Thursday, March 25, 2010


District 9 (2009): If it was ever needed, this is proof that a maximalist aesthetic can work perfectly when in service of the right material. Obviously, you can have social commentary, an unsympathetic protagonist, Hollywood sentimentality, bloody shoot-outs, moral ambiguity and a finale with a big damn mech on Hollywood money, and you can make it good, if you just try hard enough.

Stuff like Avatar is just not on the same level, even as pure spectacle.


Rocktober Blood (1984): While it starts out with ten minutes of everything loveable about the 80s Hair Metal Slasher sub-genre (perverse hair, terrible music, cheesy dialogue, cheesy everything else), this movie credited to a group of inbred cannibals calling themselves (excuse their grammar) "the Sebastian's" crawls to a halt for the next hour only to awaken again for the mandatory "massacre on stage". While I'm all for poking people to death with a microphone stand and death by guitar, even this theoretical highpoint of the cinematic art is destroyed by slow, slow, slow pacing. I'd recommend reading a book (about METAL!, of course) while watching this. That way, you can still enjoy the better parts of the film while not nodding off during the idle hour.


Beach of the War Gods (1973): Wang Yu writes, directs, stars and really really hates the Japanese. What a surprise.

Our "hero" and a bunch of under-characterized "patriots" protect a Chinese town against Japanese pirates. More than half of the film - as it seems the only half Wang Yu as director and writer cared about - consists of a pro-longed battle inside the town walls. The battle is stylishly shot (and ironically heavily influenced by Japanese Chambara) and brutal, but isn't as involving as it should be. Turns out that I need to be vaguely interested in characters to care if they live or die, and that Wang Yu isn't at all interested in building at least stock characters.

I prefer Wang Yu when he's either kept in check by the Shaw Brothers production machine or utterly insane. Beach is neither here or there.



Keith said...

Ahh Beach of the War Gods, in which JWY expresses his hatred for the Japanese by remaking 7 Samurai, with himself standing n for all seven samurai.

houseinrlyeh said...

I suspect he wants to tell us that he is as potent as seven Japanese men together.