film

Cemetary Man

Cemetary Man One of my favorite Halloween movies is the underappreciated Cemetary Man (Italian title: Dellamorte Dellamore). It's a 1994 Italian horror film dubbed in English, similar to the style of Dario Argento but much more surreal and philisophical than the films of that master of Italian horror.

It stars Rupert Everett as Frencesco Dellamorete, a cemetery man responsible for managing graves, guarding the plots, and murdering the zombies that keep on rising from the dead. He handles this latter job with nonchalance, which leads to some morbidly funny scenes, such as his reaction when he learns of a bus accident that kills tens of children -- he merely sees more zombies as more work (Shaun of the Dead certainly has traces of this film). There's also a great subplot that revolves around his assistant Gnaghi and his love affair with a female zombie in the form of a severed head.

Back in my college days, we used to screen several films every Halloween but Cemetey Man was the only film that never left the rotation. We liked it that much, and I guess we also reveled in its cult status. Unfortunately, it seems as if it hasn't been released on DVD yet, but you can find in on VHS if you go to your local nerdy video store.

Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:34pm
  • Ebert gives high marks to the new Wallace & Gromit film. "Remarkably, given the current realities of animation, 'Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' is the second stop-motion animated film in two weeks, after 'Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.' Both of these films are wonderful, but Wallace and Gromit have the additional quality of being lovable beyond all measure..." I remember being obsessed with the evil penguin in The Wrong Trousers as a teenager. (0) #
    10/7/2005

Shining

Giant squid

OK, this (mirror) really is one of the funniest things I've seen online in awhile. I hope this starts a trend. (via kottke)

Thu, 09/29/2005 - 2:08pm

Oldboy

Oldboy I finally saw this Park Chan-wook film several days ago, after anxiously awaiting it all summer. It was released in South Korea in 2003 and the US this past Spring, but I missed it in theaters. The DVD came out domestically in August, so I rented it as soon as I settled into Vegas. Why the anxiety? Chan-wook and the film itself have been hyped endlessly by such outfits as Ain't It Cool News and by Quentin Tarantino as the next generation of cool cinema, so of course I had to check out the buzz.

The premise is sublime in its simplicity: a family man is locked into a room for 15 years not knowing who his captor is or why he has been imprisoned. After 15 years, he is unexpectedly released and sets out to answer these questions and enact retribution with the help of a beautiful young woman he finds in a restaurant.

The film loses itself in its inconsistent pacing, but this is somewhat redeemed by the brash directing style, containing enough visceral imagery and creative play in the editing room to satisfy the very celebrity director that touted it. At times, some of these creative scenes come off as violent for the sake of violence whereas others are truly gimmicky, although still amusing. Nevertheless, there are several fight scenes where I couldn't help smiling at Chan-wook's finesse behind the camera -- a showoff, but he has the stuff to back it up.

The story turns into a tragedy of Ancient Greek proportions, giving the film a timeless feel that I think is behind much of its popularity. Yet, I think the film struggles with its dual personalities: the action-flick cool vs. the dark thriller. I was pleased enough to check out at least one other of his films (likely Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), but I am not yet sold on the alleged genius of Mr. Chan-wook.

Thu, 09/29/2005 - 1:44pm