Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BUFF - Mock Up On Mu

Dir. Craig Baldwin

Viewed: From the Balcony

Sorry for neglecting you this year Boston Underground Film Festival. After the fun we had last year, I feel like a total schmo for getting caught off guard this past Thursday when the festivities kicked-off. But I'm trying my best to make up for it by catching up with what I can during this week's re-runs. First up was Mock Up On Mu -- a bizarro mash-up of old sci-fi and B-movie clips with newly shot scenes, put through a blender and resulting in something about L. Ron Hubbard, Lockheed Martin and a mad scientist type plan for colonizing and mining the moon for energy... I think.

We start out being introduced to our main players: L. Ron Hubberd, Lockheed Martin, Jack Parsons, Marjorie Cameron and Alistar Crowley-- all characters plucked from history and thrown into this complex and convoluted plot that has L. Ron Hubbard running a huge compound on the moon, sending an agent down to Earth to infiltrate Lockheed and Parsons, something about some crazy reflective surface capturing energy from the moon... I think. The weird thing, not that there's just one by any means, is that the film is 99% exposition. And at 110 minutes it wears you down to a beaten pulp by the end. With all the insane jump cuts that frequently reach subliminal level and the constant barrage of absurd details being delivered at a rapid rate by the actors (all of which is purposely out of synch with what's on the screen, even in the new footage) it's completely overwhelming to the point of fatigue.

But as far as experiments go, Mock Up On Mu isn't a complete failure. There are times when it all comes together, if only for a brief moment here and there. When the images come together to achieve a transcendental converging point and the perfect music is playing and it's like your slipping through one of L. Ron's wormholes. But in many of the other moments writer/director Craig Bladwin is simply throwing the kitchen sink at us. It is amazing and funny how so many of the old movies from the 50's through 60's can be interchangable (not that that's changed at all) and you repurpose scenes from an old Robert Mitchum movie, a spaghetti western and a cheapie sci-fi flick for the same means. It's funny for a little while anyway. As is one character speaking only in movie titles for long stretches and how the movie incorporates the real history from these character's lives and makes it part of their back story and how they came to be involved in L. Ron's moon conquering plot. One of the great ah-ha moments of the film comes from Baldwin using the commentary track on an old hippy movie to have Dennis Hopper point out the real Marjorie Cameron during her character's flashback -- it's meta-fantastic and it's these kinds of inspired moments that make the film interesting. If only the film could sustain these moments then I'd be more eager to recommend it.

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