Friday, September 21, 2018

Psychedelic "Mandy" gloats in bloody religious allegory

For all the cinematic trash and B-movie excrement that he's put out for the past decade or so, Nicolas Cage remains an actor capable of mad-passion rage like few of his generation.  As Red Miller, in director Panos Cosmatos' religiously psychedelic retribution tale, Cage, his face covered in demon blood, resembles a fallen angel who's out for guts and a couple of heads of a Christian cult members who've burned his girlfriend, Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough, her eyes bulging out of her head like a pair of oversized olives).  Needless to say, the carnage and slaughter that follows is a deliciously served cold dish, and the most stylish revenge film since Tarantino's Kill Bill duology.

Cosmatos fashions Mandy with a chilling, surreal look, with many of its scenes resembling a hallucinogenic experience.  Mandy is drugged by the Children of the New Dawn, Jeremiah Sand's (Linus Roache) sadistic cult group, and her perception of his self-indulgent speech will especially be recognized by anyone who has ever dabbled with LSD or magic mushrooms.  The religious allegory is often present, but so are the kaleidoscopic visuals, which dazzle both the mind and the eye.  Mandy may not be a pleasant film to watch, but no one can certainly accuse it of being unambitious, and least of all boring.


Monday, September 17, 2018

The only thing this "Night Eats" is viewers' precious time

Ever since Danny Boyle's 2003 low budget gem, 28 Days Later, zombie movies have been a dime-a-dozen, so to speak.  A genre as familiar to the 21st century cinema as smart phones or Instagram, their post apocalyptic setting has been recycled countless times by now, each new undead film offering less thrills than the one preceding it.  But until now, not one flesh-eating horror flick could at least be called boring, since at least they supplied the audiences with a decent amount of ravenous, human flesh eating bloody gore, if not much else.  Enter Dominique Rocher's latest "horror", The Night Eats the World, a zombie movie so dull and lifeless it may as well be The Undead in and of itself.

As Sam, the aspiring musician who visits his ex-girlfriend to pick up some old audio tapes he left behind - and on a night she happens to be throwing a massive party, no less - Andersen Danielsen Lie brings very little in terms of acting talent, or even general screen presence, to the role of a loner holed up in a Parisian apartment building during a sudden (and naturally unexplained) zombie outbreak.  He spends the next ninety or so minutes playing a set of drums very loudly, shooting the wandering zombies on the street below with a paintball gun, and having cheesy, philosophical conversations ("Dead is the new normal. I'm no longer normal.") with a zombie, Alfred, who's trapped in his building's elevator.  Of course, this is the kind of Paris where no one living speaks French, or even resembles a human being in the slightest amount of their behavior.

The Night Eats the World offers nothing new to the genre that's already exhausted all the good ideas; if anything, it dumbs down (by, ironically, trying to be too dramatic and character driven) and nullifies the horror it's supposed to generate.  The result is a movie that future generations will watch only as a cure for insomnia.