Danko Jones – Bring on The Mountain

DANKO JONES
‘Bring on The Mountain DVD’

[Bad Taste]

Formed in Toronto in the mid-Nineties the Canadian trio Danko Jones have been belting out their own punked up homage to the golden years of harder than hard, hard hard rock ever since, with half a dozen albums to their name, and a solid fan base at home, and in mainland Europe.

The main feature of this expansive 2x DVD package is the rockumentary ‘Bring On The Mountain’ where mainstays, and band founders, Danko Jones (vocals/guitar) and bassist John ‘JC’ Calabrese, talk us through the bands history. Format wise, this is a pretty standard setup, as the groups members and their inner circle of crew, soundmen, producers, et al, spill the beans on the ups and downs they’ve experienced over the years. What I liked was, the DJ guys come across as really regular fellas, who primarily let their music do the talking, and whose only ‘gimmick’ as such is the bellowing self-testifying witticisms of front man Danko, a man blessed with a booming set of vocal pipes, and endless stash of one liners and tongue in cheek innuendo. Politically correct they are not, but, as we’re reminded, in the timeless words of Nigel Tufnel… “What’s wrong with bein’ sexy?”

The key message of the DJ story is they’ve gotten where they have through sheer hard work, following the dictate of AC/DC that it’s a long way to the top, if you wanna Rock’n’Roll. Danko and JC have dedicated themselves to the cause, forgoing the 9 to 5, and keeping their heads above water between tours and recording, by working low pay jobs. When it comes to releasing music, the band refuse to sign to any label that would see them relinquishing their publishing rights. A very smart decision, and one a lot of bands over the years will have regretted not doing themselves. Not all members have shared the Danko vision, and at least half a dozen drummers have fallen by the wayside, but as the 90minutes draw to a conclusion there is a positive note with the addition of former Rocket From The Crypt drummer Atom Willard, who’s also served time in The Offspring, and Angels and Airwaves. This solidified line up has been recording a brand new album, and get ready to take to the road again.

Also on Disc One, is a 20minute short film that sees the Danko boys starring in a short thriller that features a host of cameos including Lemmy, Mike Watt, Selma Blair and Elijah Wood. It’s a pretty predictable plot line, but buoyed by decent acting, hard jams, and nice cinematography. Disc Two collates all the bands videos and a stack of live performances, making it a great companion piece to all Danko Jones fans collections.

Words: Pete Craven

Searching For The Sugarman

“Searching For Sugarman”
(2012)

I’m always game for an interesting Rock’n’Roll documentary, even if it’s about a musician or genre I’m not that familiar with. If the subject’s story is told and filmed well, then I’m sure to get something out of it. And I sure got something out of this truly unique tale.

“Searching For Sugarman” follows the curious journey of Sixto Rodriguez, an enigmatic young Hispanic troubadour, who plays in the bars of Sixties Detroit, and soon draws the attention of a local record producer. For an idealistic working class lad, that doesn’t exactly seem to have his eye on the prize, Rodriguez lands a record deal with Hollywood based Sussex Records, which takes him to California. Sussex thinks they have just signed the new Bob Dylan, and their boy is going to be a mega-star. But his debut album “Cold Fact” is a total flop, and its follow up, “Coming From Reality”, fares little better. Dropped by his label, Rodriguez returns to Detroit, and soon drops completely off the radar.

The entertainment business is littered with similar tales of artistes whose careers were over before they’d even begun, and barely even made the ‘Where Are They Now’ file. So here’s the twist; a copy of “Cold Fact” turns up in early Seventies South Africa, a country under the control of an ugly government, determined to enforce their twisted vision of racial superiority through apartheid. But lots of young white Afrikaners had no interest in living in a country divided upon racial lines, and were determined to make their opinions heard. Via word of mouth, and copied tapes, imports, and no doubt a fair few bootlegs, “Cold Fact” becomes the soundtrack to their protests, and a massive hit in South Africa, selling by the bucket load. Licensed to at least 3 local labels, the owners, who are all interviewed, confirm they sent royalties diligently back to the publishers. And I believed them. Unlike the most likely recipient of the funds, former Sussex Records head honcho Clarence Avant, who reacts to questions of the royalties whereabouts with an aggressive hostility that implies he’s trying to cover up the truth.

Back in the USA, Rodriguez was oblivious to his cult status, thousands of miles away, in Southern Africa, where, the fate of their musical icon is somewhat more distorted, and rumors of his demise include him having committed suicide on stage. The rumors become folklore, and accepted as fact. Rodriguez RIP.

Enter the wonderful Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, a super fan of Rodriguez’s music, and determined to learn what did actually happen to the man whose music inspired his generation. He studies the lyrics for clues, utilizes the internet, and makes an ally in music journalist Craig Bartholomew-Strydom. Between them… well, I wont give too much more away, but needless to say, they come up trumps, and not only succeed with satisfying their own obsessive curiosity, but fulfill a dream that no-one in their home country thought possible.

I left the cinema totally bowled over by this fascinating story. The filming by Malik Bendjelloul and Camilla Skagerström is wonderfully shot, and incredibly creative. Honestly, if you get a chance to catch this either on the big screen, or when it’s released on DVD, don’t snooze on it, this is one of the best films I’ve seen in ages.

Pete Craven

The Art of Rap – Something From Nothing

Ice-T’s directorial debut is a documentary of epic yet intimate proportions as he embarks upon a series of discussions with legendary rappers and purveyors of hip-hop in the cities of New York, Detroit and Los Angeles. Not a history lesson per se, the film merely touches on some of the more historical elements of the genre – how it originated, how it progressed and grew – but focuses more on each rapper’s individual process and attitude towards lyrics as well as their theories on why it’s not quite a well-respected art form in the same respect as jazz or blues.

A whole host of MCs offers up insight on their approach towards rhymes and one of the overwhelming features of the film is how we see rappers with actual pen and paper crafting their verse with consideration and diligence. This is not something that the genre of hip-hop often brings to mind. Seeing Grandmaster Caz’ obvious irritation at running out of ink and having to switch pens halfway through his flow is something quite brilliant. His neat handwriting fills the page, albeit littered with F words and N words. Another who is interviewed by the always eloquent and directive Ice-T discusses the construction of a track from the outline of a plot, kicking off with its conclusion and there are also some great shots of sheets of paper with flowchart diagrams tracking the progression of lyrical content. Dr Dre teaches us that Tupac wrote all his lyrics (again with pen and paper) inside the vocal both and then would lay them down immediately.

This film teaches us many things about legendary rappers’ processes and also how they think the genre is viewed and why it’s perceived in such a way. It also brings us a series of original a capellas as the likes of KRS-One, Melle Mel, Q-Tip and Kanye West present original rhymes direct to camera, prompting woops, gasps and general sounds of approval even in a half empty cinema. This is the sort of piece of cinema that should really be shown in schools and universities in years to come but is also a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

Sarah Maynard

Film Review: Tron: Legacy

Official Website
Walt Disney Pictures

The sequel to Tron was always destined to be met with a mixed reception. After all, it’s more-or-less impossible in today’s filmmaking arena to match what the original Tron had achieved in terms of its cultural impact, its technological progress and its narrative innovation: introducing Carrol’s fantastical down-a-rabbit-hole plot to an electronic man-made world that so perfectly explored the late 20th century human dilemma; selfishly thinking about what technology can do for us and not worrying about what it can do to us. Since then, the idea had been done to death as sci-fi met cyberpunk and went mainstream, not too long before The Matrix turned up and established itself as the coolest looking thing ever while at the same time turning Tron’s concept upside down and presenting the programmed world as what we know to be the real world. Tron: Legacy’s tagline is ‘The Game Has Changed‘, and that it undoubtedly has… and has done already many, many times over since 1982.

So the big question is, what have they actually made in this new environment? They’ve cockteased fanboys everywhere for five years with acts as simple as putting a 2 in the title (TR2N) and have made a decision as bold – but immensely apt – as to have Daft Punk score the soundtrack. The hype was ludicrous. We live in the most perpetually hyped up era of visual media that has ever existed, but Tron: Legacy took the biscuit, ate it and subsequently boasted that it was about to drop the raddest shit you’ve ever seen. Well…

It is, at the very least, the raddest shit you will see all year. And let us not forget that Inception came out this year. Yes, Tron: Legacy is aesthetically more stunning than a Christopher Nolan movie. Digest that for a second…

That is not to say it suffers from some issues, but these were all inevitable. It was always going to have staple Hollywood moments thrown in, some more clunky than others, but even the most gorgeously dystopian backdrop (and they are gorgeous… and very dystopian) is vandalised by Sam Flynn’s (played decently by Garret Hedlund) at times ridiculous voice; as though Kosinski had said to him every other scene “hey! before this bit of dialogue, why not smoke five packs of cigarettes, drink a litre of bourbon and pretend you’re Solid Snake pretending to be Solid Snake pretending to be Raiden”. But then, annoying as this is, it’s instantly forgivable because Jeff Bridges is Jeff Fucking Bridges and Olivia Wilde looks like the Mirror’s Edge girl in a massively desaturated world, which is awesome regardless of what you want from the film. Really awesome in fact. Really awesome.

Really awesome.

At times the mise-en-scene looks like a refined pastiche of all successful sci-fi / fantasty films over the past two decades that has been topped with blue and orange neon lights like what a Japanese Jaffa Cake box might look like. The skyscrapers rise with the gloom of Ridley Scott’s Los Angeles in Bladerunner, the outlands look like a blend of the Matrix’s ‘real world’ and Oddworld’s Rupture Farms and the light-jet battle is basically Star Wars Episode 1’s podracing scene but less cripplingly awful. But it’s all so visually rewarding and satisfying, for both your average filmgoer and all the sci-fi neeks who should admire how tastefully the influences are moulded together to create a genuinely new both inspired and imaginative world which makes Avatar look like it was designed by five year old in MS Paint.

It is in the visual appeal where Tron: Legacy is both at its most successful and its most relentlessly awesome. Sure, it’s Kosinki’s strongest director trait, but the CGI is used to an effect that substitutes tacky for the fantastic, whilst utilising 3D technology not for a better box office performance but to totally redefine the often overused word ‘immersive’. If Avatar was a bar of chocolate then Tron is visual hit from a class A drug. It makes the little narrative niggles that podcasting neckbeards will inevitably argue over totally redundant, while reminding you just how phenomenal the Tron world is. Who cares about where the world cup is hosted when we can watch Sam Flynn enter THE GRID, hook up with the program that has a human complex, Quorra (adorably played by Olivia Wilde who should wear that wig for the rest of her life), beat the shit out of Rinzler, ride through an expertly choregraphed and thrilling light cycle sequence, and then battle countless programs in a pixelated nightclub with a neon frisbee while Daft Punk look at each other, nod, and then proceed to drop the biggest beat in the film diegetically while Jeff Bridges struts around talking like Jeff Bridges. It is mindblowing escapism at its absolute best.

So conceptually it’s a little weak, but I think most of us were expecting that. But as a feature film spectacle, it is a visceral gift to even the most imaginative dreamers and sci-fi lovers that somehow delivered more than my fanboy expecations craved for. Tron: Legacy will leave you breathless, it will leave you exhausted, it will leave you wanting more and most importantly, it will leave you completely and utterly derezzed.

Stanley

Tron: Legacy is out in UK cinemas on the 17th December.

LEMMY – The Movie

Welcome to the World of Lemmy Kilmister, the God of all that is Rock and Metal, the coolest bloke in rock’n’roll, the most under the influence and most straight talking and caring rock star we are lucky to still see sat drinking a Jack Daniels and Coke at the Rainbow in LA playing a video games on a weekly basis. Finally someone, somewhere decided to make a film about him so we went along to the UK premiere at the NFT on October 23rd to have a look at what’s coming up.

This documentary put together by Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski took 3 years to make and covers the life and times of Motörhead’s most infamous front man starting from the living room of the man himself. It’s very much like a bomb site in there, paperwork everywhere, memorabilia piled up from the door to the walls, even the bin couldn’t be spotted by the directors. Lemmy has lived in this same apartment for years, a spot where he collects his favourite Rickenbacker bass guitars and Marshall Superbass II amplifiers amongst tonnes of gifts he’s received on tours that stack up all over the place. His apartment also houses a huge amount of Nazi memorabilia; cutlasses, knives, swords, bullets, outfits and quite bizarre in the way they are all piled up in rooms – in his own words it’s pretty much a ‘museum’ in there.

The film delves into his history of watching the Beatles, being the front man of psychedelic legends Hawkwind, discussing the uppers and downers of the band’s rise to fame from the underground in detail covering the pills, the powders, the tabs and the reasons why Lemmy was left to fend for himself after being hauled into jail for carrying illegal drugs whilst on tour through the borders of Canada. You also get to see the family side of his life. His son Paul talks of the reasons why Lemmy has never married, his past relationship with a girl who died from a heroin overdose and his upbringing around the chaotic lifestyle of a touring rock star. I think one of the best quotes of the film was based around this subject when asked what his preferences were to getting blown and playing in Motörhead, he answers ‘sex can last at most about 30 minutes and Rock and Roll about an hour and a half…’ – he would choose the latter hands down.

Women still throw themselves at the man in his sixties to this very day. The directors of this movie spend time in the van with Motörhead on tour to find out what goes down and also attend a show where Lemmy guests with Metallica, one of the many great rock bands who appear in this movie to big up Stoke’s biggest star. Interviews from other famous faces include Slash, Scott Ian from Anthrax, Ozzy Osbourne, Geoff Rowley from Flip Skateboards, Dave Grohl and most surprisingly Jarvis Cocker, Mick Jones and New Order’s Peter Hook amongst others. They all praise the Legend as a man with morals and as one of the most unique rock and roll stars still living the life.

Overall, the film does cover a lot of facts already known from the various interviews he has done since he has been in the game but also offers a reminder that Britain’s stars of the past laid foundations for rock music all over the planet when they broke. Lemmy Kilmister will go down as one of the main dudes in the Rock and Rock Hall Of Fame and that’s why you should definitely have this on your to do list when it is released to cinema’s in December with a DVD release scheduled for January 24, don’t miss it.

Zac

Night Of The Demons

Kaleidoscope Entertainment
nightofdemons.co.uk

If you have ever seen and enjoyed the original cult classic Night of the Demons released back in 1988, then this remake will have you glued to the screen.

The plot is very similar to that of the original. In this instance, everyone gathers for a Halloween party at the notorious Broussard Mansion in New Orleans, where over eighty years ago, six people disappeared without a trace and the owner hung herself. When cops shut down the party, its host and six of her friends are left behind and mysteriously locked in. While searching for a way out they discover hidden rooms in the basement and the remains of the missing individuals. Soon it emerges supernatural forces are at work and one by one the friends are picked off and turned into some of the most hideous creatures cinema has seen in some time.

This is not your typical horror film. Night of the Demons has an uncanny ability to make you experience all the same emotions you did back then, as well as applause for the same creepy, ridiculously hilarious events that occur as well as the ways characters respond to them. The dialogue at times is shockingly bad and the acting not much better, but it is these qualities that keep it closer to the original and a little on the funny side. Such as when Colin (Edward Furlong) falls though the floorboards and Maddie (Monica Kenna) just happens to have a rope handy in the corner of the room. Such scenes are outlandish and unbelievable yet you accept them instantly.

The original film was controversial for its terror, violence and gore. Even though times have changed and many horror flicks go by the concept that the more gore you can pack into a film the better, Night of the Demons has not reverted, but continued to grasp viewers with its scares (there are a few of them) and inconceivable and preposterous situations that although make you laugh out loud, will also have you in their grip.

A bonus this movie has in comparison to others in its genre is its fast pace. It starts as the girls are getting ready to go to the party, instantly takes you there and it’s here the remainder of the film is set; all in one big, hollow and very creepy looking house. It is because of this you are never given time to dwell on boredom or make comparisons to the original; you take the film for what it is at face value.

This is certainly not one of Edward Furlong and Shannon Elizabeth’s most moving performances, yet seeing both turn into repugnant demons and getting up to all sorts of ‘naughty’ things is definitely worth a watch. Night of the Demons is the perfect teen horror flick and the ideal warm up for a terrifying Halloween to come.

Michelle Moore

Frozen

Anchor Bay Entertainment
frozen-film.com

I’ve never been skiing, no actually I have. I’ve been once, dry slope skiing, which I’m told is nothing like the “real thing”, and I should definitely go, because “it’s so much fun”. HAH. NOT ANYMORE! This is another classic ‘what would you do?’ film, full of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and “DON’T DO THAT!”. It’s about basic fear; being alone, trapped, hungry, cold and surrounded by hungry man-eating wolves. Writer-director Adam Green attempts to do to skiing, what ‘Open Water‘ did for scuba diving and upcoming ‘Buried‘ does for being buried alive (so hot right now).

Green sets the film up pretty quickly, our protagonists are three college students; a couple and a friend (piggy in the middle), immediately asking for trouble when they lie to get onto the ski lift. After some skiing, fun and jokes about the awkwardness it all is that the three of them are there instead of just two of them, it gets dark, they beg the lift operator to let them do one more run, despite him being adamant the weather is getting bad… He lets them on, obviously. And then the lift operator has to take a phone call (obviously) and leaves his post with another operator letting him know they’re waiting for the three kids to come down. So when a different group of three kids ski past he assumes that’s it, and shuts the lift down for the week, trapping our protagonists half way up the mountain, 30ft in the air, in the offset of a storm.. At night. AND to make matters worse, it’s Sunday night, and the slopes don’t reopen until the following Friday.. Obviously.

The final hour of the film pretty much plods along with implausible situations and terrible attempts at trying to escape. One of them decides to just fall from the lift, but sort of pushes himself off, as if gravity might fail him. With disgusting, gory and predictable results, then as he can no longer move, a pack of wolves start to surround him, while the other two in the lift, watch in horror. We watch the other two bicker, then cry, then bicker, then decide they have to leave by climbing to the nearest pylon and shimmying down, only the taught ski lift wire is like barbed wire and shreds his hands, leaving him bleeding and unable to properly defend himself against the wolves.. Again. But he gets down, finds a board that he sits on because it’s already been established that he can’t board, and his skis are somewhere under all the fresh snow, that he threw down at some point. I know. I know. And he semi-sledges out of shot, wolves in tow. So we’re left with the last victim, stuck in the chair lift, she waits and waits, and by the next day we assume that he hasn’t made it to base camp.. And she is left to decide if she wants to die or try to get down.

In fairness, Green does create tension with horrifying but predictable consequences. If you jump, you risk the breakages, if you don’t you risk frostbite and hypothermia, and he does throw in some lovely frostbite scenes. As you sit there you think of a million ways you’d do it differently, you know if you were there you’d be fine, you’d have a plan of action, and follow through with meticulous caution. I suppose this film works in a way, it’s a very simple and believable idea and it does look very good, the cinematography is tight and clean, the colour is bleached and desaturated and the sounds are eerie and at times, more gruesome than the visuals. Frozen, although at points seems to take forever to get to an end does succeed at pulling you in and keeping you fully clenched until it reaches the cold, damp end.

Emily Paget

Four Lions

Four Lions, written and directed by Chris Morris, has been criticised for not having the kind of jaw-wrenching satirical bite that The Day Today and Brass Eye had; shows, in which he also appeared, that helped build the image of Morris as an elusive ‘media terrorist’. But together with Peep Show writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, Morris has pocketed the brash finger wagging of previous work to make a more story-driven film about British wannabe terrorists. On the surface this seems too simple for someone of Morris’ reputation. But this is exactly the point, and the film’s greatest satirical achievement. Morris hasn’t just stepped behind the camera – he’s taken the camera out of view as well.

Thanks to Morris’ notoriety, the film- not only threatening an explosive end within the plot- also hums with the constant threat of a contextual pullback and a satirical wink, of Morris himself entering the frame and bellowing over the authorial shield of an immaculate suit. But the biggest, and bravest, shock of the film is that it never comes. The film is unnervingly, and necessarily, ‘normal’, spooking the familiar narrational haunts of Western storytelling and challenging cinema’s capacity to accomodate the comical humanising of the perennially demonised.

Focussing on a group of young British Muslim men during their often hilariously hazy plotting of a terrorist attack, the film fits the conventional coming-of-age ‘buddy’ comedy mould of a bunch of bantering, bickering lads searching for direction in life, a route that, less conventionally, zig zags from a training camp in Pakistan to a peroxide-stuffed garage to a London charity fun run. And that’s it. That’s the film. It is not, as a Newsnight Review panelist suggested, trying to trivialise the devastatingly tragic impact of terrorist acts. It’s more complicatedly simple than that, offering moral, ethical and thematic ambiguity through deceptive simplicity that doesn’t just challenge depictions of evil, but also slyly prods the medium that helps cultivate these depictions. Morris et al are exploring the psychology of those plotting to attack a culture that’s bred them. A culture that they, quite contradictorily at times, appear to enjoy.

Consequently their vague plans become a metaphor for the disillusionment of Western youth, of striving beyond immediate humble surroundings to something better. But as the terrorist plotting develops into more serious, disquieting specifics, doubts begin to rupture their resolve and the group literally struggle with the burden of their explosive tools, weighing them down into a farcically plodding galavant of tragic uncertainty. With this he exposes the inherent farce of human nature, that even the most distressing and destructive aspects of humanity can – and should – be made amusing.  Even policemen, representations of western authority – helmets almost slipping, weaponry timidly handled- are depicted as squabbling fools as ridiculously costumed as the runners of the marathon they’re overseeing during the film’s most tonally challenging final scenes. Everything gets eventually caught in a current of compassion that churns the film’s world into an inseparable mess of tragedy and farce, forcing you to laugh and gasp at the same time.

That the film has trickled into cinemas and drained away with minimal fuss is a notable dwelling point; Morris has made a film that avoids the stigma a controversial film would acquire that would make people approach it with caution, and allowed it to almost exist as a conventionally plotted comedy drama. In doing so, Four Lions has caused as much cultural damage as the film’s ‘heroes’; being satirically successful through being mostly unremarkable. It’s been criticised for it’s broadness, for not being challenging enough, for being quite ‘safe’. But it should be praised for this. The broader it is, the more focused the point. This film has to not only be seen and enjoyed for it’s low-key controversy, but also celebrated through unperturbed, uneventful tolerance. So uneventful is it that the DVD doesn’t even have a synopsis on the back, and extras are scarce but interesting. Deleted scenes are woven into the menus and documentaries illustrating the level of research conducted into the psychology of disillusioned British Muslims are interesting, but there should have been more. This shouldn’t detract from what is a fantastically challenging film, in ways more subtle than anything Morris has ever done.

Four Lions is out now on DVD and Blu Ray. See what the lack of fuss is about.

Jordan Brookes

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim is many things, one part hilarious slacker comedy, two parts SNES sound effects, three parts terrible wigs, four parts awesome fight sequences and the rest is made up of  an aesthetic overload of such bezerk, A.D.H.D suffering visuals that this grey, crusty and constantly more depressing reality we live in will never look quite the same.

It is also concrete evidence that it’s possible to adapt a video game into an incredible film. So long as that video game happens to only exist as a comic boo…I mean graphic novel.

It’s a hell of a fun ride, the sort of thing that you, dear reader – I’m assuming the fact that by browsing this here skateboarding website means you are likely to fall within an age bracket where the idea of drinking something brightly-coloured with mind altering attributes and playing an extremely complex Tekken tournament for days on end without sleep seems like the best god damn idea ever – will utterly empty your bowels for.

The plot follows the hapless Scott Pilgrim, (Michael Cera, doing what Michael Cera does), the bass player in (self-proclaimed) awful (though fantastically named) band Sex Bob-omb. A young man with no real drive and or purpose in his life, until he latterly encounters the girl of his dreams, one Ramona Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a series of wigs so utterly atrocious it’s a testament to how fucking hot she is that your balls don’t die every time she’s on screen.

However, life’s not easy for our idiot hero and in order to win her hand, he must first defeat her seven evil exes in a series of battles to the death. And cue an explosion of awesome shit.

The film is relentless in it’s pace, we know that Edgar Wright is a pretty fluid filmmaker…but here, he’s pulled out all the stops. It is constantly in motion, characters, camera, scenes, locations, it all just hurtles along like a relentless freight train covered in Nintendo graffiti. But Wright really shows what he’s made of when it comes to the fight sequences, each one upping the ante in terms of  both video-game-referencing visual clout and the exes themselves. Chris Evens and Brandon Routh as a vain skateboarding movie star and a psychic vegan in particular completely steal their scenes.

It’s the sort of film that, those who love it, will love it with such a passion that those not in the know will never want to see it; because it’s “that bloody movie that (insert generic name here) never shuts the fuck up about”… So yeah, it’s a pretty damn good film; Wright’s best to date, and one that, in this short space, I will fail to accurately and authentically convey the sheer blitzkrieg that the senses take watching it.

I’ll leave you with this, as the movie opens and the camera pans down over Scott’s house, the Legend of Zelda theme twinkles in over the top. If that tiny little reference is something that would make you fist pump the air and scream “fuck yeah!” like an absolute moron (see…me) then I urge you, see this film.

Jonathan Day

Enter The Void

In an age in which filmmakers come equipped with an abundance of influences and progressively more obscure concepts, it’s all the more rare to come across something so obviously audacious that at the core, is tremendously, mind-crushingly simple. Indeed, the simplest stories take the longest to perfect, and this one in particular took almost twenty years. In Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void, not only are we presented with a film that is his most fully realised piece of work yet, perhaps even his magnum opus, but we have a film that when stripped of all its technical innovation, idiosyncratic auteurship and typical french extremity, is really just a film about circles.

Specifically, the circle of life. But in the never-ending shot (excluding blinking and various other proverbial trips into the limbo-like void there are no cuts so prepare to feel very anxious watching this) that positions us deep inside Oscar’s head (less a conventional protaganist, more a temporary perspective for our own consciousness), the audience are continuously reminded of the circles that dictate our entire life. Whether it be the parallels between sucking on the end of a cigarette and sucking your mother’s tit after birth or the similarities between the record spinning round playing filtered disco beats in The Void and our own heartbeat, Noe reveals one by one, the meaningless struggles we make in life in an attempt to feel comfortable. And it’s all achieved in one DMT-induced visual trip through the internal vision of a dead drug dealer (played by the faceless Nathaniel Brown) trying to make sense of his past and look over sister (Paz De La Huerta) as she attempts to deal with her brother’s death by doing lots of sexy things in a vibrant and sleazy Tokyo club district.

So narrative wise it is a simple, yet wholly original story about the human struggle through a hallucinogenic kaleidoscope. There’s lots of sex, drugs and pounding, pounding techno music. Wonderful stuff so far, right? Yes yes yes, but its originality is owed in no small part to Gaspar’s meticulous need for sensory stimulation. Had this film been released before the technology existed to allow Noe’s camera to float across an entire city as Oscar’s ghost – presumably still tripping balls – is barging through concrete walls, then the narrative would have fell short of everything time has permitted the sensory-stimulating director to achieve. What that is, is the closest visual representation to what actually goes on inside our heads that has ever been given a worldwide cinema release.

It begins, after the amazing title sequence, with a never-ending psychedelic trip and once that has trapped you it will not let go of your senses for the remaining two hours. The sounds are immersive and haunting (thank you Thomas Bangalter, elected overlord of noise), the visuals are glowing and composed to the most precise detail, and in doing so, we finally have a piece of cinema that can accurately boast that the audience shares a connection with the lead character. You become him, his life flashing before his eyes is your life, that car crash is your own repressed memory, and it hits you just as hard. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And even by internet generation standards, there are some seriously provoking and controversial things on show here, but isn’t that the sort of things that fills our own minds on an every day basis? You will not find another film as honest and revealing about humanity’s existential peculiarity than Enter The Void. If you’re offended then drop that cigarette, stop thinking about breasts and remember, it’s just a film about circles. Circles that we all ride on, and a superb insight into that special, fascinating one that never, ever ends.

Stanley

The most recent work-friendly trailer can be seen above. But for a real taste of what to expect, watch the brand new Love Hotel trailer below. It’s one whole minute of awesome that should definitely not be watched at work or in front of parents, unless that’s your thing, I guess.

ENTER THE VOID – Love Hotel teaser from Enter The Void on Vimeo.