Category Archives: Experimental
Guess Who’s Back? Back Again?
Shady’s back – tell a friend! *dance break* Oops, sorry, got a little excited there for a minute…Anyway, I’m back (for today at least. and later this week. then hopefully forever and ever and ever like that creepy clowndoll you can’t get rid of but being ill makes life rarely go as planned, so we’ll see. right? 😉 ) WHY am I here? To let y’all know that the Portland Film Fest is back!!
Remember AIMY IN A CAGE from last year? The mind-blowingly, amazingly, freakishly, insanely beautiful love child of John Waters and Marc Caro/Jean-Pierre Jeunet (that is currently on Amazon Prime – hint, hint, nudge, nudge)? It was one of the AMAZING pieces from last year’s festival and this year’s line-up promises to be just as interesting! I’ll be covering the festival and reviewing films from it for the next couple of weeks, and there’s just so much diversity going on here – there are films on pinball wizards; accountants dying to be stand-up comedians; Ovarian Psycos; pot growers; guys with allergies to the sun; haunted Mediterranean islands; politically-conscious indie musicals (YES!!!); family dramas; goat farming; gang life vs. street fashion; superstar role models; and MORE…*deep breath* Whew, that’s a lot of film! Obviously, I can’t get to them all, but I’ll be getting to as many films as I can. If you’re IN Portland, however, I HIGHLY suggest you go watch these beauts for yourself!
The fourth annual Portland Film Festival will take place August 29 – September 5, 2016, at Portland’s iconic Laurelhurst Theater, and will include over 20 educational panels & forums, 12 archival presentations, and many parties, events, and industry networking opportunities throughout the week. Established in 2013, the Portland Film Festival is one of Oregon’s largest film festivals, and was named “one of the coolest film festivals in the world,” by MovieMaker Magazine. This year, the festival has programmed a near equal balance of films from men and women, furthering the festival’s commitment to supporting diverse voices and visions.
“This year’s screenings, panels, and programs are an exciting cross-section of icons of classic cinema, engaging new filmmakers, and the best of modern indie film. We’re truly proud to bring this year’s eclectic program to local audiences. We’re also thrilled that, for the first time, all of our films will screen at Portland’s historic Laurelhurst Theatre. This year’s festival will be a not-to- be-missed event,” said Josh Leake, Portland Film Festival Founder and Executive Director.
The festival will present two opening and closing night films (a documentary and a narrative film on each night) and feature films in the following sections: Narrative Competition Feature, Documentary Competition Feature, Narrative Spotlight, Stranger Than Fiction, Tribute: Visionaries, and Milestones. New this year, the festival has created a section to screen classic films from the 70’s and 80’s, and will also be honoring two iconic writers, Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke) and William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run).
Visit their site for full deets and list of films!
“No Woman” by Afghan directory, Yama Rauf, has got to be one of the most beautiful films under 3 minutes I’ve ever seen. Shot entirely in black and white, out in the desert, it shares a beautiful message about women leading women, women following in the footsteps of those who fought before them for equal rights, etc. Seriously. Under 3 minutes. It’s amazing.
A girl walks alone in the desert on a road that has a sign that indicates that no women are allowed. She reaches a person in the middle of the road with an evil looking mask, holding a gun. Clearly things aren’t going to end well…except she rips the mask off and keeps walking as the person weeps in the road behind her. Then comes the next day where a group of girls come to the same road, unsure of what to do. Then they see the mask floating in the wind.
There’s no dialogue so you’re free to get lost in the beauty of the music and scenery. I love it, without a doubt. Films like these that make you think and that are done in such an artistic way are a true treat.
Aimy in a Cage
WOW. Yeah. Okay. So. Um…AIMY IN A CAGE is basically the love child of John Waters and Marc Caro/Jean-Pierre Jeunet (DELICATESSEN, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN). That is the best way I know to describe this film. As the credits rolled, I just sat there, staring into space, asking myself, “What the f*ck did I just watch?” – but asking myself in the best way possible. Because this movie is mind-blowingly, amazingly, freakishly, insanely beautiful. In a really, really, really twisted way (and is there any better way?).
Summary – “A creative teenage girl is placed into a mind-altering procedure to civilise her, while news of a virus epidemic spreads throughout the world.” We might be in the future; we might be in the past – who the hell knows? Wherever we are, we have Aimy – a whimsical wisp of a girl who doesn’t exactly fit in with her family. Or society. Or anywhere. She likes to dance and they like money. She likes art and they like boring conversation. Honestly, it’s a bit more f*cked up than that but I just do NOT know how to describe it…Aimy is that one rare soul who isn’t a carbon copy of the materialistic, dull as dishwater, ORDINARY people around her. However, Aimy also isn’t necessarily likable. Not hateable but not entirely likable. But then NO ONE in this film is necessarily likable so perhaps that’s the one way Aimy IS similar to her surroundings?
Anyway, apparently there are (or were?) a few other people like Aimy (or EVERYONE used to be like Aimy) because there’s a procedure you can have done so that you too can be a mindless, materialistic robot! Yay! Aimy is forced into this procedure, which looks a little like this:
Aimy is all kinds of hardcore though so the procedure doesn’t exactly take the first time and is done again – this time with some…modifications in the form of psychological torture. Oh, and while this is all going on, there’s a virus making it’s way through the country that nobody seems particularly worried about (until they ARE worried about it). If this all sounds confusing, well, that’s because it is. But when you actually SEE it, it will all make sense. Plus you’ll get the many layers of the film (obvis it’s not REALLY about some chick in a head cage).
The only thing that bothered me about this film was all the SCREAMING. Holy wow, no one in this film can communicate in any other way except screaming. And it didn’t bother me in the way you might think – it bothered me because with the force/intensity/volume these actors were screaming, I just kept wondering how many times they lost their voices and had to halt filming. Did they have an every other day schedule? Realistically, how long can one scream like that without going hoarse? Do you see what I mean? I kept wandering away from the movie to wonder about the consequences of long-term screaming, lol. So be forewarned – do NOT have your volume turned up for this one or your eardrums will be BLOWN.
So yeah. Kinda (totally) dug this film. Wickedly brilliant, beautiful in a most f*cked up way and right up there with some of my favorite filmmakers (mentioned wayyyy up there in the first paragraph), AIMY IN A CAGE is a wild ride you should DEFINITELY take.
Capital I, by director Amartya Bhattacharyya, is an intriguing mix of philosophy, psychology, physics, sexuality, reality, imagination…this film is an abstract work of art. Amartya is a 27 year old Indian filmmaker and this was a debut film shot on a shoestring budget – I gotta say I’m wicked impressed. Capital I involved a lot of artistic shots and a lot of beauty; a lot of creation. Pulling that off on their budget, I find amazing.
Synopsis – ‘Capital I’ is a surreal fiction film dealing with an artist’s works where the artist himself doesn’t exist in reality. It is also an existential psychodrama revolving around said mysterious and unknown artist and depicts the transformation of mind of a young girl whereby she finds herself trapped in between realistic relationships and attractions and a strange relationship with her hallucinatory lesbian partner.’ If you’re like me, you just read that and went “What the hell?” But if you go and watch Capital I and come back and read this, it will not only make sense; it will make so much sense that you’ll see metaphorical layers.
Because that’s what watching this film is – seeing the metaphorical layers of life peeled back one by one. It’s having everything in life being simultaneously set right while being crushingly wrong. I don’t know whether to reference Alanis Morisette’s ouevre here or The Matrix…Piyali is a young grad student of psychology who becomes obsessed with a local happening wherein a house was found locked from within but with the occupant having vanished. All that was left behind were some drawings and poetry style scribblings. She and an old friend, who is also a physics professor, team up to solve the mystery but as they go deeper, Piyali discovers more about existence and reality than planned. Oh, and she’s the one with the hallucinatory lesbian lover (as one has).
Capital I is one of those films where every sentence spoken has meaning but since there’s so much dialogue and so much to catch, only a couple of things will be lines that you, yourself, hold onto. One of mine was when it was mentioned that “the air here is pure.”…”it’s because it’s not weighted down by dreams and memories.” (Insert heart emoticon because I swooned). It’s not just the words you’ll fall in love with though (side note: the dialogue switches between English and Odia, sometimes in the same sentence. I’m not sure if there was a deeper meaning to that as well?), but the cinematography and the scenery. There are close-ups of some amazing small creatures…blurred ambiances when it comes to sensitive material…symbolism galore…amazing use of color…Ugh, have I gushed enough yet??
Seriously, this is a Must Watch, particularly if surrealism is your thing. I think this may be my first Indian film (Bollywood has never quite appealed)(also look at that – first Turkish film AND first Indian film posted about this week!) but if this is what’s coming out of India right now, I am SO there. Check out the Capital I website and go follow them on Facebook (then share their Facebook page with your friends and make yourself look uber cool and all sexy intelli!) You won’t be sorry!
Lone is singer Chelsea Wolfe’s first film, one that combines her music and the artistic expression of filmmaking to create a visually wild ride. Directed by Mark Pellington and based around Wolfe’s album “Pain is Beauty”, the film is a series of vignettes and images interlocked with five songs from the aforementioned album. The combination creates a dreamlike landscape littered with beauty and horror.
I won’t lie – I was wary at first as the viewer is essentially watching an hour long music video and I wasn’t entirely sure that was going to work. But unlike standard music videos, this one manages to tell a story without telling a story, leaving the interpretation entirely up to you. While it may not work for some, it worked for me. And what a story it is – encompassing love, beauty, pain, horror, death, life, destruction, nature and everything in between. A story created with viscerally stunning images that vary from filling one with longing to filling one with uneasiness and a story that includes a plethora of people. A particular repeating image that stuck out to me was people wearing animal masks – I feel like I’ve seen this a lot lately, mostly in the horror genre. I’m not sure if this was their way of introducing horror into the framework of the story here or not but it was really the only imagery that felt to me to be a bit of an overused trope.
Wolfe herself has a haunting voice and her songs are raw, only serving to amp up the imagery that we’re seeing. While the songs are the focus, there is a bit of dialogue, mostly repeated phrases such as “I’m not afraid to remember.” and “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I’m not sure which five songs from the album were used, as I’m not familiar with Wolfe or her work outside of this film, but she’s definitely garnered a new fan by using this medium.
Pellington’s direction is, at times, brilliant. Besides all the emotions and elements he combines, he also combines his original imagery with what appears to be old home movies and stock footage of natural disasters. The overall affect is a film that will stick with you long after you’ve finished watching.
The Smalls Family
This isn’t even a review – this is just me sharing something that I find hilarious and AMAZEBALLS. ENJOY!!!!
THE SMALLS FAMILY is an experimental comedy based on the timeless lyrics of THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
Biggie Smalls is considered by most to be one the great lyricists in the history of hip-hop music. His untimely death on March 9 , 1997 changed the face of hip-hop and left a legacy behind that has yet to be duplicated.
In the past, many great works of classic writers and poets have been reinterpreted over the years…most notably the works of Shakespeare.
In similar nature THE SMALLS FAMILY strives to pay homage to Biggie’s incomparable language….while refreshing it to a new audience.
The Devil’s Carnival
If you hated Repo! The Genetic Opera, then you will hate The Devil’s Carnival. Why? Because they were both created by Darren Lynn Bousman. I, however, LOVED Repo and also LOVED The Devil’s Carnival – in fact, I might’ve loved this one just a tad bit more (just don’t tell Anthony Head because he is wicked hot even if he is way older than me). Part of it was the music here – I can’t think of a single song I disliked in this film and have had one on frequent play since I watched the first time (yes, I’ve seen it twice now!). This one actually:
The premise is three people die and they all wind up in Hell. From there we get three of Aesop’s Fables (another reason I loved this – fairy tales and mythology may be my big two things but I’m also a fan of Aesop!): The Scorpion and the Frog, Grief and His Due and The Dog and Its Reflection. Add to that the carnival setting, the quirky and sometimes frightening characters plus the stage and theatre setting and this girl was in love at first glance.
There’s a lot of the same actors in this that were also in Repo – Alex Vega, Paul Sorvino, Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre. I didn’t even notice Vega was here until I saw her name in the credits, then I had to google to find out which character she was. This also only clocks in at 55 minutes so it’s kind of something light and airy to have on while you’re doing other stuff…and by light and airy, I mean kind of morbid and grotesque…eh, we all have our own definitions for stuff. 😉 No nudity or sex to be found here (well, there’s a naked woman who is whipped during one of the songs but they don’t really show anything other than her back), just good clean devilish fun, so enjoy!
Cinema Schminema’s Favorite Horror Movie Moments
Every year, round this time, t.v. stations start playing things like “100 Scariest Movie Moments!” and “100 Scary Movies You’ve Never Seen!” and so on and so forth (and did I just totally sound old there by saying “t.v. stations”? Can you still refer to them as such?) so I thought I’d do some things along similar lines here for Halloween Month. Hopefully, you find it fun (and if not leave me a very nice comment asking me to never ever do this again, please). I wasn’t entirely sure what to entitle this since some of these may be scary, some may be stupid and some may be just WTF? so we’re just going to go with “favorite” horror movie moments. This is also (obviously) not a full list just my current top five. There may be more forthcoming. Oh and….
*WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD*
So if you haven’t seen a particular movie and don’t want to know what happens in a certain part, get the heck outta here now!
My first favorite horror movie moment comes from my all-time favorite Korean horror flick EVER. A Tale of Two Sisters is an ethereal, stunning vision based on an old Korean fairytale/folk tale full of WTF? that only Asian can bring. It’s a quiet horror with much more going on psychologically than anything else (although there is the requisite “girl with hair in face shot”). Every one that I have made watch this has liked it and been frightened and there’s several jumpy moments through out but my very favorite punch in the gut from this flick is when the viewer discovers that Su-yeon has been dead the ENTIRE time. Even better, Su-yeon finds this out at the same time as us.
To some this may not be a horror movie but to me it is. There’s lots of reasons why but I won’t go into them here, mostly because I’m doing a guest post for Tyson over at Head in a Vice on Black Swan and that sort of thing will be throughout. There’s a ton of favorite scenes for me in this one (and no I am NOT going with Mila and Natalie getting it on, even if it was totally hot) but my absolute favorite moment in this film is when Natalie is walking home one night from rehearsal and she passes herself. Only it’s not herself, right? One tiny insignificant moment but it explains so much about her character and sets us up for the visual trip that’s about to happen.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching Suicide Club (Unrated) (English Subtitled), then I highly suggest you get on that right away. This was the first Asian movie I ever saw and it blew me away, mostly because it was crazy and even though I’ve now seen it countless times, I’m still not entirely sure what happens here. My favorite moment from this movie is actually at the beginning. 54 schoolgirls link hands and throw themselves in front of an oncoming subway train. THAT is how this movie begins. Everything about the moment chills me from their smiling faces to the blood splattered other passengers who witness the whole thing. Perfectly executed in my opinion and from there it only gets more WTF? In fact, you can watch the entire clip below:
Alice by Jan Svankmajer is another film that is purely subjective as to whether it’s horror or not but if you find skeleton puppets, homicidal rabbits, stop animation and lots of Freudian dismality terrifying then this absolutely counts. The film is full of disturbing moments but for me the most disturbing moments here are when Alice becomes a doll (because dolls are CREEPY) and her time spent with the Mad Hatter. This is one of my favorite movies of all time and Svankmajer is one of my favorite directors of all time. You can actually watch the whole thing on Youtube for free!
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed while not nearly as wonderful as the original is still a treat as it furthers the lycanthrope lore. The sequel finds B. constantly on the run, doping up on monkshood till she finds herself in rehab where she befriends a little girl named Ghost. An EVIL little girl named Ghost. That kid is twisted. And frightening. But the best moment here is at the end when we find out just how scary little Ghost can be when after trying to (claiming to) help B the whole time, she instead turns quietly psychotic and locks B up in wolf form to be her playmate forever and ever and ever. The monster here isn’t B as a werewolf or even the abusive drug dealer in rehab, it’s something far more sinister.
Sometimes when I’m not working my 7 jobs or watching movies and writing about them, I like to pretend I’m a model and dress up in silly clothes and makeup. I did this about a month and a half ago or so for a friend. The theme is “SheISCrazyBeautiful” and is about crazy women with a touch of deadly. I know a couple of people were interested in pics so here’s a few (funny sidenote: the day of this shoot, I woke up and around 10 took some Aleve. Only it wasn’t Aleve, it was Advil PM…hehehe…it was a long day). See you guys again tomorrow with some more “Antfarm Dickhole”! (*All images are owned by and all credit goes to Amanda Diane Theresa Castro-Conroy*)
Antfarm Dickhole. Okay, so yeah. I don’t even…where to start? I don’t…Okay, so this is actually going to be broken up into like 3 segments because um, I’ve only watched the first fifteen minutes and um, yeah…there’s a lot of thoughts happening here and I’m pretty sure I’m entirely too sober to be watching this but it’s only 1 o’clock so you know, I don’t really feel like going out and getting wasted right now and I’m pretty sure a substance other than alcohol or weed is needed for this film, I’m just not entirely sure what that substance is…so yeah…just going to throw out my thoughts on the first fifteen minutes for now because there are a lot of those and then I’m going to go do something like read my Bible or I don’t know what…but I will be finishing this because I am so intrigued and confused and this is either brilliant or terrible and I have no idea. I clearly don’t have the comprehension skills required for this film. So yeah…
Okay, here we go. Let’s do this thing…
- Ants freak me out. Seriously freak me out. I used to have weird crazy dreams where they’d be swarming over my bed and wake up and could still feel the bed moving.
- Someone doesn’t quite know his lines here! Or maybe they’re just making up lines?
- How did they go from discussing how crappy life is to the joys of jerking off? And why are they talking about this in the woods? Are they stoned?
- Now we’re talking about bullies…I’m having trouble following this conversation…
- “Didn’t you study a martial art when you were a kid?” Of course. Because EVERYBODY does. Duh.
- What? Who is this guy that looks like a biker? Why is he giving the other guy a wedgie? They’re like 30 not 12!
- Least intimidating bully EVER.
- Who carries a cupcake in their pocket?
- WTF??? “There’s no way we can enjoy the sanctuary of the woods after that happened to my cupcake.” WTF??? That might be my favoritest line EVER!!!!
- We’re only in minute 4, dear lord.
- Why is the white biker bully suddenly talking like Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid?
- Ew, ginormous ant crawling up his pants leg. Fake ginormous ant but still.
- Dude, he stepped on your cupcake not kicked your ass. Stop limping.
- “I think he stole my car too. They don’t just go repark themselves you know. They shouldn’t even call this a park…they should call it a stolen.” I LOVE THIS GUY!!
- Minute 5 and finally there’s nudity. Took you long enough movie.
- Why is he getting a stripper dance in his home? Why is there a cat in the background? That’s highly distracting from the full frontal nudity going on. Or maybe it’s subtext. *giggles*
- Nice tat, naked lady!
- This girl is way too hot for this guy Also she gives weird blow jobs. And she just pulled a fake ant out of her mouth when it was done. And now she’s writhing on the floor with fake ants covering her and the kitten is writhing next to her and oh her clit is pierced. And now the guy is jumping on her and suddenly she’s all bloody and he’s stomping on her and trying to call someone and he just stepped on his phone and wait, is she masturbating, and he just passed out and there’s no dialogue and she’s like running her hands over her body and omg, I think the kitty is dead!!
- WHAT?? The chick is now a skeleton and her boyfriend is philosophizing on Montezuma’s revenge. WTF?? “I better call the police.” He says all nonchalantly then throws down the phone and says, “No, I’ll do this the old fashioned way and walk to the police department.” And we’re only in minute 9!!!
- Ah, walking down the yellow brick road. Excellent. What’s up with the sketch bikery guys? And what’s with the wedgies?? Seriously do guys just go around giving strangers wedgies their whole lives??
- Why is this guy like doing weird dance moves around our “hero” now? And why are they using the word “peepee” for penis? I am so confused by this movie. But hey they finally said the catchphrase “ants in your pants”!!
- Why, why is he swatting at this guy and yelling at him to do something about the ants in his pants?? Wait are the ants attacking him now? Is that why?
- WTF is a girl in a bikini doing reporting in the woods? Why, movie, why?
- Dick Street
- I can’t even follow these two guys conversation. It’s all over the place. And cupcake guy is a grammar nazi. And now they’re talking about racism and border control. I really think I need to be stoned to get this. Omg, what? What the hell?
- This guy is totally obsessed with his premature ejaculation while masturbating. That’s fine to bring up all the time but you still use “peepee” when referring to your cock? *face palm*
Um, so yeah…that’s as far as I’ve gotten at the moment and I think you can see why I’m having to break this into segments because dear gods, there is just soooo much I have to say that if I don’t this will be the longest Cinema Schminema posting EVER. I can’t decide if I love this or hate it. And the director’s name is Bill Zebub. Get it? *giggles*