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REPO! The Genetic Opera

22 May


Repo! The Genetic Opera is the latest cult film to emerge from the online streaming market. Released in 2008, writers Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich’s project comes to life under the direction of Darren Lynn Bousman as a horror/sci-fi opera about a twisted corporation supplying organs parts on credit, but if the customer cannot pay, then a Repo man takes it back. The story is told through a string of Goth songs and sung dialogue about greed, addiction, and death, as well as a series of comic book frames to introduce the main characters. For me, it took fifteen minutes to become interested when Shilo Wallace (Alexa Vega) is established as the protagonist. Her solos and duets with her father (Anthony Stewart Head) are great, as well as the talented Sarah Brightman’s signature voice as Blind Mag. The costumes, make-up and dance help hide some poor casting choices. I didn’t join the cult, but I can appreciate an original effort.


Chuck’s Grade: B-

Adam’s Grade: C-

This is Spinal Tap goes to an 11

13 Dec


Hello Cleveland!

Director Rob Reiner, and actors Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer collaborate to make a monumental satire that is one of the funniest films ever. The matter of fact humor is throughout the film keeps the film moving consistently into one laugh after another, and by doing so, it allows the story to unfold and only adds to the characters becoming “rock stars” of the comedy world.  Most of the film was improvised, which has become Guest and co. trademark comedy style: Best in Show and The Mighty Wind.

The movie is filmed in documentary-style aka rockumentary aka mockumentary. It follows a 1982 U.S. concert tour of the fictitious Metal band Spinal Tap. It reveals all of the ups and downs the “music life” in a way that cements its’ scenes and dialogue in your head like lyrics to your favorite song.  This is Spinal Tap is a cult classic and it goes to an 11.


Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: A+

Shottas was worth the wait

7 Dec


Most people have never heard of this low-budget Jamaica/Miami gangster film, but it is a cult classic for die hard fans that love under the radar productions. This movie was actually a hit years before (2002) it was released because of a large number of bootleg copies that were being passed around and sold illegally. This is one of those films you try to convince all of your friends to watch because you want them to appreciate this “awesome” movie.

Most of your friends will not think it is “awesome,” because they cannot get past the low-budget aspect of the film, but I was intrigued by the story about three Shottas (gangsters) that rob and kill their way to the top of the drug trade in Jamaica and Miami. Director Cess Silvera assembles a solid cast (Ky-Mani Marley, Spragga Benz, Louie Rankin, Paul Campbell) that provide authenticity to the script while the soundtrack delivers amazing beats. Shottas was worth the wait.


Chuck’s Grade: A-

Adam’s Grade: N/A


31 Aug

The title Koyaanisqatsi means “unbalanced life” or “life out of balance” in the Hopi Native tongue, but the film demonstrates an intriguing balance between imagery and music. Director Godfrey Reggio collaborates with classical composer, Philip Glass and cinematographer Ron Fricke to create the most memorable and successful installment of the Qatsi Trilogy. Ironically, the film’s score is probably the most memorable aspect of the experience because Glass finds a way to communicate ideas through repetitive music.

I am not going to presume that I have figured out every metaphor operating in this masterpiece, but I love this film because of the multiple meanings that can be tied to the film’s visual choices. I have watch the film at least thirty times and find something new every time to think about. Is the film about the environment, humanity, over-population, creation, destruction, industry, technology, poverty, history, etc… The possibilities are endless depending on an audience’s political, social, cultural, and economic background.


Chuck’s Grade: A+

Adam’s Grade: B