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things i like:
rock'n'roll, country, punk & metal.
bands that combine all four successfully.
design, graphic & interior.
the intersection of philosophy & sociology.
ampersands.
andrew wk.
emergent gameplay, of the videogaming variety.
cursing.
beards.
beer.
bbq.
cjlo.
deep fried everything.
americana.
making lists
, including this one of my life's ambitions, and these of things on my mind at the time.

feedback: @angelidotca or ask me anything you'd like here.

i took a trip! read about it here.

evidence of my lame yuppie side on my (gasp!) house blog here.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 6

The Human Race

With expectations running high for this film, I was pretty satisfied. To say this film is brutal is an understatement. While it is violent and gory at times, it is the crushing reality of how easily humans will turn on each other in the right circumstances that brings the unflinching horror to this film. Pushing boundaries with a cast that includes disabled characters (… and the drummer from Cinderella?), the film ends on an unexpected note, one that in most films would seem like a cheap cop-out, but that somehow manages to work here. 

Toad Road

Any of my PA friends that may happen to read this will probably be familiar with the legend of Toad Road, and the 7 gates of hell it supposedly contains. Originally hailing from York, PA, the filmmaker blends his background in documentary films into  this sort-of horror flick in a unexpected way. Using a group of real-life non-actor friends as his cast, the lines between fantasy and reality blur onscreen in many different ways in this beautifully shot, inconclusive film. 

Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel

The worst thing about films like this one is that the non sold-out screenings are populated by mostly men sitting alone. A documentary about the brilliant (and quite possibly insane) French porn actor/director/producer HPG, this is a exquisite corpse culled from a decade of behind the scenes footage. Worthwhile mostly for the unedited look into the otherwise highly stylized and glamorized world of pornography, this film has many funny moments. During the Q&A, when asked about a scene in which HPG convinces a young man to “switch sides” on a gay-for-pay shoot, I particularly appreciated his response. “You might think it’s funny here,” he said, “but imagine if it was your sister, or your daughter. You wouldn’t be laughing then.” That level of candor is unexpected from people in the porn world, where trauma, substance abuse, and the real cost of manipulating and being manipulated are glossed over routinely, but some of that is very visible in this film, and might even teach pornhounds a thing or two.

Small Gauge Trauma

I always look forward to this short film program each year. While nothing particularly knocked my socks off this year, I was extremely partial to Bite Horse, more of a twisted music video than actual short film. Featuring music by the director’s brother under the name Mississippi Witch, this was a more of a musical discovery than a filmic one, but I was pleased nonetheless. That said, all the other short were quite good as well, but nothing seized me quite the way Snip (2008) or Animal Control (2011) did.

A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Three films in one, this confusing and seemingly endless Simon Pegg offering is one pancake short of a stack, just like its main protagonist. Starting off as a rumination on paranoia and mental illness, the film soon segues into a comedy of errors, only to morph into a horror film (with a brief interlude of incredibly well done stop motion animation about small woodland creatures… no, really) before wrapping on a campy upbeat note. Frankly, I found the first part of the film to be exhausting and not particularly funny, with the film hitting its stride towards the middle, and then veering off in all directions by the end. Unfortunately, this film didn’t do it for me at all, but Pegg is valiant throughout. 

Robo-G

What do you do if the robot you’ve been working on for months is suddenly destroyed, right before the big competition? If you answered, put an old man in a robot suit and watch hilarity ensue, then this film is for you! A light comedy about just that, this film is sweet, with many clever and amusing moments, but it easily overstays its welcome by at least 30 minutes. I could also have done without the obnoxious robot-obsessed ingenue, whose irritating presence distracted from the otherwise funny grandpa-in-a-robot-suit hijinks, but this lightweight crowd pleaser is inoffensive enough to suit most.

Killer Joe

When you’ll hear people talking about this being the role that Matthew McConaughey was born to play, you should know that they’re probably right. Taking the easy Texan charm he’s famous for, and adding a layer of genteel menace to it, McConaughey dominates the screen throughout the film, exploding with violence during the climax, but somehow never losing his charisma. The rest of the cast is note perfect as well, and while the film is bleaker than bleak (and honestly made me appreciate my easy and relatively mundane life), it is riveting. 

White: Melody of the Curse

A Korean pop group records a cursed song. Everybody dies. Did I spoil the film for you? Doubtful. By now, we’re all too familiar with the formula. You know it: jump scares, evil ghosts with long hair hanging in front of their faces and the sudden inability to walk upright during pivotal scenes, the blurring of fantasy and reality, an emphasis on body horror… and so on, and so forth. Nonetheless, I did enjoy this film, but it can’t be taken too seriously. KPop fans will enjoy the musical numbers, and there are couple of extremely effective scenes (one in particular, filmed in a rehearsal room full of mirrors, is beautiful as well as creepy), but overall, this is a pretty paint-by-numbers film with a sometimes confusing storyline. 

Black’s Game

A coke-snortin’, gang-bangin’ thriller from Iceland, there’s not much to take away from this film, but the ride itself is worth the price of admission. Entry into the criminal underworld is a small pebble at the top of the slipperiest of slopes, and the journey to the bottom is bumpy, confusing and fraught with danger for the likeable main protagonist. When the film surprises, it shatters expectations, but otherwise this is a relatively straightforward cautionary tale brought to life by solid, believable performances.

Replicas

Take. the. motherfucking. shot. Seriously. While I wish absolutely no ill on any of you, please, if you ever find yourself or your family being terrorized by violent, deranged intruders, and you have a loaded gun in your hand and a nice clean shot, please do me the favor and pull the trigger. Then pull it again. When will filmmakers learn that a small sacrifice in tension leads to huge gains in empathy? If you want me to want your characters to live, make me at least believe that they want it too, and that they’re really fighting for it. That said, Replicas is incredibly shot, incredibly acted, and an astounding debut film. We’ve tread this territory many times before, but there are some delicious moments of discomfort and the interplay between the two families is extremely well done, so there’s enough that’s new here to keep these jaded eyes interested.

————

Missed some of my other Fantasia 2012 reviews?

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 5
V/H/S, Miami Connection, The Mechanical Bride, Roller Town.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 4
Play Dead, Inbred.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 3
Funeral Kings, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Alter Egos, Jackpot, Black Pond, Resolution, As Luck Would Have It, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, A Night of Nightmares.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 2
Lloyd the Conqueror, My Amityville Horror.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 1
The Tall Man, The Ambassador, Juan of the Dead.

CJLO / Fantasia live broadcast tonight!

Contrary to previous reports, our live broadcast from Fantasia central, just outside the Hall theatre, will be taking place from 6-10pm, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Up first is Andrew, from Grade A Explosives, then I’ll follow with a modified version of BVST, and Idle Matt from Radio Fun will wrap things up. 

Drop by and give us your thoughts on your favorite films of the festival, and you could score a pair of passes to use in the remaining week and a half of Fantasia!

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 5

Before I jump into some more film reviews, I gotta let you know that tomorrow, from 7 to 10pm ET, CJLO 1690 AM / www.cjlo.com will be broadcasting live from Fantasia Festival central, just outside the Hall theatre. If you’re planning on seeing a film, or are just around the neighborhood at that time, drop by and say hello. If you’d like to talk about some of your favorite Fantasia films and moments live on the air, we can do that too! 

V/H/S

A rollicking and gruesome horror anthology by some of today’s rising new stars, I greatly enjoyed V/H/S, despite some drawbacks. Composed of five individual segments, with a sixth wrapping around them all (somewhat inconclusively, unfortunately), my favorite was the first, by David Bruckner, which offers a whole boatload of satisfying payback. In fact, many of the segments are tied together by the unifying idea that people get what they deserve, and that keeps the film from becoming annihilating, despite the general discomfort and ultra violence. 

Miami Connection

This year’s “so bad it’s good” entry (in the Birdemic & Troll 2 vein), this film is actually surprisingly not terrible. Yes, there is bad acting, stilted dialogue and the plotline is incomprehensibly cheesy at times… but in its own way, the film delivers enough kungfoolery and musical numbers (!) to keep the viewer engaged beyond simply ironic appreciation. Sing it with me now: “Friends through eternity, loyalty, honesty / we’ll stay together through thick or thin / friends forever, we’ll be together / we’re on top because we plan to win!”

The Mechanical Bride

Well, our friend Davecat is at it again, appearing in yet another documentary about doll fetishists. Thankfully, Alison de Fren’s take on the topic moves beyond just the men themselves, and digs a bit further into the sex doll industry worldwide, as well as taking a peek behind the curtain of what might happen once the line between (wo)man and machine becomes more blurred. While some might criticize the overall structure of the film, I very much enjoyed it, and felt like I learned something new about a topic that I’m already extremely familiar with. Some of the content is a bit outdated, since the film was shot over the past decade, but this remains a fascinating glimpse into a fetish that’s only gaining in popularity.

Roller Town

The brainchild of Canadian comedy group Picnicface, I was more than pleasantly surprised by this silly throwback to the 70s era roller disco craze. Consistently funny from beginning to end, this is a note-perfect homage to classic roller disco films such as 1979’s Roller Boogie. Light on actual roller skating scenes, and heavy on ridiculousness, I enjoyed myself thoroughly, although I’ve already forgotten most of the film. No worries though; it may be fleeting, but there’s great fun to be had here.

—————

Missed some of my other Fantasia 2012 reviews?

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 6
The Human Race, Toad Road, Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel, Small Gauge Trauma, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Robo-G, Killer Joe, White: Melody of the Curse, Black’s Game, Replicas.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 4
Play Dead, Inbred.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 3
Funeral Kings, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Alter Egos, Jackpot, Black Pond, Resolution, As Luck Would Have It, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, A Night of Nightmares.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 2
Lloyd the Conqueror, My Amityville Horror.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 1
The Tall Man, The Ambassador, Juan of the Dead.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 4

Well, pretty much the only thing that redeemed yesterday was seeing Play Dead. Adapted from a live stageshow dreamed up by renowned magician and sideshow artist Todd Robbins, and Teller, from Penn & Teller, Play Dead is both a dark meditation on death and the vulnerability of loss, and a totally awesome spooky magic show.

I particularly enjoyed the “behind the scenes” bits, which betrayed a bit of what the audience was experiencing during the live play. Parts of the live show involved plunging the audience into total darkness, while crew members touched and tickled them, or sprayed them with “blood”. The ensuing shrieking is extremely amusing, and the film shows quick night-vision glimpses of the mayhem.

After the film, Todd Robbins and Teller gave a Q&A like no other. Robbins ate a lightbulb on stage, which was incredibly impressive, and then Teller (reverting to his silent stage persona, after answering the audience’s questions in his normal speaking voice), did the incredible Houdini needle-and-thread trick. It was very, very cool.

I also decided to catch the midnight screening of Inbred, and while I wasn’t sold on it at first, I’m glad I stuck around. Despite some cheap clichés (really, are there hillbillies in England, and do they really play the banjo, an instrument steeped in American, and only American, history?), what kept me in my seat were the effects. This is a no-holds barred gore film, but like all good gore films, the violence is so completely, insanely over the top that the whole thing becomes amusing, and not the least bit frightening. There are some charismatic performances, and the film has absolutely no redeeming qualities, which, for the genre, I’d say is a success.

—————

Missed some of my other Fantasia 2012 reviews?

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 6
The Human Race, Toad Road, Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel, Small Gauge Trauma, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Robo-G, Killer Joe, White: Melody of the Curse, Black’s Game, Replicas.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 5
V/H/S, Miami Connection, The Mechanical Bride, Roller Town.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 3

Funeral Kings, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Alter Egos, Jackpot, Black Pond, Resolution, As Luck Would Have It, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, A Night of Nightmares.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 2
Lloyd the Conqueror, My Amityville Horror.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 1
The Tall Man, The Ambassador, Juan of the Dead.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 2

I can already tell that my pre-festival ambitions will not be fulfilled, but that’s alright. I usually set myself a goal of 60 films, give or take, and am generally satisfied if I see roughly half that. To me, the key with a festival such as this one is to not make it feel like a job (unless you’re required to see everything for your job, in which case, please disregard). I go see what I want to see or what my friends are seeing. Keeping it social and fun is all I care about. Now, yesterday’s films:

Lloyd the Conqueror

I was amused, but generally unmoved, by this lightweight LARP themed comedy. Well written, with clever jokes, the film flew by, and Brian Posehn, despite his trademarked flat delivery, does well as the übernerd White Wizard. Weirdly, the film felt very fake, which is a strange assertion since I really know nothing about the actual strategies or logistics of LARPing. Do “wizards” really throw tinfoil balls as stand ins for electricity spells? I suppose a Google search would answer that question, but to be honest, I don’t really care. Mostly, I’m just looking forward to the film’s soundtrack, which features previously unheard numbers by many of my favorite Canadian heavy acts. While it might have lost me a couple of times, I have no doubt that this film will find its audience.

My Amityville Horror

At once both what I expected it to be, and somehow not quite what I was hoping for, this documentary exploration into the life of Daniel Lutz, the eldest child of the family haunted by the Amityville house is a must for those interested in the paranormal. While there’s not too much new ground treaded here, it’s interesting to get the never-before-heard first person perspective into the strange occurrences that captured the darkest recesses of the human imagination. There are no clear conclusions to be had in this film, but there’s one pivotal scene involving religious relics that essentially sums up Daniel’s attitude and underlines the key question of the film: how much do humans need to believe, and need others to believe, in order to better understand themselves? 

I’ve got a couple more films lined up for tonight, including We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, the documentary about Anonymous. I’m incredibly excited for this one, and there are still tickets available, so go see it if you get the chance!

—————

Missed some of my other Fantasia 2012 reviews?

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 6
The Human Race, Toad Road, Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel, Small Gauge Trauma, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Robo-G, Killer Joe, White: Melody of the Curse, Black’s Game, Replicas.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 5
V/H/S, Miami Connection, The Mechanical Bride, Roller Town.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 4
Play Dead, Inbred.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 3
Funeral Kings, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Alter Egos, Jackpot, Black Pond, Resolution, As Luck Would Have It, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, A Night of Nightmares.

Fantasia 2012: Review Roundup 1
The Tall Man, The Ambassador, Juan of the Dead.

Essentially, there are two types of moviegoers in this world: people looking to escape the real world for two hours of their life, and mirthless, pain in the ass pedants, who notice and dissect every nitpicky little plot hole, and who fundamentally don’t like the experience at all… like me. Why then, did I relish every moment of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, when so many others have already panned it?
Yes, the film is uneven at times, and some characterization feels unfinished, as if important parts of the film have been left on the cutting room floor, but I just shook it off, and moved on. Why for this film, and so few others? Because the film is called Abraham. Lincoln. Vampire. Hunter. “Suspension of disbelief” (something I’m not good at, and will reject totally for films that pretend at realism) doesn’t begin to cover what one is required to accept in this film. Beyond the premise alone, the film veers sharply for the absurd early on, and then proceeds to one-up both its plot and visual effects for its remaining time. In short, you cannot take it seriously at all, but that’s not a bad thing.
While the two main “boss battles” are so unbelievably over the top that I was crying with laughter by the end of each, I was still, without question, thrilled. In fact, all the fight sequences are slick and sharply choreographed, with plenty of jump scares and other visual trickery throughout. After all, it’s in the visual department that the film shines. While the CGI is taken to extremes, overall the film is visually arresting, with some scenes, especially the sweeping shots of battlefields, seemingly ripped from Civil War era lithographs. The vampires alternate between genteel human forms (with or without pronounced veins and gleaming eyes) and fearsome distant cousins of Mortal Kombat’s Baraka, and Honest Abe himself becomes only more convincing as he ages through the film.
Ultimately, what holds this all together is the smartly woven alternate history, which, while imperfect, is full of clever twists that give life to what could otherwise be a very straightforward collection of decapitations. What makes the film work, beyond the slick visuals and clever plot, is its lightheartedness. This is intended to be a thrillride, and as such, it doesn’t take itself seriously, which is why I found it easy to let go and jump on for the ride. Also, as I mentioned previously, you should spend the extra coin to see this in 3D, which, while faked (the film was not shot in 3D), adds an extra loop to this rollercoaster. Trust me, you’ll get that money back during the horse chase scene alone…

Essentially, there are two types of moviegoers in this world: people looking to escape the real world for two hours of their life, and mirthless, pain in the ass pedants, who notice and dissect every nitpicky little plot hole, and who fundamentally don’t like the experience at all… like me. Why then, did I relish every moment of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, when so many others have already panned it?

Yes, the film is uneven at times, and some characterization feels unfinished, as if important parts of the film have been left on the cutting room floor, but I just shook it off, and moved on. Why for this film, and so few others? Because the film is called Abraham. Lincoln. Vampire. Hunter. “Suspension of disbelief” (something I’m not good at, and will reject totally for films that pretend at realism) doesn’t begin to cover what one is required to accept in this film. Beyond the premise alone, the film veers sharply for the absurd early on, and then proceeds to one-up both its plot and visual effects for its remaining time. In short, you cannot take it seriously at all, but that’s not a bad thing.

While the two main “boss battles” are so unbelievably over the top that I was crying with laughter by the end of each, I was still, without question, thrilled. In fact, all the fight sequences are slick and sharply choreographed, with plenty of jump scares and other visual trickery throughout. After all, it’s in the visual department that the film shines. While the CGI is taken to extremes, overall the film is visually arresting, with some scenes, especially the sweeping shots of battlefields, seemingly ripped from Civil War era lithographs. The vampires alternate between genteel human forms (with or without pronounced veins and gleaming eyes) and fearsome distant cousins of Mortal Kombat’s Baraka, and Honest Abe himself becomes only more convincing as he ages through the film.

Ultimately, what holds this all together is the smartly woven alternate history, which, while imperfect, is full of clever twists that give life to what could otherwise be a very straightforward collection of decapitations. What makes the film work, beyond the slick visuals and clever plot, is its lightheartedness. This is intended to be a thrillride, and as such, it doesn’t take itself seriously, which is why I found it easy to let go and jump on for the ride. Also, as I mentioned previously, you should spend the extra coin to see this in 3D, which, while faked (the film was not shot in 3D), adds an extra loop to this rollercoaster. Trust me, you’ll get that money back during the horse chase scene alone…

via suckthemovie.com
Another Fantasia film I can’t wait to see is Suck. With appearances by Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins and Iggy Pop, this is not your conventional rock film, and it’s not your conventional vampire film. I actually did some graphic design work for the promo of this at the Toronto International Film Festival, but couldn’t get out there for the screening, so you better believe I’ll be in the Hall theatre on July 24th at 2pm to see it.

via suckthemovie.com

Another Fantasia film I can’t wait to see is Suck. With appearances by Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins and Iggy Pop, this is not your conventional rock film, and it’s not your conventional vampire film. I actually did some graphic design work for the promo of this at the Toronto International Film Festival, but couldn’t get out there for the screening, so you better believe I’ll be in the Hall theatre on July 24th at 2pm to see it.

This is the trailer for Lemmy, which is my most anticipated film of this year’s festival. Co-directed by rock photographer Wes Orshoski, this is gonna be a screening not to be missed for all you bangers. If you wanna hang out, the easiest place to find me will be at the back of the Hall theatre before the screening at 10 pm on Thursday, July 15th (the Canadian premiere). I’ll be making a lotta racket and playing all your favorite songs. I CAN’T FUCKING WAIT.

swampandreviews:

angelicahasafeed:

swampandreviews:
Detroit Rock City
I LOVE this movie so, so much…

This movie is FANTABULOUS. So awesome in so many ways. Who’s your favorite? (Yes, because everybody I know has a favorite!)

Ace Frehley! As for which of these four… Oh man, that’s a tough call… I have a sweet spot for Lex, but I’m gonna go with Hawk for the following reasons:
I miss Eddie Furlong.
His awkward, shapeless striptease is endlessly endearing.
He makes out with Shannon Tweed.
Oh, and, uh, belated spoiler alert for those that haven’t seen this yet (get on it!).

swampandreviews:

angelicahasafeed:

swampandreviews:

Detroit Rock City

I LOVE this movie so, so much…

This movie is FANTABULOUS. So awesome in so many ways. Who’s your favorite? (Yes, because everybody I know has a favorite!)

Ace Frehley! As for which of these four… Oh man, that’s a tough call… I have a sweet spot for Lex, but I’m gonna go with Hawk for the following reasons:

  1. I miss Eddie Furlong.
  2. His awkward, shapeless striptease is endlessly endearing.
  3. He makes out with Shannon Tweed.

Oh, and, uh, belated spoiler alert for those that haven’t seen this yet (get on it!).