Archive for October, 2011

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Silenced/도가니 (Trailer)

October 28, 2011

Dogani (도가니) is a recently released film that became a big success at the domestic Korean box-office. The title translates as “The Crucible” in English and, although that appeared as the English title initially, it has subsequently been changed to Silenced for international markets, undoubtedly to avoid confusion with Arthur Miller’s famous play of the same name. The film is a screen adaptation of a 2009 novel by Korean author Gong Ji-Young, who wrote her book as a fictionalized account inspired by the actual case of widespread sexual abuse of students at the Inhwa School for deaf children in Gawngju, Korea that took place from 2001 – 2005. The popularity of the film led to a spark of outrage amongst the Korean public who, upon learning of the ridiculously lenient court rulings in the real case, demanded police re-open an investigation and pressure be put on lawmakers to introduce tougher legislation for crimes of sexual assault and abuse. Of the six defendants indicted at Inwha School, two received prison sentences of less than a year, two received probation, and two escaped punishment entirely due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Now, in response to the vehement public feeling on the issue, the National Assembly is to introduce new laws which strengthen measures against those who sexually assault minors and the disabled. It is unfortunate that it took a popular movie to highlight how ineffectively lenient existing Korean law had been in these areas but the speed and determination by which the authorities appear intended to improve sex-crime legislation is a welcome sight.

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Murder Set Pieces

October 27, 2011

A few weeks ago the slight furore surrounding the BBFC refusing a certificate for The Human Centipede II prompted me to look at similar recent decisions by the British censor board. I discovered two other films that had received the same treatment, Grotesque and Murder Set Pieces. In a somewhat ill-advised, defiant attempt to demonstrate that trying to ban these films only ensured that the BBFC indirectly promoted them with undeserved notoriety, I opted to watch both (having never heard of them before) despite suspecting that they were generally poor and devoid of merit. I was proven far more correct in this suspicion than I could ever have hoped, particularly with the former film, but the latter delivered at least a few chuckles before the true rot set in. Accomplishing the unique trick of sounding like a low-budget early 80s film, whilst looking like a low-budget early 90s film, and actually being a low-budget film made in 2004, Murder Set Pieces was written and directed by a man named Nick Palumbo, who previously made a little-known slasher flick called Nutbag in 2000. The film understandably embraced both the prohibitive NC-17 rating it received for its domestic American theatre release (later changed to R for home markets with substantial cuts made) and the outright rejection of classification by the BBFC, with the website and posters boasting taglines such as “banned in the UK” and “the first American NC-17 horror film”. This proud exultation of minor notoriety was probably the best marketing strategy such a film could hope for given that any attention it received was quite undeserved.

In this serial-killer, exploitation, rape-slasher flick we meet The Photographer (Sven Garrett), an unnamed German guy living in Las Vegas who works as a glamour/soft-porn photographer and who gets his kicks sexually torturing and murdering strippers and prostitutes. In his “normal” facade life he has a new girlfriend who in turn has a young daughter suspicious of the ridiculous man in her mother’s life. These characters conveniently disappear for about 45 minutes so the film can busy itself showing naked, whimpering women being violently raped, slashed and dismembered by the silly grunting goon before returning briefly at the end for a formulaic climactic ending (young girl chased around psycho’s house) that appeared to be tacked on as an afterthought of structural necessity. When not rape-choking, stabbing, or chainsawing chicks, The Photographer tends to rant in German (sans subtitles) whilst watching videos of Hitler and inspecting his collection of Nazi memorabilia. He also has an altercation with Tony Todd in a video store and a short scene with an evil mechanic played by Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface).

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There Will Be Turd

October 24, 2011

The live-action, Hollywood remake of Akira will be completely and utterly shite. Of course, this was all but inevitable yet somehow the effluent trickle of horrid details surrounding this proposed cinematic-abortion can still provoke an animal response of snarling hostility amongst fans of the original anime, such as yours truly.

Tetsuo hears about the Hollywood remake

Controversy had already arisen when it emerged some time ago that Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures intended to use an all-American, distinctly non-Asian, cast for the characters of Akira although whilst seemingly maintaining the original character names like Shōtarō Kaneda, Tetsuo Shima, and Colonel Shikishima. This prompted an online campaign, the “Don’t Whitewash Akira” – Virtual Petition, that demonstrated merely that there were at least 20,000 Facebook users that a big Hollywood studio would directly piss all over and still confidently expect decent box-office returns nonetheless. Meanwhile, the list of rumoured actors linked to major roles in the film ranged from the horrifying (Zac Efron) to the downright bizarre (47-year-old Keanu Reeves for the role of Kaneda, a teenage biker still in high school), with Garret Hedlund being the most recent name attached to the project (y’know, because he rode a futuristic bike in Tron Legacy). Rather than the famed original setting of Neo-Tokyo this flick will reportedly now be set in some dystopian future Manhattan. It remains to be seen whether that will entail westernizing the character names, in a film called ‘Akira’ (for fuck’s sake).

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