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Showing posts from January, 2011

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

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Title: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Action, Romance, Comedy
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Ellen Wong
Director: Edgar Wright

When my sister downloads a film to my computer whilst I'm out I kinda get the hint that she recommends I ought to watch it at some point. Couple this with a number of recommendations, people raving about how spectacular a visual feat it is and how my geek bones should be quaking at the very prospect and somehow it seemed inevitable that I'd see it eventually, but the pessimist in me was mentally preparing for the worst. My experience with re-creating 'graphic novels' (I'm sorry, they'll always be comics to my mind) has never gone down well; my general disinterest in the source seeming to filter through into its re-imagining and resulting in something I can't help but wish I hadn't bothered with.

With the memory of the ridiculous “300” and boredom at “Watchmen” immediately springin…

MW

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Title: MW
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Starring: Hiroshi Tamaki, Takayuki Yamada, Kazuaki Hankai
Director: Hitoshi Iwamoto
Language: Japanese

Sometimes I can't quite understand how films like this go about completely unheard of whilst Hollywood thrillers become so well recognised. There has always seemed to be a shortage of intelligent thrillers, and whilst this does little that hasn't been done before, for the most part it still does it competently. Released in 2009 and with no visible budget constraints, this feels like an epic tale of two friends compressed into a viable run time. The sole survivors of a malicious government cover up; when a trace amounts of an experimental nerve gas, MW, being developed by the US military was released on a small remote island off the coast of the Japanese mainland, the village was burnt to the ground and any fleeing survivors shot. Only Yuki and Gurai managing to escape, Gurai stumbled only to be rescued by Yuki, who as a result in…

Hitman

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Title: Hitman
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Action, Crime
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper
Director: Xavier Gens

Dreading the infamous “VG Syndrome;” that near faultless tendency for films made based on a game, even with the largest budget and themselves best of intentions, turn into something that if you're really lucky won't completely soil the memory of the game as well as waste your time; a rule of thumb that to my memory has only been defied once with the ongoing “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of films extensively borrowing from the “Monkey Island” series of games. Perhaps it was the games original format that lent itself to the re-imagining, the game reliant on the plot and characters – both elements essential to a film – that has also meant that this film can succeed where others had faltered.

The original game already had a backstory for our protagonist, a realistic character already there to be manipulated and placed into various sit…

Tank Girl

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Title: Tank Girl
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi, Action, Comedy
Starring: Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell
Director: Rachel Talalay

Big budgeted dystopian flicks don't seem to come around too often – and by “big budget” I really just mean enough to hire a recognisable cast and still afford to do the effects work – so when they do emerge I usually manage to spot them fairly quickly, but this is one that seems to have slipped under the radar. Now revered as a 'cult classic' that was spawned from a cult comic about the punk rock anti-hero of a woman driving in a stolen tank and doing whatever she felt like, living life out to the fullest in a world that was hit by a meteor a decade earlier and hasn't seen rain since. Water now being the most precious commodity in existence, and most of it owned by the greedy owner of the “Water and Power” mega corporation, they act like an unofficial police force concerned with obtaining ever more water, and when they…

Tampon Tango

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Title: Tampon Tango
Rating: 1.5/5
Genre: Experimental... Documentary perhaps? Comedy? Exploitation?
Starring: Nobody of note.
Director: Unknown
Language: Japanese

With a name as absurd as this – apparently the result of an inane desire to forcefully insert tampons into women for some reason – coupled with the fact that this mid-70s flick must have resurfaced for some reason, I knew it had to be something to be seen. I'm a sucker for all this experimental stuff and the opening scene of the director screaming “down with America, Down with Herpes” certainly showed promise. The experiment being conducted here: the quest to prove Japan's video making abilities and create a porno that would make it past the American film boards and be considered a legitimate film for cinematic viewing. A perhaps somewhat interesting idea on the surface; how to create scenes of graphic nudity without constituting something pornographic, including just enough of a plot to be able to call it a legitimat…

Reigo: Deep Sea Monster vs Battleship Yamato

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Title: Reigo: Deep Sea Monster vs Battleship Yamato
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Action/Horror
Starring: Yukijirô Hotaru
Director: Shinpei Hayashiya
Language: Japanese

I seem to be on a winning streak with this third film that, by all common sense I was expecting to be fairly awful low budget schlock; the monster movie, a staple diet for a B-Movie crowd all too often filled with talking about action and little actually happening; the focus on trying to make things plausible and explaining the occurrences – almost universally in a thoroughly awful way – detrimental to what everyone knows is going to be a bit shit, but are hoping for a bit of amusement along the way. These are all traps that he manages to avoid, and whilst far from perfect, allows him to create one of the better examples of the genre done well.

Packing most of the explanations into the opening few minutes, a brief voiceover to some war footage explaining that the Yamato was a huge ship that gets it's ass kicked by the Yan…

The Social Network

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Title: The Social Network
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Biography, Drama
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
Director: David Fincher

Look! A well known recent film being covered! I do occasionally take a fancy to Hollywood productions albeit not often. When I heard of this film being made I scoffed; a flick about a nerd making a website, what were they thinking? Then they cast one-hit-wonder Jesse Eisenberg to take a shot at the lead role, everything seems to be shaping up for a flop of gargantuan proportions, and all the paid critics in the world couldn't convince me otherwise. What did get my attention, however, was the director; his name may not ring alarm bells for some but for others his name should come attached to at least two films: Se7en, where he brutally revitalised the crime/thriller genre, and then went on to create the – then poorly known – Fight Club, adding an almost poetic touch to a bloody concept. Are you sensing a link here? Two of the more int…

The Curse of Frankenstein

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Title: The Curse of Frankenstein
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Hammer Horror, Drama
Starring: Peter Cushing, Robert Urquhart, Hazel Court, Christopher Lee
Director: Terence Fisher
Release Date: 1957

A British Film Production Company, Hammer Film's became notorious in the late 50s for their trademark style of Gothic Horror films, creating many films that remain iconic even today. As Horror films became more sophisticated and with foreign financiers backing out, towards the end of their reign they tried to establish a new niche and became lower budgeted and self-parodical in nature, releasing multiple sequels to their earlier successes in the process until their demise in the late 70s.

Taking another dive into the world of Hammer's brand of Gothic Horror, I was far more careful in selecting the film to re-introduce me to them and came up with what I expected to be the perfect candidate. It is after all, one of those classics that I feel has well deserved its reputation; the tragic tale of t…

13-04-2022: Tsunami

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Title: 13-04-2022: Tsunami
Should be Known As: The Day After Thaimorrow
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Action, Adventure
Starring: Pisan Srimankong, Sirinda Jensen, Panudej Wattanasuchat, Suchao Pongwilai
Director: Toranong Srichua
Language: Thai

Finding information about this film seems to be pretty tricky; IMDB has no recollection of it and neither does google – beyond a few handy links to download the thing – yet this doesn't have the feel of a no-budget craptastic feature, and much of the cinematography looks well done if perhaps lacking from a Hollywood budget which becomes particularly noticeable when the CGI emerges. There are also clearly some hefty similarities to “The Day After Tomorrow,” but given that I never actually watched that film, i'll make no claim as to just how much was 'inspired' by it. My logic for watching this and missing the original, however, is quite simple: take cute Thai Women and add water. Pretty hard to get wrong right?

Step One: Make sure everyone…

The Star Dreamer

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Title: The Star Dreamer
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Documentary
Director: Mads Baastrup, Sonja Vesterholt

"We are all lonely, all those of us who live on this earth. Billions of people locked in their own prison cells. I want to create a utopia - a dream of the future about a friendly society, about a new race of people." - Pavel Klushantsev

It's been said time and time again that history is written by the winners, and this all too often means the truth falls through the cracks. Pavel Klushantsev is a name that probably means little to most – as until now it meant nothing to me – but his work is a perfect example of an artist before his time, forgotten except as a minor footnote despite pioneering techniques and ideas that, whilst probably not too impressive now, were nothing short of staggering in the 50s and 60s. Credit for techniques that first came into public light with Kubrick's “2001,” using camera techniques to create 'the first' recognisable scene of weightles…

Les Revenants (They Came Back)

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Title: Les Revenants (They Came Back)
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Horror
Director: Robin Campillo
Starring: Géraldine Pailhas, Jonathan Zaccaï
Language: French

Usually, when people say “I wish he/she was here” or “I wish I could hold him/her just one more time” when talking about their departed, they don’t really expect for such an event to take place. However, to the awe of all, people in this film are confronted by these possibilities as millions of dead people around the world return back from the grave, as they were, expecting and desiring to continue on with their lives as they have left it. Taking place in a small French town, we see what I believe to be a redefinition of the “zombie” genre as this town struggles to cope with such a phenomenon. Focusing more on the emotional and the psychological side, Campillo wittingly poses several philosophical dilemmas that inspire the viewer to think and to wonder. However, while presenting such potential, the film seemed to m…

Steal This Film

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Title: Steal This Film (Part I + II)
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Documentary
Director: Jamie King
Download: Part One Here and Part Two Here

“Intellectual property is the oil of the twenty first century”

This films title isn't a misnomer or joke but a statement; a stance that is taken in favour of the new technology, and in an attempt to try to remain unbiased I will admit some of the claims sound a little far fetched but it doesn't seem to spend all too long delving into the grey area concerning the ethics and morality of the piracy situation but rather into what is actually happening. For those not keeping up with the events surrounding the Piratebay trials the first half nicely surmises the raids on their equipment and the pressures placed upon the Swedish government by the US, even going so far as to issue threats of severe trading sanctions if they don't comply; essentially bullying them to comply to US law. This side, whilst interesting to see to what extent the battle is taken,…