Bill Finger’s creation The Joker has remained one of the most fascinating figures in all of pop culture and comic books medium. Every new generation finds an angle upon which to examine the Joker and how he’s so much more than a simple Batman villain. It has fascinated artists for decades how someone can sink so far in to the murky depths of madness that they can’t even see the light anymore. Christopher Nolan set a high bar that director Todd Phillips almost touches with the ugly, grotesque, depressing and yet quite fantastic “Joker.”
I have to say that I liked “The Dead Don’t Die.” It feels a lot like Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” doesn’t just seem to feel like his effort to give his own spin to the sub-genre, but it also feels like the proving ground for the man to be as bizarre and often stupid as he possibly can. With “The Dead Don’t Die” it’s a bit of an experimental and bizarre zombie comedy that has absolutely no breaks on. It throws everything at the wall to see what sticks, from terrible breaking of the fourth wall, clunky symbolism (chairs that look like tombstones! Hah! Get it?), sub-plots that go nowhere, and space ships.
Director Carolina Hellsgård wears her heart on her sleeve with “Ever After,” a movie that’s mired in the influence of femininity and women and offers up a lot of metaphysical ideas about mother Earth, nature, and our state of being. Although “Ever After” has been marketed as a zombie movie, the zombie element is mostly a background dressing for something more meditative and complex. While I adapted to what screenwriter Olivia Vieweg was leading us in to after the first half hour, “Ever After” still manages to be a mixed bag and doesn’t quite re-invent the wheel.
Director Annie Deniel’s “Steampunk Connection” will likely be admired in the same vein as “Trekkies,” in that it examines a strong fan movement that allows people to connect through a broad scope of science fiction. It’s also been integrated in to their everyday lives and for many of them, the art form of Steampunk has allowed them to grow as people, and realize their potential in mediums like mechanics, engineering, and fashion. If there is anything that may push audiences away is that director Deniel digs so deep in to the following that it’s almost too niche for a broader audience.
In the nineties once the indie scene broke out and directors like Steven Soderbergh and Richard Linklater perfected the chatty character piece with young adults, every director came out of the wood work with their own. Some titles like “Clerks” and “Beautiful Girls” became classics while stuff like “Mixed Signals” and “Let It Snow” fell to the wayside– for very good reason. “Summer Night” feels like a screenplay taken from 1995 that was retrofitted for a modern audience. And that’s not entirely a compliment.
For yet another year, Cinema Crazed will be covering the Fantasia International Film Festival, the 23rd edition running from July 11th to August 1st. The festival is famous for featuring some of the most acclaimed and highly anticipated genre films from around the world, and this year is featuring 130 films in its slate. Among them there will be the world premieres of MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT, BLOOD ON HER NAME, STARE, 1BR, THE DEEPER YOU DIG, and HOMEWRECKER; as well there will be events like screenings of classic horror like “The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue” and the rare TV movie “What Ever Happened to Rosemary’s Baby?”
With the site covering Fantasia again, these are five film premiering that we can’t wait to check out.
One of the telling lines of “The Queen” is when show runner Flawless Sabrina explains that the biggest task of organizing the Miss All American Camp Beauty Pageant is finding a hotel that can house all the contestants, and finding a hotel that’s “hip” enough to want to house them. In 1968, being out and yourself was about being as discreet as possible and operating behind closed doors. While “The Queen” is basically a documentary about the cut throat world of Drag pageants, as well as a sobering portrayal of how the LGBTQ community had to function behind closed doors for much of the twentieth century.
This week we have seven stellar short films from around the world including Asia, Hungary, and The Ukraine, as well as one from prolific indie filmmaker Patricia Chica. Some of the shorts featured have competed in Cannes this year, and all deal with some kind of interesting and very widely discussed social theme including LGBTQ Pride Month. Look for these excellent films when you can. If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers