May 2012

Review: Outrage (2010)

Normally, Takeshi “Beat” Kitano is one of my favorite actors to watch.  He brings a certain style to his films, whether doing drama or comedy that makes him entertaining, even if he’s pretty much playing the same basic character from film to film.  He also has a habit of writing and directing his own films, and usually produces a pretty good flick. Outrage, however, was not one of those occasions. 

The story follows the interrelations of many Yakuza families, from the top dogs to the lowly groups just trying to make a living.  It starts with a group of families ganging up on one smaller family and then progresses into a self-cannibalistic frenzy of families killing each other while trying to gain more wealth, power and territory.  Eventually, the whole affair backfires to one degree or another and everyone ends up killing everyone else.

Review: Fish Story (2009)

The year is 2012 and the world is threatened by imminent destruction due to a comet impact.  At least that’s the basic premise of the Japanese film Fish Story, though it has little to do with the movie other than providing a beginning and ending to it.  The main bulk of the film is a series of flashbacks which relate the individual stories of a cast of characters over the course of 30 years.  The stories come out of order and are loosely held together by a the common device that a particular song, produced by a little-known Japanese punk band, will end up saving the world.

Review: Sleep Dealer (2008)

This one was a random choice I made after digging through the piles of Netflix movies that I’d either already seen, didn’t have any desire to see or just weren’t in the mood to see.  When I read the synopsis, I figured ‘what the heck?’ and hit play.  Turns out, this movie was much more than I expected.  From the way it was described I was expected some sub-par wanna-be science fiction film about people being slaves to the internet while working in the factories for a fix.  That was a little bit what the movie was about, but there were many more layers to it than just that.

Review: The Countess (2009)

This movie is an historically-inclined version of the tale of Elizabeth Bathory, a famous countess who is known as being one of the most prolific serial killers in history.  If the legends are to be believed, she murdered somewhere around 650 young virgin girls and bathed in their blood in order to keep herself looking younger.  Although there is some debate around whether the murders were real or just a product of the politics of the time, the film ascribes to the historical account of events.  The film is German, but it is done in English, so no subtitles here.

Julie Delpy plays the titular role and directs the film as well.  The ambiance is done well and there is none of the cleanly glitz that many historical films seem to indulge in. The peasants are dirty and ugly and the royalty are bizarre and ugly.  Both the cinematography and the sets look great.  The overall immersive feel of the film is excellent.