April 12th, 2006


Overlooked Treasures

Wolf Creek [2005]

Just when I thought the horror genre was on its last leg, Aussie indie Wolf Creek crept into my DVD player. Expecting yet another teen-scream link sausage, I didn't even bother to turn off the lights. It was only moments before I was cowering in the dark, gnawing my knuckles in fear of inevitable doom. What sets any smart horror script above the next Hollywood gore-fest is its patience in unfurling the events. Writer / Director / Producer Greg McLean had the wisdom to mount tension and establish character development, thus setting the stage for more effective scare tactics. Wolf Creek is like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, except with competent acting, masterful photography and a classy script. Not for the faint of heart !

** If you like this, check out 80s flick, The Hitcher [not as scary, but a tightly wound thriller with style to spare.]

I Love Your Work [2003]

Judging from the case, I Love Your Work smacks of cheeky, unnecessarily obtuse indie slop. Many would say [and did -- only 21% fresh on RottenTomatoes !] that appearances aren't deceiving in this instance, but I was pleasantly surprised by the clever insider irony and dizzy, surreal quality of the film. In the eye of the storm lives Gray Evans [played with stark realism by Giovanni Ribisi], an A-list actor caught in a worm hole of warped perception. We follow our antihero as he spirals untethered in a world of handlers and yes men. I Love Your Work captures the cock-eyed, sideshow mirror view from under the bell jar in a way that only an experienced source could. The chaotic punches of red carpet flashbulbs penetrate like gun shots. Odd color saturation, creative camera work and an experimental, non-linear plotline dove tail together into a flawed, but often stunning project. As the credits rolled, I eagerly awaited the name of the talented creator -- shockingly, it read "Directed, Written and Produced by Adam Goldberg", the Jewish character actor I had always associated with silly Woody Allen-esque antics. An impressive second feature from a show biz vet. [note : Goldberg also composed the soundtrack which is gorgeous !]

** For fans of unconventional art films by such directors as Davids Lynch and Cronenberg. [be warned, it's not nearly as classic !]
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