Tag Archives: strange

Screwed – Review

11 Jun

Sometimes I watch a movie and I think, “How am I ever going to write a review for this?” Unfortunately, here I am today with that very same problem. Teruo Ishii is not a director with no credits, in fact his filmography is rather large and he is getting his material from a popular comic book artist, Yoshiharu Tsuge. What could go wrong here? It’s a movie that prides itself on being weird and exists solely to knock your socks off. Unfortunately, this movie is a failure on most levels.

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For two years, cartoonist Tsube (Tadanobu Asano) and Kuniko (Miki Fujitani) have lived together, and for those two years, Tsube has had very little work which results in very little money. After finding out that Kumiko had a one night stand and may now be pregnant, his self esteem reaches an all time low and he leaves her to travel around the countryside and hopefully find himself. While he travels, he meets a strange amount of people with obsessive or suppressed sexual urges, which makes him explore a side of himself that he never knew. When he gets an unexpected and life threatening injury, however, the world turns into a different sort of place where no one is willing to help him.

This is probably going to be a short review because I really don’t have much to say. Screwed feels so broken and dull that it hardly even qualifies as a movie you watch. It’s more like a movie you sleep through. Like, what was this movie trying to be? It’s this weird combination of an honest exploration of a depressed man’s mind, but then it’s also this acid trip down a hellish rabbit hole. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do either one well enough for me to be remotely interested in either.

Screwed didn’t work for me at all. The only time it got remotely cool was the last twenty minutes, and those parts all felt forced, like the film makers had to do something weird for its audience to respect it in some way. I know I say this a lot, but for a movie like this, it would have worked better as a short film around 45 or 50 minutes in length. It goes on for way too long and offers nothing of substance.

Bottom line: It’s stupid and ugly so don’t watch it.

I apologize for the quality of this review, but I really didn’t have much material to work with. There’s nothing online about this movie to clarify certain things or add decoration, so this is the best I can do for everyone. Until next time!

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House – Review

15 May

This may be one of the hardest reviews I’m ever going to have to write. House is a Japanese movie from 1977 that was directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi, who started as an experimental film maker and advertiser, but was asked by Toho to make a film that would resemble the American hit, Jaws. When Toho got House in return they were completely shocked and eventually pulled it from the theaters after it started doing well in the box office out of fear that people would think that this is the direction Toho would be going in. Is it as strange as this introduction has made it sound? Absolutely right it is, but that is just fine with me.

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Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) is a Japanese school girl who invites her friends to come with her to visit her aunt’s (Yōko Minamida) house in the country. Her friends are appropriately named Prof (Ai Matsubara), Melody (Eriko Tanaka), Kung Fu (Miki Jinbo), Mac (Mieko Sato), Sweet (Masayo Miyako), and Fantasy (Kumiko Oba). Each girl’s name represents their different personalities. When they arrive at the house, they all get the grand tour and are very happy with what they see, all of them looking forward to their stay. Unfortunately for them, on the first night strange things begin happening and one by one they all start to go missing. The house turns out to haunted by the strangest apparition you may ever see on film.

I really can’t give a a summary of this movie and make it sound interesting. It’s a very cut and dry narrative to look at written out. On the surface, it would seem like a stereotypical haunted house movie. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a head trip, psychedelic experience, horror film, and dark comedy all mashed together in one film. There’s a piano that eats people, a cat portrait that shoots gallons of blood across a living room, a pair of disembodies legs causing all sorts of mayhem, and of course, my personal a favorite: a giant head that comes out of nowhere with a warning to the terrified girls.

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The real draw to this movie is the in camera and analog effects that Obayashi exploits. He really does not hold back when it comes to showing off what he can do. What one needs to remember when they are watching House is that it is from 1977. A lot of the shots outside used matte paintings to make the world that these girls inhabit very surreal and other worldly. The images seem almost too beautiful and artificial to be real, and that’s because they absolutely are. A lot of the effects are also done with a blue screen which are very obvious to notice. Normally, this would be a detraction, having special effects that look unreal. For this movie, however, it works just fine. Nothing about this movie is supposed to look ordinary, so the effects look very cartoonish and silly. This adds to the whole dream like vision that Obayashi wanted, even though he even said he wasn’t too thrilled with some of the effects. I personally loved them.

For the times where there wasn’t a crazy special effects happening, there was at least one or two boring scenes of the girls just sort of hanging out. This makes the movie feel a lot slower than it should feel, especially with the subject matter of the movie. This could be on account of sloppy writing, since some of the jokes seem to stretch on too long or there are plain and simply scenes where nothing really happens. Another contributing factor to the pacing may be that there are scenes that are so ridiculous that when it slows down, the change almost seems jarring. One second, possessed mattresses are attacking someone, and the next the characters are sitting around talking and laughing. It feels weird to me.

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House truly is a one of a kind movie for better or for worse. Some people will call this a masterpiece when it comes to cult classics. Others will say that it shouldn’t even exist and that it’s a blemish on the history of film making. Personally, I don’t see how you could possibly ignore this. It isn’t perfect, but then again it isn’t really anything that can be classified or labeled. It simply exists, and it is up to the viewer to decide what they make of it. Trying to say that it’s good or bad wouldn’t be doing the film justice. House is just House, nothing more and nothing less.

Rubber – Review

4 Sep

Before I even get started with this review, I have to give this movie and its makers props for creating one of, if not the most, original idea that has come across my screen in a long time. Are all of the ideas in Rubber good ideas? Not particularly, but the entire premise is new and interesting. That being said, this might have been a lot better as a short film, but Quentin Dupieux has went all out to give us a film we have never seen the likes of before.

 

Robert is a tire who has just so happened to come alive for no reason. He soon learns how to roll, crush things, and blow objects, small animals, and people’s heads up with his psychokinetic powers. Spectators watch in awe, and local law enforcement give chase. Soon the question arises, how much of this is real and how much is just for show?

This is another one of those “I have no idea how to explain it” kind of movies. There’s this really weird movie within a movie thing going on along with the mass murdering tire rolling around blowing up heads. There’s this weird existential type of commentary that keeps going on, but without any metaphor for real life. There really is “no reason” for this movie other than the exploration of how far can a pointless idea be pushed, and can it be made good.

 

The music in Rubber deserves some praise. Writer/director Quentin Dupieux might be more widely know as the techno artist Mr. Oizo. That being said he provides some excellent thumping electronic tracks that never become overbearing or loud. It’s just the right amount of music to fit in with a movie such as this. Along with the music comes some excellent DP work by Dupieux. It isn’t often that the writer and/or director is also the director of photography. The desert is both barren and lively thanks to awesome angles featuring the glaring sun and its reflections off of the metallic surfaces throughout the film.

What I didn’t like too much was the constant reminder that this is a weird movie. The existential dialogue and the movie within a movie are both very clever concepts that go along with the main “plot.” I don’t need to be told that this is weird, I’d rather just gleefully accept it and be taken along for the ride. The writing almost became unreasonably pretentious, like it was the only strange movie ever to be made. If David Lynch wrote dialogue for Lost Highway or Eraserhead proclaiming how bizarre it was, the movies would lose some of their effect. Sometimes the best jokes are the ones that go unmentioned.

 

While the acting may not be the best in the world and the dialogue might be a bit pretentious and off putting, the entire concept of this movie is strangely brilliant. If you were to tell someone what Rubber was about, they probably wouldn’t believe you, and if they did, why would they want to watch a movie about a tire? The reason is because it is original, brilliantly photographed, and reeks of cult success. This film certainly isn’t for everyone and its glaring flaws almost sour the entire experience, but after some thought I do believe this is a work of genius.