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Aku no kyôten (2012)
Another Miike, and this played at a festival, celebrating Miikes 100th movie! Yes that is a lot! And he already had 101 lined up for another festival for autumn 2017 (so that played there, though I haven't seen the newest one, while he probably is shooting 102 and 103). Some may watch the movies and try to learn from Teacher Miike. Not all teachers should be idolized of course.
What about the one who is the main character in this one? A great acting job and a difficult one. I had no idea where the movie was going with this and I was just going with the flow. I won't spoil anymore other than there is a lot of violence and a lot of blood. So if you are easily offended, this may not be for you. It's not only lesson, but also charisma of the evil ...
Kiri Kiri Kiri
After you watch the movie, you will understand my summary. I won't spoil that for you beforehand though. What I can tell you, is that the first time I watched this, I was completely bummed. It was the first Miike movie I saw and I probably just couldn't handle what I was experiencing. Upon the second viewing (more recently), I have to admit, the movie is pretty sick (multiple senses).
There are still things that I think could be smoothed over or that are maybe a bit too weird, for a otherwise "normal" movie (at least until a certain point). Saying too much about the story or reading too much about it, might not really give you too many spoilers (it's hard to explain what is going on throughout the movie), but it is better to just experience it without too much reading into the movie. You can still do that after you saw it.
This drama that turns quite sideways, but has hints of it being more than the drama you may expect our main character (single father) is about to have ...
Double Date (2017)
Double the fun?
A double date itself can be a nice thing. Unless you are going on a date with someone wicked I guess. So we do get an introduction to our two female co-leads and know what they are capable of. And then we get a sort of Joey-Chandler combo with our male main characters (from the TV Show "Friends", in case you don't know those names). And there is a lot of humor amongst the horror.
There are some decent effects and quite a few of the jokes are really good. Not everything works good enough though to make this a top dog contender though. We do have a certain path, that is predictable, but I wouldn't hold this too much against the movie. You know from the get go, where this is leading. What it does is almost holding that fine line between horror and comedy throughout. If that is your thing, enjoy
The Crucifixion (2017)
Another possession ... or is it?
It is a horror movie, but it does have a non-believer in the lead. Obviously it tries to keep this as real as possible and if I'm not mistaken this was based on a real story. I can't and don't want to keep up with this stuff. It shouldn't matter unless you care about that label (most do in a negative light).
But there have been worse horror movies and while it does serve the clichés (with jump and false scares aplenty), it does have decent story to tell. The motivation of our main female character is somewhat comprehensible and makes sense most of the time. Not every (bad) decision she makes, just her drive behind why she wants that story. Acting is OK, and overall it is watchable.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Claustrophobia (as in Horror)
For over a year I had heard about this movie, so there was quite some expectation that build up, even before I watched it. And the only thing I knew was that very vivid poster. I didn't even see the cast list (Brian Cox? Very nice). So watching this without any real input, I could enjoy this (or be frightened by it) as much as possible.
The acting is really good, which was to be expected with the people attached. Obviously there is nudity, though not titillating (at least it is not meant to be). And while there is horror, this tries not to score points with gore, but rather with an atmosphere it builds. The story may be slim, but the setting is so crystal clear, that you get into the mood and the mindset of the people involved. It really messes you up, in a really good way. The credit and the good word of mouth this received are very well deserved
Let me clear the air from the start: Do not even begin to compare this "What we do in the shadows". They're both comedies and they are both with and about vampires. But very different in style and some of the humor too. The pseudo documentary (reality TV) aspect of the mentioned other movie makes it apparent, but I can tell you that some people at the festival I watched it, drew the comparison.
If you can let go of that, you will be able to enjoy a movie, that is more than decent, if you are not too Christian and/or easily offended. The jokes are not all hits and the movie felt like it slowed down midway through. But pacing issues aside, this was still fun to watch and had quite a few (crazy) things going for it
Mugen no jûnin (2017)
Swords and Drama
A long time ago, my introduction to Miike didn't quite work for me. My first experiences with his movies were weird and not satisfying to say the least. But that happens sometimes when you see something you are not used too. This is his 100th (!!!!) movie, yes you read that right, and he already had his 101 played at some festival in the summer, so who knows how many he has done in the meantime.
But with this one, he kind of stays in a classic story line. You still get a bit of crazy, but it's pretty straightforward. So the story of Swordsman who finds himself in more than a bind due to his "life"-circumstances (a curse of sorts), is bitter, until a woman comes and asks him for help. We do know where this is going, but it still is filled with colorful characters, some very nice action scenes and a general sense of having fun while watching it all unfold! Predictable it may be, but that does not take anything away from the movie in the end
... of a movie
Nervous breakdown anyone? I guess we can feel with the woman. If not you are as much of a jerk than her husband. And while Mr. Ritter is usually more of a nice guy on screen, he couldn't be further away with his role here. Actually he is so far off the cliff, that it starts hurting. Not just the viewer, but the movie as well.
Of course the main character has to have flaws he has to overcome so the audience will root for him in the end. But this is not just a 180 turn. This is like Exorcist like spinning when we arrive towards the end of the movie. So much spinning, that it's almost a surprise not all ended up crawling on the floor.
The thing is, for people to care, you have to walk a fine line. Something Ritter either isn't capable of (charisma-wise) and/or the script isn't giving him a chance. And that is before all the convenient stuff that happens (open doors, smelling only when needed for drama purposes and so forth).
Now every movie has logic issues if you really break them down, but the good ones have saving Graces. Why no one interferes, why the story (for "comedic purposes") just roles on like that ... it's obvious and you have to lower your bar quite a bit - to acknowledge the good intention of the movie and weigh them in a big way. If you can do that - well you probably have already voted dislike on my comment... but good for you and I mean that
Trench 11 (2017)
Another Bunker style movie. And while I do have a heart for them, there is one major ingredient missing here, that would make it really good. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad, I'd say it is decent, but without any real charisma from our main characters, the connection between the viewer and the "heroes" is missing.
There are a couple of stabs at giving at least one of them a bit of a backstory (it's the "expert" in underground tunneling), but it's not enough to make us care too much. We know that something is seriously wrong with a bunker like that. Especially when Nazis are involved. So while the period/time piece does work, and the effects are good for a low budget movie, there could have been a better result in other departments. If you just watch it to pass time and/or are a fan of close spaced horror/action, than you could do worse
Mad Men (2007)
Classic (look back)
Jon Hamm is as appealing in this as he is appalling. You may feel stronger with one of those than the other, but while he is the number one character in this, there is a lot more going on here, than might meet the eye. Especially at first, you may not be able to see it. The women are as much part of the whole show as the (Mad) Men. You could even argue that they have a lot more going on at times.
The show itself is slow paced though, which may not go down well with some viewers. You really have to be in the mood for the show, for the setting, the time line and all that surrounds it. I know that Jon was hated as much as he was loved by viewers. Because he had so many flaws, but was also intriguing and had that extra special charisma going for him. It's almost impossible to not be enamored by him.
Some lingo may not work or may be confusing too, but in the context, you'll never lose sight of things. You don't have to be in the advertising or management business or having lived ages ago. This does work as a bit of a history lesson. And the acting is superb. Of course as with many (recent) shows, it makes sense to have watched all the seasons from the start ... it's character building, even if nuanced