Posts Tagged ‘Trainspotting’

Since the influx of new music is killing time, I have had to delay posting the weekend movie reviews. I have got three Werner Herzog films and a couple of others by Jim Jarmusch left to watch, so next Monday I would be posting the complete reviews of both DVD box sets.

Dead ManDead Man: Jim Jarmusch films are bitingly funny. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hires genetically jacked-up vampire bats to write dialogues for his films. People like Jarmusch and Wes Anderson are brilliant in the way they use humour to drive home a particularly gray point. Quite unlike the more theatrical mainstream comedies that rely on execution of humour rather than its actual content. There is more of an onus on making funny faces than actually saying something funny. Case in point, the American Pie series and the decade of retardation it spawned. However, in Dead Man, there is enough deadpan existential humour to tickle seven generations of Nietzsches. And it’s not one of those “you’ve got to be Kevin Smith to understand the one-liners” comedies either. For instance, take the storyline. Johnny Depp plays William Blake, an accountant on the run who ends up meeting Nobody, a large and morose Red Indian in a desolate industrialized small town. After a brief discussion between the two, they decide to kill as many white people as they possibly can; there’s also Lance Henriksen who plays a cannibalistic bounty hunter out to get them by any means necessary. You might wonder, what in the blue hell is this shit? But I assure you…everything works really well.

The William Blake references, the black and white cinematography, Neil Young’s original compositions, Henriksen’s game face, John Hurt’s accent, Iggy Pop’s cross-dressing…gasp, yes…everything.

Spun_posterSpun: Jonas Akerlund’s Spun is a cocktail of few druggie films of the past two decades. Take half a cup of Trainspotting, add a large dose of Requiem For A Dream, squeeze a few drops from Go and throw in a few pieces of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, as well. But the thing is Spun is way more fun (not necessarily better) than any of them. I guess you can thank Renita Whited, the casting director, for that. The energy and exuberance that the Spun’s cast showcase seem so infectious that you almost get the impression that a strange concoction of mashed ecstasy pills and cough syrup was passed around during the shooting of this film. Jason Schwartzman, Mena Suvari, Brittany Murphy and John Leguizamo – all of them do a fantastic job of playing meth-heads looking for a fix and quite possibly, an off-the-road path to serenity. Props to them for going beyond what we thought they were capable of.

One particular scene stands out as a testament to how gloriously fucked up and fun Spun can be. Watch out for the conversation that takes place inside the car between Ross (Schwartzman) and Nikki (Brittany) towards the end of the film. Such twisted fun! For the sake of NOT sounding like I’m gassed up on a few concoctions myself, I’m going to downplay the awesomeness that Mickey Rourke brings to Spun as Cook. A serious challenger to the Michael Madsen’s Cool Cat Of Cinema Award.

Midnight Meat Train

Midnight Meat Train: Midnight Meat Train is one of the short stories in Clive Bakers’ Books of Blood, a collection of literary screams. I haven’t read the book yet so I’ll hold back personal biases about interpretations. For what it’s worth, director Ryuhei Kitamura’s film about a serial killer tearing through the heart of city metro subways leaves little to be desired. I say this because nobody should watch this, expecting the sort of subtle titillation that serial killer films such as Elements Of Crime, Cronicas and The Gray Man quietly stir up through visual metaphors and striking passages of dialogue. Watch this as you would those slow-burning, violent and strangely Lynchian Eighties movies.

Matter of fact, grab John Raffo’s Johnny Skidmarks and watch that first. You will have newfound respect for John Lithgow and Peter Gallagher. As for Midnight Meat Train, Vinnie Jones and Bradley Cooper are sort of alright but I’d say Jonathan Sela, the director of photography, should rightfully take most the credit. Who says gore can’t be stylish?

high_fidelity_1High Fidelity: Nick Hornby’s book is better. Much much better. And Catherine Zeta-Jones is as awful as always. With those clichés out of the way, let us focus on the positives. The music is friggin great. I mean, really really great… like one kickass garage mixtape. Featuring tracks by The 13th Floor Elevators, The Kinks, Velvet Underground, The Beta Band and Stereolab, High Fidelity’s OST is one of the finest of its kind. Oh and Tim Robbins is really funny with his character’s “so hip I’m square” douchebaggery. Wellllll…uhmmmm…uh huh…so much for the positives. Many have opined that the film had a brilliant cast and while the jury is still out on that, I must say that it sort of felt like the actors and actresses were sleepwalking their way through this film. Catherine Zeta-Jones continues to amaze us with her impersonation skills. Once again she plays a role of a woman who thinks she can act. Jack Black plays an over-excitable Pomeranian. Both John and Joan Cusack are wasted yet again (see Grosse Point Blank to see just how good they can be). The mediocrity of observation has started to hurt, so read more about the storyline here.

P.S: Mickey Rourke’s character Cook has been given a lifetime ban in three countries for the sheer amount of awesomeness he exudes every two seconds

P.S.S: Da Bear has reviewed one of my favourite independent American films – Shane Caruth’s Primer. Read it here.

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Filth, Ecstasy, Porn, Acid House, Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh

I have long since realized that reading Irvine Welsh novels and consuming hallucinogens are both fantastic experiences when done separately. Together they are quite the force to reckon with. Sort of like gulping down chicken soup for the soul…of course, granted that the soul’s purpose is to fornicate in filth and die slowly under a sweltering bleached sky. But don’t get the wrong idea, Irvine Welsh never sold packaged grime, he merely chronicled the extremities to which humans would go to achieve what they presumed to be contentment. From Ecstasy and Porn to Filth and junkie epic Trainspotting, each novel surpassed the other in terms of sheer audacity in story telling and to my satisfaction, made me feel dirtier in the process. And no matter what people tell you, you don’t need an Irish slang dictionary to figure out the conversations between his characters. You just need to have once had the urge to damage public property. I could put my grandma in a shitty old age home, bathe in the Coum River and kill a few orphaned puppies while watching Ingrid Bergman’s finest works on a satin bed and I’d still be nowhere close to experiencing the harmony in which filth and beauty exist in Welsh’s sordid tales.

Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Planet Earth is a terribly dull place to read the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Not enough multi-purposeful towels, depressed robots and two-headed presidents, I guess. The galaxy he created in this novel was immense in dissimilarity to everything that science has bored us to tears with. Not since stumbling upon Lewis Carroll during pre-school have I know any author with such an affinity for absurdity. And even Carroll himself couldn’t have caught my attention if Alice In Wonderland had meandered on for over a thousand pages. With Douglas Adams’ novel, it was either ‘get bored with life or continue reading”. I read. And how.


Still Life With Woodpecker – Tom Robbins

During one of my visits to Blossoms in Bangalore, Tom RobbinsHalf Asleep In Frog Pajamas was thrust and my face with a familiar voice demanding that I read it or at once suffer the consequences. It was the same chap who once recommended that I give James Thurber a chance, so I had to trust him. The title however turned me off big time. I thought it was forcibly incoherent. Then I picked up another Robbins’ novel – Still Life With Woodpecker. Sounds less pretentious, I thought as I paid the money over the counter. As months flew by, I delightedly ate crow and a few of my shoes while devouring each one of his novels. As far as I’m concerned, Tom Robbins is one of the best hippie writers ever to crawl out of Americana. He didn’t just do it, holding a joint in his hand and saying, “hey man, the lights flicker like pink flamingoes having sex with Rolling Stones, man”. He poises himself and proceeds to hijack our attention with hilarious stories of love, lust, redheads, corporate bars, cigarettes, open-tops and ancient pyramids.

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