BRICK

(movie) A haunting film, but damned if I can pin-point why after a single viewing. Johnson’s hardboiled detective/high school drama mash-up heightens the similarities in the genres – the self-satisfied isolationism of the smarter-than-them outsider, the cruel thugs and conniving girls, the threat of impending violence to both heart and body – and captures something really close to true authenticity. A little over-thought, a little too eager to impress w/ every shot overzealously composed, but never anything less than gripping. Gordon-Levett is a revelation here, more that wiping the stain of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER from my memory. It’s a performance that’s all nerve and magnetism – worth watching again just to figure out how he pulls it off.

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BUIO OMEGA (Beyond the Darkness)

(movie) Part of the post mortem porn or “ghoulcore” school of film, where the horror derives from fetishistic corpse desecration. While nowhere near as seedy or off-putting as Nekromantik, the grand-daddy of all ghoulcore films, Beyond The Darkness is just gonzo enough to be both compelling and repugnant in equal measure. Whereas Nekromantik used a low-budget snuff-film aesthetic to really drive home the vile shenanigans, the action here has a sly, almost (almost) playful sensibility – the gags are well-lit and camera placement is usually effective. It also helps that D’Amato has Goblin doing the score, which lends the proceedings some undeserved air of pop legitimacy. Having said that, it’s still a film that’s reason de jour is to make the audience queasy, and it does – I’ll never look at someone eating beef stew the same way again. The film nevertheless held my interest until a great, albeit predictable, final scene.  I can’t see myself revisiting this one, but I don’t regret having subjected myself to it either.