Maybe the only movie that I tried to watch the last ten minutes of, then decided not to spoil because it looked good. I still put off watching it for a few years, only remembering “metal/horror.” Everyone I follow on letterboxd has seen this but only Kenji liked it – and Kenji is right, it’s good.

Crazy Raymond plays loud guitar to drown out the voice of the devil, kills his parents, then Jesse/Astrid/Zoey buy the house and play some loud guitar but not enough, as artist Jesse becomes possessed and starts painting intricate scenes of his daughter on fire. The implication is that the devil will cause him to kill his wife and daughter, but Raymond is still the threat, returning to murder everyone, and Jesse’s visions can maybe help. Set/filmed in Texas, and pretty metal, more metal than most horror movies. The girl was in Maps to the Stars, the mom in The Thirteenth Floor. Some of the music by Sunn O))).

Shout out to Melvins:


Advantage Satan (2007, Sean Byrne)

An early demon/metal/horror short by Byrne, bit of silliness, drunk couple fooling around on a tennis court gets trapped and killed by unseen forces.

Maybe I should’ve watched Whiplash… was looking for drumming, got a hippie-ass lesson-drama about accepting yourself. It was a good call casting sensitive Riz Ahmed in a Rudimentary Peni t-shirt as the lead, though the story calls for 5% sensitivity and 95% frustration. After belligerently touring through his increasing hearing loss, drummer Riz finally goes almost completely deaf, is checked into a rural community run by Paul Raci for dealing with deafness, then kicked out at the end for selling all his music gear to pay for hearing aids, because Raci believes deafness is something to live with, not to overcome. Reuniting with his gf/singer Olivia Cooke at her dad Mathieu Amalric’s house… per AS Hamrah, “In this part of the movie we learn, inadvertently, that deafness is a class position and that class mobility is not possible.”

Watched for the Mdou Moctar music, spent the runtime trying to remember Purple Rain. Mdou is new in a Niger town, takes on the local guitar king, but Mdou’s dad disapproves of his music and destroys his guitar. Can he impress the cute girl, find a new left-handed guitar in time for the big competition, and write a killer new song that’s even better than his previous song, which rival Morris Day Kader has stolen for his own band? Yes!

“In case you’re wondering I’m essentially an infinite me.”

They finally did it. I haven’t rewatched the originals since their premieres, but all essential backstory is dutifully repeated here. I love that in all their possible messed-up futures, Bill and Ted are still together – it’s never even dreamed that they wouldn’t be together. Their daughters Billie and Thea, traveling through time collecting famous musicians like in the first movie, are clearly being set up as the actual chosen-ones who will play the song that heals all of time and space – so clearly that the actual reveal is less of a “whoa” and more of a “yeah finally” – but maybe this was designed to distract us from the movie’s real twist, that the perfect song Bill & Ted spend all movie (and half their lives) looking for doesn’t exist. It doesn’t matter what they play, as long as they all play it together. This… should not have made me cry… and I’m not saying it did… but it’s been a heavy year, huh?

From the original writers and the director of Galaxy Quest. Thea is from Three Billboards, Billie from Action Point, Kristen Schaal replacing Rufus (who appears briefly as a hologram), and they’ve got the original Death. NoHo Hank from Barry plays a robot assassin, and I love this guy in everything. Brittany Runs a Marathon star Jillian Bell is couples therapist for Bill & Ted and their princesses (who have been recast to be younger: Erinn Hayes of Childrens Hospital, and Jayma Mays of American Made). Kid Cudi is most excellent as himself.

Between Demon Brother and Scorpio Rising, I got my titles mixed up and assumed I’d already seen this, either on the DVD or at an Eyedrum screening – but nope, and it’s so good, possibly the culmination of all Anger’s 50’s experiments into his 60’s rock & roll culty stuff and beyond.

Volcano eruption… fiery title rising from the ocean with nice reflection (how’d they do that)… baby alligator… bare-breasted woman in Egypt cut against colorfully-robed wolfy cult guy. I can’t accurately narrate what happens next, but I watched it a couple times.

I think that is an unknown dude named Haydn with the staff of light, and Metallica vocalist Marianne Faithfull beneath the sphinx.

Also rewatched Bobby Yeah, confirming that it is one of the greatest things that has ever happened.

There is so much going on in this movie. In the beginning, a sink is dripping with stop-motion paper drops, which turn into fullscreen water collaged from paper, which zooms out to a flickering series of motivational posters on an office wall, then back into the flickering water upon which sails a poster-paper boat as the rhythm of the water drops begins to build into an autobiographical theme song – this is the first minute of a 40-minute movie.

Mack uses posters and packaging, markers and sales sheets, posters and shelves and office supplies, posters and boxes of posters, the parking lot and fluorescent lights, and just when it couldn’t get any more wonderful, her mom enters the movie, sped-up and stop-motioned, as Jodie sings about the family’s failed poster business as a homemade parody of Pink Floyd’s Money.

It ends in psychedelic mania, as it must, and meanwhile, it’s one of the most inventive, poignant and personal “experimental” films I’ve ever seen. Katy liked this more than The Grand Bizarre – probably same, but I’d like to see TGB again. Interesting that Cinema Scope had more to say about each of her 3 to 10-minute shorts than this longer piece, will have to watch a few of those and revisit the article.


Persian Pickles (2012, Jodie Mack)

We also watched this 3-minute short from her vimeo page, all rapid-fire textiles with curved patterns, like swimming swirling fishies. Surprised by the audio, a typical a/g noise track sounding like bassy factory robots conversing over staticky phone lines, considering the sound in her features is so fresh and upbeat.

Elisabeth Moss plays Becky, a wreck of an alt-rock star in five real-time extended scenes. First, she and bassist Agyness Deyn and drummer Gayle Rankin encore the final show of their tour with “Another Girl Another Planet” – a live show with suspiciously antiseptic studio sound. I did not expect them to go straight backstage into a voodoo ceremony with suddenly oppressive sound design, all rumbling and scratching, nor for Matthew Crawley to show up as Becky’s baby-daddy. Can’t say I recognized Amber Heard (The Ward) as a pop star who offers them some opening dates, nor Eric Stoltz (The Fly II) as their manager. Anyway, the point of this segment is that Becky is an utter mess, dangerous to herself and everyone around her.

They’ve been unproductive for months in a studio (engineered by Notes on an Appearance star Keith Poulson) when a young band intrudes on their turf (Valerian star Cara Delevingne, Xan from Kimmy Schmidt, Ashley Benson of Spring Breakers). Becky wants the new kids to play their song, and again, the music in this movie sounds too perfect, then the doomed grinding soundscape returns. I didn’t quite buy the performances and the mayhem in first part, but by second part it’s real, and I’m reminded that the opening paragraph of the Rachel Handler interview that got me to watch this movie called it “excruciating.”

In the middle part, omg they are opening for the kids… well, they’re not, since Becky destroys everything and has a big public meltdown before they can play a set, focusing rage on her mom Virginia Madsen (whose fortieth birthday was 9/11/01)

Recovery alone in a Last Days-reminiscent house, visited by her ex and their kid with Agyness. Becky still seems a bit crazy, but in a gentle way, and she’s off the drugs and drinking tea, so that’s something. She plays a Bryan Adams song for her daughter, then a good new song for Agyness, which I guess was written by Alicia Bognanno of Nashville band Bully.

Of course, the comeback show. It’s just a label celebration, probably an industry event at the same medium-sized club as section 3, co-performing with the kids and the pop star, and it goes off without a hitch despite everyone getting nervous when Becky makes a comment about “the very end” then goes missing for a spell.

“Exasperating” is another word for this movie – I mostly liked it, but the Vulture interview is better. Yes, Perry has made some cool movies, and the cinematography is by Sean Price Williams (Good Time) and editing by Robert Greene (Bisbee ’17) and they are superheroes, but mostly I want to hang out with the sound designer and whoever made the fake CD artwork over the closing credits.

The Auteur Completion Project rolls on. I never knew how to see Permanent Vacation until Criterion put it out a few years ago, and now that I’ve finally watched it, I might as well also finally see this Neil Young/Crazy Horse doc that I bought a decade ago. I have a weird attraction to buying concert DVDs and a weird aversion to watching them. Anyway, now I’ve seen every Jim Jarmusch film that I know of, and I feel good about that. Now to move to New York and see them all on 35mm instead of DVD.

Jim and Neil on the bus:

As far as behind-the-scenes musician docs go, this one is top-notch, not for any particular visual superiority (in fact, it was purposely shot on cheap film and video cameras) but because it lets the songs play out in full – even the long jammy ones – without impatiently cutting to some famous person telling us how great Crazy Horse is. If there’s anyone who can be counted on for patience, it’s Jarmusch.

A movie about the perfect 1960’s, where nothing bad happens. Less realistic even than Love Actually and yet based on the mildly-true story of the pirate-radio boats that served London the hottest rock records which the BBC was too uptight to play. The uptight BBC is represented by villainous bureaucrat Kenneth Branagh (and villain-in-training Jack Davenport, who is given a missed opportunity for redemption at the end).
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The boat is populated by a bunch of DJs and a mixed-up naive kid designed to lead us through all this anarchy (as if we needed him). From left to right:
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Captain Bill Nighy
The kid
Rhys Darby of Flight of the Conchords
I think that’s Tom Wisdom of 300
Thick Kevin
Nick Frost
some dude with about two lines
stoned Bob (secretly our kid’s missing father): Ralph Brown of Withnail & I, Alien 3
possibly Philip Seymour Hoffman (head missing)

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And dramatically featuring: Rhys Ifans! Of Elizabeth 2! He shows up and brings faux-discord to the ship. Oh, and Emma Thompson has a scene as the kid’s mom. Most impressive was the inclusion of sixty classic rock songs, which must’ve accounted for half the film’s budget. Thought it was pretty good, light, funny. Katy was disappointed that it wasn’t Julie and Julia, and called it a boy movie.