Saturday, July 23, 2005

Best Movie of the Summer?

The Devil's Rejects, directed by Rob Zombie, is one of the best films this summer. Zombie's unwillingness to compromise his work and his abandon of all moral or ethical lines is, at the very least, extremely brave and his portrayal of the disintegration of the line between hero and villain demonstrates more artistic integrity than many Hollywood productions. I have not seen a horror film this intense since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

The Devil's Rejects has a much stronger narrative than House of 1000 Corpses and it abandons the semi-cartoonish look of the original film in favor of a grittier style of cinematography. William Forsythe almost steals the show in his intense portrayal of a law-abiding sheriff who loses his way ethically and morally while in pursuit of the Firefuly family. This is the true strength of the film; it starts as a conventional good versus evil tale but over the course of the story this turns on itself and the film muddles the distinction between good and evil to such a degree that the two are indistinguishable.

With this film Rob Zombie has clearly demonstrated his promise as a filmmaker and delivered a picture that is being received with the same kind of praise and controversy of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. Consider these reactions from

"The Devil's Rejects will repel many but will thrill the fans and the daring. I think Rob Zombie has an instant horror classic on his hands."
-- Robin Clifford, REELING REVIEWS

"A reprehensible and loathsome journey of excess...Any redeeming value is well hidden."
-- Edward Douglas, COMINGSOON.NET

"It is possible to be repulsed by The Devil's Rejects while acknowledging it as an effective, high-quality piece of work."

"If The Sun allowed me to give a star rating of less than zero, this one would earn a minus-infinity. It is that stupid, that vile, that violent, that hateful, that disgusting, that dangerous."
-- Bruce Kirkland, JAM! MOVIES

"One nasty, brilliantly constructed scene after another."
--Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS

"Irredeemable trash, plain and simple, gratuitously violent and sadistic and aimed at people who derive entertainment from watching other human beings suffer."

These are the kinds of reviews a filmmaker like Zombie dreams about.

Monday, July 18, 2005

All the News That's Fit to Print

This past weekend was one of the bloodiest in Iraq since the invasion. It is estimated that 150 Iraqis and coalition soldiers were killed. While I would not downplay the tragedy of the attack in the UK two weeks ago, the media's imbalance of coverage between the London tragedy, which involved fifty-two deaths and is still in the press, and the attack in Iraq, which involved 150 deaths and has hardly been discussed in the media at all, is very disturbing. It enunciates the power of the media to tell us what to care about and the control they exert over public opinion.

Here is a commercial that addresses that same issue in regards to Darfur.

In other news, the newest Harry Potter book has broken sales records, moving more copies on its first day of release than many books sell in their entire life. Just days before,, a Christian news website, revealed that the Pope, when he was still a cardinal, expressed disapproval of the series. Perhaps this indicates that the Church's power, rotted by its own hypocrisy and the enlightenment of the scientific age, has lost the persuasive power it once held.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Carl Gottlieb Interview

I have done a radio interview with Carl Gottlieb, co-screenwriter of Jaws and author of The Jaws Log, which has been republished for the 30th anniversary of the film.

Carl Gottlieb also has screenwriting credits on Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D, and The Jerk. He has taught screenwriting courses at the American Film Institute and he is currently the vice president of the Writers Guild of America, West.

The interview will air on Maverick at the Movies this Sunday (July 17th) at 11 AM on 89.7 KMSU.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Shiite is Going to Hit the Fan

In the shock of the London attack, any mainstream reporting of the situation in Iraq and the various abuse scandals has disappeared (not that there was much to begin with).

Conservatives have recently chided the war's critics, telling us that the torture under the US is somehow more humane than what happened under Saddam and that comparisons between them are inappropriate. Now we know that US and Iraqi security forces are recruiting those who worked in Saddam's torture facilities and are again engaged in "random arrests, sometimes without a warrant, hanging people from ceilings and beating them, attaching electrodes to ears, hands, feet and genitals, and holding hot irons to flesh."

Beyond the inhumane treatment, the tensions between the various ethnic groups in Iraq could lead to a full blown civil war. Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister of Iraq (before the January elections), has warned that "The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in Iraq . . . The policy should be of building national unity in Iraq. Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak."

Happy liberation.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Red, White, and Brainwashed

Here are some links and downloads for your Fourth of July:

Enjoy your freedoms while you still have them.