Sometimes the poster is totally misleading. This is one of those times.
Eerie skull and the tagline "Welcome to the Carnival of Fear" make it seem like this amusement park is going to be your typical slasher ala Dark Ride. But it's not. What you get with Closed for the Season is an attempt to scare you with nostalgia.
It's not a full fledged horror film but more of a sprinkled thriller where two people reminisce about their time as kids at Chippewa Lake amusement park. Seemingly trapped they encounter the memories of the park in horrific ways. Later, they encounter a carny who guides them to partake in all the rides but for a price.
Because this is a low budget flick, the limitations are front and center. From roller coaster CGI to blood and gore effects you're going to get a rubber mask getting eye poked and you're going to have to deal with it. In the place of scares is lots of talking between Kristy (Aimee Brooks) and James (Damian Maffei) trying to figure out how to escape this supernatural park and the crazed carny (Joe Unger).
The only good comes from the backdrop of Chippewa Lake amusement park which is a real 30 year old amusement park that's been abandoned. From the old roller coaster, an old boat, rusty ferris wheel and a fun house, it brings about a sense of eerie that can't be production set created.
The rest of the film is a complete snoozefest. There is a sense of mystery between Kristy and James as the two have a sense of history told through childhood flashbacks. If the movie was trying to give us a sense of nostalgia for a time when younglings had the time of their lives at amusement parks and carnivals, it doesn't do a good job of making this apparent. Instead we get scene after scene of potential jump scares and cliched horror in a box.
Closed for a Season is a 2 hour (!) pseudo horror film that potentially could have been a scary flick with an abandoned amusement park as it's backdrop but they didn't put in a ride for the audience to scare us at all. And the purpose of the awesome rides like roller coasters is to get a fright and thrill for 2 minutes. That's a helluva rush. Instead we get a ferris wheel (which is our maxed out conclusion, how appropriate) and the viewer has ridden a ride of a film that did absolutely nothing.
That's just freakin boring.
Some squishy moments WTF moment
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
The movie comes out August 23rd on VOD and DVD via MTI Home Video.
Press Release: Soska Sisters Dead Hooker in a Trunk released by IFC Midnight
Good news today for the Soska Sisters. After getting a UK release, Dead Hooker in a Trunk has finally hit the good ole US of A via IFC Midnight. It's long overdue for these awesome filmmakers. Check out the pres release below which has my quote in it as well (yay)
Also check out my review of the film. It's funny that I remember putting up this trailer 3 years ago (as the Soska Sisters will point out, this was one of the first amounts of hype for the film :-) ) and never thought I'd ever see it. But they sent me a screener and I was blown away. Hopefully you now all get the opportunity to see this little black humor piece of grindhousey horror film and have the same feeling as I did when I first saw it.
DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK RELEASED BY IFC MIDNIGHT IN LIMITED THEATERS AND VOD
The Highly Anticipated Release of the Award Winning, Critically Acclaimed, Independent Hit, DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK!
WORLD PREMIERE -- AUGUST 3rd 2011 --
"You should check out DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. They made it low budget and it's f*cking awesome. The violence is incredible and the stunts are fantastic." ~ Eli Roth, Director
After touring the film festival circuit and capturing the attention and adoration of critics and fans alike, the highly anticipated world release of the independent, cult classic in the making, grindhouse film DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK has finally arrived after making its UK and Australian release earlier in the year. DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK is being released through special midnight theatrical screenings in a limited release across the USA and Canada by IFC Midnight. Cities and theater information will be released soon. For those who can't wait to see it in theaters can see it early through VOD on August 3rd, 2011.
DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, set in beautiful Vancouver, tells the story of four friends who set out on an everyday errand and end up in a fight for their lives when they discover the body of a dead hooker left in their trunk.
Lead by a sexy, impulsive Badass, her distant Geek twin sister, their bible thumping, Jesus loving Goody Two Shoes friend, and a chaotic, rock star Junkie pal, the group has to put aside their differences to dispose of the body before they're next. Thrown into their own personal purgatory, they face off against persistent police, a sleazy motel manager, chainsaw wielding triads, and a brutal serial killer. All the while they are followed by a mysterious Cowboy Pimp who wants to claim the corpse for his own.
Will they uncover the truth behind the body and be able to stand up to their demons? Buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life filled with gun fights, extreme violence, blood, guts, gore, and goats.
DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK is the debut feature film by Canadian Twin Filmmakers, Jen and Sylvia Soska, that has set the independent horror scene ablaze with excitement. The film and the filmmakers have captured the attention of Hostel director Eli Roth, Fangoria, Gorezone, Twitch Film, Rue Morgue, and many other profound voices in horror.
“Watching Dead Hooker in a Trunk is like having the best bare backing sex of your life while hopped up on junk with a fugly prostitute in a seedy motel room on the wrong side of town” ~ TWITCH Film
"Seriously, f*cking wow. I was totally hooked by the dialogue and the sheer where-the-f*ck-is-this-going-ness" of it all." ~ Gorezone
"A cult classic in the making and a hidden gem in indie film making." ~ The Jaded Viewer
"Wild, psychotic, funny, bloody, and strangely sexy opus." ~ Arrow In The Head
DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK has earned a substantial cult following and named onto several "Top Horror Film Of 2010" lists making it one of the most hyped and blogged about independent films of the year.
"Nearly every actor and actress who appeared on screen in DHiaT also served the film in other areas, from camera operators and stunt coordinators to editors and cinematographers. This film is a work of art, and it's a labor of love. Love from fans of horror, and of film in general, who took that love and put it to work, creating a film of their own. And the love and respect that these men and women have for the the genre, as well as for movies as a whole, is very evident throughout the entire film. This is how a movie is supposed to look, sound and feel!" ~ D'Ment'D Cinema
Twisted Twins Productions is co-owned by film makers Jen and Sylvia Soska who bring you edgy dialogue, gore~geous effects, beautiful cinematography, and memorable characters, all for your viewing pleasure.
Their debut smash hit, DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK is only the beginning and the two are busy at work on their next project, AMERICAN MARY.
Comic Con 2011: What I'm getting the awesome and wiggins for
Well if your like me, your surfing your favorite sites to get your Comic Con 2011 news of the day. Lots of stuff has been unveiled and announced and some have got me a wee bit excited. Here's my perspective on the good as of yesterday.
Would You Rather is a horror film starring Brittany Snow, Sasha Grey and Jeffrey Combs (its got an interesting concept...and the fact that I've seen Ms. Grey do unspeakable things makes me curious) (via Bloody Disgusting)
I don't think I've seen a Uwe Boll movie since Postal.
Avoiding Uwe Boll movies isn't to hard. But Brendan Fletcher (a Boll regular) reminds us that the reason Uwe Boll's names keep popping up on the Interwebs is because websites give him the free coverage he knows he'll get if he keeps making fucked up movies. For every Auschwitz he makes, he does make a Bloodrayne 3.
So I'm as guilty as everybody else when I review this 3rd installment of Bloodrayne. I try to go in and hope it's tolerable but it's inevitable that this flick was doomed from the start.
Bloodrayne: The Third Reich is the equivalent of seeing a monkey throw its own feces at a tiger. It's kinda goofy and totally outrageous. You're hoping to see the tiger just rip the monkey to shreds. But all we get is more feces thrown all over the place. Yup...there's shit all over the place.
In between the lovely Natassia Malthe as Rayne slices and dices, has lesbian sex then in one of the most WTF moments ever has sex with a resistance fighter in the back of a Nazi truck where they are prisoners headed to their execution. Read that sentence again. Got it? Now that's Uwe Boll making sure we get ample boobage no matter what the situation.
I don't have to lecture you on the Uwe Boll movie game to film process. It's pretty shitty all around. So here are some pics and clips to save you 70 minutes of your time.
Rayne fights against the Nazis in Europe during World War II, encountering Ekart Brand, a Nazi leader whose target is to inject Adolf Hitler with Rayne's blood in an attempt to transform him into a dhampir and attain immortality.
OK you probably want to see Natassia Malthe naked because as well as killing Nazis and Nazi vampires she still has time to get some lesbo sex and fuck in the back of a Nazi trunk. So this be your exit to see her boobage. See am I not thinking of your best interests?
Let's check out some pics.
There isn't any way I could maintain eye contact with Rayne
These aren't your Indiana Jones Nazis
I don't know why she's wearing that leather hat thing either
Sometimes you gotta kill Nazi vampires in a bikini
Here's some clips. I'll set them up for you.
Here's Rayne distracting the soldiers with her cleavage. It works every time.
Lots of voice over dialogue just to see her cleavage.
She just had lesbian sex 2 minutes before this action scene.
Here's the trailer.
Natassia Malthe gets naked for all of us
Lots of standard slice and dice, decaps and vamps turning into ooze WTF moment
Really? A sex scene in the back of a moving Nazi truck where your like 5 min away from being executed?
[this review brought to you by guest writer Camiele White who was a former apprentice of Beatrix Kiddo]
After 20 years of consciously watching film (the first five don’t count, for obvious reasons), my favourite films seem to always be Martial Arts related. When my brother came to me with a film he dubbed “the greatest action film of all time”, I had my doubts, particularly because I hadn’t seen a large variety of action films that were both adrenaline pumping and artistic works of brilliance. However, my brother has yet to steer me wrong, so I gave it a chance. It was the moment I welcomed Ip Man into my life.
After having seen the first film, I was thirsty, no RAVENOUS for more! Without becoming overcome with emotion, I’ll simply say Ip Man 2 didn’t fail to deliver. It was one of those films that you see once in your life, once in an existential dilemma about the worth of your own life --yeah, it was that deep for me.
Barring my overdramatic infatuation with the film, it actually opened my eyes to a universal truth --Americans don’t know shit! I consider myself incredibly open-minded. That being said, there’s so much about Asian cinema that I’m missing that it’s almost embarrassing. That point was driven home with a stake the size of Montreal when I had the pleasure of experiencing the Ip Man series for the first time. Ip Man tells the story of the legendary Yip Man, known commonly as Ip Man, one of the most venerated masters of Chinese Martial Arts and the undisputed master of Wing Chun. Most renowned for becoming the teacher of, arguably, the greatest Chinese martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee, Ip Man was a quiet nobleman who had a keen and organic understanding of the movement of the human body. The first film shows his struggle to effectively carry an entire nation on his shoulders during the second Sino-Japanese War. As with most films based on historical fact, the directors take a few liberties with the facts in order to heighten the dramatic effect; however, those moments are few and far between. What I experienced was nothing short of miraculous.
Ip Man 2 picks up where its predecessor left of: after winning a battle against Miura (portrayed by Ikeuchi Hiroyuki), a ruthless Japanese general and respectable martial artist in his own right, Ip Man is shot by a shady lieutenant with a sizeable chip on his shoulders who spits on the self-respect and tradition of the Chinese folk (let’s just say the man had one hell of a Napoleon Complex). After his shooting, the Chinese people, who are barricaded behind wooden spiked fences, force their way through and help Ip Man and his family escape their home of Foshan.
In the opening scene, we see Ip Man, portrayed by the highly underrated (and the second most incredible Chinese actor I’ve ever seen), Donnie Yen, attempting to find a place to open his Martial Arts school. He finds an abandoned roof annexed to a plant nursery, used solely to hang laundry. As is the case in many traditional Martial Arts films, a cocky young challenger waltzes through the doors to flex his muscle and see what all the fuss is about this Ip Man. Boy, did he learn a thing or twelve. Without blinking an eye, Master Ip devours this man with all the grace and poise of an elegant dancer. Thus setting the pace for the rest of the film.
On top of all the craziness surrounding the territorial nature of Martial Arts, Master Ip’s wife, Cheung Wing-sing (played by the ever-gorgeous Lynn Hung) is pregnant with another child and trying her best to save as much money as possible as her husband waits for students. Then when the British Invasion hits the Chinese shores, all hell breaks loose.
As tends to be the trend, the Brits have an itching for some Imperialism and decide to spread their European power to China. With a snarky (and poorly acted) British event promoter exploiting the beauty of Chinese Martial Arts to make some quick cash, the film alludes early on to an imminent clash between a British boxer and Master Ip. The fight is, of course, set up with an early casualty of nationalism --Master Hung, a renowned teacher of Hung Gar. He’s killed by the British boxing star, Taylor “The Twister” Milos, when Master Hung becomes outraged with his blatant insults of Chinese culture and challenges him in the ring.
Vengeance and national honour is on the line as Master Ip prepares to fight Twister and obliterate the misconception of most of the Western world of the 50s that Chinese culture is a commodity in place to entertain the masses.
As the plot twists and escalates in overt social commentary, two aspects that always remain effortless are the dramatic poise and natural beauty of the surroundings. The film is a testament to the grace inherent in true Martial Arts. It’s a film that’s completely full of pride and dignity. As with the other films that fill the top spots of my all time favourites, Ip Man and Ip Man 2 are true cinematic marvels that have enough action to keep one riveted, but is never crass or over the top, simply dramatic and sophisticated, portraying true life at its most intense.
Camiele White suffers from too much film information. In order to remedy her psychosis she’s decided to write about it. Right now, she’s trying something a bit different and writes about Theatrical Costumes. If you want to engage in a little conversation (at your own risk) she can be reached at cmlewhite at gmail [dot] com.
And I'll admit after watching the whole damn thing, I don't really know exactly what the purpose of Baby Doll (Emily Browning) mission was to "escape" is exactly. But whatever. I'll admit, seeing hot actresses wearing skimpy clothing kicking ass with a full orgy of CGI at Zach Snyder's disposal is not too bad as one might imagine.
So on to the WTF List.
1.) As this being my first Emily Browning flick, she is damn hot. 2.) It's PG-13 but basically they're at a speakeasy where the customers fuck the dancers. Yup totally PG-13 in my book. 3.) Steampunkers are weeping as they watch this 4.) I've never seen samurai statues get smashed by a hot blonde girl in a sailor moon outfit (how can one not like that?) 5.) It's American live action anime in a nutshell. 6.) Let me just say this. I'm a big Jena Malone fan. 7.) I'm also a big Jamie Chung fan. I have no idea who Abbie Cornish is. And I have indeed seen Vanessa Hudgens naked. 8.) Nazi zombies vs an A-team of hot girls. Seriously...how can one not enjoy watching this? 9.) So the "dances" are actually the action scenes. Clearly OLD ME understands this film concept but TWEEN ME can't get enough of seeing Emily Browning do backflips and Jena Malone shooting a gun that weighs more than her 10.) I forgot to mention this is the hottest mental institution...well evaaaaaar. I'd like to get declared insane and sent to this place. 11.) Dragons make everything better. 12.) The fact that all these actresses are like super hot makes every scene tolerable to watch. 13.) The CGI is all style and pretty much what you get. It's CGI eye candy that gives you a headache but whatever. 14.) A robot can't be cut by a sword. Just saying. 15.) If the Japanese made this type of film (and they have in some form or another) we'd call it "super cool" and "awesome". Hollywood makes it and we think it's Hollywood blowing its wad full of CGI and scantily clad hot girls. I see no difference here. 16.) Men are so evil. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. 17.) You know this is just the female version of 300 right? 18.) Wait..Emily Browning and Abbie Cornish are Australian??!? Really? 19.) That escape was easy as pie. They probably got tips from Michael Scofield. 20.) Wow that ending is kinda depressing.
Declare this movie fit for tween boys everywhere. Sure it's devoid of any plot, it's all eye candy (CGI and hawtness) and is full of steampunky action scenes but I dug it.
Giveaway Contest #3: YOU decide what the giveaway should be
Well I haven't done a giveaway contest in a while. I think the last one I did was the Buffy contest or it could have been that Deadneks DVD one. I forget. In any case, I became an American horror movie picker as my old company was basically throwing away DVDs. Sure these weren't the best DVDs but one man's junk is another man's treasure.
So I'm going to create a poll and let you decide which horror related DVD/novelty item you want me to giveaway in a contest I'll have in a few weeks. At some point, I'm going to hold a giveaway for each of these items, but you're in control for this one.
Here are the items up for grabs. I haven't watched any of these films except for House of the Devil which I saw in the theater.
1.) The House of the Devil VHS clamshell
the jaded viewer says:I reviewed this film waaaaay back when. Babysitting meets the devil flick. I gave it 2 spinkicks. But this is the limited edition collectable VHS clamshell edition of the flick. If you still have a VCR, this is probably awesome.
Trailer with a Danielle Harris lookalike.
2.) Ferocious Planet DVD (a SyFy Original Movie via Maneater Series)
the jaded viewer says: Stars Joe Flanigan and John Rhys-Davies. New copy of this SyFy original movie. Who knows what the plot is but I'm sure the flick has awesome CGI. Here's the trailer.
3.) Savage County DVD (via MTV New Media)
the jaded viewer says: I think the soundtrack may be better than the movie. Texas Chainsaw ripoff for sure for the MTV generation.
Trailer because you didn't ask for it.
4.) Fertile Ground (via After Dark Originals)
the jaded viewer says: I think the house doesn't like this big city couple too much. You know how I LOVE After Dark originals right?
Trailer because you want to see scenes that are way too dark.
************************************************************ VOTE IN THE POLL ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE FOR WHICH MOVIE YOU WANT ME TO GIVEAWAY!!!
According to the dictionary, the word bedevil means: bedevil vb -ils, -illing, -illed US, -ils -iling, -iled (tr) 1. to harass or torment 2. to throw into confusion 3. to possess, as with a devil
If a word ever fit a movie perfectly, it'd be this one.
The masters of revenge are at it again. Korea is clearly the king of revenge cinema and after seeing Bedevilled, one can only conclude this will continue. From Chul-soo Jang, a former assistant director of Kim-Ki Duk who made his debut as director with Bedevilled, one can see his talent and style through and through.
Bedevilled is revenge cinema that will drive you nuts, pull at your emotions and above all make you think that all could have turned out differently if one only helped in a time of need. Sometimes lost in a tale of revenge is the fact that the victim hopes to solve their problems with help from the outside be it friends, family or the police. But when no help comes, they take it upon themselves to solve their problems. Bedevilled's Bok-nam our victim turned revenger illustrates this to a tee. In a world where bystanders do nothing to help her, are they worse than the man who abuses her?
It's these themes that make Bedevilled not just a good film but a great film. I haven't yelled out "Kill those motherfuckers!" at a film in a very long time. My emotions were rollercoasting all over the place and when you see it, yours will to.
Ice-cold bank clerk, Hae-Won, knows she must be pitiless to live in a pitiless world. Let the punks muggers slide, it’s not your problem; let an old woman lose her new house because of a clerical error, you’re not on overtime. She’s stunning, she’s brilliant, and she’s finally figured out how a woman can get ahead in business: by being colder than the men. Now she’s going on vacation.
A hellish “women’s picture” from the wrong side of the mirror, BEDEVILLED is a harrowing tale of women, culture, society, humanity, and what we can become. When Hae-Won ventures back to her grandfather’s home on remote Moo-do Island, she finds it much like she remembers it from her childhood: an untamed hellhole populated by a handful of ruddy-faced men and old women bleached orange by the sun. Her childhood friend, Bok-Nam (Seo Young-Hee), eagerly awaits her arrival, desperate for human contact.
All is not well on Moo-do Island, a misogynistic anti-Eden where the women work in the fields from dawn to dusk and prey on each other in competition for the savage, square-faced brutes they call their men. When her vicious husband begins eyeing their young daughter, Bok-Nam turns desperate, begging the cold-hearted Hae-Won for help escaping to civilization, but when tragedy strikes, their sick little island paradise will never be the same.
Well let's break this down by the definition shall we?
1.) to harass or torment
In any revenge story, there has to be a level of abuse. However, in Bedevilled the abuse is not just done by one, but by many. A collective of rural farmers and islanders inhabit Moo-do Island and they are pure, uncaring evil.
But as the story starts out, we follow Hae Won who gives us a taste of what living in Seoul, South Korea is like. As a woman, one must beware of the evils of men be it on the streets (where she witnesses a crime or the office). As she vacations on her grandfather's house in Moo-do Island, it suddenly becomes clear the same problems she was trying to escape from are here as well.
Her friend, Bok-Nam who has relentlessly plea-ed with Hae Won to visit is more than glad when she does. But soon we and her see the level of torment she must go through everyday. Her husband physically abuses her and sleeps with whores, the "aunties" believe men are far superior and they do all the farm work. She's raped by her husband's brother and her daughter is clearly being pedophiled as well. When she's stung by bees antagonized by her husband he retorts "put been paste on it".
It's a hellish life and we see it in all its distasteful glory. It's hard to watch and we the audience become angry. I felt intense flames from the side of my face and I wanted Bok-nam to "kill those motherfuckers". Like I said I've never felt this angry in a while. Bedevilled effectively makes you feel for Bok-nam and her plight. We also question why she just doesn't leave the island. But like an inner city youth stuck in his/her neighborhood or a person who lives in rural America, it's not that easy to leave the only life you've known.
2.) to throw into confusion
After more abuse Bok-nam and her daughter try to escape which leads to a tragedy. A conspiracy is employed by all the islanders with the husband, his brother, the boat driver and the aunties to cover up the crime. Hae Won now tries to escape as well seeing her vacation paradise become hell.
The performance of Yeong-hie Seo as Bok-Nam is utterly brilliant. She displays a level of talent going from hopeless victim to despair to psychopathic assassin. It's no wonder why she's won tons of best actress awards from various film festivals. She acts as one would act when under the thumb of an abuser, displays a few moments of levity and weeps as a mother would weep.
It's no surprise that when she snaps, we see her working in the potato fields and looking up at the sun. As she has a moment of clarity she says to her aunties: “I stared into the sun for long, and it spoke to me.”
Cue the death metal music. 3.) to possess, as with a devil
As Bok-nam goes all killer incarnate armed with a scythe, there is no way any sane person didn't want her to go all Terminator. It's pure revenge envy and probably the most enjoyable murderous spree you will see onscreen. I really can't believe I wrote that last sentence. Bok-nam is possessed to kill all who's done her wrong and as her victims beg for mercy and curse her with their last breath, we want her to taunt them right before they're executed.
Revenge cinema is the only time we side with one person throughout the entire film. We are Bok-nam's guardian angel hinting her to kill em all. That's the objective of revenge cinema, to have the audience throw out logic and order (like the law and the moral objections) and to root for the victim turned victor as she slaughters the torturers.
It's all about emotion and the one thing that Bedevilled does well is play with ours in the most rawest of ways. Bad people do bad things (MAKES US ANGRY). Good people do bad things (MAKES US HAPPY).
If your looking for Bedevilled to have a look and feel of Chan Wook Park, you're not to far off. But Korean cinema never makes a mockery or satire out of the revenge-sploitation. It treats its material with respect with and with a level of humanity. In some parts, it becomes a Lifetime Movie of the Week and the ending is a double whammy of sorts. I think I counted 3 or 4 potential scenes where I thought it would end but it kept going.
My only other gripes is figuring that the evil people who abuse Bok-nam are one dimensional characters designed to trigger Bok-nam's metamorphosis into a methodical killer.
Bedevilled is a magnificent piece of Korean revenge cinema that poses a question of whether or not doing nothing when witnessing evil is equal to or worse than the evil doer themselves. It's a question sociologists have tried to figure out for years, and one where nobody really has the answer. But you won't be shaking your head after you've seen Bedevilled. You'll be wanting bloodlust and revenge and you'll get it.
See? The Japanese are just like Hollywood. Sometimes you run out of ideas and have to remake old TV shows. You didn't think America was the only country to take a cheesy 70s television show and remake it for the big screen did you?
Karate Robo Zaborgar from the outtakes at then end of the film seemed like a 60s Batman meets robot anime kind of TV show. Who else but Noboru Iguchi would remake this into a full fledged movie. Iguchi who has given us RoboGeisha and The Machine Girl (whose trailer went viral in America) is not new to the half robot half human dynamic. It's a Japanese WTF film pure and simple. You either love em or hate em.
I absolutely enjoyed the shit out of The Machine Girl but somehow KRZ is a little too wacky and cheesy in my book. That's not to say it doesn't have it's moments. Full of flying robots, human/borg hybrids, 90 foot tall Japanese teenage girl cyborg and bulldog tanks, I was fully awe inspired by the idiot-tacracy of it all. But I thought back to recent Japanese WTF films which I thought blew my mind. Big Man Japan is an absolute classic awesome WTF film that is coherent at it is crazy.
KRZ is also way to long running at 140 minutes! What you are essentially watching is 2 hour long episodes of a remade TV show. KRZ is 50% wacky and 25% absurd and 25% WTF. You have to make sure you brain is shut off to enjoy the film and when you do, it somehow gives you laughs you are shocked that you enjoy.
Daimon (Yasuhisa Furuhara) and his motorcycle/robot pal/karate expert, Zaborgar, protect the citizens of Japan from flying cyborg heads and samurai kissing monsters. But when Daimon falls in love with the villainous Miss Borg (Mami Yamasaki), the two buds have a falling out that could ruin everything. Any further summary would read like the scribblings of the world’s coolest, most cracked-out 13 year old: the plot is a 50 car pile-up of smackdowns, wild comedy and robot rugby girls with chest dragons. Iguchi, finally armed with a real budget, packs the screen with gonzo spectacle and delivers the kind of movie that leaves your ribs bruised from giggling and your face aching from grinning too much.
It’s not all wine and robots, though: when the film jumps ahead 25 years to show what happens when a hero is forgotten, Iguchi’s not kidding around. Like all of the wildest dreamers, he wants you to believe as much as he does. As Daimon himself, now a slouching schlub with an aching back (Itsuji Itao), proclaims, “Though diabetic…though over the hill…if one keeps trying, one can fight until the last moment.” That’s the spirit, and it’s the message of Iguchi’s joyously retro rock-out.
Awesome Review-O-MaticYou read the plot above? Go ahead I'll wait. Done? OK good.
Basically set as a 2 part episode, KRZ follows young Daimon and his adventures with his motorcycle transforming Zaborgar as they battle the evil Sigma who wants to basically destroy Japan. Dr. Akunomiya is the evil mastermind behind Sigma and he has a beautiful Miss Borg as his #1. As we see Daimon and ZABORGAR!!!! (who he can order to change into a motorcycle and fight in various martial arts styles) battle the evil henchmen, he also has to decide which is the greater evil. Sigma who murdered his father or the Japanese bureaucracy who are evil and greedy as well.
From bulldog tanks, football robot vixens to diarrhea robots, Daimon and Zaborgar battle with quirky karate and flying boomerang blades. I mean the fembots have monster demon heads coming out of their boobs and butt. You kind of know what the deal is when it comes to the Japanese. They love over the top cheesiness. It makes Troma look like a Michael Bay film.
The movie jumps 25 years later and the world is again threatened by Sigma. But now he's battling his son and his daughter, a unforeseen union by Miss Borg and himself. More wackiness ensues climaxed by Akiko his daughter being transformed into a skyscraper tall half robot half human killing machine.
The movie follows what seems to be the plot of the TV children's show. In the outtakes at the end, we see the same scenes from the movie as they were first aired on the TV show. It's hilarious bad in terms of quality but this is from the same industry that had a man in a dinosaur suit smashing cardboard cutouts of a city.
I'll admit, I liked KRZ for it's inexplicable way it can show me something I've never seen before. I indeed laughed a few times at some crude jokes as well as some timely social pop culture humor. Also seeing a giant robot muy thai another robot makes me smile. We often watch something on YouTube that comes from Japan and we usually go "Oh those wacky Japanese!" Well this is a movie where Western audiences will overload in all that is completely wacky and fun about fighting robot motorcycle transformers.
Like I said, it's a little too long and there really is so much you can take when you have to watch 2+ hours of this. Karate Robo Zaborgar is Sushi Typhoon and Iguchi's wink to Western cult audiences. You watch the trailer and you say "I gotta see this crazy Japanese movie! It looks fuckin awesome!" And it's clearly as awesome as advertised. But then you also realize the jokes are corny and the humor a little tasteless. And it's really really over the top.
It starts to remind you of a certain American robot movie.
Keeping up with all the films Takashi Miike makes is like a full time job. I just haven't had time to watch his recent flicks. I've got The Great Yokai War sitting on my computer, I passed up multiple chances to see Miike's latest film 13 Assassins and for some unknown reason I keep figuring I'll checkout Yatterman eventually.
So I decided I wouldn't let Ninja Kids!!! World Premiere at the NYAFF pass me by. The film isn't even out in Japan yet! So I was one of the lucky people last weekend who would be the first to see Miike's latest flick. Miike's been all kinds of serious with his samurai movies (13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai are critically acclaimed soon to be masterpieces). But I was itching to see vintage weirdo Miike. Where was my Ichi/Happiness of the Katakuris/Zebraman/Dead or Alive Miike? Well it seems he was saving all his WTF crazy and put it all into Ninja Kids.
Ninja Kids is like Spy Kids on acid. Think Harry Potter but with over the top ninjas and slapstick comedy. It's a cute Japanese family film with a Miike insanity mixed in. And it works from start to finish. It's super duper funny, has some dog poop humor and a ton of CGI madness that only Miike could think up. Based on a long running Japanese TV show called Rantaro the Ninja Boy, it's filled with humor that's international in the LOLs. It's got visual wackiness, self aware parodies and villains that are basically clowns with swords and ninja stars.
What you get is a family comedy that leaves you feeling freakin awesome after you leave the theater. Ninja Kids is heartwarming Japanese wackiness, the Miike way.
Boring Plot-O-Matic Exchanging noble samurai for kid ninjas has let Miike get back in touch with his wild side. This big budget, big screen version of popular Japanese kid’s show Rantaro the Ninja Boy (running for 1,437 episodes and counting!) this is like Harry Potter if Harry Potter was a ninja who hid underground and killed people with bamboo darts and ninja bombs.
Young Rantaro is from a family of low class ninjas and he’s sent off to first grade at Ninja School by his parents who hope that one day he’ll grow up to be a respectable middle class ninja. But he’s hardly at school for five minutes when a classmate – literally – has the snot beaten out of him, the headmaster starts exploding and more wild and wooly ninja tricks than you can hit with a throwing star are zipping off the screen. Awesome Review-O-Matic
Seishirô Katô is a popular child actor in Japan. In Ninja Kids!!! he plays Rantaro, who goes off to Ninja School so that he can fulfull his parents wishes of becoming a great ninja instead of a "low class ninja". Here he meets his classmates who range from a sleepy kid with snotty nose to a soon to be gun marksman to an orphan who brings his babysitting work to class!
Suffice it to say, they go to each class and learn the ways of the ninja. From ninja stars to climbing to explosives, it's all in a school day when training to be a master ninja. They are taught by Mr. Doi, their sensei and a dean of students who has a knack of dodging ninja stars and landing in dog poop.
Rantaro has some Ferris Bueller qualities. He breaks the 4th wall and talks to the audience. The film is totally self aware. In the middle of battles a mysterious disfigured ninja breaks through the setting literally and explains a particular weapon. It's completely WTF and it's just plain super awesome. Ninja Kids is full of other wacky moments and you never know what you'll see next.
As Rantaro and his fellow 1st graders learn from their masters, they also start observing the other grades. 2nd to 5th are all represented and are getting quite good at their art. From the art of deception to explosives to booby trapping and also plain old kicking ass, the ninja academy is quite the student body.
Well eventually we get a plot which to say the least isn't the best in the world. From what I can gather, some other ninja clans are out to kill friends of Mr. Doi. This leads to some assassination attempts that are foiled by the students. In the final scenes, the masters enact a contest where the evil ninja clan must race with the 1st graders to ring a bell on top of a mountain. It's a hilarious conclusion where Grades 1-5 outsmart their not so smart and hideous looking henchmen ninjas in a variety of ways. Along the way we're treated to various WTF moments that could only come from across the Pacific on those islands of Japan.
The humor is top notch, never losing anything in translation. All the jokes hit the mark and others well they hit the outer rings. When our bad guys get pounded, we see bright red ping pong balls on their head which represent their "lumps" in a cartooney way. Sure, not all the jokes work but Miike has a way of figuring out what Japanese and Western audiences will find funny and when somebody falls in a hole with his bomb, that's just universally cartoon funny.
Ninja Kids!!! is a Japanese family film I'd take my 10 year old and 6 year old nephews too. I saw a lot of kids in the audience and people of all ages. The crowd was laughing in pure ecstasy from all the visual gags and one liners that were relentlessly onscreen.
Sure I'll be catching up on all my Miike films eventually. I hear 13 Assassins has a insane hour long battle scene and Yatterman is also an live action anime filled with craziness. I prefer my Miike with a side of WTF and a steaming cup of cuteness. Takashi Miike is sort of like the Robert Rodriguez of Japan. Rodriguez will follow up a grindhouse masterpiece like Machete with Spy Kids 4. The only difference is Miike makes more films in a year than R.R. does in 3.
And his kid's flicks are just plain better.
Cartooney violence without the anvils WTF moment Snot kid's snot is elastic
I'm going to give this 3 and a half spinkicks. I'm only knocking half a spinkick because the plot was a little too goofy for my taste. Also, there were a few moments of musical flashbacks that didn't click for me and weren't that funny. Maybe something lost in translation?
Well when it comes to horror, one can always feel proud to be an American when it comes to zombies. Sure we didn't come up with the idea of zombies (it's from African and Haitan folklore) but American born George Romero made zombies as popular as apple pie.
Vampires were brought to the masses via Stoker and werewolves from Greece. But zombies have felt always American and we can't get enough of the undead. And we all think that because we're a gun obsessed violent nation we can survive a zombie horde. When in the video below, that might not always be the case.
The crew at Rooster Teeth put it to the test. Check out the results. And oh yeah, Happy Independence Day!
It's BKO: Bangkok Knockout which is without a doubt, the best action movie of 2011 (premiering in NYC at the NYAFF 2011). This is to be expected from Panna Rittikrai, legendary director of Born to Fight and fight coordinator for Ong Bak and Chocolate. He's made Tony Jaa ad Jeeja Yanin household names when it comes to action cinema.
BKO raises the bar of Thai action films so high, it's going to be hard to top it unless we get a sequel. The level of stunts, choreographed fight scenes and adrenaline pumping action sequences is so over the top and so off the charts it's a testament to Rittikrai's fight team's talent and threshold for pain.
One must dismiss the bad acting, the ridiculous cartooney plot and bodily harm logic when it comes to BKO. Like porn, these are only set ups to get to the money shot. And the money shots come shooting faster, harder and longer than anything I've ever see come out. (Sorry the puns write themselves).
BKO is an orgy and ballet of violence set to a soundtrack. You won't know the names of the characters or care if the bad guys get their comeuppance. Seriously, it's not important. As long as you were mesmerized by the punches, kicks, double kicks, double punches and the synchronized attacks, BKO has done it's job.
Boring Plot-O-Matic Rittkrai is a legend in Thai action cinema. The director of Born to Fight and fight coordinator for such classics as Ong Bak and Chocolate, he was the star of many action films in the 70s and 80s, and is famously a mentor to some of the top action superstars working today, including Tony Jaa (Ong Bak), Dan Chupong (Dynamite Warrior) and Jija Yanin (Chocolate). BKO features a range of martial art disciplines. A group of 'fight club' pals whose styles vary from Muay Thai and Capoeira to Kung Fu and Tai Chi must fight for their lives when one of their friends is kidnapped. Awesome Review-O-Matic
I was going to give a breakdown of each fight scenes but there are like 30 of them. In any case, the range of fighting styles is on display going from Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Capoeira and free running. But before we talk about the fights, let's get that pesky plot out of the way.
So basically a Thai stunt team wins a contest to go to Hollywood to work for an American businessman. But in reality it's all a ploy to have the evil stunt team try to kick their ass. In between this crazy Wile E. Coyote plot is a group of gamblers led by the evil American business dude who are betting on who wins each fight.
And that's not all folks. We've got some kooky love triangle, twists and betrayals and a boat load of revenge themes that rear their ugly heads as this crazy movie chugs along. The movie has tons of comedy in it to which somehow feels screwbally and probably is designed for a Thai audience. Oh and there is indeed an appearance from a lady boy fighter.
But at the end of the day, you're here to see the sex....err I mean action scenes. And there are plenty of em. Taking place in an abandoned warehouse that seems to go on for like freakin forever, you've got gangbangs, double teams and threesomes. Seriously, I'm talking about the action.
There is a killer fight scene in a caged off area that's pure awesomeness with aerial kicks I've never seen before. A boy lady?!? takes on one of our good guys ending in a slo mo water fighting sequence. We also get a masked man with an ax sustain high levels of Ryu and Ken kicking ending in a flaming ax.
And get this! They added a Fast and Furious killer car to the mix as our heroes dodge being run over. In all of this somehow our hero Pom or Pod, I forget his name has to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend.
Even more fighting with metal bars, a sequence of free running (aka parkour) and our hero battling his arch nemesis tops it all off. And at some point, you're going "That's it right?" They can't possibly top that Matrix like finishing move can they?
But they keep going.
The beauty of these action sequences is that they've taken tons of hard work to get it right. I'm pretty sure everything filmed was of the non CGI variety (fuck you Hollywood...this is how fight scenes are done). I applaud our heroes and their level of talent but I also have to applaud the henchmen getting their ass kicked. It's teamwork that makes all these fight sequences work. Sure the masked evil stunt team is waiting to get kicked but their absorbing the most damage. The editing that also has to be done was pretty solid. But to see that the timing has to be just right and the punches and kicks have to be measured carefully is quite a sight. This is what makes a Rittikrai movie legendary.
And they did keep going. The ending is an orgy and I seriously mean orgy of violence. Fights are taking place all over the warehouse and eventually we even get some gun play. A sequence below a moving truck is insanely awesome as is a juxtaposed fight scene between 2 of our other heroes versus motorcycle bad guys.
BKO: Bangkok Knockout is not going to win best acting awards but it wins the award I'm about to make up. The Jaded Viewer Action WTF holy kick orgy of violence Award for 2011 goes to BKO. If Ong Bak 2 and 3 have left you feeling like Tony Jaa has lost his touch, BKO will make it all better.
Action porn is back and it's better than ever.
Not so much
It's action porn, not real porn
WTF moment Large metal mask wearing flaming ax guy
I'm going to give this 3 spinkicks. The bad acting, ridiculous plot and my biggest gripe.....there were no outtakes at the end! I always look forward to seeing the outtakes as I appreciate what the stunt team goes through.