Well now. I was not quite ready for the experience that was The Gift to Stalin, Rustem Abrashev’s tale of a man recounting his escape and survival as a boy during the forced deportations/migrations imposed by the Soviet Union in the 1940’s. Now I’ll be the first to admit that my Modern European lessons haven’t solidly stayed with me over the years, but I know for sure that there is a very special place reserved in hell for one Joseph Stalin. An incredible amount of lives in the Soviet Union were ended senselessly (something I feel is too often glossed over), but millions of people were also displaced. This film in all honesty should be weighed down by the darkness of that time period, but the story is told on a smaller and more localized scale, with it’s focus the people of a small village in Kazakhstan and their determination to live life as best as they know how, despite all that is going on. Continue Reading…
Archives For Shaka
Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird is a South Korean spaghetti western that opens up in China with three opposing parties bearing down on the same train, each with varying motives: Park Chang-yi, the most renowned bandit/killer in all of Manchuria is sent to pilfer a particular cargo – a treasure map leading to a vast fortune. A bumbling yet insanely agile thief named Tae-goo is also after the same item, looking to change the fortune of his life as well as his grandmother’s. Last but not least, the veteran bounty hunter Park Do-won, hungry for the chance to capture Park Chan-yi. When the bumbling thief makes off with the map – amid a great shootout scene – he discovers that the map he holds leads to a treasure that will affect not only his life, but the fate of nations. The film plays out like an enormous chase/race to the finish, with tons of firefights and a body count that sprawls all across China.
On a side note, I now need to purchase a kick ass duster coat and a matching vest.
(Reviewer’s Note: the repute of the following film was already well-known prior to viewing; sometimes we just like to see train wrecks.)
Let me make this as short and (un)sweet as possible for you: if you’d planned on seeing Skyline, don’t.
It sucks. Majorly.
In probably what will be the shortest review in Cineawesome history, I will break down 2010 worst movie of the year (no contest) for you. Here goes:
Aliens (with ideas stolen from every big budget sci-fi flick of the last 20 years including The Matrix and Independence Day) attack Earth to steal humans and use our brains to power their bodies. The main characters – all morons – are trapped in a condominium complex, trying to find a way past the aliens to safety, wherever that may be.
The first half an hour is pointless filler and boredom, followed by over the top action, followed by more uneccessary boredom, then ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS action sequence followed by horrible cliffhanger ending, which we will never have answers to because this movie stinks and will never get a sequel. If it does, I may need to be institutionalized.
That’s it. Save your money, don’t even Netflix this when it releases; it’s two hours you could spend doing worthwhile things. Like living.
I will admit, Toru Matsuura’s Synesthesia has a really cool premise: A serial killer afflicted with synesthesia – a disorder that scrambles/rewires the human body’s five senses – is leaving mysterious markings in blood at the scenes of his crimes. The police are totally baffled (naturally), and the only way they can crack the code is to get into think the same way he thinks. The last victim’s adopted daughter Mari runs away and is found by two men who make a living selling hidden footage from cameras they plant around the city. Coincidentally, one of these voyeur men, named Shin, is a fellow synesthesia sufferer. Shin can see a meaning to the killer’s methods, and even though he doesn’t understand why, he wants to meet him – a man he’s labeled as “Picasso”.
But what happens when Picasso comes looking for him? Continue Reading…
Naturally, someone had to volunteer to do a Takashi Miike film, and I’m not afraid to be that guy this time around, since I’m a big fan of Yakuza films, and it’s got Riki Takeuchi in it so awesomeness is to be expected. Still, I prepared myself for the moment by throwing down an Arrogant Bastard Ale before diving in.
Oh, and Cheez-Its. Yeeeeah.
True to crazy fashion, Miike opens the film with the assassination of the head of a Yakuza family, a man who is so badass that even after he’s dead, his killer has to wait hours before the man’s severed hands fall away from his throat. The boss’ son, seen flipping out in the police station while his father is being murdered, is warned early into the film that his family is in the process of negotiating a truce. “Kuni[sada], make sure you don’t pull anything funny… if anything happens, there will be bodies everywhere.” You see, due to his “Korean blood” Kuni is quite the hothead – much like his father was – but with everyone begging him not to cause trouble, you would think he’d listen… right?
Wrong. Continue Reading…
I didn’t know much about Merantau. In fact, I didn’t know anything about this action flick, but I learned really, really fast. Taking its title from the Indonesian rite of passage into manhood, Merantau follows Yuda as he takes on his journey with Jakarta being the place where he will mature. Yuda is hardly in the city a full day when he stops a gangster from abusing a girl in the sex trade, and what follows is the best martial arts film I’ve seen in years. If Ong-Bak is Ken from Street Fighter, flashy and not so heavy on story, then Merantau is Ryu, equal yet differing in its presentation.
Man, I really, really tried to like The Blood of Rebirth, Toshiaki Toyoda’s film based on a classic Japanese folk tale, but at times this movie felt like a police chase, with Toyoda doing his best to lose me. Truth be told, there were times where I wished I got lost, but unfortunately I didn’t. I followed this thing to the end and I just couldn’t bring myself to call this a good film.