Monthly Archives: December 2014

Tokyo Gore Police

Tokyo Gore Police is absolutely as ludicrous as its name suggests. I have previously criticised films for taking themselves too seriously when they are in fact rather silly. Tokyo Gore Police works for precisely this reason though. The violence is absolutely brilliant, there are more limbs removed in this movie than characters with lines, and it’s all done with such a straight face that it simply becomes sublime. We follow Ruka, a member of Tokyo’s now privatised police force fighting against a new threat, the engineers, criminals who have modified themselves so that when they are injured their wounds re-grow as weapons. It’s just that ridiculous. All the action is intercut with little vignettes and adverts which are overtly satirical, but exceptionally well done, I just can’t commend them enough. As the weapons the engineers grow become more insane Ruka becomes more morose, her dedication to the police becomes something more akin to a personal vendetta and the film begins to stray into slightly more sexualised shocks. It’s like Brookers black mirror, exploring ultimate outcomes of current cultural trends, and I am afraid this means we’re all going to have our hands cut off. Its hyper violent body shock schlock, but as far as I am concerned it is essential family viewing.

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The Objective

Sometimes I feel bad saying that a movie is bad. The effort, money and general willpower it takes to get an actor in front of a rolling camera is simply ridiculous, only too often do we forget the plethora of people behind every scene, making the people on screen look right, making what comes out of their mouths sound right, making them stand in the right place in the world. Moreover, that is just the tip of the iceberg, there is craft services feeding everyone, drivers, pilots, horse wranglers…if the movie has horses, all of these people need to be in exactly the right place at the right time to make films work. What is a shame is that sometimes all that work, all that organisation, all that money goes into something which is let down by giant triangles. The bad dialogue could be forgiven, the creaky plot which is little more than a group of guys wandering around a little bit could be forgiven, even the just tongue bitingly awful voice over saying blindingly obvious things could be forgiven were they not all punctuated with massive see through triangles. Who the hell wants to watch a movie where the ostensibly scary and horrifying radioactive alien/ghost/whatever presence is entirely signalled by giant triangles? Triangles are not scary, even when they are accompanied by stereotypical Afghan ghost music. You know the type, all guys singing about stuff that is probably absolutely nothing to do with giant triangles, like what they had for breakfast this morning or whatever, but just because we can’t understand them it’s supposed to be scary. Sometimes, just sometimes, when I watch movies like this, I don’t feel so bad saying they are bad at all. Stupid triangles.

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There are quite a few films called Cargo, this one is the one that is all about space and terrible futures and all that. What is immediately noticeable is that everyone in the future isn’t American. See, I thought that Americans would be the only race in the future based on the movies, but, you know, I guess there might be some people who are not American. I was personally going to just put on my best Texas yee-haa accent and see if I couldn’t pretend to be American for long enough to survive the apocalypse. Those of you more attuned to sarcasm (stereotypically speaking, those of you who are not American) might have guessed that this is a Swiss made film. As such it has sort of flown under the radar, it doesn’t even have a rating on ubiquitous tomato based websites. It looks far better than anything with a low budget really deserves to, there are a few concessions to its space decay atmosphere, zero gravity is not a thing in space anymore, and quite why a space craft is so wet is anyone’s guess, but there are some really impressive sets and the CGI, the usual big let down with indie flicks, is very pretty indeed. It’s not the most original story, a kind of mash up of gravity with Alien aesthetics and a healthy dose of the Matrix. But none the less, its serious Swiss attitude and general professionalism mean that it is punching well above its weight.

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Madame DuBarry

Madame DuBarry manages to be a far better film about a load dramatic rubbish going on during the French Revolution than my potentially least favourite film ever, Les Miserables. It manages this despite being over ten years long and completely devoid of that other stalwart of films everywhere, dialogue. You read correctly, last night I sat down and watched a nigh on two hour long silent German film about some woman who did some stuff during the French Revolution times. I paused it half way through, to have a break, because honestly, it was pretty tough going, and did a little search on a well known search engine whose name rhymes with shaboodle as to the real Madame. Turns out she had a pretty interesting life fannying around in French high society before getting her noggin chopped off by a guillotine – the fully most French of all execution devices by virtue of it being the only one which sounds remotely romantic if you say it with an accent. There is also something about a necklace but to be honest I was not interested enough to read all of that. What I did work out though was that the film seemed to be playing pretty fast and loose with its source material. This is probably by virtue of it being made bloody ages ago when the mere mention of sexy times was sort of frowned upon in the movies. So it really appears that rather a lot of men want to, shall we say, spend time with Madame DuBarry, just because she is rather good looking and all that, never mind that in reality she was probably more, let’s say less delicately, a high class hooker. Anyway, everyone in the film is a complete dick, the men are, DuBarry herself is something of a douche, the rich people are assholes and the poor people are too. Though the latter have the excuse of being oppressed and all that, so in the films climactic storming of the Bastille scene you really don’t mind too much that there is a pretty graphic depiction of a hanged aristocrat. Given its length, age, lack of sound and general depiction of assholes its actually pretty watchable though, I’d certainly not recommend it over, say, Rambo III, but if you want to trick yourself into thinking you are getting some culture, when you are in reality watching a jumped up romance paperback, minus all the good stuff, and with a revolution tacked on the end, you can do a lot worse. Still, infinitely, absolutely and without contest a thousand and one times better than Les Miserables too.

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The Burbs

Tom Hanks is probably one of my favourite actors. Not only because he is pretty good at doing all that acting business, but also because he seems like a pretty stand up sort of guy. He isn’t into anything weird like some of those celebrities who are so rich they have forgotten what normal is. The Burbs is pretty old school. You can tell by the DVD transfer, which was like watching a VHS tape after it had been dropped in the sink, even then it started with some mumbo about how brilliantly it had been restored, leaving one wondering quite how bad the original was if this was the best they managed. Its a good film though, about strange goings on in, you guessed it, suburbia. Its a sort of quasi comedic rumination on neighbourhood life. It lambasts everyone to some extent, from the teenager whose parents are out of town, to the bored middle aged man who lives alone, and eats as much of his neighbours food as possible. Really, if you want to get philosophical the film is about what it is to be normal, the ending might feel like a bit of a cop out, but the reality of the film, and I suspect, the reality of the real world, is that there is not really any such thing as normal. This is a pretty noble message for a late 80s comedy about the suburbs. But then, it works because its got Tom Hanks in it, and he is a real nice guy don’t you know.

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The Squid and the Whale

Ah the Squid and the Whale, darling of the coming of age family comedy drama circuit. Probably. People seem to like this movie. I am not sure I liked it as much as other people did. It follows a family through a turbulent break up, the children (two boys) find their loyalties split between their very nice, caring, successful mother, and their absolute shit of a father. Really, I can’t see why this is a good storyline. I mean, how much of a shit this guy is, it’s out of this world. He does some things which are just everyday kinds of shit, like he is a crap cook, doesn’t care about the family cat and is a bit of a sleezeball. But then he does some other higher level stuff like being arrogant, pretentious, and unfeeling, the trifecta of doom when twinned with a lack of success, jealousy and cheapness. I mean, this is where the comedy comes from, but I couldn’t get my head around the fact that the film treats the mother, and the son who sides with her in the split-down-the-middle family divide, with the same sense of ambivalence as the shit father and the shit son. It is almost like we are supposed to think that the dysfunction is everyone’s fault, that it’s normal and that everyone can get through it if they just love each other. They can’t, everyone’s lives would be better if the father went and lived in a cave. The film has one stand out performance though from Owen Kline as Frank, the youngest son, whose problems manifest the most obviously, but the most charmingly. If you want to watch a family very quietly and systematically torn apart by one man, this is the movie for you. Did I mention the dad is a squid and the mother is a whale?

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