The Vanishing (1988) — Drama/Thriller (9/10)

February 20, 2009 at 7:46 pm (Movies) (, , )


As you may has noticed, I am not particularly fond of 80s cinema. The look, feel and quality of films I have seen (so far) are often times horrendous (what the heck happened!?). Anyway, right when I’m ready to give up on the decade, a film like this finds its way into my life. The Vanishing is a marvelous film.

The Vanishing takes place in France/Germany during the Tour de France of 1988. A man and his young wife are travelling to a spot to watch their favorite cyclist go by and do their cycling thing, haha. Anyway, they have few marital scuffs and romantic moments, and they fill up with gas at a gas station. The husband is waiting for the wife to come back with coffee, but she never comes back. He begins to search for her, but nobody really seems to know anything.

3. Years. Later.

He’s still posting signs and trying to find her, or, rather, trying to find out what happened to her. You get the gist that he’s steadily going insane with curiosity and madness as to why this all happened.

What’s interesting about this film is that it does a lot of character development on the “bad guy” of the film. You see his character within the first few minutes, and there is no disguising that he’s a sick son-of-a-gun. You get a little insight to his madness, and that just makes this movie go from good to great.

So, some things happen and it’s interesting, to say the least. This movie was remade in 1993 with Sandra Bullock and Keifer Sutherland, but I have heard terrible things about it. Screw that film, watch the original French version. Don’t expect a Hollywood ending, either.



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A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) — Horror/Thriller (7/10)

February 20, 2009 at 7:33 pm (Movies) (, , )

I heard that this is the highest grossing film of all time in South Korea… so, you can probably guess this is South Korean film… and you’re right! The director, Jee-Woon Kim does some really oddball films. He’s done a segment for the horror compilation Three Extremes 2 (by the way, if you ever get the chance to see Three Extremes, the first one, then do it! There’s some great stuff there).

Anyway, this film has two things going for it:

1) It doesn’t explain what is going on as it just starts… occuring. The whole time, you’re going, “What are you talking about? Who is this family? What are they talking about?” Yes, it is confusing, but I think that confusion mostly plays out to the film’s advantage (for the twist-ending, of course).

2) There are some interesting themes that the film tackles that make the impact reasonably effective. The film goes into regret, disappointment and hate (but mainly regret, which makes it more interesting than your usual Asian horror film these days).

That being said, the “scares” and “chills” are nothing to speak of. Don’t watch this trying to be scared. I’d watch this just to try and understand and to counter your wtf? moment that run through your brain. The film in some regards, is really typical. The look and images doesn’t do anything for you like say The Grudge, which was a horrendous film.

The movie that came out a few weeks ago, The Uninvited, that is a remake of this film. I wonder how much they changed. I’m sure they must have drastically changed a few elements because this film would never work in the realm of America.


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Death at a Funeral (2007) — Comedy (8/10)

February 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm (Movies) (, , )


So, listen. This movie is a British comedy starring this man:

Yeah, that’s Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice! He is the mopey, underappreciated and less-talented brother who got stuck with putting together the funeral for his father. There is a whole slew of characters represented here (don’t forget your gay dwarves!), including Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball… and he was in the TV show Firefly. One of the characters is the really dorky I-want-sex-with-American-girls from the film Love Actually.

Anyway, Death at a Funeral is a really funny British movie. There is a lot irony and laughter over hallucinogens. One character spends a good third of the film completely naked and confused. There is no place for respect and courtesy in this film–it all gets a stab here and there.

The performances are good, but the script sometimes just meanders out of control as things just fall apart. I’m sure that most people won’t mind this at all, but it just kind of exploded into chaos. No worries, though, there are plenty of hearty laughs all along.

And Mr. Darcy is just so darn cute.


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Eegah (1962) — Drama/MST3K (7/10)

February 18, 2009 at 11:56 pm (Movies) (, , , )


I pray and hope that you’ve never seen the movie Eegah without having seen the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this film. It is the story of a prehistoric caveman that happens to live off a cave off the main highway of some American town (that’s a great plot for a movie in 1962). There’s a kid who’s the “hunk” of the film, but really his face makes you want to throw up. I think they said his face was like a Cabbage Patch Kid version of Elvis… haha!

As far as MST3K episodes go, this one isn’t as funny as Prince of Space, Manos: The Hands of Fate or Hercules Against the Moon Men. I’d stick with those if I were you.

The prehistoric man is played by the guy who played the character Jaws from a couple of the James Bond films. He’s an absolute giant, and his face is terrifying.


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Coraline (2009) — Animation (8/10)

February 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm (Movies) (, , )


Now here is a special treat, even if I don’t quite know how to recommend this film to your garden variety filmgoer. I will tell you this, I got sucked into this film and chewed up for a bit, and once it was all said and done, I had a good time.

I read that this film was something more to be admired than embraced, and I think they got it right. It’s hard to have an emotional connection with a bratty little girl named Coraline, and all the characters are flawed to one degree or another. Interestingly enough, there isn’t much comic relief in the film, something that The Nightmare Before Christmas definitely possessed. I think Jack Skellington is a terrific protagonist.

Anyway, back to Coraline. I absolutely loved the visual aspect of the film. The world of Coraline is lush and hyper detailed. I simply cannot comprehend the amount of work that went into the development of this film. I’m curious to know for how many years they have been working on this project.

There’s a scene where Coraline goes outside to see the garden planted and maintained by her “Other Father”. The “Other Father” comes in riding a robotic praying mantis, and the music is so odd and wonderful. The display of plants and vegetation is something to be marveled at, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the film again just to look at the world the film created.

The movie is, however, a bit cold. There isn’t much of anything emotional to cling to other than the cute creatures that come and go throughout the film’s duration. I feel like the morals aren’t strong, and plenty of the characters are so wacky that we get lost in the madness rather than sorting things out ourselves. I mean, come on. The ladies next door? The one with the DDD size boobs? Ugh, that was unnecessary and appalling.

There’s some very weird stuff there, but it’s a good film all-in-all. Don’t miss it if you can help it.


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Doubt (2008) — Drama (10/10)

February 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Movies) (, , )


I am so glad that I randomly decided to go see the film Doubt at 4:10pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

The night before, I saw Milk with Michael, and today I saw Doubt with my roommate Blake. It is really strange of me to say, but I felt tense during Doubt like I felt tense during The Descent, a British human-vampiresque horror film from 2006. Now what possibly could a drama about child molestation in a Catholic school have to do with a vampire horror film? I don’t really have an answer for you, but I felt tense and my fists were clenched for a better part of both films.

Bravo, Meryl Streep, you truly are an evil woman. I’ve met and seen women like the one she potrays in this film, but it still unnerved me. She tells Philip Seymour Hoffman that she will stop at nothing to see him removed from the school. She has no proof of her accusations, only “certainty”.

The movie tells a lot about the human condition, and the themes of manipulation, hate and degradation are rich and developed here. The ending pulls all of the different themes together quite nicely.

Some people said that they felt this film would go through “the occation narrative lull”, and I can see what they’re saying, but I must say that if you distrust and are aware the evil human condition as I have come to be, then this film will probably fascinate you.

Forgiveness, man. It doesn’t come for everybody. Oh! I watched this documentary about a year ago called Deliver Us From Evil, about a Catholic priest who molested hundreds of children over a period of a few decades. Watching that prior to seeing Doubt perhaps is an interesting setup for this film. Seeing the former will make you angry. I’m off subject, but I recommend this film highly. I love deception, evil and the human condition. I like to see how far people are willing to go to ruin everything around them. Tremendous acting, a terrific script and great directing all make this a top notch film.


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Milk (2008) — Drama (9/10)

February 7, 2009 at 12:10 am (Movies) (, , , )


Uh oh, I went and saw a movie about that gay pervert from California, right? As long as all the queers keep to themselves over there, right? Far from that. I really, really enjoyed this film! I saw it with my friend Michael on a Tuesday night, when only couples dared show their faces at a movie theater on a Tuesday night.

The movie is very poetic and moving. I am of the opinion that no people group should be discriminated, hated, barred from society, criticized openly simply for being different from you. If the Christians became persecuted and murdered in America, would you not want the same treatment as what has been desired by the Gay Rights and Civil Rights Movements? I myself do not condone, participate in or enjoy the idea and action of gay people, but nowhere in that sentence does that say I judge, hate, mistreat, slander or riot against this group of people. I love people, and that includes gays and everybody else.

My problem is that I’m not so accepting of ignorant, stupid, ghetto and cruel people.

Anyway, I’m way off topic now. The film has a great texture to it, and it behaves so gently toward the gay people. I don’t think the gay people were all that smart back in the 70s, because a lot of them thought that being 100% ridiculous and counter culture meant that they could surive, thrive and get everything they felt they deserved. Big issues like this don’t change overnight, so you’ve got to consider a little tact and moderation.

Still, the movie is poetic, sweet and (mostly) slow by my standards. I enjoyed the 70s grainy look of the film and the interweaving of stock footage from that time. There’s some “gay stuff” as you would expect, but I didn’t get all crazy over it. Michael covered his eyes, but mainly it was just kissing and a slap on the naked butt.

It is also a thought-provoking film about Gay Rights and the like. I recommend the film quite highly.


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Prince of Space (1959) — Sci-fi (N/A)

February 6, 2009 at 11:32 pm (Movies) (, , , , )


Ohh, yes, how about a review for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this CRAP film Prince of Space (1959).

I highly recommend that people go out and watch MST3K, it is just an intelligent and captivating show about the worst-of-the-worst cinema (perhaps) ever made. There are some most wonderful quotes for this episode:

“Grown-ups of the corn.”

“Woody Allen asked me out.”

“A rare Godzilla-free day.”

“Truman Capote sent to fight Krankor!”

“Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Young Japanese Children'”

There is so much stuff there that is sure to make you laugh if you have a brain, appreciate cinema and comedy and can tolerate the shenanigans of a truly awful film.

I don’t give MST3K viewings a rating because it just doesn’t work that way, but I just say that all MST3K is awesome. Go watch it all.

— thumbs up —

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