Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kichiku Dai Enkai (1997; Kazuyoshi Kumakiri)

Kichiku Dai Enkai comes off as sort of an inspirational film, as strange as that may sound. Not to the degree that I find their vague rebellionism inspiring or that I find their clothing so hip to the jive. It is more that this film plays like a gore film should. It has some good effects, some half decent acting, and even some good camera work. What is so inspirational about that? This was Kumakiri's senior thesis in college and is really just his college buddies messing around on tape.

As the story goes, some political college group gets in trouble and their beloved leader goes to jail. He decided to put his girlfriend in charge of the group which begins to sew discontent, etc.

I'm going to keep this review on the short side as I already wrote another review recently and I really should be writing papers instead. As stated before, this is a college level piece, but don't let that give you any wrong ideas. The only thing that gives away that this is a college work is the fact that the stars are all college aged.

The camera is what really sold me. While it has an amateur feel to it, it also portrays a very serious and skilled knowledge of the do's and do not's. The first Evil Dead film comes to mind as a comparison, however, I feel that Kumakiri does it a little better than young Raimi.

The score is sparse (whether it be from lack of budget or actual choice I'm not sure) but is effective enough when used. The real problem here lies with the pacing. To succeed at making a slowly paced, character driven piece (which believe it or not is what this film is) you really need to have actors that shine and can carry a lot of weight with their dialogue. While this shows ambition, it really isn't an area that tends to excel in college works. While I doubt it was naivity on Kumakiri's part, it still is a wound that the film never really can rebound from.

Score: 3/5

Notes: Slow Pacing? Character Development? In a gore film?

Sling Blade (1996; Billy Bob Thorton)

A film highly overlooked by most people due mostly to the monolithic success that was Forrest Gump, Sling Blade is... wait a minute. I never review anything up here...

Much better. Well, I might as well do the plot first too... Karl, a mildly handicapped individual, is put into a mental hospital after killing his mother and her lover at a very young age. Fast forward a few years and now it is time for Karl to be released as an adult to create a life of his own. With great unease the hospital releases him, and we get front row seats to just how adapted Karl is.

Alright, now to backtrack, Sling Blade was regrettably ignored by most people (myself included... but I was 6, give me a break) during the colossal reign of Forrest Gump. I'm not saying Forrest Gump didn't deserve the attention, but we need to learn to spread the love a little more.

The first moments of the film where we witness Karl's interview with a young girl writing for her school newspaper and then his eventual release set an unforgettable tone of unease. This is our first introduction to Karl, and we are thrown right in with the rest of the characters as we try to figure out whether Karl has really recovered. This part of the film seals the deal as to why Forrest Gump won out. The light-hearted sides of film tend to sell better.

That isn't to say that the entire film has a serious tone about it, that is. In actuality, the film does have quite the mixture of emotions thrown into it with great success. Add on top of that a great timely soundtrack to fit the southern atmosphere and baby, you got a stew going.

The only thing I can dock this film for is the lack of replay action it will get (which is another contrast to Forrest Gump). This film is a beast (two and a half hours or something like that) and it just didn't feel like the material was enough to warrant frequent repeats (it was damn close, though).

Score: 4/5

Notes: Hades (Some people call it Hell, but I call it Hades)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Busy Busy

As summer has come, I have found myself in a surprisingly time consuming list of summer courses and what time is left over has been with family or other hobbies that are tying up my funds (PS3 & WH: 40k). My time should free up a little more around the second summer semester allowing me to watch a few movies and write my opinions on them. So until then, enjoy some posters and stills from some of the games I've been playing.