vendredi 3 mars 2006

Catching Up, Staying Still

Well, now.... I took off work today since I was supposed to go to a NIN concert tonight in Ottawa. I am broke, but I bought the tickets a long while ago and since I had a blast (incredible show) in Montreal, why not ?! After preparing this morning, I got a call: my friend was telling me the show might be cancelled. Great. Surely enough, it is. Reznor is sick as hell and he had to cancel two other venues last week. He played in Quebec city yesterday but finished early, had a hard time singing all of it and I guess it pointed out to him that he wasn't back in shape. Too bad about the concert but I prefer seeing him later in the year than sick and pushing himself worse by doing a by-the-numbers show. Hopefully, it's only a post-poning like the other venues and not an all-together cancellation. Now I got a 3-day weekend which I haven't had in a long while (about 2 years). Get better Trent, my bank account feels just as bad as you.


Finally watched the Johnny Cash biopic WALK THE LINE (2005, James Mangold who had only made mediocre films) this week. What a great surprise this was. It basically had all the ingredients of a biopic but everything is so well done, starting out with the performances which are astounding. Joaquin Phoenix does an amazing job as Cash throughout the picture and after the movie, I even thought about his deceased brother River who was also quite amazing in all of his films before his untimely death. Phoenix plays all of Cash's quirks to perfection and makes them his own in no time, making you forget that this is still a regular biopic. I never thought I'd say this but Reese Witherspoon is not irritating in the least and after this film, she can be called an actress and a good singer too. Both Phoenix and Witherspoon do their own interpretations of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash's vocals which is quite surprising and refreshing: no lip-synching of any kind. It gives a fresh feel to all the songs and gives even more to the performances. Mangold handled this big film incredibly well by trying to avoid most of the pitfalls and I have to say, he had my attention from the first frame with his incredible intro at Folsom Prison. If you're a fan of Johnny Cash, you've got to see this one, a worthy film for the man in black.


Let's not forget our crappy films of the week for the big clean-up of old VHS that are lying around everywhere. I pointed towards Michael Anderson's BELLS (1982) as the first one. A rather usual thriller except for its means of destruction: killer phones. Now, whoever saw Ruggero Deodato's DIAL HELP (1988) knows how ridiculous this can be but surprisingly enough, the killer phones in BELLS is a really scary technique that manages to send chills down your spine. People answer the phone and a distortion picks up, then gets stronger when you are glued to the phone until you bleed from your eyes and mouth until an electric charge is sent to finish you off. Pa-kow ! There you go up in the air to your demise.

Going into this film without knowing anything of it probably helped but it does have its share of surprises. The tension is high every time you hear a phone ringing but other than that, you follow environmentalist Richard Chamberlain as he uncovers the truth behind the killings in a classic murder mystery fashion. Weirdly enough, this film was chopped by almost 20 minutes for its US release (under the title MURDER BY PHONE !!!) which begs the question: what the hell was so disturbing ?! I saw a dub from a greek tape which had everything in order and other than the murders, there's not that much that you can cut down since there isn't any excessive character development of sorts, everything is there to get the action going. Oh well, it won't be the first time a film gets butchered for no reason and makes no sense afterwards.

On another note, a less-enjoying film that I saw was MOSQUITO THE RAPIST (aka Mosquito Der Schander - 1976, Marijan David Vajda) starring one the goons from Ferdinando Baldi's TERROR EXPRESS (1980), Werner Pochath who has a mug you can't forget. He plays a deaf-mute who works in a dead end desk job while on his free time he enjoys playing with numerous dolls he has at home. One day, the dolls are not enough it would seem since our maniac goes out to play with corpses, doing nothing else than cutting them up and drinking blood with a straw, except on one occasion where he rips the eyes off a girl which is a scene in the trailer, of course. Other than the utter stupidity which this film is, it would seem like corpses still bleed, even after they've been embalmed......... ahem. And all this is supposedly based on a bizarre german case from the time. Anyways, this film is a slow-moving, boring mess, nothing redeems it and I'm not sorry to let go of my copy, that much is for sure. If you get a chance to see it (yeah right !), pass on it and stare at the ceiling for 90 minutes.

Buko-san out.

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