Tag Archives: torture

The Passion of the Christ

That’s right, I watched it. After having watched the South Park episode, “The Passion of the Jew”, I had to check this out to see why I was laughing. And it wasn’t far off. Amid the screams and oddly modern Middle Eastern music, what Kyle Broflovski witnessed is what I witnessed, with the same face of horror and awe. Mel Gibson may be a crazy person who runs around in his underwear with guns and hates Jewish people

A handsome lookin’ Jesus.

excessively, but I’m going to try to be unbiased and non-sacrilegious at this juncture. I’m going to rate this as a movie, not as a representation of religion. So let’s try to be P.C. here, folks. This is Jesus after all.

So, most people, religious or not, know the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Just the title of it says it all. Jesus (played by Jim Caviezel) is betrayed by Judas (played by Luca Lionello) and beaten and crucified. This movie ties in all the trials and tribulations of Jesus in his last 12 hours before death, including a supernatural earthquake at the end. Insert Easter reference and you have what has been coined as “a two hour and six minute snuff film”. That’s not far off.

Brutal…

Okay, movie standpoint.

It is entertaining, like one of those public executions you can’t look away from. Like a schoolyard brawl. Like a car accident. It’s so horrific and brutal that you want to avert your eyes, but it is Jesus after all. The costumes seem to be taken straight from a nativity scene (or straight from the artwork that depicts Jesus’ death) and everyone

Brutal cont…

in this movie just can’t deny Jesus. He reattaches a man’s ear with just his hand for God’s sake!

But this movie starts to drag. In getting your point across, sure, you have to be accurate to an extent. But Jim Caviezel spent literally 2

… You know what, this was 90% of the film.

hours of the film writhing in agony and wanting to speak (as I’m sure he did at length in the Gospels) but not being able to make words through the gurgling blood. I’m about to throw out an obscure reference here. Has anyone seen the movie Waiting with Ryan Reynolds? Does anyone remember the new waiter that comes in (from Freaks and Geeks) who is always constantly interrupted until he erupts at the end of the film? That kind of epic speech is what I expected at the end of this film. Maybe that didn’t happen. But the biggest part I was looking forward to was the Roman soldier stabbing Jesus with the spear. This is due to my like of the movie Constantine. (Figure that one out.)

But yes, there could have been more of a focus on dialogue and deliverance of the emotions rather than a 2 hour visual narration of a man being beaten and tortured to death. I know that Mel Gibson said that Jesus had it worse than this movie depicted, but at some point it becomes the inspiration for a Saw film.

I got chills at this scene with the veil.

Coincidentally, the first Saw film came out in 2004 around the time of The Passion. Coincidence? It is. But what about the other 6 films? Hmm…

Pain fest and a half.

Jim Caviezel is praised for his performance in this film. Now, it’s a big role to take on that a lot of people wouldn’t do (is it sacrilegious, is it an homage? Iffy…) and I wouldn’t do it myself. But, I think the more powerful performances in the film came from Luca Lionello as Judas. His tortured character, as well as all the accompanying horrific images, really adds a damning element to the movie. You know he did the wrong thing, and he was to blame. It sent chills seeing him hung on that tree by the decaying horse.

Other strange performances came from Jesus’s mother, Mary. Maia Morgenstern, the Romanian actress really added an element of what appeared to be more a love interest than a motherly figure. (I know Jesus wasn’t romantically involved with

Monica Bellucci. Sexy since 33 A.D.

anyone, but if you kiss someone’s bloodstained feet, that’s pretty committed, I’d say.) She wept and stared throughout the whole film, saying maybe 3 lines. Visual film indeed. Speaking of visual, get a look at Monica Bellucci  in this one as Mary Magdalene. You know after The Matrix series and Shoot ‘Em Up that this woman is packing a hot body underneath that shawl. She was the eye candy in this one, although Jesus was almost nude through the whole film.

If I have to say something really good, I was impressed highly with the make-up effects.

So you get all the iconic religious images and the Bible basically comes to life. Meanwhile, Judas is wiping his nose on wall and everyone is falling to their knees in despair. Even the head Jewish rabbi had the strength to rip two layers of woven clothing. That’s pretty redonk. But what was strange was all these representations of emotion are uncommon in the range of human emotions since the dawn of man. Showing emotions in these ways came off as too archaic to me, when the movie is trying to transmit emotion across the chasm to us modern viewers (at least, I felt that way…).

And now we get to the torture. The movie literally only focuses on this. One reviewer said it best when (along these lines) they said something about how watching this movie is not uplifting spiritually, it is more downtrodden and guilt ridden than

You wanna pass me some of my body?

anything else. I tend to agree. I just felt bad that people did this to Jesus (agnostically speaking, if this happened). Him falling over every 10 minutes made the movie drag almost to a comic degree. A ten minute flogging scene? I’ve already seen torture films that have more decency than this one. This movie takes violence to a degree that, although tame in comparison to films I’ve seen, it feels all the more real and uncomfortable because we’ve heard stories about this

… Aaanddd top it all off with Satan and the man baby.

gruesome affair. Add in a creepy Satan and man baby, and you have a film that is just too real and gritty, without much substance. From a movie stand point.

I’m not gonna take a huge stance on this from either side. I’m just gonna say it was weak for a movie from a movie enthusiast’s point of view. All visual, no grounded plot or substance of character. Jesus is spoken for and his story is taken for granted that the world already knows and doesn’t need cues. But, from a 2004 view, it did. Just an average film about the last hours of Jesus. Sorry if that offends… 5 out of 10.

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The Dictator: An Actual Plot from Sacha Baron Cohen

I would say I’ve been a pretty big supporter and follower of Sacha Baron Cohen since his Ali G Show days. I loved all his characters when I watched it on HBO and to see them grow into full length movie characters is wonderful. Borat was a wonderful undercover comedy film. Then he followed that up with Bruno, my favorite of his alternate egos. And then, from all this talk about Hussein, Kim Jong-Il, and Gaddafi comes Admiral General Hafez Aladeen. His ability to focus in on one idea that plagues people’s prejudices and preconceived notions on the world around them is spot on as usual. But this one comes with a twist.

Aladeen (Cohen) is a dictator from the North of Africa. In the sweltering heat and tossing sands (a la Hussein), Aladeen lives his life as dictator in luxury. His WMD’s are coming

Aladeen and his majestic hawk, in luxury.

along, he has an all female amazonian entourage and guard, and his palace is so gigantic and wonderful, especially with his fleet of golden Hummers. He’s had sex with everyone (including the great Schwarzenegger. Megan Fox makes an appearance. I wasn’t surprised.) and he is an unforgiving ruler. He sends so many people to death that it’s expected.

As I expected Megan Fox to be in a situation like this…

And then, with the U.N. meeting in NYC looming, Aladeen is kidnapped and tortured. Clayton (John C. Reilly) is a forgiving CIA operative and lets Aladeen off with a shaven face (and then he accidentally burns to death). Stuck in America with only his wits and nobody who believes he’s the real thing, Aladeen’s uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) is planning on making Wadiya into a democratic country with the ability to sell their oil. Aladeen must stop them and keep Wadiya a dictatorship. This is the only time you’ll see a dictator as the hero/protagonist (unless you’re watching a film in their country, then probably you will).

This movie is full of a bunch of funny satirized stereotypes and Middle Eastern humor. As usual, Cohen self deprecatingly attacks his Jewish heritage once again. The Chinese law of one child per family is attacked with the baby birthing scene (as seen in the trailer) and masturbation has never been so patriotic. Sacha Baron Cohen is rather tame in this film in

The Man.

comparison to others, only one or two penises on screen and a handful of sexual references (unless you mention the Saw like birthing canal scene).

I really hoped this happened on the streets of NYC.

There’s a great supporting cast of cultural ecclesiastics  in this film. There’s Ben Kingsley, using his darker complexion to play a Middle Eastern man in this film. I’m always surprised when he pops up in comedies. Jason Mantzoukas plays Nadal, the weapons expert and friend to Aladeen in this movie. This man of Greek descent has been doing comedies for a while now and this is just another one. Bobby Lee rears his freaky head in this movie as a U.N. representative who can get a B.J. from whatever celebrity he wants (insert Ed Norton cameo here). His outrageous nature is made for this movie, and that dude will do anything to strip down into a thong. And one of my favorite appearances was Adeel Akhtar as one of Aladeen’s posse, Maroush. Throw in Fred Armisen and the revitalization of Anna Faris’s career as the love interest hippy, Zoe, and you got yourself a satirical comedy.

The best scene.

I really don’t think there’s anywhere that Sacha Baron Cohen won’t go. His terrorist attack scene in the tours helicopter is hilarious. Ironically, he and Jason Mantzoukas are speaking Hebrew. This points out the fact that a lot of languages, although all different may sound similar to an American audience. And all the iconic songs that he turned into an Aladeen medley! Everybody Hurts, 9 to 5, Let’s Get it On, how much that the way the songs were sung alone made me laugh! Cohen even goes to a black man’s funeral in order to procure a beard from a severed head that reappears constantly in the movie. With no bounds and no forgiveness, Sacha Baron Cohen delivers on all cylinders. 8.1 out of 10.


A Serbian Film: Those Serbs are Crazy

I have to say this right at the beginning as a disclaimer. If you are squeamish, if you find sexualized violence to be perverse and disturbing, or if you find horror in the 1st degree to be mortifying, this movie and this review are not for you. A Serbian film is the tale of an ex-porn star, Milos (Srdan Todorovic). A man of stamina and skill, Milos (pronounced Milosh) is down to no money and has a wife and child to feed. So what does this absurd bastard do? He decides to take one last job. A sort of “final bank job” if you will. What he doesn’t know is what comes to destroy him.

When I first heard of this film, my roommate had just come back from England. His roommate there told him about this film and told me to check out the trailer. I can’t post it on here due to graphic content, but I’ll post the tamer version below:

Anyways, this trailer blew my mind. From the look and sound of what it was about, I figured it was real. This is classified as a “snuff film”. That’s not a joke. The scenes depicted in the film are designed to look as real as possible. And throw in the ridiculous amount of pornographic content and you have one of the most messed up films since Hostel. Wait, scratch that. Since… Ever.

Should I even delve into the mind of this film? Should I tell you this contains quite a few of the most absurd fetishes to grace humankind? Let me reiterate this. There is the issue of child rape in this movie. That alone should say this movie is not for the weak. This movie wasn’t even for me. I consider myself a reasonable guy. I feel I can handle some of the images the world has to offer. But I have opened Pandora’s box of horror. And this isn’t all of it. There is an entire following of “snuff films” out there. This is just… one among many.

See?

A big thanks to ScuptingFragments for posting these videos on Youtube, opening me up to an entire genre of films I didn’t realize existed. You can tell, even from the length (and there’s a Part II to this video) that there is an unlimited amount of films out there about gore/torture/snuff. The names are ridiculous, the premises are absurd, but my eyes have been opened.

There are very few things I can show...

A Serbian Film is just the latest in a series of films that have been coming out for quite some time. Also identified as “torture porn”, this film is meant to unsettle the mind… and the stomach. And, you’ll hate me for this, but… It wasn’t as gory/horrifying as I thought it would be. Despite the ridiculousness of Serbia and the ability for a repressed country to finally make this film shocks me. And yet at the same time, there are films out there that would curb the sex and go for the same amount of torture and violence. I feel, with American films, the pornographic aspect is shunned (but what the Hell? Americans love porn and the sexualization of women…) due to the uncomfortable feelings it brings. A sort of taboo, if you will.

And what surprises me the most is that this film wasn’t trashed by reviewers or critics. Harry Knowles of Ain’t it Cool News said, “This is a fantastic, brilliant film – that given time, will eventually outgrow the absurd reactions of people that think it is a far harder film than it actually is. The film is an incredibly great film, where everything feels correct in the context of the film. It is never exploitive.” He even gave this film his Top 10 of 2010. Others said it was a movie with no substance. A film that defies you to find any deeper meaning. The director of the film, Srdan Spasojevic, said, “”As much as we try to deal with our life in this film allegorically, and with the corrupt political authorities that govern it, we are also dealing with today’s Art and Cinema and the corrupt artistic authorities that govern them in a similar manner here. The films that preach and enforce political correctness are the dominant form of cinematic expression today. Nowadays in Eastern Europe you cannot get a film financed unless you have a pathetic and

There are no words to describe the evil of this film.

heartwarming ‘true story’ to tell about some poor lost refugee girls with matchsticks, who ended up as victims of war, famine and/or intolerance. They mostly deal with VICTIMS as heroes, and they use and manipulate them in order to activate the viewer’s empathy. They make a false, romanticized story about that victim and sell it as real life. That is real pornography and manipulation, and also spiritual violence – the cinematic fascism of political correctness.”  Using the medium of realistic, pornographic violence, Spasojevic attempts to break the drabness of the former “Eastern Europe” in a way that will shock the world. I feel he achieved that.

Now I’m not gonna say whether or not I liked this film. It’s a basic plot. The acting, as far as I could tell from the Serbian language, was decent. The scenes are disturbing and I couldn’t comprehend how they made the sex look so real. But I commend them for going there. At the same time that I condemn them for exposing me to a horrid side of a world occupied by terrible human beings. It’s like a car accident you can’t look away from. Now, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 4.9 out of 10. I’m not gonna judge and allow you to find out for yourselves, if you dare. All I’ll say is… Newborn infant porn.

 


Blassreiter: Emotionally Fueled Motorcycles

The title of my review says everything about this anime. I fell in love with the graphics, the 3-D battles, the back story. And I was taken away by the emotions behind the characters. The anguish of the foreigner in a land that doesn’t accept them for who they are. The man in love who cannot tell the woman he loves how he truly feels. The orphan abandoned and left without a help in the world. This German set anime (talk about a country of hate and anguish) is tastefully portrayed with a religious background and a head full of steam. With every new character arc (from Gerd to Malek, Hermann to Amanda) you are lead by your heartstrings to the heartbreak you are meant to see, and some you are not.

The idea behind Blassreiter is one of mecha, with a sci-fi drama backdrop. The line between man’s science and God is

An Amalgam's go to vehicle. Can you feel the emotion?

blurred. No longer is it the struggle between machine and man, but a meshing of the two. Man’s ultimate goal. In futuristic Germany, a crack team of soldiers known as the XAT (Xenogenesis Assault Team) has been given the task for  the bast decades to find and eradicate as well as protect the citizens of Germany from what are known as Amalgams (Demoniacs to the public.). These Amalgams are humans who have been transferred using some scientific disease into machines capable of attaching themselves to electronics and vehicles.

It is only common for these Amalgams to be created from dead bodies. Until one day, after being involved in an Amalgam attack, Gerd Frentzen (Christopher Sabat) is given the chance to regain his

legs and race again. But the price it pays is that he becomes a living Amalgam. And the fate of all Amalgams? Bloodlust, insanity, and death. It is up to the XAT to discover the cause of a living Amalgam and what this would mean for the furure of Germany and the rest of the world. But the Amalgams go deeper than a mere nuisance. And I’ve only covered the first 6 episodes. You have to watch the rest for yourself.

Gerd Frentzen (Christopher Sabat)

As I said before, this anime has some pretty spectacular 3-D animated graphics that blew me away. Any scene with an Amalgam or vehicle is given a special touch of full-breadth motion and fluidity. Combine this with a 2-D background and characters and you have an interactive combo right there. What could be better than this you say? Well, the character creation is top notch. The characters (and there are quite a few) deal with so many different emotions and personalities. There are the soldiers of the XAT, dealing with betrayal, duty, and what it means to be a soldier. (A very German thing, the honor of fighting for one’s country.) The humans turned Amalgams and their struggle with their humanity. The original Amalgams and their struggle with their pasts and their duty to the furthering of humankind and its evolution. God’s role in this anime is huge. (Another attitude of a prominently Protestant country.)

And then there’s the skeletons in Germany’s closet. The race hatred. The problems with German old

The amazing graphics behind Blassreiter.

family citizens of a higher class and the lower class foreigners given a chance for a new life in Germany, but given the scraps of the other classes. The hatred, the xenophobia. It all plays out on a tasteful stage. But even as this issue fades out to a respectable end, Germans are given a nod of respect for the strides they’ve made since the blood of the past has begun to dry and flake on their hands. And I give a nod of respect to the Japanese for the nod to the Germans.

The premise is interesting for a mecha. In a world moving forward, what is the point in which humans must pull back and examine their humanity versus their

What is behind the Amalgams?

technological drive? Anti-sci-fi (?) in a mecha is an interesting approach, and I welcomed it, being a mecha anime fan myself. (If I haven’t covered this before, non-anime fans/fans to be, mecha is mechanized (?) anime, dealing with machines and robots, i.e. Gundam Wing.)

Joseph (Todd Haberkorn), a character of anguish.

There should also be some credit given to the voice strained voice actors who lent their emotion to this anime. Watching this dubbed, I was amazed with the power given to the characters purely through voice. Joseph Jobson (Todd Haberkorn). Almost unrecognizable, but gives that brooding hero voice with a disturbed and tragic past to perfection. Hermann Saltza (Travis Willingham). This guy swore and yelled more than any other voice actor I’ve ever heard. I give him credit for days at a time (probably) of a hoarse speaking voice. His emotions and pain came to the table and delivered. Gerd Frentzen (Christopher Sabat). I give him credit because he is the amazing Christopher Sabat (as you know, I’m a big fan.). His voice of gruff torture and anguish spoke to me as usual, and kept me grippingly emotional. And Amanda Werner (Jamie Marchi). Her torrent of emotional confusion and desperation was quite excellent. And that’s only a few. But isn’t that enough to get you watching this anime? Get to it. 7.8 out of 10.


Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne

What is there to say about Mnemosyne? This short 6 episode, 45 minutes per is one of those anime you watch without really being able to explain it. Set in 4 different time periods (1990’s, 2011, 2025, and 2055) these episodes display a pattern that is constantly broken. Rin, a private investigator and femme fatale, takes the ordinary and mundane in her cases and uncovers the surreal and supernatural. And this isn’t unfounded. Rin herself is an immortal. How did she get to become an immortal? Well you’ll just have to watch to find out.

There’s not a lot to say about this show, so this’ll probably be a short review. The plot becomes intricate as it

Too sexy Rin.

develops, so it’s not too hard to follow despite the changes in time. There are some consistent characters though. Besides Rin (Colleen Clinkenbeard), there’s her assistant Mimi (Jamie Marchi) the other immortal computer wiz of the ever changing duo. And, as the show progresses, Koki Maeno (Robert McCollum) and his descendants become integral parts of the plot.

See what I mean?

This anime is quite graphic as well. Known as a grotesque and erotic anime, there’s some pretty gruesome and pornographic scenes. I mean this thing borders on straight up Hentai. (Not for the kids, mind.) These elements mix to make a suspenseful thriller mystery unlike most anime I’ve ever seen of any of these anime by themselves. I mean there are scenes of sodomy, scenes of overwhelming erotic passion, and bondage with torture. Who doesn’t love that?

I initially wanted to watch this anime because of a really cool AMV I saw (I’ll post it at the end) and I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. I had originally planned to watch this subbed and found a respectable english voice class. Todd Haberkorn did a great job as Apos, the slightly devious and strangely evil… well… angel. (Now you have to watch it.) I’ve not seen Haberkorn

Rin. A different experience.

ever voice act for a villain, but it was slightly chilling. Christopher Bevins gave a respectable performance as Tamotsu Yanagihara, the hardened investigator who’s career develops over the course of the anime. And I give all the credit to Colleen Clinkenbeard for her performance as Rin, the amazingly sexy protagonist of the series.

So, all in all, this is a little anime that gives the creeps. Tastefully sexual and quite intricate, it’s worth more than one watch. Check out Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, straight out of The Abyss. 7.2 out of 10.

And here’s that AMV I was talking about.


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.