Movie Mondays: One of a Kind

~posted by Frank

These films are definitely different. Singularly weird, completely original, and if they borrow elements from other films, they put a new spin on them and make them their own. So get ready for four wild rides.

Frank. Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young musician – talented but wet behind the ears – who comes across an avant garde band led by Frank (Michael Fassbender), who wears a giant papier-mâché head. At all times. When Jon joins the band, he struggles to be a part of the magic, and Frank’s psychological problems are compounded by Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the theremin player who hates Jon and lets him know it whenever she can. The script, co-written by author Jon Ronson, is surprising for it’s offbeat humor, but also for its depth – it’s a surprisingly rich character study about people who don’t want to play by the rules but want to fit in at the same time.

TuskWallace (Justin Long) is an obnoxious, exploitative podcaster who goes to Canada to humiliate his latest victim. When said victim kills himself, Wallace agrees to meet with Howard (Michael Parks), with the promise of a good story for his program. Instead, Wallace wakes up the next day with a leg amputated and discovers what Howard has in store for him – to turn him into a walrus. Literally. The horrors of what unfolds – and it is horrible – is punctured with offbeat humor from director Kevin Smith, that doesn’t always work. Still, the transformation from man to walrus is just about the most bizarre thing I’ve seen on film in a while.

BorgmanJan Bijvoet is Camiel Borgman, a forest-dweller who lives underground. When his lair is destroyed by an axe-wielding priest, he seeks refuge in a upper-class house owned by Richard and Marina. Richard, understandably suspicious, beats Borgman up and runs him off, but when Borgman returns a while later – cleaned up, and posing as a gardener – he insinuates himself into their lives and casts a spell on Marina. There’s a fairy tale quality to this Dutch import that is truly magical, and Borgman’s character has been linked to the alp, a nefarious elf from German folklore. But we all know fairy tales are dark and disturbing, and Borgman is a bizarre – and totally unique – tale for adults.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night“The first Iranian Vampire Western?” You bet it is. Sheila Vand is The Girl, a lonely vampire who preys on the townspeople of Bad City, Iran. She meets Arash, a lonely young man whose suffocating under his father’s drug habit. Are these lost souls meant to be together? First time director Ana Lily Amirpour takes the familiar vampire trope, throws in some western elements, and films it in gorgeous black and white that feels like a graphic novel come to life, and creates something that’s not only distinctive, but something that feels eminently cool.

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