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Oscillations (2000)
8/10
Mature Super Hero Art Film Insanity! (mild Spoilers)
3 September 2008
First off, let me say that if you see 'Oscillations', you'll immediately say "Holy Crap! That's (BAT)MAN!" And you'd be right. It is the Knight of the Dark in his weirdest (unofficial) film outing yet. In this French film, 'The (Bat)Man' must solve the murder of his youthful ward (R)obin by 'The Psychopath'- a laughing, clown-faced ghoul - with an assist by his sometimes enemy 'The (Cat) Woman'. Be warned ahead of time - this is a strictly no kids, mature, 'R' rated film. There is weird violence and one of the most purposefully uncomfortable sex scenes ever filmed.

The(Bat)Man, as portrayed in 'Oscillations', does not much resemble the one we know from American comics and Hollywood films. This one is wears a dark three piece suit, an overcoat, and is unquestionably a very disturbed individual. At one point he enters Arkham Asylum. The nurse at the reception desk looks at him for a moment, then decides to admit him. He then smashes her head off of the table. Later, he denies The (Cat) Woman's sexual advances. Clearly, this Batman is insane... about justice!

For a low budget semi-professional fan-film, 'Oscillations' is technically very well done. Aside from a fleeting glimpse of a cheaply rendered CGI Batmobile, the effects are very, very good. The lighting and atmosphere is heavy with gloom and Arkham Asylum seems to reek with a real human madness you wouldn't expect from a super hero short.

The acting is really good. Jaume Fargas as The (Bat) Man excels at horse blinder determination and wild eyed insanity. The fact that both Fargas and Véronique Leclerc (The (Cat) Woman) get into the buff for a not-for-profit fan film shows the dedication of all involved.

So, in summary, if you can make your high and low brows meet somewhere in the middle, or wondered what a (Bat)man movie would look like as directed by a young David Lynch, then without question 'Oscillations' is worth your while - should you be able to track it down.
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or "Why You Should Never Work With Your Heroes".
16 May 2007
Like most of the posts here, I'm a bit biased as I'm involved in the soundtrack. BUT! I've never met Stuart, just some emails, so I feel like you can trust me! ToTT can be best summed up by my tag-line - "Why You Should Never Work With Your Heroes". It's clear that the Alex Cox that we all envision is not some kind of punk cinema touchstone of integrity, but a rather a jerk, just like the rest of us. Unfortunately, Stuart has his own set of issues and put together with Cox's and it's actually amazing the project got as far as it did.

The film in question is "Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday", the sequel to Cox's 1984 scifi / hardcore punk comedy masterpiece 'RepoMan'. 'A Tale of Texas Treason' contains plenty of raw 'Waldo' footage, and makes the film sting even more: it looks fantastic and hilarious.

I give props to Stuart Kincaid for allowing as honest a representation of the situation to be seen. Even though Cox declined participation in 'Treason', you can get a feel for why he may have got indignant. Stuart has a temper. No, we're not talking about a Hollywood life threatening temper, but one that can flare up out of nowhere and ruin your day for sure. For instance, the film tells it's story with dense commentary with the actors, crew and friends. At one point, apparently disgusted with a complaint by actor Ted West during one of these interviews, Stuart breaks with the set narrative style to scold West, his angry voice coming from somewhere off camera. It's one of my favorite scenes because it shows Stuarts warts: this is not a 100% 'up with Stuie' project. In fact, with the Katrina & Rita hurricanes being recent events at the time of the shooting, I was surprised by the overall view of the survivors by Stuart, like they're just bums or something. But Stuart is a real American, roll up your sleeves, DIY punk rocker - I should expect no quarter from this guy, right?

The actors and crew range from playing characters (Ted West & Marci Dacus go for campy & condescending respectively), to hilarious (Antonio Brazil), to extremely in touch with the situation (Ed Ivey practically narrates the film). The amount of talent here not being able to finish a project that was basically 5 minutes away from being done is ultimately a teeth grinding shame.

I'm glad that at least they made this cautionary tale, it should be seen by any budding filmmaker, and especially ones that work with some one else's material.

So, what did Alex Cox think of Kincaid's 'Waldo'? A bummer scene involving an oddly familiar comic book tells the tale. SHAME, Mr.Cox, SHAME!
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Thing Ring - DO YOUR THING!!!
27 December 2005
'Fred & Barney Meet The Thing' was easily one of the most absurd cartoons to come out before the ultimate Saturday Morning Video Game Cartoon Massacre of '82. The Thing segments (I HATED the Flintstones so what their segment was about escapes me) had NOTHING to do with the Fantastic Four character other than his orange rocky hulk design. Instead, a goofy teenager has a pair of RINGS that he slams together and squeals "Thing Ring - DO YOUR THING" at which point a magical transformative implosion packs him in the exterior of the ever-lovin'-blue-eyed-Thing. And then he goes and fights crime! Actually... no. No, you see, the goofball is part of a motorcycle club (with your standard Hannah Barbara Scooby Doo / Captain Caveman / Jabberjaw / Speedbuggy analogs) and this is foggy, but I seem to remember that were in a cross country race. I'm not totally sure about that though. In any case, they are ruthlessly pursued by a scuzzy gang of leathered neer-do-wells, that for some reason, seem to like getting pulped by a giant crusty monster week after week.

My clearest memory is one of the bumper scenes where Fred & Barney ACTUALLY meet the Thing. They're on a dude ranch and Fred, Barney and The Thing do the 'Dosie Doe' dance. Amazing. Even at eight years old I was blown away by how stupid that was.

Yes, F&B.M.T.T. is bad, but not as bad as 'Rubick, the Amazing Cube', 'Q-Bert', 'Donkey Kong', or just about every video game / novelty toy commercial in disguise that KILLED Saturday Morning Cartoons in '82-'83.
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Donkey Kong (1981 Video Game)
In Regards To The Ridiculous Saturday Morning Cartoon...
27 December 2005
During the 1980's video games became an incredible phenomenon in America. Kids went crazy and stole any quarter they could find (much to your Stormed-The-Beaches-At-Normandy-Grampa's dismay), parents loved the empty house (time to make with the 'Whoopie'), One guy even shot some poor fool for cutting in line to play Pac Man!! Needless to say, the children's entertainment market paniced!! How can Scrappy Doo possibly compete with Mr.Do? They did what any business would and assimilated the form. In so doing, they effectively shot themselves in the head with a slow motion Gatling gun filled with video game rounds. It would take a year and a half to make the kill.

Donkey Kong was one of these lethal rounds! Your basic idea was this: Mario (I'm not sure if he was called Mario or not) is an evil zookeeper who chased the fun loving Donkey Kong around. Donkey Kong would always escape and cry in triumph "Don-KEEEEE*KONG!!"

That's it. AWFUL!
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Q*bert (1982 Video Game)
A Minor Contributor To The Death Of Saturday Morning!!
27 December 2005
Q*Bert was one of a seemingly endless spew of cartoons specifically designed to draw kids down to the local video game arcade and bleed them dry of all of their allowance. Or their Granpa's rare quarter collection. In the game, a long nosed orange Pac Man / Muppet mutation struggles to uniform the colors of a series of blocks on a pyramid while avoiding snakes, pygmies and trolls. This premise, like all of the games of the early eighties, doesn't offer a whole lot to a cartoon studio to work with, but that didn't stop whoever pumped this out from trying!

So what we have is a redesigned Q*Bert - now with arms - in what amounts to some kind of bizarre homage to American Graffiti. No, I'm not kidding. Q*Bert, his débutante girl-thing, and the rest of his pals are the clean cut 'good kids', just trying to get by and have fun. But the Snake (SSSpike?) is a crusty greaser type and he and the rest of his gang of baddies like giving Q and his pals thrills at the end of a shining switch-blade!! Okay, not exactly, but you get the idea. Somehow the studio (who apparently decline to take responsibility) work in the whole color changing premise, but gimme a break! It's amazing I remember as much as I do!!! Maybe now I can forget.

In its favor, the actual animation WAS a cut above the vast majority of the crap on at that time.
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8/10
More info regarding plot for those who don't understand it.
31 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, this movie is a lot of fun and, even though it has some gruesome moments, it is easily Tsukamoto's most light toned film. I guess you could say it's kind of like a 'Wizard of Oz' for cyberpunks. The fact that it was filmed in Super 8 doesn't detract from its appeal as the settings and visual effects are all very, VERY well done.

SPOILERS! If you like your movies fresh, stop reading NOW.

The story line, as told elsewhere in these comments, deals with the Electric Rod Boy and Momo versus a group of Vampire thugs in a future hell scenario (where he also meets a future version of himself). Now, IIRC (it's been about five years since I saw it), the Vampire Gang have a giant machine that they are using to slowly obscure the sun so, when it is fully blacked out, they can rule Earth. In order for the machine to work it needs a virgin (which they get) as a battery!!! Unfortunately for the Vampire Gang one of the higher ups can't control himself and sucks her blood thereby poisoning their doomsday machine! Just thought I'd add those little plot points to what's already been written.

YEEEEAAAH! What a crazy movie!
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Harmony Korine is one of Americas' bravest and best directors
18 June 2001
Much like European directors Thomas Vinterberg, Lars Von Trier, Jean Luc Goddard, and Werner Herzog (who plays the father!), young American director Harmony Korine is not content to just produce a product. This is film as art. This is film as statement. This is film as reality. It is not escapism-quite the contrary; "Julien" offers nothing in the way of fantasy (other than it's a 'film' and therefore not 'real'). Rather, it injects the viewer into the nervous system of an American most would pretend doesn't exist. It follows a moment in time for Julien, a mentally deranged young man, and his family as they trudge through their mundane, yet disturbed lives. Opening with Julien apparently murdering a young boy in the woods, the viewer is immediately tuned in to just how disturbed he is. From here, the film gives a 'fly on the wall' view of his family; an exasperated father (Herzog), abusive out of his own failures-both personal and familial. A classically driven brother who, through amatuer wrestling, tries to impress daddy-to no avail. Rounding the unit out is his sister (Chloe Sevigny), a ray of light (albeit tainted) within the molassas thick dispair. As the film progresses, we get bits and pieces of a family in sharp decline; the madness isn't all Juliens' that's for sure. Information is given in fits and starts, like bad dreams in still shots. Being a so called 'Dogme' film, "Julien Donkey Boy" has a voyueristic bent, akin to watching a home movie you found on the street. This feeling is only heightened by the seemingly improvised acting (I say 'seemingly' because it can't be ALL impov; forget what you've heard "Julien" DOES have a plot, just not a conventional one). Obviously, "Julien Donkey Boy" is not for everybody, just as "Fitzcarraldo" is not for everyone. I personally found this film compelling. This is the way some people actually live- someone you know, maybe even yourself, and that's why this film works. If I have any criticism, it's not of "Julien" per se, but the fact that all of Korine's films have dealt with teenagers, therefore probably making it easier for some to dismiss his work as merely 'fringe'.
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Suburbia (1983)
The punk scene in the eighties was different for everybody..
18 June 2001
I was a punker up in the Maine woods for cryin' out loud! But Penelope Spheeris' "Suburbia", although playing out in L.A., spoke out to me with it's message of alienation and teen angst. It's crappy , sure, but it's not completely off the mark either. The apathy, confusion, sexual frustration, all right on. It's depiction of the punk lifestyle is probably horrifying/ridiculous to todays bubble gum punkers, but hey, that's the way it was. Although I prefer Alex Coxs' "Repo Man", and Tim Hunters' "River's Edge" for a better look at wasted youth culture in the eighties, "Suburbia" is still a good look at a time gone by. Picture one bitter tear rolling down the cheek of a graying punker with a button up sweater and walker. Now SPIT in his eye!! LOL!!
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