31 March 2009

Movies - Last Seen

Synecdoche, New York, USA (2008)

Directional debut of Charlie Kaufman, that before this mainly wrote scripts, including Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and more. He continues with his themes and style in this movie too, and it is both good and bad.

Kaufman's scripts are familiar for containing autobiographical elements, his characters are very much part of himself, like his embodiments. They are expressing his emotions and thoughts, their experiences, in a way, are his own.

And in this film, again, he presents his vision of reality in very direct and honest way, it's amazing how he can displays his deep emotional and mental state in series of images, how he manages to let viewers enter his mind and look around, how he creates very unique mood right from the start, and how he is not ashamed to show his most lowest and embarrassing moments. The acting is great and the characters are complex, the film flows through twisted story with touches of fantasy and surrealism, using satire and cynicism in creative way.
As director, Kaufman skilfully plays with cinematic conventions, distorting the sense of time and reality, there are many impressive moments on all levels, the general idea of the movie is really smart.

But, and here comes the bad part, at some point all this becomes very, very tiresome and even annoying. I mean, the movie holds up for more than a half of its time, during which Kaufman successfully manages to slide on the edge between interesting and original to boring and bland. But in last quarter he can no longer keep the balance and falls down, into the abyss of banal and cheap. The film suddenly becomes too heavy, too sentimental, too pretentious. It's all just keeps dragging on and on, becomes even more depressing, slower and over the top allegorical.

By now, after so many scripts, in which he cried and wept about his miserable life, inventing one fucked up character after another, you would think Kaufman will change the phase, that he will grow up a little and his writing will include something beyond the regular content of his meetings with the shrink. But no, he still continues to cry and weep, displaying nothing but annoying self pity and being sentimental wuss.
Ok, Charlie, we get it. Problems of life, fear and inevitability of death, relationships, human nature, pain, sorrow, blah, blah, blah.

Move the fuck on.


Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told, USA (1968)

Low budget B treat, considered classic in its genre. Although there is no gore and only a little violence, the film turns out to be disturbing and twisted.

Directed by cultish Jack Hill, it contains some creepy characters and scenes. And even if it's not very explicit, this is the origins of today's horror.

A well deserved remake is coming next year.


Bolt, USA (2008)

Sweet and harmless animation on the most mediocre level, there is absolutely nothing special about it. Some laughs, some action, some tearful scenes and one moral message for kids. A classic and safe Disney's format.

As opposed to Pixar's animations, Bolt has nothing appealing to mature audience, the movie is painfully childish. And although the movie has its moments, it's very plain and in the end just forgettable.

Kids may like it a lot, because of its hardcore generated "cuteness" and sentimental manipulations. On more professional evaluation, it just cannot compete with serious animation.


Evil Aliens, UK (2005)

Horror comedy that can be fun only for the fans of such entertainment. The creator of this flick was definitely aiming for Peter Jackson's Braindead, whether inspired by or imitating it.
Lots of gore in the form of all kind of fluids, directly displayed intestines and decapitated body parts, separated from their owners by different weapons and also by variety of mechanical tools (including big Combine Harvester - great scene), some nudity, cheap special effects, stereotypical characters, a lot of cursing, occasional funny one-liners, gruesome deaths, you know, the usual content of any arthouse picture.

Entertaining to watch if only for some nice images and total disregard for human life, or any kind of life for that matter.

But as opposed to Braindead, which under the thick layers of gore and shredded organs was holding very clever content, the narrative of Evil Aliens is mostly dumb and even retarded, on the level of fart jokes. But the story is, of course, really not the main concern in such film, which turns out to be entertaining waste of time.


Trailer - Neo Action Double Feature

Very interesting trailers for the Japanese grindhouse double feature. First is Seishirayuri Kishidan: Super Gore Girl, telling a story of bloody and brutal reality in the... catholic girl school, and the second is Goo the Kung-Fusion Boy, about kung fu apprentice, that after the death of his master returns home and enters a high school. I really like how it looks like kung fu flicks from 70's.
The trailers are presented together as single video.

Source: Nippon Cinema

30 March 2009

Interesting Pictures

Lost is having it's best season since the first one, and after three frustrating years the show is really exciting again.
7 episodes left and I can only expect good things.

The picture is a fake Dharma Initiative vintage poster, made by fans, but it looks very interesting and creative.

Source and more Dharma posters: io9

First look at new Martin Scorsese's project Shutter Island. Based on the book, the movie is a mystery thriller with following synopsis:
Set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island.
The movie features bunch of big actors, as appropriate for Scorsese's film, and it is going to be very anticipated this year.

First poster for upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie, directed by Guy Ritchie, is revealed.

A photo from the set of Centurion.

I've posted behind the scenes featurette a few days ago - here.

And the last picture is straight for WTF section. The Jesus light switch has gone horribly wrong and very amusing at the same time.
Not a new picture, but I just found it so I'll post it.

10 Movies With Best Endings - No Spoilers

What is the most important part in the movie? Everyone will have different opinion. Screenwriters, sitting hours in front of the computer screen day after day, know exactly what's most important to them. Directors, with their gaze at the "big picture", know what they need to pay attention to. Moviegoers, Film critics, everyone has something that most important to them to see in the film, TV show or short movie.

For me, it's the ending. No matter how you judge a film, the ending is the last thing that you see, this is the last impression, the closure. Endings has the power to turn the whole thing around. Good movies can be completely ruined by bad endings, on the other hand bad movies can upgrade themselves with great endings. Usually it's the ending that matters the most how you'll remember the film, memorable endings are the sign that the resolution of the film, the closure of the story, was delivered in very effective way, leaving powerful feeling from the watching experience.

So now I'll list number of movies that have great ending, that when the final credits roll on the screen you're still sitting there and staring at the screen, trying to digest what just happened. Since I can't mention them all, here is just 10 of them, and later I'll mention 10 more. So this is again, my objective judgment. The order of the films have no meaning, and I will not describe the ending, of course, no spoilers.


Aguirre: The Wrath of God, 1972

Werner Herzog was really at his peak, as well as his leading star - Klaus Kinski. The movie is actually a metaphor about everything that is sinful in humanity. This is told in the form of a metaphorical journey, that I personally see as interpretation of Dante's Inferno. The ending is absolutely epic.

Brazil, 1985

Terri Gilliam was fiercely fighting to end the film as he wanted. The studio didn't like it for being too dark, so they edited a shorter version of the film, not only changing the end but the whole film (I saw this version and it's really bad). After big battle the studio gave up, and the result is great movie and one of the painful endings in the cinema history.

A Boy and His Dog, 1975

Cult post apocalyptic movie that every sci-fi fan should see. As opposed to somewhat innocent title, this movie is not innocent at all, and deals with some very mature stuff.
The best thing about the ending is, that it takes a few seconds to fully understand what happened. And once you do, a sense of shock and horror overwhelms you, you just cannot apprehend it. The next reaction - hysterical laugh, because there is no other way to deal with this.

The Conversation, 1974

Very unusual film by Coppola, that he did between the first two parts of The Godfather, and indicating his variety as director.
Very quiet film about paranoia and the evasiveness of realty. The ending is a perfect conclusion to the story, leaving the viewer with certain sadness.

Dark Star, 1974

I've already wrote about this film (here) in the review of Carpenter's work, and it's definitely deserves another spotlight.
Amazing ending, very successfully catching the essence of eternity, the vastness of the universe and how insignificant all human problems on Earth really are compared to it. In philosophical sense.

Time of the Gypsies (Dom za vesanje), 1988

Probably the best film by Kusturica, and I've seen most of them. Very grim and rough, with his familiar style of surrealism and magical reality and with superb story. The power of the ending is that it happens on the highest point in the film, both emotionally and story wise. After that point can be only decline, and this is exactly where the movie ends. This mind blowing ending feels like someone hit you on the head with a hammer.

Fireworks (Hana-bi), 1997

Most famous film of Tkeshi "Beat" Kitano, that his works I am planning to cover in "Meet the Director" series of stories later.
The ending is so unexpected and touching, that it leaves the feeling of a bitter emptiness. The movie stays in mind for a long, long time just because of it.

Rabid, 1977

Old "body horror" Cronenberg at his best, probably the first director ever to feature porn star (Marilyn Chambers) in legit film. The ending is very morbid and cynical, like in any good B movie don't expect a happy ending.

Silent Running, 1972

Cult sci-fi about loneliness and desperation in space with metaphorical references. The movie could be just average, but the ending it what upgrades it entirely.
Worth seeing if only to experience the powerful ending.

Raging Bull, 1980

No need to introduce neither Martin Scorsese nor Robert De Niro. The ending is just a final signature, maybe not as remarkable when on its own, but as the end to this masterpiece it's just perfect.

29 March 2009

Update: Anime Trailer - Cat Shit One (2009)

Usually I don't post trailers for Anime series, but this one is so outrageous that I have to post it.
Based on 1998 manga, which was also published in English under name Apocalypse Meow. But as opposed to the original books, describing Vietnam War, this new series will deal with more current military conflicts in middle east. Also the main protagonists, the Rabbits, are not army soldiers, but work for private military organization.

Animated movie - Batman/Superman: World's Finest (1998)

Now this is how real Batman should be like. Not the lousy Dark Knight wuss, this is a real superhero.

First part, out of six, of the animated film from 1998 Batman/Superman Adventures: World's Finest. Enjoy this very cool movie, that can only remind me why I consider animated Bruce Wayne as the best Batman there is.

Look for the following parts inside the player's window once the current episode is over.
Direct links: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Video Clip - Ong Bak 2 (2009)

The movie was already in theaters in Thailand and some other countries in Asia, but it will take some time until the film will arrive to the west for the wide public, beside festival screenings.
For now we have only trailers and video clips, like this one.

The HQ may not work on the first time, try to jiggle it a little and it will work eventually.

28 March 2009

Cool sounds on Tesla Coils

Apparently, Tesla Coil can make sounds like an old synthesizer, and since the amplitude of the voltage can be controlled, the coils could be used to play music. Watch this crazy video to see by yourself.

More similar videos at Gizmodo

Preview, the making of - UP (2009)

This is an interesting video about the creating process of the animated movie UP, as part of Pixar's promotion to get people familiar with the characters and the story.

Source: IGN via FirstShowing

27 March 2009

Preview - on the set of "Centurion" (2009)

Here is the first video from the set of Centurion, directed by unstable director Neil Marshall. And by unstable I mean, that he can direct a very bad movie or a very good one, but it's too early to judge. One thing for sure, Olga Kurylenko, as wild warrior from barbaric tribe, is looking gooooooood.

Short synopsis of the film:

The movie, set during the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 117, details the story of Quintus Dias, sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, who marches north with General Virilus’ legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

First brought to International attention in segment The Vampire, from very decent collection of shorts Paris, je t'aime, Olga Kurylenko managed to skyrocket her career with Hitman, Max Payne and as a Bond girl in Quantum Of Solace. Now, when she is famous enough to get leading roles, she is more relaxed, the acting is getting better and she is not annoying anymore. Besides, she has no problem to pose topless for the cameras and I don't know who can have any problem with that.

26 March 2009

Trailer - Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Prepare to hear a lot about this project. Right now it gathers huge positive buzz all over the place and it's just a beginning.

Based on the children's book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, the movie is directed by one mad and eccentric genius - Spike Jonze, which was responsible before for brilliant Being John Malkovich, even more weird but less interesting Adaptation, and for great amount of unique music videos for famous music icons. Not to mention his big involvement in production of outrageous Jackass , and even active participation in number of their pranks.

Needless to say, that his behavior and outstanding abilities as an artist, helped him to acquire many fans and much appreciation. One thing for sure, the film will be very strange and weird. I predict many happy fans and some Oscar nominations.

The last photo is of Spike Jonze himself on the set.

Trailer - Game (2009)

Completely crazy trailer for the next project of Crank's creators, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor starring Gerard Butler, is available. Right now it's just an Italian trailer for their Game, but I expect more material will appear soon.
The movie is scheduled to be released in September.

25 March 2009

Interesting Pictures

First picture is of steaming hot Megan Fox on the cover of the new Empire magazine. Looking forward for the inside pictures of her.

The second pic looks like the first poster for the highly anticipated film 13, a remake of cult French movie 13 Tzameti, and directed by the same director, Géla Babluani.
The original film was fantastic, top notch thriller, and the expectations from the remake are very high.

Trailer - Psalm 21 (2009)

New horror movie from Sweden, that I found via awesome Quiet Earth, that posted the trailer and short synopsis with it:

Psalm 21 is a thriller about Henrik, a modern young priest living in Stockholm. He has nightmares about his dead mother. One day, he recieves word from the coronary in a remote village, deep in the dark woods of Nothern Sweden: his father, a priest himself, has drowned. The circumstances of the drowning are unexplained.

Henrik drives through the endless forests of Northern Sweden up to the desolate village of his father to investigate the circumstances of his demise. As he learns more about the drowning - and about his father - the door to the unknown cracks open. Shadows from the past emerge from the void. They return to our world with one specific purpose.


Trailer Source: Official Website

24 March 2009

Trailer (new) - Astro Boy (2009)

After having some economical problems and almost shutting down because of it, the animation studio IMAGI got new sponsor and started to work again to complete their projects.

One of these projects, that almost got abandoned half ready, is animated feature film Astro Boy, based on highly popular TV animated series, which started in '60s, and had additional versions in '80s and 2003. Now, when film's future is secure (lets hope so), a new poster and new trailer for the movie are out.

To see the first teaser and images visit official website.

23 March 2009

Movies - Last Seen

Quantum of Solace, USA/UK (2008)

After renewing the Bond franchise with new actor and very decent Casino Royale, that introduced very refreshing approach toward the famous secret agent, the latest 007 film is a two steps back. If only because the story is stupid and painfully unoriginal, using every possible trick available in "clichepedia". Evil and ruthless Generals should already know that when you rape and kill someone's entire family, make sure you killed everyone, because the only child, usually a girl, that you left alive will grow up and will seek revenge. Most secret organizations should learn by now, that discussing plans face to face is much safer than on the phone (or whatever this gadget was) and if you are a main villain in the movie, you better have an evil plan that is actually evil in any way.

The movie is one big mishmash of images and scenes, connected by very bad editing, and it's all sliding very fast on the surface with absolutely no substance to grasp. The result makes a little sense, if any at all, and the movie is simply boring, disappointing and extremely shallow in every aspect. It can hold as simple entertainment, a nice waste of time, but there is really nothing special in it.


Coffy, USA (1973)

Very cool example of cult Blaxploitation, and also the movie that made Pam Grier a big star.
She really shines in this film with powerful presence and great acting, varying her behavior, facial expressions and display of emotions in remarkable way. She is simply controlling the screen, delivering great lines and showing off her impressive physique with occasional frontal nudity.

The rest of the acting ensemble is also doing good job, with weird characters and grotesque faces. The movie is well made, mixing violence with sex, and adding some political and social elements as well.

There are of course some problems too, like not always coherent narrative and the lack of something so outstanding that will prevent from this movie to age. But it's not there and the film ends up as just outdated classic, like a car that you keep for emotional reasons but it will never drive again.

A must see for everyone who like 70's exploitation genres.


Absurdistan, Germany (2008)

Amusing and funny fairytale on the edge of surreal. German director filmed this film in Azerbaijan, with Russian as speaking language, and the result is an allegorical fable with positive message, suitable for any culture or tradition.

The inspirations for Absurdistan are clearly films of Fellini and Kusturica, with the same feeling of magical realism. And although this piece is not in the same league, it is still very pleasant and interesting to watch. Surprisingly good and sweet film that lifts the spirit.


Martyrs, France (2008)

Easily one of most disturbing movies I ever saw.
The movie is mixing number of familiar horror genre elements, including gore and torture, but there is a big difference between this movie and others with similar elements.
As opposed to Hostel, for example, in which the purpose of torture and sadism is pure nihilism, a torture for the sake of torture, a murder just for excitement and fun, Martyrs has completely different reason.

Behind most brutal sadism and conscious will to hurt and humiliate, behind cold and meticulously systematic infliction of inhumane suffering, behind disturbing disregard and lack of any compassion, lies direct, clear and very selfish purpose. A purpose so vicious and stunning in its deliberate cruelty, that the whole movie seems in completely different light once you realize it.
Great acting is absolutely convincing, the unbelievable situation is shocking and makes you cringe, the ending is brilliant. The watching experience of this film is very powerful, this movie goes to places you never thought it can go, showing pain and fear like you never seen it before.

The film is done very well, very professional. Taking very good decisions, director skilfully manipulates with viewer's emotions, depressing images of violence are delivered by him with certain alienation, sometimes even with cold distance, creating emotional void and apathy, which is mixed with viewer's emotional involvement and automatic reactions to what he sees. But director never uses cheap manipulations, never forcing to take certain point of view. This is usually happens when director trying to force specific moral judgment on the viewer, but not in this film.

Martyrs is very memorable and stays in the mind for a long time. People that easily offended, people that don't like to see any kind of pain on the screen or people that just don't like violence, should not see it. It's better not to see it, than see it and miss the whole point.
Together with The Descent, REC and another French horror À l'intérieur (Inside), this film is a perfect example of how European horror is far more superior than American in last years. And while Hollywood studios still releasing stupid and ridiculous slashers with bunch of half naked girls running from the killer with a knife or from some ghost, this is what we get from Europe - smart and intelligent horror that has no limits in it's cruelty, exploring the very nature of what makes us human and creating strong and unforgettable impact. Well done.


Uncensored Preview - Crank 2: High Voltage

A lot of cursing and some nudity in this one.

Here is the Red Band trailer, also uncensored.

Watch two behind the scenes clips: First, and Second

Short Animation - La Trilogie Du Chevalet (2008)

Excellent short animated film, using paintings of Renoir, Seurat and Magritte in very original way.