May. 02, 2012 - Issue #863: Cold Specks
Hard Core Logo 2
McDonald, or rather "Bruce McDonald," was in a sense the unseen protagonist of Hard Core Logo, sticking behind the camera but becoming increasingly invasive; Hard Core Logo 2 brings this alter ego front and centre. In the 15 years since HCL, this alternate Bruce has moved from a middling career in Canadian documentaries to an even less distinguished but more lucrative realm of American Christploitation television. He runs a hit drama called The Pilgrim, but the show's put on hiatus when its Fatty Arbuckle-like star becomes embroiled in scandal. This and other troublesome twists of fate lead Bruce, who narrates HCL2 in wallpaper voice-over, to return to his roots, taking a gig directing a profile of (real-life) preening glam-punk outfit Die Mannequin as they cut a record in a rural Saskatchewan. This is where the déjà vu really kicks in: Die Mannequin's new producer is none other than Hard Core Logo's old associate Bucky Haight (Julian Richings), while Care Failure, Die Mannequin's Marilyn Manson-fashioned front-woman with the sex-doll mouth, claims to be in some sort of spiritual contact with the ghost of Hard Core Logo's late frontman Joe Dick. From here, as if things weren't goofy enough, HCL2 slips from being an idiosyncratic faux-doc sequel to awkwardly adopting tropes from the found footage horror subgenre.
But it's also just a movie about what it means to be a filmmaker in an industry that rewards mediocrity, and to be a middle-aged man nostalgic for past glories drenched in juvenilia. I admire the movie's utter strangeness even while I have to wince at its uneven performances and Die Mannequin's rather dire posturing. I'm willing to defend HCL2 as a worthy entry into ardently creative navel-gazing, with its oddly compelling images of Bruce's body afloat in brown water, resembling a bloated beaver, holding inside of him a ticking time-bomb of guilt, fascination and despair. Is Bruce's project really that of a one-time ruthless filmmaker trying to make amends with the past (ie: his complicity in Dick's downward spiral), or is it really just about a cagey loser doing anything to escape Jesus TV? I like the fact that the movie tries to have it both ways while twisting the faux-doc form into whatever shape suits its wistful-twinkly and maybe even kinda touching conclusion. There's also a pretty good Guns N' Roses joke.
Fri, May 4 – Thu, May 10
Metro Cinema at the Garneau
Directed by: Bruce McDonald
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy