Sunday, August 28, 2011

DVD Penis Covers Vol. 1

When not finding cures for diseases or solving the riddles of complex gentic codes, we put pictures of poorly drawn penises onto DVD covers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Metallic Mixture of Major Pain

I was recently in the mood to re-watch the big ol’ sweaty sack of action that is One Tough Bastard. Along with the mystical presence of Brian Bosworth in centre bulldozer position, one of my fave things about this flick is Bruce Payne’s role as villain Karl Savak. Experiencing the movie again made me realize that Savak is in fact a hybrid of metal bassists Joey DeMaio of Manowar and David Vincent from Morbid Angel. The way they look, the manor in which they speak, it’s chilling, really. DeMaio and Vincent have most likely shared the same festival stage at some point. Potentially, if they had a threesome with a stripper named Karla and their combined ejaculate was forged together into a single egotistical steel-tipped sperm missile that penetrated and fertilized one of her “over easys,” the resulting offspring would be... Agent Karl Savak.

"You like countin', don't you John?"

"John. The countin'. You like it. Don't you?"

"That's right, John. I like countin' too. And I'm doin' it right now inside here! Who's fuckin' with me!?!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Marie Antoinette: Five Years Later.

I find it odd that one of the most recognizable (and vilified) figures in history has only been portrayed on screen a handful of times - and usually with very little success. Marie Antoinette: a name that instantly conjures images of cake, frocks, and decapitation - interesting stuff, to say the least. Then why is it that she is so woefully unrepresented on celluloid? The French Revolution is easily one of the most exciting - not to mention violent - periods that we have records of. Historical biopics are almost always a guaranteed cash cow, too. Recent middlebrow juggernaut The King's Speech cleaned up at the box office and at the podium. Films depicting the lives of Christ, Ghandi, Lincoln, hell, even the Marquis de Sade, have all yielded plush returns. So why does the story of a beautiful, decadent renegade with a soft-spot for the arts remain so relatively untouched?

Perhaps, because most filmmakers don't know how to approach her. The spoiled Austrian ingenue; wanton party maven; martyred wife and mother; demonic pastry supporter; they are all completely viable approaches to take. Sophia Coppola, nobly tried them all. Her film was critically panned, but has achieved near cult status in the subsequent five years since its release. Basing the 'narrative' on Antonia Fraser's sympathetic and brilliant biography "Marie Antoinette: The Journey," and working with her largest budget yet, Coppola was granted unprecedented access to the grounds and artifacts of Versaille, bestowing the incredible visuals with a near infinite level of depth and detail. Kirsten Dunst turns in another fine performance in the title role. Her development is convincing, deeply aided by her range of expression: angelic innocence that can instantly turn mischievous and feline. It's a modern performance, but that's the point, easily overshadowing earlier incarnations.

Norma Shearer's mannered performance from 1938 remained unchallenged for nearly seventy years until Joely Richardson laced her lithe frame into the doomed corset. The disastrous Affair of the Necklace overextends a minor entrapment scheme that (fictitciously) lead our girl to her execution. Given mere minutes of screen time, Richardson tried admirably to make her Marie complex, but alas, it was all in vain as the star here is a "sexy" turn by Hilary Swank. The only business that SWANK has in a period piece is pulling a carriage.

We all know of the carnage and the conspiracy, so instead Sophia gives us the early years, deciding to end the film when the royal family are forced into hiding. It's a bold choice, one that results in a vibe more akin to
Kubrick's Barry Lyndon then, say, The Count of Monte Cristo. Though, it still makes a fine bodice-ripper, sensually portraying the Queen's ongoing affair with a handsome officer set, of course, to the erotic throb of Adam Ant. Ah yes, the music: the point which continues to divide audiences and critics. Why would she choose to take on every conceivable period detail and then seemingly throw it all away with a disposable, however terrific, post-punk soundtrack? To demonstrate the universal qualities of what is essentially a coming-of-age story? To mirror her own alienation as a princess of Hollywood? I pick the latter, as it's only logical to assume that the young director would identify with another privileged party girl of great expectations. If it seems gimmicky, and at times it is (the strokes blaring pointlessly as Dunst minces down a corridor), the gambit is sometimes incredibly effective (Siouxsie and the Banshees commanding the dance floor at a masquerade ball; New Order chiming in for an all night birthday party).

Despite the deliberate anachronisms, the film is essentially historically accurate in what it decides to show. And that, for better or worse, is Coppola's style: what she decides to show. Her characters never march to a traditional narrative, rather, they run along a chain of moments; sometimes restrained, usually intimate, always beautifully photographed. For now, hers is the only essential Marie Antoinette film. Coppola even stated her disinterest in filming the later part of the Queen's life, stating that that responsibility belonged to another filmmaker.
Catherine Briellat and Andrea Arnold I'm looking at you.

-El Yacht

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

After Watching NEDS, I Had to Up My MEDS!

Unfortunately, NEDS is not a movie about a psychotic physician who clones Ned Beatty and joins the replicas together ala Human Centipede and then sends the troupe out on a cross country comedy adventure co-starring Rob Schneider and Udo Kier as “The Cleaner.” This NEDS (Non-Educated Delinquents) is the first film directed by Peter Mullan since 2002 heavy hitter, The Magdalene Sisters. I may not have been quite as eager to see this NEDS as I would be at the prospect of that other NEDS, but I was certainly not left sulking in a puddle of disappointment after this one.

Peter Mullan, the actor, is recognizable from appearances in films like My Name is Joe, Trainspotting, Boy A etc. Mullan, the director, hasn’t exactly been cranking out the movies and it’s apparent that he subscribes to “quality vs. quantity.” The Scottish born filmmaker with a background in political activism creates intense and jarring cinema. Like The Magdalene Sisters before it, NEDS nails you with force, right in the breadbasket.

Gifted student John McGill is preparing for his high school years in 1970s Glasgow, Scotland. Although mild mannered, he stands out from his peers in the rough, working class neighbourhood simply because he takes an interest in academics and possesses a drive to better himself. The reality of the institutionalized school system comes crashing down rather quickly, however. The teachers, many of whom could care less about making a difference, simply take on the role of wardens in an attempt to contain the contents of the holding cell powder keg. As time goes by, the persistence of crime, violence and hopelessness take their toll on John and he slips beneath the thick tread of their influence.

John McGill is Conor McCarron’s first film role and in many ways, he reminds me of Ray Winstone in Scum. In fact, the films of Alan Clarke are kindred spirits to NEDS in their brutal yet honest portrayals of adolescent struggle in the face of harsh fucking reality. Mullan, who also appears in NEDS as Conor’s alcoholic father, neither glorifies nor condemns the youth for their behaviour. He puts the entire system that has been designed to practically ensure failure on display, warts on top of warts and all.

Conor McCarron as John McGill in NEDS and Ray Winstone as Carlin in Scum.

NEDS is heavy duty but it isn’t without humour – I genuinely laughed at the ridiculousness of some scenarios (which were meant to be funny) and how the characters tried their best to get through them. There were instances where some pretty major happenings don’t end up amounting to anything, and it felt like they should have. These do work against the film to a degree. As a whole, though, this one stood out for me in my batch of recent viewings.

I was lucky to have been able to check out a print of The Magdalene Sisters when it was in its theatrical run and I anticipate the next Mullan helmed movie. Although, at this rate, it may not happen for another 10 years down the road.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Ole Switcheroo - Volume 0000002

This time around, El Yacht threw Jean Cocteau's Beauty & The Beast at Appaulled, knocking him straight on his ass. Appaulled jammed Fires on the Plain by Kon Ichikawa into a spud gun and fired it directly at El Yacht's cranium. Here's what each wrote about the experience in the emergency waiting room.

The Fires on the Plain caused this Reviewer much Pain in the Brain.

Like enjoying my annual drunken sob-fest while viewing Gone With The Wind, war films are generally a treat I save for the holiday season. Do they make me feel grateful for not having to endure such hardships? Or are there simply a lot of yuletide films with Nazis in them? Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, indeed. Fiddle-dee-dee! Needless to say that viewing Kon Ichikawa's grueling 1959 masterpiece Fires On The Plain has thrown my seasonal cycle totally out of whack.

The Philippine Front. February 1945. Small bands of Japanese soldiers struggle desperately to survive against the Americans, unforgiving terrain, and each other. Opening with a sound bitch-slap the intense action rarely lets up; but despite the bombast of war, the film possesses extraordinary use of silence. Our protagonist explores a deserted village looking for supplies; shares a moment with a lonely ant; follows the beacon of a silver cross only to discover a maelstrom of twist ed corpses at its feet. An endless parade through rain and muck where the smallest obstacle can mean certain death. A chain of soldiers pathetically trying on the same pair of souless boots is especially poignant. I can't list all of the moments of artfully choreographed torture on display, but rest assured it finally involves cannibalism - both voluntary and otherwise.

It's remarkable that this was produced a mere six years after the actual events. Ichikawa's views and austere visuals anticipate a furrow that would later be richly ploughed be Herzog and Tarkovsky. He effortlessly establishes how easily relatively small things can attain immense importance during war. Are they guerillas making smoke signals? Depleted artillery? Famers burning corn husks? What's all the fuss? They're just fires on the plain.
-El Yacht

Booty & Da Beast

As El Yacht presented me with my next movie mission, I squawked out my excitement like a frat house mascot cockatoo who’s just been informed it’s his turn to do a rail off the ass of a hammered freshman. Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast has long been another of those “Why the hell have I not seen this?!” films. No disrespect to Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, but something told me this would be the best version of the fairy tale to go with since none of the others were exactly screaming my name. Well, unless there’s an adaptation somewhere out there starring Weng Weng as the Beauty and Klaus Kinski as the Beast.

The film kicks off with a simple yet clever title sequence before a meet and greet with two super self-absorbed, evil sisters. Adelaide and Felicie revel in crushing the body and soul of sweetie pie third sister Belle. These are the type of bitches who would step over the flailing bodies of suicide bombing victims and only offer to assist the dying with heaps of sputum and fashion critiques. Their father has recently lost his profitable shipping business. While the family sets sail into the storm of poverty, Adelaide and Felicie continue to spend the family’s remaining money on shit like diamond covered water wings and designer nose plugs. Avenant, a friend of fourth sibling Ludovic, wants to tap him some a’ dat Belle ass and marry her up, but Belle ain’t down wit dat pliznan. He’s a scoundrel zero, she wants to get wit a hero!

Chasing down a lead that could put the family back in the high life again, Pops heads out with a skip in his step sensing he’ll be rolling in coke and hookers again very soon. When asked what gift she would like him to return with, darling Belle requests only a simple rose. Bad choice, girlfriend. The only one with a thumb green enough to grow roses in this neck of the woods is Da Muthafuckin’ Beast and the price for stealing one is… well, watch the goddamn movie!

Cocteau is a Sir Reel of the surreal and he knits one hell of a gothic yarn. (Let us not forget the co-director [un]credit of one Rene Clement - mad props.) Human body parts are designed right into the sets and creepy reverse shots work to excellent effect. The star of the show though is without a doubt, The Beast. He is so sinister and genuinely eerie he could make even the most grim black metal fan drop his bullet belt and run for the hills. His make-up would be amazing if it appeared in film form today, but simply spectacular for 1946.

Other highlights include a rather pleasant shot of Belle’s ample cleave - pretty risqué for a film from this time period (Mmwaaahh, the French!) and the absolutely choice line “May the devil himself splatter you with dung.”


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Ole Switcheroo - Volume 0000001

Jesus Christs, my mouth is on FIRE! As I type this gobbledy goop, I'm sipping a freshly made, good for you juice containing the luscious liquid of slaughtered beets, apples, tomato and lettuce, as well as an arseload of cayenne fucking pepper! You see, my soul mate Grimberly watched the doc “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” about the dude who changed his life for the better by juicing and immediately went out and bought us a top-of-the-line juicer so we could feel wondrous and potentially postpone our demise just a little bit longer. Instead of the suggested half teaspoon, this time ‘round I plunged a full tablespoon of the red devil shit into this bitch because, well, I wanted ta rollz hardcore. Now, I can’t feel my face, my poor tum tum hurts and my head feels like its just stepped into an Ulrich Seidel film. To your health!


El Yacht and I have officially started something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. No, I don't mean riding bikes naked through a park covered in peanut butter and screaming for the squirrels to “Come and get it!” I’m talking about the ole switcheroo. This involves selecting a specific movie for the other chump to watch that the chosen one has not seen. It can either be something you really want them to watch because you think they’d love it OR something you know they would absolutely hate and you’d like to torture them by forced viewing. Both parties must agree to watch the film in its entirety without fast forwarding. Then, at the end, you write a review with a synopsis of your thoughts. This is an awesome way to make someone finally check out something they’ve been meaning to see, or simply, a tremendous method to torment a friend. It can also work if you have an equal numbered chunk of pals. You can draw names and make it group effort. That is, if you internet nerds can manage to pull yourselves away from your frigging LARP fests.

To get things rolling, I chose the 1964 film The Naked Kiss for El Yacht. I truly dig the picture and figured he would too, but I also selected it to get a friend of ours to stop ridiculing him for having never seen a Sam Fuller film – someone who adores Fuller above all others. This particular guy is a walking noir encyclopedia who teaches on the subject and I plan on interviewing him for this very space in the future. El set me up with Lola Montes by Max Ophuls, a movie I have wanted to check out for a very long time. Here’s what we done went and thunk:

The Acid Kiss of Constance Towers.

American genre maverick Samuel Fuller has been on my radar for years, however, only recently did I finally 'seal the deal' and view his controversial masterpiece, The Naked Kiss. Released in 1963, the film is a pulpy, delirious slice of noir that completely retains its abilities to shock. I simply couldn't believe that what I was watching was forty-seven years old. Prostitution, pedophilia, and especially American hypocrisy are stingingly probed through an unerring, frenetic narrative and virtuoso editing.

I pride myself on possessing an extensive, if somewhat fractured knowledge of film history - specifically pertaining to badass women. All my life, I have worshipped the Fondas, the Charlottes, the Denueves; but only recently did I become aware of Constance Towers. At the eye of the storm is her monolithic performance as Kelly, the traveling champagne saleswoman whose checkered past is about to destroy a seemingly innocuous small town. Towers'portrayal of Kelly is deceptively complex, aptly bestowing her with attributes of deepest sympathy and hell-bent vengeance. Envision Charles Bronson as written by Margaret Laurence.

A twenty minute cross-section depicts Kelly as a resplendent Florence Nightingale conducting a choir of handicapped cherubs at the local hospital, and then as the wrath of moral decency, cooly marching into the local brothel to force-feed a lecherous madame the cash earned by a recently corrupted young girl. Memories of Johnny Guitar's fallen angels and spinster harpies are conjured, but Fuller one-ups Nicholas Ray by shrewdly combining them into one character; and Towers tackles it with aplomb.

As Kelly swiftly asserts her dual position amongst the townsfolk, she inevitably attracts male attention: first from the incognito sheriff, and secondly from the town-founder's surviving heir and eventual fiance, J.L. Grant (who bears more then a passing resemblance to Kenneth Anger). Kelly, of course, exposes Grant as a pedophile and kills him in a fit of shock and rage, explaining that he possessed the scent of a pervert - The Naked Kiss.

Needless to say, it's tough stuff that continues to resonate today, even if it's lead actress is all but forgotten. Whatever. There's a loyal contingent out there, adoring and convinced of Towers' astringent genius, waiting for her to receive the accolades she deserves.
-El Yacht

LOLA MONTES (1955) by Appaulled

This is a film that rises to the top section of many ‘Greatest Ever” lists so I eagerly anticipated my date night with Lola Montes. The movie was Max Ophuls first and last foray into the world of colour film (he died in ’57) and it was very quickly apparent to me why this picture is held in such high regard by so many. The look of this sucker kicked the feet out from under my lower jaw causing my tongue to dart helplessly around the carpet for a few minutes until I could get a grip and ram the slimy beast back into its filthy home. The cinematography and choreography were equally responsible for summoning this disgusting display. What didn’t just leave me winded, but choked me into submission, was the 3D-like depth of view featured in the opening scenes. Ophuls must have been both obsessive and a perfectionist to have managed to create such a show of visual art.

The many romances of cabaret dancer Lola Montes (as played by Martine Carol) are told in flashbacks and live action sequences performed by a kaleidoscopic circus. The ringleader (Peter Ustinov) sensationalizes the stories in the role of showman, the equivalent of a present day tabloid narrator. Montes and dozens of performers (including many a marvellous midget) act out the events.

As the stained sheet unfolds and we delve into Montes the woman, we only get so close. She appears strong yet fragile. Her many relationships and intimate encounters are brought to life for the eager paying attendants who revel in all the juicy, sordid details. With this comes a degree of sadness. Some of the acting can be overwrought and melodramatic but in the context of the film, this is really only a minor distraction. Lola Montes is a gorgeous Cinemascope dreamscape with breathtaking, lavish colour that is just so goddamn stunning. Criterion have made her available in a 2-disc edition and she knocked my holey socks clear off. Next up, The Earrings of Madame de…

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Welcome of Sorts for All

Wow. How in the hell did you ever find us? Ending up on a blog with the name “Suckle Hog,” you were probably searching for something forbidden and naughty, weren’t you. That’s OK. Your dirty, disgusting, Satanic secret is safe with us. Hey! Now that you’ve been completely let down, why not bookmark us and check back often to view tons of stuff you are in no way interested in!

For absolutely no reason at all, we, the two Suckle Hogs, shall be using this precious space to rant and rave about movies, and maybe television, and maybe sometimes hunks of other junk. I’m Appaulled and he’s El Yacht. Come back again someslime, won’t you? We promise not to be good.

El Yacht


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coffin Joe: Embodiment of Evil DVD review

Hey hey, my my, Coffin Joe will never die!

Man, I feel sorry for anyone who has never experienced the movie magnificence of Jose Mojica Marins. The Brazilian boogeyman in the fetching undertaker's hat and badass cape has given his people, and indeed the entire world, a true gift in the form of Coffin Joe. This sinister character (it actually seems more an extension of Marins than a simple role) has terrorized and thrilled audiences for decades, and now, at 75, the elderly madman is back in black and shows absoutely no sign of wimping out. It's been a lonely chunk of years without Coffin Joe raising his coiled fingernails to the skies in the name of all that is unholy. But like a lost vampire wandering aimlessly through the endless desert and happening upon a warm pool of refreshing blood beneath the palms, Embodiment of Evil swoops down as a great beast to excrete a thirst quenching blast of everything the extreme movie fan's body needs to function properly.

The direction of an Embodiment of Evil trailer view I checked out a couple years back was reassuring, but my nerves were still somewhat on edge. How would the years and a much changed movie industry affect Marins and this next installment? Well, it is with a degree of sick pleasure that I found the film to be very close to how I hoped it would be in this day and age. First, the level of sadism, psychopathy and evil are in the deep red. I was reminded of Jan Svankmajer's 'Lunacy,' not due to any particular similarities in style but with respect to seeing a filmmaker who has not mellowed with age or toned down the cinematic chaos they created in their earlier years. One's own fear of closing mortality can certainly instigate a life review and an easing back of extremity and religious skewering out of fear of what's to come out "there." Well, Svankmajer and Morins jus don't give a fuck, and as hardcore seniors, they keep comin' out guns a blazin' and taking no prisoners.

As the 3rd release in the Coffin Joe trilogy, the story of Embodiment of Evil is straight forward but none the less nicely fucked up. C.J. is released from prison after a lengthy term and immediately resumes his quest to find the ideal female loins to implant his demon seed. Of corpse, there are those who try and stop this noble quest. Fools! What we get along the way are the awesome evil rantings of a maniacal genious philosopher, bodily dismemberment and skull bashing cruelty. As with previous Coffin Joe incantations, there are moments of surrealism and hokey coolness. I love that Coffin Joe himself, the Godfather of All Ghouls, gets scared and freaked out by some of the shit that he sees. The image of a zombified ex hanging from a tree in the woods and talking to him prompts an awesome terrified reaction! There are scenes and scenerios that would never be effective or work if they had been produced by someone trying too hard to make a fucked up film (Harmony Korine!). To Jose Mojica Marins, this shit just comes naturally and it shows. To other wannabes, the forced weirdness is blatant and falls flat.

There are random updates to the stylistic qualities that diminsh aspects of the film to a degree, but by and large, Embodiment is refreshing and it delivers in spades. Synapse have released the film as a BLU/DVD combo and it comes with a Making Of and footage from the Fantasia premiere.

Now, if I could only find my old VHS tape of Marins as Coffin Joe appearing on The Arsenio Hall Show. He came out in a casket, covered in maggots. Anyone got this??