Anna and the Apocalypse – The Scottish Teenage Zombie High School Musical We’ve Been Waiting For…?

anna

If the above description of forthcoming movie, Anna and the Apocalypse (a Scottish, teenage zombie, high school musical for those who can’t remember anything above the header photo), doesn’t grab your attention as much as it does mine, then you’re probably reading the wrong blog. Oh, it’s also set at Christmas, but at this time I can’t confirm the involvement of either Tim Burton or Shane Black.

The film is directed by John McPhail, and stars Ella Hunt, Mark Benton, Paul Kaye and includes up-and-comers Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins and Marli Siu.

Beyond its screening at this week’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, release details seem a little sketchy, but frankly the sooner this apocalypse is released upon the world the better.

Advertisements

Ingrid Goes West – “Comically Malicious” Tale of Instagram

ingrid-goes-west1

As someone who spends way more time than is probably healthy posting photos of my vinyl record collection on Instagram, brand new film Ingrid Goes West is something that’s just cropped up on my radar thanks to the good folk at Birth.Movies.Death.

Starring the always wonderful Aubrey Plaza and the increasingly interesting Elizabeth Olsen, the synopsis sounds delicious:

“Following the death of her mother and a series of self-inflicted setbacks, young Ingrid Thorburn escapes a humdrum existence by moving out West to befriend her Instagram obsession, a Los Angeles socialite named Taylor Sloane. After a quick bond is forged between these unlikeliest of buddies, the facade begins to crack in both women’s lives — with comically malicious results.”

Frankly, they had me at Aubrey Plaza, but “comically malicious” pushes pretty much all my buttons and the trailer promises a whole lot of dark, squirmy fun which might make you (or even me) swear off Instagram for life. Or at least until I post that photo of my primo new 1976 pressing of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon…

Daniel Radcliffe Is The Only Stiff Thing About Swiss Army Man

swissarmy

What if I were to tell you that the most heartwarming, life affirming movie of the year involves the farting corpse of Harry Potter showing Paul Dano the meaning of friendship and love? I should mention that it also verges on being a musical.

If that seems unlikely, then the opening of the film, written and directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, will do little to persuade you. Dano, marooned and hysterically lonely on a tiny desert island, is attempting to commit suicide before being saved by the appearance of Daniel Radcliffe’s flatulent corpse washing up on the beach.

What follows next is a journey, both geographically (although that might be part of a grander delusion) and emotionally, of these two lost souls, who gradually connect with each other and, in that bond, reconnect with the world they left behind.

Dano is charming, desperate and possibly off his rocker, but he makes being delusional seem like a highly likable trait (for most of the running time, at least), while Radcliffe further proves his post-Potter career as being of increasing interest. His corpse is, paradoxically, full of life, showing constant curiosity at the strange new/old world that’s trying to come back into focus around him. Despite the constant farting, he is as likable as his co-star, and their utterly charming relationship is a joy to behold even as it flirts with homo-erotic necrophilia. How many films can you say that about!?

It’s all as strange as it sounds, but the quirkiness is held together by a strong emotional core, never quite tipping over into careless whimsy (though a large chunk of the final act veers dangerously close). This is a film full of beautiful and fragile moments, while at the same being chock full of farts and erections. It’s a bold and beguiling mix and the music score and songs, by Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Robert McDowell are magnificently uplifting, adding yet another wondrous layer to this strange confection.

If you’re not put off by the bizarre description you’re likely to be rewarded with a disarming buddy movie quite unlike any other, one that will make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings. It will linger in your mind long after the final hilarious sequence which somehow manages to turn flatulence into something quite emotional.

And if all that doesn’t convince you, where else can you spend so much time focusing on a dead Harry Potter’s rampant erection!? Trust me, there’s nothing stiff about this film (apart from Daniel Radcliffe).

No Bullshit, The Greasy Strangler Is Warped But Brilliant!

the-greasy-strangler

Big Ronnie is a grinning grotesquerie who wanders around in a series of bizarre outfits, frequently with his nasty-looking penis dangling halfway to his knees. When he isn’t dragging his poor emotionally stunted, needy son, Big Brayden, around to present a tourist trap disco tour of derelict locations, Ronnie covers himself in layers of thick grease and violently murders anyone who crosses him. Or even poor, hapless souls who don’t cross him. Ronnie is not exactly picky when it comes to strangulation.

Underneath the unwashed y-fronts, (literally) in your face fart gags and dangling penises there beats a curiously affecting, albeit diseased, heart. The murder plot eventually gives way to the story of a father and son finding each other after years of emotional abuse, before tailing off into a deep end of… well, actually, I’m not sure exactly what happens at the end. There might be a point to it all, but I’m not sure it actually matters if there isn’t. At the very least you’re sure to come away from a viewing wanting to sing and dance to the line “Hootie Tootie, Disco Cutie!” As cinematic gifts go, that’s pretty decent.

There’s nothing remotely real-world about Jim Hoskings’ film, and yet it’s not difficult to imagine these characters existing on the fringe of society, too out there even to be featured on reality TV shows and living on the same block as Pink Flamingos’ Egg Man and Connie & Raymond Marbles, or even Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth in a lighter mood.

Imagine a film that has some of the oddball feel of a Napoleon Dynamite sequel as made by John Waters, featuring a synth-driven electro pop score, with lashings of sex, gore and greasy murders, and you’ll get a good feel for what you’re letting yourself in for. There are moments of such out and out goofiness (Ronnie’s spotlit, street disco solo – all wild hair, gangly legs and dangly cock – being a prime example) that you can’t help but warm to the strangeness being thrust in your face.

The three leads (Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo) give fearlessly physical, genuinely off-kilter performances, putting Jared Leto’s pissant Suicide Squad Joker to shame with what they dare to do for the camera, and still manage to make their characters just a little more than cartoons, giving their three way love triangle more heart than the constant anal fingering might suggest. But don’t worry if you think it’s all going to get too touchy-feely… there’ll soon be a phone sex scene of junior furiously fiddling with his infintesimal cock while mouthing sweet nothings to his amore, such as “Imagine me stroking your clitoris with a pink feather and then you cradle my sack.” This might be the film that the acronym WTF was made for.

The Greasy Strangler is, as they say, not a film for everyone. But it is one of the more bizarre and frequently laugh out loud funny films I’ve seen in a long time. It also has the best and most disgusting prosthetic movie wang since Mark Wahlberg’s Boogie Nights dazzler. So you know you’re getting bang for your buck.