Streaming VOD Channel Review -BLACK NEON- And a review on WOLF and the films of Robert Bresson!

So while I advocate always keeping things you LOVE in physical media, DVDs , Blurays, CDs, etc; the benefit of Streaming and Digital is that it is GREAT for exploring, and finding out what out there is worth having. Most things are not worth having or keeping. So Streaming is great for a try before you buy methodology, or simply finding new things to watch right now.

This installment, the channel that is up for review is…  BLACK NEON.

BLACK NEON  – first thing that strikes you about this channel, is unlike the hundreds of options of other channels, this one has a very limited number of movies. Many I have to confess to being unaware of or not having seen on other channels. Always a plus in my book.

To avoid the mishap of doing a lengthy listing of its titles, only to determine the actual streaming service is crap, or ad infested. I decide to pick a movie and test it out.

Wolf (2018)

My eyes gravitate to a film called WOLF, a thriller of some type seemingly, and without reading the description I just start the film. From frame one I’m captivated. And over sixteen minutes in and not a single ad.

I’m loving the movie and the channel so far.

BLACK NEON may be a home-run. I’ll update after finishing the movie and looking around a bit.

***UPDATE*****

Okay I just finished watching WOLF courtesy of the BLACK NEON channel. Do a search for new streaming movie channels to add and you will find BLACK NEON.

Wolf (2018)

They do not have much content, maybe a dozen movies.But it is worth getting the channel just to see WOLF. What an incredibly strange film. Very off kilter, and always has you on the edge and not knowing where it is going, which I find refreshing.

It is very Bressonian. Robert Bresson was a French director, little known, and unfortunately little remembered today, but he used most effectively and most notably the idea of the pregnant frame. An empty frame, and the emptiness, the waiting for it to be filled would create tension.  And while not a horror director, his films such as A MAN ESCAPED and PICKPOCKET (both absolute masterpieces) build incredible amounts of tension by using the empty frame, and our desire to have it filled.

It has been used by directors since, and is used here in WOLF to great effect.  It is a slow burn movie, and has a WTF turn, that you never quite recover from, and is never truly made clear. You leave the film arguably with as many questions as you came, the final meaning of the film, and of what actually happened left up to individual interpretation.

Wolf (2018)

That can be frustrating to some, however I really liked it. I loved it actually, the patience of the film, and its willingness to court confusion.

That does not always work for me, sometimes it is the sign of a lazy filmmaker. But I do not think that is the case here, the filmmaker and writer Michael Jones has crafted a compelling story and wanted to let it finish cooking in the mind of the viewer.

Love it or hate it, I do not think it is a film you will easily dismiss.I fall in the camp of being very impressed by this raw nerve, of a movie.  

WOLF (2016 Australian release/2018 VOD release)

A Michael Jones Film

Grade: B+.

Recommended! This is definitely a movie that deserves to be owned on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

Richard Matheson’s HELLHOUSE: An Audio Book Review

hellhouse
It was the film THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN that did it, put the name Richard Matheson on my radar.

I don’t know if any writer can claim to be as hauntingly adapted to film as Richard Matheson. Sure there are more oft adapted writers (Stephen King- speaking of who, you can see a definite similarity between the two writers. Matheson a definite influence on King’s introspective style ), there are even better adapted writers (Cornell Woolrich), however there is something in the viewpoint of Matheson’s writing, in the nature of it, that lends itself to filmmakers and films, committed to making us ruminate long, and dig deep.

His I AM LEGEND in all its forms has been cinema gold. That lone THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN film remains a timeless masterpiece, a 50s scifi property of somehow existential dread and implications.

I mean what it is it about a Matheson property that sets it as clearly distinct from the herd? In the oft predictable genre field, Matheson’s work while not ignoring the cliches, somehow side-steps them, somehow is always intimate and personal dissections of us. If for Shakespeare the play was the thing, for Matheson it was the people. It was what they said of themselves, and what they said of us.

Despite the premise, it’s always character that carries the day in a Matheson property.

The character of people, even the character of a house.

Which brings us to… HELLHOUSE. HELLHOUSE in all its various forms captivates. The successful THE LEGEND OF HELLHOUSE starring Roddy McDowall being an example (which bares a striking similarity to the Robert Wise film/Shirley Jackson novel THE HAUNTING). The film is such an erudite genre film, informed and informative, and passionate about us, an atypical ghost story to be sure.

Which brings us to the audio book. Narrator Ray Porter does an excellent job of convincingly occupying the diverse cast of characters, creating for us a compelling world. However that said, Matheson’s main protagonist, the scientist Dr. Barrett, becomes so pig headed, and stupid, that by the third part of the 8 part audio drama, I couldn’t take it. I wanted to reach into the audio book, and kill the guy. UrrrrGGHHH!

To hold onto his preconceptions and prejudices in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary, what Barrett does, is not science. It is in many ways dogma, something very akin to religious mania, but just supplanting blind faith in a God, with blind faith in scientific process (God by another name). Dude is crippled, but in the head, rather than the body.

Seriously the guy was so frustrating, like these idiots in slasher films who stay in a haunted house, or makeout at a grave yard. You’re like… “yeah you’re too stupid to live.” So by the third chapter it was frustrating me too much to continue listening to it. I might try finishing it later, but any book that loses me in midstream like that, I can give you my take on now. Cause even if the remaining 5 chapters are brilliant, it is not going to help. Once I lose interest or concern or even compassion for the characters… I’m done.

So a well read book, Porter’s delivery is completely compelling, and it moves from scene to scene without padding, without fluff, but my praise of Matheson’s characters aside, it is the character of Dr. Barrett that loses me.

I can’t keep company with staggeringly pig headed people. Not even for the length of an audio book.

So definitely worth a listen, but if you have a temperament like mine, you may want to skip out on buying (especially if it is an encrypted WMA file. Screw that nonsense). Try it out at your library for free, or borrow it from a friend.

Upcoming Richard Matheson Audio Book reviews will be I AM LEGEND and DUEL.