Sunday, 15 November 2009

Night Visions & Hurme This Season

Let's take a look at the horror film festivals we had this autumn. The Biggest and oldest in Finland is of course Night Visions, which I attended for the main night. I would've liked to see many more but at least Hurme festival helps me out with that.

The Box
Directed by: Richard Kelly
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
There might be something interesting coming from Richard Kelly yet. This one overstays its premise for a bit too long. Also I would've liked more mysteries left unsolved like in the original Donnie Darko. Nevertheless, the athmosphere is creepy and the mind games get ugly. Kind of like God playing Saw with people.
Best part: Freaky half-face telling Diaz the offer.

Count Dracula (Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht, Verenhimoinen Dracula)
Directed by: Jesus Franco
Starring: Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Klaus Kinski
At times a serious, athmospheric vampire horror. And at better times, a hilarious camp classic. The extremely awkward finnish subtitles (placed in the middle of the screen) help this to fall more into the latter one. Features a weird action sequence where stuffed animals are supposed to come alive (according the dramatic music and the faces of the actors) and just wobble around a bit.
*** 1/2
Best bit: The marveloussly anti-climatic ending where a horse gets hit in the head by a giant boulder and doesn't mind, the heroes teleport from the road to the castle to the top of the castle, and Dracula is dropped down burning.

Jesus Christus Erlöser
Directed by: Peter Geyer
Starring Klaus Kinski
Maniac movie star Klaus Kinski tries to shout some teachings of Jesus, but gets irritated and stopped by some heckling hippies that don't agree with him. Hilarity ensues as Kinski gets mad and stops the show for hours and then begins again at the very beginning. Fascinating footage that tells a lot about its time, about Kinski's mentality and about how we actually treat religion. I don't believe Kinski has any better idea about Jesus as anyone, and he certainly doesn't act the way Christ suggest you should. The cameraman isn't always filming the action, so that takes away a whole star.
Best bit: Kinski refuses a hippie to speak by whisking the microphone away from him.

The Human Centipede
Directed by: Tom Six
Starring: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlyn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Fucked-up and silly exploitation. Doesn't play it too rough or too camp. Dieter Laser as the mad doctor is my new hero. For a movie this rude it wastes too much time on the crying victims, though.
*** 1/2
Best bit: The mad doctor explains his plans to his helpless victims.

Hanuman, the White Monkey Warrior (Hanuman klook foon)
Directed by:
Sakchai Sribonnam
Starring: Shothanya Chitmanlee, Selina Lo, Dean Alexandrou, Sornram Theppitak
For the first half this is unbelievably boring and bad. But when they brutally murder the comical sidekicks (fat guy and retarded guy) at the end of act 2, this gains some heat. The end scenes are superstupid and jaw-dropping. Not very good as a whole, but has some great scenes.
** 1/2
Best bit: I was hoping for the sidekicks to die whenever they were on screen, so when it happened, I rejoiced.

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (Kyûketsu Shôjo tai Shôjo Furanken)
Directed by: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Starring: Takumi Saito, Yukie Kawamura, Eri Otoguro
Has some suitably nasty remarks about japansee youth culture but in the end this is a predictably lame high school comedy. The massive amounts of gore are always fun, but this is nowhere near as inventive or funny as Tokyo Gore Police.

Best bit: The wannabe-black gangur girls with their unbelievably racist amsks and zulu-props.

Super Typhoon (Chao quiang tai feng)
Directed by: Xiaoning Feng
Starring: Gang Wu, Xiaowei Liu, Xiaoying Song
Now we're talking! One of the cheesiest things I've ever seen! A Chinese catastrophe film that is bigger and more patriotic and emotional than everything Roland Emmerich has ever done put together. Also very trusting towards authorities. If a city mayor can't solve something, then it's not worth solving. Also the military provides people with much needed muscle, help and blood. All in the name of the Great China! Battling against a supermassive typhoon, flying cars and boats and even sharks, the mayor's nobility brings tears to the eyes of the common people. All while the special effect scenes are repeated over and over again and a super-cheesy soundtrack plays its two different songs. Hilarious, non-stop laughs.
* or *****
Best bit: A shark flies in from a hole in the wall. The mayor shouts: Let me take care of this! I was in the special forces! And proceeds to battle with it.

Night Visions was as much fun as always, but Hurme proved to be... not as much fun.

Tetsuo the Bullet man
Directed by: Shinya Tsukamoto
Starring: Eric Bossick, Akiko Monou, Shinya Tsukamoto
The first Tetsuo was a nightmarish surrealistic film with little sense but lots of memorable scenes. The decisions in this third one include bringing a useless plot to the picture and changing the language into english. A bad move, since many of the main actors barely speak the language. And the rest are just bad actors. Has not even any great new visuals, everything is just badly remade from the first one.
Best bit: The end credits

Dead Snow
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Fredriksen, Charlotte Fregner
The beginning in this is just awful as they try to flesh out characters nobody cares about. But from the stupid stupid sex scene onwards it's a real rollercoaster ride with plenty of yuks. The fact that we are dealing with NAZI zombies is not properly utilized, though. But it would be a crime to dismiss this film just because everything here is already made much better.
Best bit: Dangling from zombie guts over a cliff while fighting another

Skeleton Crew
Directed by: Tommi Lepola, Tero Molin
Starring: Rita Suomalainen, Steve Porter, Jonathan Rankle
I'm a bit ashamed that I enjoyed this finnish amateur pic more than it deserves. I found it cool that they managed to surprise me a couple of times and when they annoyingly flirted with the meta level at first, at last they took the baton and ran with it. Still, the acting is horrendous even though you reference at it in your movies, and the main point about all these seems to be missing. But one day maybe these guys will get it right.
** 1/2
Best bit: Finding the film they're in a'la Spaceballs

Directed by: Romano Scavolini
Starring: Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith, C.J. Cooke, Mik Cribben
A Halloween copy is a Halloween copy however you cut it. I was annoyed that the annoying kid didn't get his comeuppance but turned into a Death Wish vigilante. Mostly dull, but has a few highlights. Still, it's not even anywhere near anything psychological in case someone told you otherwise.
** 1/2
Best bit: The opening scene is pretty cool.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Movies I've seen in the weeks 44-45

This is not counting the films I've seen at Night Visions Maximum Halloween 3009 -festival, as I'm doing a report on that later on.

Laughing Gravy
Directed by: James W. Horn
Starring: Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, Charlie Hall
A hilarious short film about trying to keep a dog in a flat without the landlord knowing about it. Violent and nasty, just the way I like my old comedians.

The Kid
Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance
Chaplin, alas, is not as funny as Laurel & Hardy. He's still searching for his style in this one, and constantly falls into overplayed melodrama. Some scenes I don't get such as the angelic vision near the end. As Hitchcock, Chaplin doesn't seem to trust the police too much.

Directed by: Shane Acker
Starring (voices): Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly
Visually a treat, but story-wise too clichéd of all things! Also feels padded with unnecessary action sequences. But this was an award-winning short until Tim Burton and Timur Veryhardrussianname came a-calling.

(500) Days of Summer
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend
This isn't the kind of movie that'll cheat you with false premises of love. Rather, it is one that'll make you feel better about relationships that don't work. It's funny and charming, but also painfully real at parts. The empty or overwhelming feelings felt inside when in a one-sided relationship are brought out especially well. The music and athmosphere is still a bit too indie for its own good. This isn't overtly analytical about relationships but if you want that, you can go watch Woody Allen instead. For us with a warmer heart this is a real treat. Even if it doesn't give us easy, simple solutions.


The 39 Steps
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Robert Donat, Madeleinen Carroll, Lucie Mannheim
A quite entertaining Wrong Man -thriller, the kind which Hitch remade several times after this. I'd have to be Mr. Memory to distinguish all these.

The Man Who Knew Too Much
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre
Surprisingly clichéd although they might have not been clichés when this was made. Yet another man-on-the-run flick by Hitchcock. His own remake was better. Although one has to admit no-one can make as good set pieces as him. Peter Lorre is a treat.

The Secret Agent
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: John Gielguld, Madeleine Carroll, Peter Lorre
Not even Hitch's usual charms or Peter Lorre can save this one. Dull espionage flick.

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester
Not too shabby. One of Hitch's more suspenseful flicks, the waiting of a ticking bomb is almost unbearable.

20 Million Miles to Earth
Directed by: Nathan Juran
Starring: William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Frank Puglia
Would be an utterly forgettable King Kong-clone if it wasn't for Ray Harryhausen's charming lead monster. Stop motion puppets can be a lot more lively than real actors.
** 1/2

The Dark Knight
A bit structurally uneven, but so damned entertaining. And not to mention the best description of American traumas in the George W. Bush era. Great acting too, from all around. Utter top of its genre.
**** 1/2

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Video game movies I'd like to see

I, like the rest of the internet, have watched the Prince of Persia trailer. It looks like a lot of fun, and maybe we could at least get the first good video game adaptation. Well, I think Mortal Kombat is fun, but it's also quite retarded. Anyways, here are some video game adaptations I'd be anxious to see:

The New Super Mario Bros.
Nothing to do whatsover with the 1993 movie. This reboot should resemble my warrior plumbers T-shirt:

A twisted CGI animation directed by Shane Acker in the style of 9.

God of War.
Come to think of it, I'm surprised this isn't currently in production after 300. Mythological carnage. Make it R. Don't make Vin Diesel the lead actor.

Devil May Cry
Demon-killing movie with a rockin' soundtrack. Make sure it'll be cheesy enough. We wouldn't want to take this seriously, now would we?

Ratchet & Clank
Another CGI animation. Would be like a Pixar movie. With guns. Lots of guns.

Beyond Good & Evil
Just so people would becoma aware of this criminally underrated gem.

The people form The Fast & Furious movies dying in horrible car accidents.

Visiting the minds of mentally ill people, this could be a great lynchian nightmare.

Grim Fandango
I heard a rumour that Tim Burton would be interested in making this one as a puppet animation. I'd sell my soul to be a travel agent in the Land of the Dead for all eternity for this to happen.


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