Friday, February 04, 2011

Discovery #6

Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (2010)

This is modern day youth angst defined. If I was a teenager, this would probably be my favorite album of the year. So full of energy that wants to burst forth and claim the world's atrocities in one clarifying shriek, to shout down the madness of those who influence today the most. We all look around and see the stupidity and confusion of our modern world, brought on by greed and anger and violence and oppression. It's everywhere we look. We watch it and it gets us worked up and if that isn't happening to you then you are an ostrich. Crystal Castles are very very aware of the phenomenon spreading across the globe. No one puts it down with such driving beats and intense melodies and anguish shouting madness. I can hardly think straight when their music assaults my senses but I don't care. I only want to know, to remember that we have so much more to fight about, that we have to stand up and shout if we are really going to change things for the better. This is the path, this is the word, this is the message. Make your life something worthwhile so that tomorrow will be special for all of the children of today.

Incident At Loch Ness - Zak Penn (2004)

This movie was a crack-up. I still find myself smiling as the images and situations loom up in my mind like some prehistoric beast slivering through the murky waters of a loch in Scotland. The reason it is so amusing is because of Werner Herzog. If you haven't heard of this man then you must become acquainted with his work as soon as possible. He's a mad maniacal genius who has made some of the most incredible films of the last forty years, all done outside the studio system. He's also acted in some of the more quirky independent films along the way and here he gives us a taste of both worlds. The one defining aspect of all of his work is that it always appears that he is so profoundly sincere about the subjects that you can feel that sincerity coming right off the screen. It's totally refreshing to witness that, especially in a creative field where that kind of honesty is always trumped by the need for greed. Even though he didn't officially direct this "documentary", it appears that he had a lot to do with this film coming to light. It follows Herzog, as himself, filming a documentary about the Loch-Ness Monster, in which terrible disaster overcomes the entire production. Herzog is very clear from the beginning of the film that he doesn't believe in any of the tales surrounding the great myth of the Loch-Ness Monster but then everything begins to fall apart. Zak Penn, also playing himself and who ends up being the director of the final edit, is the producer of the original endeavor but manages to undermines the production by bringing in a bunch of characters who aren't exactly what Herzog needs for his film. It all just turns into a mess where everybody gets angry with everyone else and the only thing that stops them from killing each other is the fact that they have to worry about a greater menace lurking in the water. The best part about all of it is their undying attempts to make it all seem real. Everyone plays themselves, the film crew, the captain of the boat, even the model Penn brings in for visual appeal. They all go along with the drama of the event. Even the special features on the disc follow along with the story, right down to the audio commentary feature that is commonly available. It all is supremely well-made and quite funny. The one telling aspect that gives it away is that Penn makes himself look like the biggest ass of the entire affair. Now, it may very be likely that he just is a big ass in real life but why would he edit it in such a way that he looks like such a big ass? It's a minor thing to overlook in order to see such a great take on the meta-nature of the film industry, perceived so well through the lens of Herzog and company.

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