Recently Seen, Part 29 (July 2019)

Discussion in 'Cinema: International' started by divemaster13, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Suicide Club (2001)

    Ok; I liked this quite a bit more than Noriko's Dinner Table, which I commented in either May or June's thread. I thought Suicide Club was set up as an interesting mystery and police procedural. Some good scenes, and the side-track with the faggy punker who lived in an abandoned bowling alley was bizarre, but compelling, even if it had nothing at all to do with the rest of the movie.

    It was pretty obvious from the get-go that the suicides were tied to the Dessert/Desert/Desret girl-group; and when the girlfriend discovered the hidden clues, I thought we were in for an interesting reveal or explanation.

    Alas, it was not meant to be. Nothing in the last half hour really answered any questions or made much sense. Deep philosophical questions coming from 10-year-olds, with no supporting explanation...well, I wasn't sold. No reason is ever given for anything and the tie to the girl group, hinted at, is never established. Secret meetings with 10-year-olds who obviously set up a website and operate a skin-grafting cabal? Strains credulity. So at the end of the movie we have just been treated to random scenes.

    Obviously it's a Japanese "thing" (the Koreans do it to, to a lesser extent), to go for effect even if it means sacrificing logic; they are willing to allow mysteries and contradictions that western filmmakers would regard as "plotholes," but the Japs obviously don't give a shit. A little more thought into the plot and we could have had a masterpiece.

    But the individual scenes were good and I liked the mystery even if nothing was ever "solved" or explained, so that accounts for my basically positive rating. But it could have been higher.

    3.5 stars
     
  2. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Once a Thief (1991)

    Nope. Did not click with me. I like comedy caper films, but the overacting silliness in this one really put me off. I have to give some credit to the main performers (Yun-fat Chow, Leslie Cheung, and Cherie Chung, who is just cute as the dickens)--they really put their all into it and try their best. But the 10-week filming schedule means a lot of choppy edits and plot holes and extreme changes in tone. The French Riviera setting was a plus and having the James Bond car chase choreographer guru involved was also a plus, but there's only so much you can do on a shoestring budget (which was probably 90% used up for salary and location shooting).

    A lot of stuff didn't make sense; the capers were half-assed, and the humor was very very silly. And Chow Yun-fat was chewing gum in every single scene. Now, I don't have an "eating acting" phobia like @sitenoise, but 90 minutes of gum-smacking is very distracting.

    I wish I could give a John Woo film a better rating, especially with the first rate cast. But I can't.

    1.5 stars
     
  3. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I'm pretty sure I've seen Once A Thief and even thought I made a review of it but checking on IMDb I haven't rated it. lol. Ugh, I still have Noriko's Dinner Table on my watchlist first but reading your review, I think I'll watch Suicide Club first.
     
  4. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    It's better to watch Suicide Club first. It's not settled whether Noriko is a sequel or prequel or just some other movie. They're both part of a novel Sono wrote, so they are both from the same distant planet. If you watch Noriko first the references to Suicide Club will seem like foreshadowing. Explode your mind lol1.gif

    I've watched Noriko 3 or 4 times and loved it every time. I recently did a Suicide/Noriko doubleheader. It was like watching Love Exposure.
     
  5. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    That's both cool and frustrating. I think a lot of "artists" do that. Philosophers say it's because they are of weak mind. I'm cool with that. Sono buries his head in it. He's first and foremost a painter and a poet. Not logical pursuits. As for film, he's said Quantity is more important than Quality. What can we do?
     
  6. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    They thought he was the ringleader ... I think as a ... uhm ... pop culture stardom thing juxtaposed to the "Just Desserts", or whatever that kid group were called. I don't think @plsletitrain is going to like the punker scene. What's in the bag, and whatnot.

    btw, I dug those kids' tune.

    Gosh I'm going to have to revisit some Sono.
     
  7. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    I get that he ("Genesis") was supposed to be a red herring. The cops, for a moment, thought they had solved things. Even the viewers might have been inclined to tie them together, especially when Genesis kidnapped "The Bat." But a red herring in a mystery only satisfies if there is an "aha!" moment that clues you in to the real circumstance. Otherwise, it's just a random scene for effects, or a director's "gee I'm so kewl and edgy" indulgence.

    But I thought those scenes were effective--just wish they weren't complete sidetracks. And I agree that @plsletitrain might not like the punker scenes. I mean, if seeing female nudity squicks you out, I'm pretty sure seeing a glammed out punker in platform shoes stomping puppies in pillowcases will send you over the edge.

    And I agree the kids' tunes were very catchy! Their dancing choreography pretty much sucked, but the kids were cute and I could easily find myself singing along with a big grin on my face. Didn't make me want to off myself, though.

    "The Bat" could have been one of the most interesting characters in the movie. I wish there was a lot more with her. But she basically turned into a sniveling, crying "damsel in distress" and nothing else came of her presence in the movie. Even the other girl--the one with the pissy attitude, was just a tease. She's solved the mystery! The hidden symbols! And...and...nothing. It means nothing.
     
  8. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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  9. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    I'm not "fed up" with him by any means! I liked his Love Exposure and Strange Circus so much that he bought himself a helping of good will from me. And Suicide Club I also gave a pretty good rating to, although with a couple of caveats.

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  10. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    I spent the last few days watching David Lynch: The Art Life on my iPad while I ate my meals. I wish I could keep doing it for months. He's a wonderful storyteller. It's basically him recounting his life from childhood to Eraserhead. Most of it is probably licensed very poetically, but that's art. After showing his dad his art studio where he has a bunch of dead animals and whatnot that he makes art with, his dad tells him: "Dave, I don't think you should ever have children". Then he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. You know ....

    The lead singer for the J. Geils Band, his roommate, turned him onto pot for the first time and took him to see Bob Dylan. Lynch hated it and walked out. That was the end of their friendship.

    I also very much enjoyed his artwork on display throughout. It's creepy and childish, but the way he talks about it, as it accompanies his stories, and when they show him in his studio ... he's such a gentle guy, with the voice of a kindly grandpa ... it makes sense.

    Excellent insight and entertainment value.
     

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