Saturday, April 20, 2013
The characters in Park Chan-wook's I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK certainly aren't a particularly accurate portrayal of what I imagine most people suffering from real mental illnesses are really like. They are basically an amped up version of the same asylum archetypes we've been seeing since One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and it's clear that the movie itself isn't too concerned with realism in the first place. The movie is surreal, hyper stylized, and not afraid to bend and break the walls between reality and fantasy when appropriate. Our main character literally thinks she's a cyborg, the romantic lead steals people's emotions, and our protagonist's central relationship is with her pickled radish eating grandmother who thinks she's a mouse. This isn't too serious of an examination. And yet, despite it's silliness and it's fantastical nature, I think it gets more to the heart of a lot of mental illness much more successfully then so many serious movies like Rain Man or Silver Linings Playbook. The characters in it don't reflect real life, sure, but so many of the emotions these characters are put through seem more true to life then your typical Hollywood representation.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Most kaiju, or Japanese giant monster movies, face this problem a lot. A lot of movies in the Godzilla franchise, like Godzilla vs. Megalon or Terror of Mechagodzilla, seem to be working backwards, thinking of cool fight scenes then making a plot around how these guys would meet up, usually by aliens or mad scientists, and having a team of spies or police or whatever have to take them down while Godzilla deals with the monster. Because the two concepts are never truly connected in a meaningful way, these movies tend to feel lopsided, and the viewer rightfully doesn't really care what's going on with the humans, but just wants to see some monsters destroy buildings.
I was expecting something like this with War of the Gargantuas, a movie with a history so convoluted it's hard to imagine it being made at all, much less with any sense of competence. The movie is technically a sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World, a remake of Frankenstein that happens to be set in Japan and involves 100 foot monsters, which in turn was a spin off idea of King Kong vs. Godzilla, a movie originally pitched by Kong animator Willis O'Brien as King Kong vs. Frankenstein. But, surprisingly, what I found was a really good, solid monster movie. It's not Citizen Kane, but it's decent for what it is, and strangely enthralling throughout.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I don't know the production back story behind Dark Tower, a movie about a haunted skyscraper that's as dumb as it sounds. I know it stars the always fun Michael Moriarty, no stranger to the bad movie circuit, known for his star turn in Q and the original Troll. I know it was filmed in Spain and as such has several different languages spoken throughout the movie, which is really disorienting. I know it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But, although I don't know the circumstances under which this movie was made, I do know it has a lot of heart to it. It's like a kindergartner's macaroni art project. It's not really good, but it's charming and kind of enjoyable to watch under the influence of a lot of alcohol.