Tag Archives: Orphan

Natural City: The Sci-Fi Korean Drama

I really didn’t know what to expect when I started watching this movie. What I wasn’t expecting was the formulaic Korean drama. What do I mean by that? Simple.

A Korean drama is one in which a couple in love usually has one of the lovers die in a horrendously heart wrenching way. This leaves the other lover alone to mourn and deal with all their feelings. This is a sci-fi film about cyborgs, androids, and

The picturesque cityscape really stands out in this film.

humans and a plot to bring down the futuristic city from within. I had no idea the Koreans could incorporate such a soap opera-y plot into such a steampunk film. Good on ’em for that one.

So “R” (Yoo Ji-tae) is a policeman in a futuristic society in which people can’t tell humans apart from androids and cyborgs. There’s a distinct difference though. Androids were never human; cyborgs have been outfitted with a cybernetic chip that controls and

Blood and love. All in one.

helps them function. R is one of those rogue cops who never follows the rules and does his own kickass thing. After botching up a destruction mission at a local processing plant, R must reconcile with the consequences.

R has fallen in love with a table dancing cyborg. Ria (Seo Lin) has but a few days left to live, and this film follows R’s decisions into how to save her from decimation. He finds salvation in an orphaned prostitute named Cyon (Lee Jae-eun), and finds that her existence is also in the interest of the androids attempting to use human DNA for some nefarious purpose. With the strange Cypher (Jeong Doo-hong) on the loose, R and the police force must find their own means to an end.

The look and feel of the film is very 1980’s Bladerunner feel. Yoo Ji-tae functions as a suave and gritty Harrison Ford,

Damn it, gotta love those views.

patrolling the streets for his own personal gain. There’s not much to speak of with character development on the side of the androids or cyborgs, but the presence of these untraceable electronic beings is a frightening concept. They can knock a man’s leg clean off with one punch for God sakes! Never thought I’d see that kind of special effect in my life.

Tell me that’s not Bladerunner, right?

The guns are clunky, the special effects and digital graphics are dated (even for 2003), but I liked the storyline all the same. It was more of an artsy film than anything else, and it was all about the feels. The emotional range required for understanding this movie from start to finish is not for the weak willed. It has undertones of dystopian elements, and questions just exactly what it means to be human. The ending is long and tragic, and is obviously created to pull at the heartstrings of those who watch it. It got me there towards the end, and I’d love to know what other people thought of it who saw it. Good or not? Let me know!

I’ve always liked Yoo Ji-tae (I hope I’m not spelling that incorrectly…) since I saw him in Oldboy, and I find his acting

A bit of fighting for the action fans.

style to be brutal at the same time that he is a fragile human being, just like the rest of us. This pretty boy can pack a punch with his acting, and I’d advise watching out. He just might lay you out on your back.

All the feels.

There’s no true way to describe what/how to take anything away from this movie. It’s one of those seeing and believing situations where you just have to watch it and attempt to understand what the movie is throwing at you. I’m not entirely sure what I was shown in this movie and if I even got it. So just check it out for yourself, especially if you’re always ready for a melodramatic cry. It’s a good one for that. 7.2 out of 10.

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Fright Night (2011 Remix)

I gotta say I was not a big fan of this movie. I really didn’t know where this movie was coming from not having seen the original 1985 version and I didn’t know at all where it was going. With a cast of reputable kiddish actors lead by Anton Yelchin, I expected a bit more from this film. Souring the mood with a debilitating approach to lighting, this movie came at me from all the wrong places.

This is the story of a young man, Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin). No longer the bullied in his high school, he has become the passive bully. He ignores his former friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and finds solace only in his airhead toolish friends and girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots. What a horrid name.) With Ed and their friend Adam (Will Denton, not all that important.) these three crusaders would L.A.R.P. and Dungeon Master themselves to death. They loved the

Colin Farrell was pretty dope.

occult and all these fantasy. And then one day, a vampire moves into town and starts killing.

I have to say I enjoyed the first scene of the film. Straight from a thriller horror movie, a boy is chased and killed along with his family by what appears to be a home invader. That was pretty intense and old schoolish. Always the suggestion and hinting at the supernatural. Then you find out it’s Adam. Feel a bit bad, move on. Ed ropes in Charley and is abandoned by the middle of the film. That’s the one part of the movie I felt they should have stayed on. Straying from the course and focusing more on the damsel in distress made the movie unoriginal. (or… followed the original 1985 version…) I loved Chris Mintz-Plasse in this movie. I hated him and everything else about Superbad. Go

Here's where the acting came from. And there's where the lighting went.

figure. But it was the friendship between these two and the fact that one needed the other just as much was what really struck a chord for me in this movie. And that only mattered for about 20 minutes. Screw that.

Then let’s get into how (okay it does relate to the original, but…) this movie resonates with Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire. That was some good Disney joint back in the day. That dad from The Nanny, he was killin that shizz. And now, beef up and hottify the vampire to the point of ridiculousness. Enter Colin Farrell as Jerry, the next door vampire. His sexual appeal (not to me necessarily…) and his sarcastic charm made him a perfect fit for this film. Seducing Charley’s mom (Toni Collette) was a different story.Trying to convince the world of a vampire that will kill you if you don’t play by its weaknesses was a great aspect to this film. (Just like in Orphan. Watch it and you’ll understand.)

...On pushing it that he did well in this movie...

…But going to see your childhood hero and finding him to be a fraud is not. This leads me to say that the second half (and only part of the first half) of this movie was disappointing. I need to talk about this because this chews at me. David Tennant may be a fantastic Doctor on Dr. Who. But I really hope anyone who saw this film for him realizes that he was terrible in this movie. He is typecast forever as a quirky, know-it-all character… like Dr. Who. I don’t watch Dr. Who. And, taking David Tennant’s acting in this film, it was lackluster. Below par. I’m sad to say that when I had heard rumors he was going to play The Riddler in the new Batman movie that I can’t wait to miss. Too bad, so sad. Truly.

I don't think you can defend yourself, little Miss Poots.

So Anton Yelchin goes to find Peter Vincent (Dr. Who) in order to get an expert’s help with his vampire problem. He’s a sham and swears and drinks all the time. He can’t help save the damsel and needs some convincing in order for the final showdown. And I won’t ruin the ending, but movie writers or whoever decides this has to stop assuming that you can call something a vampire and then say its not and call it some succubus subhuman ground creature. Not true. It’s not a vampire is it? And yet it follows all the same laws of defeating a vampire? Make up your minds…

Bring it on, Anton.

All-in-all, the only bright lights in this dark vampire world were Anton Yelchin(sort of) and Chris Mintz-Plasse. If they had focused on their friendship and not unnecessarily focused on Imogen Pootz, the dud. (this girl has been in 28 Weeks Later, the failed sequel, and Jane Eyre. Bet she wasn’t good in either…) I don’t understand the high school mood they were going for, and a lot of the lines and cinematography fell flat for me. A little more of a dynamic, over the top approach to this horror comedy may have brough out that comedy, because it was lost on me. 4 out of 10.


Rush Hour 3: And Chris Tucker Rides Out on the Horse He Rode in On

And sadly, the Rush Hour series draws to a close. In Detectives Carter and Lee’s last hurrah, the duo meets up after the untimely assassination attempt of the ambassador from Rush Hour that Detective Lee was assigned to protect. Lee (Jackie Chan) is determined with the help of Carter (the infamous Chris Tucker) to find the people responsible behind this attempt. As usual, another old man is behind it, (Max von Sydow) and there’s another attractive girl for Chris Tucker (Noemie Lenoir). Although not the best of the trilogy (Rush Hour 2 fo life.), this one holds its own as another great Brett Ratner piece.

What has always surprised me about the Rush Hour series is just how great and accurate the locations are that Lee and Carter travel to. We have L.A. in the orig, Hong Kong and Las Vegas in the second, and now L.A. and Paris in

Paris, Biatch!

the third. Just like the Bourne Series, these movies span the world and keep the action coming. (But Matt Damon cannot perform the functions of both Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and in that way, lack somewhat.) The B-roll footage all around picturesque Paris is quite cool, including shots of a recreated Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumphe (I hope that’ s how it’s spelled…). The stunts are really notable in this film, and I love how they end the movies with bloopers of Jackie Chan hurting himself doing his own stunts.

Notable actors? There are a few. We have as I mentioned Max von Sydow as the evil old man (quite cantankerous). Most notably I remember him from Minority Report, but he’s been in the biz for a while now.

Not actually brothers.

There’s Hiroyuki Sanada as Kenji, the badass orphan brother of Detective Lee. (They’re not actually brothers at all, they just grew up on the streets together. Which is weird, because Jackie Chan is Chinese and Hiroyuki is Japanese. It’s quite noticeable.) There’s also Yvan Attal, a traditionally French actor who made an appearance in this movie as George, the taxi cab driver. I do like it when they use actual actors from their places of origin in travel movies like these.

Other than that, this movie functions purely as a nice little closing to the Rush Hour series. The Triads are defeated when the list is found, Lee and Carter went through their rough patches and became even closer, it’s all good. It’s just truly a feel good movie. Besides a couple of parts. I would put this on Ross LaManna and Jeff Nathanson, but it might partly be the fault of Chris Tucker’s delivery. There a quite a few racist remarks that are made towards Iranians, French, and even a feel of American supremacy while Lee and Carter parade around France. It’s almost unbearably awkward. I would watch out for it, but at this point, Chris Tucker is untouchable.

 

Chris Tucker. Untouchable

The stunts are good, maybe better than the other two. Brett Ratner again directs the movie to the best of his ability, that’s fine. Chris Tucker is hilarious (to an extent) and there are some hot and steamy scenes in this you won’t wanna miss. I’d give this one an average rating in comparison to the entire series. 6.6 out of 10.


Higurashi When They Cry

I love horror movies. The guts and gore, the intense scenes of pain and suffering, even the intense sense of terror it all brings. No. I’m not a morbid person. I think quite highly of human life and its preservation. But I find that now, When They Cry holds a special place in my heart, right next to Saw.

This show, for lack of a better word, is intense. I’ve seen my fair share of anime by now that show the occasional spurt of blood. I’ve never seen an animated situation ever make me squirm though. (Watch the Eye Opening arc and you’ll know. Ha. Eye opening.) These characters, although most in their teens, are some twisted people, although for me, redonkulous at the same time. These characters plot out (and get away with) murders, brutal assaults, and even the occasional torture. But what kind of a reviewer would I be if I didn’t give some back story.

The whole story takes place in a small rural village known as Hinamizawa, the former site of a dam construction that would have taken over the entire town. But, in an odd series of events, all chalked up to the Oyashiro-sama Curse. This is the town’s savior and protector who wards away the demons and keeps the town safe. He’s quite the violent type who kills and spirits away though, all on the town’s only festival, the Cotton Drifting Festival. This story frames all the arcs of the series and lays the groundwork for an all too eerie storyline.

 

Rena and Mion (Sadistic in School Uniform)

There are five main characters the develop the stories of each arc. All five of these character reside in a one classroom schoolhouse of 15 students. First we have Keiichi Maebara, the only of the boys who, for me, plays as the protagonist at least 50% of the time. He has just recently moved to Hinamizawa and usually finds that the village is messed up. There’s Rena Ryugu, the ditzy girl who’s in love with cuddly things. She literally thinks everything tiny and innocent is unbelievably adorable. There’s also Mion Sonozaki, the green haired dominatrix who runs the gaming club at her school. She’s quite the leader and does her utmost to please her family. Along with these three comes what I’d like to call the adorable double: Rika Furude and Satoko Houjou. These two lay waste to everything with their cuteness and great personalities. You could almost call these two half of a whole cuddly teddy bear.

First impressions. I had watched the first episode a while ago and thought, how is this show frightening? You don’t get any sense of foreboding out of any of this. Typical school-age anime. BUT NO. Now that it’s been months and I’ve picked it up again, it’s anything but. Every arc starts off with a cutesy, “relaxer” episode, followed by 4 or 5 episodes of paranoia and fear. The first arc, Spirited Away by the Demon, is my favorite. It mirrors most horror movies I’ve come to love. (i.e. Orphan. And don’t say that movie’s B.S., cause it isn’t.) It was fantastic. Every arc. About the arcs though. Every arc is either a question or an answer arc. One lays out a problem, and another arc, some of them are in the Kai season, answer it.

The anime started off as a video game. Awesome enough as that is. There you go, chew on that, savor it. Just imagine how amazing this video game must be. Well I read it. It’s a purely read and solve the mystery type game. Some people might like that. I also might at any point beat myself to death with my keyboard. Not my kinda game. But that’s for each person to decide.

The animation of the anime is quite good. The voice acting (subbed, not dubbed, mind you) is ridiculously fantastic. The screams and laughs are harsh and evil. Great combo. One arc, and I won’t say which, is just ridiculous. Most horrific thing in the entire first series. I almost felt as if it wasn’t one of those typical slash and hack horror rides. It was more one of those tastefully done twisted rides that doesn’t leave you hating everything at the end. (But I don’t have a preference as far as hack/slash vs twisted. I love Saw for its twisted mentality, but I love The Hills Have Eyes for its hack/slash approach. I digress.)  This series is worth the watch for its plot, its characters, and its mystery. At every point it’ll ask you to question what if? and who? and most definitely why? 8.4 out of 10.


The Roommate: Crap or Subtle Genius?

No, I’m just kidding. There was no genius to this movie. It was crap. If there was anything good about this, it was that it was so absurd it was funny. But what’s awesome is that it beat James Cameron’s piece of crap Sanctum (3-D, already indication of crap). I strongly dislike James Cameron and I feel the defeat of his work is a step in the right direction for humanity. (Avatar= Pocahontas= Took title from The Last Airbender, completely equaling a cinematic failure.) Anyways, time for the plot summary. And don’t tell me, “NO, NO NO, I DON’T WANT A PLOT SUMMARY, I WANT TO BE SURPRISED.” There’s nothing to ruin here, except your evening if you waste your time seeing this in theaters.

Okay, so obviously, Sara Matthews’ (Minka Kelly) roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester) is a psycho. This girl, (big twist) simply doesn’t take her pills. Quite a hilarious part, might I add, filled fantastically by Frances Fisher, one of two Titantic (Damn it, Cameron) actors. The other one, of course, being the homosexually (?) married (?) art design (?) teacher, Billy Zane. I know, no need for the question marks, but just based on his title, his sexual orientation comes into question. True, I love Billy Zane. Come on, he was The Phantom. (Anybody feel me on that?) But more on the minors… never.

This girl Rebecca, Sara’s insane roommate, who, by the way, they never clarify how old they are or which year they are in college. They don’t even hint at it. Come on. Yes, they may go out to a frat house, but who wouldn’t drink while making this movie? I’m sorry, tangents. But yes, this girl does some insane stuff. She draws pictures. She fries kitty cats. She pierces her own ears on the fly. She wears designer clothing. But most importantly, and most endearingly, she cares about when her roommate comes home. Yes, she cares. Maybe too much? You decide. (But DVD time, not theater time.)

Some other notable appearances in this movie come from Cam Gigandet, Twilight movie heartthrob (James) and apparent comedian. As Sara’s boyfriend Stephen, he delivers line after line of comedic genius, as he sits in as the frat band’s “drummer” (very weak). I find that ever since Twilight and his subsequent work, The Unborn, Cam’s gonna be stuck as the horror movie bf for a while. Another newcomer to horror movies is Disney Channel star, Alyson Michalka. Used to her days on Disney as a duo pop sensation with her sis A.J., this horror movie was a real breakout and quite ironic that the tweens that watched her on Disney are now old enough to see her become a slut who takes her top off quite a few times.

So yes, this movie, oddly structured around fashion and trying to psychotically become your roommate’s best friend falls short of expectations. I felt hey, this’ll be another Orphan. Orphan is a great horror movie. This on the other hand, is crap. Complete and utter comedic horror. The whole theater laughed. Besides this angst ridden teen who felt this movies poetic drama would better prepare her for her college years. But yes, I was a bit worried I’d be scared, and when I left, I felt lighthearted and happy. So thank you, Christian E. Christiansen, Denmark movie extraordinaire, you made my weekend. I feel sorry to inform you that your debut in American horror cinema will be received as a joke. I know, you were trying for something new, but I don’t feel that a psychotic phone sex killer who loves her girlies is really gonna do it. I give it 2.2 out of 10. But by all means, if you want to see this for yourself, don’t wait, see this in theaters. Bring the whole family, it’ll be a blast.