BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.
A LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN godfather of gore’s erotic nightmare With arthritic fingers adorned by gaudy cocktail rings and cherry red acrylic nails digging deep into glistening skin in the thralls of ecstasy, we are familiar with the lovers tango of the early ‘70s. Sexual liberation – a theme exploited time and time again throughout the past four decades and beyond has become a well-admired trope in the world of cinema. Psychedelic overtones carved and jaded by a glaring blade, blood spewing forth in a primal, orgasmic geyser... An interesting juxtaposition is displayed. Pain and pleasure, heaven and hell... Pummelling expectations and pushing boundaries, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is a surrealistic psychodrama progressing in a twisted, malformed dreamdeath state. Perfectly exemplifying the giallo genre, a term used to describe Italian thrillers which predated and influenced the later slasher film genre, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is an enticing murder mystery largely exploring the confines of the mind. Due to this, not much can be said without spoiling a truly underrated masterpiece in Lucio Fulci’s, famed Italian ‘Godfather of Gore’, grotesque filmography. Without giving too much away, the plot centers around Carol (Florinda Bolkan), a young insomniac woman plagued by haunting dreams, and with her darling neighbour found slaughtered with details she can recall with startling clarity, her dreams have seemingly been brought to fruition. Etched partly in the imaginative world of dreams, the effervescent use of psychedelic colours and patterns contrasting with the otherwise monochromatic nature of the film employs a visually stunning ride throughout the 95 minute run-time. Tapping slightly into the atmosphere of gothic traditionalism, the film serves as a window peering into the stylistic take on early ‘70s romanticism. The unrelenting projection of taboo themes including sexual liberation, lesbianism, and use of hallucinogens allow connections to not only underground classics such as The Velvet Vampire (1971), but even critically acclaimed titles such as A Clockwork Orange (1971). Much like the controversy Stanley Kubrick ignited in the latter film, Fulci was not safe from such fates with this erotic nightmare. Though predating Fulci’s rather abhorrent, gore-ridden endeavours he would later become known for, the blood and guts are used sparingly in this case. Worth noting, however, is the uncomfortable realism used in a particularly shocking scene in the third act in which our leading lady happens upon a trio of disemboweled dogs. The fictitious gore was so believable that special effects artist, Carlo Rambaldi, had to testify in court that his work was fake. Predating the ill-famed, controversial works of films such as Cannibal Holocaust (1980), this marked the first occasion in which an artist had to attend court to prove themselves free of engaging in any homicidal behaviour. BY BREANNA WHIPPLE If all the sex, drugs, and violence aforementioned has somehow not sold you, then both alternative cinema admirers and Fulci fans, please hear me out – Though largely praised for his use of extravagant gore, A Lizard in A Woman’s Skin proves there is more that meets the eye gouge when it comes to Lucio Fulci. Catch A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin on Friday, March 23 at the Globe Cinema. 16 | MARCH 2018 • BEATROUTE FILM
THE VIDIOT rewind to the future BY SHANE SELLAR The Cloverfield Paradox Coco Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri The Cloverfield Paradox The worst thing about life on an international space station is that Russian and American astronauts always collude to rig movie night voting. Sadly, the crew in this thriller won’t live long enough to complain about this week’s selection. While in the throes of an energy crisis, Earth launches representatives from around the world (David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, Chris O’Dowd, Gugu Mbatha-Raw), along with a particle accelerator that will tap into alternative energy sources, into space. But when the accelerator opens a portal to an alternate reality, a bevy of behemoths are unleashed on Earth. The third installment in the cryptic Cloverfield franchise, this Netflix distributed sequel sheds some light on the origins of the monsters plaguing our planet, but its slapdash and incongruous script simply feels shoehorned into the larger narrative. And while giant monsters don’t necessarily ease our energy crisis, their carcasses will help with global food shortages. Coco When returning for the Day of the Dead, the biggest obstacle Mexican ghosts face is scaling Trump’s metaphysical wall. Fortunately, the deceased in this animated-musical has no one on the other side to visit. More concerned with being a musician, like his grandfather (Benjamin Bratt), then joining the family business, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) steals his dead abuelo’s guitar. But when he strums the instrument Miguel is spirited to the land of the dead, where he must work with a disgraced skeleton (Gael García Bernal) to get back home before he joins the dead. A vibrant and colourful adventure that utilizes elements from the Mexican holiday to weave a touching tale about family, tradition and life after death that is accompanied by a handful of toe-tapping tunes and spirit animals, Coco offers terrific insight into this misunderstood holiday. However, instead of visiting with family most ghosts return to Mexico for the donkey show. movement, Britain’s Labour Party moves to oust him as Prime Minister and replace him with a Lord from the Royal Navy, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman). Faced with the daunting decision of either capitulating or combating the encroaching threat, Churchill not only seeks advice from his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) and secretary (Lily James), but also the commoners. While it can get bogged down in political minutia at times, Oldman’s turn as the portly Prime Minister, along with the spirited dialogue and rousing speeches, keep this reasonably accurate historical biography from becoming boring. Incidentally, the darkest hour is the best time to break and enter. Only the Brave The key to preventing forest fires from ever occurring is killing every cigarette smoker. Luckily, cancer will take care of them, while the firefighters in this drama extinguish their handiwork. Aggravated that he and his first responders (Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale) are relegated to the rear whenever out-of-State Hotshot fire crews show up and start delegating during a blaze, superintendent Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) petitions the mayor to let him train his own elite team of frontline firefighters. But when the upstart squadron faces off against an uncontrollable wildfire on Yarnell Hill, their mettle is truly tested. Based on the GQ magazine article of the tragic 2013 fire that claimed 19 lives, this retelling brings personality to those who fell. And while the dialogue is a tad melodramatic, the visuals and the emotions are palpable. Nevertheless, a spontaneous wildfire is still a good excuse to burn your garbage. Roman J. Israel, Esq. With its high rate of slip and falls accidents, lawyers are the only people who love winter. However, the eccentric attorney in this drama isn’t interested personal injury suits right now. When his law firm partner suffers a heart attack, Roman J. Israel (Denzel Washington) must unwilling step out from behind-thescenes to represent the cases in court he has only researched. His lack of social skills sinks the firm and Roman soon finds work with a shark (Colin Farrell). But when his boss wants him to put profit before ethics, Roman’s mental state deteriorates. While Washington plays the unconventional counsel with aplomb, the one note storyline unfortunately is constructed around his social awkwardness, and not much else. With very little driving this legal drama besides a feeble murder case, it just becomes a meditation on an exasperating character. Moreover, it’s not a good sign when your lawyer can plead insanity. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Without roadside billboards out of control vehicles would just careen into an empty farmer’s pasture. Luckily, the small-town in this drama has an excess of advertisement opportunity. Fuming over the fact that the local sheriff (Woody Harrelson) still hasn’t arrested any suspects in the rape/murder of her teenage daughter 7-months ago, Mildred (Frances McDormand) purchases ad space on three billboards and uses them to taunt the sheriff and his inept and racist deputy (Sam Rockwell). Messing with the authorities, however, only brings the hammer down harder on Mildred, her family and her friends. Fortunately, everyone else in Ebbing is as fed up with the law enforcement as her. In spite of its many strong performances and complex script that blends comedy with its tragedy, this fictitious narrative comes off as unrealistic, malicious and laughable at the end. Besides, to really distract drivers from the road you need 3 digital billboards. Wonder Usually when a student wears a mask to school everyone heads for the nearest exit and calls 9-1-1. However, if it’s the concealed kid in this drama, you welcome them. Born with a defect that finds him hiding behind a mask in public, Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) has been homeschooled by his parents (Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson) his whole life - until now. Exposed, Auggie faces his peers for the first time. While some are kind, most are not. Meanwhile, his older sister (Izabela Vidovic) competes against her former BFF for the lead in the school play. From facial deformities to middle school bullies to a dead dog to an amateur production of Our Town, this family melodrama pulls every tear-jerking trick it can to endear itself to the viewer. Unfortunately, its manipulative schmaltz is boilerplate, sitcom-y even. Besides, once you get to high school every teenager has a facial deformity. Darkest Hour The only employers who have a workforce over the age of 70 are Wal-Mart and Parliament. So it’s no surprise that the political party in this drama would elect a senior as its new head. Displeased with Neville Chamberlain’s He’s Shakespeare in the Parka. He’s the… Wonder kowtowing to Hitler and his swelling Nazis Vidiot FILM BEATROUTE • MARCH 2018 | 17