• Through the Never (2013)

    Metallica's Through the Never was a commercial failure but is a very interesting movie that would have deserved more recognition. The movie revolves around a roadie who is sent on a mission to fuel a stranded truck in order to deliver a crucial item for a concert. While this mission sounds simple, the quiet protagonist named Trip gets caught in a violent confrontation between demonstrators and the police in downtown Vancouver. As if that weren't enough already, a mysterious black rider is hunting the roadie through town for mysterious reasons. Trip must fight for survival and deliver the item as quickly as possible.

    About one third of the movie tells the story described above. It's a mysterious fantasy story that mixes actual locations with supernatural events. The story asks more questions than it answers. It actually offers some food for thought and is everything but conventional. Metallica certainly took a few risks here but intellectual and open-minded audiences will appreciate the experimental and surreal approach.

    The other two thirds of this film show Metallica playing a show featuring songs from all their records except Load and St. Anger. The band offers fast-paced garage rock anthems such as ''Hit the Lights'', atmospheric epics like ''Master of Puppets'' and heartfelt ballads in the key of ''Nothing Else Matters''. The set list combines popular classics such as progressive thrash metal milestone ''One'' with overlooked fan favourites such as the experimental instrumental ''Orion''. New and old fans alike will appreciate the diversified and unique set list. As if the great music weren't enough, there are numerous interesting things happening on stage thanks to impressive special effects. The climax is certainly the crumbling of a gigantic statue of Greek goddess Themis during "...and Justice for All'' and the intense blackout that follows immediately after ''Enter Sandman''.

    In conclusion, both the actual concert recorded in Edmonton and Vancouver as well as the mysterious side story are intriguingly connected in this experimental movie that shouldn't only fascinate thrash metal fans but also cinephiles who like to think outside the box. It wouldn't be exaggerated to compare Metallica's Through the Never to Pink Floyd's The Wall thirty-one years earlier. This movie is worth being watched over and over again and purchasing its diversified soundtrack is also highly recommended.

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  • Midsommar (2019)

    Midsommar is a movie that unfolds long after you have actually watched it. Its rich cinematography might grip right from the start but the numerous allegories will make you think days after you have experienced this film.

    This movie is quite an experience indeed. It makes me think of a mixture of The Village and Mandy. It makes me think of the former because this movie is falsely advertised as a horror movie and could rather be described as a tense drama. Both films take place in secluded areas involving traditional societies and their rituals. Both movies have a slow pace and are controversially received. It makes me think of the latter because the visual aspects are quite vivid. Especially the use of colours has psychedelic elements that make viewers think of uneasy drug trips. Both movies slowly intensify and end rather grislily.

    The story is quickly told. Three anthropologist students are invited by their Swedish classmate to assist Midsommar festivities in his secluded hometown but what starts as a fascinating trip soon becomes a horrifying experience.

    The characters in the film are quite intriguing. Lead actress Florence Pugh plays an insecure young woman suffering from panic attacks who has to cope with the grisly fact that her bipolar sister killed their parents before committing suicide. Her boyfriend played by Jack Reynor has a hard time dealing with his girlfriend's negative moods but doesn't want to let her down and actually invites her to the trip to Sweden to help her change her mind. Another loud-mouthed student played by Will Poulter resents her coming with them and feels that she has a negative impact on her boyfriend and is spoiling everyone's anticipation. The third student played by William Jackson Harper keeps a lower profile and is the more intellectual type who gets into a heated conflict with the young woman's boyfriend because he wants to steal the idea for his thesis. Finally, there is the Swedish student played by Vilhelm Blomgren who seems to be very calm, compassionate and friendly but actually has a love interest in the young woman and feels that her boyfriend doesn't treat her correctly. All those underlying conflicts surface as the characters face extreme situations in Sweden.

    Revealing you anything more about the movie would spoil its mezmerizing enjoyment. There are a few negative elements to point out however. The movie has a very slow pace and slightly overstays its welcome which might be frustrating for less patient viewers. The plot is relatively simple and predictable even though many critics try to interpret too much into the movie to forcedly fill the void. Let's mention that the movie features some gore and nudity and shouldn't be watched by anyone who isn't eighteen years old.

    In the end, Midsommar is a unique experience that deserves to be watched on multiple occasions and discussed with friends in order to be fully appreciated. The unique atmosphere, intriguing characters and stylish cinematography make up for some lengths and an at times simplistic plot. As someone else has pointed out, this movie might give a blow to the Swedish tourism industry as grisly horrors unfold in bright daylight which is once again quite unique for such a drama.

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  • Climax (2018)

    Caspar Noé's latest movie Climax is an experimental combination of a musical, drama and horror film.

    Climax is a musical because it revolves around a group of young French dancers who get prepared for their new show over the course of three days in an abandoned school building. The movie starts with interview sections as the different dancers talk about their motivations to join the group. The second scene shows the elaborate dance choreography. The third scene is the party after the last practice when you can see the characters dance to electronic music. The entire first quarter of the film focuses on dance moves and electronic music to portray how the characters express themselves artistically.

    The movie slowly shifts towards a drama. Someone has poisoned the sangria with LSD and the dancers start acting erratically, emotionally and aggressively. We observe a brother who overprotects his younger sister who is longing for more independence. We get to know that one of the female dancers is pregnant and she doesn't know who the father of her child could be. We come across a nervous mother who is desperately trying to protect her son from the dancers.

    The film ends as a horror movie as the situation escalates. Prejudice, rape and murder occur as the drugs bring out the worst in each and every single character. The film's second half and especially its final third are certainly hard to digest. This movie should only be watched by adults with an open mind and a strong stomach.

    The cinematography of the film needs to be pointed out. There are almost no cuts as the camera randomly follows characters throughout the fateful night which gives the movie a quite fluid vibe. The fact that the movie values music and movements over an actual plot or even dialogues is also particularly outstanding. The film starts with the credits, introduces chapters like silent movies used to do and the camera sometimes turns around to portray a world that has been shaken upside down.

    As nightmarish as the film might seem, Climax is actually based upon true events. Without pointing fingers, the movie certainly includes a lot of social criticism. It shows how partners, friends and even family members turn against each other once a drug has eliminated their self-control. The film also uses a lot of stereotypes that may be shocking at first contact but that turn out being more realistic that one might be willing to admit. It leads the viewers to question their societies and their values.

    In the end, Climax is a mindblowing experience unlike any other film. It's not easy to digest because of its explicit violence, thin plot and absence of dialogues but the aesthetic aspect, vibrant atmosphere and underlying messages pardon for its minor flaws. If you are an adult, have an open mind and strong stomach and like experimental cinema, this might become one of your very favourite movies.

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  • Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 (2018)

    Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 is quite different from the first volume and might actually surprise you a lot. The first film focuses on the difficult friendship between introverted drifter Jon Kortina and eccentric mortician Harvey Lewis who develop a scheme of selling gold fillings from the deceased's teeth to shady underground businessmen. This second movie tells us how the quiet drifter and his manipulative girlfriend leave the mortician for dead and try to run off with the money the scheme has made to start a new life in Colorado.

    This second volume has a much steadier pace than the first volume. This is due to the set of unusual characters the couple encounters on its strange road trip. The diversified locations also add some diversified entertainment. The final thirty minutes of the movie are very intense, come around with a series of intriguing plot twists and feature numerous deadly confrontations in breathtaking landscapes.

    Despite the differences between the two volumes, the weird tone, unexpected events and strange characters keep them together in a quiet coherent way. The ever-changing second volume itself is kept together by numerous surreal dream sequences that connect both volumes and give more background information about the two lead characters. It's certainly impossible to watch only one of the two volumes or to watch them separately over a longer period of time.

    This unique second volume is so intriguingly strange that it could be watched on several occasions in order to uncover more unsettling details and understand all its facets since some questions remain unanswered which gives the viewers some food for thought. This film has the potential to become a genuine cult movie while the first volume is rather an appropriate introduction to the madness that unfolds here. I would recommend the two volumes to fans of television shows with uniquely strange characters such as Fargo and Twin Peaks and obviously to anyone who has watched The Room even though these two volumes are much more clever, coherent and serious than you might expect. Grab a beer, invite a few friends and enjoy these two volumes to the fullest.

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  • Best F(r)iends: Volume 1 (2017)

    I had the chance to watch Best F(r)iends: Volume 1, Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 and The Room at Ottawa's famous Mayfair Theatre with Greg Sestero in attendance who would answer numerous questions about his latest project. The two volumes tell a story which is partially inspired by true events when Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau took a road trip many years ago. The two movies tell an epic story about betrayal, friendship, greed, love and trust but the two volumes are actually quite different. The first volume focuses on the growing friendship between the two main characters in Los Angeles while the second volume is an almost surreal road movie taking one of the lead actors and his girlfriend to Arizona.

    The plot focuses on lonesome and silent drifter Jon Kortina who has a shady past. He lives under a bridge and tries to get some money by walking through town with humorous signs. On his way through town, he comes across a mysterious hearse on several occasions. One day, the drifter observes how the driver of said hearse transports a coffin inside his mortuary. The mortician realizes he is being observed and spontaneously asks the drifter to help him out preparing bodies for their funerals. He later on introduces himself as Harvey Lewis, an eccentric loner who prepares masks to make the dead faces look beautiful. While the mortician is looking for a business partner and true friend, the drifter is only interested in stealing the gold fillings of the deceased's teeth to make money. One day, his conscience comes into play and he reveals his intentions to the mortician. The two start to get involved with shady underground businessmen and the more money they make the more risks they take. Things are getting even more complicated when Jon Kortina starts dating manipulative bartender Traci Walton who wants her boyfriend to take his share of the money and start a new life with her in Colorado.

    If you were expecting a sympathetic train wreck of a movie like The Room, you will be quite surprised by this film. This experimental movie is a mixture between a drama with sad undertones about two loners, a crime flick with sinister vibes and a dark comedy film with numerous awkward situations. The movie is told with calm, care and precision. It starts with slow pace but gradually gets more intense until the closing cliffhanger which is followed by a surreal preview of the second volume. The locations are quite intriguing and cleverly accentuated by calm camera work, light techniques and sound effects. Greg Sestero's acting performance is enjoyably minimalist while Tommy Wiseau's eccentric style perfectly fits the character he incarnates. The two actors complement each other perfectly. Despite being at times awkward, I would watch Tommy Wiseau's theatrical performance over any one-dimensional acting job by the terrible Dwayne Johnson. Despite the criticism he has faced, one can't deny that Tommy Wiseau puts all his passion into his projects and this is also the case here. A man who follows his dream no matter what like he does deserves respect. Greg Sestero's courage to create such a complex project and collaborate with the eccentric Tommy Wiseau also deserves recognition.

    In the end, I liked this movie for its unpredictable plot with numerous minor twists and turns, its unusual genre mixture that keeps the film interesting despite a slow pace and the surprisingly dynamic chemistry between an introverted Greg Sestero and an eccentric Tommy Wiseau. Fans of the aforementioned artists and those who like experimental art house cinema should give the two volumes a sincere try. I didn't have any expectations walking into this film and was positively surprised.

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