Sunday, March 24, 2013


Bunraku is a movie I probably would never have picked up if Mike Patton weren't the voice of the narrator.
I cannot thank him enough for taking that job.
Holy shit, I'm baffled that I haven't heard anything on the internet at all about Bunraku. This movie seems like it would have a huge cult following.
Not necessarily for the story which, admittedly, I sort of had a hard time following. Most of the dialogue was pretty quiet. But the important core of the plot I did get, Woody Harrelson's character sums it up nicely: "A cowboy in a world without guns and a samurai without a sword join forces to defeat a common evil."
That's all you really need to know. This movie could have the flimsiest plot in the history of filmdom and it wouldn't change a damn thing about my opinion because the visuals. Oh my god, the visuals. The sets, the art direction, the fight choreography, the scene transitions are gorgeous, colorful and unlike what I've seen in most movies.
I'm certain they're not completely unique (one scene transition tells a very short story with comic book panels, much like Repo! The Genetic Opera does, but it still felt different to me. Bunraku put its own spin on it) but they were fresh enough, different enough to keep me enthralled. The sets are beautiful (the casino in particular made me want to leap into the TV and wander around that soundstage) and the lighting is all done in very drastic reds, blues and yellows.
Now here's the thing that's interesting to me about my falling all over myself over the artistic direction: I normally don't really notice that kind of thing in a movie. I'm sure I do to some extent (my dad's directed plays my whole life so I grew up around set building and lighting schemes) but usually I'm too involved in the plot to pay attention to how the shot was lit or what the set looks like. Bunraku is different because, even when I stopped being confused and was really into the plot, I never stopped paying attention to how beautiful the movie looks.
It occurred to me during the fight on the trapeze net that the filmmakers were simply taking full advantage of what film is. They were making the most of their medium. And I guess I just appreciate that.
Also, just based on how stylish and stylized the movie is, I'd bet money (not a lot of money, but money all the same) that Bunraku was based on a comic book.
I don't care what it's based on, to be honest. I just want people to watch it. It's up there with Crazy Lips in the list of "Movies I'm Surprised The Internet Hasn't Latched Onto With Its Insane, Irritating Fandom Force."

End of line.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Let me start by saying Zardoz is not nearly as bad as its reputation had led me to believe but jesus christ is it ever pretentious!
The movie starts with a giant, floating stone head spitting guns on warriors in red diapers, telling them that guns are good and penises are evil.
... No, wait, the movie starts with a dude with painted on facial hair telling the audience he's immortal and he longs for death and what happens in the movie takes place in the far of future and may not even happen or some shit like that and gives off such a strong drama student vibe that I went into high school anxiety convulsions. Then the pro-gun-anti-penis head thing happens.
After the opening credits Sean Connery has somehow snuck into the giant head and is taking a look around when he runs across Drama Student Greasepaint Mustache Guy and shoots him before landing in a place known as Vortex Four where everyone is immortal and psychic and boring and arrogant.
May The Scientist wants to keep Sean Connery around to study him. Fey The Stereotype wants to keep Sean Connery around because he's bored. Consuela The Bitch wants Sean Connery to go away forever because she's a bitch.
Among the vague inklings of really interesting ideas, Zardoz manages to climb up its own ass and drown itself in its own pretentious bile. It really wants to give the audience something to think about and throws the germinations of thought provoking ideas at us, but it also appears to be the work of community college drama majors who are just as desperate to confuse as they are to be thought of as intellectual.
So every time I thought the movie started going somewhere interesting it suddenly turned a corner, shattered the fragile beginnings of any deep or interesting thoughts it may have introduced to me and got all in my face with it's weird for weird's sake bullshit, which is very annoying in any case but it's doubly annoying when you're trying to form a coherent thought based on an idea that you never would have considered if the movie hadn't introduced it to you in the first place!
"Hi, I'm Zardoz. This is my buddy Intriguing Concept."
"Oh, hi, Intriguing Concept it's nice to - holy hell!!"
"Yeah, sorry, you were paying more attention to him than me so I had to shoot him through the head."
And that's Zardoz, ladies and gentlemen.
Bits and pieces of it reminded me of The Prisoner, but only very small bits and pieces. I hate admitting even that much. It's like comparing the best pasta you'll ever have to a week's worth of cheapass ramen.

End of line.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crazy Lips

I hate the phrase "genre defying" and other similar phrases that mean the same thing, but if there was ever a case for using them, it would be Crazy Lips.
This movie is such a remarkable festival of what-the-fuckitude that I'm amazed the internet hasn't made it insanely famous. I am still trying to figure out if it wanted me to take it seriously or not. Was it a horror movie, a camp comedy, an action movie, a drama? Is this the type of movie John Waters would make if he was Japanese?
The movie revolves around a family who is being scrutinized by the media because the son is accused of murdering four girls. He has since disappeared. The younger daughter goes to a psychic for help. The psychic and her assistant basically take up residence in the family's house and start crazying up the place and, in the case of the assistant, having sex with everyone.
The sex grosses out the younger daughter and she runs off to a park where she meets an FBI agent (an American character played by a Japanese actress who I'm pretty sure learned all her lines phonetically and spouted them having no idea what she was saying; she was my favorite character) and her translator, who have been following the younger daughter and are trying to stop the psychic and her assistant from finishing their "ceremony."
As is often the case with Japanese horror movies, nothing is really explained and I was just having too much fun to care. Crazy Lips is a blast. It also has the bizarrest rape scene I've ever seen in my life, which is awkward. But if you're not into that kind of thing, the giant action fight scene in the woods (complete with 1970s cop movie guitar lick music) near the end totally makes up for it.
Crazy Lips has something for everyone and something to repel everyone as well. It's lovely. It's wonderful. It's a delicious nugget of bizarre.
I am going on a quest to make it as popular on the internet as it is in my brain.

End of line.