Monday, June 27, 2016

Phil attends an exclusive advanced screening of THE NEON DEMON from Amazon Studios - June 20, 2016

Hello again everybody and welcome to a very special edition of Phil's Film Adventures! While I was going through my Facebook feed I saw a very interesting post from the Sacramento Horror Film Festival. They were giving away free passes to an advanced screening of director Nicolas Winding Refn's new film THE NEON DEMON, which wont be in theaters until Friday, June 24th. Now I was very excited because I haven't done one of these types of screenings in over two years. So right after work, I headed down to the United Artists Arden Fair 6 Mall to check out this cinematic special occasion!

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has in The Neon Demon, the new horror thriller from Nicolas Winding Refn. The Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning (Maleficent, Super 8), Jena Malone (Inherent Vice, The Hunger Games series), Bella Heathcote (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dark Shadows), Abbey Lee (Gods of Egypt, Max Max: Fury Road), Karl Glusman (Love, Stonewall), Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix series), Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men,” Drive), Desmond Harrington (“Dexter,” The Dark Knight Rises), Alessandro Nivola (A Most Violent Year, American Hustle), and Charles Baker (“Breaking Bad,” Wild).

Actress Elle Fanning gives one of her best performances ever! She commands your attention when she's on the screen. Her portrayal as Jesse is nothing short of riveting. We witness her character turn from a kind, sweet and naive young girl to a self-absorbed, arrogant and prissy supermodel. It's a slow turn that is utterly amazing to witness. It is an extraordinary performance! Jena Malone is also captivating, if not shocking, as Jesse's good friend and make-up artists Ruby. She goes the extra mile in the film and let me just say there's this amazing "Holy Shit!" moment that was freaking crazy! Then there's Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee, who portray Gigi and Sarah respectively. These superficial, super shallow and superplastic supermodels are the antagonists to our fair Jesse, who will stop at nothing to make sure she doesn't steal their spotlight and fame. Also, look for Keanu Reeves appearing in a very minor role as the jackass motel manager Hank, who spreads his time smoking cigarettes and breaking into the rooms.

Nicolas Winding Refn's directing is perfection at its finest! His compositions and camera panning are simple buy yet very effective. His eye captures the beautiful and the ugliness of not only our characters but also of the Los Angeles fashion world as well. Refn's framing is superb, documenting the rise and fall of Jesse with such captivating fluently. But what I really loved was the gorgeous neon lighting throughout the film. The last time I watched a film with this much colorful lighting was Dario Argento's 1977 horror classic SUSPIRIA. Now I would also like to address his partner-in-crime, which would be cinematographer Natasha Braier, without whom Refn's wouldn't have been able to bring his film to the screen. Exquisitely photographed by this very talented individual! Also, Refn co-wrote the film with two other talented writers: Mary Laws and Polly Stenham. The sparse dialogue enhances his unique vision but the story is so fascinating that we can't help but get swept into the lovely chaos of our characters.

Another aspect I loved about the film was the incredibly radical soundtrack! Music composer Cliff Martinez created a soundtrack that is an amalgam of 80's new wave synthesizer and traditional slasher music from like FRIDAY THE 13th. It's catchy, hypnotic and retro all at the same time. It's reminds of music that I would hear on the New Retro Wave website. It's new yet familiar at the same time, which is very difficult to pull off. I can't wait to buy the soundtrack and I hope it comes out on a totally awesome looking colored vinyl!

There are some who will say that this is not a horror film while some say it is an art house movie. Then there are those who will call it a thriller. Some might dare say it sucked and would want their money back. This is an experimental film; one that lies somewhere between an exquisite dreamlike state and a nightmarish plane of reality.

 THE NEON DEMON is my favorite film of the year thus far!! Words cannot describe how much I loved this movie!! It truly is a work of art and it must be seen on the big screen! So if you are bored of the typical Hollywood schlockbuster and the tired remakes/reboots/rehashes, then you must see this movie! 5 out of 5 stars!! Very highly recommended!!

THE NEON DEMON is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the United Artists Arden Fair 6 Mall. Check your local listings and theater to see if it's playing near you!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

No comments:

Post a Comment