Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review: Battle Royale

One of my favorite things about looking for new movies is when I find a movie that really surprises me. I look at it initially with low hopes "maybe it might be entertaining", but then getting completely blown away. That is exactly what happened here with Battle Royale. Now, I'm not big on this Japanese horror movie craze, I've found a couple I really line, but nothing I would ever declare as amazing or memorable (this is until I found Battle Royale).

What I love about this movie is it has a great rhythm to it an it stays that way through the whole movie. The pacing is great from beginning to end and you are never bored. The action (though being slightly campy) delivers a great intensity every time with plenty of gore to suffice. I would definitely put this up as one of the best horror films in recent years.

Now the plot, the kids in Japan have become damn near uncontrollable. They aren't listening to the adults and are causing havoc all over. Well, as a solution, the japanese government passes a law (the name of which escapes me) and now they take a random class, put them on a island, and are forced to kill each other in order to survive. This is where one of my favorite plot devices is stuck in. Each kid is given a collar and if they try to take it off; it explodes, if they leave the island; is explodes, if they enter a restricted section of the island; it explodes, and finally, if there is not a definite winner by the end of the three days; they all explode. I won't explain anymore, but that plot alone should make it worth watching haha.

Now the characters, while they seem to be average bratty teens, there is a sort of underlying thing to all the characters that gets brought out by the Battle Royale. The characters are very well written and keep the plot very interesting as you slowly learn about each one and feel kind of pulled into their world (to a point of sympathy, a thing some directors forget to do). The main character is very obvious, but part of you starts pulling for a favorite as they all seem to have their own personality and secrets.

The cinematography is very well done, bringing the empty jungle feeling to life in a very believable way. It helps tell a really nice story as it moves along. You can tell that the director really knew what he was doing (even if he did fuck up the sequel enough). The emotions are displayed perfectly, even with it being foreign, and nothing seemed really awkward, choppy, or unexplained.

What I really wanna focus on this film is how relentless it is until the end. There is this slight feeling of despair as you watch the film and get attached to many of the characters. Part of it may even make you wonder what you would do if you were put in such a situation and how would you survive.

Score: 5 out of 5
High replay value, very original plot, great execution, I loved how the characters were reveal, the script was well written and the ending is very well done. The only negative part is that the sequel ruins everything I loved about the first one. Definitely a "must see".

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Shit List" Review: Necromania

Welcome to the very first "shit list" review on this site. This list is reserved to the very worst movies I have ever laid eyes on. I don't just mean bad, I mean absolute abominations that should never be viewed by a sane audience. I enjoy certain schlocky films, but the films that make it here have very little to no enjoyable qualities. Now I start off this list with the famed "Necromania"...

Now I've seen both Orgy of the Dead (future review pending) and Plan 9 From Outer Space (future review pending), both which had been worked on by B-movie icon, Ed Wood (future honoring pending), and both being over an hours length, but I was not prepared for this horrid piece of crap. This film was presumed lost in the annals of history, but unfortunately Something Weird videos decided to grace us with this 40 minute find (I would like to state that I refuse to watch the full cut which was located not more than 8 years ago if memory serves).

Plot? What plot? This is all you need to know about this film; it is a sexploitation film directed by Ed Wood it is 40 minutes too long and came close to making me never want to have sex ever again. I want it know that on my first viewing I did not finish this movie despite that it is only 40 minutes. Still want to see it? Let me fix that for you.

The first thing that will strike you about this film is its awful film grain which has only half the color spectrum and lines from beginning to end. Once you get through that, the next thing you will notice is the awful acting, and I mean awful. This acting is bad enough to kill any career on the spot (and hopefully it did). Just listening to the delivery of some of those lines make me want to slam my head against a wall until everything goes dark. The utter lack of direction these people had is blatantly obvious as they stumble through lines like they were five.

Now, as I mentioned, I couldn't tell you exactly what the plot is, maybe its because its just the 40 minute cut. For the most part the movie gives the impression that the plot is suppose to just come in every once in a while to see if you are okay before disappearing into the hills. As far as I know, the plot is about this couple having trouble in their sex life, they travel to this creepy bordello type establishment and some creepy shit happens. That is about as much as I know, because it falls apart from there as Ed Wood seems to try and just stuff a bunch of macabre imagery to try and create that horror feel.

Ed Wood claims he had two of the best cameraman in Holly Wood working in this film, but that doesn't mean much since it was in the same essay that claims that the movie didn't insult your intelligence. The cinematography is very poor and doesn't do anything to save them film what-so-ever.

Lastly, the sex, the one part people would think would still be entertaining. Surprise, Ed Wood can ruin that too. You'd swear that these people were blind. I'm almost insult to have to consider it a sexploitation for the mere fact that it was some of the worst stuff I've ever seen. If you want to watch a guy lick someone's stomach for ten minutes, that is fine with me, but I'd rather not. I'm not joking, they just go around licking legs and stomachs in the dumbest ways I've ever seen. Not even an attempt to fake the idea that there is sex. It is just so bad, it is the only funny thing about the film.

Score 0 out of 5
The Shit List's first victim...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: Blue Velvet

All over the world, there are directors that make such a gigantic mark on the film industry that they will be talked about and remembered forever, David Lynch is one of these people (Future "Honoring" Pending). With such hits like; Eraserhead, The Elephant man, Twin Peaks, and the movie we will be reviewing, Blue Velvet.

Blue Velvet is a sort of mystery film containing both elements of Film-noir and surrealism. With David Lynch's style of directing, this becomes a very interesting and fun combination (much like peanut butter and chocolate, De Niro and Hoffman, or Roman Polanski and any girl under the age of 18...too soon? I felt a Michael Jackson version would have been too obvious. That's me for ya, always taking the high road...). The story takes very odd twists, but it all leads up to one very exciting piece of cinema.

The story, Kid discovers ear, wants to find out more, gets involved with two women at once (that man whore), and gangster antics ensue. The most interesting this about this movie has to be its name "Blue Velvet" which is taken from the song that plays multiple times through the film (Trust me, you'll almost be sick of it by the time they are done playing it). The interesting thing is that Blue Velvet plays no real significance in the movie. It comes to play in abstract ways, but for the most part it could have been anything to replace it.

Another thing I really like about this movie is some of the characters. While I really don't care for the protagonist or his "princess perfect" of a girlfriend, the antagonist is extremely good at capturing your attention. It is made obvious in the film that he is deeply disturbed and very dangerous. Along with that, he has some of the best lines in the film ("Heineken? FUCK THAT SHIT! PABTS BLUE RIBBON!").

While I would love to tell you everything I loved about the film, I just don't have the time, but one thing that really kind of bothered me was the execution of some of the lines. While it states plainly in the opening credits that there is a dialogue coach (which I wasn't aware existed until then...go figure) I felt like someone wasn't really watching them and the emphasis gets a bit skewed. It wouldn't be a big deal, but it happened quite a few times at some moments that stand out a bit.

Score: 4 out of 5
Really nostalgic to the days where film-noir wasn't so obscure and definitely some of David Lynch's best work, but while still having replay ability, it isn't something I could watch again so close to its last viewing. The cinematography was perfect and the execution of the story was brilliant.

Review: Rosemary's Baby

Now, many things can be said about Roman Polanski as a person, but there is nothing disputing that he is a phenomenal director and proof to this can be found in the horror classic "Rosemary's Baby" this chilling and unsettling movie is much talked about among the fans of supernatural, as well as suspenseful, horror.

Now, what exactly makes this movie just so frightening and unforgettable? Is it the storyline? In an attempt to keep from ruining it for you all I can tell you is this; A couple rents an apartment in New York, Rosemary gets pregnant and suspects her neighbors to be witches, chaos ensues. As silly as I make it sound, the story is very well put together and is executed almost perfectly.

Not only is the story well written, but the pace works perfectly for the mounting suspense. It is a bit slow, but it is well worth it. Like I said, Polanski might be a scum bag, but hell if he didn't know how to direct. If you love slow-burning plots, then you will definitely dig into this without a problem. The pacing definitely gives you time to soak everything in or enough time to through in a couple guess at what is going to happen next.

Now, what really kept me interested was the bizarre imagery which is immersed periodically into the film as dream sequences. The cinematography and directing is the real key to this number and both did a great job at making this piece of the movie really off-setting and enjoyable. Though I will say that some of the imagery was a bit pointless and could have held a bit more relevance to the plot.

Lastly, the ending. This ending will make you feel slightly disturbed and cheated, but in a good way. While it does hold the feel of the time period it is based in, it is still one hell of an ending even for today's standards. I can definitely pick this out as one of my favorite endings in the list of movies I've seen.

Score: 4 of 5
The film was extremely enjoyable despite the slow pacing and I can definitely say that the replay value is pretty high. The only reason I don't give it a perfect 5 is for the mere fact that there was this slight sneaking suspicious that the editing itself could have been a bit better, sometimes it just jump when you weren't really suspecting. Didn't upset the rhythm of the movie, but something I wish they could of done a bit better. Definitely a "Must see"