Caught it today on the biggest, baddest screen in town with the biggest baddest sound and enjoyed the hell out of it. The requisite number of implausibilities notwithstanding it was just a great action flick from beginning to end. Effing LOVED Simon Pegg.
It's been a while and may have to revisit the others, but the thought today was that this was the best of the franchise so far--how can it not be? It was nearly perfect in all aspects. I may go see it again and that's sayin' something for me.
Black Death - Not quite what I was expecting. Sean Bean and his gang go searching for a necromancer in a far off village that has supposedly been able to keep the Plague away, led by a young monk who was from that area. It was good, and I enjoyed it, but not anything special. I wouldn't mind seeing it again, but wouldn't go out of my way to do so.
Damnation Alley - I only watched this because it's the only film adaptation of a Roger Zelazny story and my dad had been telling me about how schlocy and funny it was. And how it was nothing like the book. Well, it was schlocky, but it wasn't that funny. It was mostly just bad. Post-apocalyptic road trip across America, with dangers including giant scorpions, man-eating roaches and other ******* survivors. There were some funny parts, thanks to the really terrible special effects, but mostly I thought it was just boring and lame. Someone should do a real Zelazny someday.
Merantau - You may never have seen this flick, but you've probably seen a dozen like it. A country bumpkin goes into the big city for the first time and has to kick the asses of all the bad people who try to take advantage of his naive, countryside ways. So, the story is for ****, but the martial arts are pretty cool. If there was a version of the film that was just the fight scenes, I might recommend it, but even then everything here has been done before and done better. Stick with a Tony Jaa movie like Ong Bak or The Protector. I'll keep an eye on the people that did this one because there's potential here, but I only recommend this if you're just really into martial arts movies.
Outrage - Wow, that cover and tagline are crappy. Takeshi Kitano is a favorite of mine, but a few years ago he seemed to go off the deep end a bit, making a trilogy of films that made little to no sense and that were mostly only worth watching for their WTF value. This film represents his return to the Yakuza genre, where he used to reign supreme with flicks like Fireworks, Sonatine and Boiling Point. He plays a lower level gang boss who constantly gets used by an upper gang boss to do the man's dirty work and eventually decides to take him out and start a mini-war. It's really, really violent and it's fun, but it's nowhere near as good as Kitano's yakuza movies used to be. Worth a watch, but not a buy.
The Mechanic - Jason Statham is a hitman hired to kill his friend Donald Sutherland and after he does, he feels bad about it, so he decides to train Sutherland's son in the ways of murder. It's ok. Some of the action is cool, some of it is just way too ridiculous. I know, the word ridiculous applies to most Statham movies, but this one didn't feel like it was trying to be over the top. It felt like they were going for a serious dramatic action film, and doing **** like they did doesn't really work in that situation. This is one of those Statham movies that justifies the bad rap he receives from people that dislike his stuff. Either go balls out crazy (Crank) or keep it in check and be more restrained with it.
Elephant White - Djimon Hounsou is a contract killer in Thailand who decides to be a good guy and help people, which pisses off all the bad guys. Kevin Bacon is his arms dealer sort of friend who owes him for something in the past and has a really, really bad and unnecessary accent. I like both these guys, but I only bothered to watch this because it's the english language debut of Prachya Pinkaew, the director of some really awesome Thai martial arts films like the previously mentioned Ong Bak and The Protector.
In the very beginning of the film, there's a shot that has a large billboard on it with an Expendables poster, making me think that this may have perhaps been Pinkaew's attempt to audition for the director's chair on the sequel to that. If that's actually what he was hoping for, then he shouldn't have bothered, though, and just sent Stallone a copy of Born To Fight or something. True to form, this movie has some good action scenes and it's nice to see Hounsou actually doing the hand-to-hand combat himself, but there are a number of instances in which you can see the bad guy pause for half a second waiting for Hounsou to hit his mark before they throw their punch or try to kick him. Again, I really like that they didn't just stick a double in there and then try to edit around the fact that it wasn't Hounsou doing the fighting, but it still takes you out of the moment. Beyond that, Hounsou put in a good performance and Bacon's horrible accent was kind of funny to listen to, but beyond that there isn't anything here to make this worthwhile. I wouldn't even recommend renting it. It's pretty forgettable.
In The Realm Of The Senses - I've seen this a couple of times, but watched it again for a Psychology class paper I had to write. Great ****in' movie. Based on the true story of a woman and her lover who have a lot of intense sex that culminates in her strangling him during sex and then cutting his balls and penis off after he dies. It's a story about sexual obsession, it's NC-17 and it features real, non-simulated sex between the two lead actors. Lots of it. Amazing performances. Criterion recently put this out in a remastered Blu-Ray and it's glorious. Highly recommended.
A Page Of Madness (Kurutta Ippeji) - As part of series celebrating film restoration, TCM showed this silent 1920's Japanese film about a man who takes a job as janitor at a mental asylum in order to be able to spend time with his wife who is committed there. It's silent and there are no intertitles at all to describe the action, so you have to just follow along as best you can. It's a ****ing insane piece of movie. All kinds of weird visuals set to this creepy, weird soundtrack. For the whole hour long running time, I pretty much just sat in amazement. There's a scene in which a bunch of the inmates riot, trying to get at this female inmate who just dances in her cell all the time and it's set to this steadily increasing drum sound. ****ing crazy.
I don't think this film has ever gotten any kind of release and I hear it's pretty rare to get to see, so I'm super ****ing happy that I noticed it was playing. I would buy the DVD in a second and I'm going to spend a good chunk of time today looking for the soundtrack, pictured here. If you get the chance to see this ****, it's highly recommended. Here's an article/review about it that makes for good reading: Midnight Eye feature: A Page of Madness (1927)
Monsters - The earth has been invaded and a huge chunk of Mexico just below the US border has been quarantined off as a contaminated zone, but one young photo-journalist and the daughter of the owner of the paper he works for must brave their way through in order to get home. Done with a very small budget, but very effectively by Gareth Edwards, who was tasked with the next incarnation of Godzilla after this. And with good reason. I thought the movie was ok. It took a little too long for things to start happening, I thought, and what ended up happening was slightly disappointing, but not bad. Props go to Edwards for what he was able to do with such limited funds and his sparse use of the monsters, saving the full reveal till the end worked really well. So there's a whole lot of potential here, even though the film itself was just ok. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do with Godzilla.
Fear And Desire - Another part of TCM's tribute to film restoration was Stanley Kubrick's first feature film, made at the age of 24. Rarely seen because Kubrick asked the restoration company not to distribute it. For good reason. It's crap. Beyond some nice cinematography, the film is poorly acted, has a shoddy story and is not very well done. Amazing to think he did The Killing just a few years later.
Shivers (aka They Came From Within) - Speaking of first films by directors, I also watched Cronenberg's first last night, courtesy of IFC. It's not a bad movie, but it feels like a Cronenberg movie done by someone who doesn't know how to tell a story or develop characters. The gross stuff is there and it's cool, but everything else is missing. Worth a watch only because it's the first Cronenberg film, but if you don't really care about that, you're not missing a whole lot and should just watch a later Cronenberg flick.
Hey Adgy, what weird psychology classes are you taking where you get to write papers on In The Realm Of The Senses? mhihi:
Psychology of Human Sexuality. :)
Originally Posted by orpheus
About the Nazi plundering of art and antiquities 1930's - end of WWII. Really well done documentary.
Hey Adgy...bone picking time. First off, rewatch Black Death. It was not what you were expecting so maybe you dismissed it a little quick. I thought it was a great little flick that really captured the religious fervor in the face of the plague. Lots of folks trying to justify how their God or gods would visit such a tragedy upon them. Monsters...well, you may have expected too much. For a low budget flick Gareth Edwards managed to put a big screen flick up for little cash. It's a smart flick that has a real Lovecraft short story feel to it. And Damnation Alley, how dare you disrespect your dad...he knows of what he speaks. Sure, it's horribly dated...so is LaserBlast, yet they are snapshots of the time they came out.
I heard Merantau was the **** though...and you didn't like that either.
I liked Black Death. I did. I'd be willing to watch it again.
Originally Posted by jerseydevil
Monsters... I dunno. It was good, but it felt like there was way too much time spent in the first half of the movie where it's just the two of them hanging out. Neither character was super annoying or anything, so it was ok (I like build-up as much as anyone), but it just didn't feel like it delivered on it's promise. The climax was good, but just didn't really grab me the way it probably should have. I'd be willing to watch the second half again and see if I feel different, but... all I see is some good potential there.
Damnation Alley sucks, brother. A couple funny bits, but not enough to make it worth watching.
Merantau was fine, but the same thing has been done a million times and it's been done better.
I have watched Monsters too and I get what Adgy is saying. ;)
adgy-san gave me a dose of heavy reading a bit back, and after viewing and fully digesting, this is a first in series of reviews...
Survive Style 5+
- a surrealismo with similar tones to something like The Science of Sleep with the slick butchered pacing of a Fear And Loathing… total absurdist Nihonga bumper car extravaganza with MXC in its marrow.
5 stories that over time develop a vague connection - loosely tied together by an English killer-for-hire (Vinnie Jones) and his simple-minded lackey translator, who tends to loan his own color to what he's translating.
beautiful and striking shots with wonderful color, superb editing, and a really odd and almost off putting soundtrack that is somehow nearly perfect, this is a grown up film among the vast catalogue of adgy-san's neo-Asian / Asia extreme flicker features i have gotten to see… i promise, had this movie been made by westerners - given a bit more cohesion and a slightly modified coda, this would win an Oscar in some category or another.
awesome movie (and Sonny Chiba is in it)… i suggest weed!
4 out of 5
- overindulgent, but a book you can't put down. i became increasingly disturbed by how uncomfortable this movie was making me feel, but i kept on - riveted, wondering how far they were going to take it… it was like eating salsa that was just hot enough that you kept on eating it - not only because it was tasty, but you knew that the burn was going to come only after you stopped.
Cold Fish follows the exploits of an husband and wife - owners of a massive tropical fish store by day, and sensationally ruthless serial killers by night who attempt to woo and groom a new partner - the owner of a much more modest tropical fish store, by taking in his daughter after she gets in trouble and putting her to work in their store among a cadre of equally "at risk," young and highly fappable j-pop bitches.
based on the actual story of Sekine Gen and Hiroko Kazama - pet shop owners turned killers and sentenced to death in the early Nineties, it's supposedly pretty faithful save for the final 1/3 of the movie (and apparently the take on Sekine Gen is creepily accurate). after you've fully absorbed THAT little sinister nugget, this movie will begin to stay with you for a while as your imagination begins to run wild in various directions... especially because Asuka Kurosawa is HOT!
this one gets really fuggin' gory… i suggest a full stomach!
3.5 out of 5
I Saw The Devil (Unrated)
- the unfortunate trend with cat and mouse movies bleeds thru a little here as it does fall victim to the same trappings of modern American thrillers - for sake of duration else the lack of a film, the plot is stretched to near translucency, and the occasional "aw, c'mon" sets in. that said, this a feature that should elicit a pretty visceral reaction from the viewer.
the fiancée of a government spook is abducted by an extremely brutal serial killer and put through Pinhead's wet dream. using everything at his secret agent disposal including data smuggled to him by his gal pal's father - a local police commander, and information provided by the Killer's abandoned son, said Fed tracks down, engages and torments the Killer with the promise that before he dispatches him, he's going to make him feel like one of his own victims… something you could probably imagine would need to be pretty damn fantastic in order to get a psychopath so dull to reach this notion.
what disturbed me was how the ultra-violence was woven through the story as to seem almost subdued… even when it reaches that pawn shop moment and you're introduced to a second (cannibalistic) killer and his fouler than thou wife. you begin this movie by feeling a slight shock, then are slowly desensitized and find yourself rooting for our hero with this really screwy idea of "oh man, i can't WAIT!," then you're kept a promise, and then you realize just how far someone is willing to go to become a predator when properly motivated… and YOU enjoyed it… cheered for it.
it is at that point, you then realize how far YOU'VE gone… i suggest late night viewing!
3.5 out of 5
Woulda scored I saw...higher, but that Survive Style flick looks like a must see.