Archive for April, 2010

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Clash of the Titans

April 30, 2010

I have a couple of reasons for doing this. First, I want to see if I can bash out a short review that doesn’t take too much time and consideration. Secondly, I was forewarned by a good man that this film would be complete bollocks and I gleefully scoffed at this warning and did mock my friend most childishly for making it. Taking the time to write this is my penance, for that man was correct.

I saw Clash of the Titans for free, so that’s something. As part of a special teacher’s day out at my school some of us opted to visit a local cinema on the school’s dime, and that pretty much covers everything positive I have to say about the experience. If we could just jump briefly to an example of quality action cinema, I will allude to a classic line uttered by Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) in the seminal 1980s buddy cop movie, Lethal Weapon.

“I’m getting too old for this shit.”

In Murtaugh’s case, the shit he felt he was getting too old for involved pursuing armed felons and risking his life in all manner of dangerous law enforcement scenarios. In my case, the shit I’m getting too old for is vacuous nonsense movies comprised of little other than a smorgasbord of lifeless CGI set-pieces barely held together by threadbare nonsense plots that are fucking impossible to care about.

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Thirst (박쥐)

April 26, 2010

Released in 2009, Park Chan-wook’s Thirst* scooped a Jury Prize from the Cannes Film Festival and performed well in the Korean box-office. The film was much-anticipated by western audiences, particularly as Park practically represents the hallyu (“Korean wave”) singlehandedly on the strength of his film Oldboy and the reception it enjoyed with film fans in Europe and America. The prospect of the celebrated Korean filmmaker delivering a vampire film therefore generated a great deal of excitement. Upon its general release, however, Thirst ultimately proved divisive with audiences and critics, with some praising Park’s originality and the solid central performances whilst others balked at the overlong running time and awkward tonal shifts. A recurring, and quite valid, criticism was that Thirst came across as a couple of different films rather clumsily cobbled together.

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K-Pop Korner: Shiny Dongs

April 23, 2010

I promised you effete, androgynous fashion victims for the next foray into the Korner, did I not? SHINee are described somewhat dubiously as an R&B boy band that began their illustrious career two years ago. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to say about these squeaky little guys. In lieu of any notable scandal surrounding them all I have is some scant facts. SHINee are said to be fashion icons that have introduced the “Shinee trend” to Korean youth culture. This consists of hi-top sneakers combined with skinny jeans and colourful sweaters. They’ve done the requisite bit of shilling for corporate interests, including local chaebol SK and the international brand Reebok, and were involved in the promotion of what I have to guess is a make-up line for aspiring Korean metrosexuals called Nana-B’s.

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Pynchon Myself

April 21, 2010

There’s been a recent remake re-imagining of the 80s alien invasion TV series V first broadcast late last year (and currently on Korean cable). I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, other than all the cutting-edge CGI in the world won’t top that reveal in the original series when Diana ate the fucking gerbil and thus it will be utterly incapable of shitting me up like that scene did when I was a little ‘un.

However, the reappearance of these reimagined, reptile aliens has prompted a confession from my good self. Years ago I read what I didn’t then-realise was a mere novelization of the original V sci-fi miniseries. I was perhaps 12 years old and I thought I was reading a sci-fi novel called V that was eventually developed into a TV show. Sometime later, in university and studying postmodern writing, I stumbled across some information on the author Thomas Pynchon, acclaimed writer of such novels as Gravity’s Rainbow, The Crying of Lot 49 and a book called V.

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One map. Three villains. Winner takes all.

April 21, 2010

An rather spiffy alternative poster for The Good, The Bad, The Weird developed for western markets.

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Korean Movies You Should Watch Before You Die #6

April 18, 2010

This is a guest post by Nick Mann

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Quick Question: What are the ingredients of an ideal theatre going experience?

Basically you need a great story, charismatic characters, a bit of excitement, something to get your adrenaline pumping or to stimulate your mind… or better yet a bit of both.  At the end of it all hopefully a few of the lines, or a particular shot, or a few bars from the soundtrack linger with you as you leave the theatre and you have something you want to talk to people about.

According to those criteria The Good, The Bad, The Weird definitely makes the grade.

I’ll break it down…

a) “Great Story” As is made clear from the title, this film is in essence a Western.  It takes place in 1930s Manchuria: a largely lawless and brilliantly multicultural frontier where outcasts from all over East Asia coexist at the edge of Japan’s expanding empire. Within this mythical ‘Wild East’ director Kim Ji-woon (also responsible for the atmospheric Tale of Two Sisters) transplants all the symbols and archetypes of the conventional Western in an homage to the genre as a whole and specifically to Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Between The Lines: Face Off

April 13, 2010

This was another project I had aimed to get off the ground way back when all this ungodly gibbering blog madness first began.

Face/Off

Precisely what makes Face/Off so delightfully subversive is the central, though concealed, message of the film that indulgent immorality leads to more happiness for the individual whereas the struggle to live a moral, upstanding life leads to endless misery. Although the audience is eventually placated with a typical Hollywood ending – bad guy defeated, good guy saves his family, etc. the entire film up to that point has been a series of examples as to why it’s completely crap to be that good guy. Read the rest of this entry ?