Music Video Friday: Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy & Windowlicker (A Chris Cunningham Special)

I’m vaguely aware of the MTV Video Music Awards having been on last weekend. Like MTV itself, remember the good old days when the VMAs didn’t suck ass?? I usually still watch the show (and bitch to hubby about how much it sucks – I’m so old!). But I haven’t watched last weekend’s. Hosted by Miley Cyrus? A world where Kim Kardashian could be the First Lady? I just don’t have the energy for it anymore. I’m all bitched-out. I feel so far removed from the “youth” of today. And that’s before we even get to the fact that the music & the videos are shit now!

Then David Bowie’s son (Duncan Jones) tweeted this:

Right on, Duncan! Hell, I was happy enough with the cheesy videos of the Eighties (things like last week’s video – Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield). That will always be my favorite era of MTV, of course, but I did love that period during the late 90s/early 2000s when people like Spike Jonze & Chris Cunningham came along & made truly artistic videos that were more like “mini-films”. I know we still get the occasional good video but they seem to be few & far between.

I love the videos from those mentioned in the above tweet (Jonathan Glazer, director of Under The Skin, made one of my very favorites: UNKLE’s Rabbit In Your Headlights) but I’ve been meaning to talk about Chris Cunningham one of these Fridays. I’m sure I’ll post other videos of his but wanted to start with those he did for Aphex Twin.

Cunningham is most famous for the amazing Björk video All Is Full Of Love and I think his video for Afrika Shox by Leftfield and Afrika Bambaataa is great. But I remember going “what the fuuuuuuuu%&k?” when I saw his video for Come To Daddy by Aphex Twin (Richard D. James). Come To Daddy was released in 1997 & I saw it on MTV but it was on a show where I think celebrities were talking about their favorite videos and this one was chosen & played (since by this point MTV was just TV shows instead of music videos). And I thought “Wow! What the hell was that? Why isn’t MTV playing this sort of thing all the time??” Then Cunningham topped it with the ultra weird 1999 video for Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker. 

I’ve rambled on long enough & I’d assume everyone here has seen these videos by now. But, just in case you haven’t (Rob), I better put a WARNING: Not Safe For Kids! Both are very disturbing and Windowlicker has loads of swearing (according to Wikipedia, “There are 127 uses of profanity in the dialogue segment of the video (which is under 4 minutes), including 44 uses of the word fuck. This averages to more than one use of profanity every two seconds”). But, in searching for these, I discovered a short film by Cunningham that I somehow knew nothing about!!! And it makes these videos look like Disney cartoons. If you’re brave enough after watching these, click THIS LINK for his film Rubber Johnny (featuring, again, music from Aphex Twin). Now THAT is weird…

Enjoy! And Sweet Dreams. 😉 I know I won’t be having any of those since watching Rubber Johnny!

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Under The Skin (2013) Review

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Under The Skin (2013)

Directed by Jonathan Glazer

Starring:
Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy McWilliams
Joe Szula
Kryštof Hádek
Paul Brannigan
Adam Pearson
Michael Moreland
Dave Acton
Jessica Mance

Running time: 108 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Under the Skin is a 2013 British-American science fiction art film directed by Jonathan Glazer, and written by Glazer and Walter Campbell as a loose adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland.

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My Opinion:

Finally! I finally managed to see this movie after looking everywhere for a cinema actually showing it when it came out and having no luck. I was intrigued because, first of all, it looked like “The Woman Who Fell To Earth“. Being a big David Bowie fan and loving The Man Who Fell To Earth way more than I should, I really wanted to see this. Plus, I found out that the director has made some of my favorite music videos (more about that later). So did Under The Skin live up to all the hype in my head? Yes and no.

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I mentioned this movie when I reviewed Lucy HERE on Monday and, yes, I think Under The Skin is the superior film of the two although I did really enjoy Lucy. Scarlett Johansson is indeed the true star of both films and, I think, makes both movies far better than they would’ve been with a different actress (and this is coming from someone who has never really been a fan of hers). Under The Skin is a very brave role for her to have taken on and I think, along with Her, it’s paid off and made her a far more respected actress. Under The Skin could have been a massive failure for her and, although there will certainly be plenty of people who hate the film, I think it’s a huge success as far as her professional career is concerned. As for the movie…

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Yes, it’s weird. Very very weird. It’s exactly what I expected, though, having seen The Man Who Fell To Earth (it does have plenty of similarities so it’s hard to not compare the two). I enjoyed it a lot although I don’t think it’s quite as iconic as the Bowie film (which is NOT a good movie but it’s hard to deny that Bowie is extremely fascinating and certain images from the movie will stay with you). In the same way, there are images from Under The Skin that will never leave my mind. I think that’s a good thing, though. I see that as a sign of a great piece of art. As a coherent and fully rewarding movie-watching experience, however, Under The Skin falls a little short. For as much of a mess as The Man Who Fell To Earth was, we at least had a backstory and knew what Bowie’s alien’s purpose was on Earth. If you’re the type of person who wants a movie with a proper storyline & a satisfying conclusion, Under The Skin may not be for you. If you want a nice piece of art to look at (like, weird & abstract art – not Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kinkade), you MIGHT enjoy Under The Skin.

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Summary:

Well, I don’t think I really need to say much more than I already have. Basically, Under The Skin is weird and you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. I found it to be an interesting piece of art and, as the director has made music videos before, perhaps that’s why this feels a little like something in between a music video & a movie. If you want a straightforward movie or even something that has some deep meaning, you won’t get that here (but I may just be too stupid to figure out some “deeper meaning” to this film). You will, however, get a good performance from Johansson and some images that you’ll never get out of your mind. I really enjoyed the film.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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Here’s a list (thanks Wikipedia) of a few of the music videos made by the director of Under The Skin (Jonathan Glazer). I’ve included two of my favorites (FYI – the UNKLE one isn’t one to watch if there are kids around):

Karmacoma by Massive Attack
The Universal by Blur
Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai
Karma Police by Radiohead

Plus my two favorites:

Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead:

Rabbit in Your Headlights by UNKLE ft. Thom Yorke:

**I’ve recently participated in the Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon being hosted by the robust Rob of MovieRob and the zany Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. You can read my contribution, a review of Hitchcock’s 1964 film Marnie, starring Sean Connery & Tippi Hedren, HERE. Thanks, Rob & Zoe, for hosting this blogathon! 🙂