Tuesday 6 November 2012

Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer (2010)

Director: Andrew W Jones
Stars: Priscilla McEver and John Charles Meyer

The wildest cinematic rollercoaster I've ridden over the last decade has to be Doctor Glamour, a raucous trip of a movie that may be best described as The Eldritch Horror Picture Show. Andrew Jones, its writer, producer and director, has been a busy man, but not usually on his own movies, most of his credits being for editing TV shows. I'm not sure what editing 52 episodes of The Mr Men Show did to his brain, but you may need to seriously invest in psychotropic exploration to replicate it. If Doctor Glamour wasn't enough to highlight that, its predecessor underlines it in flashing neon. Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer, shot a year earlier with two of the same actors, is just as outrageous, just as genre-bending and somehow even more fast paced. I'm not yet convinced that it isn't a feature length movie compressed into seven minutes by warping the spacetime continuum. Watch it while heavily sedated to slow it down to normal speed.
The influences fly out of the screen so quickly that by the time you shout out one, a couple more have erupted to take its place. This is cinema for the most severe ADHD sufferers. Obviously initially sourced from The Matrix and the cyberpunk influences that film stole from, it takes mere seconds to veer into anime stylings before screeching backwards to the precode era and setting up Holly Malone as a fast talking reporter. Priscilla McEver mixes some Kate Hepburn with some Torchy Blane but ends up channelling Lee Tracy, if Lee Tracy ever made it into the 25th century. Working in Neo-Mega-Ultra Tokyo, some indeterminate time in the retro-future, she cracks case after case, but one string of murders is tougher. When Broderick Watanabe, her boss, says that drug lord Frank DanCoolo is a myth, she knows she has to find him, and indeed she does, at Club Zygote, where surely William Gibson tends bar with a typewriter spliced into his veins.

It won't come as any surprise to those who have seen Doctor Glamour to discover that it's John Charles Meyer bringing life to Frank DanCoolo, psychopharmocologist supreme. He doesn't get to be as dominant here as he was there, as he has to fight it out on the scene stealing front with his leading lady and that's as dynamic a battle as any fought in this film against hallucinogenic greenscreen backgrounds. Easing forward from the precodes to screwball comedy, like the up ramp on a rollercoaster, we then hurtle through interdimensional kung fu, samurai shenanigans and sci-fi schlock until we arrive catching our breath at the twist finalé. There are gags, reveals, homages, leaps, quips and gimmicks. There's life, there's death, there's everything in between. The only thing the entire Matrix trilogy had that this doesn't is Keanu Reeves and I'm happy he isn't here. 'Frank, that was incredible, I think,' says Malone. I know! But please trip responsibly.

Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer can be viewed for free on Vimeo. Don't blink, or you'll miss something.

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