Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Films Make A Post: DEVILS IN FEMALE BODIES...whose embrace is the kiss of death for man or woman!

Tomie (1999): Before I re-watched this first Tomie movie, I was actually confused why Tomie of all manga has become such a long-lived (if increasingly low budgeted) series of horror films. Having re-watched it, it's pretty clear that the combination of thematic richness - everything from fear of women to fear of closeness to emotional and/or sexual obsession to meditations about the nature of submissiveness and domination can be fruitfully examined through Tomie, outright freakishness (it's based on very early Junji Ito, after all), and the possibility to cast the most attractive actresses one can find, is not something any maker of horror films could pass up. Ataru Oikawa's first film of the series has of course the distinction of being very well made in its own, slow and ambiguous way, of having two excellent lead actresses with Mami Nakamura and Miho Kanno, and of having the sort of sparse, grainy moodiness Japanese horror of that era did so well.

Tomie: Another Face (1999): As if someone was going for a new record in horror franchise degeneration, this second Tomie movie is already a direct to DVD omnibus movie telling three not very interesting stories about everyone's favourite demon girl (or whatever she is) in bland and unimaginative ways. Somehow, director Toshiro Inomata manages to not tap into the rich thematic vein I outlined above, which surely is some sort of achievement, if a negative one. There was obviously no money for effects in the budget, so there's also nothing grotesque to save the day, unless you want to call the horrible quality of the acting grotesque; I just call it low.

The Adventures of Tintin (2011): Now, I don't have much of an emotional connection to the Tintin comics (they're the sort of thing whose influence and art I can appreciate, but just don't resonate with me beyond that appreciation at all), so Spielberg's CG animated version does not provoke deep emotions of "OMG! Steven Spielberg urinated on my childhood!" from me. Having said that, I can't say I enjoyed the film all that much. Despite this being written by three of my favourite Brits in the movie business, Tintin is for long stretches a rather bland PG adventure movie that competently hits all the expected plot beats in the expected manner - in other words, long stretches of the film are pretty boring and lacking character. From time to time, actual wit and charm do make an appearance, but it's not often enough to get excited about.

Add to that a painfully overpowering John Williams score that can't stop telling the audience what to feel for a single second, and the rather charmless CG animation, and you get a film that's certainly not horrible, but does not get much of a reaction from me beyond a shrug. "Meh", as people on the Internet like to say.


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