Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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After the original Gojira and Mothra films, Ghidorah is probably my next favorite kaiju film that I have seen thus far. It features the lilliputian twins from Mothra, an amnesiac princess who believes she comes from Mars and presents herself to the pulblic as a prophetess, and the first team-up between the kaiju--Rodan, Godzilla, and Mothra join forces to battle Ghidorah, a three-headed dragon-like destruction machine that proves to be too powerful for any of the giant monsters on their own. A fun, giant monster, sci-fi b-movie from Japanese B-movie master Ishiro Honda.
A fun, bizarre little slasher flick that defies many of the rules of the genre and elicits an almost constant stream of laughter along the way. More despicable teens than I have seen in almost any other slasher film (these are perfectly okay with rape) reside at the center of this twisted and forgotten piece of slasher history--it is about five-seven years too late for the genre's prime. If you like slasher films or horror films that are so bad they're hilarious, then you'll like Hell High.
Cannibal is a difficult film to rate and an even more difficult film to watch. I will admit that I turned it off about twenty minutes before it was over due to the twin feelings of boredom and revulsion, a pair of feelings that I am not sure I have experienced before while watching a film. For starters, Cannibal is not for the squeamish or homophobic. On the other hand, if you seek out the transgressive in your cinematic experiences, then Cannibal might just be your thing. Although again, even though I am neither squeamish nor homophobic, I still found the film to be boring and disgusting without ever developing any real point or meaning the journey worthwhile. In general, when I watch exploitation, transgressive, or horror cinema, I expect it to use the disgusting elements of the plot for one of two reasons: the film must either have a point or it must be entertaining to watch. Ultimately, I cannot rate Cannibal very highly because it fails on both these fronts. It is not fun to watch in any sense of the word and it never uses its disgusting elements for any purpose unless it perhaps to explore the darker side of human desire, fetishism, and obsession.
All that being said, I still admire Cannibal for its guerrilla attitude towards filmmaking: it never holds back or censors itself neither on the aesthetic or gruesome level. It's aesthetic is rather striking. I follows in the vein of the minimalist, clinical films of Michael Haneke, particularly films like The Seventh Continent, Benny's Video, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, Funny Games, and The Piano Teacher. It also reminds me of Takashi Miike's Visitor Q, a similarly difficult film to sit through but one that ultimately has an underlying object of critique that makes it worthwhile. But most of all Cannibal reminds me of the films of Jorge Buttgereit: Nekromantik, Nekromantik 2, and Schramm. But ultimately, Buttgereit's Nekromantik films are grossout, Freudian comedies that lampoon art films as they simultaneously participate in their aesthetic.
Dora adopts a very similar aesthetic approach to Buttgereit: dialogue is minimal while sounds and the score take up most of the sound space. Also, Like Haneke Dora adopts a clinical perspective on its subjects: the camera never seems to judge the actions of the characters--it simply depicts them to the audience. Furthermore, Dora adopts an extremely methodical pacing that almost never seems to cut away in order to condense time. We experience major events in almost real time, which is probably what ultimately makes the film so hard too watch. Dora never allows us to take our eyes away from what is happening. The camera stays on the butchery. But ultimately, Dora's aesthetic aspirations fail because the film just becomes boring as we wait for something to happen and what happens is relatively a minimal series of actions that are simply prolonged past the point of bearing.
Cannibal doesn't feature anything that I haven't seen elsewhere--well, one thing--it runs through the list of exploitation staples: castration, defecation, evisceration, cannibalism, etc. Plus, it very unabashedly depicts male nudity and gay sexuality in a way that would never be seen in American cinema, although the film's inclusion of its extreme form of fetishism (cannibalism as a sexual act) makes the sex scenes difficult to watch as well even if you are not homophobic because the film conflates acts such as fellatio with the actual eating of the penis. I am not averse to films that feature such elements. Some of my favorite films are Irreversible, Thriller, Cannibal Holocaust, Salo, etc. But those films either have a purpose or they are at least fun to watch. Cannibal is exploitation with aesthetic aspirations, but it ultimately fails to do anything meaningful, which makes it just an unbearable hour and a half of cinema. I do admire it for its balls-out attitude towards filmmaking, but I cannot genuinely recommend except to those, like myself, who grave the more extreme ends of transgressive cinema.
An original and entertaining entry in the Hammer horror canon that conceives of the Yettie not as a monster but as another race of intelligent beings that is simply biding its time up in the Himalayan mountains until its time has come to "inherit the earth." The Abominable Snowman suffers somewhat because there is not enough Yettie action in it--it is mostly a mountain-climbing thriller, but it still a fun piece of earlier Hammer horror cinema that will most likely delight fans of the studio.
Astonishingly, Varda supposedly completed La Pointe Courte, her breathtaking first film, without any prior knowledge of filmmaking and without even having seen many other films. Set in a small fishing village, the film alternates between a story of the local fishermen's struggle with the board of health and a young married couple trying to decide whether or not they should call it quits on their marriage--Varda actually compares the alternation to the alternating storylines that Faulkner incorporated into If I Forget Thee Jerusalem, or The Wild Palms as it is more commonly known). Every shot of the film is perfect, beautiful, and infinitely complex, as Varda's camera roves around the village and its inhabitants. The only drawback to the film is perhaps the existentially angsty relationship conversations between the unnamed couple (they are merely She and He). In this parts, perhaps Resnais's mentorship becomes too apparent and the film becomes a little stilted because the conversations between the couple never seem very natural in comparison to the realistic dialogue of the residents of La Point Courte. Still, a film that features single shots that could serve as the basis for entire papers. Not to be missed by fans of film history or especially by followers of New Wave films.