NEW Kaboom (DVD)
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Like most Greg Araki films, this one is hard to describe or classify. It is equal parts a light romantic comedy, satire pointing out the fluid nature of sexuality, murder mystery and story about an international conspiracy. The story is intentionally funny in parts, unintentionally laughable in others, and frightening at the same time. Acting is capable, the special effects reflect the tiny budget of the film, and some of the scene changes don't flow together very well. Overall, it can be an enjoyable diversion for those who don't take their movies too seriously, with a reminder that people are not always what they seem to be.
Not rated, but would be an R for partial nudity and simulated sex. DVD has deleted scenes, outtakes and commentary. I give it four stars out of five.
This French release doesn't allow you to change audio or subtitle tracks on the fly. If you'd like to enjoy this film as it was originally presented you'll be sad to know that the French subtitles are forced when playing the English audio track. Even if you were living in France you would not be able to appreciate this movie in it's original language without subtitles polluting this visually beautiful film.
I thought the dark ages of DVD were over, but it's stuff like this that makes me regret trying to legally purchase the things that I like. I guess what this ultimately comes down to is I wish that there was a way for me to support Gregg's films in the United States without always being forced into the standard definition ghetto. I have a feeling the age of physical media will be dead and gone before I get what I want.
If you happen to be a French fan of queer cinema that has no problem with watching dubbed over foreign films then this is absolutely the release for you, but I somehow doubt you exist.
From what I have read online it seems the German release of this film is the way to go as it does not force subtitles and is region free.
With Kaboom, Araki is, more or less, attempting to combine the dreamlike quality of his masterpiece, Mysterious Skin, with the energy and the over-the-top style of his earlier Teen Apocalypse trilogy, which featured Totally F***ed Up (my favorite of the trilogy), The Doom Generation (a film that I am, very slowly, beginning to understand the brilliance of) and Nowhere (an ugly film that I dislike more and more every day). This attempt of his works to a certain degree, but I think the main problem here is that he cannot quite bring anything new or interesting to the table. His high energy approach is no longer as effective as it once was, and so while one can admire the picture from an aesthetic perspective, more often than not the picture does not able to sustain itself like it truly should in order to feel fully realized. No matter what approach I take, this film does not truly feel complete, despite every subplot and plot hole being miraculously resolved by the time the film nears completion, and despite a cast of characters with plenty of distinction, characterization, color, and originality. Kaboom is a film that boasts a number of impressive performances, particularly from Juno Temple who I think gives a performance worthy of being remembered in the next twenty years. We get a lot of creative ideas mixed into this film's novel worth of plot that has everything from perverse love triangles to political conspiracies. The film, however, always feels episodic, as if there isn't a clear thread that we are meant to follow.
The film jumps from subplot to subplot, trying to paint a massive picture full of unique ideas and cinematic power, but the end result feels wholly misguided and misinterpreted. The film sounds better in concept and in theory than it does in execution. I could describe the entire plot and everything that occurs within its unusually short runtime, and the average reader would likely think that it sounded terrific and entertaining. The problem comes with actually watching the film and realizing that it does not keep up with itself as well as it should. Much of the film happens in flashback, which is a refreshing approach at first but then grows surprisingly tiresome. We are unable to keep up with the events of the film, so the film feels the need to guide us as if there's any risk of feeling rushed with such a bizarre plot. There are moments of this film that are nothing less than completely terrifying, and there are moments that are very funny, and there are even some moments that are achingly truthful. However, when you put it all together in the way that this film does, it comes across as less like David Lynch and more like M. Night Shyamalan, only without the suspense or the power that even his weakest films manage to muster up. Kaboom has plenty going for it in the image department, and in a way I could easily see this film being admired just for how visually exciting and creative it is. The issue with this, however, comes from the fact that this film has no reason in the world to look this good.
Even if someone did like this film and enjoy it completely, there is one major problem with it. I'm going to be honest, I actually did enjoy this film a lot more than you may even realize based on what I've written. Much of what I have written comes more from an objective observation than from my actual viewing experience. However, what absolutely killed this film for me was its ending. It wasn't even how the ending unfolded. I was completely on board with this film's wild theories and themes involving underground cults and incest. Even when the film basically turned into an action movie I was into it. However, the last moments of this film are extremely weak for a film with this kind of energy. I wholly believe that Gregg Araki wanted to merely make a fun little piece of artistic entertainment, but he has to be completely crazy to ever even entertain the idea that people could find the final image of this film to be at all satisfying given what was happening up until that point. I was completely on board with this film, flaws and all, but its final moments are what ultimately kill what is otherwise a perfectly fun film.
The premise of this movie is somewhat similar to his earlier work "The Doom Generation."
There is no correlation to "Shortbus." What's this guy talking about?
I suggest watching "Nowhere" and "The Doom Generation" before watching Kaboom. Otherwise I can't say everyone will love this movie like I did. However, it's worth a shot because either way it's definitely a unique and interesting experience.