13 posts categorized "Surrealism"

October 31, 2023

HOUSE — SHOCKTOBER!

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ColeSmithey.comNobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 surrealistic satire regarding the overwhelming aftermath of America’s atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is a virtuosic fantasy horror movie unlike any other.

Of the atomic bombs’ 200,000 causalities, all of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s childhood friends were among the deceased.

Nobuhiko Obayashi was just eight years old at the time of the attacks. Clearly, he never lost sight of his pals, or his loss. Here, Obayashi throws a cinematic extravaganza party to celebrate the lost potential of a generation.

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Extreme teenage Japanese punk power pop! You bet.

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We’re way beyond “Rocky Horror” baby.

“House” takes the cake, the dining room table, the piano, and most certainly the title’s house of horrors that devours seven teenage girls via a very hungry piano.

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Chomp, chomp, chomp.

“House” shows Obayashi’s encyclopedic mastery of state-of-the-art filmmaking, from a deeply personal approach to meeting the sugary commercial demands of the film’s producers.

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This insanely ambitious movie puts George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to shame with pure inventiveness.

Obayashi received story ideas from his eleven-year-old daughter, Chigumi. A blood-spewing white cat piles on the film’s cartoonish tone of outrageous evil consuming every body that steps in its path.

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Nobuhiko Obayashi uses every filmic technique at his disposal, in order to transmogrify the grief, pain, and sense of incalculable loss that he and so many others experienced. What results is a cinematic phantasmagoria overflowing with humor, expressions of love, and deep-seeded fear of the unknown.

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Visually and viscerally stunning from start to finish, “House” is much more than a mere masterpiece.

Not Rated. 88 mins.

5 Stars THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA ColeSmithey.com
THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
Cozy Cole

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January 26, 2022

FANTASTIC PLANET — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

Welcome!

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

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ColeSmithey.comBeautiful French animated surreal dystopian sci-fi flick will mess you up.

René Laloux's 1973 classic is full of surprises. 

Simplistic animation soars to Salvador Dalí levels of bizarre imagination over a funky jazz score by Alan Goraguer.

Big alien people oppress small human people as if they were on par with gerbils.

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Agitprop storytelling spells out dangers of "conformity and violence" with a biting satiric wit, writ large.

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Trippy baby. Trippy.

Do your own thing.

Not Rated. 72 mins. 

5 StarsModern Cole

Cozy Cole

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December 04, 2011

EL TOPO — CLASSIC FILM PICK

Welcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.ColeSmithey.comThis ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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ColeSmithey.comAlejandro Jodorowsky's 1970 avant-garde showpiece of transgressive cinema revolutionized the commercial landscape of what was possible for an "art film" to achieve.

Jodorowsky's off-kilter use of religious symbols and Western genre motifs, against a visually open palate of a Mexican desert, fit naturally into the era's lexicon of drug use.

"El Topo" became the catalyst for the Midnight Movie phenomenon where stoned audiences returned week after week to absorb unusual films — the bloodier or weirder the better.

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In spite of its limited production values, "El Topo" is an obviously ambitious effort. Jodorowsky employs asymmetrical storytelling devices in conjunction with exploitation elements of violence and sex to weave an inventive film that challenges its audience on intellectual and visceral levels. The filmmaker’s abundant casting of dwarfs, amputees, and nonprofessional actors adds to an atmosphere of seething underground rebellion.

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“El Topo” announces its bizarre socio-political allegory in an opening pre-roll that describes a protagonist mole digging tunnels toward the sky only to discover that when he finally breaks through, the sun blinds him. That brief synopsis encapsulates the A-B story that follows.

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El Topo (played by Jodorowsky) is the film's allegorical mole. He is a black-clad avenging cowboy who differs significantly from the Don Quixote archetype upon which he is loosely based. El Topo’s naked six-year-old son rides on horseback with his father. They arrive at a recently massacred town covered in paint-textured blood. Corpses cover the ground. A dying man crawls, begging to be put out of his misery. El Topo hands his son his pistol to do the honors. The vulnerably naked child complies.

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Jodorowsky's version of a brave new world is a retro post-apocalyptic country where life is cheap. El Topo hunts down the fascist Colonel responsible for the massacre and castrates him, prompting the autocrat’s consequent suicide. Our hero abandons his son in the care of monks in the interest of taking off with a passionate woman of the desert. He names her Mara. Their relationship turns on her demands that El Topo prove himself as the best gunfighter around.

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Mara encourages her lover to engage in duels with religious zealots from four divergent disciplines, existing in nomadic isolation. The ethically challenged El Topo cheats to dispatch his holy rivals until he sees through his contravention. El Topo’s dubious victories momentarily satisfy Mara before she slips into a lesbian affair with a whip-wielding dominatrix. The outlaw destroys his pistol before transitioning into a Christ-like phase of existence that makes up film’s ladder half where our mole of salvation attempts to free a community of deformed people by digging through their cave toward the relative freedom of a Western-styled town run by violent cultists.

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For all of its easily mocked elements, “El Topo” is a work of mad cinematic genius that stays with you.

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Not Rated. 125 mins.

5 Stars“ColeSmithey.com“

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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