[EXPRESSO] Moonage Daydream (2022) | Sovereign Supreme

There are many kinds of films based on and featuring music behemoths, but when we step outside of fully fictionalized retellings with a proper plot, we often see two specific kinds prevail, the docufilm, the mixture of live recordings with some talking heads providing hindsight and opinions on the importance of the band/artist at various points in time.

Sometimes it will be something else entirely, be it the full lenght silent anime film/music video of Interstella 5555, or the mix of a music video-style narrative wrapped around live recordings done in Metallica: Through The Never.

But usually, the promotional pieces will tut about this not being another docufilm based on a popular, world-beloved music legend, as if the word “docufilm” itself has become dirty.

Though, in the case of Moonage Daydream, the claim of this not being labeled as “just another music docufilm” is actually true, as this it’s a full on experience, a proper spaceborn roller coaster into the life of David Bowie, trying to understand the nature and intimate essence of the chameolonic rockstar, helped by the privileged access of director Brett Morgen (Crossfire Hurricane, Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck) to the complete catalogue of archive footage and with full blessings from Bowie’s estate.

It’s a tall order to make justice of the incredible, majestic and ever transforming figure of David Bowie, but Moonage Daydream actually manages to do it, marrying rare archive footage, previously unreleased live performances, stunning visuals (that i feel benefit from the IMAX treatment) and depth without being bond to a strict linear narrative or having things overexplained by other people telling what they think David Bowie was as a person and rockstar,

It’s also incredibly well edited, with a delightful smorgasboard of movie references that are just the cherry on top. Masterpiece? Masterpiece.

[EXPRESSO] Crimes Of The Future (2022) | Biomeat: Flesh Nectar

David Cronenberg is back on the big screen with a… remake of his early film Crimes Of The Future. “Remake” in name only, as it just shares the cyberpunk setting, his passion for the pleasures of mutated flesh, and the idea of a future where human bodies can create new organs (often without apparent function), alongside a new kind of sexual perversity steeped in medical science.

That aside, it’s pretty much its own thing, fully befitting the style of directing Cronenberg would master later, but instead of a pederast ring obsessed with perverse secretions and strange malodies, the plot here focuses on the aspect of the human body spontaneously producing new, strange and wonderful organs, to the point surgery has been repursosed as a method of performance art, encouraged by an unexplicable disappearing of pain and sicknesses for the human race as a whole…

The movie follows two world famed “body artists” Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and his assistant Caprice (Lea Seydoux) as they perform artistical surgery sessions by removing the new tumoral organs that keep growing in Saul’s body, but the duo it’s approached by a weird goverment wing that wants to establish a legal, official list of the new organs, and a father that’s willing to give the body of his dead son so the duo can perform a public autopsy on him..

While one might argue that Cronenberg here is revisiting an old cyberpunk concept two decades later…. i’d say the premise still feels intriguing and novel, and because cyberpunk itself has aged into almost irrilevancy and hasn’t moved forward… this doesn’t feel as dated as it could.

Despite that and suffering from some abrupt sequences, it’s still quality Cronenberg, not him as its best, but good stuff, overall, even if this future feels less so today.

[EXPRESSO] Tutankhamun: The Last Exhibition (2022) | Here Comes The Centhury Boy

Docufilm time!

This one is an italian production directed by Ernesto Pagano, with some narration by Manuel Agnelli in the original italian release, and by Iggy Pop in the english/international one.

The documentary goes into the early discovery of the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922 by english aristocrat Howard Carver, talking about the impact on western popular culture the discovery had (including popularizing the “pharaoh’s curse” in various medias) and showing the preparations made for a London based exhibition that started in 2019 to put on the display the many treasures and relics found inside.

All with commentaries by various “talking heads” from the egyptian, italian and british side of things.

It’s not a bad documentary, necessarily, but it’s one that feels like it has to appeal to everyone, so it doesn’t quite committ to a certain direction nor goes into any detail. For example, in a docufilm about Tutankhamun you don’t learn much that wasn’t already common knowledge, you’d think they took the opportunity to actually go further and try to depict who this young pharaoh was a person (more than in a couple of passing lines, anyway), his lineage, the historical background he lived in…

Heck, i would have preferred some more footage of the exhibition itself (since due to COVID pandemic the tour stopped and Egypt decided not to move the artifacts out of the Giza museum), but nope, we have a cool narrating voice trying to fashion some kind of fictionalized “epic” scenes… only to then move to scenes of people slowly misuring, cataloguing and inspecting the artifacts.

It’s not “offensive” nor a complete bore, and it’s short, just 80 minutes long, but that exacerbates the feel this was made just to have something out celebrating the 100th anniversary of “King Tut”’s tomb being discovered.

Shintaro Kago Artbook ARTBOOK REVIEW

Given my adoration for the ero-guro master that is Shintaro Kago, i was gonna jump immediatly at the chance of adding an artbook of his to my collection (which it’s quite extensive, if i say so myself)… and i did. Had to import it, since it was gonna be handled by french publisher The Mansion Press, instead of the many italian and international publishers who usually publish his works (including underground – and fellow italians – firms like the excellent Hollow Press).

Not that it mattered, since The Mansion Press ships worlwide, it’s an artbook, and it happens to be localized in english.

“Localized” in the sense the publishing credits and the few titles-thems of the pieces are translated in english. It’s absolutely 100 % import friendly, so worry not on this regard.

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[EXPRESSO] Exhibition On Screen: Sunflowers (2021) | Now Available On CDi

Yeah, i changed my mind and on a whim went to see this limited screening event release.

This is actually the latest in the Exhibition On Screen gallery series of art documentaries, which already featured the dutch master painter Van Gogh twice (Van Gogh In Japan and Van Gogh: A New Way Of Seeing), which makes sense as many other films (documentaries and fiction) based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh and his art were and are still made regularly, with various degrees of quality.

So i was surprised by this one, as it centers on an apparently both specific and banal subject of Van Gogh’s output, his series of Sunflowers paintings, often mistaken as a single work but actually consist of 11 variations-iterations, and exploring the reasons why these prove to be incredibly iconic and popular for decades, the factual events (and theories) under which Van Gogh painted them, and some narrative inserts with actor Jamie de Courcey as Van Gogh.

Honestly, it explores the subject quite well, avoiding most of the obvious and beyond well known facts, and it being just a glorified advert for a museum (as they can be, like that one documentary about the Hermitage narrated by Jeremy Irons), while we do travel across the globe to see the 5 publicly owned pieces of the series (one in the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum, of course), in what they differ from each other, and we go a bit deeper in the matters of restauration, of critique and preservation of these painting, as well into connected topic of botany, and the persisting popularity of what are – at first glance – very simple and almost banal in terms of subject.

Not great, but definitely a good art documentary, one coming in a comfortable 90 minutes package.

Ganbare Arino-san!

Today there’s no review, no promise of something coming to the blog later this year, not even a ramble on a recent subject. This one it’s for the analytics, to have something posted on to keep my streak going, but i can say i’m working on the reviews of two anime fighters, both really close to completition.

And i can recommend you watch good ol’ Arino, any way you can, good stuff!

I’m not gonna pull a “seriously though” because i do feel like Game Center CX would be up many people alleys when talking about retro videogames shows, but seems kinda niche in the “anglophone” sphere on the web.

That is better than just posting a screenshot from an anime and be done with it.

I will say i’m sorry i can’t offer much in terms of cinema releases, as even the events are lackluster, with a new documentary-style film about Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train getting released as event projections.

Shame Mugen Train was already released here officially dubbed on Amazon Prime Video last year, i would love to see it theathers again, still, but that argument train left the station time ago, and i’m leasurelly watching the Entertaiment District arc of Demon Slayer for my own pleasure, btw.

Yeah, it’s january alright in terms of releases, even in “The Boot”, and i’ve rambled anyway, bye!

[EXPRESSO] The French Dispatch (2021) | Tales From Ennui-sur-Blasè

Yes, i was quite excited when this was announced, i love me some Wes Anderson, especially when he’s doing stopmotion animation, but the live action casts for his movies have everyone in them, so i’m willing to “overlook” the issue time, though i’m not entirely sure about William Dafoe not being made out of clay to some degree.

After his japanese themed envorimental tale of samurai dogs, this time we’re dealing with a story about the world of journalism, as an anthology of stories adapted from the fictional “The French Dispatch Magazine”, here presented as a “real” side column to the Kansas-based paper “The Evening Sun”, originally conceived for travel logs and such but eventually got big and based itself in the little french town of “ Ennui-sur-blasè”, attracting the best journalists from all over the globe.

All framed as the newspaper founder dies and by his will the French Dispatch itself will close, with the writers and staff selecting the best stories for the last issue of the magazine itself, ranging to a student protest to a romance between a psychotic prisoned artist and his warden.

As you can guess, expect and tell, this sound indeed like an ensemble cast for a huge “vignette variety hour” on the subject of journalism, promising all the zany quirks of Wes Anderson’s eccentric directing and writing style… and sure as hell you’re not gonna change opinion on his works with The French Dispatch, which plays to all the strenghts and flaws of Wes Anderson with even more vigor than before, for best or worst.

Personally i loved it, but i think it’s fair to say it could have been better.

Especially since we have reasons to expect a lot.

Even so, at the very worst it’s good, so i do recommend it.

[EXPRESSO] Candyman (2021) | The Writing On The Wall

Almost went into this one completely “blind”, as while i was aware of the Candyman series, i never experienced it. I thought it was gonna be a reboot since it was discussed as such, but i caught wind of it now being a direct sequel to the original 1992 Candyman.

So i watched that one (didn’t have time for the sequels) for the sake of a better review just before going to see this new film, as i wanna know what i’m talking about, you know.

Still, the premise feels like this could be a reboot, as it’s about a visual artist, Anthony, that learns of the urban legend of Candyman (a 19th centhury slave brutally tortured and then murdered with bees) from the brother of his fiancee Brianna, an art gallery director, and together with her decides to do an exhibit on the subject. But things go awry as people that attend the exhibit start dying. Not ideal.

Make no mistake, though, this is NOT a reboot or a “spiritual sequel”, this is indeed a direct sequel to the first Candyman, and many plot points from that also come back into this one, so one wonders why also just call it “Candyman”, but i guess it’s for marketing’s sake, and the Halloween series already did this stunt before, so…

While it can be seen on its own and they explain most of the important stuff, you’d do yourself a bit of a disservice going to watch this without having seen the 1992 Candyman, as this sequel does play around with the mythos of the Candyman and elaborates on the themes in a modern and ambitious way that honestly feels quite a fitting, natural progression for the concept.

And i’d say the result it’s quite good and pays off indeed.

One Piece TV SP 3: Save! The Last Big Stage (2003) [REVIEW]

Director: Junji Shimizu

Writer: Junki Takegami

Runtime: 46 Minutes

While it’s not One Piece’s doing a community theather version of Rigoletto…. yeah, it’s not that, years and years later Toei they eventually tried to do some musical style episodes, but of course the most the Straw Hats could actually do is the circus, with or without amish clowns.

And before you ask, no, they didn’t stoop as low as having Buggy/Bagy involved.

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EX-ARM, the oddly shaped Manos of fate, and the invisible off-screen truck of doom

I didn’t expect to write another one of these posts, because the novelty of the EX-Arm anime being unbelievable crap wore off and i just got accostumed to its foul, robotic and uncanny fare. Oh well, it will avoid me having to note down another batch of odd fuck up, animation errors, bad camera angles and stuff.

Or so i thought.

(Gif taken from Twitter, from a fellow stunned viewer)

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