Posts Tagged ‘John Waters’

Blank City

Posted 02 May 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Blank City, USA, 2010

Directed by Celine Danhier

Blank City is a lively, well-made documentary of a bygone era.

Celine Danhier’s documentary Blank City is an invigorating love letter to a bygone era, a time when guerrilla filmmakers ran wild in the streets, freely shooting their cinematic visions without the hindrance of Hollywood extravagances like permits, budgets and stars. It is the kind of film that inspires not only nostalgia, but also a forward-thinking desire to follow in the footsteps of its many sometimes deranged but always passionate and interesting subjects. It is a lively documentary, one that celebrates life and manages to revel in nostalgia without ever getting sappy about it.

Blank City follows the rise and eventual fall (or, at least, evolution) of the so-called “No Wave” independent filmmaking scene of New York City in the late 1970s and beyond. A few of the renegades seen in the film went on to become famous and successful – perhaps the biggest names interviewed for the film are John Waters, Jim Jarmusch and Steve Buscemi (Vincent Gallo is also seen in archival footage) – while others remain noteworthy cult figures, highly respected in some circles, but far on the fringes of mainstream renown – Lydia Lunch, Richard Kern, John Lurie. Many of the rest faded completely into obscurity, but the legacy of their approach to filmmaking can be seen in some of today’s indie cult success stories made on extraordinarily low-budgets; the DIY approach advocated by this film’s subjects can easily be seen in the making of films like Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi (1992), Kevin Smith’s Clerks (1994), and Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez’s The Blair Witch Project (1999), to name just a few. Read More

Kaboom

Posted 07 Feb 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Kaboom, USA / France, 2010

Written and Directed by Gregg Araki

Kaboom is a weak effort compared to Araki's previous work.

Gregg Araki’s latest feature is supposedly a return to his roots, a manic, campy dark comedy in the vein of his earliest works, such as The Doom Generation (1995) and Nowhere (1997). I have seen neither of those films and can only compare the new one, Kaboom, to Araki’s last two features, the beautifully sad Mysterious Skin (2004) and the underrated stoner comedy Smiley Face (2007). I am rather unhappy to report that Kaboom is nowhere near as great a film as Mysterious Skin and, to me at least, nowhere near as fun as Smiley Face.

Kaboom is the loose, wildly unrestrained story of Smith (Thomas Dekker), an ambi-sexual college freshman who has an unrequited crush on his mindless surfer roommate, Thor (Chris Zylka); meanwhile, Smith’s best friend Stella (Haley Bennett), who he describes as a “vag-etarian,” has the opposite problem with her latest girlfriend, the clingy and apparently supernatural Lorelei (Roxane Mesquida). Smith eventually hooks up with London (Juno Temple), a free-spirited sexual adventurer who picks him up in the bathroom of a house party and is easily the most interesting and charismatic character in the film. Smith also wants to get something going with Oliver (Brennan Mejia), who mysteriously leaves what amounts to a dating service video on Smith’s personal computer in order to intrigue him. Read More