked into their world, becoming one of them, a solider. Hiding, crawling, always on the defense, and feeling like part of the squad. Waiting for the attack and watching your friends’ backs in hopes the enemy is not lurking behind you and trying to flank your troops. This is the level of realism I Declare War presents and it holds up until the end credits roll.
New this week on Popshifter: Jeff praises The Armoury Show’s “gorgeously slick cathedral Goth with strangely danceable grooves” in the Cherry Red reissue of Waiting For The Floods; Danny calls the new Meat Puppets album, Rat Farm, “the band’s most playful and diverse offering since 1985″; Melissa B. laments the passing of George Jones in her review of the CD reissues of George Jones Country and You’ve Still Got A Place In My Heart; I describe the “geographic grandeur” of the full-length, self-titled debut from Big Black Delta; describe how no-budget, sci-fi flick Manborg “comes from the heart”; explain the “nuanced, complicated” joys of A Royal Affair; congratulate Melvins on their excellent album of covers, Everybody Loves Sausages; and get excited and photo-happy about the upcoming Vicki Berndt art show in Los Angeles.
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
The period romance implied in A Royal Affair‘s title is fulfilled in the film, but if you’re looking for Shakespeare In Love, you may be disappointed. Rather than another version of the “love conquers all” fairy tale, it presents a nuanced, complicated, and not always flattering portrayal of the titular threesome.
There are two groups of people in the world: those who love Manborg and those who just haven’t seen it yet. (Too pompous?)
Let’s try this: anyone with only a cursory knowledge of Mystery Science Theater 3000 knows that there is an audience for bad movies. Although some of the most famously bad bad movies have escaped the comic commentary of MST3K (Troll 2, The Room), it doesn’t make them any less beloved in their awfulness. Yes, screenings are organized for fans to openly mock these movies, but if it brings people so much joy and it isn’t really harming anyone, is that necessarily a bad thing? Especially when it comes from the heart.
Logan, we miss you.
New this week on Popshifter: Melissa calls Luke-Winslow King “one to watch” in her review of his “excellent” The Coming Tide; Jeff wonders how the labouring man can find time for self-culture in a new installment of “Waxing Nostalgic”; I discuss the new Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead short film Wrecked, praise the “spirited” Chapin Sisters album A Date With The Everly Brothers, and call Life of Pi a “certified cinematic breakthrough.”
TM and © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.
Those who read Yann Martel’s Life of Pi towards the beginning of the last decade probably wondered how such a fantastic tale could ever be filmed. There were also those who, upon hearing that Ang Lee was tackling a film version of Life of Pi, felt elated and relieved that someone with such talent and commitment to a story was the one chosen.