Monica Hampton

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Heavy Metal In Baghdad Review


Good
If there was any doubt that music feeds the soul, it has been put to rest by Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi's frustrating but nearly impossible to forget Heavy Metal in Baghdad. If popular perceptions are to be believed, then every Iraqi citizen would be a worshipful Muslim who hates all pop culture (particularly anything emanating from America) with a fervent zeal. Not so the Metallica-loving lads of Acrassicauda, the heavy-metal quartet from Baghdad portrayed with true concern and understanding in a documentary that succeeds (almost in spite of its filmmakers) in illustrating the necessity of art in even the worst situations.

Heavy Metal started out of an article about the band that Vice magazine ran in 2004. Unable to shake the idea of these four musicians struggling to make a go of the rock and roll life in the middle of a war zone, a pair of Vice journalist/filmmakers (Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi) went to Iraq a year later to find out what was going on with the band. What the rather raggedly produced film still manages to vividly put across is that, like many elements of Iraqi society, after the 2003 American invasion, things for the band members went from bad to worse. Under Saddam Hussein, Acrassicauda (a superbly metal name, it comes from the Latin for "black scorpion" and is regularly misspelled by the band members) were barely allowed to play, which was insult enough. But in Baghdad's post-invasion sectarian tumult, the English-speaking metalheads were seen as practically infidels; in a bitterly comic aside, one of them notes how some Islamists claimed that the longhaired headbangers were actually singing Jewish prayers and so deserved to die. Death threats and accusations of Satan worship were par for the course.

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Vulgar Review


Weak
The clown business has always been ripe with humor potential. Why, consider the mastery behind such films as Quick Change, Problem Child, Death to Smoochy, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space -- all of which rely on clown humor. Vulgar kicks it up a notch from these "classics," by giving us a kiddie clown by the name of Flappy who decides he can make extra money by dressing up in his clown makeup and women's clothing and appearing as gag entertainment at bachelor parties.

On his very first assignment, "Vulgar," as he goes by after hours, finds himself beaten and gang raped by a group of horny guys. Oops. No sooner has Vulgar/Flappy recovered than he saves a young girl from her murderous father, lands on the talk show circuit, and soon is offered his own kids' TV show. Soon enough, the hillbilly types catch up with him and attempt to blackmail him for the inevitable videotape of the night. Pulp Fiction-style revenge ensues.

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Monica Hampton

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Vulgar Movie Review

Vulgar Movie Review

The clown business has always been ripe with humor potential. Why, consider the mastery behind...

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