So here’s the rest of the movie reviews… now delving a bit deeper into some strange movie lore.
Die Familie mit dem umgekehrten Düsenantrieb (The Crazy Family)
trailer: not available
After one dysfunctional family-movie what could be more fitting than the Japanese perspective of familial disharmony? It’s one of the weirdest movies I’ve seen so far (and I’ve seen quite a few), but this is Japanese, so what do you expect? What made it extremely weird was the fact that all the characters acted and reacted in ways you usually don’t find in reality. Or do you? First it sounds pretty hard to believe the father digging a hole through the kitchen to build a room for his grandfather. Then you also have the small daughter who dresses up like a… yes, like a whore at one point even though it should be the costume of a diva actress. Another strange character is the son who is always learning for exams and rarely leaves his room which is full of strange devices right out of a sci-fi movie.
But if you look past the surface of strangeness, you see some underlying message. You have the father who desperately tries to hold the family together (even though he thinks everyone is mad except himself) and is exhausted from the business world, you have the daughter who’s obsessed with glamour and celebrity glory, you have the son who completely breaks down under the pressure of the school syste, etc.
So there’s a method in the madness you witness. It might be a bit over the top and silly at times, but all in all it’s a trash movie which is still relevant today.
It’s maybe a bit unfair to review this movie as I only saw the first twenty or thirty minutes. But it was enough to get annoyed by its style and cheapness. I saw the first movie which a lot of people hailed as a very experimental masterpiece. Experimental it was, masterpiece it wasn’t. Now if you consider two Japanese guys chasing each other in black and white the whole time fun, I won’t argue. It worked later with „Crank“, but the original Japanese movie is already outdated as it didn’t really tell a story, had interesting characters or even memorable set pieces.
So what did the second part do? It tried to tell a story, but you already get a sense of déjà-vue in the first ten minutes. Not talking about the really bad special effects and make-up, this movie just didn’t have any redeemable quality, not even for a trash flick. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t gory and it definitely wasn’t worth watching for the rest of the 80 minutes… as far as I could tell.
Maybe it had a little bit to do with the TV-quality and my problem with Japanese over-the-top-trash in general. Honestly I don’t really remember any good trash from Japan. Obviously I should try out more, but this wasn’t the right choice to broaden my horizon.
Another trash movie being the first zombie horror splatter flick from Greece. Unfortunately the inexperience of the director and his limited budget show. The splatter scenes are not the problem, they’re actually well made, but there are a couple of really annoying things:
The music is repetitive and a horrible mixture of electronic techno beats which rarely fit the scenes. The mixture of drama and comedy doesn’t really work, even though there are some interesting characters. But the characters themselves don’t show their true potential. So all that is left is an apocalyptic atmosphere with abandoned buildings and empty streets, mixed with a lot of splatter scene. Still nothing to get really excited about. Why there’s a sequel to that is a mystery to me. But maybe the director can still make a good movie if he has the money he didn’t have with his debut. If at first you don’t succeed…
After some long time of not seeing any Hong Kong movies, except Jackie Chan’s latest and excellent „Little Big Soldier“, it was a little bit hard to imagine a fight movie to get my attention. But Donnie Yen nailed it with his first fight. Together with some dry humor and amazing stunt choreography which made me wince when feet and fists hit the other body parts, this was a really good movie.
Only the story and characters themselves didn’t really interest me. Maybe it had to do with the political stuff I didn’t know much about or it was the length of the movie. Still there were quite some touching moments, further enhanced by the excellent musical score.
Expectations are always high if you find a comparison between „Keiler“ (or „Chow“) and “The Host”. But of course the truth is that the marketing always lies, as both movies deal with very different subject matters and have a different tone and atmosphere.
„Keiler“ is something in between. It has the mountain region and small village as the background atmosphere and some family-related things of the monster movie. The monster itself is well animated in CGI, although I have to say „The Host“ was much more frightening. But then again I saw „Primeval“ before, and I don’t think any CGI monster can rival THAT one.
A major problem the movie faces is its running length. It’s 2 hours, just like in „The Host“, but there are two many branching storylines and characters which are followed and developed that it feels a bit too much at times. In „The Host“ you had a clear sense of the family member special abilities or flaws, here you don’t really care so much for them, even though it’s the same Hunt-The-Monster idea, except for the absense of the military forces.
It’s maybe a bit unfair to compare them, as the humor in „Keiler“ is brilliant at some points. Just at the beginning you seen those police officers falling down a hill which was so over-the-top silly that it was pure genius to show the stupidity of the village police force. Maybe „Keiler“ is not so much a monster movie, but a commentary on the village life.
After so much controversial, political, extreme horror stuff… what is that? Hot chicks kicking ass? On an island? With beachball?! Yes, the movie is what the trailer and front cover promise. Nothing more and nothing less, and that’s the good thing about it.
Movie adaptations of games have always been problematic because they stayed too far away from the original template. Even „Mortal Kombat“ tried to tell a story while the game itself didn’t have one. „Streetfighter“ was a simple Beat’em’Up with no story, so the first movie tried to flesh out the characters and brought them together in some weird ways. Results: Both movies failed… but spawned some TV-series and sequels.
Now with „Dead or Alive“, a Beat’em’Up-series which, like Streetfighter II, doesn’t really have a story or great characters, the worst is to be expected. But it actually works… BECAUSE it doesn’t take itself seriously. It knows exactly what it wants, or what the (male) audience wants.
When I saw the remake of „Charlie’s Angels“ I was pretty disappointed (except some parts with Bill Murray) as it was too much „in your face sexiness“. Strangely enough, there’s only so much sexiness you can take.
And „Dead or Alive“ works. It also has some kick-ass fight scenes, but who cares about the story? It’s not really relevant. You want to see how the beachball game ends, don’t you? Right, sometimes it’s the small things that count and make you smile.