Friday, July 31, 2009

The Point Of Having A Blog Is To Blog

...which is something I have not been doing as of late. Why have I been so slack? It could be real life getting in the way of my fun. It could also be the zombie apocalypse has kept me a tad busy. Only those groaning, ravenous revenants outside the gate know for sure.

While I haven't been a proper blogger lately, I have been trying to keep up with various movies that cross my flight plan. To catch up, I think I'll write a few capsule thoughts and reviews instead of my full-blown, long-winded entries.

So what have I seen lately?

Mulberry Street - On the surface, people turning into zombie rats sounds like a really silly premise. I was ready for a tongue-in-cheek experience approaching comedy, but that's thankfully what I didn't get. The oddity of rat-people was overshadowed by the dread urgency of the contagion. The acting - by unfamiliar faces and names - was excellent and as a viewer, I really cared about the characters. The ending was ambiguous, and left me asking a couple questions, but overall, I really enjoyed the flick.

The Machine Girl - OK, it's technically not a horror movie, but it was seriously some blood-soaked fun from Japan. Basic plot: schoolgirl takes revenge on Yakuza kid and his gang using a prosthetic high-powered gun as well as other handy weapons, among them a chainsaw. Remember Rose McGowan's sweet gun-leg in "Planet Terror"? Yeah, something like that, only more gleefully violent. There's gore for gore's sake, which can be tiresome, but this was gore for fun's sake, much like Peter Jackson's earlier stuff or "Rikki-O." Loads of fun, and you will find yourself laughing at the over-the-top weirdo action.

A Tale of Two Sisters - This little number from Korea was a slow-boiling mindtrip that requires you to actually pay attention to the details. The ending smacks you a couple times and asks, "Huh? Huh? You payin' attention? Watch this." Atmospheric and tragic, it's a bit like a traditional Asian stage play revamped for modern audiences, and it keeps you thinking about it for quite a while afterwards.

Three...Extremes - Anthology horror from Asia that takes you on three very distinct, horrific journies. "Dumplings" was the most disturbing and unsettling, about an actress striving to stay young by eating dumplings made with...well, I can't spoil it, but you will never notice sound effects and editing the same way again. "Cut" was bizarre, almost dark comedy in some points about a film director and his wife taken hostage by a deranged extra. You didn't know whether to laugh or wince, so I did both. "Box" was my favorite, but I am biased since I hold director Takashi Miike in high regard. It's a hugely surreal tale of a woman having bizarre memories of a small box, a carnival, a ghostly woman, and contortionists - and how they're all connected. If you have a strong stomach and a curiosity or appreciation for Asian cinema, this is a good place to start.

Silk - A paranormal team captures the ghosts of a small boy, and things get deadly. A mysterious thin thread of silk runs it all together as one badass cop with near-superhuman perception tries to save those around him before the ghost destroys them all. Pretty good - it wasn't mind-blowing, but the cop was a coolest character to come along in a while.

Shutter - I watched the original Thai version, and really, really wanted to like it. However, it just seemed like it couldn't get off the ground. A photographer is seeing anomolies in his pics, and worse for him, the girl appearing there is tragically familiar. There were a couple good scares, and some really good ideas, but something about the execution was off for me.

Outlander - Not horror, but it was vikings versus aliens, and it was full of win.

The Brood - Finally, after a couple decades of intending to see this David Cronenberg classic, I saw it. A man tries to keep his daughter from his wife, who is in controversial therapy, as he believes she is abusing her. When people connected to him (mother-in-law, teacher) are killed in horrific ways by little mutant tykes, he sets out to discover the reality. And it's weird. Plus, it's Cronenberg, so you know there's some body modification or mutilation involved. Oh, and it starts Oliver Reed.

Memento - Another non-horror I feel I should mention. Loved it. Nice story structure. And Joey Pants is in it.

Timecrimes - Another one that borders on horror, but it's more sci-fi, really. Guy accidentally travels in time and sets about trying to prevent a murder, but only makes things worse. I really wanted to like this Spanish offering, but I found the protagonist unlikeable and couldn't feel any sympathy for him. I just kept hearing the sad trombone in my head when things happened to him. The speculation of what was happening turned out to be more appealing to me.

OK, that's most of it. I want to do separate ones on a couple others I watched, the original "REC" and "Zombie Diaries." I liked them both for different reasons, with "REC" really striking me as good.

There. Maybe now I can relax a little, knowing I may have brightened a day or two. I can sit back and...

Oh, wait.

OK, there's yelling outside. I think one of them got through the security gate...