Two Movies from Film Threat
Frontier (June 27/05)
It's hard to imagine just how pretentious one has to be to enjoy Frontier, an exceedingly dull experimental film revolving around two inept officers of a fictitious country. Said soldiers (played by Wiley Wiggens and director David Zellner) have survived some kind of revolution and have been sent to a neighboring county where they are to bring civilization to the natives. While the film does feature some intriguing visuals and a distinctly absurd sense of humor (ie there's a sequence in which two men box using uncooked chickens as gloves), the complete lack of a storyline and sorely underdeveloped characters ensures that the 81-minute running time feels a whole lot longer. Zellner (along with co-writer Nathan Zellner) devotes far too much time to long sequences in which nothing significant happens, which is admittedly preferable to the nonsensical moments that become increasingly prevalent as the film progresses. It's clear that Zellner is more interested in creating an atmosphere of pure strangeness, and on that level, he's undoubtedly succeeded.
no stars out of
Ligeia (June 27/05)
Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, Ligeia revolves around unhappily married couple Kieran (Martin T. Davis) and Rowena (Bronwyn Knox) - both of whom have recently started engaging in extra-marital shenanigans (he with his friend's wife and she with an old pal who used to be a man). Ligeia's been written and directed by Dave Lawler, and while the filmmaker does a nice job of imbuing the movie with some intriguing stylistic touches, the almost unrelentingly bleak vibe is awfully hard to take. It certainly doesn't help that the storyline hits all the wrong notes right from the get-go, with Lawler eschewing character development in favor of oddball plot twists. As a result, Ligeia doesn't tend to make a whole lot of sense - something that becomes more and more apparent as the film progresses (that Lawler begins throwing in experimental visuals only exacerbates matters). The bottom line is that none of this is even remotely interesting, though it does seem possible that one's familiarity with the source material might clarify some of the more baffling elements in Lawler's screenplay.