Posts Tagged ‘hollywood’

Pacific Rim (2013) – Guillermo Del Toro (Dir.), Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Idris “Charlie” Elba, Rinko “Chuck” Kikuchi, Burn “That is His ACTUAL Name; Also Charles” Gorman, Ron “Chaz, Chuckles, Charmeleon” Perlman

Jaegers vs. Kaiju. German vs. Japanese. It's like the opposite of World War II!

Jaegers vs. Kaiju. German vs. Japanese. It’s like the opposite of World War II!

I have a very tenuous and strange relationship with Guillermo Del Toro’s almost-pornographically eponymous epic of robots-battling-ocean-aliens, Pacific Rim. It has been years since the genius Mexican director (literally. IQ is off the charts) has been offered a chance to actually make a movie. Ever since Hellboy: The Golden Army, he has been flush with enough cinematic deals to make even Spielberg balk and, like Clint Eastwood’s erectile ability, his career has steadily deflated over the last five years. First it was Halo, the video-game adaptation that only the masculine-minded adolescent high-of-hormones and the verbally-flatulent begged for. That fell apart. Then there was The Hobbit. But, like some kind of Gollum, Peter Jackson kicked the hefty hispanic auteur from the project screaming “MY PRECIOUS!” and, like the Ring to Rule them All, it perverted something beautiful and delightful into a 3 hour tonally inconsistent J.R. Tolkcle-Jerk. Finally, Del Toro’s last attempt at salvaging what was once an Oscar nominated run in the Hollywood whore-dome, he was greenlit to adapt H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness with a $200 million budget, an R-rating and Tom Cruise. Guess which aspect of that fell apart? Oh, right, all of it. And so, the endlessly talented Mr. Del Toro has been wandering from studio to studio begging for work, a latter day Nikola Tesla, once a pioneer genius and now dying alone penniless in a New York hotel.

And now! Finally! He has returned! Pacific Rim uses up all of those pesky Cthulu drawings he did for the Lovecraft movie and transforms them into immense beasts labeled, according to the opening credits (sponsored by Merriam-Webnerd’s Dictionary), Kaiju. These things have come out of a dimensional rift in, you guessed it, the Pacific Ocean, and are gradually laying waste to the terrified citizenry of earth. To combat them, all of the nations of the world  came together (HA. Like that would ever happen) to build Jaegers, skyscraper-esque fully-loaded androids piloted by two people (I’ll get to that in a second). And that’s about it. I mean, there is a plot that extends past that…technically. But, in essence, it boils down to ROBOT SMASH. We have the deflated and utterly uncharismatic lead character, [INSERT WHITE MALE HERE] who is looking for a new co-pilot after his brother played by [INSERT ANOTHER WHITE MALE HERE] was killed in again, all the while butting heads with [INSERT YET ANOTHER WHITE MALE HERE]. Overseeing it all is Idris “If Morgan Freeman Ate Cigarettes” Elba, as the passionate and grumbly General (and this is not a joke, this is his actual name) Stacker Pentecost. Bang Bang from The Brothers Bloom (Rinko Kikuchi) shows up as the only character with even the most minute amount of depth and takes over as the emotionally questionable co-pilot for Charlie Hunnam, who you might recognize from shooting Julianne Moore in the throat during Children of Men (SPOILERS). Also, they find a feral Philly boy (Charlie Day), give him a medical degree and then link his brain into a Kaiju’s. Aaaaaaand no Del Toro movie is complete without Ron Perlman strutting in like some kind of heavenly pimp and shooting off the best lines in the fucking movie: “I’m Hannibal Chau. I took my first name from my favorite enemy of Rome and my last name from my second favorite Chinese restaurant.” People die, things explode, Charlie Day yells about things and the day is saved.

These are three of the leads. From left: Bland, Blander and Vanilla Ice

These are three of the male leads. From left: Bland, Blander and Vanilla Ice

How did this film come into being? The intrinsically cynical side of my movie adoration assumes that the studio meeting went a little like this: Mr. Del Toro, after months without work and eating nothing but stale popcorn and pasta with cheese, sat in the waiting room with the blueprint for a fantasy epic. It would be a tour de force, spanning both medieval and modern European history, pulling in mythology and thematic resonance from every possible culture, all coalescing into a beautiful whole before building to a thought-provoking and cathartic end. However, when he stepped into the room and, in moderately broken English, described what could be a latter day Jason and the Argonauts or perhaps a cinematic Ulysses, the executive, who, in my brain, is smoking a cocaine-laced cigar and his feet resting on an unpaid sex-tern (indeterminate gender) stops him mid-word and says, “That’s gay. Gimme something else.”

So, Del Toro, terrified he might have to return to his job of playing Michael Moore’s doppelganger at Bar Mitzvahs, looks around the room and says, “Um…how about…uh…robots…?”

Executive (chewing hemlock), “I LOVE IT. It’s like Transformers! Or Real Steel! Or Barbara Streisand’s face! Go on.

Del Toro, “And, uh, monsters…big ones…from outer…”

Executive (autoerotically asphyxiating), “Space? Boring. You’re losing me, SEÑOR.”

Del Toro, “From the ocean! And they fight! And the robots could be controlled by two pilots so that their dreams and memories are combined allowing us to explore…”

Executive, neck pulsing from an overdose of amphetamines, “IT’S LIKE POWER RANGERS THE MUTHERFUCKING MOVIE! WHY HASN’T ANYONE MADE THAT YET? TAKE ALL THE MONEY YOU NEED!”

Thus, Pacific Rim was born. Now, this may seem like I didn’t enjoy the movie. I did. Thoroughly.  It is, in essence, the culmination of a young child sitting in a toy box and smashing his plastic figurines about, a pint-sized wanton and ruthless god, torturing his minute Mattel minions. I was once that child. I was once the arbiter of imaginary obliteration for my army of defenseless Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joes, and Barbies…I mean, not Barbies. I didn’t play with Barbies. And they totally didn’t have weddings to the G.I. Joes with 21-gun salutes. And military soirees. And they totally didn’t role-play the “Your Husband Died in Action Fighting Teddy Ruxpin”, which would have totally won the Andrew’s Imaginary Playground Oscars if My Little Pony hadn’t developed ovarian cancer while dealing with a fucking divorce from the Care Bears. NONE OF THAT EVER HAPPENED.

I wish I had more friends growing up.

"WHY WASN'T I IN A LOVECRAFT MOVIE? DAMN YOU STUDIO POLITICS!" ~ rough translation.

“WHY WASN’T I IN A LOVECRAFT MOVIE? DAMN YOU STUDIO POLITICS!” ~ rough Kaiju translation.

Anyhoo. The robots are big. The monsters are bigger. The explosions are eruptive and might jostle your bowels. And yes, that little boy that lives inside of us all (not literally…unless you’re pregnant) gets to rollick and roil in the theater seats as big things go boom. Even though, in some misguided attempt at thematic meteorological metaphor or pathetic fallacy (literary term. Ask my mom) or just because it’s cheaper, every fucking battle happens at night and in the rain. Am I to expect it’s ALWAYS monsoon season in Hong Kong? I’m pretty sure they have daylight at least 14 hours a day, but that’s just me. This movie, in the hands of a novice or an idiot, could have been essentially Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla 2: Hong Kong Boogaloo. Del Toro ain’t slow. In almost every aspect of this thing, his quality and creativity seeps through, whether he wants it to or not. While the characters are about as interesting as the climax of Drying Paint: The Motion Picture and the script was most likely, at one point, scribbled on the inside of a bathroom stall during a particularly strenuous coke-hooker-and-ass triumvirate, Del Toro holds this thing together, delivering an exciting and compelling piece of schlock. It’s dumb. But goddamn is it pretty. As always, the art direction is impeccable and the creature design is fancy enough to make Ray “Harry” Harryhausen suffer incontinence (but then again, everything does. Because he’s old. Or dead. One of the two).

Perhaps the most bemusing and delightful aspect of the movie is its utterly incongruous comedic subplot following the man simultaneously voted Least Likely to Get a PhD and Most Likely to Electrocute Himself, Charlie Day, as he sprints through Hong Kong hunting down an intact Kaiju brain in order to discover the ins and outs of their hive-mind-based species. While blandy Mc-Vanilla-face (Charlie Hunnam) beats the shit out of Cloverfield with a fucking freighter, Day’s antics both provide a respite from the visual over-stimulation and illuminates the intelligence subtly humming under this movie’s surface. Del Toro, like most boys with proclivities of the comic-book variety, are no strangers to sci-fi world building. In fact, I would guess that his favorite part of any new project isn’t necessarily Spielbergian emotional manipulation, but the world-crafting essentials. I’m willing to bet that he has notebooks filled with the history of the Kaiju, the details of their societal structure, the basics of their biology as well as the history of the Kaiju war in its totality. I mean, come on, the guy defines words in the first frame. He makes up dumb terms like “Neuro-Drifting” and “Shatterdome”. No great sci-fi can ever be without nonsense word-copulation and this does not disappoint. This feels like a fully-realized conflict, rather than the ho-hum idiocy of the Transformer movies.

Charlie: "Awww man, I wish I got to wear a crazy costume like you." Ron: "What costume?"

Charlie: “Awww man, I wish I got to wear a crazy costume like you.”
Ron: “Costume?”

It is a shame, however, that Del Toro is reduced to the Hollywood sidelines. He is quickly becoming analogous to the scarily phonetically-similar Terry Gilliam. Del Toro demonstrated with The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth that he is capable of brilliant historic and magically realistic storytelling that resonates on a pure, human level. It’s no secret that some of that emotional subtlety was lost on Pacific Rim. There are flashes, however. Perhaps the most compelling concept hiding under the smash and boom antics is the concept of ‘Drifting’, where two pilots, incapable of controlling a Jaeger by themselves, need to link neurally to share the load. All dreams and memories are melded and, if the link isn’t stable, the two can be caught in a maelstrom of mental disarray. In these moments, Del Toro’s narrative abilities shine through, tiny rays breaking out of the overwhelming clouds of AWESOME. If there was anyone who could bring pathos to a tale such as this, it is that man. He doesn’t quite overcome the limits of the passable script, but he makes the thing, for the most part, coherent (Some of the fight scenes were more confusing than a badger on acid…but, full disclosure, I watched this after seeing Despicable Me 2 and brought enough booze for myself, my girlfriend and another friend but, after my GF fell asleep and my friend bailed, I drank all of it myself. So…that might have contributed to the bemusement).

I beg the Hollywood Idiocracy to grant Del Toro the chance to flourish as the great filmmaker he’s meant to be. He could make something great, something new, something timeless. He could offer children the next Star Wars or Indiana Jones. J.J. Abrams is proving himself to be the Zooey Deschanel of directors, pretty and intriguing, but you kind of get sick of the shallowness after a while. GIVE DEL TORO A CHANCE, HOLLYWOOD!

Unless they hate Mexicans for some reason. I mean, they let Robert Rodriguez stick his thumb up his ass, why can’t they let Del Toro do something good?

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by Andrew Mooney

The temperature is rising. The rains are coming. The sun isn’t being such a dick anymore. Puxatawny Phil lied to us. As Ned Stark wouldn’t say: Summer is Coming. We know it comes every year and, no matter how much we think we can prepare, the result is a vomitous mess of wasted celluloid and fried neurons. We no longer measure summers in lost loves, days trickling away on the beach and road trips. We measure them in blockbusters, Twizzlers and jumbo buckets of popcorn, monstrosities we know are going make us want to throw up and yet we keep coming back for more because…because it’s free refillsIt’s free food! WHY WOULDN’T YOU TAKE IT?

Summer movie season will be upon us soon. As I practice how many Reese’s Pieces I can force down my gullet without purging, the parade of mediocrity that is the Summer Movie Preview begins its dirge. So what do we have this year? What films will play across our faces as we question what we are doing with are lives and why we’re not in grad school and, seriously, Tom Hardy has like a thirty pack, how is that even possible?

I have split the bigg’uns into four categories: Movies I Want to See, Movies I Will See and Hate Myself, Movies I Will See Drunk, and Movies I Would Rather Be Diagnosed With an Awkwardly Placed Fungus Than See. So…let’s get started shall we?

MOVIES I WANT TO SEE

The Dark Knight Rises

Bane? Bane! Hey, Bane! You forgot your mask! Hey Bane?

Alright, alright. Let’s get my fanboy panties out of Christopher Nolan’s butt and just come out and say it. I love Batman. Not just that he is an enjoyable character with intriguing flaws as well as equally complex villains to complement him. I love him. I want to be him. I always have. This is no joke. If he actually existed (that’s a begrudging ‘if’) I would attempt to steal his heart and force marriage. Perhaps by way of a faked pregnancy. I haven’t thought it through.  Thus, when Batman Begins charged its ways into theaters back in 2005, I was about ready to put a hit out on the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane when he declared it “Meh.” Meh? MEH? Batman is the night. You know what doesn’t give a fuck? The night. Because it comes, whether you like it or not, every night. They even named a part of the day cycle after it because it’s not-giving-a-fuckness hit such levels of magnitude, it had to be respected.

So, there is this movie. I still get hot flashes when I think about the truck chase in The Dark Knight. Granted, the trailer for Rises had some…odd stuff in it. And I still have not forgotten Ken Watanabe’s hilarious accent in the first one. But seriously, on paper, it’s like Christopher Nolan went into my dreams and took everything I have ever wanted in a film: Batman, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, my insatiable crush on Anne Hathaway in leather body suits and… Wait…that is my dream. Did Nolan…?

My god. He is the Master of Dreams. All hail Nolan.

The Avengers 

This poster is terrible, aside from Iron Man playing invisible basketball.

Alright Joss Whedon. You have my ear. Now give me something good.

The movie that instigated this re-scouring of classic film was actually one of Whedon’s. I saw Cabin in the Woods twice in one week. I loved it that much. Seriously, if you enjoy horror films like I do, go see it immediately. You will have a blast. Ok…so, now onto this 4-year marketing campaign in the making. This film better be fucking worth it otherwise I’m forming a fucking posse and we’re gonna ride into Hollywood and drag Whedon out by his ass. And then we shall brand him, on the rump, “Thanks for wasting out time. Jerk.” I know it wouldn’t really be his fault, but someone must pay.

Ang Lee’s Hulk was one of the worst pieces of fecal matter I have ever had the pleasure to witness at 30,000 feet. And, as everyone knows, all movies are 40% worse on a plane. That’s science. I vowed, then and there, that I would never see another Hulk movie. And then Ed Norton decided to take a career nosedive and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk was born. This time, 100% less credible! Well, I saw it. No, not because it looked good or that it had fine reviews, but because Robert Downey Jr. was in it for thirty seconds. I watched two hours of unrelenting mediocrity because of The Avengers. So, Whedon, you have been warned.

In all honesty, it looks kinda cool. Yes, the only interesting part of Thor is back (Tom Hiddleston, not Chris Hemsworth’s abs. Put it back in your pants, ladies). Yes, I get Scarlett Johansson in a cat suit…again. Yes, Jeremy Renner shoots a bow…or something. Whatever, he was in The Hurt Locker so he is infallible. Yes, Samuel L. Jackson yells (he better fucking yell or Whedon is getting branded). And of course Mr. Robert Downey “Just Dare Me to Give A Fuck, I Dare You” Jr. as Iron “The Nice Version of Batman” Man. I’m a teeny bit excited. And apprehensive.

Your move, Whedon.

Moonrise Kingdom

Have you ever noticed that every Wes Anderson poster is the same thing? Quirky people standing in a line according to height?

That’s a lot of cursive. Cursive is intimidating.

I’m gonna lay down some truth bombs. I am white. I am male. I went to liberal arts college. I believe I am legally obligated to love Wes Anderson. Of course, the budding hipster, yearning to escape my body every day I think to myself, “Which vest goes with this shirt?” shudders with restrained excitement at the thought of Wes “No Big Deal” Anderson committing a new image to celluloid. The love affair began with Rushmore, as it did for so many blossoming detentes of the millennial generation. It grew from a tryst into true, codependent adoration with The Royal Tenenbaums, had a sexy vacation with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, lost the luster slightly trapped on a train with The Darjeeling Limited and then rediscovered the passion with the divinely-sent Fantastic Mr. Fox. As his similarly named counterpart traversed the Matrix in order to bring down the robot hierarchy, Mr. Anderson traverses human emotion to bring down our hearts. Aww. But seriously, if you like him, his movies are hilarious. If you don’t, well, you are probably a lot more fun at non-hipster parties than us.

I owe Anderson several life debts. 1) Fantastic Mr. Fox. My entire childhood development, if it could be blamed on any one person, was crafted by Roald Dahl. This book was perhaps may favorite of all. This is a movie, that no matter how crappy I feel, how lost, how tired, how depressed, I can switch it on and feel a wash of bliss subsuming my every doubt that, in the end, everything is going to work out. That is, until Michael Bay announces ‘Ninja Turtles‘. Head…about…to…explode… I mean, since Fox, whenever I really am feeling down, I think to myself “I wish I were Fantastic Mr. Fox”, because then I would be George Clooney. And Clooney is a fucking god.

2) He reanimated the jaded, bearded corpse of Bill Murray, siphoning that sarcastic Ghostbusterian brilliance into the bitter, distant father of humanity that he has since become. It’s incredible to see such a nice man act like such a brutal jerk, seemingly drunk at all times and finished with life. And yet, instead of murdering himself, he continues to trudge through each day, shooting down the young and sneering at the optimistic. His acting is amazing. Unless he isn’t acting then…well, I would certainly regret inviting him to my 21st birthday party.

This movie looks great. Surly Bill Murray? Check. Throwing shoes at Ed Norton? Check. Quirky, hipstomatic color scheme shot square in every scene? Check. Bruce Willis? Um…sure. Why not? Sometimes you need to invite the older kids to the party. It’s just polite.

Brave and Paranorman

Oooooh. Puuuurdy.

Now, it’s not really fair they don’t both get a section each, but I have pretty much the same thing to say for both. Brave is the newest Pixar film. Disney has been successful in convincing me that, no matter what happens, the world exploding, Mitt Romney becomes president, Newt Gingerich reaches the moon, one thing will always, always be true: Pixar films are amazing (unless the word Car is in the title). The Incredibles, Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, Wall-E, Finding Nemo and Up weren’t just formative moments in cinema for me…they reduced me to a weeping, giggling, spitting-up child, squirming with glee as I gobbled the rest of my Reese’s (I bathe in them. The love affair is that deep). I can count dozens of moments that took my heart and twisted it into a tiny ball of fear, anxiety, stress and longing before allowing it to explode out of my face in the manliest tears possible (given the situation of course). That being said, Pixar gets a pass. The trailer for Brave is beautiful…it has Scottish people in it. Yeah, the jokes fall a little flat and the story doesn’t seem as mind-bogglingly brilliant as their other stuff. But then, what did we say about Up’s teaser? Lawyered.

Worst. Metal band. Ever.

Paranorman, on the other hand, is from the same studio that produced Coraline a few years ago. Since growing up with those apexes of literary brilliance that are Wallace and his pensive canine companion Gromit, I have adored stop motion animation. Yes, I was that ass with a Nightmare Before Christmas poster in college. Also, I’ve been known to pop a boner or two for Neil Gaiman, on occasion. Coraline, though flawed as all hell (the second half devolves into a video game, essentially), it tickled every Roald Dahl bone in my body. And there are a lot because, after my accident when I was a boy, I found his grave and took several pieces of… I’ve said too much.

Paranorman looks fun. Zombies. Scary things. Imaginative stuff. In the end, it probably won’t be anything to write home about. But then we remember we have the Internet and everyone loves to write home about everything. So…yes, it will get written about.

Prometheus

Bask in its glory.

Ok, boys and girls, this is it. This is the big kahuna of the summer. I would like to believe that, if there were seven and two half words that could collectively drop fanboy panties through the outer crust of the earth, they would be: “Ridley Scott is making a new sci-fi film”. And then we hear it’s a ‘prequel’ to Alien. Thanks to George Lucas, the word ‘prequel’ is about as palatable as a UTI. Also, there have been so many Alien films and only two of them have been good. Lastly, Damen Lindeloff, a man whose name is synonymous with ‘Fanboy/girl Blue Balls’, wrote the script. At that point, I dusted off my hands, looked out into the sunset and declared, “I think I’m done here. See you all in hell.”

And then the trailer was released. Even with my best Clint Eastwood poker face (equal parts concrete, disgust and ‘wow this cigar tastes terrible’) disintegrated into something closer to a gelatinous mass of anticipatory euphoria. Michael Fassbender…Noomi Rapace…a soundtrack that seems deadly close to Inception’s…Charlize Theron…Idris Elba…ALIENS…CREEPY ALIENS… SCREAMING…IT’S IN MY SKIN…

I can’t explain the religious epiphany I had in that moment. If this movie isn’t good, I won’t be upset. There will be no posses, no branding of Scott’s heiney. Rather, I will sit in the grass outside the movie theater (let’s be real: tarmac) and weep. For Beckett was right. We are waiting for something that will never come. Something greater than ourselves. Something to give meaning to this universe and its backwards existence.

And that thing, of course, is another good Alien movie.

by Andrew Mooney

The Serpent’s Egg (1977) – Ingmar Bergman (Dir.), David Carradine, Liv Ullman

Look at him. He’s a plank of wood.

There were two criteria for entering a film into the pot. 1) We have to have heard of it or 2) We have to have heard of the director. That was it. Pretty simple, right? Well, this was certainly a gem that only found its home in the latter category. Ingmar Bergman is a name synonymous with cinematic excellence and creepy-as-fuck-people-doing-creepy-as-fuck-things. His work is almost unparalleled. In senior year of high school, I dragged myself through four sittings of his Kill-Yourself-Everything-is-Pointless Magnum Opus The Seventh Seal. It’s an uncompromising view of the end of all life…or maybe just a soldier’s life…or maybe the world…or maybe…just shut up and listen to how absurd a language Swedish actually is. Well, hoping that this little ditty, The Serpent’s Egg, would be of the same caliber as Mox Von Sydow playing death with an IKEA chess board, we turned it on.

It became quickly apparent why this is the only Bergman available on Instant Watch. Seriously. It is a movie about David Carradine, a jewish trapeze artist (how do we know he does trapeze? Because he’s David Fucking Carradine and he fucking says so), wandering drunkenly around 1920s Berlin punching people and sleeping with prostitutes and having mood swings and then (SPOILERS) getting told he was all part of a pre-Nazi experiment. Um…okay…

After researching a little about this film, Bergman described Carradine as “sent from God”. You may remember Carradine as the illustrious and heart-exploded Bill from Kill Bill (SPOILERS…dammit. Late again. Oops)…or dying by way of auto-erotic asphyxiation in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. He’s about a charismatic as that piece of wood Keanu Reeves has been emulating his entire career. This man is a kung-fu artist. He punches people. He kicks them in the face. He reaches into people’s chest and rips out their hearts. He does not sit with existential stillness and channel the horrors of being into corporeal form. It’s just not his strong suit. He stumbles from scene to scene, brokenly speaking words as though he just remembered that his tongue does exist and it’s used for verbal balletics and randomly hitting people (usually of the female persuasion…but who knows? Carradine’s a wild card).

Fuck with him. I dare you.

I considered Bergman’s words. As a director, he’s worked with some of the greats. How did he consider Carradine, ‘sent from God’? This was Bergman’s only Hollywood film. Here is my theory: the movie was actually coherent at some point and then some executive informed Bergman that “Carradine is hot shit. Have you seen him punch people in the face? Top dollar! Top shelf! Top dog!” He then sucked on a cigar and petted his obligatory man/boy-sex-slave (they all have cigars…and little slaves. This was the 70’s, let’s be real). Bergman then attempted to make his movie and yet Carradine, upset that he didn’t get a shot at Footloose (which wouldn’t be released for another decade, but Carradine knows kung-fu so he obviously has powers of clairvoyance. That’s science.) insisted upon drinking a fifth of moonshine every twenty minutes and showing off that he can beat the ever-loving-shit out of anybody. Thus, Bergman compensated. And so, he built a perfect replica of 1920s Berlin and allowed Carradine to just kinda wander around, crying, yelling, throwing bricks through windows and hitting whomever he pleased (or getting hit, depending on his current flavor of crazy). Then he filmed it. This is no movie, it’s an extended experiment, investigating the true depths of celebrity/kung-fu-induced insanity. One would expect this to culminate in the “Let’s explain everything but actually explain nothing and end with a Nazi watching himself die in a mirror”…but the true apex of drama in this film is the absolutely inexplicable, thinly-veiled dance sequence in which Carradine light-foots his way through a police station Kevin-Bacon-style.

And then he accidentally locks himself in a cell. Like a champion. And gets beaten senseless. Like a champion.

The other theory is that, somehow, in the future, Quentin Tarantino discovers a time machine and returned to 1977 to lay the prequel work for Kill Bill. Then again, Tarantino with a time machine would be far more destructive… (note to self: movie idea).

What else to discuss with this very odd, aimless movie? Not much of a plot. Like Carradine’s inebriated adventures, it stumbles about before revealing that it was all a hoax the entire time. What do we get along the way? Midget strippers. A heroine, dressed as the Joker, doing her best Liza Minelli impression. Jews getting hit. Horses dying. As my roommate Ryan said, the “one crackhead in all of Berlin”. Prostitutes. Cross-dressing minstrel shows. Pretty much everything on the checklist of a Tommy Lee weekend in Vegas.

Yes. This is from the movie. I shit you not.

Much like Haneke’s The White Ribbon, this is about Nazis. Where they came from. How they came to be. It’s about the birth of hatred. So, thematically, its strangely apt for this last run of films. Plot doesn’t matter. It’s a portrait of a country disintegrating, laying the groundwork for an uprising. Bergman isn’t the peppiest of filmmakers. In fact, he’s about as uplifting as a kick in the nuts…that then leads you to discover that you have inoperable testicular cancer and only 3 months to live…and your house just got foreclosed on…and your dog just doesn’t care anymore. Carradine aside, it’s a fascinating collage of a frustrated nation, cracking at the seams, waiting for the influx of evil that’s only ten years away. As the crazed, yet terrifyingly sane doctor says in the final scenes, “In ten years, the ten year olds will be twenty. The fifteen year olds will be twenty five. This is how hate is born.” For a movie so blissfully incoherent for the most part, its ending makes your skin tingle with irrational rationality. Every single button is pressed, forcing you mental g-spot to overwhelm itself and take into account that, when pushed too far, people will turn to anything to solve their problems. Sometimes it’s constructive. Sometimes…it’s genocide. ‘Haunting’ was the only word I could conjure once the ending credits rolled. Carradine left my mind, as did the rest of it. Every memory of this film flittered away into nothingness and I was left with a single thought.

Hate. It comes when you least expect it, when you most expect it.

Thanks, Mr. Bergman, for ruining my Friday. Great job. You existential dick.

Also, as a little pick-me-up, I had a guest star watching with me. My new roommate Ryan is apparently the worst person to watch a film with if you want to take it seriously. Conversely, he’s about as reverent as a clown taking a shit in a church. Such gems flew from his lips during the course of this film:

“She’s addicted to shitheads!”

“She looks like she’s been infected with the Rage virus.”

And the coup de grace, about Carradine: “This is before he got that boring job jerking off in the shower.”

He will be included in future viewings. He has cemented that right. Be prepared.