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  • The Mad Scientist (Splice & Human Centipede) It makes perfect sense that cinema would have a fascination with the mad scientist. After all, movies themselves are the product of acting out a god complex. The mad scientist is one of the oldest and greatest of cinematic anti-heroes, the kind of character that represents the viewer's own wish fulfillment desires before the film reassures them that their commonness is perfectly okay when everything goes to hell at the end. See what horrors happen when you overstretch your bounds? Please be content with your limitations, whydontyou. Is there a better cautionary tale than the endless cycle of self-destruction that is the steady stream of mad scientist films throughout the ages? Recently in theaters, there's been ...
    Posted Jun 19, 2010, 4:27 PM by Sean Erickson
  • the list. 2009 - 15 of the best movies 1. Enter the Voiddir. Gaspar NoeThere are only a few people out there (working in narrative film) who could have their next movie be a revolutionary, groundbreaking production; a work of art that changes the scope of the medium. After Irreversible and Enter the Void, Gaspar Noe is on that list and his unchecked ambition is putting him on top of this one. While that ambition comes close to being a liability in Enter the Void, it brings such a life to the film that despite Noe calling the Toronto screening I was at the dimmest projection of the film he'd ever seen, it was like a cinematic tab of acid ...
    Posted Jun 19, 2010, 4:32 PM by Sean Erickson
  • Where the Wild Things Are Dir. Spike Jonze There's an old adage that, depending on what quote you come across, anywhere from 60% to 99% of directing is casting. In the case of Where the Wild Things Are, a story where there is but one boy who's in every scene and more often then not is the only human face around, casting indeed plays a big part in the film's success. Spike Jonze is a smart director though, and the attention he paid to finding the right voices for the diverse cast of non-humans the boys spends the majority of the time interacting with is also praiseworthy. While attention to detail is one of Jonze's strongest attributes, Where the Wild ...
    Posted Oct 22, 2009, 11:06 AM by Sean Erickson
  • Inglourious Basterds Dir. Quentin Tarantino My first semester of film school was in 1995, when Quentin Tarantino had a firm stranglehold on the imaginations of every would-be future auteur between the ages of 16 to 23.  He was about as cool as you got back then, but that was at a time when there was some mystery to the man behind Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction (not to mention True Romance and Natural Born Killers).  In the years since then it's practically become fashionable to label the guy's work immature and peg him with a lack of restraint or decent editing capabilities and paying far too much attention to his pet obsessions.  He's given plenty of ammo for ...
    Posted Aug 28, 2009, 6:22 AM by Sean Erickson
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Adventures in Comic Book Reading

  • The Summer Street Stack Ah, yard sale season.  The smell of bahgins in the air.  Every weekend's a new chance to find more unnecessary crap to clutter up your home with.  I'm helpless to resist the lure of 25 cent Guinness glasses, dogeared copies of Stephen King books, board games with missing pieces and DVDs on their last stop before the landfill.  This year though it's been records I've been on the look for.  Last year I got a working turntable back into my life and I've been slowly re-building my record collection since then.  But the other day I caught a telephone pole sign for a yard sale right around the block from my house that was ...
    Posted Aug 29, 2009, 4:09 PM by Sean Erickson
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DVR-O-RAMA

From TIFF '09

  • TIFF 2009 - Themes and Ruminations Handjobs and bar mitzvahs aren't really themes but they were all over the first few days of my Toronto International Film Festival experience. After the false-start of Broken Embraces, which I can now say with clear eyes is a bit of a mess, my full day featured the work of three cinematic titans who each managed to squeeze a handjob into their film at some point or another. I'm doubtful a film will ever capture as disturbing a handjob as the bloody one given by Charlotte Gainsbourg to a helpless Willem Dafoe in Lars von Trier's Antichrist; Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon features an eerie, incestuous one; and the psychotropic sensuality never lets up in ...
    Posted Oct 12, 2009, 3:53 PM by Sean Erickson
  • TIFF 2009 until further notice This is what you look like after 18 movies.Tomorrow I will wake up, eat breakfast (maybe at Sneaky Dee's), buy something, go watch Terry Gilliam's new film and head back to Somerville.I'm not exactly sure where I left off. I have video of Werner Herzog, Johnny To and maybe one or two other folks answering questions... I hope to post them for you soon. I have seen more movies than I can accurately try to summarize for you but try I will...Vengeance: (Johnnie To - 7/10) French prince of rock Johnny Hallyday plays a vengeful father with a bad memory. It oddly, nicely echoes the themes of Life During Wartimes question of whether it ...
    Posted Sep 30, 2009, 8:23 AM by Sean Erickson
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (TIFF09 Day 6) Dir. Werner Herzog Anyone thinking the collaboration between Nicolas Cage and Werner Herzog would somehow fail to be entertaining must've been hitting their lucky crack pipe. If Nicolas Cage fails in that department it's probably due to his questionable choices in the projects he pursues. With this one role he's gained my forgiveness for the joyless junk food movies he's done since Leaving Las Vegas like Next, Bangkok Dangerous and National Treasure 2. For Herzog, he's proven that even with material that seemed destined for straight-to-video, he can achieve moments of high art while still making his most audience friendly film.The programmer introducing the film pitched this one as "Leaving Las Vegas ...
    Posted Sep 17, 2009, 6:52 PM by Sean Erickson
  • Life During Wartime (TIFF09 Day 5) Dir. Todd SolondzLife During Wartime is a crystalline culmination of his work from Welcome to the Dollhouse to Palindromes. Still focused on outcasts and their fears, anxieties and depression, it's a beautiful film that reintroduces us to most of the main characters from Happiness as they've migrated down to Florida in the aftermath of Bill's arrest for child molestation. Wartime carries over the technique used in Palindromes of using different actors for the same character and it continues to work wonders. Bill was played by Dylan Baker in Happiness as being a timid sort of guy and as he's released from prison in Life During Wartime he's of course going to be a different ...
    Posted Sep 17, 2009, 3:09 PM by Sean Erickson
  • Trash Humpers (TIFF09 Day 5) Dir. Harmony Korine[First off, still trying to get video's uploaded and working. Next time around I'll figure out how to take videos that aren't over a GB in size... By then maybe I'll have figured out how to allow comments and how I can add a twitter gadget.]Trash Humpers is a surprisingly literal title. There is in fact an abundance of trash humping going on here as Harmony Korine and three other grotesquely made-up "devils" go around causing chaos in the streets, parking lots and abandoned areas of Memphis. The movie is designed to look like found footage, something you might find in a ditch off the side of the road. It appears ...
    Posted Sep 17, 2009, 9:08 AM by Sean Erickson
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Stereo Files

  • The World According to The Flaming Lips This past weekend I went to, by my count, my 10th Flaming Lips show.  This has been ten shows over 16 years and in that time I've come to realize that The Flaming Lips provide me with all the religion I need. Their shows have evolved into an event wherein the charismatic man on stage rids you of your problems, instills you with peace, happiness and a goodwill toward your fellow man through song, strange dancing creatures and confetti.  You leave a Flaming Lips show smiling, walking on air, with perspective on your place in the world and a certain contentment with your own mortality -- and that's more than I can say for any religion with a federal ...
    Posted Sep 4, 2009, 8:48 AM by Sean Erickson
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