Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three Films Make A Post: She became the Ravaged Victim of a Century of Revenge!

Instant Numa (2009): Needs a lot of time to get going, but once it does, this comedy is often quite funny in a good-natured and very Japanese way, though the film's positivity/start-believin' mongering can become a bit annoying. With a running time of 120 minutes, the film is also way too long for its own good. Cut down to 90 or 100 minutes, I'd call it an excellent comedy, as it stands it's just good.

Survivors of director Satoshi Miki's earlier The Insects Unlisted In The Encyclopedia will probably be delighted to hear that there are only one and a half excretion-based jokes, one of 'em even kind of funny.


Turtles Swim Faster Than Expected (2005): This earlier movie by Satoshi about a terminally bored and lonely housewife who escapes her boredom by joining an absurdist spy ring that needs her to live as normal and boring as possible is shorter and more to the point than Instant Numa (and also only contains one excrement joke). A quietly charming Juri Ueno wins me over to a film whose quietly weird humour and good natured mocking of its characters (which seems to be Satoshi's thing outside of Insects) probably would not even have needed her help in that.


Searching For Haizmann (2003): A documentary film crew goes on the search for a centuries old painter who has after a pact with the devil become the Anti-Christ (who knew that adoption is enough in a case like this!), all the while torturing the helpless audience with bad acting of the type that fits the mockumentary format the least, the brightest lighting you'll ever find in a horror film, a painfully stupid and unimaginative script whose conception of evil is on the level of a Scooby Doo cartoon and the worst damn black mass I've ever had the bad luck to see in a movie, while a bunch of down-on-their-luck character actors (poor Tippi Hedren!) pretend to be experts on occultism in intercut interview bits.

On paper this is not even contemporary US independent horror at its worst, but I think the slight competence on display in aspects like editing, framing or audio make the film an even less pleasant experience than your typical rough backyard production is. Those films can at least surprise me (even if it is only through especially painful incompetence). Searching's only surprise is that it reminded my of the old Sonic Youth song "Satan is Boring".

I'd suggest that even my most hardened readers avoid this thing.



Keith said...

I've been wanting to see "Turtles..." Hopefully it'll pop up on DVD here in the Us before too much longer.

Denis said...

Else, "Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers", the UK DVD version, is probably your easiest bet.