Film Threat Interview: Until the Light Takes Us

“Until the Light Takes Us”, a new documentary by Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites, tells the origin story of Black Metal without getting into any of that pesky music stuff. Instead, it focuses on the two main pioneers of the genre, Gylve “Fenriz” “Nagell and Varg “Count Grishnackh” Vikernes, letting them explain their social and political reasons for creating this unique and very controversial scene. While the violence, church burnings, and occasional murder associated with Black Metal were all true (Vikeres is currently serving a 21-year sentence for fatally stabbing a fellow musician), the media fabricated the motivation. Satan was in no way involved. Though Paganism (the original Norwegian religion) was part of it the crimes had more to do with cultural imperialism than anything secular. Apparently, Satan gets a lot of undeserved credit for the world’s misdoings.

To get an insider’s look at the truth behind the scene, Ewell and Aites moved to Norway for two years and completely immersed themselves in Black Metal . The result is a film as raw and gritty as the music that inspired it. Film Threat’s Jessica Baxter spoke with the pair about their inspirations, the arduous process of documentary filmmaking, and just what those Norwegians are so pissed off about.

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Film Threat Review: Me & Orson Welles

2009
Rated PG-13
114 minutes

***

“Sometimes you remember a week for the rest of your life,” says blue-eyed puppy dog Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) to his jaded, older love interest. That’s certainly true if your week involves scoring a bit part alongside Orson Welles. The trouble lies in how to keep Orson from outshining everything and everyone else. In some ways, Richard Linklater struck gold when he found Christian McKay. The man completely embodies Orson Welles in appearance and charisma alike. He’s like walking Cliff’s Notes for the legendary genius and charming egomaniac. Unfortunately for the rest of the film, he’s easily the most memorable thing about it.

Set in 1937, Efron plays a plucky teenage actor who scams his way into bit part in Welles’ fascist adaptation of “Julius Caesar”, a week before it’s due to open. Along the way, he becomes smitten with Orson’s ambitious assistant, Sonja (Claire Danes) and learns a few important lessons about “how the world works”. Since this is show business, the “world” in question is theatre, and the lessons are learned the hard way.

“Me & Orson Welles” is Zac Efron’s first real attempt to shed the cheesy teenybopper image bestowed upon him by the Cult of Disney. It’s an admirable career move. He wants to grow up and he wants to do it without snorting anything. And though Efron does show a lot of promise as an actor (he handles old-timey posturing very well) it’s almost unfair to, in his first non-family outing, pair him next to Christian McKay. True, being outshined by Orson Welles is part of Richard’s character. But it backfires because Christian McKay similarly steals the spotlight from Efron, even when they’re not sharing a scene.

Another problem with the film is that it lacks the usual depth of a Linklater story. There are no existential conversations here, nor keen observations about finding your potential. Perhaps it’s because the story is about actors, but it all seems rather shallow and self-absorbed. The principal lesson here is that one does what they have to in order to get ahead, be it calculated sexual liaisons or refraining from talking back to your boss, even when you know you’re right. Is everything really as simple as “you can’t always get what want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need”?

There are some wonderful moments and a few gems of dialogue. But what everyone is going to be talking about is Christian McKay. Sonja says that the “principal occupation of the Mercury Theatre is waiting for Orson.” Similarly, the principal occupation of the “Me & Orson Welles” audience is wading through the Me parts to get to more Orson. Better luck next time, kid.

Originally published on FilmThreat.com

NFT Radar: Roxy’s Diner

Roxy’s website states that they’re “Seattle’s only NY Jewish Style Diner.” But this is not a case of beggars-can’t-be-choosers. Roxy’s is the poo. Their gargantuan menu lists an endless array of delights for chosen people and Goys alike. Have a burger (or veggie patty) any way you like it, eat breakfast all day (bagel sandwiches, latkes and eggs, tater tot omelet), or go the traditional sandwich route with a Rueben, Patty Melt or enormous Pastrami on Rye. Naturally, it all comes with a crispy pickle. Wash it down with a pitcher of beer or the bubbly chocolate goodness of an Egg Cream. Weekends bring $2 Champagne Cocktails or Mini Marys. As for sides, they’ve got ’em in spades. Potato Salad, Slaw, Matzoh Ball Soup, Sweet Potato Fries, and Tots just to name a few. If you’re still hungry after all that, you can get some pie or Rugelach from the glass case. It doesn’t hurt that the decor, with the cushy booths and colorful mural, is as sunny and inviting as the wait staff. The only downside is that they close at 7 pm every day. But they’re Seattle’s only NY Jewish Style Diner so you’ll eat when they’re ready.


462 N 36th St 98103
206-632-3963

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Snacks!

Snacks! is the sort of place that Charlie Bucket would have stood outside with longing, his poor little face pressed up against the window. For those of you who don’t have to share a bed with all of your grandparents, Snacks! is open Thursday through Saturday till 2:30am (10 am-6 pm Sunday) and provides a rotating array of treats with the Ballard post-bar and munchie-laden in mind. Catering to both savory and sweet palettes and contrary to logic, it’s best not to have any idea what you want when you walk through those doors because you never know what you’re going to find. Their signature items, including pints of Molly Moon’s ice cream in seasonal flavors, Dante’s hot dogs, and the Chilly Dog (soft serve ice cream in a toasted bun with peanut butter and jelly) are mainstays, but their beer, wine, general snack and candy selection is constantly changing. Their best offerings are not portable over long-distances, so Snacks! isn’t the best option if you don’t already live in Ballard, or you’re not planning to hang out there. If only there were a Snacks! in every neighborhood.


5219 Ballard Ave NW 98107
206-453-3806

X-posted from