Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Upcoming Films - Dark Side of the American Dream

There are three film coming up towards the end of this year that look brilliant - and furthermore they all seem to focus on the dark side of the American Dream Factory.  The first film focuses on Hollywood, the second is set within DisneyLand and the third shows a pair of high school kids simulating a school shooting.  All have obvious themes of media and postmodernism, all of them revealing the inner workings of the 'culture industries' (Film, Theme Parks, Television) in a dark way:

The first is the joint venture from Paul Schrader (Director) and Bret Easton Ellis (Screenwriter).  I have an unhealthy obsession with Ellis and can't wait to see his first cinematic narrative (regardless of the questionable response from its American release.) The film focuses on an unhealthy relationship between an amateur filmmaker (James Deen) and his leading star (Lindsay Lohan) who is having an affair.  The symbolism of using a porn actor and a troubled child-star in this narrative provides an apt metaphor for Hollywood and exploitation...

The second film is a horror film set in DisneyLand, filmed apparently without permission of the Disney™ corporation.  The plot seems to revolve around a father who has a surreal nightmare whilst on holiday with his family.  Critics have been denouncing Disney's utopian vision for years (see Jean Baudrillard) but until now no-one has had the gusto to make an explicit film about the uncomfortable freakiness of their theme parks...

The third new film looks like the most intriguing and relevant to America's relationship with itself.  Set in a high school, two media students decide to make a campy and cliché movie depicting a rampage killing around the campus, only to be told that this is unacceptable. They therefore decide to plan a real massacre in order to create a more respectable piece of coursework.  'Presented' (but thankfully not directed) by Kevin Smith, the new movie written, directed and starring Matthew Johnson has the potential to be a real eye opener to how the media frames and celebrates mass shootings in America arguably leading to more violence...

1 comment:

  1. Dan Zukovic's "THE LAST BIG THING", called the "best unknown American film of the 1990's in the film book "Defining Moments in Movies" (Editor: Chris Fujiwara), was recently released on DVD and Netflix by Vanguard Cinema (, and is currently debuting on Cable Video On Demand. Featuring an important early role by 2011 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Nominee Mark Ruffalo ("The Avengers", "Shutter Island", "The Kids Are Alright"), "THE LAST BIG THING" had a US theatrical release in 1998, and gained a cult following over several years of screenings on the Showtime Networks.

    "A distinctly brilliant and original work." Kevin Thomas - Los Angeles Times
    "A satire whose sharpest moments echo the tone of a Nathaniel West novel...Nasty Fun!"
    Stephen Holden - New York Times
    "One of the cleverest recent satires on contemporary Los Angeles...a very funny sleeper!"
    Michael Wilmington - Chicago Tribune
    "One of the few truly original low budget comedies of recent years." John Hartl - Seattle Times
    "'The Last Big Thing' is freakin' hilarious! The most important and overlooked indie film
    of the 1990's!" Chris Gore - Film Threat