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|Index||68 reviews in total|
This movie is incredibly cruel and unrelenting. It plays as a single
feature divided into three sections: "Dumplings", directed by Fruit
Chan of Hong Kong, "Cut" directed by Park Chan-Wook of Korea and "Box"
directed by Miike Takashi of Japan. Each section is like a dissertation
in horror, although "Dumplings" could also be classified as an
All of them are beautifully produced and directed, and I especially found "Box" to be quite lavish in sets, costumes and atmosphere. They each show a lot about the culture of the respective countries they were made in and also provide new takes on the terrifying and the appalling. They are each original in their own right, although "Cut" could be compared to the "Saw" or Hannibal Lecter franchises in that there's a psycho who's trying to get a message across by way of murder and mayhem.
I don't want to give details on the plots of any of them because I think that viewers need to experience them for themselves with no preconceptions going in, but what I can say is that "Dumplings" has the most plot and is probably the one with the highest "squeam" factor, "Cut" covers a rather familiar premise but with lots of fun moments (you'll see) and "Box" is more of an artistic endeavour with not much of a plot, but for some reason I was enthralled and couldn't look away; it's the one I liked the most.
A solid 8 out of 10 for the efforts of these genius Asian directors.
Wow, just went to go see these three shorts last night, which are about 45 mins a piece. I agree that "Cut" was one of the most enjoyable horror experiences I have had since High Tension. Takeshi Miike is probably the biggest name in the Asian horror biz, but I have to say that I miss the style of his earlier work, like Audition and Happiness of the Katakuri's. "Box" was very strange but it leaves little explanation for what has actually occurred, and I wish it delved a little deeper. And oh my! Mr. Fruit Chan, I have never heard of you before last night. "Dumplings" was by far one of the most deranged things I have ever watched. And the sound that was used in this short was was of the most intense, stomach curdling noises that are still sticking with me today. This was a very fun watch, and I am glad I got to see it before it left the theater. My recommendation....don't eat a big meal before you start!!!
The idea of having Chan-wook Park, Takashi Miike and Fruit Chan as part
of the same DVD set is enough to warrant a purchase. This was the sole
reason I watched these three shorts.
While Miike's offering was very enjoyable, and had some interesting scenery and Chan's Dumplngs was also very entertaining, Chan-wook Park stole the show in my opinion.
I now wonder if CUT isn't what SAW should have been.......?
Unfortunately I can't speak on the film too much as I could ruin the story, but if you are a fan of either OLDBOY or Sympathy for Mr Vengeance this short IS A MUST. Chan-wook Park continues to impress me with his creativity, and the camera work in this film was GREAT. There are two directors that I currently find to be very interesting, and I will watch anything they produce. Micheal Haneke is one, Chan-wook Park is another.
I have heard rumours of Sympathy for Ms Vengeance, and I can only hope they are confirmed.
This was an easy purchase.
This is an excellent blend of three horror films that characterize the ideal representation of Asian cinema. Each story is presented with ordinary people displaying qualities of evil and depravity. These directors use powerful cinematic storytelling elements in exploring their genres. This is not an ordinary horror film with a ghost or a slasher/killer with a knife but a combination of people who are capable of psychotic behavior. While all of the films are not perfect and contain some mildly dull aspects, watching all three will leave you intrigued with the art and approach of the horror genre utilized in various countries Asia. If you can hold your stomach through the first film "Dumplings", you will certainly enjoy one of these stories and won't be disappointed. A disturbingly good movie!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This intriguing showcase of three short films from Asia's primary horror directors is, in most, a hit-and-miss affair ranging from the downright shocking to the disappointing. The series, when watched on the R4 DVD, begins with the Hong Kong segment by maverick Fruit Chan. In classic Cat III form, we are dealt intense subject matter and some scenes of extreme perversity in Chan's 33 minute DUMPLINGS, which revolves around a backyard abortionist who has found an elixir of life in the form of eating fetuses. Some of the set pieces in DUMPLINGS are pretty extreme - the abortion scene is one of the sickest scenes to come out of Asia in 2000s and certainly one of the most perverse set pieces to be commercially released for the Western world. Of lesser extremity is South Korea's segment CUT. Directed by Chan Wook Park of OLDBOY fame, this sees a crazed extra hold a director and his wife hostage, simply because the filmmaker is 'too nice' and makes him look bad. CUT is the most conventional of the three and, save for some quintessentially Asian horror moments, plays out like a slick Hollywood thriller with some Hostelesque torture sequences. Finally there is BOX, the segment I was most looking forward to by famed Japanese horror and yakuza director Takashi Miike, renowned for his overly violent genre pieces. The convoluted plot of BOX circulates an author who has been living as a recluse all her life after the untimely death of her sister. This segment is truly terrible and lets the whole trilogy down. It is so boring, so mind numbingly sublime that it makes the final forty minutes spoil the culminated two hours. Not only do the segments play out from most extreme to least but also from best to worst: DUMPLINGS is the most accomplished and is truly disturbing stuff. If you can find this and Park's episodes individually, jump at the chance, for lovers of Asian horror will not be disappointed. But avoid Miike's BOX at all costs because, for me, it spoiled the whole film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
watched "Three... Extremes" last night, and it was insanely good. All
three stories I thought were very thought provoking, and again a little
frustrating. Here's a short review...
Box-Takashi Miike (Japanese Language) This is a nightmarish tale of a woman's horrifying dreams becoming reality, but then again, maybe not. That's the difficulty with this story, there is so much surrealism, that it's hard to tell. I liked the story, some of which was very frightening. The ending however is completely totally bizarre, and it totally left me clueless as to what Miike intended for the viewer to take away from this, if anything. This is the weakest of the three stories, but still very interesting and definitely requires multiple viewings.
Dumplings-Fruit Chan (Chinese Language) This little story is my favorite of the bunch and also very very disturbing and pretty gruesome. Not because of gore or anything like that, but because of the subject matter. It's no secret or spoiler that this movie is about vanity and a women's need to enhance her physical appearance to try and win her husband back from his whoring around. It concerns as most of you know, the grisly meat a former lady abortionist uses to treat her rich clients vanity needs. This movie made me squirm on more than one occasion as the woman chomps down on the dumplings with a wicked crunching sound of tiny bones. This story has a lot of humor but it is very dark and totally black humor. Some may call it totally sick humor, and all would apply in my opinion. The ending is very confusing for me, especially one particular scene and I hope somebody explains it to me. I'm not talking about the grand finale, where the leading lady commits the ultimate gross-out, but the scene with all the blood where some guy has been attacked by a women. This appears to happen at the apartment of Aunt Mei, and then it shows her packing up and leaving. What was that all about? Who was the woman covered in blood, and the guy that was attacked? Anyway, the grand finale as Ching looks directly into the camera and commits what must be THE ultimate sin is flat out creepy as hell. Excellent short story, and now I'm thinking whether I need to see the extended version.
Cut-Chan-wook Park (Korean Language) Now this is one gruesome story, which revolves around a movie director (Lee) and a former extra of his that's gone completely insane and terrorizes the director and his wife at their home. Park's short story touches on adultery, relationships, regret, fame and childhood memories - as well as featuring amputation, torture, child abuse, and a crazy set - as Lee and his kidnapper spar until the shocking (but not altogether satisfying) end. In fact, the ending is the only bad part about this otherwise intriguing story. This is the most graphic of the three stories, and the most brutal. But the twists and turns that happen towards the end, tend to confuse the whole story. Nevertheless, this is a great little horror movie, and now I'm very hyped to watching my new DVD of Park's "Oldboy".
Summary This is one of the most entertaining dvds in the horror genre to come out of Asian for a long time. With three short movies totally over two hours, it makes a great evening of demented entertainment by three exotic filmmakers. The second disc which contains a text portion which explains the plot of each story, and then a "Making Of" extra for all three stories is very good. It's always interesting to see how these directors work and the interviews with the actors is excellent. The other thing I found interesting with this package, is that each movie is in a different language which intrigues me. Since I'm watching so many Asian movies recently, I find the languages of the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese to be so different, but then again similar. This is especially true with "Cut" which has the psycho maniac speaking in a totally different Korean dialect which is almost funny to me being a Westerner, and the other actors speaking in the standard Korean language. Not sure why they did that, but the interview with the actor playing the psycho said he had a very hard time learning and speaking that interesting dialect. I had to watch several parts of each movie over again after I finished the first viewing, because it's pretty hard to figure out what the hell's going on with one viewing. I'll never forget those chilling eyes of Ching in the closing scenes of "Dumplings" and that crunching sound as she enjoys her latest and most extreme serving of dumplings. yum yum........
Three short films that are plenty extreme and if the endings of all three leave us wondering maybe that is good. I did however find the end of Cut more than a little baffling. There again 'unsatisfactory' endings of Eastern films as judged by Westerners is nothing new. All three are beautifully shot with great camera-work and excellent use of colour. I found Miiki's the most perfect if not as much like his usual output as many would like. Park's Cut is a little pedestrian at times but so gloriously over the top and bewildering at others. Dumplings is a little predictable and I am surprised that it is said to still work at 90 minutes as it seems very much a single idea film. It's a good idea though and not without social interest and it has to be said the grossest of the three. The sound of tiny bones being crunched - aagh!! I watched all three on separate occasions, fearing that otherwise they might blur into one another - no fear of that though so I'll watch them again soon, all together. Good effort by all concerned
3 extremes were 3 short stories about extreme situations. Each story has very different qualities and gave the viewer something to enjoy. Not American style, scream queen, psychobabble laden horror films. More intellectual and artistic as the characters are made to look good rather than deviant. Shorts were you can turn off the subtitles and still understand the plot are hard to come by, but these fit the bill. I wish I could speak the languages of the films because the English translation detracted from the emotional content and context. If you like slasher movies and jump out of your seat scary, pass on these. If you like more artistic, intelligent, and subtle horror films, then these shorts are for you. Some blood and minor amounts of gore. A job well done.
All three of these short films are well directed, with gorgeous
cinematography and believable performances. If that's enough for you,
However if you're a "normal" movie viewer who demands something other than atmosphere and pretty shots... ehhhhhhhh.
The first film "Dumplings" is the best. It's manages to be quirky and memorable but still focused and coherent. No small feat. It's also ridiculously disturbing. Some viewers will probably have trouble watching it, but this is not shock-shlock -- "Dumplings" is sickening in an honest, socially relevant way.
The second film "Cut" is terrible. If the post-Ring American horror industry is guilty of mimicking/poaching J-horror, and mostly getting it wrong, then this film is guilty of mimicking American torture-horror (see: Saw) while ineptly poaching Tarantino, and getting it totally wrong. The result is boring and unpleasant, and the obnoxious ending made me want to fast-forward.
The third film "Box" is right in the middle. It's very pretty and very spooky. So pretty and so spooky that you will almost certainly forgive the nonsense-plot and the ultra-super-nonsense ending. I found it unsettling and creepy and entertaining, despite being totally incomprehensible.
Despite the obvious art-house appeal of "Three Extremes," the whole experience is only OK.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I guess the best thing that this trilogy has going for it is that each
piece is somewhat open-ended, with no neat resolution for any of the
parts. So, there is definitely room for interpretation and some of
these images will certainly linger.
Most perplexing for me was the second selection, "Cut." Actually, I have done a search all over the web and I have found no one else mentioning the significance of a female passenger who, in a single shot, is riding with the director on his way home from the studio, only to disappear as he arrives home and never to be brought up again. I mention this because it would suggest that the entire sequence is either a dream, or hallucinatory. I keep looking back at the sequence and wondering if it is his wife...and if she is dead. It is very hard to tell. But someone is definitely there. The final scene setting is actually too contrived to be real (having the blender both at home and on the set, and the way the wife and characters are suspended, for example). I do not see how an extra would have the craft and expertise to set up the studio a la "Saw." It certainly is gruesome.
Sorry, but episode 1, "DUmplings," was just plain revolting. I had won ton soup for dinner tonight, and fortunately the won tons did not crunch. I will say this, the concept of cannibalism has never been made to look so tasty. I mean, the food preparation scenes reminded me a bit of "Eat Drink, Man, Woman," until you learn that is what is being served. That is perverse enough in its own rite.
I liked the last segment, "Box," the best and the end would have been more satisfying if the present-day scenes before it would have been more honest. While the twist was nice, nothing would lead one to believe that there was a true sister act at play all through the movie. Still, I did love the atmosphere of the piece.
Normally, I would rate this trilogy higher, as it is certainly well-made. But, as I wrote, they all seemed flawed. More like ideas-in-progress than finished pieces. Then again, maybe that was the point.
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