EL TOPO

“Credit the sixties for giving us the acid strip, jazz and now the Western,” I assume was the opening line of many an El Topo review had there been edgy online publications like Cinemaholism in 1970. Alas there wasn’t. And so it was now, in 2017, certainly overdue but not quite too late, that somebody had the opportunity to open with those precise words. And if it were up to me I’d go one further except modern time constraints prevent me from doling out more puns. Continue reading

Thesis on a Homicide

Your reception to Thesis on a Homicide will vary depending on your appreciation for ambiguity and tolerance for redundancy. Thankfully, Thesis keeps both criteria to one instance of each. But before another word is said, it is incumbent upon your boy to point out that this is a film literal in name and intentions. There are no thematic allusions or double meanings. Thesis, you guessed it, revolves around a law school murder with the added caveat of the thesis in question being an actual fucking murder investigation! The school of applied sciences, indeed. Political sciences, that is. Granted, the story (ahem) freely plagiarizes a similarly conceived film by none other than Chile film ambassador to Spain meaning not even the colossal Andes range can stop these two nations from adhering to boundaries. Continue reading

The Descent (2005) Re-Appraisal

It is something of an ongoing (budding) practice here at Cinemaholism to not only take a respected critic up on their recommendation via the films they review—usually favorably—but to attempt the same. And what better way to uphold tradition than by keeping a focus on films I’d seen some time back to discover whether the reception has changed? Think of it as the meta in film reviews; reviewing my own mental review. Real talk though, the viewing habits of film freaks allow for a variety of consumption patterns. You can watch them in marathons of one particular director’s films, by movement, genre, or year of release, etc. Besides it makes the site portfolio that much more dynamic and compelling in its content for the time 30 hits per day comes. Haha. Not that I do a write-up on every single film I see, but having just gotten finished watching the spelunking nightmare The Descent I’m amped to put the final word on a one-time personal favorite. Oops, guess that gave away which way the verdict is headed. But I liked The Descent very much in 2006, as it left me with a visceral after-effect. It was a gut-punch of a movie then and still is today. Depending on which ending you saw first, a picture has never spoken a thousand words so resoundingly as its last frame, and luckily for me, I believe I saw that version in both cases. Little things like this, when they tie into the whole piece, do wonders to an otherwise frugally set film. Continue reading

Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

Given that Cinemaholism is primarily a hotbed of film coverage, well, a fledgling one albeit half-assed, logic and proven pattern dictate there are few better ways to usher in change than with some variety. I know it’s been dormant on that front sinc we last spoke, and here we are now. I’ve been to Africa. I’ve done Africa. Not only that. I’m about to show you the T-shirt, too, son. And so it was that the first of many aborted attempts at some diversions, material wise, mainly in the form of podcast and sports coverage, has become… the first travelog entry! Dum, Dum, Dum. But wait, it gets better because there’s more! We also got Dubai in a separate post to decide whether all the hype is real or overblown. But first things first, I’ll get the first leg of my trip out of the way, first. Continue reading

CARANCHO (2010)

Man, Ricardo Darin is on a roll. Seems like every movie I’ve seen of his—well, all of two so far—has him pulling some major poon at some point in the plot. In impoverished Argentina, Carancho is the colloquialism for ambulance chasers, or a rubberneck on a mission (the mission being to eke out incidental living from someone else’s misfortune). It also translates to ‘vulture,’ after the local bird. Continue reading

The Empty Hours (2013)

The proliferation of the MILF and Cougar figures, if anything, can be understood as man’s misguided attempt at optimal ass. Here’s how. The notion that sexual prime seldom meets youthful exuberance that long lends elusiveness to the ideal balance. Bloom and maturity are concurrent but for a brief time, at about the mid-thirties. This is arbitrary, of course. But we can easily establish that MILF has stretch marks and the Cougar consciously looks for younger prey. So for all their hype, the fetishized older female coined so eloquently in porn and pickup circuits are, sadly, on the downswing. Continue reading

HELI REVIEW

Heli, the third film from Cannes favorite Amat Escalante, is a myopic treatment of the pervasive of the Mexico of new in not so much offering a tunnel-visioned exposé of the ubiquitous. Quite the contrary, it is a microscopic view of the commonplace. A lens magnifying the molecular, with Heli, its titular character, residing at the nucleus. He wakes up one day finding himself in the indiscriminate crossfire of a drug war, unwittingly all of his own doing. His is the story if not evil unheeded, but demons invited. It is the story of fatal recoil, and backfired agency, when considering the criminal edge hardly affords an explanatory gesture for its grievance. Not when the sacred bottom line is threatened. Not when the cartels’ stranglehold of a populace with hands and tongue tied overwhelms all. Continue reading

BEDEVILLED REVIEW

Broad genres aside, featuring the slightest dose of retribution can relegate most cinematic endeavors to the confines of revenge and its conventions. And for BEDEVILLED (2010), following in the footsteps of the Korean thriller craze was always going to be a case of more of the same. This is a trend that made its entrance with Oldboy over a decade ago and is still active today. Typically such films are dressed as thrillers, combining either mystery, horror, or crime, with the option of gore or revenge on the side. Obviously there was no shortage of local “luminaries” churning out titles in this MO, with some even seemingly staking entire oeuvres on the genre. Except BEDEVILLED is a rare beast among novel predecessors. For a Johnny-come-lately to join the table with a meaningful contribution is exceptional. Continue reading