Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Head Crushing 101

What happens when a prisoner named Riki aka Ricky is left to rot in a prison? Why as explored in the aptly named Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, he proceeds to use his macho extreme kung fu skills to deadly effect. Story here is irrelevant, although from the loose plot and flashbacks its clear that Ricky became a master of the deadly arts because of his uncle, using them to seek revenge and taking five bullets in the process. This is not a movie so much as it is a video game brought to life on the silver screen, a display of Ricky's ability to take immense and outlandish pain while slaughtering his enemies on the bloody field of combat. The film's creators have no pretensions about the type of movie they are making, and hey we even get a scene where Ricky cries out in the rain-a Shawshank Redemption moment before The Shawshank Redemption was ever adapted on film.

You know what you are getting into when you see a man's head crushed, exploding into thousands of pieces upon impact. Ricky faces minor henchmen, dispatching them while dying numerous times and then getting new "lives" to their surprise. He even levels up a couple of times, thus feeding into the movie's distortion of reality, a staple of most action and martial arts films. The film naturally throws in a boss battle even, because what's a video game without the hero having to combat a massively grotesque enemy who's the last thing standing in their way? Plus there's even a bit of the overworked prisoners rising up to defeat their corrupt capitalistic masters, although that naturally gets cast aside mostly in favor of badass fight scenes and body parts getting crushed. You haven't truly experienced cinema until you have witnessed a hero proudly displaying the head of his vanquished foe, apparently. 91

Sunday, November 25, 2012

TV Time

So I've decided that next year I will be focusing only on viewing TV shows, or at least going mostly that route. I'm burned out from watching movies and my time is more limited these days so TV fits well into my schedule instead of of movies. Here's what's currently on my Netflix Instant Viewing queue for shows:

  1. Arrested Development (2003-2013): 4 seasons, currently on Season 4 Episode 8: Red Haring
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984-1994): 4 seasons, currently on Season 1 Episode 6: The Speckled Band
  3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2002): 7 seasons, currently on Season 6 Episode 14: Older and Far Away
  4. The League (2009-Now): 3 seasons, currently on Season 3 Episode 11: The Guest Bong
  5. Lost (2004-2010): 6 seasons, currently on Season 6 Episode 8: Recon
  6. Nikita (2010-Now): 2 seasons, currently on Season 1 Episode 3: Kill Jill
  7. Parks and Recreation (2009-Now): 4 seasons, currently on Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
  8. Scandal (2011-Now): 1 Season, currently on Season 1 Episode 1: Sweet Baby
  9. South Park (1999-Now): 15 seasons, currently on Season 1 Episode 8: Damien
  10. Torchwood (2006-2009): 3 seasons, currently on Season 3 Episode 1: Children of Earth Day 1
  11. Twin Peaks (1990): 2 Seasons, currently on Season 2 Episode 11: Masked Ball
  12. The X-Files (1993-2001): 6 seasons, rewatch, currently on Season 6 Episode 16: Alpha

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November Viewings-TCM Edition: 

 November 2nd- Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991) at 1 AM-90  

November 8th- Breathless (1960) at 7 PM  

November 16th- Simon of the Desert (1965) at 12 AM
Savage Weekend (1979) at 1 AM See
No Evil (1971) at 3 Am

 November 17th-
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) at 7 PM  

November 23rd- Suspicion (1941) at 3:15 PM  

November 25th- L'Atalante (1934) at 2 AM  

November 30th- Touchez Pas Au Grisbi (1954) at 10:15 PM
Five Million Years To Earth (1968) at 12 AM

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned

Deviating slightly from the novel, which was Stephen King's first and is utterly amazing, Carrie (1976) still remains an excellent adaption and is utterly terrifying, matching the book in terms of a really high eerie level and being just as unflinchingly bleak as the book managed to be. Carrie and her mother's utterly horrific relationship is depicted in the same fashion as it is in the book, and the scene where she is utterly humiliated by her classmates in the shower is fully intact. While I am not a particularly big fan of the movie's ending, the rest of the movie remains completely engaging, a horror classic that is still relevant. And which has been remade a few times, with a 2013 remake coming up that has great potential, even if it fails to live up to the Brian DePalma's version.

 One of my favorite moments in this movie however is Carrie's rage manifesting itself when a kid taunts her: she responds by causing the kid to fall off a bike. Rather simplistic, yes, but also serving as a chilling reminder of her ability. We feel sorry for her while also at times forgetting that Carrie has powers beyond hers or our understanding. The film even goes beyond the obvious lesson of "Don't mess with a teen capable of moving objects with her mind," turning life into a tragedy, something that the book also did so incredibly well. The fact that a few bad apples stop Carrie from true happiness (along with her evil fundamentalist mother) is rather sad, yet a cold reminder that life does not often result in happy endings. Small towns breed small minds, and Carrie's oppressors are indeed fools who only too late realize what they have unleashed.

When it comes to the film's ending my main beef is that the book's ending is far superior. Its more odd and creepy, residing in the land of matter of fact and is thus more pleasing. Yet this does not detract from the fact that DePalma's version is near perfect, and manages to channel King's words about a girl who possessed a gift that turned out to be a curse, concluding in tears even though it did not have to be this way. Poor Carrie White, a victim of circumstance of sorts, never able to move on to a better life and a less cruel place. Times may have changed, but high school unfortunately has not. 95

It Gets Dark Late At Night

Since its been recovered only as a series of stiles, London After Midnight (1927) feels a bit unsatisfying. Too bad since it has a great title and Lon Chaney is really creepy in this movie, embodying a creature with gigantic sharp teeth and piercing eyes, surrounded by fellow ghouls in the crumbling remains of an old mansion. What occurs in this odd piece turns out to be quite unexpected, which is a good thing, yet I felt cheated a little. Since this is a movie from the silent era a remake would almost be warranted, or at least a movie that uses the title while being far more interesting. There has not been a more misleading title since Jason Takes Manhattan in horror history, and while I'm not sure if this is a horror movie its got a high enough creepy factor to qualify as such. Regardless, its good that I took a chance on this movie, and TCM was cool enough to feature a lost piece of cinema that was thought lost to everyone.

A final note: interestingly enough this was one of the highest grossing Chaney/Browning collaborations. I'm sure that Chaney being his usual awesome self was enough to get people into theaters, but I would like to go back and time and see this movie as it actually was. That would be a treat. 65

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post Election Coverage 2012: MadMan Style

Depending on who you voted for yesterday, by now you are either really depressed or incredibly happy. Perhaps your more like me, who voted third party but really did not like Mitt Romney, so hey its good that he lost. Regardless there are many who will read way too much into the results and make statements filtered through bias. I of course am going to be one of those people, only I don't care about Obama winning reelection so much as I do about the lesser races, the ones that turned out to matter just as much. I am referring to the fact that gay marriage and weed legalization were big winners yesterday, which affirms more so than Obama's win that America truly is changing.

If you are a white rich male this terrifies you. Your kind is slowly but surely being left behind by the race of the country, which is a good thing for the rest of us. Naturally you still have Fox News to spin, lie, and obscure the truth, yet its only a matter of time until the majority starts tuning them out as well. I'll admit I am a white male, however I am not concerned about an America that has the potential to be more diverse than ever before. In fact, this makes me happy, simply due to the fact that America has always been a melting pot of different religions, cultures, races and creeds. Tuesday night seemed to affirm this, especially since Fox News trotted out people who decided to do what they've bashed liberals for doing: playing the race card.

No I'll agree that this is not the America of the 1950s, and I'm glad. Only a white upper class male would want to live in a world where minorities and women have little or no rights, and homosexuals are persecuted for daring to be who they are. Where as the 2008 election resulted in some Democrats (namely James Carville, who wrote a book about how the Democrats could and should rule supreme for decades) declaring they would be the top dog turned out to be false (the GOP still holds many governorships and still controls the House of Representatives) 2012 is much different. I actually think that this time around Obama's victory and the fact that the Democrats keep the Senate and gained House seats signifies that the Republican Party is in serious trouble. Big trouble, in fact.

Especially when they trout out post campaign ads such as this one: which completely goes against the current reality. How has the conservative movement grown stronger after two straight presidential losses? Election night did not go well for the GOP, although they still have that faint hope of taking over Congress in 2014. The message I truly got out of Tuesday's results is that the GOP has to change or die, and for the love of God please send out a halfway decent candidate in 2016 for president. Mitt was a terrible choice, and that's why he lost. Keep that in mind, Republicans. As for the Democrats, well don't get too excited since Congress is still divided and Obama barely won the popular vote. Its going to be a bumpy next four years.