Friday, December 30, 2011
AKMAREUL BOATDA (I SAW THE DEVIL) (2010)
Directed by Jee-woon Kim
Byung-hun Lee - Kim Soo-hyeon
Min-sik Choi - Kyung-chul
Gook-hwan Jeon - Squad Chief Jang
When his pregnant fiancee becomes the latest victim of a serial killer, a secret agent blurs the line between good and evil in his pursuit of revenge.
I love getting a chance to go back and catch up on movies I should have watched already. Right now I have a back catalog of at least 20 movies. So yes, that means I won't be able to get through all of them anytime soon but that doesn't mean I won't try to get through as many as possible. I will say that the ones that interest me the most will probably get watched first as usual. For those that send my links though, I will get to your films, I promise. With the holidays almost over I'm gearing for the reviews next year I'll be doing and wondering if I should do another Lovecraft month in August. What do you reader's think?
There is no mistaking that this film is all Min-sik Choi through and through. Some of you may remember him from the movie Oldeuboi (Oldboy) where he plays the title character. Even though he takes a beating in that movie, to me it's nowhere near as brutal as what happens to him in this film. Yet what what sets him apart in this is what his character Kyung-chul endures and how he's always thinking of the next move to try and get ahead while systematically being taken apart. It's at the end of the film that shows how twisted his character is and what lengths he will go to to get even. But it's Choi's acting when he does realize he created the monster chasing him and his amusement and thrill he gets from it that shows the depths of the characters thanks to him.
On the other side is Byung-hun Lee who plays Kim Soo-hyeon. Most know him as the one shining spot that was the shit pile of G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra as Stormshadow. In this film he has the chance to truly show what he is capable of as an actor and he comes through amazingly. At first when we see his character he seems like he has no emotions what so ever, yet it's only halfway through when he's listening in on a conversation between his prey and his acquaintance about how Soo-hyeon is more like them than he realizes that he decides to become what they're talking about. It's only after Soo-hyeon understands what he's become does he truly realize that he's no better than Kyung-chul and decides to enjoy it which is where it all comes apart for him. But it is at the end of the movie after he truly loses everything that Lee shines as an actor. It's when his character has to apologize to Kyung-chul for not taken him seriously enough and him understanding that Kyung-chul has truly won does the story amazingly sets in and the price everyone has paid is shown.
The story for the film is interesting as after a while, the lines between the "good guy" and the "bad guy" becomes so blurred that you start to wonder what is really going on. While Lee's character is supposed to be the moral center of the story he slips into the roll of psychopath so easily at times you start to wonder if the Devil mentioned in the title of the movie is Kim Soo-hyeon instead of Kyung-chul due to Soo-hyeon takes more pleasure on the torture and mental abuse he inflicts on Kyung-chul after their first encounter in the green house. Then you realize that Kyung-chul is the true "Devil" at the end as he feels no remorse in his actions unlike Soo-hyeon who realizes to late that instead of attaining the justice he wants, instead he turned himself into a monster that equals Kyung-chul and hates himself for it. Only after he gets his revenge, after he lost everything, does he let himself become human again and the weight of what he's done destroys him as he walks away. You understand this fact earlier in the film when we're treated to a conversation between a cannibal and Kyung-chul's character that the cannibal is laughing that Soo-hyeon is one of them, a monster, and maybe worse, as they at least kill their prey after finding them and the fact that Kyung-chul created this monster.
This movie was just what I needed to end the year on. It was brutal and tense through most of it and never apologized for it. The one thing I do wish they did more with was go more into Kyung-chul's background with his cannibal friend as it's mentioned that they tried to start a militant group that failed. It makes you wonder that if these two came from there who alse was in that group and just how more messed up they were. The cinematography was beautiful even when the violence on screen picked up, even during the whole Achilles tendon scene which was just outrageous. One of the stand out scenes is a knife fight that takes place in a moving cab between Kyung-chul's character and a pair of killers that stole a cab for fun. It gets bloody, as quick flashes of silver streaked in red fly through the air as the close quarters of the environment compacts the action and makes it more brutal. The sound design was on the spot throughout as well. From the quiet driving scenes when the film first started to the end conversation I mentioned earlier to the sounds of pain everything was bright but without being overly loud or blasting the eardrums out. If you haven't seen this film yet, you must as it's one of the best that came out this year.
A family reunion to lose your head over.
Who broke your balls?
The Korea Media Rating Board forced Kim to recut the film for its theatrical release, objecting to its violent content. Otherwise, the film would have gotten a "Restricted" rating, preventing any sort of release in theaters or on home video.
The film marks Choi's first major role since his self-imposed exile over his protest of the Korean screen quota system. It also reunites Lee with Kim who have worked together in the past on films such as Dalkomhan insaeng.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
Directed by David Fincher
Daniel Craig - Mikael Blomkvist
Rooney Mara - Lisbeth Salander
Christopher Plummer - Henrik Vanger
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker. As their investigation goes on they uncover an intense corruption they weren't expecting.
It's pretty, I've actually have had the Swedish version of the film for over a year and still have never watched it. I've heard great thing about it, yet I still didn't watch it. Then around the same time I got the original version I found out that there was going to be a American version of the film. That's when my dilemma came up. I'm a big supporter of not remaking films, specially if the original is supposed to be well done. Yet with this movie I found out that David Fincher was going to be directing, and my hopes for it went up by a considerable amount. So I held off watching the Swedish version of the movie until after I saw the American version so where I can go into the movie fresh and not knowing what to expect and not have any baggage going into watching it or reviewing the movie.
There will be minor spoilers ahead so do beware!
Before I go into the review, I just have to talk about one thing first. If you are so immature that you laugh at someone being raped or being forced to give someone sexual pleasure against their will, whether it be in real life or on the screen, you don't need to be going to movies like this with your friends, who also laugh at situations like that. I enjoy going to movies at theaters due to that you get a much fuller experience of enjoying a giant screen and have superior audio to listen to. Both these things bring a richer experience, yet it only takes a couple of idiot fucking kids to ruin what could be a fun night out, and completely take you out of a movie that you were just settling into. Yes, those of us that love the horror/ dark fantasy genre are more open to laughing at what is going on in front of you during movies. Yet I like to think that those of us that do, know when the feel of a movie is different. We know when something is played for fun and when it is played for seriousness. I have never laughed at rape, and never will. It's not funny and NEVER will be. Thanks you idiot fucking teenagers.
Okay now that the bitch session is done, I have to talk about the acting. Even though the film is filled with amazing actors and actresses, yet they are all over shadowed by Rooney Mara's portrayal of Lisbeth Salander. Mara is just amazing to watch as she tries to glide through the first half of the film completely anti-social and afraid of everyone. It is during this time you find out much about Salander and the lengths she will go to if someone hurts her. But it is during the final couple of minutes that shine the best for Mara and her character Salander, as it shows just how close she has become to someone only to be heartbroken at the end for what is probably the first person she truly ever loved. It was kinda odd watching Daniel Graig as Mikael Blomkvist. The reason why I say this is because I got used to seeing Craig as a tough guy that rarely shows fear and always has a backup plan in mind. Yet as Blomkvist, Craig is vulnerable and unsure of what to do and is lost for half the film. Unlike other characters Craig has played Blomkvist is human, and has all the human flaws which puts Craig on a different acting level than he was ever on.
I just have to say that this was one rough movie in spots. Not that the story was bad or the acting, just scenes in general and what was going on during the movie. The film doesn't pull any punches during these scenes and it gets hard to watch at two points. One of those scenes being the rape of Lisbeth Salander, could have done with some trimming as it was just hard to watch considering what all was going on. Other than that every scene had something going on, even the slower parts with no talking in them, they were used to show how the characters functioned. The way they think. It's been a while since I've seen a really good thriller and mystery film and this one does the job very well. It's not a perfect film, I called the killer halfway through the film, but it is one of the best movies I've seen this year.
Even though it's not a death, it is is Salander's revenge on her State appointed guardian Nils Bjurman.
Soon you'll know us all too well, with my apologies.
The movie was shot in Sweden during one of the coldest winters in over 20 years.
The piercings (including multiple ear, eyebrow, and nipple piercings) that Rooney Mara sports as Lisbeth Salander are real, not cosmetic simulations. Mara got the piercings in a series of sessions in Brooklyn and Sweden.
Some actress that were rejected for the role of Lisbeth Salander include Natalie Portman who declined due to exhaustion, Scarlett Johansson but was considered to sexy, and Jennifer Lawrence who was turned down due to being to tall. Other actresses include Emma Watson, Ellen Page, and Katie Jarvis.
Daniel Craig originally turned down the role of Mikael Blomkvist due to possible conflicts with Skyfall, the next James Bond movie. After Skyfall's production was put on hold, Craig retook the role.
The American version of the film is named one of the Top 10 movies of the year by the American Film Institute, and has been nominated for multiple awards including Best Actress and Best Director.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
After seeing the teaser in two different forms on line (both crappy) I and everyone else can enjoy in the joy that is this clean and crisp teaser trailer for Prometheus finally!
I think I've watched this at least 10 times already!
I'll be back later on this week, with a review for Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Till then.........
Saturday, December 17, 2011
MUTANT LAND (2010)
Directed by Phil Tippett
William Elder-Groebe - (Voice)
As the sun goes down in the dark and terrifying Mutantland, hunters are lured into a forbidden zone in their quest for food only to find themselves candidates for the main course.
I know it's been a while since I last did a review, and for those that have sent me links for movies to review I apologize for not getting to them sooner. Well as you can tell I'm back and I'm getting back to it watching good, bad, and terrible movies. The good thing is is that I'm still not going to be nice if a movie sucks. But, if a movie is good I will sing it's praises. A great movie to me is one that makes me feel something, whether it be sadness, complete shock, or just makes me laugh till I cry (comidies for me are the hardest to watch sometimes due to me growing up in the 80's). So for my first foray back it's a animated short film.
I always had a soft spot for animation in general. From classic Bugs Bunny to old Mickey Mouse (not the new crap Disney calls cartoons that have no soul or fun in it.) One of the best things about those old cartoons is that the setting is simple and you knew right away what it was or where it was without really knowing. Mutant Land has that going for it in spades as the story, while simple, speaks volumes. There is only two lines of dialogue in the whole four minutes of running time. What is spoken is simple and to the point.
As for the animation itself is very fluid. While the what I can see as humans are hidden under protective gear the true treat of this short are the mutants in all sizes and shapes. From the cute hairless rabbit, to what I can only describe as the mother of all giant mutant rabbits with bad, no scratch that, the worst case of skin problems I've seen. While the short is dark (in tone) and nihilistic, there is something missing from it. While I applaud Mr. Tippett for putting this out, it just leaves you wanting more as you want to see what caused the world in the short to happen and how things got so messed up. And where all those wonderful creatures came from. Mutant Land is a quick and fast watch that sets you in a world that's dirty and scarred and just fun but leaves you kinda empty.
The main course of the last hunter.
Welcome to dinner!
You can watch the short over at Aintitcool.com. Just click the link and you'll be taken there.