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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

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Critique is so limiting and emotionally draining.
I’ve always wanted to do something long-form, beyond opinion.
Dip my toe into an exploration of origin and essence.
A metamorphosis of spirit into reality.
I’ve… I’ve never had the vehicle until now.

Regularly I’m asked to watch a low-budget film and to give my opinion about it. And once in a while, I’ll accept such a favor. But when someone asks me, to watch a horror movie every month, and then report on it, I can hardly refuse it. It’s a win-win situation. I’m simply a mega fan of horror. And the one who asked me to do it is someone terrified to watch a horror movie. And when asked which horror I should watch this month, I got the answer “Velvet Buzzsaw“. Well, time to carry out this task so they won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Horror? Get out of here.

I can already reassure the person who asked me the question. “Velvet Buzzsaw” is far from frightening or creepy. The number of jump scares is frighteningly low. I’ve only discovered one. And that was only because a cat suddenly jumped into the picture. So, I think the horror label is a bit misplaced. The most creepy aspect of this film is how supercilious, pedantic and arrogant art connoisseurs and artists in the world of modern art are. What frightened me the most, was the realization that it might actually be that way in real life. And the further in the story, the more ridiculous it all gets. The film became funnier instead of creepier.

 

 

Is Gyllenhaal in it? Bring it on!

Initially, I was very excited to see this film. And all because of the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal (as art critic Morf Vandewalt) and John Malkovich (as the inspiration-seeking artist Piers) play a role in it. Two top actors who each have their own unique way of acting. If there’s something I enjoyed the most in this film, it’s the acting of Gyllenhaal. A respected, but also feared, art critic. He struggles not only with his sexual orientation but also with the question of whether he still has the ability to judge and criticize art. He succeeds in convincingly putting up a picture of this closed world, full of people who are convinced that they have incomparable knowledge of art. An image of these art-loving people as I’ve always imagined them to be.

 

 

It’s just a pretentious bubble.

Just like Gyllenhaal here, those artificial individuals speak in such terms that you actually have no idea what they are talking about. It seems as if Gyllenhaal’s dialogues are just a combination of pseudo-intellectual terms. In normal human language: he shakes countless intellectual sounding quotes out of his sleeve which are meaningless at the same time. Morf is someone who has an opinion about color, shape, and correlation with the environment for each object he sees. Whether it is about a randomly placed chair in a hotel room or the clothing of an employee. Even the color of a coffin gives him reason to criticize. And this shallow attitude also applies to gallery owner Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), artist Piers (John Malkovich), employee Gretchen (Toni Collette), art connoisseur Jon Dondon (Tom Sturridge) and every average gallery visitor. All of them pretentious and weighty characters who, if you study them further, are uninteresting and not sympathetic people. The scene in which Jon Dondon sees a stack of garbage bags and thinks it’s a work of art, is a clear proof that the world of modern art is no more than a bubble.

 

Making a profit kills.

It is only when Josephina (Zowe Ashton) discovers that her upstairs neighbor was an obscure artist, who tried to destroy his works of art because he thought it’s possessed by a supernatural force, the mood gets morbid. The deceased artist Vetril Dease appears to have experienced a disturbing past where there was physical abuse, murder, torture and shocking experiments in a psychiatric institution. All this is reflected in his controversial paintings that arouse emotions with those who admire it. And the people who want to make a profit from it, are confronted with the murderous aspect of Vetril’s artworks. Is it because of a demonic nature? Or is it just coincidence?

 

There’s more to find on Netflix.

No, “Velvet Buzzsaw” is certainly not horror. It’s a successful parody of the art world. A world where the emphasis is not on the artistic level or creativity, but more on investment value and profit margins. Artists deliver tons of artworks in order to obtain a well-stocked catalog. In the past, these works of art were exhibited in crowded galleries. They now disappear into anonymity after being included in the private collection of wealthy art collectors. As Rhodora puts it: “So much easier to talk about money than art“. However, do not expect frightening or creepy situations. The film immediately reminded me of “Deep Dark“. Not directly comparable. But it’s also a film about absurd artworks and might give you the shivers. “Velvet Buzzsaw” can be seen on Netflix. But believe me. There are other Netflix products that are much better.

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

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Finally Official – ‘Matrix 4’ Is On The Way With Original Cast

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“Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker”

This time it’s for real! This is not a drill “Matrix” fans. Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich has confirmed, the computer generated world of ‘The Matrix’ will be returning to the big screen. The original cast will be reprising their roles, while Lana Wachowski will be sharing co-writing duties with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell. Lana will also be directing the future installment, with no word as of yet if her sister Lilly Wachowski will sign on. But chances are, that may change once things get further underway. Toby Emmerich released an official statement on the project, here’s what he had to say:

“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana. Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker, and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”

Though Plot details haven’t been worked out. Lana Wachowski shed some light as to the direction we can expect:

“Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”

Keanu Reeves is set to return as Neo with Carrie-Anne Moss reprising her role as the infamous computer hacker, Trinity. How this will all work has yet to be revealed, considering both characters met their demise at the end of the current trilogy. There’s is also no word yet on whether  Laurence Fishbourne will return as the rebellion  leader, Morpheus.

Production is set to begin 2020

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Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Brightburn – This Superhero Parody Peppered With SF And Horror Elements Is Simply Sublime

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Take.. The.. World.
Take the world.

Superhero-movie-haters unite. Run to a nearby movie theater to see this movie. Because “Brightburn” is the ultimate anti-superhero-film of all time. The moment I realized which direction it was going, I cursed myself because after seeing “Avengers: Endgame” I’d decided to have a little sabbatical. I was going to avoid movies with characters in tightly fitting latex suits and superhuman powers. But as it became clear that it wasn’t what I expected, my enthusiasm grew all the more. My enthusiasm for films such as “Deadpool” and “Ant-Man” (because of a touch of whimsy and the originality) was effortlessly overtaken by this highly original anti-superhero film. And if one also mixes the superhero genre (of which they are continuously producing sequels and prequels) with my all-time favorite genre horror, it simply can’t go wrong. I am indeed enthusiastic, yes. Extremely enthusiastic!

 

Brightburn

 

Is it a plane? A bird? Is it Superman? Uh, nope.

It all starts as a sort of Superman parody or reboot (another favorite Hollywood term these days). Here too, we meet a young couple who have been trying to have a child for years. Even spicy lingerie doesn’t do wonders because farmer Kyle Bryer (David Denman) (and yes, the location is again a big farm) is rather clumsy, which means that his watch always gets stuck in his wife’s hair. BANG! Before they realize it, some object out of space crashes nearby. Right in their back yard. And as if it’s the most normal thing, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) finds an innocent, sweet little guy in this comet or spacecraft. They adopt him instantly and call him Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). All peace and light, you think. Until the boy realizes that something is wrong. Especially when he tries to start the lawnmower and suddenly the thing ends up at the neighbors. A few meadows further.

 

Brightburn

 

An evil superhero with an attitude.

With the well-known figure Superman, the parents didn’t waste any time and told young Superman to keep his growing powers under control and only use it to help humans. In the 70s this fact was acceptable. But after the trillionth superhero movie, that concept really starts to sound boring. And that’s where “Brightburn” starts to deviate substantially. As soon as it seems as if puberty hits Brandon, and no it’s not about hair growth and other side-effects, and he wanders around the farm at night looking for something that seems to call him, it becomes clear that a constructive parent-child conversation is not really useful. When Brandon feels disadvantaged, it’s best to stay away from him. The consequences of a tantrum can be disastrous. You could end up flying into a closet or have a crushed hand as a result. So they are stuck with a teenage son with issues who has superpowers. A “Dennis the Menace” with an attitude. You don’t have to be smart to know what’s going to happen next.

 

Brightburn

 

Not really horror.

Let’s talk about the horror part. For those who are only used to super-hero films, it will be a shock. For a seasoned horror fanatic, it’s all just ordinary. It’s not terrifying or too bloody. There are some excellent gore effects in it, though. I personally found it simply exciting at certain moments. Exciting as in how the story will continue and end. And they even tried to tackle that part in an original and quirky way. The majority of blockbusters always have such a predictable outcome. In a western, the bad guys always eat dust in the end. A romcom has a happy ending in most cases. And even superheroes on the verge of despair will eventually prevail (such as The Avengers, for example). If you expect this to happen here as well, you’re absolutely wrong. But there’s one thing I’m sure of. The marketing department of Marvel already smells money. I bet they are planning a sequel already with The Avengers trying to beat the unstoppable Brandon.

 

Brightburn

 

Excellent acting.

About the acting, I can be brief and concise. Simply excellent. Especially the mother and son bonding was worked out and portrayed in a proper way. The desperation and motherly love that Elizabeth Banks radiates is simply wonderful to see. And even though Brandon seems incomparably innocent at times, the moment his evil ego pops up, he can conjure up a frightening and impressive facial expression. It’s just a shame he didn’t focus his anger on the annoying class bully as well.

 

Brightburn

 

I repeat it once more: a brilliant film.

Brightburn” definitely will end up in my top list this year. The only downside was the duration. Far too short of course. But otherwise, this superhero parody, peppered with SF and horror elements, is simply sublime. The fact this film has a go-against-the-rules attitude and the idea of a superhero who doesn’t care about humanity is a pleasant and refreshing change compared to the commercial one-size-fits-all releases nowadays. Just something as simple as Brandon’s costume. Has anyone ever wondered who actually made the Spiderman suit? Or did Peter Park have a Sewing and knitting diploma? Brandon uses a piece of woolen textile and a bedspread as equipment. Ingenious anyway. As brilliant as the film itself. I keep repeating it. It is hoped that it will stay with this unique film and that they won’t come up with a miserable number of sequels.

 

My rating 9/10
Links: IMDB

 

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