Monday, July 19, 2021

Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia is a senior-safe introduction to Lars von Trier. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who he is, von Trier is a filmmaker from the distant land of Germany who is known for boundary-pushing avant-garde cinema. Most of his films are released unrated to cinephile audiences. This is one of the exceptions.

Melancholia was released America-style mainstream for whiskey-drinking simpletons. It has few “genre” elements and stays within the self-imposed prison of the “drama” category through most of the film. There is some sci-fi brewing in the background, but 95% of the film could play for a geriatric home.

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants / Koirat eivät käytä housuja (2019)

A softcore erotic film about S&M. It feels like the film barely got produced, with concessions made to focus more on family than pain. Awkward intangible bullshit does not a tense thriller make. The frame story gets so much screen time that I am left wondering what the film could have been.

This is far from a perfect film, but compared to the more mainstream fare the likes of Amazon are trying to push, it’s nice to see a Finnish product.

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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Hard to Kill (1990)

Steven Seagal is immortal and omnipresent. This actually goes along with Shintoism, which he picked up as an aikido instructor in Japan before he got into movies. However, when he talks himself up in English (or rather sings himself up, if you listen to his Songs From the Crystal Cave album) it’s almost insulting. He’s a chocolate fiend who can’t hold back, and all those candy bars caught up with him in recent years. I’m sure he’s sensitive about that. Sorry.

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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Without Remorse (2021)

“”"Tom Clancy’s”"” Without Remorse is a mindless action movie that manages to be simultaneously politically correct and frustrating to watch. There are no bad guys and no real enemies, the whole movie is an anticlimax, and the producers had the gall to leave it open for a sequel.

My favorite part of the movie was the gunshot sounds. The silencers sounded realistic, and the M16s and Russian rifles sounded distinct. For some reason the silencers were louder than the non-silenced weapons, and sometimes the gunfire was muted entirely in favor of dramatic music. Those three sound effects were pretty decent. There were also punching and exploding sounds. If you like noise, you’re in for a treat.

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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)

The first three Trancers show a fall from greatness as legendary hero Jack Deth moves into retirement. Trancers 4 and 5 were shot back-to-back and pick up where the trilogy left off. I divide the series like so because of the radical shift the latter films represent, not just in Trancers but in moving pictures on the whole.

The whole outsourcing situation with lower budgets and broken dreams is par for the course with Chuck Band’s later work. This was the start of that. With Trancers 4, the audience got an interesting medieval experience. Whether or not it was good for business, I don’t know.

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