Monday, November 7, 2011
FLICKS OF THE WEEK: October 23-29, October 30 - November 5
OCTOBER 23RD - OCTOBER 29TH
The film is a whole hell of a lot of fun, blending a plethora of elements from horror films, science fiction films, and kid adventure films from the 80's like The Goonies, The Monster Squad, and The Lost Boys. The direction for the film was spellbinding, crafting some pretty original moments and hair raising scenes. The mixture of comedy and horror was wonderful, and it was given a sense of reality by the young cast of actors. Nick Frost even gives a fun little running cameo throughout the film, that showcases his unique comedic style. The film was just great fun overall and I'm glad that I hesitated on reading up on the film before I watched it. It was a great surprise and deserves the hype that it has been getting.
Chris Evans does a remarkable job as the titular hero, both as Steve Rogers and as Captain America himself. He really gives a great deal of depth to the character and balances both versions of the man with great equality. Director Joe Johnston gives us a film that hits all the right notes by establishing a movie that is as fun as it is intriguing. The time period and various locations are exquisitely realized and the main villain, the Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving, is as mesmerizing as he is pure evil. The film is just a down and out thrill ride, filled with some amazingly action filled moments and some somber and heartfelt connections between the characters. Loved it!
This was my first introduction into the Jerry Cotton crime fighting world, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Often people have compared Cotton's films to the espionage-filled realms of the Eurospy films and I'd have to agree to a certain extent that they seem like distant cousins. While the Jerry Cotton films lack the globe trotting elements found in most Eurospy films, there is a certain quality to the movie that is undeniably Eurospy-esque. The girls, the guns, and the charismatic lead are all there and the amount of fun that I had watching the film was equal to the majority of Eurospy flicks that have entered my collection. Can't wait to delve into the two other entries that I was able to pick up with this one. Bring them on!
Tuvalu is a fantastic and inspiring coming of age film that sets itself in a world that can only be imagined within the fanciful confines of the screen. This sepia infused fairy tale comes from Germany, boasting some of the most imaginative locations and characters to ever grace the cinemas wacky and wild stage. The film follows the trials and tribulations of a strange man-child named Anton, who aids his blind father and languished mother in running their broken and battered bathhouse. The normally hidden and naive Anton, one day unexpectedly meets a beautiful young girl named Eva on a random visit to the bathhouses with her father. Anton is infatuated with her and strangely enough, she seems to feel the same way. That is until her father meets an untimely death by a blow to the head from falling debris, thanks to the decrepit bathhouse's decaying roof and the help of a sinister assailant. With the affections of Eva now turning to hatred, Anton must also contend with the bathhouse being placed under investigation, spurred by a greedy landowner and his desires to bulldoze the building for more lucrative real estate. Can Anton save the bathhouse and win back Eva's heart? The answer to that question is yes, but it happens in such a way that you'd never expect, projecting this movie into such weird realms that most imaginative minds could never fathom.
This movie is a treat. It's a lost gem that begs to be discovered. The cinematic world that director Veit Helmer has created in this film is just ritualistically odd and refreshingly original. The heart and soul of the movie is its characters, especially that of Anton and Eva played by Denis Lavant and Chulpan Khamatova. The two have a spark about them that really ignites the world to life, particularly Chulpan. I've come across a number of her films on my cinematic journeys and every single one of them has been a masterpiece of cinematic wonders. Much like her roles in Luna Papa, Strana glukhikh, and The Sword Bearer, she exudes a presence that is unlike any actress that I've come across. She's vulnerable, quiet, and quaint, but fierce and wholly capable of carrying a film and Tuvalu is no exception. She takes on the role of Eva with force and makes her lovable and hypnotizing. The film in general is hypnotizing, never placating the raw and artistic nature of the cinematic realm that is has created. It's a feast for the eyes and really should be seen.
OCTOBER 30TH - NOVEMBER 5TH
The production value on this strange film is actually quite brilliant, blending oddball animations, with flat two dimensional backdrops and silhouetted actors, there really isn't anything like this movie. Its unusual style lends a great deal to the film's originality and placement within the cinemas many varying entries. It's a bewitching experience to say the least, and you'll not soon forget your marvelous trip through the wacky adventurous life of Baron Munchausen. I don't think I can fully describe the outrageous nature of this film, so I'm just going to leave it at that. You must see this film for yourself, because it is rather special.
This tense virtual thriller is not an action packed epic, but it delivers a story that is down-right compelling and extremely mysterious. The allure of the virtual world is as intriguing to the main character of Gaspard as it is to the viewer, pulling us both into this digital realm by the reigns of this alluring woman who seems surrounded by death. The mystery of who she is and what she is all about, tugs at the viewer allowing us to partake in Gaspard's quest. I loved the parallels that the film sets up, comparing the unknown intentions of the internet avatars to the intentions of the cast of the real world. The dangers and consequences hit the viewer hard and in the closing moments of the film, we see the extent of the damage it has taken on Gaspard's life. The film is a little unknown at the present, but hopefully more people will come to find this honorable and twisted gem. I dug it and I think you might too.
This film, like all Godzilla Toho Productions, is enjoyable to say the least. The story is a bit sentimental, with the human characters having to overcome their tragic pasts in order to realize their worth, but it's sprinkled enough over the entire breadth of the film that it doesn't take away from the main event of Goliath against Goliath, and what a show that is. The two combatants go at it with harsh aggression and there is a great deal of destruction to be seen in these climactic battles. The miniature work is good and it's blended with some nice digital effects that don't seem as cheesy as one would expect. If you're looking for a fun time and you're in the mood for some good old fashion monster destruction, then look no further then Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla. You're in for one hell of a time.
The concept is exciting, but the eventual demise of some of the campers leaves much to be desired. First off, the actions of some of these characters are downright stupid. I know that this is a staple of the genre, but if someone is still holding a flame for his significant other, even when that person is attacking them with razor sharp teeth and blood all over their body, then you have to say wake the fuck up man! With that said, the film does have some good elements to it like the creepiness of the location and the special effects. With a better fleshed out story and a cast of sensible characters, the film could be something of a genre favorite. Still, it isn't really all that bad, just could have been so much better.
The Spy Who Loved Flowers is an Umberto Lenzi directed Eurospy that is as fun as its title is ridiculous. The film follows secret agent Martin Stevens, played by Roger Browne, as he cleans up some loose ends from his previous mission. Stevens is ordered to hunt down three important persons that were linked to his past assignment, assassinating them at any cost. What turns out to be a routine cleanup mission, turns into a thrilling game, filled with twists and turns, revealing some surprising revelations for super spy Martin Stevens. As previously stated, the film is so much fun. Roger Browne nails the role of the charismatic mans man, as he woos the ladies and takes out the bad guys, sometimes mixing it up a bit and taking down some double crossing women.
The film takes place in a number of locations, from Paris to Geneva and then finally to the iconic scenery of Athens, Greece. There's some great moments with Stevens, amongst the monolithic ruins of Greece, and Lenzi utilizes these exotic locations to their fullest. The one great thing about Eurospy films, is that they are a living and breathing slideshow of wonderful places during a time that was stylistically unique and ultimately thrilling to view in retrospect. The Spy Who Loved Flowers supports this concept with its beautiful locations, cast, and exciting story. This film may not be one of the best examples of the Eurospy genre, but it definitely holds a memorable place in the interesting catalog of films.