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Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi: Endless Poetry, The Projected Man & Blade Runner 2049

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 8, 2018 07:20pm | Post a Comment

Movie Moment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to the second Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi, where I review new releases on Blu-ray and DVD. This month I review a new movie by surrealist wild man Alejandro Jodorowsky, a classic monster movie from the sixties, and the stylish new sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner 2049. Everything reviewed in this column came out in the past four months. So here we go:

Endless Poetry, Alejandro JodorowskyEndless Poetry, ABKCO:
Alejandro Jodorowsky is in his late eighties but he's still making movies. Cinema's arguably greatest maverick is not going quietly into that great night. In fact, this is the second film he's put out in the past five years. Both films have been biographical in nature although, like the rest of Jodorosky's films, reality is often just a launch pad for his surrealist flights of fantasy. Just like Federico Fellini, in Jodorowsky's movies it's hard to tell where reality ends and fantasy begins. In fact, this movie has some obvious nods to Fellini films such as 8 1/2 and Juliette of The Spirits. But make no mistake, this movie is pure Jodorosky and goes to places Fellini could never imagine. Just like the rest of his films, there are things in this movie you'll never be able to unsee. There is one scene that depicts a performance art piece where an armless man enlists audience participation to help him caress and make love to his wife that is one of the more disturbing things I've seen in years. Let's make a check list for this film: Random disemboweling? Check. Love triangle with a dwarf? Check. A mother whose only way to communicate is by singing opera? Check. A parade of skeletons? Check. Weird Freudian sex? Check. Strange orgies of psychedelic art? Check. In fact, this checklist could go on almost forever, because on one level this is a mere biography and on another this is a movie about life, the universe, and everything. This film and it's predecessor are the works of an artist at the end of his life trying to teach us the lessons he has learned and what it all means. On a certain level, this is one of the drawbacks of the film. Endless Poetry is not as good as The Holy Mountain, El Topo, and Santa Sangre because those films were delirious searches for the truth, whereas this film is made by a man who has his answers and wants to explain them to us. It's a calmer more controlled work. That difference in tone makes this a more, dare we say, "traditional" film than Jodorosky's early deranged masterpieces. But that is no slight against this picture; the only one Jodorosky is in competition with is the earlier version of himself. This is probably the most crazed and surreal movie that will be released this year. Jodorosky is still in a category unto himself.

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Win a "Drive" Scorpion Jacket or "Drive" Prize Packs

Posted by Amoebite, January 5, 2012 08:27pm | Post a Comment
Drive JacketDrive is coming back to the Arclight Hollywood for a week-long run starting Friday, January 6. FilmDistrict is raffling off a scorpion jacket from the movie and 10 prize packs during the Q&A with Albert Brooks after the 7:20pm show in the theater on Friday night, January 6!

If tickets are sold out already for the Friday show, fear not. The film will play at the ArcLight through January 12, and the contest will be running all week long on The Drive Facebook page.

Here’s how to enter:

Take a picture of yourself next to the Drive poster in the main lobby of the Arclight Hollywood (by the coffee bar), then post this photo of yourself on the Drive Facebook page NO LATER THAN Thursday night, January 12, 2012.

Easy right?

One random and lucky contestant will win a scorpion jacket, and another 10 people will win Drive prize packs. 

Drive comes out on DVD/Blu-ray on January 31, but you can pre-order it now from Amoeba.com (with free shipping to US addresses, of course):

Drive Blu-ray Drive
Nicolas Winding Refn
$26.98 - (Blu-ray) 

out this week, 9/27 & 10/4: Drive...Gem Club...Teen Daze...We Were Promised Jeptpacks...Zola Jesus...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 20, 2011 12:40pm | Post a Comment
I have always been a sucker for shoegaze and dream pop. I just can't get enough of it. I have always loved it and I always will. I just love the dreamy and hazy feel of a really good dream pop album. It can take me away from reality to some other sort of magical place. It is my new age music. Sometimes I hear an album like this for the first time and I immediately fall in love. Sometimes it takes a bit longer. This happened the first time I heard Washed Out. I immediately fell in love. This happened again with Teen Daze. The new album, A Silent Planet, immediately became one of my favorites. I can't get enough and I keep going back to it. It is one of those perfect albums for a hazy overcast morning. Teen Daze is sort of the Canadian version of Sigur Ros. The new album is just six songs. But it really is no shorter than many full length albums these days. It really will transport you to another dimension. I fell in love with the album after just seeing the album artwork. It reminds me of a 70s sort of futuristic painting. A very specific view of science fiction. I sort of expected the album to be all instrumental. Sort of in the style of the amazing album The Days of Mars by Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom. But this album by Teen Daze is full of vocals. It could easily fit in with any band on Sarah Records like Secret Shine or Brighter. But with a more futuristic synthy element. I really do love this album. It is currently near the top of my list.

Check out "The Harvest" by Teen Daze from the new album A Silent Planet...



Another one of my favorites out last month is the new album from Gem Club. I have been listening to this album almost every day. Breakers is the name of the album. Released by the label Hardly Art who has really been putting out some great stuff lately. This album is a bit of a downer. So make sure you are in the mood for it. This is a dark folky atmospheric album in the style of Elliott Smith or Jose Gonzalez. Similar to albums by Beirut or Fleet Foxes. The album is beautiful and intense album. But it is a very minimal album. With mostly just piano and cello and voice Gem Club somehow manage to create one of the most beautiful albums that I have heard in a while. I also forget how much I like it until I go back and listen to it again. I think it just keeps getting better and better. Gem Club has just two band members. It is Christopher Barnes and Kristen Drymala. I think they are my two new favorite people.

Check out "Lands" by Gem Club from the new album Breakers...



I am really hoping that everyone out there has already seen the movie Drive. You really need to get out to a theater and see it if you can. It is easily one of my favorite movies of the last couple of years. It does not hurt that I am big fan of Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. But I think I would have liked this movie regardless. It is just one of those beautiful noir thrillers where everything came together perfectly to make a fantastic movie. The script and directing were perfect. The casting and acting is fantastic. And the look and sound of the movie is amazing. A score and soundtrack can really make or break a movie for me sometimes. And this soundtrack is amazing. It is part score and part soundtrack. Johnny Jewel, the man behind Glass Candy and the label Italians Do It Better, was originally to have done the whole score to the movie. This is not what they ended up using. But we will hopefully get to hear this unused score as a release sometime in the future. And good news. Johnny Jewel will be working on the score for the new version of Logan's Run directed by Drive Director Nicolas Winding Refn. The movie ended up using the score of Cliff Martinez which also appears on the soundtrack. But they did end up using songs by Desire and The Chromatics. Both from albums put out by Johnny Jewel and Italians Do It Better. The songs all fit perfectly into the movie. And the soundtrack is obviously a great album to listen to while driving. Especially at night. Please go see the movie if you not already done so. It somehow manages to have the feel of the best of 70s and 80s thrillers but without feeling retro or overdone. It just works. And the soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks in a long while. Somehow this movie seemed timeless to me. I think it will remain a fantastic movie for decades to come. It will be a movie that I will never forget and I am sure I will often go back to it and be able to experience that same experience of seeing it for the first time.

Check out "Under Your Spell" by Desire from the Drive Soundtrack...



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Lars and the Real Girl -- Finally an Idiot Man-Child Film I Wasn't Crazy About

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 22, 2007 01:02pm | Post a Comment
                 Lars... whoops- David Arquette                                                               The real Lars

In Lars and the Real Girl, Ryan Gosling plays a shy loner who is henpecked by nagging family and friends determined to engage him. He reacts to their attempts to set him up on dates and hang out in familiar and realistic shy guy fashion. Then he buys a sex doll which he falls in love with and all at once we're transported to a world I could only recognize as the familiarly formulaic "quirky indie film." Of course it's in the Middle West (Ontario in real life), the last bastion of quirky, lovable, soft-headed townsfolk with hearts of gold and fresh-baked good intentions.

What I had hoped was going to be a semi-comic observation along the lines of Punch Drunk Love or Chuck & Buck in one contrived bit plunged straight into the territory of an SNL sketch-cum-movie or an Improv skit that goes on for way too long (i.e. over 3 seconds). OK, it's not as bad as those examples, mostly because of the casting and because you don't have Horatio Sanz cracking up at the hilarity of it all. Ryan Gosling goes a long way in making Lars a character we care about even while the script or direction provide almost no insight into what's going on in his head aside from contrived instances with a psychiatrist. We never know if he really thinks the doll is real; does he ever have moments of clarity? What made him change from a believable loner into a delusional cinematic joke? We never know much of anything that goes on inside. You won't laugh, you won't cry, even though it's calculated to make you do just that. Ultimately Lars is just an icon with funny hair, funny clothes, a funny name and a funny relationship with others a la Napoleon Dynamite. Here's hoping he doesn't similarly inspire a legion of "hipster" imitators or else I'm going to have to make a lot more calls to the Redneck Squad.

I get the feeling that director Craig Gillespie (who also made the critically-despised Mr. Woodcock) didn't keep us distant from Lars deliberately like Todd Haynes did in Safe with Julianne Moore. Lars is viewed as a curiosity from arms length through the eyes of a guy whose prescription for social heterogeneity seems to be getting the world's "weirdos" laid or, at the very least, some hugs.

There are a couple of shots of the sex doll that register on the outskirts of funny and disturbing, but for the most part Lars and the Real Girl is (like Waitress or Little Miss Sunshine) only about as quirky as a Halloween episode of Friends. Almost too edgy for an in-flight movie or your great grandmother. The story slowly flows along toward inevitable plot markers at molasses speed and then ends, gratefully, sort of abruptly.


Ngoc Nguyen in stripes

If you don't believe me, my fetching, go-to paragon of flawless taste, Ngoc Nguyen, espoused similar views. If you still need convincing if the film's mediocrity, check out these particularly rote hyperboles it inspired among some of the nation's blandest critics:


Joe Morgenstern of Wall Street Journal: "nothing short of a miracle"


Ann Hornaday for the Washington Post: "a small miracle"


Wesley Morris for the Boston Globe: "something miraculous has occurred"

There you have it. The film is pretty much an act of an all-powerful, all-knowing being.
     
Jesus H. Christ is reportedly "totally jealous" of Craig Gillespie's recent spate of miracles

*****

Follow me at ericbrightwell.com