OG- 'Reviews' You Up

→ in
Tools    





In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Jumeogi Unda/Crying Fist, directed by Seung-wan Ryoo, 2005



I'd of hoped my return to reviews would be more triumphant than this, but it's hard when a movie is as uninteresting as Crying Fist was.

I've sat here for several minutes, just thinking about what to write about the film, but nothing worthwhile comes to mind. I can't muster anything substantial to write about. It is long, the first hour crawls by slower than a sloth with down syndrome and a broken leg. The characters are dry shells of stereotypes. The situations in the film become more and more bland as the film goes on. Oh, and apparently going to jail in Korea for assault and robbery that results in a person's death means you get to go to boxing camp and if you have a relative die while in "prison", they'll just let you leave for a bit - no biggie.

The music isn't appealing at all. The cinematography is highly enjoyable in the first half, but then you're reminded that although it looks pretty this movie is not about anything enjoyable, thus reducing you to sadness again. The actual boxing segments are about as intense as a coma. Bah, the entire film is just anticlimactic!

It is as if every single person involved with the production of this film had never actually watched a boxing match or even a movie about boxing. Save for boxing gloves, nothing in this film even resembles what boxing is all about. Actually, I take that back for the 135 minute run time is more of an endurance test than 12 rounds in the ring.

1 out of 5

The One Sentence Review - Crying Fist is all swings and no punches; the worst boxing film that isn't even remotely about boxing, boxers or even human beings.
__________________
Horror's Not Dead
Latest Movie Review(s): Too lazy to keep this up to date. New reviews every week.



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Memories of Murder, directed by Joon-ho Bong, 2003



I can and often do judge a movie by its cover. Why not? And that right there is one amazing piece of cover art. I also like to see what statement they choose to put on the poster/cover and who said it:
"A tense, old school crime pic with a dark edge that's not for the squeamish." - BBC Films
I'm sure it is the American in me, weened on serial killer pics like Se7en and Silence of the Lambs, but a quote like that puts one grimm expectation in my mind; sick, mutilated bodies a plenty. Now, I didn't watch this movie with the morbid hope I would see some intense gore, I wanted to see it simply because that cover art is rather stunning. If I could have a large print of it, I'd frame that baby on my wall.

But that right there is a defining characteristic of this film. It is beautiful, but my expectation was for something Se7en-esque - which it isn't. It is a far cry from an American styled serial killer film and I wish I hadn't had that expectation going into it; I'd of appreciated the begining much more without such expectations. There is no glorification of the detective process. The detectives in this film are so human and bareboned in nature that I initially faulted the film for it. In the begining I simply didn't buy the characters. They didn't fit in with my cultured schema of what a serial killer seeking detective should be. They provided me, the viewer, with absolutely no thought of comfort, which is what police officers should be doing. The things they did, in contrast to how I as a westerner expect police officers to behave, that seemed like the film was overtly going for a cheap laugh when in retrospect it was just being human.

It really is rather amazing what this film accomplishes by not adhering to the commonalities of the serial killer genre. There is no persistant threat created throughout the entire film. The serial killer isn't portrayed to the viewer (either directly or by proxy through the victims he leaves) as the penultimate evil doer; the killer is simply just a taker of life. When a victim does loose their life to the killer, it isn't over played or over acted, it is just taken at face value. The death portrayed in the film was masterfully handled. We are witness to a coroners examination of a rather decayed body, but the camera doesn't draw attention to the simple fact that it is a dead body despite the astounding makeup job that was done in creating the body. This is a common trait throughout the film. The things we (or at least I) expect to be glorified in a serial killer film (the killings, the killer, the inspection of the mutilated bodies) are indeed created with glory in mind as is evident from the detail put into them, but they're included only as background in the film. Rarely does the camera pay close attention to the details of the death and this trait alone is one of the chief things that I think makes this movie a resounding success.

It is very refreshing to watch a serial killer movie where the focus isn't specifically the serial killer, the victims or the case, but the handful of people trying to live their lives as detectives. It removes the forced expectation of a grand climax, a struggle between good and evil and replaces it with a real world, not some cinematic fantasy, and I applaud the film for it. It maintains a high level of humanity, though not necessairly morality, throughout. It is beautifully shot (one more film that convinces me Korea is one of the most beautifully photographed regions in the world) and wonderfully scored. The actors are all more than capable in their roles. Hell, even the extras are spot on. I really find little that I can hold against the film, it is just a stand up picture, highly enjoyable and highly recommendable. The 123 minute runtime was daunting at first, considering it isn't exactly the thriller that one may expect, but it breezed on by and managed to be interesting every step of the way. And the ending...The ending is all too human; perfect for the film.

Hats off, Joon-ho Bong, you've created a film that miraculously succeeds by being consistently inoffensive, despite the fact that it does have a very dark seam running through its fabric.



The One Sentence Review - Memories of Murder is probably the overall most pleasant serial killer film I've ever seen and certainly worth a watch to anyone with an open mind.



Thanks for the review OG- I love the art work as well.
__________________
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
Buddha



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Banlieue 13, Directed by Pierre Morel, 2004



I was first introduced to David Belle a year or two ago by the open-ended athletic arena he invented, parkour. You've seen parkour and probably don't even know it. You've probably even seen David Belle in a commercial or two and don't know it. He is the guy who can go from the bottom of a building to the top of the building without ever going inside the building. And then he'll jump onto the roof of another building just because he can.

Banlieue 13 is his first vehicle as an action star and this movie will cause him to break out onto the action scene faster than this breakout from the movie. David Belle and his co-star Cyril Raffaelli are at the top of their game in this movie. The athleticism displayed in this movie by these two is practically peerless these days (in westernized cinema at least). Jet Li and Jackie Chan are certainly capable of it, but the type of action films they do these days are so painfully choreographed that it limits their abilities. Tony Jaa displayed it in Ong-Bak, but the movie had its fair share of flaws.

But unlike Ong-Bak, this movie actually has interesting characters. The plot? In the future the French have developed such a problem with crime areas that they have created designated ghettos outside of Paris, where all the inhabitants are trapped inside by gigantic walls. So yes, the plot may not make a whole lot of sense, especially once a neutron bomb is introduced into it, but the characters create an interest in the story that the plot dumbs down. David Belle plays Leito, an inhabitant inside Banlieue 13 (borough 13) who is one of the few inside who aren't criminals. He gets put in jail on the outside for trying to do the right thing on the inside. Six months later, Damien (Cyril Raffaelli), a special forces commander, is forced to take Leito back into the ghetto to disarm the stolen bomb. Summarizing the story like that makes it sound even more generic than it is, but it is perfectly manageable and watchable in context to the film. Either way, people don't watch movies like this because of the plot. They want to see these human columns of muscle barrelling through walls. They want to see necks and windows alike being broken left and right. Banlieue 13 more than provides the broken limbs and adrenaline action movies must come with.

Luc Besson, the film's producer and co-writer, is a fan favorite in the action genre and this film is just another stellar example of why people respect him so much. He has a nack for cutting through the fat. There is no bull**** in this movie. There are no wires. There are no mats. Just raw talent.

The cinematography is slick. The sound editing is spot on. The soundtrack is typical of these types of films (generic sounding techno), but towards the end I was hoping for a change in musical pace. I'm not positive, but the same song may have just been looped throughout the whole movie. But you really can't complain too much about the music when David Belle is soaring through the air. And David Belle can actually act. I'm sure his whole being in this movie was because of his athletic ability, but he is actually very capable of doing things other than kicking someone in the face while hanging out of a window. And Cyril Raffaelli is damned beast in this film. I've dropped Belle's name more often than Cyril's in this review, but that is simply because I'm more familiar with Belle. Cyril probably kicks even more ass in this film than Belle does. They are certainly one of the greatest duos to fight onscreen in years.



The One Sentence Review - What Banlieue 13 lacks in solid, logical plot it more than makes up for in good 'ole fashion ass kickery.

Oh, and I gurantee the wheels are already in motion to have these two team up against Tony Jaa from Ong-Bak for some kind of extreme battle to the death. Count me in!



Wow, great thread OG, nice choice of movies to review and great reviews. Looking forward to having more time when i can give them a proper read.
__________________




In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Thanks you two.

I try to write up stuff on movies that most people probably wouldn't normal watch or hear of. I personally don't think I'm a very good reviewer, but I'm glad some people are reading them.

Everyone better have rented Dead End by now!



A system of cells interlinked
Damn, I had missed some...

Good work!!
__________________
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Battlefield Baseball, directed by Yudai Yamaguchi, 2003



If I was 11 when I saw this, this movie would be the epoch of cinematic history. I am not 11 and should be shot for renting this movie.

Billed as being of the highest grade of cheese, Battlefield Baseball performs just like you'd expect the cover to. I actually watched about 95% of the film at 2x speed because I didn't feel like dedicating 90 minutes of my life to it, but I'm sadistic enough to dedicated 45 minutes. I'm ****ing retarded.

There is baseball. There are zombies. There are zombies playing baseball. There are innocent people being killed. Said people are reconstructed miraculously a la the Million Dollar Man. There are robots. There are robots playing baseball while fighting zombies. Those few sentences just about sum up the entire movie.

I didn't know anything about this movie except having seen the cover on the back of an issue of Fangoria. I was hoping it would be about some future sport of extreme death. I like future sports of extreme death. But no, it is about a high school baseball team starving for the championship. The first team they have to play on the way there is team Gedo, consisting entirely of zombies who play in a field where they are legally allowed to kill. Gedo massacres our hero team, Seido, but the star player, Jubeh, comes back from the dead and destroys team Gedo. In fact, everyone comes back from the dead. Everyone dies in the movie and everyone comes back to life in the end from a tear shed by the diefied Jubeh. Oh, except then an old man dies of alcoholism.

Sorry about the spoiler, but if you read that far and still had an interest in seeing the movie with actual intent to enjoy it unspoiled, you deserved it.

But ya know what, reading back over everything that happens in the movie it is pretty funny. Though had I not being watching practically the whole thing at double speed, I'd probably have a few quarts less of blood right now.



The One Sentence Review - Watch it at double the speed, Battlefield Baseball will instantly become twice as good!



Originally Posted by OG-
Thanks you two.

I try to write up stuff on movies that most people probably wouldn't normal watch or hear of. I personally don't think I'm a very good reviewer, but I'm glad some people are reading them.

Everyone better have rented Dead End by now!

I've heard about a few of the films you've reviewed, and been planning on getting them, hence most the interest. Keep it up chuck



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Originally Posted by Pyro Tramp
I think your last review has had the opposite effect on me, i actually really want to see it!
Haha, I was telling a friend of mine about it the other day and it explaining everything that happens makes the movie sound genius (especially the ending). It is mildly enjoyable, and probably even more so if you watch it with a bunch of friends, but it's just too wacky for its own good sometimes.



Well, the cover doesn't look so good, but the plot elements sound funny. Are there any zombie or robotic cheerleaders?



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Originally Posted by Sexy Celebrity
Well, the cover doesn't look so good, but the plot elements sound funny. Are there any zombie or robotic cheerleaders?
There are some cheerleaders, but they aren't robotic or zombies. Though if I remember right, at one point they do die as well.



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Originally Posted by Sedai
Memories of Murder is ever so close to the number one slot on my NetFlix queue...
Awesome, I hope you like it. At first I found it rather strange, but it really builds on things that normally go unloved in the killer realm and works wonderfully in the end. And the cinematography is stunning.

And you need to add in Dead End!!! I know it isn't your normal kind of film, but it is a highly enjoyable flick even with its flaws. I've shown it to probably 20 people now and they all fell for its vibe. And Ray Wise is just the freaking man in that movie.



I just got Izo and Dead End.

I so almost got Memories for Murder but the R2 cover sucks balls compared to the one in the review.



In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Originally Posted by Pyro Tramp
I just got Izo and Dead End.

I so almost got Memories for Murder but the R2 cover sucks balls compared to the one in the review.
Awwwwwesome. At this point everyone knows how much I enjoy and respect Dead End and IZO is just a complete work of art. It is fantastic, says I. I really hope you like both of 'em.



Watched Izo, i'll get a review down later in the week. Very interesting film, it's a shame IMDB rates it as one of Miike's worst films, like it or not, it's a still his most polished and intricate work.