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[popcorn] Some take offence, men with horses, ancestry, wealth, / Who don�t take kindly to, or grace with a crown, / What the buyer of roasted nuts and chickpeas approves. ~ Horace via A. S. Kline
King Arthur meets William Gibson?
In summary: a woman in a cyberpunk future plays an illegal - and potentially deadly - MMORPG to get cash in real life. She's lost a partner already - you die in the game, your brain crashes. Since she's so good at it, she finds out there's a level beyond the hardest, and must chase another man into it at the moderators' request.
It's an Oshii film, so you know there's the obligatory basset hound in it. I think the sepia monochrome of "reality prime" was inspired by the black and white outside of the zone in Tarkovsky's STALKER. The game itself will satisfy gamers more than Cronenberg's take on it from a few years back - this looks and feels like an actual hybrid between first person shooter war games and role playing games that exist. Helicopters, soldiers, and what looks like an HK from TERMINATOR against thieves, bishops, and what have you.
*minor spoiler* You know it's not often that mise en abyme works in a film; I think it works here better than it does in EXISTENZ. *end minor spoiler* I found it satisfying; it has a slow build that creates mood, atmosphere, and a sense of space to it. If the MATRIX kind of dissolved into a comic book by the end of itself, you could say this takes itself a bit seriously, but not to too great a fault.
Oh, no, he gave it a ten ...
Sui generis. Folks, I'm not going to lie to you; Merhige is a one or two hit wonder, but what a film (it almost excuses SUSPECT ZERO). I'm also not going to pretend to understand it completely; half of what makes it what it is is trying to second guess what the hell they are doing on the screen because of the chiaroscuro.
Richard Corliss says, "It is as if a druidical cult had re-enacted, for real, three Bible stories -- creation, the Nativity and Jesus' torture and death on Golgotha." That's not a bad description, but there seems to be more to it than the seemingly one-to-one religious correspondences.
There's an environmental theme right up near the surface -- note that toward the end (after the barrenness of the landscape) there are large pipes not unlike those on a construction site. Oh no, he's going to say look at how people are raping mother nature. One rarely sees a dead metaphor in action, and with this much hyperbole, but to see it acted out is way grislier than language implies.
And yeah, if you just want something to sync with a death metal soundtrack, it does have the requisite atrocities. But as for myself and others like me, it's an important art film that should merit a Criterion collection release. Ranks right up there with Murnau's FAUST.
Oh, come on!
2.5 out of 10? Really? It's not that bad for what I'd like to call - along with ELIMINATORS - a proto-video game movie. Say you're working at your standard schlock factory - i.e. Empire Pictures - and you and six of your other director friends do a semi-anthology piece for fun together. You end up with this ....
Think DRAGON'S LAIR with a Clark Kentish nerd in Subzero's ninja get-up from MORTAL KOMBAT, only instead of a dragon there's Bull Shannon from NIGHT COURT as the villain. When you're done laughing, crack open your beer. Now here's the punchline: you can watch it with your kids. No boobs, no blood. When you're done doing a spit take, wipe your mouth, and give it a shot.
Vintage essence of 1980s in a bottle, stop-motion courtesy of Dave Allen - of LASERBLAST infamy, and a Charles Band soundtrack.
Dog Bitten, film at 11
Granted, I saw a cut version of the film, but gang rapes aside - this is what NATURAL BORN KILLERS should have been with a fraction of the budget. The THIS IS SPINAL TAP of spree killer films has the kind of black humor we internet-jaded people have come to know and love, but here's the twist - it was made in 1992! Way ahead of the curve on cultural morbidity.
Yes, Ben's a bastard - and a wee bit daft considering he calls the Italians "small time." But you have to bear in mind that literature and art aren't always mimetic. Only an idiot would view these as imitable acts - this is an escapist substitute to reality, not unlike your GRAND THEFT AUTOs and such. That's not to say it's completely amoral, because there are always bigger bastards out there to make a small fry out of any so-called bad-ass - *spoiler* THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT totally stole the ending from this. *end spoiler*
So, bite your tongue on the moral criticism, sit back, and watch the poet manqué cum sociopath do his stuff. Save the real outrage for when something like this actually happens. And it's Belgian too, so you can brag you saw a film with subtitles and act cultured.
For a good bad time
Yes, we know it's a bad movie. It's a film called Necropolis that doesn't focus on a graveyard!
However, how many films have a six-breasted witch wet-nursing zombies with ectoplasm? This mid-range b-movie clunker's good for providing a mild chuckle or two, particularly for the "satanic" interpretive dance numbers.
This is nowhere near as painful as TROLL 2 or MANOS, not that that should be a recommendation. Once upon a time, people - read teenagers - used to rent low-grade horror for the t&a and softcore sex.
As cheese it's quite piquant, but I wouldn't call it the stinkiest of cheese, we're talking mediocre awful at best. For film masochists like myself, it's just barely a diversion that you'll probably forget most of after the second beer.
Happy Tree Friends (1999)
Oh, yes, there will be blood.
It's like "Shirt Tales" and "The Get-Along Gang" had a knife fight that turned into a blood orgy. It's great!
Think what The Simpson's Itchy & Scratchy could do without a censor using pastel colored cuddlies in the tradition of Hello Kitty. It's like a 2-D animation version of "Meet the Feebles" without any of that pesky dialog.
Heads roll, eyes gouge, blood for ketchup, combat flashbacks, and each episode resets so they don't get rid of any of the cast. Four stars.
Check it out.