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A strange mascot for a strange movie.

Lowlife is a couple years old now, but I missed it when it came out and was getting its share of buzz from some corners of the movie critic sphere. It’s a movie that I think is fairly off-putting at first but eventually becomes something not only interesting, but maybe overdue. See, after Grindhouse, it felt like there’d be a slew of films trying to capture some of that aesthetic and tone. I mean, there were some. Even some good ones, like the feature version of Hobo with a Shotgun. But they were rare and anyone hoping for a kind of revamping or update on the aesthetic has probably been mostly disappointed. Lowlife fulfills some of that exact potential.

One of the ways it does that is by playing against the shallow thrills and over the top cartoonishness that you’d expect from “this type” of movie. Even this movie itself, which invites you to think a lot less of it than it deserves. It pretend to be over the top when it’s really pretty grounded. It pretends its characters are cartoons when really they are well-drawn human beings. It’s pretty convincing about it, too. Like, I would forgive people who couldn’t quite follow the depth it eventually gains because it might seem kind of incongruous with the first third or so. That said, it’s exactly that depth which makes Lowlife a kick-ass movie. Read the rest of this entry »


Turbo who?

So I didn’t even know about Turbo Kid a few weeks ago. Then I found out about it and got a chance to see it. I’m very glad I did, because it’s a total gem. I knew almost nothing going in (saw the trailer) and expected a long, elaborate, and entertaining joke. But you know, a joke. Like Kung Fury. People will forget all about Kung Fury once they see this. Not because Kung Fury isn’t awesome, but because Turbo Kid is actually the kind of movie that Kung Fury is a 30 minute love-letter to. Not happy to simply homage the scrappy, ridiculous vibe of 80’s cheapie post-apocalypse movies, Turbo Kid recreates them with an unflinching authenticity. There are winks at the audience in the movie, but they almost never take center stage. Instead, Turbo Kid is a “real” movie, with a plot and characters and everything. It’s not a joke, but it is having a laugh.

Francois Simard, Anouk Whissel, and Yoann-Karl Whissel are the trio that wrote and directed the movie and I hope they get to make more, even different stuff. Turbo Kid has a lot of love in it, and plenty of its merit is in how perfectly it captures its retro targets, in other words if you liked stuff like Far Cry 3: Blood DragonManborg, Hobo with a Shotgun and of course Kung Fury then you’re going to like this. Beyond that, the location scouting, props, cinematography, and sheer ideas are what makes the movie shine and those are things that aren’t part of the conceit. They’re all good reasons to see this even if you’re not into the neo-retro thing they’re doing. It’s probably called something better than “neo-retro”, but I don’t know if it is and so this is what I got.

Another? It is ridiculously, outrageously gory and hilarious. Oh oh, and it’s a Canadian-New Zealand co-production. So this is pretty much one of ours. Read the rest of this entry »


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