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Posts posted by D-Man

  1. Also, Preston, while I agree with you that Lipstick Face has a similar design (not the same but similar) to Darth Maul, I'm not sure why it's such an impediment for you. Is Maul the last word in red faced characters? Does any character with a red face immediately signal a Maul rip off for you? After all, Darth Maul did not have cloven hooves. From now on, though, if another movie features a character with hooves would you immediately dismiss it as a Lipstick Face rip off?

    My point is this: Both character designs borrow liberally from pre and early christian imagery depicting devils and demons; the red face, forked tongue, pointed tail, horns, beastly hindquarters etc. Given those criteria and the context of the two films, I could argue that Lipstick is a more accurate and traditional representation of the old devil design while Maul is a watered down sci-fi cliche utilizing christian imagery in a context where it clearly doesn't fit. Or does it?

    A similar example could be made of the Jedi robes in Star Wars. They are clearly ripping off traditional monk attire from earth. Or are they borrowing from historical, religious imagery that has become entrenched in the sub-conscious of western thought? Doesn't the very image of monks robes acts as a visual shorthand that encourages the audience to fill the image with associative sub-text that only helps the film in the end? Does this mean, then, that no film after Star Wars can utilize the image of monks robes? Of course not. You see, nothing is original and no single film has the market on certain designs or imagery. Especially when that imagery is mined from such commonly traditional sources, as both Darth Maul and Lipstick Face clearly are. Their design roots are so entangled that their similarities (and differences for that matter) become a moot point.

    I'm just sayin'

    p.s. Just so there is no misunderstanding, I post this in the spirit of lively debate, not as an attack on anyone's opinion. But I am right. ;)

  2. Yup, you do. I don't think you'll be disappointed, Preston. And by the way, our review is pretty much spoiler free. Not that anyone could spoil HOBO WITH A MOTHERFUCKIN' SHOTGUN. It pretty much has to be experienced to be believed.

  3. Hah! OK, he was a little Darth Maul-ish but I wasn't thinking that during the picture.

    His lair in the spirit world was awesome. It was as though, If we could have explored that space a little more, we could have discovered clues to the demon's previous lives. The horse, the puppets and dolls, the tools; All the trinkets and ephemera belonging to an entity still holding onto a long dead human existence. But he's not tragic. No, he is wholly evil and malevolent. As evil now in death as he most probably was in life. I dug him.

  4. Thanks, Preston. As are you and I totally hear what you're saying regarding the film's derivative nature. In the review I mention the "greatest hits" aspect but that never detracted from the film for me. I thought they borrowed tastefully from those classic films and they never went for the obvious steal.

    In addition to that we get a pretty fresh looking demonic antagonist in Lipstick Face. He freaked me out.

    And, yeah, there were a lot of jump scares but they were earned scares precisely because of the tension and plot building that props them up. You can't effectively have one without the other.

    Lastly, and without going all spoiler-iffic, I'll just say I thought the ending was brave and fairly nihilistic for a mainstream, hollywood horror film. I really appreciated that.

  5. Well, Preston, I am shocked and dismayed to learn that you are secretly Daredevil, Man Without Fear because only he could have sat through INSIDIOUS without getting the willies. What's to hate?

  6. What a fantastic episode of Dread Media. Aside from the two utterly awesome films reviewed, listeners also get interesting feedback, great music, and that Network clip rocked my soul.

    This has to be one of Dread Media's finest hours. Great job, Des!

    p.s. Thanks for editing my verbal fumblings, Des, and making me sound coherent :)

    p.p.s. The other day I actually called the Avalon cinema in Nanaimo and thanked them for showing Hobo With A shotgun. Cheesy, I know, but I really wanted to encourage them to carry more underground and independent films like this and I told them so.

  7. Regarding early 80s Italian horror films: I'm wishing I could have seen these in their original theatrical runs. I'm sure my outlook on this very particular (and rather peculiar) sub-genre would be very different. These pictures demand an opulent movie house packed to the rafters with rabid gore fans. If anyone knows of an Italian Horror Film Fest, let me know.

  8. Uh, yeah, KnightWing but what I'm talking about happens during the design phase of pre-production. A film's visuals are designed to evoke overall tone and elicit an emotional response from the audience. Color is utilized like notes in a song. Slotted into the narrative to help tell the story. Story beats are emphasized by dramatic changes in color. character arcs are highlighted by gradual shifts in tone. Warms and cools provide contrast between heroes and villains. The best explanation of this process I can recommend is in the bonus features on the recent Astro Boy animated feature. Not the greatest movie, I know, but the director and the production designer clearly explain how they designed the film's color palette and how color can tell a story.

  9. Man, is that photo stupid lookin'.

    @ Koete - They always say that nowadays. They want to appear so confident about the quality of their product that "they're already planning a seque?! And the movie hasn't even come out yet?! Man, it must be good. I better jump on the band wagon!"

  10. I'm sure you're right, Master. It makes me curious about Snyder's visual approach. The color palette, for instance, should be composed of bright primaries. Superman is not a dark, brooding character and his environment should reflect this. It will be an interesting change up for Snyder who has dabbled almost exclusively in shadows, burnt oranges and gunmetal grays. Don't jump all over me, but I kind of associate the look of Superman with some of the flashier, bubblegum bright anime productions out there. The Gundam series springs to mind or Macross Plus or even Giant Robo, with it's colorful robots and characters set against bright blue skies, chrome plated weapons flashing in the sun, spinning above retro futuristic cities. Now, just port that aesthetic to an all-american Superman going toe to toe with giant lizard people.

  11. I don't know. For me, the ending, rather than masking, actually punctuates the shear "Holy Fuck!" factor of the whole film. When you finally comprehend the Machiavellian scope of the revenge and witness the devastating effect it has on our hero it's just a hammer blow to the heart. It shattered me. As I mentioned in the review, it's that final phone conversation that kills me. It really demonstrates how far he's come and how fucked he is. That we can even consider the final hypnosis session a happy ending (or, as close to a happy ending as we could hope for) just leaves me breathless.

  12. Saw the movie on opening night. Have been thinking about it and come to the conclusion that it was a pretty good movie. However, the first movie is superior in my opinion. The Golden Army was great in the expanding of the universe, but I feel like it just lacked something. I just cannot say what that might be.

    I agree. I think, first off, if I was judging movies on their first ten minutes I would have walked out of HB2.

    I liked it but upon more thought, I liked it less and less.

    It's funny. I was just thinking of HB2 in the same mental breath as Suck Punch, which is opening this weekend. The two films share a very similar design aesthetic. If Sucker Punch were a comic it might be a Mike Mignola / Jim Lee co-production.

    HB2 had some great individual moments, some great creature designs and a pretty good villain but the overly jokey, MIB vibe really rubbed me the wrong way. At no point did I feel that anyone was in serious jeopardy nor did I feel the characters were at all invested in the story set before them. They were just going through the motions. It disappointed me because by all accounts Del Toro fought hard to get that sequel made and then he serves up some re-heated leftovers for a script. I revisit the film occasionally just for the great visuals but I usually fast forward through the dumb parts.

  13. I wouldn't call what Argento does, "world building" by any stretch. His style consists of little more than a few interesting camera angles and some primary colored gels on his lights. Very artificial and shallow. Comparing Inferno to the The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari does a disservice to that monumental film. Having said that, I can't help feeling that, given an interesting and/or compelling story to tell, Argento's visual style of filmmaking could be quite effective. His grasp of the Dream logic type of narrative is promising. I'm trying to find a relevant comparison. My David Lynch reference during the review really only met half the bill in that many of Lynch's films deal with the premise of "the girl in trouble," but his visual and narrative flair is far more sophisticated than Argento's. No, I'm thinking more of a Richard Stanley type. Argento's camera is a little more crisp but they share the same lack of depth in both character and story and an over-reliance on cliched narrative tropes. I feel it's really only Argento's innate Italian-ness that saves him. As Dread mentioned, his knack for casting beautiful Italian women and placing them in situations that usually result in gruesome death is what seems to provide him with a free pass among horror fans.

    I'm willing to give Argento another shot, though, if only because I find his films compelling from a critical standpoint. In other words, it's fun to tear his movies down and see how they tick.

  14. Wow, did I blabber on in this review, or what?

    I wonder if I need to qualify my 3 star rating a little. I just appreciate any attempt at capturing a dream logic on film. This one was largely unsuccessful but there were a few scenes that have lingered on in my mind. Especially the opening sequence in the water. I enjoy Argento's visual flair (in small doses). I just wish he wasn't so hung up on the slasher aesthetic. It feels like a crutch to avoid the responsibility of telling a deeper story. This one was all surface flash but at least some of that flash was pretty fun to look at.

    Miskatonic River Press has a book of Call of Cthulhu scenarios titled Our Ladies of Sorrow. Inferno has made me a little more curious about this product. Also, Kim Newman's novel, Judgement of Tears, the third story in his Anno Dracula series, explores further the Three Mothers of Rome mythos. I've mentioned Newman before on Dread Media. He's one of my favourite authors and I highly recommend his work.

  15. C'mon, people. WKRP's Les Nesman in a schlocky monster picture? How can you not get excited about that? And that old guy in the cave was fuckin' freaky. I'll bet Battle: LA doesn't have an old freaky guy in a cave. Or does it? Sucker Punch opens next weekend.