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Rhythm Rating: B+
Mitchell Storyteller Cinemas
Rated R for bloody, gory violence, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use, and language.

A new horror-slasher film written and directed by master of the genre, Ti West, titled ‘X’ feels like it was scraped from the crusty floors of grindhouse theaters where the likes of ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and a slew of gritty deer films were screened.

Because it’s a major selling point, it’s surprising, but what’s even more amazing is how well it’s done.

West’s film even opens a lot like “Chain Saw.” A collection of mostly 20-somethings pile into a van and head to Texas in the middle of nowhere in 1979, only this van has ‘Plowing Services’ emblazoned on its side as a cheeky reference to what they really do.

You see, Houston strip club owner Wayne (Martin Henderson) has heard of the next big thing in the porn industry, and that is the home video market. Hoping to make a bundle by producing his own adult film, he brings together club artists Maxine (Mia Goth) and Bobby-Lane (Brittany Snow), along with Black Marine and Vietnam veteran Jackson (Scott ‘Kid Cudi ‘ Mescudi) as actors.

To shoot it, he takes with him a passionate young independent filmmaker, RJ (Owen Campbell), who, while wielding a de rigueur Eclair 16mm film camera, is determined to use cutting-edge technique to break into the industry. conventional adult film and “make a good dirty movie. With him as boom mic operator is his quiet but very observant girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega), nicknamed “Churchmouse.”

Wayne has rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere in Texas from an old man named Howard (Stephen Ure). But, when they arrive, Howard doesn’t quite remember renting the cabin and sticks a shotgun in Wayne’s face. After a hasty explanation, Howard settles in and shows the group to the cabin while advising them not to disturb his sick wife.

Once inside, the crew, uh, gets to work.

West isn’t shy about showing what’s going on in front of RJ’s camera, but it’s only a hair’s breadth from XXX. During this early part of the film, there are flashes of conspiratorial humor, not unlike that of “Boogie Nights” (1997), which also took a revealing spin on the porn industry. Before long, the bodies begin to pile up in gruesome and bloody fashion.

West’s film makes no hint of being anything more than a well-made slasher horror flick, but somewhere along the way it manages to set a higher mark for others in the genre. Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of movies like this, and I can testify that far too many movies have aspired to what West has achieved. Be warned, however, its content is extreme and, as one movie buff commented, “It’s like an anti-porn porn movie.” Take what you want, but also note that West took time off in quarantine in New Zealand where this movie was filmed to write a script for a prequel starring Mia Goth.

SPOILER ALERT: In addition to playing Maxine, Mia Goth also plays Howard’s elderly wife, Pearl.

This film is screening at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road in Taos. For tickets, schedules and additional information, visit storyteller7.com or call (575) 751-4245.

Big Screen Movies, TCA

The worst person in the world
Not previewed
Big Screen Movies, TCA
Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and some language.

It’s a modern comedy-drama – nominated for two Oscars – about the search for love and meaning in contemporary Oslo, Norway. It chronicles four years in the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her way, leading her to take a realistic look at her true identity.

Directed by Joachim Trier, this film stars Anders Danielsen Lie, Maria Grazia Di Meo and Herbert Nordrum — imdb.com.

This film will be screened in the Movies on the Big Screen film series on Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

Screenings take place at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets, health restrictions and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Alfonso E. Cramer