Published on October 3rd, 2015 | by SgtKaiju0
Cult Of Consume – Vol X
Greetings and welcome to my little dark corner of Need To Consume, THE CULT OF CONSUME. This is where we look beyond the frontline of film, deep into the DVD racks, into the VOD void and around the back into the alleyway of re-releases. This isn’t the place for your blockbuster drudgery. I’m going to be bringing you hidden gems of the cult world, lost classics and certainly some films that have been forgotten for good reason.
There will be zombies. There will death. There will be terrible acting and set that move when touched. There will be nudity, violence, aliens, gods, gangsters, madmen and femme fatales. Come with me…
Hard To Be A God
What can I say about Hard To Be A God? Picture an alternate dimension, where the renaissance never happened, picture a team of scientists from our world going to the planet to study it, picture one of those scienctists setting himself up as a God whilst an intellectual purge happens around him. And then film it a style that makes Chien Andalou look narratively driven and Slacker look structured, overdub all the dialogue and release in sumptuous B&W. But don’t let any of this make you think I didn’t like the film, this film drew me and held me for it’s entire 3hr runtime. It’s Koyaanisqatsi-like nature is enthralling. A must see for any student of cinema, or anyone wanting something beyond usual Hero’s Journey of western cinema.
The New Girlfriend
The New Girlfriend is a film that does some work to defy categorization, at times a Hitchcockian tale of deceit and uneasy and at others, a light french comedy. It tells the story of Claire, a french woman grieving her recently deceased best friend, who discovers that her friends husband has a side-life in cross-dressing. In non-french hands this premise could easily been the basis for Sandler-esque crassness, but here it is handled with a minimalist and light touch, as they descend deeper into this rabbit hole. The majority of the heavy lifting is done by Anaïs Demoustier as Claire and Romain Duris as the widower, but with excellent support from Raphaël Personnaz as Claire’s husband, all excellently directed by the talented François Ozon.
Grace Of My Heart
Somewhat of an oddity in this months list, Grace Of My Heart is a vague heart-warming story of a Carole King-inspired singer-songwriter, charting the music industry from the 50s through to the 70s. There’s not even a grisly murder or a zombie!
Illeana Douglas takes centre stage as the lead, bringing with her an element of grace and charisma, carrying the film amidst some dodgy acting and even dodgier hairpieces (I’m looking at you John Turturro). Ultimately the film lives or dies by her performance, and she succeeds admirably. This film is very much outside of my normal wheelhouse of films, but I was carried along with this to the end.
A rare treat on Cult Of Consume, a good film you can watch with your mum.
Another year, another splurge of Brit-gangster films, telling the story of the good ‘un who just gets pulled into crime to help their dear ol’ mum. Bollocks to them.
Anti-Social is attempting to make a fresh and relevant take on a old story, with the main character being a wannabe-Banksy reluctantly pulled into the growing gang-war surrounding his older brother, the jewel thief. But at this point, I’m just at the point of gangland fatigue. I simply don’t care about any of these characters (including the disappointingly under-used and over-talented Meghan Markle) and actively want most of them to fail. Add on top some of the least convincing graffitti and robbery scenes ever put to screen, this is one to avoid if at all possible. Or watch it if you’re a Suits fan and want more Meghan in your life.
North vs South
Or just forget everything I just said about Brit Gangster films. This one is actually pretty good. Within a given value of ‘good’.
Pitched as a gangland retelling of Romeo and Juliet, North vs South is an odd beast, sitting somewhere between two camps and never really coming into it’s own in either. In on half we have the traditional gangster story of killings and hardmen doing hardman things and in the other, the tender but forbidden love story. The latter does feel kind of wedged in-between the former and is reminiscent of Awaydays in it’s bait-and-switch on the genre fans, but fails to have the courage of it’s convictions, slipping too easily into tropes and an overly comical bad-guy in Brad Moore.
That being said, there are some great performances here, especially Bernard Hill and Steven Berkoff as the battling gang heads, and Dr Who alumni Freema Agyeman as a northern captain. If you fancy a bit of a Brit Crime, I’d recommend this over other films out there.
Behold, the might and the madness of the Chinese Army!
The tale of an army solider, promoted the super-elite Wolf Warrior squad after disobeying orders to save a hostage, Wolf Warrior is an scatter-shot film, swinging from the comedy hi-jinks of kung-fu films to the gung-ho machismo and gun porn usually reserved for American propaganda films like American Sniper.
Wu Jing and Scott Adkins are strong and charismatic leads for this film, but are so often over-shadowed by the cavalcade of military hardware on display, a filmic love note to anything in camo that can kill foreigners. We would reject his kind of film about our troops as mindless xenophobic propaganda and I urge you to do the same.
But damn, those tanks are pretty….
In the fullness of time, I can see The Passage appearing on film studies courses all over the world. I mean, why bother having a text book when one film can contain all the tropes there ever were?
A group of disparate friends get involved in the urban legend of a a cyclist killed on a highway. Whilst at the same time their roommate is haunted by visions and hallucinations of a long dead girl. Slowly but surely they are put on a collision course, via a lot of death and some shaky-cam flashbacks. There is some good suspense in places but ultimately it is let down by a confused sense of space and time, leaving the audience just as confused.
Essentially, you have seen this film a thousand times already and will probably see it at thousand times again. Grab it if you need a filler movie for a Halloween night in, but don;t hold much expectations.
The Tribe is exactly the sort of film I hope to find each month, something new and unusual and exciting.
Told entirely in sign language with no subtitles, interstitials or soundtrack, The Tribe could have become as impenetrable as Hard To Be A God but never loses it’s path. You are brought into the story by the performances, caught up in their world, body language and expression taking you to the point you feel you can even understand the sign language.
But let us talk of the film itself. A new student transfers to a crumbling School for the Deaf to discover it is run by a series of gangs, running businesses from selling toys to pimping girls at truck stops. Soon he is pulled into their world, all played out in total silence punctuated with grunts, hisses and the squeak of shoes on the floor.
A cinematic experience unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Go see it.
What can said about Videodrome that hasn’t already been said? It is a classic, a bona fide cinematic classic.
James Woods plays a TV executive slowly drawn into the sadomasochistic and psycho-sexual world of Videodrome, a bizarre and violent pirated TV show of torture and death. As he sinks deeper into this world, he slowly loses his grip on reality, the world around him warping and coming to life, literally pulling him deeper into the static of the television.
Despite the years that have passed since it’s release, the film is only more relevant than ever, it’s narratives and ideas easily applied to the internet, smartphone or the emerging VR. It’s power to shock and to excite remain and the treatment from Arrow Films is nothing short of absolute, with extras aplenty and a pin-sharp transfer.
This is the defining collection of a modern classic.
We’ve all been there. You rush for the last train, just making it, settling down for the long ride amongst all the oddballs on the train and before you know it, you’re fighting off Werewolves as the train breaks down…
In the rich tradition of the British Horror Film, Howl brings a fun and scary experience. Very much in the style of the excellent Dog Soldiers, it more than holds it own. Our lead is Joe, the put-upon train guard who is forced to deal with the horrors of the night on top of the usual horrors of the British rail system. Ed Speleers does sterling work in this role, aptly supported by many TV alumni as the other passengers.
In amongst the copycat films that often plague the monster movie genre, Howl is a breath of fresh air. Make time for it.
You’ve seen the photo of Connery in the red outfit, now see the film.
A film like Zardoz could only have been made in the 70s. The strange mix of post-apocalyptic imagery, strident preaching and even odder costumes could only have come from that decade. Conenry plays a ‘Brutal’, a supposed lower-lifeform used by ‘Eternals’ for hunting and farming, whilst the Eternals live an immortal but bored life in The Vortex. Connery sneaks his way into The Vortex and upsets the apple cart of their lives.
Zardoz could have been so good, and yet it remains frustrating bad. It has some interesting ideas, especially in the analogues it is attempting to tell in The Vortex, but is let down by simply being too dull. After about 45min, you just simply stop caring. the 70s finally ate itself.
A ‘Video Nasty’ that truly deserves the name…
Eaten Alive is a violent, depraved film set in deep southern America, with a mentally disturbed hotel proprietor offing all his guests with a series of grisly farm equipment before feeding them to his pet crocodile. Notable due to it’s nature as the film Tobe Hooper made just after his seminal Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eaten Alive lacks the x-factor of that film but still brings plenty to the table.
Visually stunning, with great use of colour throughout, it does suffer from a baggy plot in places, but I can’t recommend it enough as a good slasher film for Halloween!