Sunday, June 29, 2014

Unicentennial man

We do things in the hunnerds around here.

We've been eating Gamera, part VI: Whistle while you DIE

Gamera isn't the most important, or the most influential, or the most popular Japanese monster.  That just means the Guardian of the Universe may have to content himself with simply being the best.  This series of reviews is dedicated to my very favorite turtle.

(Gamera Tai Daimaju Jaiga)

And here we are, at the beginning of the end.  Luckily it begins again in 1995, but we have some miles to go before we sleep.  On the plus (?) side, this is the one where Gamera gets raped.

Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Written by Nisan Takahashi
With Umenosuke Izumi (Gamera), Tsutomo Takakuwa (Hiroshi), Kelly Varis (Christopher), and Kon Omura (Dad)

Spoiler alert: severe

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dragons without dungeons, part II: He says "red" a lot during dragon training


If the aesthetic problems of the first are addressed and then some, every issue the shaky background mythology could possibly have is trebled and jammed right into your soft, quivering brain.  How to Train Your Dragon 2 is recommended for the audiovisual splendor, and for the occasional awesome character moment that rarely (or never) quite pays off on its promise, and for not too much else at all.

Written and directed by Dean DeBlois (based on the book series by Cressida Cowell)
With Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), Cate Blanchett (Valka), America Ferrara (Astrid), Gerard Butler (Stoick), Craig Ferguson (Gobber), and Djimon Hounsou (Drago)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dragons without dungeons, part I: Are you out of your Viking mind?


It really is one of the best animated films of the 21st century.  Which, I'll note, is a low bar to clear.

Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
Written by William Davies, Adam Goldberg, Chris Sanders, and Dean DeBlois (based on the book by Cressida Cowell)
With Jay Baurchel (Hiccup), Gerard Butler (Stoick), Craig Ferguson (Gobber), America Ferrara (Astrid), and Frank Welker (Toothless) (not really, but sound designer Randy Thom does a great job, doesn't he?)

Spoiler alert: severe

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Truly dicks


An epic serial killer procedural that can stand with the best of them, no matter the medium.  Not that there are, on reflection, that many of those in the first place, and not that True Detective doesn't rip off the few there are whenever it feels like it.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
Written by Nic Pizzolotto
With Matthew McConaughey (Rust Cohle), Woody Harrelson (Marty Hart), and Michelle Monaghan (Maggie Hart)

Spoiler alert: severe
Content warning: the horror of pen-and-ink nudity

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I have a little shadow


The Double is a brilliant work of psychological horror that inhabits the mental illness of isolation while it deconstructs the masculine identity.  If that sounds too pretentious, as it damned well should, The Double is an absolutely stunning example of the ability of cinematography and production design to create a nightmare world that is as compelling as it is repellant.  Since that's still a mite too stuffy, how about this: The Double is an arthouse Fight Club for the 21st century, that looks like Dark City, and involves Jesse Eisenberg being an asshole to himself (and everyone else) for a solid hour and a half, and it's really great.

Directed by Richard Ayoade
Written by Avi Korine and Richard Ayoade (based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
With Jesse Eisenberg (Simon James), Jesse Eisenberg (James Simon), Mia Wasikowska (Hannah), Noah Taylor (Harris), and Wallace Shawn (Mr. Papadopoulos)

Spoiler alert: mild

Friday, June 6, 2014

And I'm hanging on a moment with you


Groundhog Day meets Aliens meets Saving Private Ryan meets the parts of the Halo games where I got frustrated and went back to headshotting n00bs with my BR in multiplayer.  But this is, with some caveats, very good.

Directed by Doug Liman
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth (based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka)
With Tom Cruise (Bill Cage) and Emily Blunt (Rita Vrataski)

Spoiler alert: high

Monday, June 2, 2014

Worse lieutenant


I might say things about other movies like "You'll never see it coming!" in regards to a great twist or surprising denouement, but with Filth, I mean it, and I mean it in regards to every single scene.  This is insanity on film.

Written and directed by Jon S. Baird (based on the novel by Irvine Welsh)
With James McAvoy (Detective Sergeant Bruce)

Spoiler alert: mild