The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rubber (2010)

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I've been intrigued by the concept of this one for a long time. Our buddy Mr. Gable at Mr. Gable's Reality had mentioned it and gave it a thumbs up, and I saw that it also had DTVC Hall of Famer Wings Hauser, which is always a good thing. Besides, the idea of a campy horror flick about a killer tire is right up my alley.

Rubber is about the making of a film about a killer tire, where an audience in the desert tracks the plot developments from afar with binoculars. From there things go crazy, as our tire, in trying to comprehend his existence, discovers his capacity to destroy, and attempts to make sense of his surroundings through that capacity; and then there's the people making the movie, who need to get rid of the audience so they can stop making the movie.

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Let's get one thing straight before I go too far: this is not a campy horror flick. The descriptions on Netflix or whatnot may tell you this is something in The Asylum range, but it isn't. Think more Jean-Luc Godard late 60s French New Wave to the extreme. Or maybe more a parody on that style. I enjoyed it, and it does have some funny gore, but what you're looking at is a tire going through an existentialist crisis, and using that as a vehicle through which to mock various film conventions. In a sense, by poking fun at Godard, director Quentin Dupieux might be embracing him better than anyone who has tried to emulate the great French film maker. Of course, these are all film conversations that don't exactly fit here at the DTVC.

One dude who does fit here is DTVC Hall of Famer Wings Hauser, and he was great. He played an old man in a wheel chair as one of the audience with binoculars, but he's the one that sees something's afoot with the people making the movie. It's not the action packed 80s-90s DTV role we're used to from him, but he's still every bit Wings Hauser, which is all we can ask for. I don't want to get too far into his role, because I don't want to give away too much of the film.

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At the very beginning of the film, one of the characters discusses with us and the audience the phenomenon of "No reason". "Why does such and such happen? No reason." The thing is, in a lot of the cases, there is a reason. For instance, he says "why can't we see all the air around us? No reason." Actually, there us a reason, many reasons in fact, but I don't have the science background to say exactly why. Some of the other ones were meant to be ironic, like "why does Adrian Brody's character in The Pianist have to live like a bum when he's a famous piano player? No reason.", and maybe it was that that set the stage for what we were in for more than anything. He said the film is a celebration of that "No reason.", but it appears to have many reasons for being made.

Yes, people's heads explode in this movie, but does that in and of itself make it a horror film? I don't think so. As Americans, that's the best thing we can latch onto as viewers, especially when the rest of the film appears to make no sense. The blood and guts is where we always go first. A comedy is probably a better assessment, and I think we have to take the heads exploding in a comedic vein as well. I don't even know if I'd call this a comedy though, that just feels like the closest fit.

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I'm always torn when I review any movies here at the DTVC, between writing about events that I really liked at the expense of giving away parts of the movie, or keeping them to myself and telling you I don't want to give it away. I usually only do the former if the movie is really bad, so I can explain what I didn't like about it-- I've always hated the idea of just saying "this is the worst example of film making ever!", and leaving it at that--, but when I enjoyed it, like this one, I'm afraid of robbing anyone who reads this of that experience. There are so many things I'd like to tell you, but I think you're better off seeing it for yourself.

That is if you still plan on seeing this film upon finding out it isn't a horror film per se. It's currently available on Netflix Watch Instantly for my American readers, and at less that 90 minutes, I'd say it's worth checking out. Think of it more as a spoof on the art house picture than a campy horror flick, and if you go in with that mindset, I think you'll be fine.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1612774/

8 comments:

  1. loved the basic idea of a killer-tyre, loved the trailers/teasers - but eventually I ended up completely disappointed. I wanted this to be some kinda entertaining exploitation flick, and not the superlame quasi-arthouse-disaster it turned out to be.

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  2. And it's exactly that reason that I wanted my review to convey that difference between what was being sold and what this was. I have odd tastes, and enjoy both bad Asylum flicks and late 60s Godard, but I could see how someone going in expecting the former and getting the latter would've been disappointed.

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  3. Great review! Want to see this for the Wings Hauser factor.

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  4. I LOVE this movie. But you're completely right...its marketed all wrong. But you find out right away you're in for something different.

    Rubber is such a hard movie to review because you can't really explain anything without coming out and telling readers what's going on. It's a big confusing story but its really entertaining.

    I love that this movie is aware of its badness and even tries to kill itself several times. HAHAHAHA

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  5. Can't agree with you guys more. Great review which let people know what they're getting. I was also expecting a fun, cheesy, gore-filled trash about a killer tyre. So a note to filmmakers: that is still waiting to get made!

    Speaking of crappy marketing... I just watched the Danny Trejo/Gary Daniels-film The Lazarus Papers, marketed in the UK as a hardcore action-thriller The Mercenary. It isn't. It's actually one of those "impossible to understand"-stories about love and the afterlife. I guess it was trying to say something about the Thai culture and their beliefs, but I honestly don't know. One of the weirdest films I've ever seen and definitely not an action film nor a thriller. But man, Daniels - while not having much screen time - gets to wear some AMAZING suits!

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  6. Ty, I think you'll enjoy this one, not only for the Wings factor, but because it it so different and funny.

    I'm with you Mr. Gable, I loved it too. Even if it wasn't what was advertised, what we got was fun-- though not for everyone.

    And Lazarus Papers is out in the UK? I've been waiting for that one. Hopefully we'll get it here soon.

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  7. i enjoyed most of it, mostly how beautifully it was shot and the impressive gore. i just think if they had gotten rid of all that "there is no reason" stuff and the audience with the binoculars stuff and left it as a crazy ass exploitation flick about a killer tire then it would have been something truly worth remembering. it's a movie about a killer tire. do we really need a reason?

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  8. I gotta say, I don't disagree with the way they made the movie, just the way it was sold. It wasn't meant to be an exploitation flick, more a postmodern spoof on existentialism and Godardian French New Wave. But I guess it's hard to sell that, so they went exploitation, which left a lot of people disappointed.

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