Fincher’s Tattoo Remake Gets Its Best Trailer Yet

I find myself having to begin warming up to this whole remake/reboot market which Hollywood seems to be in lately, and with Fincher, an amazingly unique and original filmmaker, I have total confidence in the fact that he will put out a fine film, but deep down it’s still hard for me to handle the fact that he has to be getting sloppy seconds on this one. What I look forward to most about the first remade feature in the Swedish crime trilogy is that with Fincher’s eye, I am sure it will look gloriously dark and seem almost Ikea-perfect. However, the original Swedish films were damn near perfect, although they regrettably had the feeling of television miniseries more than cinematic experience. (For those of you living under a rock this year, I’m of course talking about Stieg Larsson’s The Millenium Series and, in particular, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)

Anyway, I ran across this little promo spot which the filmmakers seem to have put together to promote the film in a most unique way – highlighting both the artistic, marketing and musical perfection which both David Fincher and his new-found scoring partner Trent Reznor constantly (and usually successfully) strive to. Check it out below.

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Drive

According to the trailer, “critics are raving ‘Drive is the coolest movie,'” but I think I’m a pretty good judge of cool movies and let me tell you Drive ain’t all that. First, let’s take the terrible pacing. Nicolas Winding Refn’s films are notorious for being slim on dialogue and long on stylized takes, but it’s poorly utilized here. What makes the pacing even worse though, and truly emphasizes it, is the music. Synthy, repetitive, indie pop is literally plugged in like the editors just sat there and went, “Ok, well I don’t feel like trying to cut this song to the actual film, so I’ll just slap the whole track in there and make people sit through a couple five minute, boring, slow motion music videos.”


The song at the end of the film, called “A Real Hero,” by a band called College is especially terrible, and even worse, distracting from the great ending. You see, the film has a fantastic story and even better acting, and honestly, Refn’s style-over-substance-cinema wouldn’t be so bad if it were just employed appropriately. This film needs a new editor bad. The lyrics which constantly repeat “He’s a real human being, and a real hero,” are just flat out laughable when put to the serious images during the final scenes of the film. It’s literally the worst pairing of score and movie I’ve ever witnessed. Sitting in my movie theater seat, finding myself actually fidgeting and thinking, “Yes, I get it, he’s a real human being and a real hero. Can we go now?” is not the way I saw myself finishing this movie.

According to Refn, and many critics I guess, he thinks the music speaks for the film in this case. But that would be so much better realized if he just didn’t pick a song that is literally explaining to us that Mr. Ryan Gosling is a real human being (during the day), and a real hero (by night). It’s like the laziest filmmaker move ever. Instead of trusting your audience to get what the film is about on their own, you just tell it to them in some ambiguous, cheesy, Urban Outfitters muzak, by a band that no one will ever make an effort to drive to a store and buy an album from. This unnecessary explanation and use of the song’s lyrics to explain the story however, makes absolutely no sense when you watch the movie, because by night Gosling’s character is aiding and abetting criminals and evading the police while simultaneously endangering anyone else who is on the street at the same time as him. He is most certainly no hero.

Here’s the bottom line: wait till it’s available on DVD/Blu-ray, then kill the score (God, I hope the DVD offers that option), or mute the film at the beginning and end only. Now you’ve got yourself one hell of a movie.

Here’s the song. If you listen to it long enough, it will likely make you want to drive full speed into a wall.

I’ve actually previously reviewed two of Refn’s other films Bronson and Valhalla Rising, and while Valhalla didn’t score many points for me (even though it looked gorgeous), Bronson was enjoyable albeit forgettable. Refn will probably become big(ger) news now, but before Gosling, he was maybe more of an acquired taste for the typical filmgoer. What could really make him stand out and get noticed by larger audiences though (more than the addition of a star like Gosling to his cast), is someone to help him hone his work to finer, sharper point. Conceptual, highly visual and visceral films are great, and even though Drive doesn’t appear nearly as visually striking and rich as his previous work, it’s alright because it also boasts such a rich story. The problem is, Refn doesn’t seem comfortable telling a story without the use of some style or technique picked up from whatever training he’s had. If he’d stop relying on other cinematic elements to do his storytelling work for him, but still employ those cinematic elements, he would be the next Oliver Stone or Tarantino.

Sigur Rós “Inni”

If you have never witnessed Sigur Rós as a live show, you should do yourself a favor and take the next opportunity you get. I had the rather rare opportunity during their first-ever American tour to see them in the dank confines of a pre-Katrina New Orleans House of Blues, and let me just say, I’d never once before and have never once since been to a concert where the crowd was so enveloped by the music that during a quiet moment in “Viðrar vel til loftárása” you could literally hear a pin drop – no one was chatting, glasses never clinked together, and everyone just stood watching in sheer amazement.

Aside from being the phenomenal musicians and artists that they are, they are outstanding live performers. As expected, they’re not prolific US tourers. A few years back they released a concert film called Heima which was a fantastic way to experience all they have to offer both sonically and on stage.

Surpassing that, we now get another glimpse of their ethereal live experience in the new concert film INNI. Debuting recently at the Venice Film Festival, it’s now playing in some select cities and also available to purchase. Below is a promotional clip from it called “Festival” which runs about 7 minutes long and while giving you a fantastic excerpt of what they’re like live (just wait till about 2 or 3 minutes in), the filmmaking is also replete with Alphaville-like strobing lights and Murnau-esque, grainy, saturated black-and-white imagery.

If you’re interested in purchasing the live album/video, I suggest the Limited Special Edition version which is packaged in a 7″ x 7″ x 1″ box, printed inside and complete with:

  • an exclusive (and unique to each box itself) artifact from the live show which is sealed in a printed and numbered envelope
  • a one-sided 7″ colored vinyl with unreleased track “Lúppulagið” with etching on reverse
  • a 75-min performance on DVD and Blu-ray with 4 bonus performances in both PAL and NTSC
  • DVD with exclusive 5-min short film “Klippa”
  • 2xCD live album
  • 4 7″-sized photographic prints
  • an enamel “Inni” pin badge
  • black opaque envelope with 10 pieces of A6-sized light-sensitive paper and a special URL for creating your own “Inni” images and uploading to the band’s website

Stereo MCs Video Trilogy

I love slow-motion, gritty, British slice o’ life dramas, so maybe this mini-trilogy by the UK hip-poppers Stereo MCs is a bit dull for some viewers, but it’s a really nice unison of the three individual songs off their new album with a rather tender overarching storyline. They’re like Andrea Arnold-via-Lynne Ramsay-crossed with Tricky music videos. Superb.

Part 1 – “Boy”

Part 2 – “Tales”

Part 3 – “Far Out Feeling”

All songs are from the MCs’ forthcoming album Emporer’s Nightingale. Find out more about the band and the album (plus download a new mixtape for free!) at their website.

Blakroc 2

Drew Barrymore’s ‘Crazy For You’ Disappoints

Drew Barrymore is an extremely talented director and a amazing actress, but there’s really something to be said about putting together a film production in a rush. Barrymore’s directorial debut was the hilarious, poignant and retro-cool Whip It, and she certainly has the knack for shedding beautiful light on otherwise darkly lit subcultures.

Her second effort behind the camera is a music video / short film Crazy For You. Technically, the film’s impetus was a music video for the song “Our Deal” by new wavy shoegazers Best Coast. If you don’t recognize the band by name, you’ve probably heard their hits “Boyfriend” and “Gone Again” at least a few times on your local college radio.

Barrymore attests to having only had two days to shoot this film and in those two days, having to pull off 100 shots per day, according to a cute Pitchfork.com interview with her. Whether that’s how it actually went down or not, the film is clearly a little scattershot and could have easily been edited down to fall into the three minutes of the actual song “Our Deal.” Instead, we get an extended version which rather clunkily incorporates a veritable mash-up of Best Coast tracks.

The problem is it all feels too forced for the colorful, punk rock flyer filming style which Barrymore downright owned (neigh, revitalized) in Whip It. Honestly, Best Coast has a little too atmospheric of a quality for Barrymore’s edgy kind of modern love story on the skids. So even though there’s a few other issues with the film (keep reading), the biggest to me is the music is too weak for this story, none of it feels gritty enough for the attitudes which the characters are supposedly portraying. There’s basically two punk rock attitudes at work here – Barrymore’s and Best Coast’s – and like strong magnets, they’re repelling each other.

Crazy For You is merely shades of Romeo & Juliet and West Side Story when you can tell it desperately wants to be streaks of Sid and Nancy and The Outsiders. The lead actress Chloë Moretz wants to be kick ass (ha! get it?), but unfortunately looks more likely to topple over in the studded Doc Martens she’s bopping around in. No, seriously, there’s a at least a couple shots where you can actually see her trying to keep her balance – and it’s not like these “gangsters” are shooting up in the sewers of L.A.’s off-limits viaduct/”river,” so you can’t attribute these wobbles to her being shitfaced and/or fucked up. What’s worse – one of the first shots in the film is of the two gangster girls using a rope to carefully let themselves down into the graded walls of the viaduct. A rope!!? No self-respecting bad-ass ‘bows-dropper is going to worry about scraping a tiny hole in their skinny jeans sliding down the concrete walls of the dirty California landmark.

The simple storyline is really sweet and the plot is basically Romeo and Juliet up until the point where Veronica (Moretz’s Juliet character) doesn’t want to be part her gang “The Night Creepers” (and no, they’re not creepy in the least), and wants to run away with the boy who stole her heart, but who also happens to be in their rival gang “The Day Trotters.” One word I’m sure you will never hear a gang member say in your life is “trot,” “trotting, or “trotter.” I’m willing to bet you. Regardless, when she asks him to run away with her – in their meet-cute way of writing important notes to each other on their own hands – he takes the cute a step further and pops a can of spray paint from his back pocket to tag his answer on the wall next to her. Let’s just say it’s not what she expects.

Later, his gang faces off with her gang on the roof of a nearby building. In the toss up that ensues, Veronica clocks her man in the face (unrealistically) knocking him off the edge of the building to the pavement below. It’s then, that the film becomes bittersweet in it’s plot, but the combination of acting edgy by non-edgy actors, the milquetoast production design and costuming (the gangs’ names look like they were stitched or ironed on just a day ago), and the ill-fitting Best Coast score make the good ending seem almost kitschy.

I can’t wait for Barrymore to direct another film of her own, I really think just from the work on Whip It she is an auteur in her own right, but this entry in her oeuvre is one we can overlook. For completists and other cinephiles out there though, click here to watch it.

Liam Bachler

Filmmaker Liam Bachler’s videos are gloriously soft focus 70s throwbacks with pretty women doing mischievous things… What’s not to love!? Check out the best below and as soon as I can find his short film Time Machine I’ll be sure to put up a review and/or post it here.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Little Blu House”



Computers Want Me Dead “Letters and Numbers”

Still from Time Machine