Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've never been a Lars von Trier completist but I've always enjoyed his films - particularly Dogville, The Idiots and Antichrist (Ok, enjoyed might not be the right word), so I'd been looking forward to Melancholia since Cannes last year. My excitement was only further stoked by Peter Bradshaw's astonishingly negative review in the Guardian...

Bradshaw has never made a secret of how much he hates everything von Trier has done, is doing or will do (to the extent that it's pretty much pointless him writing reviews) but this one clearly had him riled!

Once again, Von Trier has written and directed an entire film in his trademark smirk mode: a giggling aria of pretend pain and faux rapture. The script is clunking, and poor Dunst joins Nicole Kidman and Bryce Dallas Howard in the list of Hollywood females who have sleepwalked trustingly through a Von Trier production. Even the spectacle is thin and supercilious.
Quite apart from the utterly nonsensical description of 'spectacle' as being 'supercilious', Dunst even won best actress for her "sleepwalked" performance! Luckily, Philip French was on hand to provide a second-opinion, half sneering and half simple plot retelling, that - as one commenter pointed out - got several of the significant details entirely wrong.  Thankfully, other reviewers less-desperate to smugly condemn von Trier's Cannes-Nazi-gaffe provided more ...uh... balanced reviews.

Either way, I was keen to see it. Now that I have, I have no idea what to think. I'm pretty sure it's one of the best films I've seen in a very long time but I've still no real idea what it was about. The failure of human relationships? Bipolar disorders? The futility of making plans for the future given that life is essentially fragile? Who knows?

I know that I'm going to be musing over it for some time though. A thoroughly thought-provoking film.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


OK, so just few days ago I was wowed by the poster for Mould* and decided that I'd almost certainly have to watch it. I must admit I wasn't actually expecting very much: once you've seen a number of 21st century B-movies you tend towards pessimism. Most recent films that aim for the schlocky, low-grade style of classic 70s and 80s films do so in such a self-conscious, post-Planet-Terror, we're-so-very-hip-and-grindhouse way that they're ultimately pretty disappointing. To my surprise, Mould* resisted all that and played it straight-faced and gorey and, as a result, was a whole lot of fun.

[Yes, the film is actually called 'Mold' but the word looks silly without a 'u' in the middle. Sorry America. You might be right about 'color' but oyu're wrong about 'mold']

The plot is about as complex as you'd expect from a low-budget film about mould. A group of basically good but apparently conscience-free scientists (oh scientists, why are you always evil?) have been funded to create a new form of super-evil life-destroying hyper-contagious mould. Y'know, so America can remain a superpower or something. And kill people. It's pretty vague, but let's be honest, who cares? The important point is that this mould is in their lab and it is very, very bad for you.

And it's demonstration day. So as well as 4 scientists (Old scientist, lady scientist, two young scientists who both fancy the pants off lady scientist) we have a coke-snorting congressman, his effeminate aide, a cigar-toting army general and his dumb, macho soldier aide. So now we have cowards, scientists, bullies and a woman. All locked in together in a building with some mould. AND GUESS WHAT!? Despite all the precautions taken, the mould contaminates one of them and, from that point on, the worry of containment and contamination takes over the film.

Budget-wise, of course, this is very efficient. Most of the action takes place in one room, with a few shots set in the neighbouring corridors. This, thankfully, means they were able to save all the rest of their cash to spend on splattering green goo and blood across... well... everything. Mould is one of those that you can imagine was an awful lot of fun to make and the enthusiasm carries across onto the screen. I don't want to spoil the surprise(s) but we have splattering heads, exploding internal organs, facial bleeding. And then later, some guns.

There really isn't very much more to tell: Mould is an awful lot of fun. It does perhaps start a little slowly but the slow-moving first half hour is definitely worth it for the oozing, gooey, mouldy pay-off that follows. This is modern low budget trash made with old-fashioned enthusiasm. Highly recommended.

Available right now at 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Poster Hunt #12 - Mold

It's been an absolute age since the last Poster Hunt blogpost - there hasn't been one since July 2010! But today I stumbled upon a picture that was just too good not to revive the long-forgotten series. A pedant might well point out that this appears to a cover rather than an actual poster but... pfft! Who listens to pedants anyway?

So here is the beautiful artwork for MOLD! It looks a pretty fabulous film, so I might have to give a watch some time soon.