The overture and finale of rock 'n' roll's ruthless arc is the subject of our impressionistic mashup this week (see above). At one end, there's the view through the shiny eyes of the eager kids on the tour bus in No Room for Rockstars; at the other, the pinned perspective of former metal god Bobby Liebling during his attempt to reclaim a life onstage in Last Days Here. (Video mashup by Kate Rose.)
Sneaker maker Vans sponsors an annual music tour called the Warped Tour—200 bands, 43 cities, 17,000 miles, "a pretty eclectic tour," says one voice, inaccurately. From this trailer for No Room for Rockstars, the tour seems pretty much exclusive to people with tattoos and interesting hair, whether on or off the stage. Def Tones, Kid Rock, and Eminem all began their careers as Warped acts, so we are told, but in case this doc's intentions are not crystal clear, someone saw fit to record a band offering a variant on "Hello Cleveland." The Spinal is clearly there to be Tapped.
A genuine fossil from the Spinal Tap generation is no bad subject for documentary so long as you have an obsessive prepared to find out everything. Such a documentary is Last Days Here. Bobby Liebling of '70s band Pentagram, an American version of Black Sabbath, lives in his parents' basement and imbibes a lot of non-prescription drugs. Cue a young metalhead determined to bring Bobby back from the living dead. Evidently culled from years of footage, there seems to be an arc from sofa bed to stage going on, and for those so inclined the music certainly is metalicious.
Mercilessly skewered by Stephen Colbert for preaching a green message while carrying at least 70 promotional tie-ins, The Lorax sees its trailer immediately self-sabotaged by the words "From the Makers of Despicable Me." This is a sales pitch written by someone who has not seen Despicable Me. The dead-eyed look of the characters, the pointlessly vertiginous camera swoops and the irritating eagerness to please of a second team that knows it (i.e., not Pixar), are all very familiar. What this most looks like is an anti-depressant spot, an effect redoubled by the use of advertising's favorite band the Polyphonic Spree as the soundtrack.
There is a moment of high comedy in the classic British gangster movie Get Carter when would-be tough guy Cliff Brumby returns home from a night out to find his teenage daughter having a wild party for her friends. It is during all the running around and trying to throw the kids out that a real tough guy, Michael Caine's Jack Carter, shows up for a little chat. The mood changes swiftly. Project X is the latest version of the kids' party that goes wrong while the parents are away, but this time with an entirely modern Girls Gone Wild meets reality TV aesthetic. If you have any adult hair on your body at all, this should hold no appeal whatsoever. Even if you don't, sometimes it's OK to be too cool for this crap.
Robert De Niro and Paul Dano, the kid from There Will Be Blood, are an estranged father and son. They are both writers (tortured writers, of course, this is a movie), and the conceit appears to be how they each tell the story of how they meet up after Dad becomes homeless. Good on De Niro for attempting an acting role after all these years of gurning for checks, but about halfway through, this trailer for Being Flynn becomes a tad overwrought, with searing strings, choppy close-ups of shouting faces and an awful lot of De Niro's shirtless torso. The multi-millionaire lifestyle is evidently an ideal way to emulate the toned physique of a homeless bum.
Those of you in the creative industries who are within walking distance of the Quad NYC should check out Art Is … The Permanent Revolution. Etchers, lithographers and woodcutters demonstrate their exquisite craft in brilliant works of social commentary that overtly recall Goya, Dix and Picasso. These are people who are passionate about using their gifts to campaign against the world's social injustices. And hey, speaking of campaigns, you might pick up some tips for your next one.
Carice Van Houten (the nearest thing to a female European superstar goddess not subsumed by Hollywood, until she took a part in Game of Thrones, for pity's sake) stars in Black Butterflies, evidently a lush and dreamy account of the brief, tragic life of South African poet and Mandiba favorite Ingrid Jonker. Set in '60s South Africa, this is a white people's anti-apartheid story mostly focusing on bottom lips and spectacular Chekhovian seascapes. Rutger Hauer completists may also be drawn to it.
Anyone hanging around for a Maori coming-of-age comedy is in for a treat, since Boy looks to be a genuinely uplifting delight. It's 1984, Musical Youth is on the soundtrack, and in some dustblown corner of New Zealand, a young kid obsessed with Michael Jackson awaits the return of his father, who is "overseas doing some pretty important stuff"—or as his schoolmate notes, "in jail." Father and son reunite, and merry adventures and coming-of-age essentials appear to ensue. The film's been kicking around since 2010 but was the highest grossing NZ film of all time, and is long overdue for a big-screen outing here.
Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie has one of those trailers that makes you ask questions, the first of which is: Tim and Eric? The suggestion here is that they are a couple of wannabe comedy guys with a bunch of famous friends prepared to cameo to help their movie career. These friends include Zach Galifianakis, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, Jeff Goldblum, the immortal Ray Wise and even Robert Loggia, apparently reprising his Mr. Eddy persona from Lost Highway. As is so often the case with trailers for comedies, there is not a single funny moment in its duration ("Chef" Goldblum is as good as it gets). But can all those big stars be wrong? That's the last question after the one about bears and woods.
Back in the '80s, film critics used to dream of a Hollywood that would take the deranged acrobatics and pyrotechnics of Hong Kong cinema and incorporate them into genre action flicks. In the early '90s, the dream came John Woo true, but somehow Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hard Target wasn't quite the ticket. As the years passed, Tsiu Hark had a go with Double Team (also featuring the Muscles from Brussels, alongside historical oddity Dennis Rodman), but really nothing ever met the gold standard of Woo's The Killers. Much of that had to do with the supernatural charisma emanating from the flat features of Chow Yun Fat. You could stick Chow Yun Fat in something that looks like a mindless spaghetti western parody dense with moronically infantile jokes and relentless blood-letting and still he would still give it unwarranted class. It might even be the highest grossing film in China. With Let the Bullets Fly, someone did exactly that, at least according to this trailer.