Showing posts from June, 2012

The Raid

Title: The Raid
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Action
Starring: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy
Director: Gareth Evans
Language: Indonesian

There seems to be a trend that is occurring in modern action films, the last decade or so seeing a steady rise in 'intelligent action' where plots have their twists, characters are portrayed as gritty and realistic with emotional problems to face and villains, too, have their own twisted desires on display, their long and elaborate speeches preparing you for what's to follow. This is not such a film, taking us back in time to the 90s where the genre didn't always make a lot of sense, where characters were ridiculous in their ability to do what no human should be capable of doing; fighting with injuries that should have long since killed them and a never ending barrage of enemies springing out at every moment. Barely a minute goes by without some sort of weapon flying, gun firing or martial arts stunt is pulled off with precision. The f…


Title: Himizu
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Dark Drama
Starring: Shôta Sometani, Fumi Nikaidô
Director: Sion Sono
Language: Japanese

I've said it before but it bears repeating, I don't read what this directors films are about, I just go watch them knowing that what he emerges with will be – for better or worse – unique in his style, and once again he's proven that this faith isn't misguided. But before I go on let me just point out that this film is bleak beyond comprehension. A man who made his name lightly mocking suicide circles and showing murderers gleefully hacking victims into bite size chunks has lightened up on the bloodshed but not on the dark atmospheres he seems to relish, and despite the comparative conventionality, this must be the most despair-filled and hopeless piece he's ever emerged with. There are funerals happier than this, and it's no surprise given the material he had to work with.

Set in post-tsunami Japan, the scene is set with rolling shots of …