Written by Rick Trembles
Published by FAB Press
Now that the internet is the largest meeting place in the world for film geeks, it seems like anyone with even the most basic grasp of the English language considers themselves a movie reviewer. But how many people actually go the extra effort to make their reviews entertaining and original?
For over two decades, Montreal’s Rick Trembles has been doing just that with a weekly column in the Montreal Mirror called Rick Trembles’ Motion Picture Purgatory. But this column is different from the usual op-ed pieces because Rick combines his seemingly endless knowledge of all kinds of film, from the most obscure to the most mainstream, with his signature artistic style. Comic strips.
Much like the opinions he expresses, these aren’t your typical comix. Blood, dismemberment, gratuitous nudity, and explicit sexuality combine to give readers a very different way to learn about movies new and old. The artwork is simplistic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. Depending on the film, you could have a wild, almost Escheresque landscape of images to plow through filled with Rick’s thoughts and synopsis of the film in question or, as in the case with his review of Life, traditional sequential panels showing two men rotting way in prison, free of all that pesky dialogue.
Basically, you’ve never seen anything like this book before.
Yet another of the quickly multiplying reasons I wish I lived in Montreal. Every week readers are treated to a new review, be it of the latest blockbuster churned out by Hollywood or a rarely-seen art film playing at one of the city’s fantastic repertory theaters, and even if it’s a film you may have zero interest in at first, Trembles’ skills in both art and the English language is enough to make your eyeballs move from beginning to end. FAB Press has realized the man’s genius and has collected all his reviews from the past 4 years into this fantastic collector’s book that is a must-have for any one who considers themselves fans of the most obscure (as is the case with most of FAB’s out put).
It doesn’t hurt that Rick knows more about movies than I’ll probably ever forget. His obsession is with any kind of special effects, but more specifically the lost art of stop-motion animation. To this end he delivers reviews of movies I had no idea ever existed but now want to hunt down for the simple sake of seeing just how bizarre they really are. This love of effects also manages to give the reviews something of a skewed perspective occasionally, allowing shitty movies a little more credit because of their eye-popping “spfx” as he calls them (The Matrix: Reloaded is the most shinning example of this). But his child-like enthusiasm for the masterworks of Harryhausen and O’Brien show you that underneath the jaded movie-goer he comes across as in most of his reviews lies a kid that plain and simply loves movies.
The fact that all the women he draws look pretty much the same, with maybe a slight variation on hair color, that his men are just as similar (unless he’s drawing himself…), and that all the characters look like they constantly have boots on only adds to the overall charm of the comix. It makes reading a review for Salo enjoyable (something that can rarely be said), and a review for Valentine funny as hell. The additional fact that Rick is a gifted writer (and when you have to condense some plots as small as he does that helps) gives his reviews a validity that you just can’t get when you read some Johnny Moviegoer’s review of the latest Harry Potter film (a series that remains curiously absent…).
All in all, this is a great book, just make sure your eyes are nice and healthy before giving it a go, though, case some of the print can get down-right microscopic when Rick’s got a lot to say.
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