Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Three Films Make A Post: No Admittance While The Coffin Is Open

The Hurt Locker (2008): When she's on, Kathryn Bigelow is one of the great American directors. This is as perfect as a war movie of the naturalist school gets, without the cloying sentimentality or the downright hypocrisy your typical Hollywood war film breathes. There's a sense of tension and release in the film that would make for a great boy's own adventure war film, but Bigelow (or writer Mark Boal's script) don't go the easy way of ignoring the brokenness of their characters or the chaos and madness of the situation. One could criticize that the film shows nothing of the larger political picture, but its protagonists are so far from that kind of perspective that it would rob The Hurt Locker of its strength to show it.

I'd still very much like to see a film from the Iraqi civilian perspective, but that doesn't make this one any less good.


Takut: Faces of Fear (2008): How Brian Yuzna came to co-produce an Indonesian anthology horror film is anybody's guess (aka I don't want to visit the big horror sites to research it), but I'm quite glad that he did. Takut shoehorns six short films by different directors into a ninety minute runtime, leading to some very bite-sized episodes. Two of them, Show Unit, a hasty bit of suspense directed by Rako Prijanto and The Rescue by Raditya Sidharta, the final fifteen minutes of an ultra generic zombie movie that doesn't exist, are rather bad, but so short that you can cook yourself a cup of tea while they are on and be done with it. Three of the other episodes mix Indonesian mythology with Western horror film tropes and the sense of humor of an EC comic and succeed nicely in various ways. The last and longest part of the film is Dara by "The Mo Brothers", which drops the mythology and shows the trouble a restaurant cook has to go to to slaughter that nice male meat that makes her food so tasty. The vagaries of rebellious technology (damn those cheap chainsaws) and too many suitors unite to make Dara's life supremely difficult.

As far as horror anthologies without depth, but with pretty people, stylistic competence and an unhealthy sense of humor go, Takut makes for a fine time. Just don't expect anything beyond that.


Train of the Dead (2007): A gang of annoying and stupid nursery robbers (no, really, they robbed a nursery) take (for no good reason, of course) an annoying and stupid dirtbiker hostage. With the same genius for idiotic plans, they decide to hide in the freight compartment of a train. But oh noes! The train is full of ghosts! Whatever will happen to the evil people and to our charming dirtbiker? Or to the sad and lonely people accidentally watching this crap?

Broad comedy, even broader acting and an utterly stupid plot unite to drive your heroic blogger (that would be me) to curse this Thai film and all that it stands for - which is to say, stupidity and laziness.

I usually try to find something, anything good to say about every movie I write about, but Train of the Dead has me stumped. At least it's not even ninety minutes long.


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