Blog Archives

The Host (2006)

(from , dir: )

This is Bong Joon-ho’s third feature film, following Barking Dogs Never Bite and the wonderful Memories of Murder. Korean film watchers will know that The Host broke box office records in Korea, surpassing the previous record set by Taegukgi two years ago.

Of course The Host has all the signifiers of ‘blockbuster’ about it. A big cast in a large budgeted monster flick. But such simple facts belie the often intimate and subversive nature of the film.

It has … (read more)

Comments Off on The Host (2006)

Battle of Wits (2006)

About half way through Battle of Wits I put the movie on pause, tottered over to the kitchen, put on the kettle and idly set my thoughts to punning on the title. (For the record, I came up with Rattle of Zits, Cattle of Nits, and Tattle of Gits. Nervously Noel Coward brilliance, I do not think …) Cup of tea in hand, I sat outside on the balcony and read for a while.

You get the gist, dear reader: … (read more)

Comments Off on Battle of Wits (2006)

Three Extremes 2 (2002)

Back in my wayward youth – not all that dissimilar to my wayward adulthood – I recall watching numerous horror anthology films on late night Saturday TV. Those were the days. Corkers like the original Tales from the Crypt with Peter Cushing and, um, Joan Collins, and Trilogy of Terror, the well known trio of films all starring Karen Black, one of which featured a particularly nasty African Zuni fetish doll that comes to life and wreaks merry havoc.… (read more)

Comments Off on Three Extremes 2 (2002)

The Red Shoes (2005)

(from , dir: )

Well, let’s get this straight for starters. The shoes are pink. That’s a flaw right there and up front. Could the makers of this film not locate a pair of red shoes? Were they in some way colour blind? Or did the title ‘The Pink Shoes’ just not carry the same the same weight?

Obviously this movie lifts from the Hans Christian Anderson tale, loosely adapted in 1948 into a ballet-related film that still gets the occasional late night showing. … (read more)

Comments Off on The Red Shoes (2005)

The City of Lost Souls (2000)

(from , dir: )

The camera hovers beneath the water of a toilet in which two recently curled out hot ones are still floating. Through the, ahh, murk, we watch as a man is quickly dispatched by a Yakuza killer for hire.

Nice one. Welcome to the maniacal world of Miike, to whom the phrase ‘inventive camera angles’ barely does any kind of justice. And let’s not get started on weird plot twists and oddball scenarios.

OK, let’s. We get murderous games of ping … (read more)

Comments Off on The City of Lost Souls (2000)

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

(from , dir: )

Like any good gothic fairytale A Tale of Two Sisters is positively loaded with meaning. I was reminded most specifically of the work of author Angela Carter, whose work often involved the deconstruction of fairy tales in a gothic framework, where blood, death, sleep and sexuality — most specifically sexual awakening — are entwined.

The film is based partly on the Korean folk tale ‘Rose Flower, Red Lotus’, but, from what I can gather, where that tale is a mostly … (read more)

Comments Off on A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

New Dragon Gate Inn (1992)

(from , dir: )

They say you can’t have it all and in Ming Dynasty China the eunuchs certainly didn’t! OK, I must apologise for that lapse in comedic judgement. But the ball is in my court. Oh, please make me stop. Anyway this lack of a certain, um, something may explain why they were mad for power and painted Evil Eyebrows on their noggins to give them that extra mad-as-a-cut-snake villain look. Certainly works here for Donnie Yen’s character!

Yen is part of … (read more)

Comments Off on New Dragon Gate Inn (1992)

Pulse (2001)

(from , dir: )

I’m gonna start this review with a little literary diversion. Sometime fantasist John Crowley wrote a book a few years back entitled Aegypt. The title was a deliberate displacement, taking an archaic spelling of Egypt and infusing that name with a mythic, alternate reality. By the same token the film Pulse is also known as Kairo.

Now this is not a deliberate thing, of course, Kairo being Japanese for ‘circuit’ — bear with me here — but it … (read more)

Comments Off on Pulse (2001)