Fragmented Films – From July 09

tim-eric

Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job! Season 2 (Adult Swim/ Madman) is so cheesy, so wrong and so damn surreal in it’s stupidity and wrongness that watching it you begin to question your own sanity. It’s like time stretches out, consumes you and when it spits you out you can no longer trust your senses. Yes that’s right it’s TV LSD. It’s outsider comedy, filled with freaks and weirdos doing weird freaky things that are absolutely nonsensical. But it’s genius nonsense. It’s the kind of work that David Lynch would be doing now if he went for Cheetos and Baconaise instead of transcendental meditation. They’re obsessed with dodgy videotape and crappy visual effects. It’s like public access TV set in a psychiatric hospital letting the inmates do what they want. Both John C Reilly (Magnolia) and Jeff Goldblum appear regularly, even Dave Navarro pops up – but he doesn’t appear to have been let in on the joke.

Bryan Singer’s (X-Men/ The Usual Suspects) little seen debut feature Public Access (Dark Horse/ DV1) is the bastard child of his oeuvre. It’s incredibly stylish, visually assured and the acting in particular is creepy and engaging. Yet there’s a NQR quality that makes it compelling. It’s so open ended, like they trashed half the script, not bothering to connect the logic or expand upon the motivations underlying the characters behaviors. In Hollywood land where everything is over explained as if we’re skittish 9 year olds with learning difficulties, this is refreshing. The key is the manipulations of the impossibly smooth Wiley, who enters a small town and immediately books time on the local cable station. His show stirs up underlying tensions and pits townsfolk against each other in this Blue Velvetesque descent into what lies behind the white picket fences.

Polyester (Reel) is John Waters doing John Waters doing Joseph Sirk, a knowingly hysterical melodramatic soap opera brimming with wrongness and stupidity. All the senses are heightened. Some shouldn’t be, like the screen gimmick Odourama, in which the audience was to scratch and sniff a card everytime the corresponding number appeared on screen. Unfortunately the card doesn’t appear with this DVD, so you can’t enjoy the aromas of fart or dog doodoo in your lounge-room. Waters, who had only recently graduated from making people eat dog feces on camera, supplies many putrid oddly chace moments of outlandish debauchery. He’s obsessed with 50’s suburbia and where Sirk attempted to mine the subversion beneath the perfect veneer, Waters puts the subversion front and centre. Life is terrible for modern transvestite housewife Divine. Her husband is rooting around with his mousy looking secretary, her possibly brain damaged daughter (she never stops dancing) has been knocked up by the local hoodlum, and her glue sniffing son’s foot fetish has him wanted by the police. No wonder she’s an alcoholic. However when she meets the chiseled Todd Tomorrow and embarks on a tempestuous affair things are looking up, yet you know in Waters hands it can’t be that simple. There’s a great directors commentary too.

All you need to do is look at the cover of the Machine Girl (Eastern Eye), to find out everything you need to know – a young hottie in a Sailor Moon outfit splattered with blood who’s left arm is a gattling gun. Replacing body parts with weapons is almost a genre to itself these days, what with Rose McGowan’s machine gun leg in Planet Terror, though the Japanese have been doing it best since Tetsuo. The Machine Girl is another in a long line of shamelessly over the top, impossibly gory, ultra violent and very funny films the Japanese have been churning out recently. We’ve got metal bras that double as drills, amputations, geysers of blood, a touch of necrophilia, and ninja yakuza’s, in what is ultimately a revenge flick, that’s totally outlandish, shocking and proudly gratuitous.

The Savage Innocents (Umbrella) features some of the greatest laughter you will ever see/ hear in a film. Of course laughter is sex in this 1959 foray into the world of the Eskimo from Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause). Whilst Anthony Quinn plays the lead character Inuk and the mix between location and studio footage is a little obvious, this film is a real gem, highlighting the culture clash between the encroaching West and the Eskimos in a sensitive, compelling and slightly kitsch manner.

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