Thursday, November 15, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #15: Raw (2016)

It's been an intense few minutes. During the dodgiest Brazilian wax in movie history, an insanely large pair of scissors were produced, and unsurprisingly, a finger has come off. But with her sister out cold and a bloody severed finger right in front of her, Justine just can't help it and has to have a bite.

And it's such a moment of pure joy, that it's almost easy to forget how fucking disgusting the whole thing is. The music swells and Justine soars away on the pleasure of her first taste of human flesh, and you can almost feel her pleasure radiating off the screen.

It's not the end of the whole shocking scene - there is still the unexpected reaction of the waking sister to come - but Justine achieves a moment of rapture that is unmatched in recent cinema. It's still gross as hell, but you can fully understand why she is digging it so much.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #14: Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)

"Hey, you wanna play 20 questions?"

"Okay! I got one!"

"Are you a mineral?"


"Are you a tank?"

"Whoa! Yeah!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #13: Mystery Train (1989)

Elvis is haunting every frame of Mystery Train, he's on the soundtrack and on the walls and in Joe Strummer's hair, and everybody passing through this deserted and dying Memphis is wading through his legend and reputation. Even if you think Carl Perkins is better, Elvis is always the King.

But when he actually makes a late-night appearance in a bemused traveller's hotel room, he doesn't have any wisdom to impart, no advice to dispense, or any knowledge to share about the greater mysteries of his music or the universe.

It's all just a bit of a mistake, really. He's not supposed to be there, and just stands around awkwardly until he fades away again.

Elvis has left the building and he didn't have much to say after all. He's still pretty cool, though.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #12: O Lucky Man! (1973)

"Smile," says Lindsay, and even though it looked like there was nothing to smile about, there was everything. You can't trust anybody in authority, because the political and corporate worlds will smash you down and toss you away without a second thought once it's useful for them, and branches of the medical and military establishments will completely destroy your humanity without a second thought.

But there are other places in the creative community that you can trust. The band that is soundtracking your journey will always give you a lift and a place to crash, and there are film-makers who will give you a chance, when nobody else will. There is a place where somebody with big ideas and bigger dreams can make their mark on the world without actively fucking somebody over.

"Smile," says Lindsay, and you do, and then you can go have a life in this new world, and party with everybody you've ever known. If you're lucky.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #11: Get Shorty (1995)

"E.G., I.E., fuck you!"

Nobody, but nobody, could deliver a line like this like the great Dennis Farina. The escalation of exasperation into purest profanity, the smooth delivery, the venom behind the sentiment and the finality of it all. Farina really was the best.

Great Moments in Cinema History #10: UHF (1989)

"You took the box? Let's see what's in the box!

"Nothing! Absolutely nothing! STUPID! You're so STUPID!"

Friday, November 9, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #9: Freaks (1932)

Somewhere in the late nineties, and my mates and me were so fucking stoned that when somebody suggested they put on a film made 60 years ago, nobody complained, especially when the cover for the video said it was so intense it was banned for decades.

And like the arseholes we were, we had a great time laughing and making fun of the 1930s production values, and the stilted acting, and the goofy freaks at the heart of the movie, and then holy fuck that last 10 minutes.

Crawling through the mud in the storm, intent on hideous revenge, the title characters go from lovably human to straight-up Monsters From The Id, the horror of their merciless advance still seeping through on videotape all those years later. All that 90s irony we were relying on didn't stop it from being massively, truly disturbing. And then to go out on the deformed chicken woman, and we weren't laughing at it anymore.

Nobody was laughing anymore.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #8: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

"What are these fucking iguanas doing on my coffee table?"

"There ain't no iguana."

"...Yeah, there are."

"There AIN'T no iguana."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #7: Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Maya Deren's arthouse masterpiece has a fantastic dreamy atmosphere throughout its short running time. There isn't much of a coherent plot, but there is a deeply unsettling vibe to the whole affair, unlike anything else produced on film during the same period.

But the first time you see the figure with the mirror face is so striking and so unusual, it makes the film feel truly timeless. There is something uncanny and deeply unsettling about seeing a reflected surface where facial features should be, it's an icon of an image and a truly horrific moment in cinema. And when you're half convinced you're going to see yourself staring back if you look too long, it's one that sears into the memory forever.