December 4, 2006
Park Chan-wook’s vengeance trilogy reviewed. Like Tarantino flicks? Never seen Korean cinema? This is a good place to start. Read on…
November 20, 2006
Like bloodshed and samurai warriors? How about insane kung fu choreography?
Azumi (bloody Japanese samurai flick) and Iron Monkey (high-flying Chinese kung-fu flick) reviewed.
Read the post here.
November 17, 2006
James Bond is back. Check out my thoughts on this new darker, tougher Bond.
Read it here
November 6, 2006
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443453/)
I was hesitant to see this movie at first. Not that I don’t like Sacha Baron Cohen, I just never thought of Borat as a full length film. I’ve enjoyed Da Ali G show before, and having been inundated by YouTube Borat clips by my friend, I have also enjoyed Borat on many occasions. I still didn’t see how these comical interviews could fill out a whole flick.
How wrong I was! Upon a brief scan of metacritic and rottentomatoes, as well as a reading of the New York Times review, I was interested in seeing Borat and on saturday night, I traveled to the cineplex to travel across the country with a Kazakh.
After the brief disney-length tour with Borat, I was totally sold by Sacha Baron Cohen’s new comedy. Borat’s interviews are hilarious as always, and the pervading plotline of Borat’s attempt to travel to California in order to marry Pamela Anderson is quite entertaining as well.
Through Borat’s cultural learning, he offends all, holding back on no one. The antisemitic Borat provides a great show upon arriving to a bed and breakfast run by an old Jewish couple, and his stumble upon an evangelical group is equally hilarious. Borat has fun at a gay pride parade and hangs with some frat guys. Of course his road trip takes the route through the southern states, and there are many laughs to be had. The jokes play on Borat’s ineptitude, but at the same time act as social commentary. We aren’t always laughing at Borat, but at the responses he elicits. While many of the jokes are offensive, this isn’t to say that there isn’t potty humor in this flick – be prepared for all.
While Borat’s humor isn’t for everyone (don’t see it if you’re easily offended), the flick hits a homerun for Sacha Baron Cohen fans. Baron Cohen was the only redeeming feature of Taladega Nights, and it looks like he’s on his way to great things. If you like Da Ali G, you’ll like Borat; if you want to see a pretty intelligent yet dumb flick, check it out. It’s niiice, high five!
4 rubber fists out of 5
October 31, 2006
It’s Halloween, and you’re looking for a scary movie to watch as the number of kids coming to the door begins to dwindle. What should you watch? This may not be the list of the “scariest movies of all time,” but in my humble opinion, this is a small list of some truly awesome horror flicks. Be warned: there is a lot of sci-fi horror on this list (I guess I’m biased). Also, Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, and The (original) Omen are not to be found on this list, but you should consider those as well if you have yet to see them.
Necessary viewing. If you haven’t seen this flick, please go to your nearest video store and check it out. The beginning of true sci-fi horror, this classic is one of the best movies of all time and stands high among those famous scariest flicks of all time. If you want more gore, see the 4th film, Alien Resurrection. If you’re looking for more action, see Cameron’s sequel, Aliens. If you want a more arthouse aliens, see Fincher’s underrated Alien 3. In anycase, if you haven’t seen any of them, see the original masterpiece.
The Thing (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084787/)
I actually just saw this Carpenter flick over the summer. It turned out to be an excellent little ride with some scary and hairy moments. The creature effects of this film are quite extraordinary, and the sense of paranoia generated by the actors is palpable.
Slither is a funny, gross out flick that has hit dvd shelves just in time for Halloween. I highly recommend seeing this flick because it’s just pure fun. The movie is more slimy than bloody and is the definition of horror comedy. The New York Times enjoyed it, and if you’re into the campy, funny, horror – you will too.
Wow, John Carpenter made my list twice. Anyways, this is it- the real deal, the original Halloween movie. It pretty much spawned the slasher flick genre as well as a ridiculous number of sequels. This October 31st, throwback and see how it all started.
So I’m a bit ashamed that I’m recommending this flick since I don’t remember it too well, and I’m not even sure if I saw it in its entirety. From what I remember (I was really young and channel surfing late at night), the flick was entertaining and kind of gross, falling into the comedy horror category. Well known as a cult classic, this flick is well worth watching from what I remember, and I will probably take a second look at it too.
In addition to the five aforementioned flicks, remember the ongoing extreme asian cinema series (“Audition” and “Three… Extremes” especially) if you want some additional weird and creepy flicks. Have a happy Halloween and enjoy!
October 30, 2006
The Departed (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407887/)
Two days ago, I finally got a chance to see the new heavily lauded Scorsese film, The Departed. A remake of the Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs, a flick that I have enjoyed before, I was eager to see how Scorsese could throw his own flavor to the mix. With all of the hype and the super positive critic reviews, I was really excited to find the time to finally see it. Did all the hype hold up?
Sure – Scorsese knows his territory when it comes to portraying crime and the gritty underworld of the mob. His past work (Goodfellas, aka one of the best movies ever) shows this and The Departed follows suit. The movie is gripping and interesting as well as funny. Scorsese doesn’t hold back on the violence in portraying the work of the mob, and the shocking violence engages the viewer just like the rest of the film. The dialogue and acting are top notch with the all-star stacked cast. Nicholson acts as god, and all other actors touch greatness as well. Leonardo Dicaprio and Matt Damon are excellent leads, and the supporting actors only add to the flick (Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin – hilarious). Though the Boston accents were a bit heavy-handed and in-and-out at times, the funny speech did not ever significantly detract from the film. Just to set it straight – not everyone in Boston sounds like that…
As much as I liked The Departed, the flick was a bit overhyped for me I think. Almost every review I have encountered has been positive (check out metacritic/rottentomatoes) and I was psyched to see the best movie of the year. In the end, I found the movie to be highly entertaining and stylistic, but the narrative element fell short – probably because I had already seen Infernal Affairs. The storyline wasn’t as fresh or original to me, and I was expecting things to happen before they did. It was fun to do comparisons between the remake and the Hong Kong original, but I felt that my knowing the basic plot made the movie a little less special for me than I would’ve liked.
The flick all in all met my expectations wholly. Scorsese’s fast editing was both engaging and kind of confusing, but my familiarity with the basic story overcame any confusion. While it’s hard to say whether or not this film is better or worse than its asian predecessor, it’s definitely true that each film has its ups and downs. I think each movie works well in its own cultural environment, one discussing the Irish mob while the other, the Chinese Triads. In that aspect, Scorsese’s The Departed becomes more of a variation of a theme rather than a complete remake. Scorsese’s changes work well and fit the new Boston setting; the film captures your attention and doesn’t let you go till the end.
3.5 – 4 undercover agents out of 5
Spoilers ahead- Comparisons between The Departed and Infernal Affairs and other stuff
- The ending of The Departed was really different from Infernal Affairs, I’m not so sure how much I liked that new addition
- The Departed significantly limited the police chief’s role in the film, as well as the repeated rooftop meetings
- If anyone has seen both John Woo’s “Hard Boiled” and “Infernal Affairs” – do you get the sense that there is a connection with the whole undercover cop/rooftop thing? Did Infernal Affairs get these ideas from the John Woo’s most famous operatic blood ballad?
- The Departed enhances the role of the female character (changing Infernal Affair’s two minor females into one major role in The Departed) in the film. This was cool, but also feels like a very Hollywoodesque change.
- The two gang members trying to spot a cop was a nice carryover.
- The silent phonecall scene was a nice carryover as well.
- The addition of Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg was awesome.