Friday, September 11, 2020

Hellraiser (1987)

In romance fiction, there is very little that could be considered conflict. Therefore, S&M is sometimes used as seasoning for an otherwise bland dish. Take out everything but the seasoning and you have Hellraiser.

This is one of those movies I watched in my college apartment before I realized the value of headphones. If you had passed my door late one night, you might have heard a mix of screams, rattling chains, and raspy moaning. A neighbor complained of me playing World of Warcraft. (A less lascivious assumption than could have been made.)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I Stand Alone (1998)

A number of 1990s independent films were criticized as being “too indie” or “too foreign”. Most of these criticisms came from the US and UK, where experimental style wasn’t a big thing yet. Nowadays, anything goes. Back in the ’90s, the slightest bit of style made a film “weird”.

Enter the mind of Gaspar Noé in 1991. He had just finished his short cinematic masterpiece Carne (loosely translated: “horse meat”). It was awesome. Seven years later, the film was reborn in feature form as I Stand Alone.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sugata Sanshiro (1943)

Action movies are in a bit of a recession these days. It might have something to do with Steven Seagal, or superheroes, or critics not paying proper respect to the biceps that built this world. Maybe the decline of action represents weakness in society. Enter Sugata Sanshiro-sama: the figurehead of humanity and the prototypical man, 1943 edition. He kicks, throws, and makes faces as he simultaneously sets the stage for Bruce Lee and all of entertainment wrestling.

Like Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Matrix (1999), this is a seminal film, the likes of which happen only once in a generation. (Until the sequels.) It is also a Kurosawa film, his first feature. Even if you don’t like martial arts movies, that is reason enough to watch it.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Evangelion 3.0: あすかばあちゃん かわいいです~~~ (2012)

Is Evangelion 3.0 the new Citizen Kane (1941)? Perhaps. While I won’t go into the details of Kane’s connection with Japanese leather philosophy, it is clear that badass robot pilot Shinji Ikari, who has to be 60+ years old in this installment but looks 14 thanks to magic pink slime, is the embodiment of post-apocalyptic robot power fantasy.

I am a big believer in blind devotion to popular anime brands. This isn’t a bad movie, because it’s a Neon Genesis Evangelion movie. Don’t stop the series now! Give me more!

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Revenge (2017)

Revenge is a “revenge” film. It can be compared to the seminal I Spit on Your Grave (1978), but a more accurate comparison would be to Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003). With its stylish cinematography and unrelenting exploitation atmosphere, Revenge delivers the promised goods topped with a generous helping of blood.

The film builds its tension slowly and only becomes shoot-em-up schlock in the final sequence. This is perfect pacing for sci-fi fans, and it’s no surprise considering Fargeat previously made a sci-fi short called Reality+ (2014).

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