Monday, December 10, 2018

'Heavy Trip' Serves Up Brutal Laughs

[HEAVY TRIP is currently available for rent or purchase on DVD, Blu Ray, and digital formats. Note - dialogue is in Finnish, Norwegian, and some English with subtitles, so if that's an issue for you consider yourself warned.]

Despite their brutal music and intimidating appearance, the twenty-something metalheads who will eventually adopt the collective moniker Impaled Rektum are an affable, and to a large degree, nerdy, bunch. They’ve been playing together for 12 years as HEAVY TRIP opens, and after a particularly good practice the band’s devil-may-care drummer Jynkky (Antti Heikkinen) suggests they finally take the plunge and book a show.

But the band’s most serious member, bass player Pasi (Max Ovaska), quickly puts the kibosh on that idea. He says they can’t play out until they write some songs of their own. Lead vocalist Turo (Johannes Holopainen) is more than happy to back Pasi up, but the real reason he doesn’t want to go on stage has more to do with his shyness than a lack of original material. And since guitar player Lotvonen (Samuli Jaskio) can’t come up with any riffs that haven’t already been used by other bands, it would seem the group won’t be leaving their basement rehearsal space anytime soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Genre Tropes and Arthouse Pretensions Combine in 'Let The Corpses Tan'

[LET THE CORPSES TAN screens Sunday November 25th 2018 at 6:30 pm and Monday November 26th 2018 at 8:45 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]
You can’t say that LET THE CORPSES TAN doesn’t have a plot. It’s just that co-directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzaniand seem less concerned with the straight-forward crime story their film hangs on than in conjuring up striking imagery informed by fetishized B-movie tropes and art house pretensions. They don’t care about the assortment of crooks, cops, and artistic outcasts who inhabit their sunbaked neo-noir spaghetti western, and neither do we. So all that’s left is to sit back and look at the pretty pictures.

To be honest, that’s good enough at times. There are some shots here worthy of Jodorowsky, such as one scene in which a woman is bound tightly with ropes by a group of men until champagne starts spouting from her breast, a scene which exists apart from the storyline and serves purely as symbolism. Most of the film, however, is an all-day shootout between the various parties. Plenty of compelling visuals in that aspect, as well, but not enough to alleviate the tedium.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Rock Doesn’t Need to Be Saved by Greta Van Fleet

I'll be honest. I'm not a fan of Greta Van Fleet, the trendy young band of the moment who sound more than a little bit like Led Zeppelin. That said, I don't begrudge them their success. The singer does a mean Robert Plant impression, the band can play, and in the greater scheme of things there's plenty of music out there that's worse.

However, I am tired of hearing about how GVF are supposedly “saving” rock n roll. Or even more ludicrous yet, given their retro affectations, that they are the “future” of rock n roll. The implication, of course, is that there aren’t any other new(ish) bands playing genuine honest-to-goodness rock music in the classic mold. 

I call bullshit.