Death

Moonwalker

Here at Junkfood Cinema, we don’t often get “heavy,” as the kids say. By the way, the kids who say that are now very old people. It’s not that we shy away from the more serious aspects of life, it’s just that jokes tend to be our bread and butter; cookie bread and handfuls of butter-creme frosting respectively. However, there are moments when filmic oddities, those written off by most, offer startling new context upon revisit that, though categorically unfunny, deserve contemplation. These moments canonize what it is we love about the discarded, the forgotten, and the schlocktastic. In the cast of this week’s entry, we elevate our trivial hobby to an issue of life and death. And moonwalking. In 1988, there arrived on this planet a strange spectacle. It was called Moonwalker, and it was a…film?…starring the most famous person on the planet. The late pop icon Michael Jackson headlined just his second feature-length movie–again using the word lightly– since 1978’s The Wiz. Moonwalker begins with concert footage of Jacko performing “Man in the Mirror.” It’s ironic that a song about redefining one’s identity opens a film with no discernible clue as to what it wants to be. What follows is a montage of clips from his music videos as well as fan-made visual interpretative flourishes. Some of these are impressive, if creepy (the claymation accompaniment to “ABC” reminding us that before The Jackson Five, Michael and his brothers were somehow The California Raisins), while others are awful, if […]

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Boiling Point

This isn’t going to be some touchy-feely deal on how to come to grips with death, because, as you may recall, I think most people overreact to celebrity deaths and for the most part you should just man the hell up and deal with it. Not that you actually have anything to deal with, since you were about as close to any celebrity as you are to the mailman. Less so, even. But if you want touched and felt up, come see me in San Diego later this week. I’ll do you right. But that would be a rehash of my feelings if I just harped on you about growing a decent sack of testicles and not getting all sad faced that someone you never met and someone you never knew (they’re actors, after all, portraying fake characters) has passed on. I mentioned it briefly in this boiling point about things I hate and fellow Reject Kevin Carr dubbed the overflow of emotion the “Heathgasm.” So just what the hell is this about?

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In his last day on the planet, Satché (Saul Williams) doesn’t go sky diving, and he doesn’t go skinny dipping. He probably doesn’t even have a bucket list. What he does have is a vibrant world at his fingertips and a courageous ability to walk calmly toward death. In Aujourd’hui (the french word for “Today”), writer/director Alain Gomis has used the stuffy old cliche of impending death and faced it with a poetic tone and a philosophy rooted more in sex and friendship than in deeper thinking. This is a mirror world that resembles our own. Possibilities are shunned, the end is embraced, life is just as dull and beautiful as it’s always been.

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Why Watch? A gorgeous example of dynamic camera work done for a poetic patchwork of story imagery. Yes, it’s funny to see a movie called The Last 3 Minutes be 4 minutes long, but every second is well worth it. This is death through the eyes and ears of our memory – the last gasping wonder of a world brimming with colors and trumpet bursts that we don’t think about as we walk through our normal hours. This short film is as evocative as it is stunning. A common idea presented uncommonly. What does it cost? Just 4 minutes of your time. Check out The Last 3 Minutes for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because everything falls away in the face of your own death. This student short film shows some of the pitfalls of student filmmaking, but it also displays a clever use of a gimmick, some impressive camerawork, and a mystery that unfolds into a greater story. Told in reverse, a young man tries to tie up all of his loose ends before shuffling off his mortal coil. The words flashing over different parts of the story are a bit unnecessary, but overall, it’s a sci-fi-feeling drama without the science fiction that asks a question about what’s important in our own lives. What does it cost? Just 4 minutes of your time. Check out Tick Tock for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because it is a sad celebration. This highly effecting short has an uncanny ability to create smiles and watery eyes in equal measure. Director Michaël Dudok de Wit earned an Oscar for this story of a young girl on a bicycle who waves goodbye to her father as he rows out to sea in a small boat. Through flowing watercolors and minimalist ink work, the story of her life and her longing for her father unfolds until it reaches a beautiful yet difficult climax. Some have the ability to tell stories without words, and de Wit is most certainly one of them. Father and Daughter is a moving poem, an ode to one of the most important relationships we can ever have, appreciated even more in the light of losing it. Happy Father’s Day, everyone. Watch this, then call your pop and tell him you love him. What does it cost? Just 9 minutes of your time. Check out Father and Daughter for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because this film goes down like a cold glass of lemonade. Sharp and sweet at the same time. This clever little short brings a sense of innocence and whistling-based Americana. It’s the classic tale of the lemonade stand done with the ominous presence of a certain cloaked specter who comes for us all eventually. The character design is inventive, and it’s worth a few laughs (and one big one at the end). It’s a case where a good idea met with great execution and shoved in some dark humor for good measure. What does it cost? Just 2 minutes of your time. Check out Death Buy Lemonade for yourself:

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Sad news to report today for fans of classic horror. Ingrid Pitt, most well known for her work in the Hammer films of the 60s and 70s passed on in the early morning of November 23rd due to heart problems. The beautiful actress got her start in 1964  and continue working in genre films into 2008. Most recognizable either nude or with a pair of fangs in her mouth (sometimes both), Pitt also starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the World War II actioner Where Eagles Dare. While many of you may not be familiar with her work, she had a devoted following that lead to tattoos and busts of her likeness being created. If you’ve got a few minutes, just do an image search for her, which will hopefully prompt you to carve out 90 minutes and take a look at one of her films. Our thoughts are with her family, of course.

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Sunday Shorts

I had a plan for this Sunday’s short film; something I had watched and enjoyed last weekend right after posting the latest entry to Sunday Shorts. That said, I feel inclined to temporarily abandon the other short in favor of this one, but not because I prefer it. On the contrary — it doesn’t do anything for me at all; in fact, I think it’s sort of awful. A part of doing what we do here at FSR is reviewing feature films we’ve never seen before. It’s part and parcel to our job that we’ll run into films that leave a bad impression, and we report on this, to you. While I have the benefit of moving through a fair number of short films very quickly to find something I appreciate, I thought it would be interesting to turn my Sunday Shorts column on its ear today and present something that, for me at least, sort of misses the mark.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a young man enamored by a beautiful city who discovers that amidst its perfection lies a man who lures victims to a violent death by drowning.

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I met Death today. We are playing chess. Antonius Block returns from the Crusades and jumps out of the fighting and into the black plague as the flesh-rotting disease hitches a ride all over the beautiful Swedish countryside. On a rocky beach looking out over the water, a cloaked man approaches, introduces himself as Death, and Block challenges him to a game of chess on the condition that a victory will secure his life.

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benfosterinterview

The star of The Messenger talks about losing loved ones, his X3 disagreements with Brett Ratner, and the film he turned down five times.

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SororityRowHeader

These two new clips from Sorority Row are NSFW. As long as that stands for Now, Some Fine Women. And also stands for Not Safe For Work Due to Exposed Breasts. Or Oh Snap Some Girl Gets A Bottle Shoved Down Her Throat.

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preposterous-header

Chev Chelios may have cheated death in Crank 2: High Voltage, but he’s definitely not the first. Check out some of the dumbest ways studios have saved characters from their all-too-early demises.

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