Watchin’ Stuff

Watched this and its sequel on Netflix. They’re certainly interesting experiments in film-making. 26 different directors do their own short horror story for each of the letters of the alphabet. There are a good deal of segments that are merely mediocre, but surprisingly, there are very few that I would call full-on bad. In fact, only one really stood out as truly awful (“P-p-p-p-p is for scary”, which is even worse than that awful title makes it sound). There are enough good segments and enough variety that they manage to be entertaining overall, despite their inconsistency. There’s some reeeeeally strange stories in here too, like a disturbing Indonesian segment about a to-the-death masturbation tournament or a claymation segment about a young child and a killer toilet.

Also on Netflix, Black Road is a near future cyberpunk/Noir story that I have to give SOME credit for trying so hard and doing so many things so well despite having such a blatantly low budget. Ultimately, it doesn’t seem to know how to resolve anything it spends most of its time building up though. There’s this whole weird pseudo-mystical element thrown in there, where the ex-husband, who is the target of the investigation, is some kind of weird cult leader who gets all these people hooked on this weird mind controlling black root, which seems to give him some kind of special powers, but it’s never really explored or explained any further than this. Instead, despite all its valiant efforts to appear otherwise, it never manages to rise above being a very straightforward and cliched detective story, with a boring, too-convenient ending. Oh well.

This was decent. It’s visually amazing, and it’s very impressive that we’ve come so far that a story like this can be done in live action and look almost entirely convincing. I guess I can see why a lot of people are upset about it though. It’s strange and disappointing that they worked so hard to do so many scene-for-scene recreations from the original manga and anime, yet felt the need to dumb down the core plot and the ending by entirely removing A.I. from the story. Where the original was more about accepting the merge with machinekind in order to evolve, this version instead seems to be on the verge of demonizing technology and suggesting that we must uncompromisingly hold on to our humanity at all costs, and does so with a generic, happy Hollywood ending that doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to try to leave things open for sequels (which we’ll never see, because it sold horribly). As a sci-fi action movie in general, it was entertaining enough that I didn’t really think about any of this until afterwards because it was successfully holding my attention, but as an adaptation of a previously existing story, it’s a little depressing in its oddly specifically sanitized nature.

I tell ya, it sure made us want to go watch the original anime again though. In fact, it really got me thinking about all the old anime I used to watch and how I haven’t touched any of that stuff in so many years now, and I think I might have to go on a veritable anime frenzy now. Time to dig up all that old stuff like Bubblegum Crisis, Guyver, Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D and etc!

An 80’s horror about a haunted prison, starring a young Viggo Mortensen, and directed by the semi-controversial and semi-competent action-movie-maker Renny Harlin. It’s pretty goofy and it’s very clear that everyone involved in this production did little to no research on how prisons actually work. It has some decent effects for its time and its not completely awful, but its not particularly memorable either.

The Attorney is a Korean legal drama set in the 80’s that is nowhere near as happy and pleasant as it seems to want you to think it is. It starts off being pretty light and goofy and continues along these lines, while focusing on the main character’s road to success in the legal world and sticks with this for around half of the whole movie before suddenly plunging into a super serious and somewhat dark case involving the arrest and torture of a group of youths who are falsely accused of being communists. These kind of jarring shifts in tone and slow, heavy focus on the development of single characters are pretty typical for Korean films and they can be a bit hard to digest if you’re not used to them, especially if done poorly, but I think it worked pretty well here. It’s a pretty interesting story that will probably leave you simultaneously depressed and inspired.

Sorry to the friend that recommended this to me, but I just couldn’t get into this at all. It makes the recent disappointing American remake of Godzilla look action packed in comparison. I didn’t even finish it, having had enough after the first hour, which was literally made up of about 5 minutes of monster action and 55 minutes of old bureaucrats sitting in various rooms, arguing about what to do about the situation. That’s…not for me.

The last bizarre comedy by Robert Zemeckis before he suddenly turned into “that guy who does all those biopics”. I don’t think I’ve seen this since it came out. It holds up decently. It’s no Back To The Future or Beetlejuice, but it’s decently funny and interesting.