SXSW Film Review: Snatchers (Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, 2019)

Posted on by Gary in Movies, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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You can never have too much blood said Snatchers directors Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman with a glinting of the eyes and a rolling of the sleeves. While that is a solid slogan for the Red Cross, truth be told, having buckets of the red stuff plastering the walls doesn’t otherwise give you a good slasher film. What does is the concomitant ritual sacrifice and lampooning of a social trope that we have all agreed should die over and over again until the rewind button breaks. Enter horny teenagers who can’t wait to have sex. Where Snatchers diverges from other direct-to-VHS scripts is its excellent pacing, acting, and imaginative (to put it mildly) set up.

The story, which isn’t the star here, goes like: teenagers f$&@, girl gets pregnant, guy runs away, mom freaks out, cool kids fold and wilt while nerdy Magic-playing ex-BFF steps up. Also Mayan Aliens wreck everyone. This is basically Juno with heartfelt character growth ripped out and transplanted with headless corpses and dismembered limbs.

It is of course the aliens from Mexico (space aliens, that is) that are the cornerstone of every joke here. From vag-cannon to blender/mulcher, stop-signs to cat flights, the directors pay tribute to touchstones like Evil Dead and Shaun of the Dead but create fresh and hilarious scenes of the their own. They rightly chose to do everything with animatronics – not that the head chomping aliens were extremely well built, but as the actors testified, the physicality lends itself to more believable acting than green screen and tennis ball. The best part is that you barely get any breathers over the course of the film. One can clearly see what six years of script and screen-writing does to economize even a wild slasher run. Sure, it is not a slugfest a la Marx Brothers where the next joke hit just as hard as your brain was still reeling from the last comedic concussion. But aside from a momentary lull in the fridge, the film unfurls in a highly efficient but natural pace. Basically, go watch this if you are at all interested in a good late night slasher. Or a daylight slasher. Cuz aliens don’t wait until it’s dark.

Song(s) Of The Day: International Women’s Day Edition

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment


Happy International Women’s Day! In honour of the occasion, here’s a selection of songs from a bunch of badass women in music:

Le Tigre – Hot Topic
We’ll start things off with this song from Le Tigre that name-checks a lot of great ladies, musical and otherwise.

Hazel Dickens – The Rebel Girl
A true legend of folk and bluegrass, Hazel Dickens is just one of the many women referenced in the Le Tigre song above.

Sleater-Kinney – Get Up
The Hot Rock just turned 20 this year. And 20 years later it’s still my favourite Sleater-Kinney album.

Queen Latifah – Ladies First
A classic from Queen Latifah’s debut album, All Hail The Queen.

Helen Reddy – I Am Woman
I just had to include this one too.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Fresh Start
And finally – Joan fucking Jett. ‘Nuff said.

If you’re in Austin next week for SXSW, Joan Jett will be playing the Interactive Bash at Stubb’s on March 12.

Concert Review: Disturbed, March 4, Scotiabank Arena

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

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While Ricky wrote a post on here earlier this week comparing local heroes Broken Social Scene to late ’90s/early 2000s wrestling crew nWo, I decided I’d do him one better … by reviewing an entire concert where every song basically sounds like a wrestler’s entrance music. That’s right, I went to see Disturbed. Or maybe it was Staind – I sometimes get my rock bands with bald frontmen mixed up. Probably Disturbed. At least I’m certain that it wasn’t Michael Stipe up there anyways … but I digress.

Fun fact (and further digression): Disturbed singer David Draiman’s wife was once actually a WWE diva, so that wrestling analogy actually holds up pretty well.

Before the band took to the stage, the screen behind them was lit up with various slogans beginning with the phrase “when music is the weapon …” and ending with various other pseudo-revolutionary messages to get the crowd amped up, some of which worked better than others. For example, “when music is the weapon, every fist has a voice” didn’t really land for me. A fist with a voice? Are we talking like a Señor Wences kind of deal? Again, I digress.

I may be going off on random tangents in this review, but Draiman had a definite theme in mind with his stage banter as he talked continuously throughout the evening about bringing people together through music. “Television, media, the powers that be, the godforsaken internet … they want you to believe that we are more divided as a people than we have ever been,” said Draiman, adding that he felt that way of thinking was all “utter fucking nonsense” and that when the right song comes on and everyone’s singing along, “we become brothers and sisters.”

While David Draiman in full motivational/inspirational speaker mode was a large part of the evening (the tribute to late Prodigy frontman Keith Flint and ensuing shout out to the importance of recognizing those dealing with mental health and/or addiction issues and doing what you can to help was a somewhat touching moment and a highlight of the evening), much of the show was also taken up with a healthy amount of power ballads, more than expected. Surprisingly Journey-esque power ballads, too. But aside from all that, what else was happening at this big shiny arena rock show? Pyro. So much pyro. Piano pyro, even.

How do you top setting a piano on fire? By bringing a bunch of kids onstage, obviously. Near the end of their set, Draiman brought up a group of young children (whom he referred to as the future of rock music) and their parents to share the stage with them for one song, inviting them to sit on the front of the drum riser for the duration. Surely a pretty good view and a moment to remember for them all, but honestly, I hope those kids were wearing proper ear protection. Because when music is the weapon … you might end up with tinnitus.

SXSW Song of the Day: Flohio – Pounce

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

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I literally knew nothing about this artist but Flohio’s song “Pounce” has this really dramatic chorus that I like. There’s a real urgency to the song that I appreciate. Anyways, this track caught my ear as I was going through the SXSW playlist.

After doing some very basic internet research, here is what I found out:

Flohio is a British Nigerian rapper based out of South London. Obviously, being from London, this song has a grimey kind of sound to it.

You can read more about her in this Fader interview

Flohio is playing Latitude 30 on March 14 at 11:00pm.