Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Christmas On Mars" (director: Wayne Coyne with Bradley Beesley and George Salisbury)

Ah, at long last, Flaming Lips' enigmatic frontman Wayne Coyne's much-discussed feature-length directorial debut, and it's as odd and surreal as one would imagine. Nabbing elements from 'Eraserhead', as well as slices of Tarkovsky's 'Solaris', '2001', and (maybe) Walt Disney, Coyne's self-described 'Fantastical Film Freakout' doesn't disappoint. Coyne himself stars as a silent alien being who seems to bring with him a spirit that (perhaps) allows an uptight and troubled Mars mission to enjoy the positive energy of human kindness. But before you're turned off by the 'feely-goodness' this implies, you get bizarre and dreamlike imagery of dead babies, creepy celestial vagina-creatures, and some moments of tension that are well-done, especially as most of the actors here are either members of the Flaming Lips or their relatives. In fact, Coyne's brothers and wife star here! Fans of campy B-movies can likely appreciate something of 'Christmas On Mars', though folks who are bewildered and turned off by surreal and often provocative imagery should be cautionary. Me? I liked it. Also of note, most copies of this include the Lips' audio soundtrack CD, as well, but be advised: if you're looking for the pop-oriented side of the Lips, with vocals and melodies and such, this will surely disappoint. It's more a series of creepy sound elements and abrasive noises.

Flaming Lips website

And here's a trailer, but note that this was from 2003(!!) so some of the scenes here were edited out in the final, finished product...

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