NOEL GUGLIEMI'S ATTITUDE:
"I play Fatcap. Just a gangster, f***in' tagger, just tagging up on the wall, causing trouble. I don't do no motherf***in' movie unless I get to cause trouble and stir up some s**t. I get my ass kicked by a girl man, by Posie and s**t. It felt good. I can take a beating from a girl. It's alright."
"Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror"
directed by Stacy Title
There's a very good reason why this horror anthology was placed under the LAFF's "Guilty Pleasures" category. Not particularly well-acted or written, "HOH" is nevertheless amusing for its senseless violence, dynamic anime sequences and of course the Dogg himself doing his thing. The premise that sets up the three stories is fairly convoluted, but basically Snoop gives three bad people a chance at redemption before they're ushered off to Hell.
The first vignette, "Crossed Out," stars the bone structure-blessed Daniella Alonso as Posie, a tagger who witnessed a murder-suicide as a child. Go-to scary dude Danny Trejo, who plays the Derelict, straps her down and forces a tattoo on her right hand, which gives her the power to kill other taggers when she spray paints an X over their name. Some quick music video-type cuts makes this fast-paced and colorful, while the first two Posie-related deaths are gruesome crowd pleasers.
"The Scum Lord" takes far too long to set up, but it helps that Anson Mount is obviously having a lot of fun as the titular villain Tex who, with his Southern wife Tiffany (Brande Roderick), intend to systematically kill off the Vietnam vets at an old folks home so he can inherit his father's property free and clear. This is probably the least successful of the three stories, especially since the vets, who preach on about honor, suddenly turn bloodthirsty and rather cruel.
Finally, "Rhapsody Askew" delves into the world of rapper Sod (Pooch Hall) who's faced by an omniscient security guard named Clara (Lin Shaye) who shows the musician that on his path to glory, he broke a promise he made to God. When Sod is visited by a literal ghost (Aries Spears) from the past, he signs his own death warrant. Shaye actually gives this segment some much needed gravity, while Spears' ad-libs are just plain wacky.
Tuesday, June 27
Did You Hear the One About the Nazi, the Volvo and the Slackers?
Freshly returned from Mexico City and secure in the knowledge that nothing combats jet-lag (and tequila-lag) like three consecutive Los Angeles Film Festival competition screenings, I hit one doc and two narrative entries, all with very different subject matter.
Tuesday (June 27) night's viewing, in order:
directed by James Moll
Moll's "Inheritance" isn't quite like any Holocaust-themed documentary I've ever seen before. Monika Hertwig, an initially unassuming German housewife, grew up thinking her father died fighting in World War II, only to discover, at the age of 11, that he was actually Amon Goeth, the heartless concentration camp commandant made infamous by Ralph Fiennes' performance in "Schindler's List." But Monika's story isn't one of overcoming her past and becoming an inspirational figure. Despite having no memories of her father, his legacy has tarnished her life, not because of the ways other people judge her, but because of the way she's judged herself.
Part of the healing process for Monika is a meeting with Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, who was essentially Goeth's slave at his villa outside the Paszow camp. Helen knows that Monika wasn't responsible for the horrors she witnessed, but she refuses to sugar-coat Goeth's evil.
Moll's film is a shattering portrait of these two women, full of misery, but also psychological insight into both Monika's character and an entire Generation of Germans, the children of Nazis. The filmmaker sometimes over-relies on the musical score, which is sometimes so overpowering that Monika's words have to be subtitled, despite her perfect English. Also in delving into Monika's hatred for her parents, Moll drops the ball in not exploring her own daughter, whose drug problems have left Monika raising her cherubic grandson, the film's ray of hope for the future.