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Monday, Apr 14, 2008

The St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, a not-quite-boutique event that now traipses through four cities around Australia, has been buoyed in recent years by increased press attention and a more laid-back, welcoming attitude than some of the country’s larger, summer festivals. It is generally more civilized, and boasts the kinds of smaller indie bands that appeal to a slightly older crowd. Mimicking the urban setting of the original Melbourne location, the setup of the festival is a series of narrow stages placed around one slightly larger Park Stage. None of it is large by any means: maybe that’s why there was a half-hour line to get to the underground stage for the more popular acts. As the sparse late morning crowd began to multiply on Sunday—manifesting itself in longer bathroom lines—the prospect of seeing Feist, Broken Social Scene, and Stars attested to the growth of the festival. Still, it wasn’t too difficult to find decent vantage points for most of the bands, and acts national and international proved their mettle.
—Dan Raper


The Basics

The Basics


The Basics
Playing the 11:30am spot is not easy for any band. This exuberant Melbourne-based guitar-guitar-drums trio has been around for a long time, but has only recently been exposed to a wider audience thanks to one of its members, Wally de Backer, hitting it big with his solo act, Gotye. (In a nice bit of bookending, Gotye actually closed out the festival this year.) But the Basics themselves were a perfect start to the day. “Rattle My Chain”, one of the group’s singles, was tight and polished—a slice of enjoyable, easygoing ska-tinged rock. A song about swimming lessons, it sounded like a more relaxed Holy Ghost. We’re lucky that de Backer, who plays drums, has been so stringent on insisting the group plays on all his bills—even if there weren’t as many people there as they deserved.


The Basics

Ghostwood


Ghostwood
Signed to the hip Modular Records, Ghostwood’s muscular, effects-laden rock degenerated into abrasive waves of dissonance in the live setting. The group had a disinterested-rock-star thing going on, which didn’t work so well in an early slot at a mainly indie-oriented festival. But hey, they’re young, and you get the feeling that the group, as it matures, will find its own inner star and stop imitating others. Ghostwood’s songs were proggy and repetitive and frequently sidestepped the huge chorus; they would have been more effective with a mix that emphasized vocals over the sludgy low-end of the guitars.


Devastations

Devastations



Devastations


Devastations’ latest album Yes U should win the group some new fans with its sophisticated, dark-romantic ballads. Given their oeuvre, it should have been difficult for the band to shine in the mid-afternoon sun. But these three Aussies unleashed a storm of fuzzy chaos that dissolved in a pinch into disco-infused gothic grooves. Gyrating throughout, bass-playing singer Conrad Standish exuded sexuality. “This is a medium-sized-festival song,” Standish said, introducing “Mistakes” as the band grew tighter and more on point. Live, the songs had a floating atonality where vocal and guitar lines seemed to exist in alternate spaces until—bang—everything locked into place. “The Pest”, their new album’s centerpiece, was such a song. “Rosa”, which closed the set, built gloriously from a Nick Cave-styled ballad to a full freak-out: the first real rock group of the day.


Manchester Orchestra
This fairly new Atlanta-based band has built some buzz on the back of the 2007 re-release of their 2006 debut I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child. Their recordings hold a few charms, adding organ to an otherwise straightforward alternative rock sound. Somehow I had gotten the impression that they were somewhat Arcade Fire-esque with orchestral arrangements. It turns out the live show was just as unsurprising as the recording. At least frontman Andy Hull radiated goodwill, and the band was tight. The group put its all into its short, punchy songs—which suited the flitting festivalgoers’ attention span, I suppose. When they slowed things down, however, they struggled to hold the crowd’s attention. It was as the group was playing a slower song that I turned around to see a guy wearing exactly the same sunglasses as me (they’d been my grandfather’s, and retro, so I was surprised). But he was also wearing a rug on his shoulders, and my friend said, “Never trust a man wearing a rug.” I then decided to re-think those sunglasses. Did I mention that Manchester Orchestra struggled to hold the crowd’s attention in that slow song? It’s unfortunate, because in snatches, I got the feeling that it could have been a compelling one.


The Panics

The Panics


The Panics
Winners of last year’s J Award for best Australian album, the Panics are often referred to as the nicest guys in the Aussie music industry. Trouble is, sometimes the group seems to ride the wave of pleasant, atmospheric pop without the backbone of melody that could make one of their songs season-defining.


Nevertheless, the band members are consummate professionals, and their set on the Park Stage bobbed along from hit to hit (albeit slightly hampered by a mix buried in too much bass, not enough vocals). The Panics have moved on from the country guitar-tinged older material, which had a certain charm, to more mainstream song structures that still rely on that breezy guitar sound you hear so often from West Australian indie pop acts. The group’s newer material is almost apologetically easy-going, but it has become quite popular. “Don’t Fight It” is now ubiquitous, and its horn loop is instantly recognizable. They could be the next Powderfinger.


Okkervil River
Probably the best band all day, Okkervil River was incredibly tight, jetting through tried and tested songs with enough feeling that the crowd was blown away. Although I only caught half the set, the band upped the tempo on familiar songs from The Stage Names, which suited the festival setting. “Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe” was rousing, while “For Real” and “Plus Ones” were absolute highlights. Ending with the older track “Westfall”, Will Sheff and company worked themselves up into an awesome, Pixies-inspired fury.


Stars

Stars


Stars
If the vibe of the Reiby Place Stage was generally upbeat rock, the Park Stage continued its unhurried good-time feeling with Stars. The first of the one-two-three Canadian collective lineup (Stars, Broken Social Scene, and Feist), Stars were both powerful and smolderingly beautiful. Frontman Torquil Campbell was full of unbridled energy, pumping up the crowd with a heartfelt delivery that more than made up for his imperfect voice. In contrast, frontwoman Amy Millan was surprisingly fragile, her voice reticently floating over the layers of synths. Of course, “Ageless Beauty” was beautiful, but the highlight of the set was “Take Me to the Riot”, its oddly combative lyrics subsumed by the full band’s surging wall of sound.


Dan Deacon
I have been aching to see Baltimore electro wizard Dan Deacon play since reports first surfaced of his sweaty, inclusive, and ecstatic live performances. Having seen him with my own eyes, I can definitively say that everything I’ve read is true. He babbled about Ethan Hawke and Gattaca, got us to sing to a couple of onlookers in the window of a nearby Japanese restaurant, and made us dance through an arch of people. One guy even crowdsurfed for what must have been five minutes straight. It’s a wonder I’m able to remember any of this, as I was too busy dancing to take notes.


Bridezilla

Bridezilla


Bridezilla
Throughout the festival itself and in the days leading up to it, the anticipation for this super-young Aussie group was palpable. Bridezilla is a quintet of high schoolers (the drummer is the only guy) with a reputation for being genuinely cooler than you. And in their vintage (and I mean Jane Austen vintage) dresses, the group certainly projects cool. The guitar-guitar-saxophone-violin-drums setup is certainly more ambitious than most high school bands, and the layered, unconventional songs are also quite sophisticated.  The star of the group is Daisy Tulley, the violinist, whose blank porcelain doll visage belies a dervish of virtuosity. She’s as likely to perform around the corner, with her back to the audience, or off in her own world, but it’s completely compelling.


Feist
There’s no way you were going to get a good spot to see Feist. I caught a glimpse of her only once or twice, but that was enough. The Canadian singer-songwriter was as charming singing her own confluent pop as jamming on her guitar with Broken Social Scene, and even the young, macho Aussie guys were bouncing and singing along to “1, 2, 3, 4”. A continuing problem on the Park Stage meant that, from my position towards the back of the crowd at least, the sound was a bit muddy—nobody seemed to mind, though. Apart from the obvious hits, it was “Sea Lion Woman”, performed with a crowd of Canadian friends, that stood out most. The bouncing reinterpretation of Nina Simone’s classic built up to a hectic climax of reckless goodwill.


Gotye
The festival closed with a difficult choice—Gotye or the Presets. Though the sound of the Presets’ growling electro and the crazed chant of the crowd during “All My People” were tempting, I wasn’t sorry that I chose to end the festival watching the same musician I’d seen almost twelve hours earlier. Wally de Backer—who also plays drums in the Basics—always puts on a good show. Combining synchronized lights with videos run off his MacBook Pro, he jumped between a number of drum sets and keyboards, even a piano. Following the crowded love-in of Feist’s set with essentially a one-man show was a difficult task, and I occasionally felt like I was watching Gotye karaoke, since the electronic portions of the songs were all pre-programmed. (The musician has toured with a full band in the past, which I think would have greatly added to this show.) Nevertheless, de Backer’s good-natured approach and impeccable voice—I thought he might have been lip synching, he was so in tune—made it impossible to grumble. The graceful re-workings of familiar songs from 2006’s Like Drawing Blood provided a loungey, relaxing end to the evening. “Thanks for Your Time”, with its accompanying video, was funny and compelling, and “Heart’s a Mess” reminded us again why this guy’s such a hot prospect.


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Sunday, Apr 13, 2008


It’s never a good idea to piss off a possible demographic - especially when that potential audience pool is over one billion strong. But that’s exactly what former SNL-er/current Shrek Mike Myers did when the trailer for his return to live action comedy, The Love Guru, appeared last month. In the upcoming summer release, the artist formerly known as Wayne Campbell plays an American Born, India raised man who returns to the US. Overnight, he becomes a self-help and spirituality superstar. Just call him Geek-pak Chopra.


Taking the low brow tone of the entire Austin Powers series, and setting its sites on specific Hindu philosophies and practices, The Love Guru proposes to be a comic clash of cultures. The trailer can testify that, when it comes to sensitivity and pro-PC protections, Myers and crew knows no limits. Some have supported the film, claiming that the comedian’s twisted turn here is no more offensive than Peter Sellers’ performance as Hrundi V. Bakshi in Blake Edwards’ dated ‘60s farce The Party. Yet the notion of a non-native using another country and religion’s foundation for funny business smacks of a strange, almost surreal tactlessness.


Forty years ago, when that famed former Goon put on the brown face and ratcheted up his New Delhi dialect several skittish notches, there was much less concern about defaming race. True, the already turbulent black/white dynamic dividing the US was treated with some amount of respect (shockingly, minstrel shows had still been popular as recently as the ‘50s), but picking on other ethnicities - no matter how light or lovingly - was viewed as fair game. The British particularly enjoyed this practice. It was perhaps part of their reaction to the post-colonial collapse and conquered country independence, some sloppy satire as shuttled through a stiff upper lip, perhaps.


It’s no surprise then that Myers, as UK-ccentric as they get, would wander into such suspect territory. His turns in the unfathomably popular Powers films have always been based in the most hackneyed slams and social insensitivity. This is a man who plays fat as a fallacy, Scottish as stupid, and his beloved British as a bad toothed, thick headed horn-dogs forever stuck in the Carnady Street ‘60s. It may have seemed funny the first time around, but Myers has already proven that he can take the most unusual of premises (the actor as a live action version of Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat?) and pervert it to suit his own idea of wit.


Of course, the minute the Indian community caught wind of the performance, they started complaining and piling on. The nonsensical trailer, made up of blithering buzzwords and watercolor friendly phraseology, was barely out of the YouTube gate and Hindu leaders suggested a boycott. They had every right to, from what one could see, but it’s never good to jump onto a bad mouthing bandwagon before the final fiasco has unreeled. In this case, there’s much more to the narrative than Myers playing the goony guru for laughs. There’s a hockey subplot, and something to do with romances mended and relationships guided. Still, the particular powers that be wanted to see the final result before castigating the comic further.


Paramount, hoping to avoid scandal, obliged. If one looks across the Internet rumor mill, it seems that appeasement was not the final result. Indeed, what most fear is something already inherent in The Love Guru‘s release. Put it another way, Westerners know very little about the ways of the East. Most information comes in the form of flashy travelogues, Discovery Channel dissertations, and the occasional interaction with members of the since immigrated citizenry. Perception is typically borne out of experience, and the more entertaining and repetitive the better. Now, the more learned in the crowd might not fall for Myers as a representation of everything Hindi. But amongst the popcorn and Pinkberry members of the adolescent audience, he’s a first - and very flawed - frame of reference.


Hollywood has always been pegged with the isolated insensitivity tag. Back in the ‘80s, Cuban émigrés were livid that Tony Montana of Scarface fame might be the only example of the members of the Mariel Boat Lift to a country already reeling from the political and policy consequences. Similarly, more mainstream ethnicities like Italians and Arabs have long argued that film falsifies the truth about their people’s heritage and heart. Not every Mediterranean is in the Mafia, they argue, and not every Middle Eastern wants to terrorize the innocent. Yet America is an innately insular nation, and therefore narrow-minded. Show them an actor putting on a cutesy curried brogue and they’re bound to believe it’s the truth.


Film has that kind of influence. Unlike other forms of media, which tend to traverse their subjects without a similar level of staying power, a motion picture can rewrite history and revise awareness. Oliver Stone’s JFK did just that. So did Stephen Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. It may not be fair to pigeonhole The Love Guru among these famed historical dramas, but if Myers plays his character as a kind of quick witted quip machine, using his background and speaking style as a means of malapropism-prone humor, there will be those who believe all Indians similarly stricken. If his teachings come across like Zen meshed with a more eccentric Tony Robbins, this is the impression most people will have of the Hindus.


Naturally, no one is asking Myers to be perfectly faithful to the religious and cultural situations at hand. He’s creating comedy, and free speech protects even the most ludicrous of lampoons. But there is something to the Indian’s complaints. While they remain a vital and virtually impossible to ignore faction of modern America, not much is known about the country aside from its cuisine. Why The Love Guru had to tap into this particular aspect of the world will always be suspect. After all, the character Myers plays - Pitka - didn’t have to come from an Eastern Ashram. Any number of new age California quasi-EST belief systems could have worked. Clearly, the man likes working in accents - thus, the move to a more Madras-oriented identity.


And Bollywood’s been no help. As the largest film industry in the world, Indian cinema is notorious for dealing in caricature, stereotypes, and outright individual insult. Sure, it is always done within the context of a consenting community (kind of like Caucasians and Larry the Cable Guy) but that’s still no excuse for dealing in debasing imagery. Myers may not be going so far as to cast aspersion on certain elements of Eastern society, but one cannot forget that he’s following in a long line of less than sympathetic representations. Apparently, as long as they are home grown, they’re perfectly OK.


As the groundswell against the film continues, as more and more members of the Hindu faith and Indian community come out against what Myers is attempting, Paramount has its work cut out for it. Selling this movie will not be hard at all. Simply show the amiable A-lister, remind everyone of his connection to a big green ogre and a goofball UK spy, and hope that the protesters get the post-commercials middle story slot on Extra. You’re average teenage moviegoer, unfettered by controversy or matters of moralizing, won’t care anyway. They’ll line up to give Myers their money, hoping he delivers another punchline powered popcorn time at the Cineplex. Who cares if on 20 June the rest of the world views us as the ugly Americans that we truly are. It was some Canadian’s fault, after all.


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Sunday, Apr 13, 2008
by PopMatters Staff

Tilly and the Wall
Cacophony [MP3] (from O releasing 17 June on Team Love Records)
     


Beat Control [Video]


Kassin+2
Ya Ya Ya [MP3]
     


Veda Hille
Lucklucky [MP3]
     


Kathleen Edwards
The Cheapest Key [Video]


Tickley Feather
Tonight Is the Night [MP3]
     


Tokyo Police Club
In a Cave [MP3]
     


 


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Sunday, Apr 13, 2008


Among fans of classic animation, there has always been a clear pecking order. At the top was the artistic flower and fluidity of Disney. Almost matching said studio, substituting sarcasm for serenity, was Warner Brothers. And pulling up the rear, not quite capable of matching the two giants in the creative cartooning department was the work of Max and Dave Fleischer. This doesn’t mean that the two Austrian born brothers were not capable of the same aesthetic excellence as Walt and his Harry/Albert/Sam/Jack competitors. In fact, their patented rotoscoping technique gave them a technological advantage over their pen and ink compatriots. It’s just that their feature length efforts - 1939’s Gulliver’s Travels and 1941’s Mr. Bug Goes to Town - never set the public’s imagination on fire.


Mr. Bug was doomed to fail. It opened two days after Pearl Harbor. By the time of its production, Dave and Max were no longer talking to each other. Removed from their positions as head of the company, the two went their separate ways, leaving the film to flounder and then fade away. Aside from occasional TV showings in the ‘60s and ‘70s (usually as part of the Frazier Thomas approved WGN Sunday matinee Family Classics), few remember the insect epic. A new DVD release from Legend Films should have changed all that. Yet instead of bringing a long forgotten animation masterwork back from the dead, it more or less buries the film once and for all.


The narrative centers on the return of Hoppity the Grasshopper to his old city stomping grounds. There he learns that his beleaguered bug pals are beset by humans everyday. Even worse, a new building is planned for their part of the ‘Lowlands’. Hoppity hopes to stop all the chaos. It’s threatening the business of Old Mr. Bumble and his daughter (and our hero’s childhood sweetheart) Honey. Of course, the long legged lead is not the only one interested in the beautiful bee. C. Bagley Beetle wants Honey for himself, and will use henchmen Swat the Fly and Smack the Mosquito to guarantee that no one will stop him. All the while, the new skyscraper looms, bringing its own form of destruction to Hoppity and the gang.


There are two positives and one massive negative about this digital release, elements that constantly battle each other for our appreciation and fuel our obvious apprehension. On the one side, just getting a chance to see Mr. Bug Goes to Town - even under the silly Bugville title - is reason enough to celebrate. This out of print gem is a reminder of the days when cartooning was a wholly creative process, a form of film language that wasn’t solely interested in or guided by marketing, demographics, and maximizing future sell through units. The Fleischer’s believed in a very detail oriented characterization, a tremendous amount of intricacy fleshing out their two dimensional creations. You can see it everywhere in this film - from Beetle’s wrinkled brow villainy to the various New York style cityscapes.


Then there is the surreal sense of seriousness that the Fleischer’s favored. Disney never placed its symbols in serious danger, all threats from wicked witches and anthropomorphized wizards rendered inert by the end of Act III. But Mr. Bug practically percolates with inherent hazards. From a rainstorm that turns into a terrifying flood to the gangland style sentiments of Swat and Smack, there’s a darkness present that definitely undermined the Fleischer films. After all, audiences loved the make believe mayhem and fake death dynamic of the Warners. They appreciated the glossed over glamour of the House of Mouse. They didn’t really want to see cartoons given a sinister, disturbing edge.


Since their approach was very old world European, the Fleischers tend to suffer outside the realm of their original releases. Unless a digital package accurately and painstakingly recreates the full color bloom of their work, things tend to look incredibly dated and mechanical. Yet it’s hard to imagine a worse DVD presentation than the one given here by Legend Films. Clearly collecting a poorly duped VHS quality copy of the film, they simply kept the inaccurate full screen transfer, terrible color differences, and overall bargain basement feeling and plunked it down on an aluminum disc. The results are a crime - not only to fans of the movie, but to the legacy of the already marginalized Fleischers.


Recently, relatively pristine offerings of the duo’s definitive Superman cartoons, as well as an excellent collection of Popeye shorts, show exactly what can be done with old school Fleischer. Certainly, it requires time, effort, and an outlay of cash to bring these defect filled (and edited for television) efforts back to life. Equally important is maintaining the artist’s vision. The duo are probably exhausted from the amount of spinning they’ve been doing in their respective graves. In the world of commercial shame, this particular presentation should hang its flawed format head. It looks bad, and no amount of added content (in this case, three bonus cartoons) can make up for it.


All of which brings us back to the story of the Fleischers and their place in painted cell history. After the failure of Mr. Bug and their ouster from Paramount, they still managed a meaningful career within the medium. While Max struggled to stay relevant by working with the Handy Organization, Dave took over the presidency of Screen Gems at Columbia. As time passed, both of their feature films reached a kind of revered cult status. While Gulliver’s Travels has had an equally spotty DVD reputation, nothing can be as bad as Bugville. Granted, Legend gets some small amount of slack for finally releasing this lost gem on the medium. But how they handle the all important image suggests they shouldn’t have bothered. 


FILM:



DVD:



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Saturday, Apr 12, 2008


Alfred Hitchcock became a legend via his mastery of it. Few outside John Carpenter have equaled said cinematic skill set. The fine art of suspense has long since given way to slapdash splatter, generic shivers, and an oversized reliance on gratuity and gloom. Few fright filmmakers have even dared to replicate Hitch’s stylized dread. Instead, they keep the fear factors obvious, hoping such an unwelcome overkill will inspire the genre. Perhaps this is why Ils, the fantastic film from French directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud, is so arresting. Offered to American DVD (from Dark Sky Films) under the title Them, this is a grand thriller, an edge of your seat embracing of the more subtle sense of scares.


Driving late one night, a mother and daughter are forced off the road by someone unseen. When they investigate, something horrible happens. The next day, a French teacher named Clementine, new to Romania, returns home to her disheveled manor. Her writer boyfriend Lucas greets her with the usual creative ennui. As the night wears on, they settle in. Suddenly, they hear noises in the yard. Someone turns on their car lights, and then makes off with the vehicle. Soon, the electricity goes out, and the floorboards creak. Someone is in the house with them. Who it is, and what they want, will turn a typical evening into a gruesome ordeal in terror.


While it may sound like gushing, one thing is crystal clear - Ils/Them is one of the finest, more ferocious suspense films of the last ten years. It argues for the aptitude of the twosome behind the lens, as well as proving that their bitter Hollywood take on J-Horror’s The Eye was merely a fluke of paycheck cashing proportions. As a motion picture, it’s almost flawless. It provides easily recognizable and slightly complex character sketches. It gives the audience an unseen and yet relentlessly malevolent villainy. There is atmosphere to spare, and an attention to cinematic standards that’s hard to escape.

It’s a callous, claustrophobic experience, a purposeful subversion of expectations set within a well worn slasher backdrop. We know that Clementine and Lucas are doomed, their logistical fate founded on both the rundown nature of their new home and the remoteness of the property. We sense that something evil is going to happen here even before the nocturnal nastiness begins. And then, when the terror strikes, it’s all implied. There is something inherently unsettling about hearing an unknown figure walking through your home, the knowledge that such a private domain has been invaded by a foreign being. In fact, Ils is a primer on putting such a scenario through as many permutations as possible.


Moreau and Palud also use our inherent distrust of the former Iron Curtain as a means of measuring out the anxiety. Films like Hostel have fostered a common notion of Eastern Europe as a hotbed of amoral debauchery. From killing clubs, to roving bands of equally murderous thugs, the Romanian countryside is converted into an ‘anything can happen’ playground for the most perverse, unsettling games. Even better, the house Clementine and Lucas inhabit has its own haunted precept. We see the plastic-sheeted attic and instantly recognize that nothing good will come from this locale.


Yet it’s the human element that really stands out here, with Olivia Bonamy giving an excellent turn as Clementine. She plays both the studied teacher and terrified casualty bit with an equal amount of emotional heft. While given much less to do except suffer early on, Michael Cohen infuses Lucas with a sad, not quite stoic persona. We just know he’s going to be the ‘death’ of this couple in the long run. Granted, the title card “based on true events” denouement throws us off a bit. It’s not just for what it says about the killers’ identity, but for the entire region in general. We just don’t want to believe that poverty along with a sense of pointless liberation would lead to such a diseased reaction.


It all makes Ils the very definition of a classic creep out, a by-the-book illustration of the power inherent in film. Moreau and Palud are not reinventing the wheel here. There’s no novel twist on the title type or jump into smarmy self-effacing satire. Instead, they rely on the formula to feed their fever dream, and it does so dynamically. While we get the distinct impression that some of the facts may have been exaggerated even before Moreau and Palud (who also handled the screenplay duties) fictionalized them further. Still, for anyone who ever felt their spine go cold while an unidentified sound frazzled their nerves, this movie is masterful.


Too bad then that there’s not more done in the digital packaging department. The film’s low budget leanings are kept well hidden by the DVD’s image transfer, but the lack of extensive context really undermines the directors and their efforts. The Making-Of shows how intense the shoot actually was, but there is a puffy, electronic press kit quality to the insights. Similarly, an overview of how Clementine is treated in the film is more of a love letter to Bonamy than a hands-on look at the production. What’s really needed here is a director’s commentary, a chance for this pair to provide the kind of analysis that will help future fright filmmakers avoid the issues currently killing the genre.


Yet it’s a minor quibble when compared to the final film. Ils is the kind of experience where we become vicarious victims, recognizing that Clementine and Lucas are probably headed for one fatalistic fate. Just like Hitchcock’s heart-stopping masterworks, we become so involved in the narrative, so tied - directly and metaphysically - to the events transpiring before us that it all literally becomes too much to bear. If all you know of this dynamic duo is there awkward American debut, push Jessica Alba aside and give Ils a try. It will make even the most hardened horror fan weep with dread-induced delight. 



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