Recently Seen, Part 28 (June 2019)

Discussion in 'Cinema: International' started by divemaster13, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Ha. This might be my own personal blog, as much traffic as this website seems to get.

    It doesn't help that Chrome completely blocks this website as completely untrustworty, and Explorer blocks me three different ways until I can finally get through. In any event, I'll still post my thoughts on various Asian-themed films until I'm completely blocked...

    Enter the Dragon (1973)

    I know, I know. It's an American film, produced by an American studio (Warner), with an American director (Robert Clouse), and starring the American-born Bruce Lee.

    But my God what an amazing display of Lee's screen presence and martial arts skills.

    The movie itself sceams 1970s, with the locales and the styles and Jim Kelly's afro, and the dialect vernacular. Lots of "cool cat" and "that's the scene, man" type dialog. And Lalo Schifren's score is the epitome of 70s soundtrack music.

    But.

    But.

    BUT.

    Once you see Bruce Lee in action, all is forgiven. MY GOD, what a speciman of skill. Has there even been a more toned / honed physical body as Lee's? No, not the Schwazenegger bulk, but 160 pounds of toned coiled sinew just waiting for the excuse to release that energy. I swear, there are scenes in this movie where Lee is so fast you just assume the film has been speeded up. But no. Lee could do that. HE COULD DO THAT. Like a spring coiled upon itself over and over--restrained from release--until POW!, the potential energy is converted to kinetic and if you blinked you just missed it. I ran some scenes at 1/16 speed on my DVD player and still could not believe the speed and strength of Lee.

    If you've heard the legend of the "1-inch punch" and pooh-poohed it...well; I'm a believer. I have no doubt that Lee could have put me through the wall with his "1-inch punch" and, I outweigh him by at least 50 pounds. It's like trying to explain the Grand Canyon verbally. You can say anything you want, but seeing it in person is a completely different universe. A universe where words fail.

    Enter the Dragon also stars John Saxon, who is very good in his role as a DFG with martal arts skills. I've always liked Saxon and seeing him here kicking ass is a treat. Various Chinese cuties here and there augment the viewing experience.

    Sammo Hung has a 60-second cameo, and Jackie Chan is on screen for about 5 seconds.

    4.5 stars
     
    #1 divemaster13, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  2. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    A Fistful of Yen (1977)

    This could very well be the most accurate, on-point, and just plain out-and-out funny parody ever put to film.

    Before Airplane!...before Top Secret!...before The Naked Gun...ZAZ created A Fistful of Yen as the centerpiece spoof of Enter the Dragon in 1977's The Kentucky Fried Movie. Much of that movie is dated and, truthfully, so non-PC that liberal snowflakes would have to find a "safe space" to ptotect themselves from the humor.

    But A Fistful of Yen is 32 minutes of filmmaking spoof genius.

    The funny thing is that I watched A Fistful of Yen at least 6-7 times before ever seeing Enter the Dragon. And laughed, And LAUGHED. And laughed some more until I could hardly breathe. It's that funny. And once you see Enter the Dragon and appreciate how well the parody works? My God. Kudos to ZAZ. Absolutely genius.

    I mean, I watch Enter the Dragon and so many scenes I'm mentally quoting A Fistful of Yen.

    "What was that? This is not a chawaade..."

    "If you don't see anything you like..."

    "We are building a force of extraordinary magniture."

    "Take him to Detroit!" ("No! No! Anything but that! You bastard!...")

    "A toy robot??!!"

    "What. The. Fuck?"

    "AnkhAnkhAnkhAnkh"

    "Who are they?" ... "Lost drunken men who don't know where they are and no longer care."

    "Shit."

    "Water?!! Not water!!"

    There's even a spot-on parody of The Dating Game right in the middle of a martial arts tournament. If that's not ZAZ genius, then the word has no meaning.

    5 stars
     
    #2 divemaster13, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  3. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 4

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    I've never had any problems accessing the site. Could it be ad-blocker software or something like that?

    The Kentucky Fried Movie was a VHS rite of passage back in the day, although I can't remember anything beyond a blurry recollection of a Herschell Gordon Lewis parody being so spot on that it bordered on homage.
     
  4. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I've seen Enter The Dragon but have zero recollection of it.

    I'm quite at a slow pace with the viewings but I'm keepin on. I was about to watch Noriko's Dinner Table taking from your recommendation on the previous month's thread then the plan got swept under the rug and I watched this instead:

    AQUARIUS (2016, BRAZIL)

    Okay, the accolades cannot be taken lightly. I guess the main complaint from the naysayers is its slow pacing (i.e. too long). And knowing how I'm usually the first to complain about long shots, you'll bet your fortune I bailed on this. But I didn't! Clap clap. But yeah, it was a tad long. I just finished it for posterity but no way in hell I'm watching it again (unless I completely forget about it). The plot was simple, the main character was fit for a movie, but its not tailored to the short attention spanned. Ahem.

    I wish I could write a more sensible review but time constraints. Its basically just, to borrow from a review I read from IMDb, a character study of Clara and her zeal to protect her property. 2 hours and 25 minutes could have been cut short to an hour.
     
  5. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    @divemaster13

    I also don't have problems accessing the site.
     
  6. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    I think it must be my home computer, as here at work I don;t seem to have a problem. Specifically, my Chrome browser says the site's security certificate is not valid and won't let me past. Explorer gives me the same message, but will allow my to click through even though it gives me big red warnings not to.

    My guess is that you are thinking of Roger Corman, rather than HGL. There's no splatter-parody in KFM. But there is "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble," which is quite Cormanesque, from his "Naughty Nurses" and "Women in Prison" type films.
     
  7. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 4

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    Blurry is a key descriptor for my recollection, both of KFM and B-grade schlock in general. The image that springs to mind is bare breasted young blondes in a dungeon, being whipped by dwarves. Maybe it was just something I dreamed. Last night.
    :emoji_open_mouth:
     
  8. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 4

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    I watched this a few years back, and thought it was good but not great. I agree that it dragged, but I thought there were some pretty weighty themes swirling around in there somewhere, with the apartment she lived in a metaphor for both her body and soul. The parallel between the cancer and the termites was interesting, and I liked the ending but thought it could have been much more striking and powerful than it was.
     
  9. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Yep! That's Catholic High School Girls in Trouble. :emoji_flushed:
     
  10. ebossert

    ebossert Member: Rank 3

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    Highly Recommended

    John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019) (American Action) – Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin's guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere. As one expects from this franchise, there is a high quantity of high quality action – from shootouts to knife fights to motorcycle chases to hand-to-hand combat. One of the highlights is a lengthy sequence involving some fantastic use of real attack dogs! There’s also a two-vs-one fight against some guys from “The Raid” movies. On the negative side, you can tell that the story and character motivations are becoming more convoluted, and one scene near the end is borderline Looney Tunes, but this is solid action entertainment.

    Recommended

    The New King of Comedy (2019) (Chinese Comedy/Drama) – A young woman who is dreaming and striving to pursue a career in acting despite being an extra and stand-in who is never appreciated. Stephen Chow co-directs this new version of his film from 1999, and it’s just as good (if not better). Most of comedy is actually funny and well-written. The lead actress is charismatic and fun without being obnoxious. This is a legit good movie with a heart.

    Impossibility Defense (2017) (Japanese Thriller) – A detective (Erika Sawajiri) attempts to stop a man with supernatural powers who can control the actions of his victims. Opening half hour is fun to watch, with multiple kills and an interesting premise. There are some fantastic, unpredictable moments early on as well. The script makes the premise intriguing for sure, and the protagonist’s morality is put to the test. The storytelling is episodic to a degree as it shifts to different people who are impacted by this villain. A good one by Koji Shiraishi.

    Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage (aka Bad Police) (2019) (Korean Crime Drama/Thriller) – On the run from an internal affairs agent, a corrupt cop (Sun-kyun Lee) reluctantly teams up with a defiant teenage girl to unravel a conspiracy. Both leads have attitude and clash a lot, but the actors have chemistry and there are some genuinely funny moments to enjoy. At first this seems less intense and violent than this director’s prior films (“No Tears for the Dead”, “The Man from Nowhere”, but there are suspenseful and violent moments and this director is willing to do some things that you may not expect (that helps to give the movie an emotional kick). This has a dramatic core to it. Our protagonist is not a good fighter, so he’s almost always outmatched during scuffles. Good flick.

    Nowhere Girl (2015) (Japanese Drama/Action) – A highschool girl is talented in art, but her school-mates are jealous and the grown-ups see her as a tool for their own devices. Meanwhile, an unseen threat is on the horizon. This is directed by Mamoru Oshii and stars Nana Seino (from Tokyo Tribe). Color scheme is lots of white and some black (they should have just shot it in black-and-white, actually). Much of the film consists of the lead doing art work and sitting around, which has been the most common criticism of the film, but I found it decently engaging. The highlight is the final action scene – which is fantastic and expertly choreographed, with some bloody violence too (truly impressive stuff). (Viewed without subtitles.)

    Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019) (Korean Drama/Horror) – A pastor works to expose suspicious religious groups. He’s hired to look into the cult group Deer Mount. This is glacially paced and it’s tough to understand what the hell is going on for 75% of the runtime, but the final half hour is quite good and interesting. Performances and direction are solid all-around, but you definitely need some patience with this one.

    The Blue Jean Monster (1991) (Chinese Action/Comedy/Horror) – A cop turns into a monster after being brutally murdered in a triad shootout, but resurrected thru supernatural means. This is a CAT III movie that’s also silly. The resurrection scene is hilarious and the humor is wacky, but there is also some action violence and a few “dead body wounds.” This is nutty fun.

    Mirai (2018) (Japanese Anime Drama) – A young boy encounters a magical garden which enables him to travel through time and meet his relatives from different eras, with guidance by his younger sister from the future. This is the kind of cutesy anime that gets exported to the U.S. all the time. Nothing that memorable here, but it’s good enough.

    Not Recommended

    Ghost Squad (2018) (Japanese Comedy/Horror) – After a group of girls get murdered, they come back as ghosts and seek revenge. This was directed by Noboru Iguchi, so it’s no surprise that the humor is over-the-top, silly and demented – but it simply does not work well here. I liked how the ghost/human interaction was established, but the setup is way more interesting than the actual execution. Things get repetitive. Even more disappointing is the violence, which is not as fun as it should be.

    The Boxtrolls (2014) (American Animated Drama) – A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. This has to be one of the ugliest animated films in recent memory. It looks like crap and there’s a lack of color. The story is cliched and does not make up for this. A Laika film.

    Battle of Demons (2015) (Japanese Drama/Romance) – This reminded me of the “Twilight” movies, which is not a good thing. There’s a bunch of exposition to explain stuff, instead of a good script, but it still does a piss poor job of world-building or creating anything interesting. Every single actor looks like they’re from a J-pop group. There are no demons in the film at all, despite the title, because they all stay in human form. There’s one below average fight scene. This movie is really lame, and it apparently spawned two sequels that I will never watch.
     
  11. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)

    This movie made no sense. No sense whatsoever. The DVD said it was distributed my "Manga" productions, so maybe it was a comic book first where you are supposed to know the story. I also didn't see "Tetsuo part I," but most folks reviewing on IMDb say that Tetsuo II is more realistic and coherent than part I, which I find very hard to believe, as Tetsuo II is completely incoherent.

    Some bald-headed minions chase and antagonize a milquetoast family man (and his wife and young son) and then capture him on the behalf of some mad scientist. They start to do something with him and then the baldies kill the scientist and then try to kill the family man for some reason. But now guns keep protruding out of his chest and he shoots people. And screams a lot. And sometimes there's another completely random person (girl?) who shoots with her arm. And the guy's wife sits and watches all this. And screams a lot. I have no idea what happened to the boy.

    The film visuals gave me a headache. It's not "shaky-cam," it's "spastic-cam." And the scenes that are not spazzing all over the place are so dark it's hard to see. And the director filmed everything through a green gauze over the camera lens.

    I think the Japanese have a fetish about body parts turning into weapons. Not my thing. I didn't find the movie disgusting or offensive or even disturbing, other than a complete waste of time.

    0.5 stars
     
  12. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Yeah, good movie. I really like this series.
     
  13. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Okay I'm back from the woods for a bit. And oddly enough I just watched the first John Wick Flick. It was airight. I'm a Keanu fan. Shut up.

    I also watched Always Be My Maybe, which was filmed a bit in my neighborhood. That's why I watched it. But they kind of fucked it up. Ya know, walk the neighborhood and then get home to a place that would never exist in your neighborhood. But But But Keanu has a great scene in it as an added attraction. As one esteemed letterboxd reviewer put it " ... this movie jumps up such an astonishing notch when Keanu shows up that it’s literally not fair to the rest of this movie or any other movie." Damn Straight .
     
  14. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Oh, and I watched Captain Marvel. Or I should say I started watching it and it was so bad it made me mad so I fast-forwarded through it looking for something, anything. Brie Larson is not funny or interesting or HOT. Nothing there. And these superhero flicks are all the same. Same story, same moral lesson, same deceptions, same this, same that. I really hate them now. But I'll watch the Avengers and anything Thor is in. Because RDJr and the lead singer from Metallica who plays Thor are very funny. The last Thor flick was one of the best comedies of the year !
     

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