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Saturday, 14 August 2010

If I Was Your Vampire

8-BIT NOSTALGIA, INCOMPREHENSIBLE FILMS AND PIXAR WINS! This is post #255 for my weekly blog!

okami-01a.jpg picture by hieuyy


I borrowed "Okami" from a friend the other week and am still in the early stages of the video game (haven't quite gotten around to it as much) and from the few hours of gameplay that I have played, I can't believe that I haven't played this game earlier. I had heard of it ages ago before, I just could never find a copy. As you control our furry hero, Amaterasu and guide her throughout Japan, restoring it's beauty with the stroke of your brush, you feel almost enlightened (weird, huh?). Part of this may have to do with the themes of the game BUT it's largely due to the presentation of the game. This game is rather beautiful to look at and is one of those games that really makes full use of the Playstation 2's limitations. "Okami" is like a Japanese painting come to life.


Another game I just recently acquired was the downloadable game, "Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game". The film's in theaters right now but I thought I'd try the game out also because everything I had seen from the game looked pleasantly fun. It was only about $15 on the Playstation Store too so I thought it was worth the purchase, even if I wouldn't like the game. Fortunately enough, it's a very fun game but the one downside is that you HAVE to play with friends. It's a little overwhelming and difficult at times if you're playing on your own. It's also a nice throwback to gaming's past as the game is basically a side-scrolling beat 'em up. And the soundtrack is simply awesome. Fun game to pass the time and I doubt it should take too long to finish.


Speaking of all things Scott Pilgrim, be sure to check out this animated short called "Scott Pilgrim vs the Animation". It covers the events that happened before the actual film and is based on the second book of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels (I think). I think it really gives you an idea of what the feature film will be like and it's pretty kick-ass too.



"The King of Comedy" is a somewhat disturbing observation at celebrity worship and obsession. It's highly effective at examining these themes and features good performances from Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis but the standout in this film is Sandra Bernhard who absolutely knocks the ball right out of the park. This film is a lot different to the Martin Scorsese films I've seen in that it's a black comedy (though some other films of his do contain elements of black comedy) but it's good to see that Scorsese is capable of having a wide range. I think this film fits perfectly as a "Taxi Driver" companion piece - both films are set in New York and have protagonists that are fixated and obsessed with an idea so much that their desires collide with reality. Both films also have an ambiguous ending.


venga hombre, tampoco es pa tanto

M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" is a pretty bad film. It's hard to believe how the same guy who wrote and directed excellent films, "The Sixth Sense" and the often overlooked and underappreciated "Unbreakable" could create a film like this. Never once did I believe Mark Whalberg was a science teacher - it's like as if he was doing an impression of what he thinks all science teachers look or sound like. Zooey Deschanel does nothing in the movie and it seems like she is impervious to the fear of dying as everyone else is running rampant. It's kind of disappointing to see the two leads, both of whom can be solid actors, fail in the way Whalberg and Deschanel have. Then again, perhaps scripting is an issue for these actors as the dialogue can be a quite cringeworthy. The only redeemable aspect are some of the scenes where the people kill themselves, which really sets up the film very well. This premise might have sounded good on paper but it didn't work out all that well. I was aware that this film was bad, beforehand, but I didn't think it'd be that disappointing.


Tommy Wiseau - a visionary.

A lot of people say that this is the worst film ever made and I may have to agree. "The Room" is the worst film I've ever seen. HOWEVER, that isn't to say that I absolutely hated the film. Let's get this out of the way first, if I were to observe this film from a technical film-making standpoint, it is by all means a terrible and inconcievable film - the acting is atrocious, the story is incredibly weak and the characters are so bland and uninteresting. Nothing is particularly spectacular or even noteworthy. However, these faults, no matter how large they are, are what make the film appealing in another way - it's so bad that it's actually good. Random establishing shots of San Francisco; cheesy and horrbile acting; constant use of "Oh hi *person's name"; playing catch with a football in a tiny space for no reason; awkwardly long sex scenes with cheesy slow jams; abandoned subplots and a creepy college kid make this film an absolute laughfest. There were several moments, however, where I could not press on and watch any more because it was really bad but I endured and, to my benefit, found even more gems of comedy and laughter. By all means a bad movie but a really good bad movie at that (if that's even possible).


Rian Johnson's previous film indie hit, "Brick" was a film that really made a big impression me. It was atmospheric, had a great screenplay and featured a performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt that really was captivating. With Johnson's second feature film, "The Brothers Bloom" we have a film that's a radical change from the crime noir style tone of "Brick". While it may be different in tone, the only similarities that both films share are that their characters inhabit a world of their own. "The Brothers Bloom" has some pretty outstanding performances from it's cast of top-notch actors in Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kukuchi (playing a mute role again) and has a comedic and witty tone reminscent to that of a Wes Anderson film (while this comparison might not be one I should use considering that I've yet to watch a Wes Anderson film, I have seen the first ten minutes of most of his films and the openings themselves say enough about his films, I think). The film has a great sense of cinematography, much like "Brick", and the costumes are absolutely essential in enhancing the tone and style of the film. I liked this film quite a lot and despite the sometimes hard to follow plot, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rinko Kikuchi is cute and so damn awesome in this film. For those who HAVE seen "Brick" look out for the cameos from some of that film's cast members. It was really easy to notice Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Norah Zehetner but I had to rewind and backtrack to spot the others.


Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" felt like a British version of "Pulp Fiction" to me (of course without the non-linear timeline). Quentin Tarantino has made a living off of making criminals somewhat likeable and funny characters and Ritchie does the same here with his film. It's a really enjoyable film, I loved the characters, even dastardly Brick Top, the film's primary villain. The story is rather simple, everyone's searching for a priceless diamond (even if they don't know it yet) and it's crazy fun to see how this particular diamond moves around and affects the people who come into contact with it. Brad Pitt's performance as a Pikey named Mickey O'Neil is a real memorable one as are the rest of the cast. The writing is sharp and punchy and honestly had me laughing quite a bit. The film is a bit frentic but my interpretation of that is that it matches the chaotic mess these criminals and shmucks have got themselves into. Solid film and great fun.


The days of the buff 80's action hero with unlimited ammo and corny one-liners are gone but that doesn't stop the Sylvester Stallone's powerhouse "The Expendables". This film is a complete throwback to the 80's action films that made a career of and it's a solid one at that. It's obvious that this film has no intentions of being particularly noteworthy with writing or direction but instead relies on the spectcale and starpower that Stallone Stallone was able to summon. While I would've liked to have seen someone like Jean Claude Van Damme have a role in the film (even if it were a cameo) it is still good with the cast that it has. No one really goes into a film like this expecting Oscar-worthy performances, just a lot of gunfire and explosions and you know what? - that's perfectly fine with me. There are a LOT of great moments and I was never bored at all. Action fanatics can savour every tantalising bit of choreographed action that the crew were able to manipulate and can look fondly as our onscreen heroes do what they do best - blow stuff up with reckless abandon. Did a movie like this need to be made? Probably not. It's not quite the action movie to end all action movies but damn it if it isn't a good thrill-ride. Minor nitpicking issues involve the use of the camera as some scenes were very shaky but they weren't so bad that they deterred my viewing experience.



This is the only piece of news I could be bothered mentioning this week. There's a few others that mattered to me but perhaps not so much to anyone reading (if anyone's reading, lol). "Toy Story 3" has become the highest grossing Pixar film AND the highest grossing animated feature film of all time. Congratulations to Pixar, director Lee Unkrich and everyone involved because it's a good film that deserves a good lot of recognition.

And that brings tihs week to a close. Now I like Batman and I like Darth Vader too but put the two together and you get a really, really strange combo. Kinda cool, kinda creepy.

End post.

1 comment:

  1. THE ROOM IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER. you have to see it at the late night nova screening sessions when you get to throw spoons at the screen.


    and just thought i should note that the word verification for this comment is fachead. yeah, i'm easily amused.