Wherein I take yet another shot at organized religion,
Horror is again the flavor of the week,
The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (2005, David Lee Fisher, United States Of America) **1/2
The premise of this film interested me, but it didn’t quite execute that premise. The director, David Lee Fisher, decided to film completely in green screen. He superimposed his actors over the old footage from the 1919 original. Like I said, an interesting idea, but it never quite comes together. The original Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari. was creepy because of the angling of the structures and so forth, but The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari loses all of that creepiness. It may be the same footage with the same sets, but the green screen never really works. The acting is pretty bad across the board, but this was more of an experimentation film than anything. It was interesting to check out, but that’s about it.
Jaws 3-D (1983, Joe Alves, United States Of America) *
Things I learned from this film,
—Jaws should have stopped after one film
–3D in 1983 was lame, like really, really lame
–Lea Thompson is darn hot when nearly naked
–Dolphins are super awesome and the underwater equivalent of dogs
–This movie is really, really lame, like really really lame
Jaws: The Revenge (1987, Joseph Sargent, United States Of America) 1/2*
Michael Caine counts his cheddar while Mario Van Peebles has everyting under control, man.
Gojira (Godzilla, 1954, Ishirô Honda, Japan) ***1/2
There are a few rough patches with rough cuts and the story is a bit conventional, but this all about the horror and devastation of Godzilla’s attacks and their aftermaths. That stuff is epic, not as epic as Takashi Shimura, but still pretty damn epic. It’s true that Gojira is a very clear warning about the nuclear build-up, but I think there is more going on here. I couldn’t help but feel that this film represented a form of self-punishment from Japan. Gojira is a continuation of World War II, one more chance for the Japanese to punish themselves for entering that war. Their hubris awakens him from his slumber, and as he comes forward nothing they do can stop him. Their military is turned back, their nation is crushed and it is only after their bright youth have been sacrificed and a new super weapon has been introduced to the world that America, ahem, the monster is stopped.
Bakjwi (Thirst, 2009, Chan-wook Park, South Korea) ***1/2
My opinion of this will probably go up after repeated viewings. This is all over the place, but it hits every marker that it wants to. It’s dramatic, it’s funny, it’s insane, it’s awesome. Kang-ho Song and Ok-bin Kim are totally amazing as the leads. It has moments of pure horror balanced against theology (I’m pretty much convinced that Priest Sang is a physical representation of the church and Tae-ju is his first convert, who takes his words and utterly messes them up, only realizing this fact at the end), a bit of a love story, and all the while Chan-wook Park brilliantly continues the idea put forth by a few recent films that vampirism isn’t pretty, nor should it be. I’m not even sure at this point why I knocked off the half a star, it’s probably because it could have been tightened up in a few places, but I can see that complaint diminishing as time goes by. Either way, it’s awesomemundo!
Two great films help to shore up what was trending towards being a horrendous week of films. Bakjwi takes home retro movie of the week honors. I’ll be back next week with five more retro capsule reviews!