Sight & Sound

WATCH: Pennywise live in 1993 (Jason Thirsk vocals)

Our friends at Dying Scene have uncovered some rare live footage of Pennywise live from 1993. Live not because it is Pennywise from 1993, but because the footage showcases Jason Thirsk singing vocals in Jim Lindberg’s absence. Thirsk was the band’s bassist until 1996 when he was tragically killed in a freak gun accident.

The footage is from a 1993 Hollywood show which lasted about 16 minutes before cops showed up and shut it down.

Thirsk wrote the song “Bro Hymn” for his friends who were killed in a car accident. After Thirsk’s death, the band re-wrote the song for Thirsk and released it on their 1997 album Full Circle. You can listen to that version of the song here.

Standard
Film

Hollywood & The Argo-nuts

Near the end of Argo, there is an extended moment of tension that puts you side by side with the 6 American hostages caught in Iran. Even though you know how it’ll end, Ben Affleck’s direction on Chris Terrio’s screenplay is a great exercise in well-executed drama and anxiety. The moment is held in a brief light when a few Iranian revolutionary guard are bewildered and amazed by a fake film’s storyboard about alien spaceships. It is a small, but telling moment, a rather fantastic homage to an older time in film making and the sometimes ridiculous nature of Hollywood as a product.

The film has historical inaccuracies so glaring that former President Jimmy Carter had to make a point about it, and there seems to be some sort of stigma to Affleck directing (everyone knows he didn’t DIRECT Daredevil right?), but if I had a vote for Best Picture, I’d give it to Argo.

The film’s competition are your checklist award winners and it may come down to what you’re feeling this year. You could pick the foreign film (Amour), a spiritually charged epic about an Indian Boy (Life Of Pi), a grand ol’ musical (Les Miserables), a Steven Spielberg flick (Lincoln), an unconventional romantic comedy (Silver Linings Playbook), the racially charged (Django Unchained) and the complete mind-evisceration (Beasts Of The Southern Wild). This leaves the two war-themed movies Argo and Zero Dark Thirty.

Hollywood frontrunners have been undecided these past few weeks on just which of these films will inevitably win. Some have said it’ll come down to Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty, which is fair given both of the films merits. But you could really make an argument for all of them.

So why Argo? Because it is a well-crafted statement about a politically important time in history as well as a humorous self-flagellating stab at the ridiculousness of Hollywood itself.

We are to assume that $45,000 gift bags for nominees at an an awards ceremony congratulating themselves is a worthy cause. And it is always a joy to know that somewhere in LA, there is a cast of people whose sole purpose is to make ridiculously rich people even more ridiculously rich. But it is this ridiculousness that has captivated us for so many years. Dialogue in Argo said it best; “So you want to come to Hollywood to become a big shot without doing anything? You’ll fit right in”. Why do you think the film’s events transpired as they did? Because among a myriad of spy-related action and tomfoolery, the Iranian captors were captivated by the nutty premise of a Space-alien saga being filmed in the country.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Hollywood actually does see the ridiculousness of what they all do, have fun with it, reap the rewards and still endear themselves to the public? I know Argo is a serious film, but it still takes a moment to make fun of itself and it’s competition.

Perhaps the Oscar voters aren’t that meta, and Argo probably won’t win. But it should. Why? Because Argo fuck yourself.

Standard
Featured, Film, Film Reviews

Film Review: Super 8

There was always an aura to Steven Spielberg’s earliest film work; a magical storytelling tone above all else that made films like E.T. and Jaws true cultural icons. Decades removed, J.J.Abrams, a new scholar in the Spielberg filmmaking cannon, does the very best ode to Spielberg in a film not so ironically produced by the man himself. Super 8 is a film borne of the many traits that became the Spielberg palette. It is a wonderful sequence of ideas that has elements of The Goonies, E.T. and yes, Cloverfield as it’s backdrops, juxtaposed together in a colorful weave of 70s nostalgia and the very tool in which a young Spielberg honed his craft; the 8mm film camera.

A group of 12-year-olds, led by Joel Courtney’s Joe Lamb and Riley Griffith’s Charles (a rambunctious filmmaker that is positively a tip to Spielberg’s imagination-laced youth), aspire to film their little 8mm zombie flick before an unexpected military train derails in their fictitious small town of Lillian, Ohio (an in action sequence fitting for one of the best in a very long time). From here, we discover that this Goonies-esque troupe is every bit as resourceful while their town becomes ground zero for unexplained alien-like activities. They band together with childlike wonderment and humor, buoyed by first loves and hopefulness to reach a befitting, heartfelt finality. Elle Fanning is just enough as the film’s primary ingénue and propels much of the young cast’s motivation. Abrams has been very good at divulging to the audience the film in slow trickles- and while the action is loud and eventful, the crux of the story is revealed with a sieve fine enough that it all unfolds with timely gravitas.

This is what is essential to Super 8; because it is not just a monster film and it is not just about a group of teenagers on an adventure of a lifetime, it is all of the wonderment found in good filmmaking that became synonymous with Spielberg. A great deal of Hollywood is as subtle as a hammer to the skull, while arthouse is far too consumed in its self-importance. While it isn’t perfect, Super 8 is simple storytelling made with a seemingly long-gone nuance, like a moonlit bike ride over the forest.

Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: J.J. Abrams
Produced by: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney
Website: http://www.super8-movie.com
[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Standard