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A Strange Color of Modern Horror

A brutal concoction of sound, color, sex and fury, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears has big ambitions and, for the most part, succeeds in bringing those ambitions to the screen. Few horror films in recent memory have been so intricately crafted and even fewer have had such brazen and fearless style. While on more than one occasion the film loses its way and dangerously straddles the line between the avant garde and the pretentious, filmmakers Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani have enough tricks up their sleeves to create both a loving homage to the giallo classics of yore as well as a full blooded horror film with a distinctive style of its own.

 
The nightmarish visuals are tied together with a fairly simple story about a man, Dan (Klaus Tange), searching for his missing wife in the mysterious depths of their strange apartment building. With little to go on other than cryptic rumors from strange neighbors, Dan discovers a secret world of fetish and bloodshed of which his wife is a willing participant. This admittedly bare narrative serves more as a device to express what Cattet and Foranzi describe as a “cinematic orgasm”, an intense collage of specific sound design, erotic images and graphic violence. It is difficult to fully understand what is on display here without seeing it in motion; The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears embraces the obvious influence of giallo masters like Dario Argento but many of the stylistic choices are unique to Cattet, Foranzi and cinematographer Manuel Dacosse. Distorted photography, extreme close-ups, slow motion and a vast color palette all lend to creating a truly surreal visual style that both sells the films deeper themes of fetishism while also working on a simple, professionally polished level.
 
This is not to say that such polish and style come without a price; the precisely crafted approach that is the film’s supreme asset is also its weakness. Some scenes are too buried in frantic editing or loud Italian rock music to make any real impact, even considering the flourishes one expects from such a film. There are no real characters here, only ciphers and while it works for the most part, there is no emotional core to the film. Unlike many typical giallo, there is no focus on a Hitchcockian style mystery and any revelations coming from Dan’s search are pretty obvious from the outset. The viewer’s experience is mostly dependent on a willingness to embrace style over nuance, if not necessarily substance. But…what style it is, and for every misstep, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears recovers with a tense, beautifully orchestrated set piece full of energy. I was able to look passed the many warts but not everyone may be so forgiving.
 
So few horror films these days strive to offer more than the minimum requirements of the genre. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears shows a fearless commitment to play by its own rules while evoking a bygone era; that fact alone makes it impossible not to recommend to horror fans.

DAY OF DREDD

When I first saw the trailer for DREDD, it gave me chills and that’s always proven to be a good sign in predicting that from beginning to end, I will be in admiration and adoration of a film.

DREDD, especially in 3D (some of the best since AVATAR) really blew my mind. Aside from the corny but lovable Stallone 90’s JUDGE DREDD, I really knew nothing about the comics and therefore, little about the lead character and the world he lives in.

Aside from the jaw dropping, beautifully violent and impactful visuals, I was captivated by the ever relevant political and socio-economical topics and themes involved in the script. Karl Urban, Lena Headey and Olivia Thirlby are all fantastic in their lead roles, and the music is just a kick ass score (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V57fj584Oe8) that makes me want to be a Judge…until I remember what a horrific dystopia the future America is they have to govern. But really, it’s a mesmerizing blend of heavy industrial and ethereal melodies that plays wonderfully against the film’s mood and setting.

Despite all the film’s glowing attributes, it was largely overlooked on its theatrical release. It wasn’t until word spread of it’s badassery that people started to take notice and Netflix rentals and bluray sales shot through the roof.

For this reason, us over here at 1931 Productions are taking part in the 2014 DAY OF DREDD today. The purpose is to help promote the film in any way possible in hopes of convincing the Big Execs in Hollywood that there should for sure be a DREDD SEQUEL!

So please, today (and always!) SPREAD THE DREDD! :) You can sign the official petition to make another Dredd film here: http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc

Check out my review of the film for a little further convincing as to why this is an amazing and much needed giant step forward for comic book film and indie cinema alike!

http://moviepilot.com/posts/2014/04/04/dredd-3d-is-america-1316804?lt_source=external,manual

Judge Dredd for President 2016

The Dance of Reality - A Surrealist Salute to Life

The Dance of Reality Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMM5tZOsr3Q

"You and I have only been memories- never reality. Something is dreaming us. Give yourself to the illusion. Live! Everything you are going to be, you already are. What you are looking for, is already within you. Rejoice in your sufferings. Thanks to them, you will reach me."

- ‘The Dance of Reality’, Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Those words spoken from that soothing accented voice, nearly brings me to tears as I hear them. Self affirming sentiments often seen in internet memes today never seem as powerful except when spoken by the artist visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky. Being the director’s first film of 23 years, it is a true testament to the soul sucking, money hunger that is film financing in the current industry as it was and has always been a struggle for Jodorowsky to find funding for his controversial cinematic masterpieces. As one of 1931 Production’s most anticipated films of 2014, THE DANCE OF REALITY (La Danza de la Realidad) left us dazzled, filling our hearts with wonder and joy at this coming of age, politically fired, sexually charged, memorizingly violent, religious doused experience of a story.

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Reminiscent of Tim Burton’s BIG FISH, through wildly fantastical stories Jodorowsky recounts his father’s journey to developing a loving and accepting heart while also semi-autobiographically re-telling the beauty and horrors of his own childhood growing up in a small ocean side town in Chile.

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Although this is his most accessible film, it does not lack the depth and metaphor present in all his other works. It is an absurd poem dedicated to the exploration of both the miracles and sorrows in living, and like Jodorowsky’s tyrant father, life can be simultaneously cruel and giving, making it not an enigma to understand but rather a moment to savor for it is all but an illusion we should give ourselves wholeheartedly to.

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The film, while denouncing God existence, also presents an enchanted world where belief in God does not simply lead to being slave to a particular religious sect, but imagines life where all things are possible through devout Faith and that love is universal and all encompassing. It presents two options through the characterization of his polar opposite parents who share passion in totally separate ideologies. While his father condemns the idea of God, “we die, and then we rot”, his empathetic mother embraces the belief in a power greater than logic. Through her conviction she possesses a mysticism that makes possible the impossible, and poses the choice of believing in a world of imagination, fascination and love, or like his father’s path, choosing the burden of the cynic and to live without compassion. It widdles down religion to something simple, that in a unpredictable world in which our own journey is defined by our individual perceptions, we can choose to either believe in magic or not. It makes me want to believe in the magic of God, because the other option feels so empty in comparison.

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THE DANCE OF REALITY is an exquisitely beautiful portrayal of what it means to live. Jodorowsky melds together time and space as he weaves a dreamscape in which the influential characters of his and his father’s life live on to tell their stories. Like, BIG FISH they all stand at the edge of the water as a symbol of the departure from the life he once knew. He freely embellishes on his memories while presenting the notion that reality is in itself completely subjective to the individual perceiving it. Some may find that his works are too difficult to grasp, but they are more like poetic moving images meant to baptize you with universal truth and meaning in its philosophical symbolism.

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With a family overflowing with talent best known for the Coppolas, Alejandro Jodorowsky utilizes his sons for his films in ways welcomingly  challenging traditional American parental ethics. The use of nudity by not only his actors but his children throughout his films as well present layers of statement about the human body and it’s power through and beyond sexuality. Brontis is a force to behold as he plays his own grandfather in the film, and Adan Jodorowsky has a role as well as creating the hauntingly beautiful score. Axel Jodorowsky plays a Theosophist who introduces young Jodorowsky to the spirit of acceptance and love in religion. Alejandro plays an omnipresent figure of his present self who lovingly nurtures the young and lost Alejandro featured in the film. It is a metaphor for the faith one has in themselves, and speaking as a spiritual guide with a wisdom gained by time and experience, he reassures his past self that all things have meaning and that ultimately it will work out the way the way it should. As he says in HOLY MOUNTAIN, “Now you are an open heart, open to receive your true essence your ultimate perfection. Your new body, which is the universe, the work of god. You will be born again, you will be real. You will be your own father, your own mother, your own child, your own perfection.”

If this film is still playing in theaters near you, I desperately urge you to see it—- to not only support a true artist of our lifetime who has unjustifiably struggled to make important art for humanity, but to give yourself a chance to open your heart and mind to the fantastic.

THE DANCE OF REALITY closes tomorrow at The Regent Theater in Los Angeles!!

https://tickets.landmarktheatres.com/%28S%28x05v13t1ph3tsdrmzstm0fjd%29%29/Ticketing.aspx?ShowDate=6/4/2014&TheatreID=262

If you can’t tell, I absolutely adore his relationship with his lovely looking feline friend.

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"I don’t want to make industrial films to earn money, to make a living. I want to make films to lose money, films that oblige me to search employment in other creations. The cinema to me is sacred. It must be of service to something, to open our consciousness, to unite us to the past, present and future, to save the world. Of course, we cannot change the world, but we can start to change it. Don’t ask me to present my film. All beings are infinite, my film is a being, it speaks for itself. I give you my honesty, my truth, this limited coffin where my infinite soul resides."         — Alejandro Jodorowsky

The Dance of Reality featurette: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/thedanceofreality/

SPIDER-MAN SPIDER-MAN

(Cue Music)

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
I have always
Been a fan.
And I know 
This much is true
I SO love
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 
Oh yeah! Favorite movie Spider- Man

Spidey was perfect,
Action was great
Sinister Six tease 
Made me salivate.
And of course
There is Gwen
That romance
Stop crying Ben
Hell Yes! My favorite Spider-Man!

Please know that 
This film does have flaws
But the highs so swept me up
Inspiring joy and applause!

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Yes Andrew Garfield
THE Spider-Man
I loved the Spideys 
That came before
But this is the one
I’ve been waiting for
So much fun! 
My favorite Spider-Man!

Faith in The Pure Epic

SPOILER ALERT!!!
NOAH is just as spectacular as I hoped- nothing short of Darren Aronofsky’s renowned grande visuals and concepts. At first, I thought the Genesis based opening sequence was maybe a bit too cartoony in its use of CGI, but then the repetition of the images of the snake and Abel’s death by Cain’s hand becomes a powerful motif for Noah’s visions and serves as a reflection for the nature of mankind.

The film is not about “The Creator” nor is Noah’s communications with him the vocal point of the film, but rather this story is about what it is to be a man, and furthermore a human being struggling to be what is considered good in a world where there is no true definition for what that means. Whether this film is “historically accurate” or not is irrelevant to its purpose. It must not be forgotten that this is Aronofsky’s NOAH, not ever meant to be a direct text to film translation of the Bible; however, there is an atheistic approach, implying a lack of realism to the story, embracing the mythic nature of the tale. He tackles long debated topics such as “How did the ark fit every single species,” and, ” How did the animals not eat each other off during that whole time together?” with cleverly constructed details such as the incense used to put the animals into deep sleep which only special herbs can later wake them or Noah’s comment that they have to fit as many species “as they can” in the ark, implying they won’t be able to carry every single one. There are some other nice touches included to back this up, like the armadillo-like dog that is shown to be hunted by men in the beginning, or the animals that Tubal-cain eats during his stay—- none of these creatures survive into today’s world, so clearly Noah was not able to save all wildlife. He also tackles the claims that Noah could not possibly build the ark himself by having the Watchers, fallen angels encased in stone, assist him in the ark’s construction. But regardless of the attempt to appease the classic arguments against plausibility, Aronofsky’s focus is not to make a case for the realism of the story as his version choses to depict a more fantastical rendition that enforces the concept that the stories of the Bible play more like elaborate fables than historical texts to be taken literally. 
As expected, Aronofsky dazzles with beautiful, rich imagery which transports the film onto a level of artistry that is rare in such a profit driven studio climate. It seems at first glance that the movie would have more definitive antagonists, but the film sits heavily in ambiguous waters as although it seems like Tubal-cain would be considered a clear ‘bad guy’ to be defeated, all of his points about humanity are accurate and important. Without the free will of mankind to fight for his freedoms and the desire to build and construct his own destiny by whatever means possible, we as human beings would not have the level of civilization that we have so far achieved. It is inherent in our nature to destroy, but it is also within us to build and progress. It’s a fine line that we walk between what is considered good and evil, and even Noah himself is torn and demented by this lack of moral clarity. In his visions, he sees people drowning in water, and then he sees the ark floating up above, but he is not swimming upwards towards it; it is the animals which rise from the depths of the ocean and he is left sinking to the bottom alongside everyone else— so he is left to interpret that The Creator intends all of man to cease existing, including him and his own.  Although Tubal-cain’s mantra of what is is to be a man is in fact the foundation for our society still to this day, Aronofsky eludes that perhaps this is not the morality in which we should base our lives upon. That man at his core may not be pure, as seen through the first sins of Adam and Eve, and that is is a constant struggle for us to chose the right path, but despite our destructive tendencies, we do have good within us to make the right choices. 
Noah becomes tormented with this struggle as he must try to interpret the wishes of The Creator, and is forced to make seemingly unjust decisions upon not only all of humankind, but his own family as well. Crowe reminds us what a badass he is, and how well he plays crazy as he gives a solid performance showing a man broken down by the weight of the world upon his shoulders. The film shows Noah not as some fearless warrior for God, but a mere man with a family he loves, who is weathered away by a task he is burdened with. It was poignant in the story’s epilogue when they finally find land, and Noah picks fresh grapes for the first time in how long, and then you see that instead of taking in the fruit for the nourishment of his body, he makes wine instead and ends up naked and drunk for his children to find him. Like us all, he is flawed with limitations of his own. 

All in all it is a beautiful movie with some important statements less about religion but more so on mankind and our ability to have faith in things we do not fully understand. The film isn’t perfect, but its magnificence overshadows its imperfections. There are some breathtaking shots throughout and solid acting performances by the entire cast. Aronofsky’s take on Adam and Eve is refreshing as it depicts the two not as the image of man and woman as we know it, but instead as light beings absence of any noticeable gender and it is assumed that they do not inhabit corporeal bodies until after the sin which makes them impure. At times the film can by hard to watch as you see people tear animals apart and eat each other out of desperation, but Aronofsky takes a bold stance by not shying away from the brutality that is part of what makes us human. Not only are his visuals stunning, but in a very “Fitzcarraldo” fashion that Werner Herzog would be proud of, Aronfosky built a real sized ark for the movie, to biblical specifications of the to be exact. NOAH evokes Fitzcarraldo in theme as well as vision, with its images of a man’s divine madness creating an incredible feat of construction. Such amazing accomplishment can only be marveled and admired.
 Hopefully films like this inspire Hollywood to have their own faith in talented directors and enough faith in people that there are audiences who want to see more unrelenting films like this being made. Besides, if you don’t like a noble glowing rock creature voiced by Nick Nolte, then I don’t know what to do for ya. 
Nick Nolte plays himself:

 DAWWWWWWWWWWWW

THE BEST MOVIE YOU’LL NEVER SEE

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Jodorowsky’s DUNE is an exceptional and highly inspirational film for anyone who has an artistic endeavor or passion they want to realize. The level of creativity that spews forth from this man’s mind is almost incomprehensible as he tries to will to life his own adaptation of the novel, DUNE. Despite being said to have a touch of madness to his grand visions, Jodorowsky with his fervor for life is always such a pleasure to watch and listen. His passion for achievement cannot and should not be contained.  

Fascinating how to what levels he sacrifices himself for the sake of creating his vision. A life so encompassed by his own projects to the point where the films and his own life seem to become one— where assembling his cast and crew of “warriors” for DUNE parallels the journey to the planet prophets in his film THE HOLY MOUNTAIN. How cleverly Jodorowsky had to acquire each mega star by using their own personalities and pleasures to lure them into their roles—- Like attaining Dali by outsmarting him into believing he would be the highest paid man in Hollywood, or coaxing Orson Welles into his role by being aware of his gluttonous vices and offering him the chef of hid favorite Parisian restaurant to cook all his meals while working on the film.

Jodorowsky’s DUNE reminds us that aspiration can be man’s greatest tool, even when we fail. As any filmmaker would know, a project regardless of its greatness and preparedness, can still be left collecting dust and forgotten by the studios. The point is not that his project never saw the true light of day, but that despite this seemingly failure, DUNE has still influenced cinema since its conception and continues to even now. A dream can live on and continue to inspire in many forms. What matters is that minds are now open, and filmmakers can continue to dream, even if they must fight constantly to keep that dream alive. As Alejandro would agree: We must have ambition to truly live.

And on a side note, instead of diciplining at our cat next time she’s incessantly yapping, we’ll just gently cradle her in our arms and softly say “Silencio, Silencio” in a loving Jodorowsky style. 

See the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WWu1kclNDA

SEE IT IN A THEATER NEAR YOU!

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