Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Movies @ The Mill - Saturday 24th September 2011

Theatre at the Mill’s Movies @ The Mill Season One presents
MILLENIUM

The best chance to experience the trilogy that has had the worlds of cinema and literature talking.  Stig Larsson's Millenium trilogy presented back to back with a discussions of the transformation from manuscript to screen.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO at 3:00PM
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family.

THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE at 5:40PM
Mikael Blomkvist, now the crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend Lisbeth Salander.

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST at 8:35PM
Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders.







Sunday, 28 August 2011

Movies @ The Mill - Friday 23rd September 2011

Theatre at the Mill’s Movies @ The Mill Season One presents
ADAPHTATIONS

It's two amazingly talented directors and their takes on the works of Daphne Du Maurier.  The master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock and the visually stunning Nicolas Roeg.

REBECCA at 7:00PM
A thrilling tale of the new Mrs. of the house and her struggle against the members of her husbands first wife...Rebecca.














DON'T LOOK NOW! at 9:25PM
When John & Laura Baxter lose their daughter they relocate to Venice only for their lives to be put at risk.








Saturday, 27 August 2011

Movies @ The Mill - Wednesday 21st September 2011

Theatre at the Mill’s Movies @ The Mill Season One presents
THE CAMERA NEVER LIES

Though it can catch more than you thought.  Michelangelo Antonioni's first English language film is the quintessential MOD movie and one that simply gets better with age. 

BLOW UP at 7:45PM
His life was easy, drug fuelled with a steady flow of sexually free models but all that changed when he inadvertently photographed a murder...and was spotted.








Friday, 26 August 2011

Movies @ The Mill - Tuesday 20th September 2011

Theatre at the Mill’s Movies @ The Mill Season One presents
SHAKESPEARE RE-IMAGINED

For as long as there have been film cameras rolling there have been adaptations of the works of William Shakespeare.  The Tuesday screening during this season of cinema at Theatre at the Mill is perhaps one of the more interesting.  Like The Bad Sleep Well and The Maori Merchant of Venice before it this is a culturally specific take on the universal themes of the playwright.

MICKEY B at 7:45PM
Set in Northern Ireland's Maghaberry prison it's made by the prisoners and censored by the state!  Don't miss the opportunity to watch the most intriguing adaptation of MacBeth we have been treated to in years.  Winner of the Roger Graef award for Outstanding Achievement in Film.






Thursday, 25 August 2011

Movies @ The Mill - Monday 19th September 2011

Theatre at the Mill’s Movies @ The Mill Season One presents
Lon Chaney as The Phantom...LIVE!

Monday 19th September 2011

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA with a live piano score at 7:45PM

There are few performances committed to celluloid as physically demanding or memorable as Chaney.  Don't miss the opera-tunity to watch a genuine masterpiece and listen to a live score being beautifully married to the images on screen.




Troll Woes & Giallo Sorrows

Due to circumstances beyond our control the screening of Troll Hunter in the forthcoming Movie Bar season has been moved from Friday 16th September 2011 at the Studio Theatre in the Waterfront back to the Movie Bar on Thursday 13th October.

The GIALLO evening is unfortunately postponed until a later programme.
For information on the Movie Bar screenings this season click here.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Movies @ The Mill - Sunday 18th September 2011

Theatre at the Mill’s Movies @ The Mill Season One presents
The Trial of George Walton Lucas Jr.

Sunday 18th September 2011
THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS at 3:00PM
The CGI smash hit of 2010’s SXSW Festival sees a computer generated state of California put the creator of Star Wars on trial for his constant re-tweaking on the franchise and other crimes against cinema.  The documentary was given unprecedented access to Lucas Films and the history of ‘The Force’ in order to put together a must see for any Jedi in training (or Princess of a destroyed planet).


Following Lucas’ trial we showcase the cases for the defence and prosecution.

For the prosecution
HOWARD THE DUCK at 4:50PM
Since serving as executive producer for this Sci-Fi tale of a talking Duck who must save the world Lucas has disowned the film.  Two things stand apparent during this film, 1. you can’t just ignore your mistakes and 2. the early warning signs of how terrible Jar Jar Binks was going to be were there.


For the defence
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK at 7:00PM
As co-creator and executive producer George Lucas is jointly responsible for bringing Henry Jones Jr. (Indiana) to the big screen as he races against the clock and the Nazi’s in an effort to find the lost ark of the covenant.  Starring Harrison Ford and Karen Allen.


 
After the screening there will be a chance to cast your vote in our audience jury and decide whether George Walton Lucas Jr. is guilty or innocent.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Rango

Certificate: PG
Running time: 107 mins
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Western
Country: USA


Anyone wondering about Johnny Depp's artistic integrity having made four Pirates of the Carribean films and now becoming the latest name to lend voice and talents to an animated movie might want to hold both tongue and judgment until such time as they have watched the John Logan (The Aviator, Bond 23 and Steven Spielberg's forthcoming Lincoln) scripted Rango. 

A collision with a slow moving animal across a busy stretch of Nevada freeway dislodges aspiring thespian lizard Rango (Depp) from the rear of his owners car and out into the warm and uncertain world.

Rango starts, innocuously enough like a run of the mill animation film but is doesn’t take long to prove how truly different it is.  The animation is fantastic, looking back at recent animated films it’s easy to point fingers at offerings like Ice Age and Happy Feet  and yell “bad animation”.  Even at the time of release their CGI characters looked sadly dated, Rango doesn’t have this problem.  Whether it was Verbinski or Logan’s vision is unclear and it doesn’t really matter upon screening, the animation is wonderfully stylistic, deep, dark, mature and simply brilliant.  Whether it’s the attention to detail on Rango’s scales or the almost decaying nature of some of the supporting cast (Balthazar played by Harry Dean Stanton in particular) this is an animation style that is flawless and perfect like Pixar or Studio Ghibli but with the aged skepticism of a lavish next generation computer console horror game and the balance between the two is weighted to skillfully that it never tips in favour of one or the other without correcting itself.

The narrative of the film, like everything visually, is not what you would expect from an animated film.  So many of them are able simple stories.  Toys that need to find their owner, winning the big race, even the superhero adventure The Incredibles lacked the real detective element that you would want from a hero story but not Rango.  The storyline for Rango is two parts western, one part film noir with dashes of comedy to lighten the mood but always bringing a worthy laugh.  With echoes of everything from The Dollars Trilogy to Chinatown this is a film that can not simply be viewed, to get the most out of it you have to interact with the film and it’s complicated narrative.  There are deep routed issues of national identity and difficult questions about the “American way” and how far is too far in the pursuit of the (once) almighty dollar.  Logan’s scribing abilities have never been in question but what he showcases here isn’t just an ability to write well crafted dialogue or a convoluted narrative but is bravery.  The bravery to write a dark narrative for a genre that will, most likely, not welcome you to the park with open arms and will leave many parents frustrated that their little monsters got bored twenty minutes in…this decision is not only brave it is brilliant and will hopefully be showcased in the projects due out (with his penmanship) over the next year.

The score is excellently crafted, you would expect nothing less from Hans Zimmer, but his understanding of what you can do with instruments is second to none.  The score feels old like it belongs to the Sergio Leone / Enzo Castellari, part of the ancestry of spaghetti westerns which is so exciting (if you’re a fan of spaghetti westerns).

Depp is, as usual, scintillating, fascinating…all that ‘atings’.  Granted there are some similarities in the portrayal of Rango to that of Hunter S. Thompson and Captain Jack Sparrow but nobody does overly articulate yet completely scatter minded as well as Johnny Depp and even on his worst day he is still miles ahead of other performers such is his ability.  The ability to breath so much life into an animated character is something that simply doesn’t happen that often but yet within twenty minutes you feel like you understand Rango only for another layer of his personality to be peeled back to reveal even more to study.  It’s this caliber of acting that is needed for a film like Rango, which sets its stall out to be better than the usual offerings and it works.  The supporting cast are all wonderful, we get to see another side of Isla Fisher as she plays the emotionally stunted and slightly madcap Beans.  Abigail Breslin is also wonderful and no longer displays great acting “potential” that a lot of people like to attribute to younger performers but rather displays her great acting skill.  Ned Beatty (Mayor) is amazing, it’s been too long since audiences were able to cherish the wonderful ability of Beatty and in Rango he is nothing short of perfect.  Harry Dean Stanton is wonderful casting and a brilliant edition to a rich cast and would almost steal the second half of the film if it wasn’t for Bill Nighy.  Nighy (as Rattlesnake Jake) gives a mesmerizing performance that can only be described as Lee Van Cleef in reptile form.  You don’t even need to know spaghetti westerns or the work of Van Cleef to get this reference, so strong was Van Cleef’s presence, so accurate is Nighy’s rendering that it simply works on all levels.  Special praise to Timothy Olyphant who pops up as the “Spirit of the West” and gives a eerily perfect performance of a young Clint Eastwood playing an amalgamation of his western personas.

Final praise must go to Verbinski, he is clearly a massive western fan.  The level of detail layered on top of one another throughout this entire film wouldn’t be possible if the director simply had a passing interest in the genre.  The cinematography, colour palette and direction are all faultless and are what transforms Rango from a great animated film to a great film. 

If you intend on screening this to you children you will probably need to make sure that you have a Connect Four, Battleships or whatever children play with these days at arms reach as they will not follow this film.  This is not a slight on children but Rango is unlike any animated film coming out of Hollywood at the moment and is simply not what children have been raised to expect.  If you’re waiting for them to go to bed or are without the little darlings in your life then you’ll find yourself watching possibly the best western since Unforgiven  and will wonder why so few animated films are this darn good.





Sunday, 14 August 2011

Change of Venue - Troll Hunter

The Movie Bar's third Season opening night will now take place at the Studio in the Belfast Waterfront rather than it's spiritual home on Bedford Street.

NORSK!
Friday 16th September 2011 from 8:30PM
Troll Hunter plus full supporting programme and free membership to patrons.

Membership allows for discounted tickets for the rest of the season.

Book Now! to avoid the disappointment of sitting at home watching old episodes of B.J. and the Bear.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Guilty of Romance - Interview with Sion Sono

After Love Exposure and Cold Fish, Guilty of Romance is supposed to be the last part of your "hate" trilogy.  Why did you choose such a topic?
"Hate" is the emotion that includes "Love" the most.  It is the source (origin) of love.  The diabolism seriously believes in God, stronger than ordinary people.  Which means, paradoxically speaking, "Satanists" believe in God and "Haters" are more aware of love.  Considering that I am a "Hater", I believe this to be completely personal.  The hate inside me is too strong, and the film is my concession speech towards love, because I was exhausted from hating.

Your movies often focus on female characters, but Guilty of Romance seems to be the most romantic of your films.  Was this on purpose?
No, I have never imagined it like this.  I have modified the script repeatedly during the shooting, and every time I made a change, starting from a negative mood, it gradually became more positive.  As a result, there is only love towards women left in the movie.  I thought that I emphasized individually in comparing women's situations and states of each sequence.  Just like those paintings of Kandinsky.  I have interviewed working women - especially prostitutes or women who are cheating and used them for the script.  I was careful to handle women's sensitive and delicate feelings, and convince myself not to change them conveniently to a man's perspective.

Many of your films are dealing with social rules, or religion.  In Guilty of Romance, sex is quite like a cult, with rules to obey.  Was it a way to contrast with many Japanese filmmakers who were making analogies between sex and politics or anarchy?
In recent Japanese films, it is obvious not to depict any social problems.  They avoid to mention sex nor politics.  In that sense, I don't have any conscious of the recent Japanese movies.  Actually, I found my film in the pornography shelf at some video stores.  For instance, Strange Circus is considered as AV (Adult Video) genre.  It is hopeless.

What is more difficult for you : to shoot a sex scene or a violent one?
Sex scenes are more difficult for me.  It is difficult to perfectly match the look of a person doing intercourse and the person's feelings.

Guilty of Romance could in some ways be linked to the Roman Porno genre.  Even more as it is co-produced by Nikkatsu.  Were any of their films influencing this one?
Nikkatsu Roman Porn produced many talented filmmakers and surely it was the gateway to successful directors..  It certainly influenced my time of adolescence, so how can i escape from that?  Naturally, the essence is in me.

As most of your films, Guilty of Romance deal with damaged individuals...
Because I see "damaged individuals" as kind human beings who deserve love.  They are totally free, more than anybody else.  If they look lame alive, that's because they are looking for freedom, more than anyone else.

Your amazing sense of art direction is now well-known.  Especially the use of colours.  Could you explain how you worked with that in Guilty of Romance: does each colour you used in that film have a specific meaning to you?
The splattered PINK ball is the colour of human instinct.  Besides, it is the colour of desire, not praised, but hidden behind the veil, flowing like melting iron.  Another colour is BLACK.  Black harmonises with pink.  There is a line, "Darkness is thicker than shadows".  Indeed, for people who have shadows, BLACK is a colour that feels like heaven.  Words and their meaning is one important element of this film.

Before becoming a filmmaker, you were a poet.  Could cinema be equal to poetry?
Poetry is my root.  "A film" is an anthology for me.  It is a series of poetry of many kinds.  I don't like the continuation of the same tone in poetry.  In Guilty of Romance two female characters are reciting a poem like a mantra, a poem by a Japanese poet.  It is a passage from my favourite poem and I always remember it and hum it.

You've got the reputation of a controversial filmmaker.  What is your definition of perversion?
In my personal opinion, perversion is a fluid, something like Amoeba or water.  Like rain changes into the sea or into steam, there are sudden transformations in my daily life.  If there are no social rules to obey, life has no meaning.  If I dare to define perversion, it is a feeling to protrude from society.  It is the human emotion to protrude and try to grab the "excitements".

How would you like to be remembered: as a feminist filmmaker or as one who does movies about ordinary cruelty?
Couldn't it be both?  I am a feminist and cruel film maker.  I want to be liked, but I have my yearnings to be hated from all over the world.  Either way, it is the asme.  I am a perverse fellow.

After Cold Fish, you were supposed to do Lords of Chaos, a feature film about Norwegian black metal.  How did you end up doing Guilty of Romance instead?
Actually, the reason Lords of Chaos was postponed was simply because financing did not do well.  But I was lucky to create Cold Fish and Guilty of Romance because Lords of Chaos was delayed.  These two films were made in a series of coincidences.

By Alex Masson

  

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Yellow Sea - Interview with Ha Jung-Woo

How did you get involved with this project?
I really liked the script.  The power contained within the film, the characters that centered around the story are what made me choose this project.  Also, I wanted to work with director NA and Kim Yun-Seok once more.

There were many action thrillers in 2010.  What part of The Yellow Sea stood out?
It could be said that The Yellow Sea is a very highly concentrated film.  The way this film's drama unfolds, or the character development, it's very realistic in a way that's never been before in Korean film industry.  Although packaged in an action-thriller genre, this is a strong sense of drama in the process of following this character.

How was shooting in China?
I concentrated on accepting and learning a new culture.  I practiced mah-jong, understood it and tried to experience what Korean-Chinese people experience in their daily life.  With Kim Yun-Seok, we flew to China and saw firsthand where they lived and soaked in the atmosphere.  That was very cinematic and noir-like.  The shoot took place mainly in Harbin.

What was the most memorable and difficult part of shooting?
I climbed steep mountains, fell into the water during shooting, but more than anything, getting into a character and concentrating for a long period of time was the most difficult part of shooting.  Rather than a specific scene in the movie, I remember, fondly, the character, cast and crew, who made this film possible.

What drew you to the character of Gu-Nam?
When I thought about why he had to cross the yellow sea and the circumstances behind it, I felt the drama was very humanistic.  As head of a household who had a wife and a child, I could sympathize with him, who turned into a monster when he was cornered from all sides while trying to save those he loved.

What was it like to collaborate with director NA and Kim Yun-Seok?
Because of my previous experience with the duo, I was able to go over this hurdle.  It was very enjoyable experience.  But what I realised once again was the fact that actor Kim Yun-Seok was such a giant support as a fellow actor.  Without him it would have been extremely difficult for me to get into the character of Gu-Nam.  I probably survived this production because of him.  Also, director NA had a very difficult task of leading this production with very arduous production schedule.  When in production, it's easy to get greedy and face many shortcomings from things that we could not plan well previously, but he always understood the situation and led us to the finish line.  For that he has my utter respect.

The Yellow Sea was released in the UK through Eureka on June 9th 2011.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

5x5 Grindhouse Style

Robert DoQui

If Robert's face is familiar it's because he's guest starred on just about everything over the past thirty years.  Party of Five, E.R, Star Trek : Deep Space Nine, NYPD Blue the list really does go on and on and on.  What you might not know him for is his work at the cutting edge of Blaxploitation and his truly amazing performances in these excellent films.  Here's Robert DoQui's five 5 star films.

1. The Devil's 8
FBI agent recruits eight hardened convicts to help take down a vicious gang in this Ocean's 11 meets Dirty Dozen crime thriller.

2. The Red, White and Black
There's almost not enough Blaxploitation westerns and this one is definitely one of the most enjoyable as DoQui takes the lead as Eli Brown.

3. Coffy
It seems almost redundant to mention his performance in this amazing Jack Hill crime thriller but to leave it out would be criminal.  DoQui is fantastic as King George and pathed the way for many replicants of his style.

4. Willie Dynamite
Uncredited as he worked without pay for his performance in this classic Blaxploitation starring Roscoe Orman.

5. Guyana : Crime of the Century
Robert in the supporting role of Oliver Ross in the story of a Guyanan priest who's followers (by and large) commit suicide on his request.

There are literally hundreds of shows which all feature Robert DoQui plus a strong film career.  The man was a genuinely wonderful yet underrated actor.  Fans of Robocop should keep their eyes peeled as he's in the three films before bowing out before the fourth...smart man.  He's also the inspiration behind Robert Downey Jr's performance in Tropic Thunder.

Next up...

< Erika Carlsson >

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Grotesque / Gurotesuku

Certificate: Unrated
Running time: 73 mins
Director: Koji Shiraishi
Starring: Tsugumi Nagasawa, Hiroaki Kawatsure, Shigeo Osako
Genre: Horror
Format: DVD (Import only)
Country: Japan

In 2007 Koji Shiraishi co-wrote and directed Carved : A Slit-Mouthed Woman a tough but relatively well received supernatural horror.  Many fans of Asian horror were left open mouthed and in much anticipation of what was to come next from the writer/director.  Two years later the anticipation was answered with Grotesque a film that divided the audiences and censors alike and lit the fuse for the twenty-first century’s video nasty new wave.

A deranged doctor (Osako) kidnaps a young couple and subjects them to increasingly extreme levels of torture for his own sexual gratification.  It’s always good when you can sum up the plot of your film in one snappy line, the problem lies when you are asked to elaborate on the matter and the conversation is left with dead air.  For all it’s trappings of belonging to a solid national cinema that does horror extremely well (just look at the spate of Hollywood remakes) Grotesque is very much the unwelcome gatecrasher.  The narrative of the film is paper thin and the script is comprised of one difficult set piece after another that are barely lined together by any form of plot or script.  Character development is left to a minimum, neither half of the blossoming couple are given any real characterisation and are used for two things 1. to further the character development of the unnamed doctor and 2. to be hacked to bits for his pleasure.  There are also serious logic issues with the film, but that’s to be expected as the script seems to be a constant after thought.

The performers are all good, for what they’ve been given to work with, Nagasawa (Aki) and Kawatsure (Kazuo) have to do more of their characterisation and relationship building between them with gestures and glances which works well enough but only because they are good actors.  Osako (as the Doctor) has the most to do and has several moments were he manages to create a sympathetic connection between himself and the audience which is quite a feat for a man wielding a chainsaw but that too feels born out of good fortune from casting a quality performer.  The score feels almost non existent so soft is some of the tones that they are drown out by the sound of screaming and machinery, yet at other points it’s hugely manipulative and works at guiding the audience towards the emotions that Shiraishi wants you to feel.  The cinematography is plain, Shiraishi uses colour well to highlight the brutal nature of the events depicted on screen but the camera work is basic and often lingers on shots longer than the audience would appreciate and in doing so places the eyes of the film firmly in the head of the Doctor allowing for even less connection or sympathy for the poor couple as they are systematically broken down into their comprising parts.

There was a great deal of debate at the release of Grotesque, the Japanese release of the film was a good ten minutes shorter than that of other countries and the BBFC flat out refused to give the film a certificate due to the depiction, not just of violence, but of human beings as objects for little more gratification and disfiguration.  This appears to be their issue with Tom Six’s The Human Centipede [Full Sequence] though Six has a greater sense of humour than his Japanese counterpart.  The notion of banning a film is one that sits extremely uneasy with me as it lessens the validity of cinema as an art form and implies that cinema audiences are less mature than that of theatre or literature and are therefore unable to decide for themselves.

The biggest issue with Grotesque isn’t the gratuitous violence or the dehumanising attitude of it’s central character and in turn it’s cinematography towards the supporting couple but that it’s actually a terrible film.  There have been other “video nasty” new wave releases since Grotesque and all of them have had something of merit in them, no matter how small.  Films like The Human Centipede [First Sequence], A Serbian Film and even Carved : A Slit-Mouthed Woman have all dared to push the boundaries of taste and the imagination but have tried (some more successfully than others) to inject something more, something thought provoking.  Grotesque has none of this, it’s simply torture porn, an unimaginative attempt of making a twenty first century Flowers of Flesh and Blood.  I wouldn’t ban it but I wouldn’t watch it again.



Monday, 1 August 2011

Rubber

Certificate: 15
Running time: 82 mins
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Starring: Stephen Spinella, Wings Hauser, Roxane Mesquida
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Country: France, Angola, USA

Quentin Dupieux is a director that divides opinion and provokes conversation more than any other working at the moment.  His 2007 feature Steak has critics and fans at war with one another as to whether it’s amazing or awful.  The screening of the trailer for his latest offering, Rubber, brought a stunned silence when played at the festival programme launch for the 2011 Belfast Film Festival.

Robert has the ability of telekinesis and isn’t afraid to use it he’s also a serial killer, fan of step aerobics and is a tire.  The film opens with Lieutenant Chad (Spinella) emerging from the trunk of a car and addresses the camera about the power of cinema and how all excellent film have the “no reason” factor.  Moments later we meet the live audience who are watching the film from within the film and so Dupieux’s usual post nouvelle vague is set in motion.

There are countless films out there that have more than a passing nod to their own fictional existence, Steven Soderbergh’s Schizopolis is probably one of the most well rounded offerings from this genre, but few that strive so hard to highlight the falsity of film like Rubber.  It does work though, the live audience within the film watching the film give the audience a character to identify with and also deal with a lot of the questions that you would be subjected to having to listen to in the cinema.  Similarly in highlighting the fact that the film isn’t real it only serves to further reinforce that the audience themselves are not actually a real audience which gives way to a deeper reading of the film than you would be expecting from a “horror” film. The director has done a wonderful job in establishing the existence of Robert, his use of cinematography is splendid.  Robert inspecting the plastic bottle is a wonderful little moment early on and the use of the camera gives the audiences imagination everything it needs to construct a face, personality and expressions of our general character.  For all the subversive elements of the film the cinematography is very conservative, which works perfectly with the material.  There are several “iris” shots through the centre of Robert  or over his treads that are classic horror camera work and frames the three levels in the screens depth of field fantastically.

The soundtrack of Mr. Oizo is absolutely brilliant, it has all the flair, originality and effortless cool that you would except from the French techno master.  The beats work well with Robert, highlighting his moments of silliness, vindictiveness and even his adorable side.  It truly does add to the film, the soundtrack is a wonderful addition to the film and a character in its own right.

Stephen Spinella is great, Stephen Spinella is always great.  He’s an actor who is always in the thankless supporting role and it’s nice to see him take the lead in a film that is guaranteed to receive a lot of screenings worldwide.  His presence on screen is one of unsure certainty and is reminiscent of a quirky Rob Scheider.  Like Spinella, Hauser (as the unnamed man in the wheelchair) is fantastic casting on Dupieux’s part.  He’s been working solidly in television for years since his film career slowed but it’s great to see the star of Mutant back on the big screen and stealing every scene he’s in. 

The problem lies in what makes Rubber so different.  It’s an incredibly smart and interesting piece of contemporary cinema and one that will most certainly give rise to several in depth readings.  The film, unfortunately, knows how smart it is and director Dupieux goes to lengths to highlight just how intelligent his “horror” film is, how different it is to other films in the genre and in doing so erodes any love felt for the film.  Charlie Kaufman’s screenplays are always exceptionally smart, the difference between Kaufman and Dupieux is that Kaufman’s work has a degree of humility that’s endearing to an audience.   Rubber doesn’t have this, it’s overly aware of how smart it is and in being so distances itself from the audience.  The film’s intelligence is the star of the show, unfortunately relegating all the performers and narrative to supporting roles.

When creating a film this different there are elements of the genre that you have to include in order to highlight where the film differs from the genre and Rubber simply doesn’t have enough of the horror genre trademarks to match the audiences expectations.  The trailer for the film is much better than the film, it portrays a more conventional narrative with the “no reason” quality that the film attempts to grasp but it really doesn’t have these.  There’s more than enough brain but not enough brawn to make Rubber a cool a film as the ones which Spinella lists at the beginning, which is a shame.  Truly enjoyable but not for the reasons that stopped all conversation on the BFF’s launch day.








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