May 25, 2010

Tokyo Shock

Over the past several months, I've watch several genre films which I call Tokyo Shock, based on the fact that most come from the Tokyo Shock DVD label. They're generally categorized under gore or horror, or more specifically "Asian horror," but I like the Tokyo Shock moniker to group them together for the unique combination of styles that they contain.

Continue reading "Tokyo Shock"
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April 23, 2010

This week's movies

Every now and then, I get the urge to watch a movie every night of the week. Here's this week's:

  • Kick-Ass [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | 4/5 ] (watched last Friday at a very busy Atlanta Film Festival-packed Landmark) - Very pleasantly surprised. Humor, gore, and some nice serious moments. Clips along nicely. Still can't figure out why so many people I talk to thought that this was a kids movie. It. Most. Certainly. Was. Not.
  • La Strada [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | 4/5 ] - Second Fellini I've seen including La Dolce Vita. Had more of an Antonioni feel a la Il Grido; both philosophical road movies.
  • Les diaboliques [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | 5/5 ] - Stunning French suspense. Should have been predictable, being 55 years old, but kept us guessing.
  • The Square [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | 4/5 ] - Australian noir, again at the Atlanta Film Festival. Written/directed by two brothers who I'm sure are sick of being compared to the Coens, but it really had a Blood Simple vibe without the boredom.
  • Onechanbara [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | 2/5 ] - (portmanteau of "big sister" and "sword fighting") Minor zombie entry. Expecting more gross-outs than it delivered. Nice bikini though. Purchased with Tokyo Gore Police and The Machine Girl (both of which I've seen and recommend), and still waiting on Vamprie Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (with Onechanbara's lead as FG) and Samurai Princess ordered from YesAsia.com. Poker Industries disappeared and so my Asian flicks now come from this much more polished, and more expensive, site.
onechanbara_flyer the_machine_girl_poster
posted by sstrader at 12:15 AM in Cinema | permalink | comments (2)

January 8, 2010

Assault Girls

I'd first heard about the movie Assault Girls (Asaruto gâruzu) [ IMDB ] from a couple of io9 articles last year. Out on 19 December in Japan but no sign of it here except for the two stylish and trashy trailers. Looks like a lightweight story of giggly girl adventure on Arrakis; lush yet throwaway. Twitchfilm has a comprehensive review describing it as, ultimately, a flick for fans only with (much) more style than substance. Still, I'll be looking for a copy in the future. At ~65 minutes, it's too short for a feature, but maybe Plaza Theater will pick it up for a double-feature with Oshii's Avalon [ IMDB ].

The first clip is an 8-minute segment featuring one of the main characters and pretty much defines style over substance--with a Japanese wtf at the end.The second is the official trailer:

posted by sstrader at 5:27 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

August 12, 2009

Weekend cinema and The Auteurs web site

Went to see The Hangover on Friday [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. Enjoyable slapstick and a good end of week movie to veg out to. I fixed my laptop over the weekend. It had stopped displaying when I would hook it up to our Bravia and so there were no Netflix or AMC b-movies streamed over the last two weeks. Fix was a mix of FN-key toggling and NVIDIA config. As usual, I have no idea how it went wrong.

Upon its return, we finished watching the outrageous Tokyo Gore Police [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] from Netflix! Highly recommended bit of over the top that I'm sure, without even looking, Tarantino was indebted to when making Kill Bill. Japan has replaced the police force with a private force that hunts down mutant/fetishistic killers called Engineers. Hose-spurting dismemberments ensue. The DVD or soundtrack may be a future purchase. Also watched The Undead from AMC. It was an almost worthless Roger Corman flick. Two "doctors" hypnotize a prostitute in modern day to reveal her past lives. The bulk of the film was some scattered story of her unjustly accused of being a witch several hundred years prior. Most of AMC's b-movies have been very entertaining. Except for the D-cup hottie that played the head witch in the past, this was painful. Also on Netflix was Outsourced [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. A nice enough comedy of an American manager sent to India to train his and his coworkers' replacements. I wanted to like it more, and it was OK, but there were some oddities (the romance was introduced abruptly, the characters were only moderately likable) that bothered me. Resolution was done well though.

[ updated 7 May 2011 ]

The "D-cup hottie" was none other than Allison Hayes of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman fame. The Sexy Witch blog has an article+pics about her role in The Undead.

Went to the drive-in on Sunday to see Viva Las Vegas! (I don't expect anyone to believe this, but when I told one of my coworkers their reply was: what's that movie about?). TCM is showing movies at drive-ins throughout August for $1/carload. We ate fried chicken (fingers) and drank PB&B martinis (peanut butter and banana). The movie was basically a travel ad for Vegas and an exercise video with Ann-Margaret, but it was fun to cheer on the hero with the rest of the crowd.

Earlier this week, Trakovsky tweeted about The Auteurs movie web site. A good selection of classic, foreign, and independent cinema from $0 to $5 a viewing. My first film was Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. I put a quick review on their site; here it is:

First movie I've watched from this director.

More of a formalist study than a dramatic one. The individual scenes are composed as microcosms emphasizing a primary theme. People occupy the same space and yet never connect. Each character's actions and language (or lack) are almost undecipherable to those they wish to communicate with. Distance is emphasized by showing the actors through windows, mirrors, TV monitors, and even a decorative waterfall.

At times a bit too stylish-for-style's-sake, and some of the manic improvised scenes don't quite work, but overall a beautiful and funny film.

What they have in their catalog is wonderful; what they don't have is infuriating. I hope they get the rights to more.

posted by sstrader at 6:41 PM in Cinema , Where was I? | permalink | comments (0)

June 28, 2009

Movies from the last week or so

Another couple of weeks of movie watching. From AMC's BMC site offering free streaming B movies:

  • Devil Doll - A ventrilloquist doll is possessed. Or is it?!? Nice camera work!
  • The Horror of Party Beach - Standard beach/monster fare. Sub-par. I think MST3K did this one? ... Yes. Yes they did.
  • The Hellfire Club - Oddly titled 18th c. adventure piece about a nobleman cheated out of his fortune. Color. Fun.
  • The Playgirls and the Vampire - Sexy Italian babes on their way to perform their burlesque routine are storm-stranded in a castle with their goofball manager.

Some fun stuff at the Plaza Theater on Ponce:

  • Blue Velvet - Neither of us had seen this since ~college, but I--having had *many* viewings cf. Lisa's one--remembered much more. Still shocking at times. Corny dialog. Best scene is Hopper listening to Stockwell's mimed version of "In Dreams".
  • Big Man Japan [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] - Faux documentary about the last monster-fighting hero in Japan. From a once feted line of heroes (his grandfather being Big Man Japan #4), our protagonist is almost hated by the citizenry because of the destruction he inevitably causes when fighting the giant monsters. A sad/funny look at celebrity with an (as yet) indecipherable ending.

Also started the 26-episode anime series Gilgamesh last night while looking for something new on Netflix streaming. Four episodes in and relatively entertained.

posted by sstrader at 5:13 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)