Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Last Life in the Universe

Thailand/Japan 2003


Damn. I put this one off for too long and I'm not really one to talk not having seen
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang first feature 6ixty9ine. This is good stuff. I was very impressed
with the amount of detail put into this where it was actually questionable.
Questionable in the realm of it was probably real and not staged. The house in the film
was so disgusting and laughable. Very convincing. The film really went no where but it's so quietly done and delicate that it never feels aimless even with the linear breaking editing. Things feel ghostly, throughout, where tragedy strikes and beauty grows where one dies and loneliness is a gift in disguise that holds an even bigger gift inside. This guy loves Woody Allen. And Takashi Miike has a role in the film's 3rd act!
I really want to see Nymph now.


France 1997


Okay. 2 Things I learned from watching Dobermann. Gaspar Noe really looks up to Kounan
and Tchéky Karyo is one of the best fucking actors that has ever lived.
This is a stylistic, violent romp about a wreck loose team of professional thieves headed by the notorious Dobermann(Cassel), who after years of dangerous successful and reckless bank heist have finally left a money trail with a team of by the book cops hot on their asses. By the book obviously has not worked in the past and this is realized by a rogue Inspector played fucking brutally brilliant by Tchéky Karyo. The movie itself is a triumphant whirlwind of detail and deep, rich cinematography. Based off a series of books the movie fumbles a few times where continuity and whimsically needless destruction weighs down the violent edge the film sharpens throughout, but ultimately never dulls and full delivers at it's climatic, awesomely brutal end.
There's even a cameo of Gaspar Noe serving a french fries and beef jerky hoagie to Tchéky Karyo. Noe has definitely borrowed quite a bit of style and brutality from Kounan's uncompromising direction. I'm sure Kounan is also a fan of Kergl's ANGST.
Though BLUEBERRY wasn't that great, it had the best visuals I have ever seen and
that was something Noe tried to accomplish with ENTER THE VOID, but 5 years too late.
I'm not sorry, Noe.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where the Wild Thing Are

USA 2009

4.5/5 8.8/10

An adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world--a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.

A potent exclamation of being a lonely troubled child, is adapted better than anyone could of imagined from the Maurice Sendak book.
From the start an intimate portrait of the young boy Max is painted beautifully. Confronting his fears,
unbeknown insecurities of his older sister's coming of age lifestyle, understanding his jealousy issues with his financially stressed, but loving mother's relationship with a boyfriend who doesn't approve of Max's out lashes. A story about building unconditional friendships, with understanding that you're not alone in the world and there are in fact others just like you is delivered sincerely, with a great cast. Funny, natural, smart and profound the dialog is genuine and deep. The impact is heavy with this one. Don't miss.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Chile 2007

5/5 10/10

A shy, inconspicuous man named Maco (Marko Zaror) decides to become a self-made superhero when he gains national notoriety for unintentionally rescuing a television reporter from the clutches of two dangerous criminals. Action director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza follows the success of his South American breakout film, Kiltro, with this martial arts gem that also stars Maria Elena Swett, Ariel Mateluna and Mauricio Pesutic.

This film is pure gold. Reasons being many, but mainly for rich character emphasis and the action sequences.
Secondly there is a deep emotional construction of all the characters. Focusing on those who have withdrawn from
society as true underdogs and some that are in the spotlight doing anything to boost their financial and commercial ego.
A young shy martial artist who works at a dead end local club as a doorman, trains extensively in the martial arts as a passion and purpose.
His heart is big and pays weekly visits to his younger artistically talented brother in a mental hospital who has lost all of his barrings due to being raped by a group of men who killed his family during a random street assault.
This group of men are of larger crime syndicate known as The Pedophile Network who kidnap and market young children in
a twisted sexual trafficking ring. Police are helpless due to lack of evidence and cannot seize, search the powerful crime ring.
One night while jogging the young shy martial artist prevents a burglary and a rape of a young news anchor. She then calls
him out during a report on live television and kind of paves the idea for MIRAGEMAN.
From there we see a classic take on developing a super hero, but in a low budget, modestly ambitious stylistic way.
Setting up an email MIRAGEMAN receives messages online of people in distress, sometimes backfiring in his face.
We see him deal with his social insecurities and the treachery of the media moguls that helped his inception into crime fighting.
From natural comedic relief to sad sights of emotional distress as well as brutal full contact fight scenes. I actually think this may
be my favorite super hero movie. Do not miss this inventive and big hearted action film.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paranormal Activity

USA 2007

3.5/5 7.5/10

Bumps in the night begin to spook San Diego couple Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat). When Katie fears their home may be haunted by ghostly intruders, skeptical Micah plants a camera in their bedroom to prove nothing is amiss -- but he's in for a chilling surprise. Soon, the stage is set for a roller coaster of creepy thrills in this intensely gripping, no-budget suspense thriller in the vein of The Blair Witch Project.

3.5 out of 5 rating. As a hyped up phenomena that corroborates with the Blair Witch project as far as marketing and budget goes, I would most definitely agree that Paranormal Activity as a movie itself is just as formidable in it's scary succession. Though well thought out, believably acted and genuinely creepy, there were times where it felt contrived. But more pros than cons, this minor gripe is easily forgotten and long lost in the character build. I personally could identify with the bf and gf because a lot of the dialog reminded me of my gf and I. From harmless bickering and teasing to intense yelling and passion for one another onn both positive and negative scales. The main emphasis of what is actually happening to the 2 is extensive but over all leaves the audience in the dark with what the cause or reason of such a "haunting" is. That is definitely a pro about the film. Merely hinting around and poking at some back story involving the GF and her past, really upped the creepiness. Full of sounds, and subtle visuals and psuedo-spiritual psychological torment, each step the film takes is careful, well played out, hardly compromising the pace of the film in any aspect. Despite the ending and some minor contrived comic relief, Paranormal Activity is a robust, low budget, clever little social experiment on the masses that no one really needs to watch again, but something most people will be thinking about for days.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Devil's Game

더 게임
Deo ge-im

Korea 2008

4/5 8/10

A young illustrator in his prime named Min,lives a modest living doing portraits in the city,
his girlfriend whom he's very much in love with, owns a flower shop with her mother.
The Mother and girlfriend owe money to some local gangsters and it's a lot of money for those living a modest life.
One day, Min gets a mysterious phone call from a joyous old man who declares Min lucky and that by being male, he had won the old man a bet. The old man insists on thanking Min personally. Min meets the old man and discovers he's loaded with billions, huge paintings cover his mansion walls, with butlers and servants at his beckoning. The old man wants to make a bet. What is at stake is huge. And what
follows is a 180 degree turn into loneliness, self loathing, true love, treachery, cold heartedness, a couple ridiculous break throughs in medical science and an open ending that leaves the viewer thinking not only about the turn of events that have unfolded in front of them
but your actual life and what you should not take for granted.