Tuesday, July 29, 2014

sweet dreams.

I don't know what's more disturbing, the subject matter or the artwork.
I'd say enjoy but....

Saturday, July 12, 2014

twat twoo!

Greetings dear reader(s), as is the way of these things that after only a recent return to Arena postings I’ve been inundated with work (what do you mean I don't have a proper job?) meaning that I've not had time to update.

But then along came a movie so delusional and utterly pretentious that I couldn't let it pass unmentioned.

Children I give you....

Lord of Tears (2013).
Dir: Lawrie Brewster.
Cast:  Euan Douglas, Lexy Hulme, Jamie Gordon, the 'Foxy Bingo' fox, David Schofield and Big Bird.

I am the immortal owl
The foul eye of oblivion I am the almighty misanthrope, The rope that tightens with the ticking of the clock. I am the absolute and infinite blackness at the end of the tunnel. I am the inevitable end of all things.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob goo goo goo goo joob.

After his mother dies of extreme arthouse-ism (you know the thing, random shots of eyes, birds, hands and various shrubbery), shockingly ginger school teacher James (expertly played by a confused, steam cleaned testicle) inherits not only a quaint semi in Gourock that would make Homes Under The Hammer's Martin Roberts wet with envy but also a big country house in Baldurrock.

Bizarrely, even tho' his dear old mum has bequeathed it to him, she insists that he never goes to visit it.

The wallpaper can't be that bad surely?

"Even taking into account the dodgy dancing Yank and the twat in the bird hat this house is still worth a tidy sum!"
It appears that as a child, James had a breakdown whilst living there and ultimately tried to drown himself in the swimming pool.

Were his family hiding a case of satanic abuse of Savile proportions?

Chance would be a fine thing.

Anyway our hero (after taking a class of school kids so wooden it's a wonder the poor sod wasn't blinded by splinters) decides to discuss his new found wealth with fellow teacher and best buddy Allen (Foxy, of Foxy Bingo fame, taking a well deserved break from persuading council estate scum from gambling away their benefits before watching Jeremy Kyle) who unfortunately can only nod in agreement and talk about marbles and Action Man in between bouts of drinking whisky due to the fact that he's more worried about his dad dying of cancer than how much his pal will make on the property market.

Which is nice if a little depressing.

"Hello Dad! How's yer cancer?"
Throwing caution (and any hope of linear storytelling) to the wind James heads up to Baldurrock to confront his childhood demons (well, confront a gypsy in a comedy bird mask) and finally make some sense of why his parents abandoned him.

Surprisingly it's not crossed his mind that they too might have found him an annoying shit and wanted rid of him as soon as but there you go.

After the by now obligatory Scottish tourism montage (hills! rain! seagulls! more rain!) cut to an easy listening version of the Wicker Man score (cheers for that screenwriter and composer Sarah Daly) James finally arrives at his family home to be greeted by the mysterious (re: sketchily fleshed out) token Yank Eve (Hulme), a character whose only personality traits appear to be dancing badly at every opportunity no matter how inappropriate and finishing every sentence with an annoying giggle.

Oh yes and to be American to appeal to the overseas market.

Cynical? Moi?

It's grim up north.

And so begins a mystery of such arse clenching tedium as to make A Field in England look like Citizen Kane in comparison as we experience (in what seems like real time) James' descent into extreme nervousness intercut with copious amounts of dreary landscape shots, random footage of insects and our twitchy teaching pal talking into an electric razor for no reason other than at the end of shooting the director realized that there was no way Allen could have known what was going on in the house so they had to add these scenes in so it looked like James was keeping a diary of the events as they unfolded.


As James' stay at the house continues the lines between dreams and reality (as well as those between embarrassment and annoyance) become even more blurred and cliched than the actual plot, with twist and turns so heavy handedly signposted as to make you want to ring up Yellowbrickroad's Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton and beg their forgiveness.

For example as Eve takes a dip in the pool a song with the lyrics about being a ghost plays out over the action and this is even before she reacts badly (in every sense of the word) to having her head dunked underwater, commenting that it's almost like this had happened before but she'd forgotten

If nothing else it disproves the old Harrison Ford adage as it appears that it is possible to type shit and say it.

The mention of talking shit brings us neatly to the films protagonist 'Owl Man' who, unfortunately for us doesn't in fact do whatever an owl can, instead just occasionally appears dressed in what appears to be a collection of Jon Pertwee's cast offs and wearing an approximation of the killers mask from michele soavi's classic Stage Fright.

Albiet one made from memory by a hook handed child.

To make matters worse he doesn't do much  of anything when onscreen apart from stoat about in a manner reminiscent of a drunken uncle at a wedding whilst spouting dialogue so utterly contrived that it's some small mercy that the sound mix is so bassy that you have a hard time making most of it out.

Or maybe that was my brains way of trying to ease the pain.

Frankly I'm not risking watching it again to find out.

The most terrifying thing about the character is that they got stage and screen god  David Schofield to voice it.

I mean his mortgage can't be that expensive surely?

What did the poor guy do?

Fuck Lawrie Brewster's sister?

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
Suffice to say the film builds (very) slowly to it's 'shocking' climax (that yes, has been hinted at throughout) via what seems like a twenty minute tribute to Japanese horror cliches re-enacted by a community centre drama group.

Scarily it appears that the scenes sole inclusion appears to be either in the vain hope that none of the audience have seen Ju-on et al so they'll think this stuff is all new or in an attempt to win us over by going "Look! we're paying homage to your fave films! Like us!"

Unfortunately it just makes you want to go back and watch the originals.

Saying that at this point I'd have been happy to watch a documentary on testicle removal via a rusty tin than anymore of Euan Douglas pulling a myriad of variations of this face:

Andrew Marr, up the casino, Brighton, 1987. YESCH!

Jesus Christ it was like the Groundhog Day equivalent of walking in on your Dad at the point of climax.

And trust me I know from experience.

"Laugh now!"

Readers with long memories (and short nails) will know that I'm all for a wee bit of style over substance occasionally (Amer anyone?) but Lord of Tears stomps about with it's (massive paper mache) head held high in the mistaken belief that it has both in abundance, screaming - well mumbling deeply - "Look at me I'm fantastic!" which if it was even half as clever - or entertaining - as it thought it would probably be OK.

But unfortunately it isn't.

Kudos where it's due tho', their website looks nice and the bonus material you get with the release seems lovely, featuring as it does everything from the soundtrack CD, a flip box with 8 panels of 'Gothic' art, a booklet of Owlman Incantations and a 440 Page book of Owlman stories all hand wrapped in black tissue and feathers but unless you've got a halfway decent film to go with it what's the point?

It's almost as if those responsible had never actually seen a horror movie before (or, gulp even a movie of any kind outside their art class) and just assumed that the audience hadn't either, so decided to dip into a big bag of creepy cliches and throw them at a wall hoping a few would stick.

Either that or their parents have to be a wee bit more honest with them when it comes to opinions on their work.

The biggest disappointment tho' is the fact that underneath all the art school pretence and self indulgent bollocks is a good little Celtic ghost story straining to get out, which is a crying shame as Scotland's history is steeped with myths and legends worthy of the big screen treatment.

So why is it we end up with this and Sawney: Flesh of Man?

Saying that it was retitled Lord Of Darkness for it's overseas release so perhaps in reality it's the 'L' word that's to blame?

Just a thought.

Different shit, same smell.

One disturbing thing did stick with me after the film had finished tho' and that was the fact that although Owl Man is referred to throughout the film as the Bible-based bad boy Moloch, Moloch is more readily described as a massive gold cow.

The owl-headed demon featured in the film is actually a named Andras.

Spot the difference? Lawrie Brewster can't.

Call me pedantic but it helps if you get these things right.

Especially where murderous demons and Aspie reviewers are concerned.

The Wicker Man remake anyone?