Friday, May 29, 2009

Atlantic City

When do you know you're dead?

Atlantic City is, in effect, about dead people, and dead cities. They're don't know they're dead, they're still convinced that they can remain relevant and pull themselves up from the dirt and rise, but their day is long gone and they are just flailing around, not admitting that their day has past.

Burt Lancaster plays a creepy old man who stares at Susan Sarandon as she rubs lemon juice into her boobs. Sarandon's loser husband Robert Joy shows up with her sister and a big bundle of cocaine. He makes friends with the creepy old man, and then things begin to go badly.

It's easy to see why Lancaster goes along with the plan. It makes him feel relevant and interesting again, and people care what he thinks and who he does. He has money, he is important, and he can finally get close to Sarandon and her lemony chest. He, in effect, becomes the young man that he longs to be. Around him, Atlantic City gets shiny new casinos, while everything else collapses and decays.

You eventually feel for Lancaster's character. He's clearly too old for the game he wants to play, and the dame he wants to play with. He wants so desperately to be young and cool that he doesn't realize that there are consequences to his actions.

Sarandon's character is interesting, as she keeps surrounding herself with bad characters and criminals. She seems to tolerate them on the promise of them bringing her bigger and better things. Strangely, they do, in an odd, roundabout way, though it's not exactly a way to get ahead.

It's unfortunate that I hate to discuss endings in this thing, because the ending of this rounds it off perfectly. There's a sense that these characters realize where they belong, right before they make a mistake and end up in the wrong place. It all finishes off sensibly, and as the wrecking ball takes down another hotel, there's a sense that as silly as it may seem, Lancaster was right to not give up, there's a place for him yet. At the beginning of the film, he's a dead man in a dead city, he just hasn't realized it yet. At the end, he's reinvigorated, but he's also leaving town, Atlantic City serving as a purgatory before he goes off to Florida.

As a proud resident of Saskatchewan, however, there is one detail that got right up my griddle. Saskatchewan is portrayed as a hellhole that anyone sensible will do stupid things to escape. Also, Moose Jaw is said to be close to Medicine Hat, when it's not even in the same province. Just because they both have silly names!

So it was mean to my home, it's still a good movie. To answer my question, if this movie is anything to go by, people are dead when they choose to stop living and just go through the motions. All of the characters in the movie start out dead, but by the end, those that choose to live take chances, doing things they don't expect and rebuilding themselves. The characters that die, they die because they have come to Atlantic City to make their way, when the only way to live again is to leave.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aguirre, the Wrath of God.

Werner Herzog is the most interesting man in the world.

Take the story of this movie. The shoot was difficult, partly due to his lead actor, Klaus Kinski, being prone to fits of rage and being impossible to work with. So, in order to finish the project, he threatened murder-suicide, just to get a bit of cooperation. So he finished the film, using a stolen camera.

Being, the most interesting man in the world, he then decided to cast Kinski in several more movies, because that's the interesting thing to do.

So, of course, I had to watch this movie. As one might expect, it's pretty interesting.

The film is about a Spanish expedition into the new world. Being from civilization, they figure they can kick ass and strike a fear of god into the native population. On the expedition, are a number of characters, including crazy Klaus Kinski, who wants to be in control of the expedition. Kinski eventually bests the proper leadership of the expedition when he wants to go back home. He rules with violence and an iron fist, with a big fat guy becoming the official leader of the expedition. Of course, it all goes quite badly.

This is the most uncomfortable film I've ever watched, and that's something of a compliment. It's filled with reaction shots and the camera is often positioned - especially during scenes with Kinski - in a very uneasy way. It's subtle, and difficult to describe, but anxiety seeps from every frame.

In that sense, it's likely the most faithful representation of a failed expedition there can be. It's not excitement and explosions and all those other fantastic things, just a sense of unease as everyone knows this mission is going to crap but is too afraid to say anything.

It befits the most interesting man in the world that the movie itself is very interesting. It's not for everyone, perhaps, but I found myself intensely curious where he was going with this, and then fascinated by the whole descent into madness story. I don't know if this was the start of the whole jungle is insanity idea, which Apocalypse Now used to great effect as well, but it's a pretty good idea all around. It is a bit odd, and can be off putting, but it manages to be a little bit amazing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Apt Pupil

Following a movie by a man who can't position a movie, here's one by someone who can.

Apt Pupil is about a kid, played by Brad Renfro, who discovers a Nazi war criminal living right in his back yard. Fascinated by the Nazis and the Holocaust, Renfro decides to get McKellen to tell him all about his Nazi adventures. Of course, Nazi war criminals are a clever bunch, so the plan to have his very own pet Nazi goes quite awry, and between them they manipulate each other, Renfro learning how to properly manipulate people from the old master.

This, like Silence of the Lambs, is something of a psychological horror film. During the narrative, there's really only one body and there's not much in the way of visual gore. The horrors come purely through the script and the acting. McKellen is an absolute genius in here, letting his facial expressions give a nice, subtle indication of the internal workings of his character. You can tell pretty much immediately when he figures out how to manipulate Renfro, but the way he goes about it remains a mystery until the plan is well in action. Renfro isn't McKellen, but he does have a pretty good intense stare that gets a message across.

The film takes the approach of neither showing nor telling but implying. We only hear the gory details of one or two of the Holocaust stories, but they have to be pretty horrific since we see the results of hearing them. Renfro starts by finding them fascinating, and then slowly moves to being ashamed of it as he realizes what's going on. Yet, he's also highly influenced by McKellen's style, and it's suggested he's going to grow up to be an evil rat bastard. The characters are nicely complex, never being completely evil or completely good, though often capable of doing quite inhumane acts.

It's not the best example of the genre, perhaps, but it's a nice character study and does what it aims for quite well. It is, in essence, a good movie, one that isn't quite as interesting as its frankly excessive Wikipedia page would have you believe, but still quite interesting and well worth watching. These are good characters played by good actors in a film made by a good director. So it's good then, and well worth watching.

Also, today is my birthday, so hoorah and hooray!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Star Trek

Previously on Movies at Random:

I have a feeling that Star Trek: The New One will be a lot like [Wrath of Khan], albeit with better special effects and worse camerawork, given the trendiness of shaky cam. Not so much a matter of the story being similar, but the general approach, a little bit of character development and fleshing out of back story, but a lot of space adventure and little fanboy moments.

Having seen it, I nailed it.

So, with our new Star Trek, we've got Eric Bana as a tattooed Romulan from the future who wants revenge on Spock. He's gotten his hands on some something technology, which was meant for good but can destroy planets and conveniently create brand new continuity for the writers to mess around with. Lots of crap blows up and the main characters, Kirk and Spock especially, learn important lessons about themselves. It's almost a template plot, though the details are changed enough to make it somewhat interesting.

Let's start with the good then. Christopher Pine's Kirk captures all of the cocky essence of the Shatner original, Zachary Quinto does a damn good Spock and Karl Urban's McCoy is pretty much spot on. Better still, they've got that elusive chemistry that Shatner, Nimoy and Kelly had, no idea how lightning struck twice there, but it did. The writers had a fairly good handle on the essence of the characters and there was a clear connection between the younger versions and the older ones that everyone knows. For the peripheral characters, Uhura actually has a point for once - even if it's kinda weird - and Simon Pegg is Scotty, and if there's anything the world needs more of, it's Simon Pegg. The story isn't amazing, really, but it does the job and neatly sets up the new and improved universe.

Not that all the casting is perfect. Harold of Harold and Kumar is not a very good actor, and doesn't have more than one facial expression, so his Sulu never goes beyond "hey, it's that guy from Harold and Kumar, what's he doing here?" Chekov gets off much worse, unfortunately, turning into a wacky wussian Wesley Cwusher.

I could complain about Eric Bana's villain not really having much to do or an interesting motivation (or for that matter, a very good name. Nero? Are you kidding me?), but he's more a plot device designed to get Spock and Kirk fighting and doing interesting things, a job he does admirably. I will definitely complain about the stupid, pointless car chase scene, since it adds absolutely nothing to either the story or Kirk's character, introduces a step father who is never mentioned again, and which had the sole purpose of setting up a stupid running joke of Kirk constantly dangling on ledges. There is no reason why it should be in the final cut, apart from probably being expensive to shoot.

Still, I liked how the characters were handled, for the most part. Both Kirk and Spock were very complex and well portrayed, with Spock's attempts to repress his emotions leading to several fantastically written and acted scenes. While Spock often talks about logic, there's clear emotion behind what he does, and a bit of a petty rivalry going between him and Kirk that propels much of the film. It's great.

Note how I specifically mentioned that the scenes were fantastically written and acted. Normally, I would say that the scenes are good, full stop. Here's the problem though, this movie has the worst camerawork and editing I have ever seen, and I have seen Catwoman.

The opening scene is just visual vomit. Chunks of a decent action scene spewed into an indistinct mass where you can barely tell what everything was supposed to be. There's too much lens flare, the camera cuts when it should hold a shot, and swings wildly around when just cutting like a normal person would do. Scenes are shot handheld for no reason other than handheld being fashionable, the camera does crazy moves for no reason period. Shots are frequently badly composed - though at least it's always moving, so you get a wide variety of badly composed frames - and all of the polish and flare is used to try to hide that.

For an example, I'll use a scene where Spock is in front of a selection committee for the Vulcan Science Academy. I also dislike the set design here (why are they all on huge pedestals? That's illogical), but let's focus on the camera work. A competent director would set the scene with a couple of wide shots and film the majority of it with medium shots or close ups, as to not distract from the dialog. Also, they would limit lens flare.

What someone who knew what the hell they were doing would never do under any circumstances is start the scene sideways, swoop the camera up and past the selection board for no obvious reason, and then proceed to film it from weird angles and put massive amounts of lens flare all over the side of the main actor's face when an important moment in the development of his character is established.

I think you can tell what Abrams did.

This camera work is so bad that it took me completely out of the film. I wanted to enjoy the performances and the story, but the "LOOK AT MY STYLISH VISUAL STYLE!!!!" directing approach kept getting in the way. Worse still, since none of the shots are ever composed even remotely well, it looks like he's trying to cover up his visual ineptitude by slathering mediocre shots in effects and lens flare. Even Michael Bay, for all flaws, can compose a decent looking shot.

Since J.J. Abrams will likely return for the next movie, even though judging solely by this he has no clue how to direct an action scene (never watched Lost and never liked Alias, though most episodes of those are directed by other people anyway), I will give him some homework. Since Simon Pegg is on the cast, he can go talk to Edgar Wright, and watch Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. Both of those movies are demonstrations of how to edit well, both for comic effect and to increase the tension and excitement of action. He should also watch Star Trek: First Contact - arguably the last of the good Treks - and make note of how that movie didn't have space battle scenes that were an incomprehensible mess, and learn from that. He should go and watch action movies by directors who knew what they were doing, and didn't rely on a shaky cam like a crutch. Then he should fire his cinematographer, who now that I look him up is the king of films that look like shiny crap.

This movie did its job, really. It generated interest in Trek again, and it introduced a new cast that promises to do interesting things with these old characters. I hope to see another movie by them, and since this is a huge success so far, I likely will. But I'll be even more excited if they get someone who has even the slightest idea what they're doing behind the camera.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Host

Movies at Random is again at random! Hooray!

So, to celebrate, let's have Korean action movie.

Actually, in spite of the at random bit of Movies at Random, the Host is quite timely. With the paranoia about swine flu spreading all over the world, it's only appropriate that the movie that relaunches the random part of this little project deals with, at least in a small part, paranoia about a virus. There's also a big monster which, if you squint, might look like a pig, which people think carry the virus. You would almost think it's about swine flu if it wasn't for the fact that it was made a couple years ago.

At the very beginning of the movie, we're at a US military base, with a doctor who is paranoid about dust. In spite of the protests of his Korean helper, he demands a large amount of toxic chemical be poured down a drain and into a river, because we need an environmental message with our big monster movies. This is a rule, which has gone unchallenged for many a millennium, or at least since Godzilla hit film screens. So human - or specifically, American - short sightedness creates a monster.

So, of course, the Park family - lazy Gang-Du, who is not going to win any father of the year awards, his daughter Hyun-Seo, and his dad, sister and brother, whose names I can't figure out - gets caught in the middle when the eventual monster rises from the depth, terrorizes their snack shack and kidnaps Hyun-Seo. Also, people assume poor Gang-Du has a virus, so he keeps getting taken to the hospital whenever he tries to get out and rescue her. Eventually, the family has to band together and save the day, because neither the governments of South Korea or America can figure out how. Considering how dumb the Park family is, that's saying something.

This is a monster movie in the grand tradition of monster movies that aren't American, because America hasn't had a handle on the genre since King Kong (see, crappy American Godzilla, Cloverfield). There's a monster that is the result of some human flaw, and then people have to fight to save themselves from it. In this case, the film is tilted heavily towards the comedy side of the spectrum, with a lot of slapstick moments and a dash of satire. Americans are portrayed are stubborn fools, and South Korea is mocked because it lets them be that way.

The film is pretty openly a satire of American foreign policy. Apparently the opening scene actually happened, at least according to the internet which is never wrong. But the rest of it is pretty openly mocking America. The way they search for a virus even though there actually isn't one, and the way they take over from Korea when containing the monster by unleashing highly dangerous toxic materials. Americans in this picture are seen as big, stupid idiots who impose themselves on smaller countries because they think they know best.

But if you're not American, or if you are an American that can handle your country being openly mocked, there are some good things here. It's a fast paced action movie, and some of the slapstick moments are quite funny. Sure, the tone can be kindly considered erratic, leaping merrily between serious dramatic moments and wacky slapstick comedy, the most jarring tonal shift happening at a memorial. The ending is a bit of a bummer too, especially considering it's for the most part a crowd pleasing action-comedy.

Still, the monster bits are pretty great, and while it's made entirely of CG the monster itself isn't distractingly out of place, which is a rare achievement. It's fun and can even be a bit scary at times. It's got great stylish cinematography (like every single Korean movie I've ever seen, which is impressive for the country), the acting is mostly good, and as a Canadian I do like America getting taken down a peg. Sorry Americans, it's nothing personal.

I hesitate to call this a great movie though. It's fun, and often clever, but it doesn't flow that well and there are a surprisingly large number of lulls in the action. And there are also those tonal shifts, which are just a bit too random for their own good. The problem is that it's just not quite cohesive enough, about three or four script rewrites until it's properly good. Just being fun isn't enough to be quality.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan

Last time, I may have slightly dismissed Wrath of Khan a great piece of genre fiction, rather than the wonderful and important thing that was the first Star Trek movie. Today, since I'm not going to get my mail key in time, I feel as though I should clarify a little. There is nothing wrong with being a great piece of genre fiction.

After the first ST movie, people had decided they didn't want a 2 and a half hour long meditation on mankind's place in the universe and within trippy special effects made with a wave tank. Their loss, I maintain that movie is a wonderful film. They decided, for whatever reason, they wanted a space movie with spaceships fighting and obvious villains and Ricardo Montalban's frankly ridiculous chest. They also wanted costume designs where you couldn't make out the outline of a penis at any point, which I can agree with. So Nicholas Meyer, who also happened to direct one of the worst movies I have ever seen (Star Trek VI, seriously I can't watch it to the end, I get very angry about midway through) was brought in to direct the finest film about a ridiculous chest battling an overacting old man in space you have ever seen.

To be honest, I own this movie, and while at least part of the reason I bought it was its presence in a bargain bin at Superstore (oh so many stupid things bought in a bargain bin at Superstore) I generally don't take DVD purchases lightly (I say this, and yet it sits RIGHT BESIDE Thunderbirds, which I bought on ebay because I was curious and didn't feel like looking for it at the video store.) I picked it up because it's an enjoyable movie, and whether or not it feels like a big important event, I genuinely liked it.

So, the film is the sequel to a TOS episode I never watched called Space Seed. I have only actually seen the terrible TOS episode where they see Apollo for some reason, and the one with Abe Lincoln in space. These may have been the same episode, but for some reason if I randomly go and watch Star Trek, this is always, ALWAYS the episode playing. TNG has the stupid episode where Patrick Stewart's a little boy, and this has this stupid episode.

Anyway, previously on Star Trek, Ricardo Montalban was banished to a desolate planet because Kirk felt threatened by his manly chest. Since I haven't seen the episode I'll assume that's what happened. Anyway, many years later, there's a crazy plan to make a desolate planet into something lush and green that can bring a major character back to life if they promise to let the actor who plays him direct the next couple of films.

We begin with the Kobiyashi Maru (I bet I misspelled that, though I won't bother looking it up) scenario, a Starfleet test designed to set up the themes and foreshadow some of the events later on in the film. Kirstie Alley is taking the test, and this is ripe time for a Kirstie Alley joke but I won't do that. Anyway, due to the nature of the test, the ship blows up and everybody dies. Only not really since everyone was acting. With all of our relevant themes outlined, we're off to find the rest of the plot.

Luckily, Chekov is on the case, finding planet Deus Ex Machina and its devilishly handsome inhabitants. Turns out they're a race of supermen developed in 1996. I don't remember any supermen in 1996, but I was but a mere 11 years old, so I wasn't keeping up on current events. Turns out things went quite badly for him between that episode I've never seen and this movie, so now he wants revenge against Kirk.

Back to the Enterprise, it's being refitted again after TMP. I think this sequence was intended as a rib at the earlier film, since it borrows several shots while doing things much quicker. Now, the extended sequence works in the first film, and wouldn't work here. The quick pace sets the tone in both. The new quick pace is appropriate for the much quicker movie. And yet, I can't help but think having the enterprise starting in maintenance again is a bit ridiculous. This turns into almost a recurring joke in the series, with the Enterprise needing more updates than a Microsoft operating system.

Speaking of space seed, we also get to meet Kirk's son, who is a bit of an irrational jerk, though I suppose his dad decided he'd much rather run around the galaxy bangin' green chicks over playing catch and doing traditional dad things. Having an illegitimate child tells us a lot more about the character than driving a million ancient cars off of cliffs, giving a bit of an explanation of what he was like as a kid and threading that through to what he's like as an older man.

The sad thing about the movie is that it actually looks worse than the first film. The costumes are better, the set design mostly improved, but the special effects are a bit more obvious, and it suffers from the 80s film stock effect that all 80s movies suffer from. Why did filmmakers think that having stock that had slightly washed out color was a good idea? In a film with a lot of gray sets, it becomes much more obvious, with that slightly muddy color that the 80s suffered mightily from.

Crappy film stock or no, this is a tightly paced space action movie. It has nods to themes of aging, and revenge, but that serves mostly as a frame for a well made science fiction film, centered around a battle of wits between two extremely stubborn characters. It's entertainment, watchable well made entertainment, with the only problems being that it's made in the 80s and nobody knew how to make decent film stock back then. I know I mention it too much, I'll stop when it stops bothering me.

I have a feeling that Star Trek: The New One will be a lot like this, albeit with better special effects and worse camerawork, given the trendiness of shaky cam.Not so much a matter of the story being similar, but the general approach, a little bit of character development and fleshing out of backstory, but a lot of space adventure and little fanboy moments. I am mostly opposed to the idea of a prequel - especially for a supposed reboot - because there's a point where you can't go further forward anymore. Watching this, what else can you possibly do with the characters? We've explored their aging, and through that, many references to their youth. What more is there to know about Kirk? I'll watch it anyway, and I'll probably like it anyway if reviews are to be believed. It would be nice if I could see it, but such is life in a city with a one screen theater.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek, the Motion Picture

The odd/even rule of Star Trek films is rubbish.

I say this because the worst Star Trek film, without question, is Star Trek VI. If you disagree, you are wrong. The problem with that one is that it's an ineptly handled allegory that can't help but constantly point out how allegorical it is. If there was a gigantic flashing screen that said "SEE, THE KLINGONS ARE JUST LIKE RUSSIA IN THE REAL WORLD, DO YOU GET IT???" it would have been more subtle. The shocking twists are less shocking than stupid, frequently undermining characters. It's bad partly because it uses the Trek world as a cheap backdrop, never really understanding the characters in it. It's also bad because the story just doesn't work, and the creative team is really trying too hard to be relevant.

Yeah, the fifth entry was technically worse, but really, at least there's some amusement to be had. That was just bad, full stop.

Otherwise, it doesn't hold up for the rest of the entries as well. There was nothing really wrong with Star Trek 3. Not as good as 2, perhaps, but still a decent movie. The fourth was fun, but it was more of a comedy, and Trek usually fails at comedy, though that one turned out decent at least. The TNG films, apart from First Contact, all suffered from the same problem, that being poor writing by people who were distracted by other things.

But the biggest problem with the odd/even rule is that my favorite Star Trek movie, in fact one of my top 10 movies of all time (for those counting at home, that list includes City of God and Z, perhaps one day I'll mention them all!). And that's the very first Star Trek, the Motion Picture

ST:TMP gets a bad rap. It's accused of being too slow, and of being a regular episode stretched to feature length. The first part is somewhat understandable, as it is a methodically paced movie. I will explain shortly why this is a good thing. The second part is sort of half right. It's a Star Trek film, it should be recognizable as Trek, and it is. But it's far from a regular episode.

The film is about a mysterious energy cloud called V'Ger that's going around destroying crap, and Captain Kirk must overact his way back as the captain of Enterprise in order to stop it from taking out Earth. On the way, he has to learn, with the crew, the purpose of the thing and why it's out to meet earth. The answers surprise him, and possibly you, though not me because I've seen the movie several times.

The movie starts with a star field and a bit of orchestral music. An odd choice, but it lays out the ambition of the project. This movie is going to be more than a film, it's going to be an event, and it's going to be important. Only movies that are events can get away with having an opening like that, something that lets people settle down and prepare to have their minds blown.

It also prepares you for the pacing, which is not fast, and that is good. It's not an action movie, but it's tense, and the pacing underscores that. The extended sequences of passing through the cloud, for example, ratchet up the tension significantly. You don't know what this is, and you're approaching it ever steady. If things went quickly, there wouldn't be any tension.

There's also the extended moments of exploring the outside of the Enterprise. These are there to underscore how important the ship is. At the first moment when the head-on view is seen and the score swells, it's difficult to avoid some emotion, even if this is a ship, it's the main character, and the slow build makes that scene have more of an impact.

People accuse it of being boring, but if that was the case, how is it that when it's playing I cannot look away, and get completely absorbed in the film and the ideas it's trying to present? It's astonishingly immersive, two hours that seem like one.

The other great thing about the movie is that it deals with big ideas, and major parts of all the characters, while just shying away from spelling out what they are. Kirk is a bit of an arrogant ass. That's what makes him a good captain, and what makes him Kirk, but it also causes near disasters and almost destroys the ship. Spock's pursuit of logic eventually leads to a realization about the emptiness of it.

The main thing I like about this movie is how big it seems. This is something that no Star Trek film since has achieved. It uses the screen, and the budget, in order to just seem bigger than any other movie. It tries, and mostly succeeds, to bring up big ideas and important discussions on the nature of humanity. It does what the best Trek episodes do, bringing an opportunity to have discussions about the nature of man, while being mostly positive about humanity.

Yes, there are problems. The costume design is, in a word, unfortunate. It is tight in all the wrong places, leading to the outlines of the male anatomy being quite noticeable. Shatner is on top overacting form. Count the different inflections he uses while saying "Mr. Spock!" in just one scene. Not that any of it matters.

See, this is why I like Trek. Not the action, not the big space explosions, but the attempt to portray big ideas in a space faring concept. Wrath of Khan, the one all the nerds pick, was a great piece of genre fiction. This, however, is more than that. It's an event, an important movie, one that takes itself and its universe seriously. Because of this, it's amazing and easily the best film in the series. If you disagree, I'm sorry.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another Heaven

In my dream of being a filmmaker, one that will likely go unrealized, but whatever, I've always wanted to remake two movies. One was a Chinese film inexplicably named Adventurers. It has nothing to do with adventuring, but it did have some fantastic action sequences I wanted to rip off, or pay homage to, and a twisty story that I wanted to change slightly. The other is this movie, Another Heaven.

Another Heaven is not a good movie, but I remembered distinctly enjoying watching it. I liked how the story starts as a serious police drama and then gets steadily dumber until the characters are battling an abstract concept (abstract concepts, incidentally, look exactly like bad CGI water).

So what is this movie about? Well, there's a murder case involving a man who had his brains cooked into a lovely stew. Then, there are more murder cases where people have their brains eaten. If this sounds like some sort of gourmet zombie, you're sort of right. Eventually, it is revealed that the villain is a hot chick, only it's actually some sort of strange being that can change bodies. This leads to a highly amusing gay kiss sequence. (He kissed you! Shoot him in the balls!) This also eventually leads to the final battle against CG water, and a female character constantly trying to kill herself and having the hero save her, which is much funnier than it really should be, primarily due to how increasingly ridiculous it gets.

In the good corner, there are two cops, one a young guy named Manabu, who has fashionable hair and no personality. The other is a crotchety old cop who seems to be a distant relative of Corey Hart, given his propensity towards nocturnal sunglasses. Manabu has a creepy stalker/girlfriend who fits the 'Manic Pixie Dreamgirl' archetype, and also is there to figure out things way before everyone else for no discernible reason. It's all very stupid, but fun! It also tries to teach a lesson about the horrors of violent entertainment, except it is violent entertainment so it doesn't work.

I don't think I ever thought this would be a traditionally good movie. The plot is too dumb, the characters really aren't terrible interesting, and it just gets steadily more ridiculous as it goes. But the first time I watched it, I enjoyed it so much, I thought it would be simply fun to remake.

Well, I watched it again, and as fun as it is, it's probably too stupid to make into a good movie. The characters are a bit too thin, and the story about the evil that lurks within the heart of men isn't exactly strong. I still like it though, and I appreciate how something so silly got made into a real movie. Bless you, Another Heaven, for being so enjoyably lame.

Friday, May 1, 2009

For various reasons, I forgot to write today's entry. Sorry. I promise to do something for Tuesday, really.