The movie of the week is IDIOCRACY, one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Joe, a perfectly average man and a soldier in the US Army, participates in a cryogenics experiment that goes wrong, resulting in him waking up 500 years in the future. Unfortunately, due to evolution, the average IQ has fallen so low everybody’s now a complete idiot, making Joe the smartest man in the world. The result is hilarious satire on the human condition and present-day society. If you missed this one, check it out now.
I recently enjoyed watching the film A SCANNER DARKLY again. Based on the classic novel by Philip K. Dick, it’s a fantastic adaptation by Richard Linklater–the only adaptation of a PKD book that was actually true to what Dick intended.
In this Dystopian world, one out of five people is hopelessly addicted to a drug that rapidly murders its victims, justifying a police state that eliminates any traces of liberty.
The film deals with powerful themes of mistrust, isolation/alienation, the permeation of death among life, and nothing being what it seems, with strong performances by its cast, interesting use of animation, and good dialog.
I owe a big thanks to everybody who didn’t spoil this for me. On the surface, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS appears to be your typical story about a group of college kids going deep into the country for a party weekend. But it’s so much more. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s satire either, because that’d be easy, and it goes way beyond that level. It’s a brilliant film and a great, very well-written story. Wish I could say more! Just check it out.
As I cover everything apocalyptic at this blog, it was only a matter of time before I got around to reviewing CAFE FLESH (1982). It’s a wild ride. This feature-length New Wave pornographic film is set in a post-apocalyptic world during the ’50s after America and the USSR drop atom bombs on each other. Humanity has survived, but 99% of the population has been rendered impotent–in fact, they get violently ill if they try to have sex.
To prevent extinction, the government set up Cafe Flesh theaters, in which the few who can have sex, the Sex Positives, perform live staged sexual acts to try to stimulate the Sex Negatives into procreation for the good of the Nation (but end up tormenting them instead).
The sex itself is explicit–this is clearly a porn film–but bizarre, mechanical and impersonal, with actors dressed up as rats, giant pencils and so on. The MC of the Cafe Flesh central to our story, Max Melodramatic, sadistically taunts the audience about their need (and, with a wink, those of us watching at home).
The story, meanwhile–yes, there is a plot, and it’s actually interesting–focuses on a Sex Negative couple, Nick and Lana, regulars at Cafe Flesh. Nick keeps trying to make love with Lana, but falls ill each time. Lana, meanwhile, only fakes being ill. Nick doesn’t know it, but she’s actually a Sex Positive faking being a Negative.
If she reveals herself as a Positive, she’ll have to leave Nick to perform, and she loves him too much to let him go. Her sexual desires and frustration are mounting, however, which leads to the haunting climax.
Despite its intriguing elements, as a post-apocalyptic film, CAFE FLESH mostly falls flat, while as a porn film, if that’s your thing, it’s actually kind of boring. Put them together, however, and it strangely works, particularly with the Mitchell Froom soundtrack, marking it as a cult classic.
Check it out if you’re looking for something weird, something different.
I really enjoyed watching CONTAGION, a film about what a bird flu pandemic would look like in the United States. It always amazed me how a single case of a novel virus–patient zero–could potentially infect billions in a matter of months–so much so I wrote a book about it called THE THIN WHITE LINE, published in 2009. This novel, the one book I self published, reads like a history of a pandemic that has already occurred in 2012, and is written after the fact. The product of intense research, it explores all aspects of what a pandemic would look like and how the government would respond to it, focusing on my adopted country of Canada, but with experiences applicable to virtually any country with a modern healthcare system. CONTAGION plays much like my book–light on human drama while being heavy on the shock of seeing something very possible, and incredibly destructive, unfold right in your area, while the tasks of survival slowly infiltrate and come to dominate your daily routines. I loved how the movie respects our intelligence, and treats its viewers like grownups. The result is a very realistic portrayal of how a pandemic might occur. If it did, the world may not end, but it will definitely feel like it. Highly recommended.
In BELLFLOWER, filmed for just $17,000, two friends prepare for the apocalypse by building flamethrowers in their spare time. Then one falls in love, gets hurt, and the film descends into a tit for tat game of violent revenge that feels almost Shakespearean as the Mad Max fantasy becomes a bloody vengeance fantasy. The characters are compelling and the film has a unique feel, but the story might fall flat for some.