Archives for posts with tag: David Cronenberg
burroughs

Burroughs: The Movie (1983), one of this writer’s favorite documentaries, makes for a must-see viewing experience in its extras-packed Criterion Collection Blu-ray release.

 

Unaccountably lionized murderer, heroin addict, pedophile, absentee father, allowanced wastrel, and “novelist” William S. Burroughs receives the star treatment in Howard Brookner’s 1983 film Burroughs: The Movie. “He’s up there with the Pope, you know?” gushes unashamed Burroughs groupie Patti Smith. “You can’t revere him enough. One of the greatest minds of our times, you know?” This is typical of the bizarre affection inspired by the eccentric writer, who gave Brookner unusually candid access to his life and was generous with his time in cooperating with the production of this entertaining documentary. Others appearing in the film include Terry Southern, Herbert Huncke, and Burroughs’s assistant and “son” James Grauerholz. Crooked-mouthed creep, brain damage evangelist, and NAMBLA alumnus Allen Ginsberg, who for a time was Burroughs’s lover, offers various reminiscences and characterizes Burroughs’s killing of his wife as a kind of assisted suicide (for a dissenting account, viewers of the Criterion release have recourse to a recorded conversation between Brookner and Burroughs biographer Ted Morgan).

Twitchy-faced Burroughs, whose incoherent mutterings published under the title Naked Lunch were included on the American Library Association’s list of banned and challenged “classics”, is imagined by his admirers to be some species of anti-establishment rebel; but, beginning with EMI’s inclusion of the notorious reprobate on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (glamorously, right next to Marilyn Monroe), Burroughs has repeatedly been promoted as a countercultural icon for gullible youth through collaborations and endorsements from entertainment industry figures like Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Dennis Hopper, Gus Van Sant, David Cronenberg, R.E.M., U2, and self-pitying Nirvana belly-acher Kurt Cobain. He was even introduced as “the greatest living writer in America” when he appeared on Saturday Night Live on NBC in 1981, and his books, furthermore, are published by international giant Penguin.

The contradictions of the Burroughs persona are on display throughout, the patrician features and gentlemanly manners masking an ultra-degenerate who insists, “I don’t like violence,” but constantly talks and writes about it and delights in showing off his collection of guns and exotic weaponry. Burroughs, as captured in the film, speaks with relish of his dream of death squads that will hunt down and kill heterosexuals who oppose the establishment of a “Gay State”. For all of this, however, the film remains a bit of a whitewash, making no mention, for instance, of what Jim Jarmusch diagnoses in his audio commentary as Burroughs’s hatred of women. “Burroughs would have been a great CIA agent,” Jarmusch also observes, which, if true, says little about the moral caliber of that agency’s personnel. Curiously, Burroughs actually interviewed for a position with OSS founder William “Wild Bill” Donovan himself. Criterion’s Blu-ray release of Burroughs: The Movie is altogether a fascinating portrait of one of the most contemptible human beings who ever lived.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

 

Advertisements

antisocial poster

A future film historian compiling a list of the most representative and sociologically reflective horror films of the present decade could do worse than to include Cody Calahan’s feature debut, Antisocial. Redolent of the contemporary fears of intrusive surveillance, vile conspiratorial plots, drones, martial law, cyber-bullying, terrorism, flash mobs, viral epidemics, internet addiction, and civilizational collapse, Antisocial is more than a mere splatter film.

A gaggle of vapid college coeds gather to throw a New Year’s Eve party, unaware that the sudden outbreak of a 28 Days Later-reminiscent rage plague will soon have them barricading themselves inside and suspecting themselves and each other of infection. And what role does ubiquitous website the Social Redroom play in the chaos? “If you’re not on Facebook,” some have suggested, “you’re probably a sociopath.” Antisocial, thankfully, begs to differ with this assessment.

The story wastes little time in getting to the action and suspense, which is fresh while also respectful of genre conventions and traditions, with the themes, scenario, and spare, electronic moments suggesting influences from George Romero, David Cronenberg, and John Carpenter. A guaranteed good time; recommended to horror fans.

4 out of 5 stars.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Antisocial is:

6. Anti-Christian. Some respond to the epidemic by holding exorcisms, but the explanation for the plague turns out to be decidedly more sublunary. A newscaster’s wish of “Happy New Year, and may God be with you,” rings hollow given the situation on the ground.

5. Gun-ambivalent. The partiers are frightened by shots from outside, but it is unclear whether these are from the police or private citizens.

4. Pro-slut, pro-miscegenation, and anti-racist. Heroine Sam (Michelle Mylett) is pregnant with some guy’s bastard. Cheap tramp Kaitlin (Ana Alic) is an item with black dude Steve (Romaine Waite). As the two are making a sex video, one of the afflicted bursts in on their fun through a window. The fact that the attacker appears to have a skinhead haircut may be intended subtextually to suggest lingering racism and resentment among whites toward those who choose to mate outside the species.

3. Feminist. “Final girl” Sam, once forced to fend for herself at the end, has little difficulty adjusting to the role of the badass. A bandage she ties around her head gives her the martial appearance of an Apache warrior.

2. Media-critical and anti-corporate. Social Redroom executives have secretly implemented a subliminal pattern designed to induce addictive behavior in visitors. Characters are unsure whether to trust material coming out of the mainstream media and look, rather, to grassroots sources of information available online.

1. Luddite. The title, Antisocial, serves a dual purpose, referring both to the nasty behavior of the afflicted and to the film’s critical stance toward social media. The script is full of apprehensions about a world in which “private life is public knowledge”, cruelty is as easy as clicking a key, and lovers break up remotely, by way of handheld devices.

Appropriately, social media darling Kaitlin and her boyfriend are among the first to develop symptoms. Sam and Jed (Adam Christie), who have deleted their Social Redroom accounts, retain their sanity longer than others. “How do you keep in touch with people?” Kaitlin asks. “I see them in person,” Sam deadpans. Significantly, Sam later repurposes a laptop as a murder weapon.

The internet itself is not necessarily to blame, and an online video actually provides the means of overcoming the crisis. What worries Antisocial, however, is the addictive potential and hive mind pull of ubiquitous sites like Facebook. Fear of mass loss of privacy also looms large, and in one of Antisocial‘s more outrageous moments, Social Redroom users’ bodies function as organic surveillance devices.

 

Get infected by Ideological Content Analysis on Facebook or follow Rainer Chlodwig von Cuck on Twitter or Google+

Dr. Caligari (1989) ****1/2

A non-pornographic film from Stephen Sayadian, the man behind the fan favorite Cafe Flesh (1982), Dr. Caligari casts a formidable bid for the most colorfully flamboyant and lurid movie ever made. Recalling the premise of Sayadian’s script for the episodic adult feature Nightdreams (1981), Dr. Caligari concerns the titular harridan’s perverted experiments in sexuality at her insane asylum. Her latest guinea pigs include Mrs. Van Houten (Laura Albert), who suffers from psychotic “nympholepsy”, and redneck serial killer and cannibal Mr. Pratt (John Durbin in a thoroughly grotesque and charismatic performance). Meanwhile, subordinate Dr. Avol (Fox Harris of immortal Repo Man infamy) discovers that Dr. Caligari has finally gone too far and resolves to bring her reign of erotic terror to an end.

Shoulder pads were invented for Madeleine Reynal, evilly graceful and domineering in the role of the mad scientist, while Fox Harris gets the most outrageous showcase of his career for his special brand of over-the-top camp craziness, and sultry, unforgettable Laura Albert furnishes eye confection of the most delectable order as the hallucinating nymphomaniac patient. Dr. Caligari‘s true star, however, is writer-director-designer-cinematographer Stephen Sayadian, whose sight gags, wacky color schemes, sick sense of menacing humor, and flair for the tastefully tacky permeate and elevate this 80s oddity, updating the original’s expressionism for the decade of eye-popping neon. Shot almost entirely in chiaroscuro, Dr. Caligari occasionally evinces the feel of a real horror movie and packs some genuinely disturbing content with its hat-tips to incest, sadomasochism, and Cronenbergian body angst. The only thing Sayadian’s opus is missing – other than emotional depth, obviously – is the narrative momentum that might have prevented the film from overstaying its welcome slightly even at 80 minutes.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Be sure to check Dr. Caligari out in its entirety on YouTube.

 

Dislike Ideological Content Analysis on Facebook.

David Cronenberg’s newest film advertises and makes a production of its overwhelming complexity, with dense and enigmatic dialogue lifted directly from Don DeLillo’s novel.  At its core, however, Cosmopolis is a simple story, following young financial demigod Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) and his wilfully unraveling fortunes as his futuristically hermetic limousine slowly snakes its way across Manhattan while anarchist protests explode in the streets.  Along the way the detached Packer has a series of philosophically loaded encounters with the other unusual types who people his life.  The ride is on one level a seemingly pointless jaunt to an inconveniently located barber shop; on another level the trip is a self-obsessed one-man funeral procession, with Packer undergoing sartorial as well as financial and mental downsizing and disintegration en route.

Money, the business of his life, has become an abstract thing; like art, it is no longer narrative and now talks to itself in mad senility.  Isolated from the real life concerns of common humans, Packer is anaesthetized and knows it and will go to bizarre lengths just to feel something.  “Stun me,” he dares his bodyguard (Patricia McKenzie) as she levels a taser at him.  Even his relationship with his wife is absurdly cold and emotionally constipated.  Like Cronenberg, he is an intellectual who intellectualizes everything, so that his “chief of theory” or financial oracle (Samantha Morton) occupies an important place in his life and gives him daily debriefings.  Is it possible that Packer will be able to liberate himself from his psychological sterility only by consciously dismantling everything he has built with such precision?

Cosmopolis is a triumph of visual design and a remarkable feat in remaining consistently sharp and compelling despite being an almost nonstop series of scenes of Packer in conversation.  The stylized dialogue, which lends Cosmopolis an air of being the film adaptation of a stage play, rewards multiple viewings in its clever, showboating complexity.  Also indispensible in keeping this tasteful freakshow afloat is the splendid cast, with Sarah Gadon, Jay Baruchel, George Touliatos, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti, and many others contributing brief but memorable characterizations that help to define Packer by way of relief and speculation.   Cosmopolis is also very funny and comes highly recommended to fans of black comedies.  5 stars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Cosmopolis is:

10. Multiculturalist.  Packer employs minorities and listens to sufi rap.

9. Faith-ambivalent.  “We don’t need God,” says the “chief of theory”.  Callous Packer’s tower has gone “unpunished by God.”  He mocks a health-conscious subordinate’s “Judeo-Christian jogging”.  He does, however, appear to long for some elusive spirituality.  He admires a sufi rapper (K’Naan) who for a time lived in a minaret, whereas Packer has lived his life in another kind of tower and in a different isolation.  He also expresses interest in buying a chapel.  The mysterious “Complex” is the closest thing to a supreme being in the film, however.

8. Pro-immigration.  Foreign cab drivers “come from horror and despair”.

7. Pro-miscegenation.  Packer avails himself of a chesty black woman.

6. Feminist.  Women are capable executives.  Packer has a female bodyguard.

5. Pro-slut.  “I am a single, struggling mother,” one mover-and-shaker pants sweatily.  Sex in this world has nearly succeeded in divorcing itself from emotion; it is now a medication, an “antidote to disillusion”.  Didi (Juliette Binoche) puts on an especially good show.

4. Anti-marriage.  In addition to Packer’s own failed union, reference is made to “some dumb wedding”.

3. Egalitarian.  Private ownership of art is questioned.  Art “belongs to the world”; and yet, “The more visionary the idea, the more people it leaves behind.”  Making money is Packer’s art.  Do his creations also belong to the people?  The precipitous crash of his portfolio makes him feel free, Packer says.

2. State-skeptical.  A financial pundit is attacked and stabbed in the eye simply for criticizing the stability of the yuan.  A finance minister’s movements are so absurdly awe-inspiring and earth-shaking that even his pauses and breaths as he speaks are studied with intense interest.

1. Anti-capitalist.  Cronenberg is reluctant to accept this label for his film, but too many elements point in this direction for Cosmopolis not to receive it.  Capitalism, not communism, is the “specter” haunting the world.  “People eat and sleep in the shadow of what we do,” Shiner (Jay Baruchel) reflects with trepidation.  “All wealth has become wealth for its own sake.”  “Foully and berserkly rich” Packer, the film’s representative magnate, is an unfeeling philanderer disrespectful of human life.  “You’re forcing me to be reasonable,” he says to a would-be assassin (Paul Giamatti).  “I don’t like that.”  “The logical extension of business is murder,” he suggests to a sexual partner; then, “Move to the left,” he instructs her, meaning physically, but unavoidably connoting the political to the viewer.

Fear of Blogging

"With enough courage, you can do without a reputation."

Alt of Center

Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit of Beauty

The Alternative Right

Giving My Alt-Right perspective

Logos

ars erga excellentiam

The Espresso Stalinist

Wake Up to the Smell of Class Struggle ☭

parallelplace

Just another WordPress.com site

NotPoliticallyCorrect

Human Biodiversity, IQ, Evolutionary Psychology, Epigenetics and Evolution

Christopher Othen

Bad People, Strange Times, Good Books

Historical Tribune

The Factual Review

The Roper Report

Billy's Balkanization Blog

Economic & Multicultural Terrorism

Delves into the socioeconomic & political forces destroying our Country: White & Christian Genocide.

Ashraf Ezzat

Author and Filmmaker

ProphetPX on WordPress

Jesus-believing U.S. Constitutionalist EXPOSING Satanic globalist SCAMS & TRAITORS in Kansas, America, and the World at-large. Jesus and BIBLE Truth SHALL PREVAIL!

Two Hundred Years Together

A History of the Russians and the Jews