Saturday, January 29, 2011

Three Films Make A Post: You Won't Believe Your Eyes Until He Rips Them From Their Sockets!

Abashiri Ikka: The Movie (2009): This ultra-cheap little film based on an old Go Nagai manga picturing the adventures of a family of goofy yet supremely violent criminals puts its heroes into a state-sponsored city of criminals, where they are brainwashed into amnesia and held back from any violence by practical microchips. But a stress test of the chips and a vengeful old enemy soon enough lead our heroes(?) back on their proper ways of carnage. Not that the film has much of a budget for carnage, but director Teruyoshi Ishii does at least keep things moving at a nice pace, and drives most of his cast into pretty adorable scenery-chewing. A further plus is that lead-acting idol Erica Tonooka is quite adept at "I'll kill you" stares and wears the obligatory school uniform nicely. The latter ability does of course come with the idol job, but the former is not as due for the course as one would hope (see for example - or better not - the first Oneechanbara movie). I was pretty entertained by the whole affair, but my standards are probably a bit lower than those of most people.


Haunted Changi (2010): Andrew Lau does English language POV horror in Singapore. You know the deal: film crew (with Lau playing a director named Andrew Lau) goes to a creepy, supposedly haunted, place, and more or less terrible things happen to them until only their ambiguous footage remains. Haunted Changi features an excellently creepy haunted place with its hospital and does at least two - possibly even three - things differently than most other films in POV style, but suffers from a very slow and just not very interesting beginning. The final twenty minutes are effective enough if you like this sort of thing (as I do) and even manage to give the ghostly presences a fittingly Asian twist. For me, that's enough to recommend a short, cheap film like this.


Skyline (2010): If you want to see a total waste of perfectly excellent bio-technological monster design and really neat CGI effects (so they do exist), then you'll have to see this. The film's script is a potpourri of all clichés from every apocalyptic alien invasion movie you'd care to mention, just minus the (potential) sense of urgency or suspense of the victims it "borrows" from, and with even less of an idea of the way actual human beings react than one has grown used to in its genre. Which is probably for the better, given how indifferent most of the acting here is, except for that of David Zayas, who seems to have decided that all hope is lost for his career anyway, so he might as well try and be as bad as humanly possible; that project is a huge success for him.

Most of the Skyline's script is - frankly - just too stupid and thoughtless to make me want to go into the terrible details. Let's just say that the film hits its lowest point (circa at the centre of the Earth) with an utterly inane ending of the sort even Roland Emmerich would have been ashamed of, and that nothing the film shows ever comes together into a whole, be it emotionally, dramatically or thematically (I wanted to write "intellectually", but that's not a word deserving of this film's company). I guess this is what happens when your movie is written by visual effects people instead of, you know, writers, and one of its executive producers is the abominable Brett Ratner.


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