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Dave Pace looks at a new slate of short, indie terror.
BLACKBAGS: THE MOVIE
I caught this little piece of business, BLACKBAGS: THE MOVIE from local Hamilton
Ontario filmmaker Luke Meneok, during the Horror in the Hammer Fright Nights, as one of several indie shorts before classic splatterpunk opus
What can I say? BLACKBAGS is pure punk rock moviemaking.
It's fast, cheap and out of control.
Dirty, black and white frames are full of surreal characters that
somehow manage to convincingly inhabit the world of the film. Line delivery is
typically a staccatto growling kind of sound that is all rumbling and rambling,
and oddly entertaining.
What it's all about seems far less important than how it all
appears and what is happening in the moment on the screen. The film uses music
to great effect here, employing both metal and hip hop to enhance the
cityscapes and give us this street-level feel of the movie. Combined with this
crazy zoom that just makes the screen pulse and vibrate with chaotic life and
the whole thing is a bit of an assault on the senses; a fun one, at that.
I'd summarize the plot but there isn't a story here so much
as there is a vibe. Meneok creates this slightly skewed universe just just a
little bit off from our own—this kind of bizarro world—and it’s captivating. It’s
also quite grim, as it permits a pair of savage masked lunatics to apparently
live fairly openly as savage masked lunatics.
I have no idea where you can see BLACKBAGS: THE MOVIE at
this point, but should you have the opportunity, go for it. It's like taking in
Side A of a really good punk record. This is a movie that will stop you in an
alley and shank you with a beer bottle if you mess with it.
THE COLLECTIVE: VOLUME IV
together an anthology of short films is all about curator. We need a good DJ
who will sort through all the stuff out there and pull together a set which
will satisfy the crowd and take us places we haven't been before. That's really
the key to it, sorting the wheat from the chaff so that audiences don't have to
do the heavy lifting themselves. This is the how you measure a collection like
this. How much wheat made it in the hopper?
COLLECTIVE VOLUME IV is an anthology of ten short films by ten filmmakers built
around the themes of various emotions, and released by JABB Pictures on DVD.
These are micro-budget films made for the love of the art, made because the
filmmakers had a drive to create. Regular readers will know very well I'm a
huge supporter of these films and I'm a total advocate for the growth of
independent filmmaking and the need for the low-budget B movie. That's where we
can do things and explore ideas the A pictures never could. That's where
artists cut their teeth and learn the craft. Naturally, I was really excited to
see these films and enjoy the singular pleasures the indies give me.
watching the whole collection front to back, I’ve ultimately come back to the
notion of curation being the benchmark of success. Of the ten films on display,
there were a few compelling stand outs (REGRET/CONTRITION, FEAR), a few which
rose above their flaws in execution with really cool ideas (SCHADENFREUDE,
TRUST, DENIAL) and one that captivated me in spite of its flaws (HATE). Then,
unfortunately there were some that really failed, didn't illustrate the emotion
they were intended to, didn't really bring any creativity to the table and
ultimately probably should not have made the cut (GRIEF, LUST, ENVY, RAGE).
a whole, THE COLLECTIVE VOLUME IV is an intriguing mix brought down at times by
lapses in curation. You aren't necessarily going to like every song on a mixed
tape, and so the same thing follows here. However, it's not about subjective
tastes in some cases. It's about competent filmmaking and respecting the art
you are learning. So, provided you can go into this knowing there are these
missteps and letting them go, you will be treated to some truly great little
films that bring ideas and stories to us that never otherwise would have made
it. That's something we need to get behind.
encourage JABB to get to work producing THE COLLECTIVE VOLUME V. In fact, I
highly anticipate it, but I hope they’ll have the courage to say no and to cut
things that don't work.
more, including the DVD itself, head to JABB Pictures and keep an eye out for
individual reviews of the shorts included, soon.
Bloody Blogs -
Long Live the New Flesh
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