(P)reviews

In this unforgiving economic wasteland, who has the funds to actually review a movie in the theater? Not your humble servants at The V. That’s why we’re giving you our informed analysis of upcoming films based solely on what we see in the trailer. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Fortunately, these are movies.


Courtesy of Karim Hussain, Magnet Releasing

Hobo with a Shotgun
Rhombus Media
Dir. Jason Eisner
Release Date: 6/6/11

Hobo with a Shotgun is…well, the title pretty much explains it all. It’s about an aged tramp who tries to clean up a lawless town with vigilante justice.
There is absolutely no Oscar buzz for this film, and there will never be. This is not a deftly-executed, big budget action flick. The performances will be over the top. The titular hobo (played by Rutger Hauer of Blade Runner fame) will, more than likely, not receive any kind of solace or redemption.
But, this is cult cinema at its finest.
Grindhouse-style exploitation films have had a resurgence of interest lately, thanks to films like Death Proof and Planet Terror. Hobo with a Shotgun might be the crown jewel in this revival. It has all the worn-looking cinematography, cheap special effects and quotably cheesy lines necessary to make this film a textbook example of celluloid pulp.

Our prediction: Perfect, considering its intention.


Courtesy of Hesher/Facebook

Hesher
The Last Picture Company
Dir. Spencer Susser
Release Date: 5/13/11

Pyromania. Mindless destruction. Stick figure tattoos. Metallica. This is Hesher, an askew fairy-tale about a sad young man and the mysterious piece of anarchy-in-motion who squats in his grandmother’s garage.
Trailers like Hesher‘s can be misleading. This is obviously a character study, as opposed to a tightly-wrapped narrative. If you like your films to end with a kiss, Hesher probably isn’t for you.
For those who are still interested, check out Hesher, but be warned: a character study requires exceptional acting work. Otherwise it becomes a caricature study. Don’t believe me? Go watch Napoleon Dynamite again. Now that you’re not a freshman, how good is that film? Fortunately for us, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s turn as a thrash metal Cat in the Hat might go down as a masterful performance by a proven actor.

Our prediction: Hesher will be unintelligible for some, amazing for even fewer and overlooked by most.


Courtesy of Amazon.com

GORILLAZ
THE FALL
VIRGIN/EMI Records
Released 4/18/11
2.5/5 stars

Since the release of memorable single “Clint Eastwood,” Gorillaz have had the unique and justified claim of being the most successful virtual band in the world. Maybe that’s the problem. With no other existing virtual bands to compete with, Gorillaz have not been forced to evolve. The group’s latest opus, The Fall, has its sparse moments (“Revolving Door”) and continues to experiment with styles outside of traditional electronica. The album, however, lacks a standout single. There is also a noticeable dearth of notable collaboration – two or three background players from The Clash, rather than De La Soul or Del The Funky Homosapein. These elements render The Fall nothing more than pleasant background noise, rather than something truly outstanding. Every band with a discography of more than three albums gets at least one of these. Hopefully, next time around, Gorillaz will produce the quality work of their demon days.


Courtesy of Amazon.com

BORIS
HEAVY ROCKS
QUATTRO
UK DISCS
Released 4/11
3/5 stars

There’s metal you bang your head along to and then there’s metal you get out of your head to. Japanese experimental band Boris attempts to ditch any traces of the latter for the former on their latest effort Heavy Rocks. The group, which has over the years experimented with a variety of styles, seem to be delving even further into thrash, punk and stoner metal styles than ever before. Aficionados of all things heavy will start out pleased. But in listening to Heavy Rocks, it becomes difficult to distinguish tracks from each other – songs like “Korosu,” “Dyna-Soar” and “Wareruride” seem to bleed together, and not in a good way. The album plays more with experimental and sludge metal elements on opening track “Heavy Friends” and on “Soft Edge.” Mostly, though, Heavy Rocks, while enjoyable for a singular listen, ultimately remains strictly a one-note opus.

Reviews by John-Ross Boyce

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