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Showing posts from July, 2010

Toy Story 3

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Title: Toy Story 3
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, “Family”
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
Director: Lee Unkrich

It's not surprising this release is finding its target audience now that they're old enough to have jobs; its been a long time since the trilogy began and its commendable that they take their time with it in order to do it properly, but the side effect is that many who would ordinarily anticipate this release have grown with age. I would have been seven when the first came out, and now this demographic has turned into something rather different, with a different set of expectations from before. Instead of matching this though, the finalé to what I've seen referred to as “The greatest trilogy of all time” - a monumental hyperbole in my eyes – has remained gloriously consistent, capable of still appealing to the younger audience but only interacting with the older on a nostalgic level.

For those who are unaware of the basic premise, it follows …

Serial Experiments Lain

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Title: Serial Experiments Lain
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Sci Fi, Mystery, Anime, Series
Duration: 25 mins (13 eps)
Director: Ryutaro Nakamura
Language: Japanese

Serial Experiments Lain is most certainly a mindfuck, but there are always many different kinds of mindfucks; there's the ones that start off making little sense but by the end have you completely bewildered as to what just happened (E.g. Lynch's works), then there's the kind that make very little sense until you finally discover that one snippet of information that allows you to decipher the events shown (Gozu or Paranoia Agent for example), but this one feels slightly different to these common examples. Instead of seeming cryptic it feels that they're firing information at you like water out of a high pressure hose but all you have to catch it with is a paper bag; it feels as though it should make sense as you steadily uncover clues and rapidly attempt to fit them together, forming an image steadily increasing in si…

Splice

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Title: Splice
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Horror
Starring: Sarah Polley, Adrien Brody
Director: Vincenzo Natali

This is a film about a family; the adopted daughter, Dren, always the centre of attention with the mother, Elsa, intensely caring for it and then becoming emotionally traumatised when she observes reflections of herself in the life she's created, and the worried father, Clive, who despite grave initial concerns about her, ends up growing perhaps a little too close. This would all make for a rather cliché drama about the trials of adolescence when confined by overbearing parents, and the abuse suffered as a result of their worries for their well being, except for one rather major twist: Dren isn't human.

Well, at the least not entirely human, for both her adoptive parents are involved in highly experimental research and development, splicing together various animal components to create an entirely new species capable of producing chemicals and enzymes for use i…

Destroy All Monsters!

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Title: Destroy All Monsters
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Action/Horror
Starring: Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi
Director: Ishirô Honda
Language: Japanese

I must admit that I was never really enticed to the prospect of the Japanese 'Godzilla' films, for whilst I know that the campy original 'Star Trek' might keep me entertained for a while it gets boring rather quickly, and the dodgy man-in-a-suit style of effects would likely grow tiresome. This, however, is not your standard Godzilla film but the 'Battle Royale' of Honda's career; Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and just about every other monster he's created all doing battle with...well actually they all gang up on Ghidorah because he's a space monster and the others are from Earth. Racism: the next evolution, but I digress.

Set in the future – 1999 to be precise, but this was made in the 60s after all – all the monsters of the earth have been held captive on an island dubbed “Monster Is…

Devil's Chair

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Title: Devil's Chair
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Andrew Howard, David Gant, Elize du Toit,Matt Berry
Director: Adam Mason

“Is this what I promised you? Are we prick teasing you enough? Is this what you came here to see all my brothers? Look at this poorly written, badly acted bullshit! Is there any truth in this b-movie banality? No! No, there is no truth. Believe no one. Believe nothing. You freaks and geeks. You bloodthirsty morons, fuck you! Bring on the red parade. So are there any pulses in the house? You deadbeat, midnight, freak-geek witted torture-porn gore horse! I know what you're looking for, so have it! Take it! and fuck you all very much!”

The UK doesn't get too many good film releases these days. There simply doesn't seem to the budget for it, and with most of the resident public happily lacking up whatever spews out of the media titans over at Hollywood there hardly seems to be much of a point. Even when compared to other countries like Korea a…

Black Demons

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Title: Black Demons (1991)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Keith Van Hoven, Joe Balogh, Sonia Curtis
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Duration: 88 mins

“You were invoking evil spirits. Don’t try to deny it!”

Jessica, her brother Dick, and her boyfriend Kevin are travelers collecting regional music in Brazil. Dick is the troubled third-wheel of the party with a deep interest in voodoo. He takes part in a hidden voodoo ritual in Rio where he records the ceremonial music and is given a magic amulet. On their way to Bela Horizonte, the three break down in the jungle and run into a young couple who live in a nearby mansion that used to be home to a vile plantation slave owner. One night under possession, Dick summons the souls of 6 black slaves who were tortured and hanged by the slave owner a century ago who are hell-bent on revenge. Jessica and Kevin must deal not only with the “black demons” but with their unpredictable companion as well.

A late entry in the wave of Italian gore movies of the …

Lub Lae

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Title: Lub Lae
Rating: 2/5
Genre: “Horror,” (Crime/Romance)
Starring: Jutharat Uttakorn, Nattanun Khunwat, Anchisa Liewpairoj
Language: Thailand

This film is a Thai horror. This is all I needed to know before going in – though the woman on the front certainly helped persuade me – hoping for a hot fun filled horror romp. Except it isn't. In fact, if you excluded the final moments its altogether pretty genre-less, perhaps best suited to a sort of Romantic film involving criminals, but despite this apparent lack of direction the result is rather impressive. The small budget clearly making itself apparent in the use of effects which fortunately were kept to an absolute minimum, and the moments that feel off the wall only occur very briefly, and are adequately explained by the films conclusion.

The entire film starts rather abruptly; no introductory sequence or on my copy, even production credits, kicking off with four nameless men fleeing through the forest from the authorities only to…

Sexy Battle Girls

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Title: Sexy Battle Girls
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Action, Comedy, “Pink film”
Starring: Kyôko Hashimoto
Director: Mototsugu Watanabe
Language: Japanese

Whilst my initial discovery of the film came about whilst searching for something with more of a “Battle Royale” air to it, this rather aptly titled low-budget 80s flick garnered my attention, and completely by accident I appear to have stumbled upon one of the most bizarre films I've seen to date. I mean, you literally couldn't make this stuff up as it makes not a single shred of sense, and yet pre-dates much of the Japanese's desire for violence of the most random variety, and has seeped its influence into a number of TV shows and Films that has continued its legacy (the most recent of which I expect to be reviewed before too long).

Following the tale of Mirai, trained by her father in the ways of un-named martial arts and taught the secret “Venus Crush” technique, which despite the name looks a little bit more like someone …

Azumanga Daoih

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Title: Azumanga Daoih
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Anime, Comedy, “Slice of Life”
Language: Japanese
Duration: 25mins (26 episodes)

Based on the Manga of the same name, it follows these students throughout their three year stint at high school, through the trials of the exams, sports days, culture festivals and all the events that identify these years. Much like the manga, it follows a very similar format with each episode broken down even further into separately titled 'strips' with perhaps four or five strips within each episode, allowing us to follow multiple characters despite the short run time. Given the inherent lack of plot, the variety of personalities within the group becomes imperative in determining the shows ability to last; too few characters (or too many left feeling two-dimensional) can quickly kill off all interest, and yet whilst it doesn't feel as though they develop much over the course of the show, neither does interest in them wane.

Much of the focus naturall…

Gut-Pile

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Title: Gut-Pile (1997)
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Jeff Forsyth, Ron Bonk, Ed Mastin
Director: Jerry O’Sullivan
Duration: 52 mins
Trailer

Out hunting deer, Dan shoots and accidentally kills another hunter. Thinking there is no other option, he buries the body in a shallow grave and tells no one. A year later Dan goes on a hunting weekend with his two pals up to an old log cabin. As he is plagued by nightmares and plumbing mishaps, Dan soon realizes that there is an evil vengeance stalking him and killing all in its way. Will he survive the demons of the past?

Gut-Pile is a fun little movie that takes elements from Tales From the Crypt, Pumpkinhead, and The Evil Dead story wise. Stylistically, however, the shots are HEAVILY influenced by, if not downright stolen from, Sam Raimi’s debut feature, including his infamous “force” shot. Regardless of originality, this does keep the movie interesting, especially since this was simply a shot-on-video picture. The camerawork may not b…