Tuesday, January 13, 2009

5.30am - Tokyo Gore Police

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
Starring: Eihi Shiina, Yukihide Benny, Ikuko Sawada
Genre: Horror/action

Random observations:
- Well, the gore part of the title is right, and I'm saying that less than two minutes into the movie. Already I've seen a head explode like a watermelon, a chainsaw-mutilated corpse and a chick hacking her own arm to shreds. 
- Okay, so it seems an "engineer" is someone who can merge a weapon into their flesh, and the main character, Ruka, works for a division of the police that hunt down these engineers.
- I recognise the main chick (Shiina) from Takeshi Miike's Audition. She's in one of the most memorable (for all the wrong reasons) scenes of all time, from that movie. Three words - foot, piano wire. Three more words - pins in eyeballs. *shudders*
- The gore and violence so far in Tokyo Gore Police is so over the top and unrealistic that it's easy to stomach.
- A quick look at imdb.com shows that director Yoshihiro Nishimura's only other directing gig so far has been for the even more outrageously named "Speakerman: The Boo". The mind boggles.
- It's 6am and I'm still wide awake. 24-hour movie marathon... piece of cake baby!
- So much blood, so much gore.
- What's with the weird TV commercials advertising different ways of committing suicide?
- Alright, this is getting freakin' weird.
- Goddammit! That's two movies I've seen in the past 24 hours that have involved manjunk getting chopped or bitten off!
- I'm not even going to try to continue describing this stuff, because I don't know that I could even if I wanted to.

Overall comments: Odds are you've never seen anything like Tokyo Gore Police before. Even if you're well versed in Japanese horror, it's probably creepy suspense stuff like The Ring or The Grudge or Dark Waters. This is nothing like those movies - for a start there's nothing scary about Tokyo Gore Police. Instead it's just insane and gory. The best I can describe it is Peter Jackson's Brain Dead (Dead Alive in the US) meets Ryuhei Kitamura's zombie martial arts opus Versus meets Evil Dead. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but adventurous movie fans should give it a look.

Up next: Breakfast, then sleep! Glorious sleep! I made it! 24 hours non-stop watching movies!

3am - The Day After

The Day After (1983)
Starring: Jason Robards, Steve Guttenberg, John Lithgow
Genre: Disaster drama

Random observations:
- I haven't seen this made-for-TV movie in years. I saw it when it showed on TV here, and it must have been the mid to late 80s. I remember that the idea of nuclear holocaust freaked me out after seeing this as a kid.
- Jason Robards. He sure looks a lot older than he did in the classic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
- Jen's given up the fight and gone for a sleep. She lasted 19 hours - not a bad effort.
- Steve Guttenberg - a full year before Police Academy and two years before Cocoon. And there's Stephen Furst (Animal House). And the familiar faces just keep on coming - John Lithgow, the same year as the Twilight Zone movie, but a year before his classic turn as the preacher in Footloose.
- The bomb blast special effects are pretty hokey by today's standards, but still effective enough (especially the bit with people's skeletons showing before they're vaporised).

Overall comments: It's weird to watch this movie now, when the likelihood of nuclear holocaust is a lot more slim than it was in the early 80s. But while the events portrayed might not be too likely to happen, they're still a scary reminder of... what if. Don't expect any sort of uplifting message of hope - The Day After portrays the aftermath of nuclear attack in unflinching terms. I've gotta say I'm a bit depressed after watching it.

Up next: We finish up with some wacky Japanese splatter gore in Tokyo Gore Police!

1am - Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones
Genre: Fantasy, adventure

Random observations:
- I've had a shower and have cracked open my first can of sugar-free V, so hopefully I'll be good to go for the home stretch.
- First piece of useless trivia: The blue-skinned, demon-looking Prince Nuada is played by Luke Goss, formerly one half of 80s British pop duo Bros.
- Who knew there were so many tooth fairies, and that they were such nasty little bastards?
- Selma Blair is daaaaamn hot.
- Director Guillermo del Toro has really ramped up the fantasy factor, with all sorts of fantastical characters, reminiscent of his excellent work on Pan's Labrynth.
- Second piece of useless trivia: Walking diving suit Johann Krauss is voiced by Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane.
- Did I mention that Selma Blair is hot?
- Hellboy and Abe Sapien dueting on a Barry Manilow love song. Priceless.
- "Your Royal Assness". Nice.

Overall comments: I've read that Guillermo del Toro made this sequel for a fraction of the budget of the first one, but somehow he's made a better movie. That's mostly due to the increased fantastical elements - the creature effects are simply awesome. Hellboy started out as a comic book, and these adaptions offer lots of mindless action, just like in a comic.

Up next: The Day After

Monday, January 12, 2009

11pm - Super Size Me

Super Size Me (2004)
Starring: Morgan Spurlock, Ronald McDonald
Genre: Documentary

Random observations:
- Alright, I'm wary of documentaries these days, mainly because of that shameless fucker Michael Moore and his propensity for twisting facts and figures to suit his agenda, but I'll go into this with an open mind.
- Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen... one of my favourite songs, and a perfect way to open any documentary about obesity.
- It's only early in the documentary, but damn I'm hungry for a Big Mac combo.
- After the guy's big McChunder out the window of his car? Not so hungry now.
- Midnight! 16 hours down, 8 to go!
- Damn, Spurlock's vegan girlfriend is annoying as all hell. Is it wrong to wish that Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglar and Grimace will show up and bludgeon the dumb bitch to death?

Overall comments: Okay, so a guy eats nothing but McDonald's for a month and puts on weight, becomes unhealthy and does harm to his organs. Well duh. Who wasn't expecting that? I'm yawning, and that's not just because it's after midnight. You know what's funny? The only thing this documentary did was made me hungry for a feed of Maccas. Oh well.

Up next: Short break, then Hellboy 2.

9.30pm - Hostel 2

Hostel 2 (2008)
Starring: Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips
Genre: Horror (or torture porn if you prefer)

Random observations:
- Been putting off watching this for ages, after catching a few sneak peeks. I love horror movies, but torture porn... not so much.
- There's nothing cats like better than blood out of a decapitated guy's neck.
- Argh! Wanger!
- And only a brief glimpse of the chick nude model. That's just wrong.
- I have to wonder what these movies have done for the tourism industry in Slovakia. I can't imagine they've helped at all.
- Yikes, now that's what I call a bloodbath.
- Castration... just wrong. So wrong. And feeding the junk to the dog? Dear God.
- However, soccer with a decapitated head... that's kinda funny.

Overall comments: If you enjoy this movie, you're a sick fuck, as simple as that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy the Saw movies, and get a kick out of novel deaths (like in the Final Destination movies), but some of the shit in this movie is wrong... just wrong. That's about all I've got to say about this.

Up next: From dogs eating castrated junk to a guy eating a shitload of McDonald's... it's Super Size Me.

7.45pm - The Final Season

The Final Season (2007)
Starring: Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, Rachael Leigh Cook
Genre: Sports drama

- Seeing as I'm going to spend the next 12+ hours in a confined space, with no air movement, I'm not sure nachos was the best option for dinner.
- Based on a true story, like a bunch of good sports dramas (We Are Marshall, Miracle, Friday Night Lights... and of course Rudy, which starred this movie's star/producer Sean Astin).
- Using some actual news footage - nice.
- Just passed the 12-hour mark. Halfway through the marathon and going strong! 

Overall comments: I'm probably a bit biased, because baseball is my favourite sport, bar none. So of course I'm going to enjoy a movie about the great game. I'm also a bit of a sucker for a sappy sports movie, especially one based on true events. Is The Final Season one of the best sports movies going around? Well, no. It doesn't rank up there with Friday Night Lights, Hoosiers or Rudy. But that's not to say it's bad. If you're in the mood for some family-friendly drama with a feel-good slant to it, this'll do the trick. The plot follows a high school baseball team in small town Iowa (100 students) with a tradition of winning state championships, but which is about to be amalgamated with a bigger town school. They're given one last season, with an inexperienced coach (Astin) determined to send them out in style.

Up next: Hostel 2 (Wow, I don't think you could get a much bigger change of pace than that)

5.20pm - Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs

The Beast With a Billion Backs (2008)
Voices: Billy West, Katey Segal, John Di Maggio, Brittany Murphy
Genre: Animated comedy

Random observations:
- Dig the old school game references (pong; the 2D amusement ride; death ball; Pacman checkers).
- Hermes: "I'm feeling dread deep in my dreads". Awesome.
- Fry shitting bricks, literally. Funny.
- Jen's comment as the final credits begin to roll: "That was a big pile of poos".
- My ass is going to sleep.

Overall comments: This second feature-length Futurama movie is fairly entertaining and quite funny in parts. I've only watched the TV show in bits and pieces - it's never really appealled to me and this movie doesn't change that. In terms of animated comedy I rank Futurama at about the same level as King of the Hill - not bad, but well below the true genius of The Simpsons and Family Guy. Fans of Futurama probably love this movie. Casual viewers not so much. I still can't figure out how the same mind (Matt Groening) churned out something as legendary as The Simpsons and yet dropped the ball with Futurama. Even Seth McFarlane (Family Guy) did better with his follow up series (American Dad).

Up next: Dinner, then The Final Season

3.45pm - Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace (2008)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric
Genre: Action thriller

Random observations:
- More of the jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Has that become this version of Bond's trademark?
- Awesome fast-paced opening scene, and Daniel Craig is so much more believable as an action star than that girl's blouse Pierce Brosnan. 
- I need me one of those palm-sized cameras that can take photos of faces from a hundred metres away with such clarity that face-recognition software can be used.
- First a boat battle, now a plane battle. What's next, a train battle?
- The girl who died covered in oil looks a lot like the girl who died covered in gold in Goldfinger. Deliberate homage?

Overall comments: First off, I need to make it clear that I hate James Bond movies. The only one I've ever watched all the way through was Casino Royale, which turned out to be the most unBond Bond movie of them all. With Daniel Craig, gone are the smarmy nancy boys supping on martinis (Brosnan, Connery etc). His Bond kicks ass and makes no apologies about it. But while I loved Casino Royale, I merely liked Quantum of Solace. I'm not sure what was missing, but I think it might have had something to do with the main bad guy. Mads Mikkelsen's Le Chiffre in Casino Royale was a creepy-as bad ass, whereas Mathieu Amalric's Dominic Greene in this movie is... well, he's just not a very menacing villain. Perhaps the director (Marc Forster) is also partly to blame, not having much of an action background, unlike Kiwi Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). Quantum has way too much talking and not enough action for my liking.

Up next: Futurama - The Beast With a Billion Backs

1.45pm - Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay

Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)
Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris
Genre: Comedy

Random observations:
- Poop and jizz jokes and the opening credits have barely finished. We're off to a good start.
- Smokeless bong!
- Rob Corddry from The Daily Show! Awesome.
- "That looks like Osama Bin Laden's beard". Best pube joke ever.
- Doogie Howser in-joke alert.
- Threesome with weed. Funniest sex scene since Team America.
- Best line of the movie... Neil Patrick Harris: "I'm gonna rock with my cock out and you're gonna jam out with your clam out".

Overall comments: If you're into these kinds of teen/stoner movies (American Pie, Road Trip, Club Dread etc) and you've seen the first one (and even if you haven't) you'll probably get a lot of laughs here. While this isn't my favourite kind of comedy, and I can't say I was laughing the whole time, I did laugh a lot and enjoyed Harold and Kumar 2 quite a bit.

Up next: Quantum of Solace

11.20am - Smokin' Aces

Smokin' Aces (2006)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck

Random observations:
- Quite the ensemble cast. Within the first few minutes I count Reynolds, Liotta, Piven, Affleck, Andy Garcia, Kiwi Martin Henderson, Alicia Keys, Peter Berg and Wayne Newton.
- My suspicions that this will turn out to be an American attempt at a Guy Ritchie movie are well founded so far.
- Hooker fight!
- Nazi redneck ventriloquist act! Ben Affleck's greatest acting performance ever (If you've seen the movie you'll know what I'm talking about).
- Alicia Keys in fuck-me boots. Daaaaaamn!
- Chainsaw up the ass. Ouch.

Overall comments: I was right about this being an American attempt on a Guy Ritchie movie. Like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you have a bunch of subplots all twisting and turning until they lead to one helluva shootout. But unlike LSaTSB, Smokin Aces doesn't have quite as much humour, and ramps up the blood and gore. Everything revolves around a hit put out on mob informant Buddy "Aces" Israel, and the various groups of hitmen (and women) wanting to cash in the $1m bounty. The would-be assassins include ex-cops, crazy rednecks, a sexy black woman and a master of disguises. Director Joe Carnahan (who's helming a sequel - Smokin' Aces: Blowback, due for release this year) throws in a surprise twist for good measure, and then caps things off with an attempt at a heartfelt ending. Smokin' Aces is at its best though when the bullets are flying.

Up next: Lunch, then a real change of pace... Harold and Kumar visit Guantanamo Bay.

9.30am - Class of 1984

Class of 1984 (1982)
Starring: Perry King, Timothy Van Patten, Roddy McDowall
Genre: Drama/thriller

Random observations:
- Theme song by Alice Cooper!
- Perry King, star of the short-lived 80s TV show Riptide, which no-one but me seems to remember.
- Roddy McDowall. Best known as Cornelius in the classic Planet of the Apes, but to me he'll always be Peter Vincent in Fright Night.
- Michael J Fox sighting! He's really young here. This is the same year as he started on the TV series Family Ties, which would shoot him to stardom. Here he's got a nasty bowlcut.
- Man, this movie is worth watching just for the array of early 80s fashions, which range from pretty cool to downright hilarious.
- Now we're two-for-two for movies featuring cars blowing up dramatically, this one after flipping over in the street.

Overall comments: I haven't seen this movie since I was a teenager, and it stands up pretty well after all that time. Class of 1984 is your basic revenge flick, with a teacher (King) pushed over the edge by a group of punk students, led by Stegman (Van Patten). What makes this movie stand out from others in the genre is the acting (especially Van Patten and Roddy McDowall, who plays another teacher) and the violence. If you want to dig deeper, there are subtexts about the degeneration of youth and the ever-decreasing level of respect shown towards authority/elders. If not, just enjoy the ride - Van Patten does such a good job of eliciting hate that you'll be cheering by the time Perry King takes his revenge.

Up next: Smokin' Aces

8am - Transporter 3

Transporter 3 (2008)
Starring: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Robert Knepper
Genre: Action

Random observations:

- The bad guy is Robert Knepper (T-Bag from Prison Break). Awesome!
- Less than 10 minutes in we get our first Statham-kicks-the-crap-out-of-a-bunch-of-guys fight scene.
- Fast car? Check. Hot chick in car? Check. Mission to get said car and girl somewhere? Check. The formula's all here.
- Why is it that when a big group of bad guys surrounds a hero, they take turns charging at him instead of all rushing him at once?
- The big guy in the garage fight scene is none other than 6-foot-11 kickboxer and three-time K1 world champion Semmy Schilt.
- Car chase cliche #74: Car flies off cliff, car explodes on impact. Every damn time.
- Best lines of the movie so far: "You're the gay!", "No, I'm not the gay".
- Natalya Rudakova - sexiest freckle-faced, ginga Russian chick ever.
- Directed by Olivier Megaton. Sounds like a French Transformer.

Overall thoughts: If you've seen either of the first two Transporter movies, you know what to expect here... senseless, unrealistic action. If you go in expecting that and nothing more, and you like these kinds of movies, you'll be entertained. Jason Statham has been in some great movies (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Crank) and some not-so-great ones (Death Race), but as an action star he's hard not to like.

Next up: Class of 1984

And so it begins

It's 8am and the 24-hour movie marathon is about to begin.

First up is Transporter 3.

I read somewhere that any good 24-hour movie marathon needs to start with a few fast-paced movies, and if the first two are anything to go by, we're in for some good brainless action.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Countdown to the 24-hour movie marathon

Tomorrow Jen and I are going to do something we've been talking about for a while now... we're going to attempt to watch movies continuously for 24 hours.

In the past we've done a couple of 12-hour marathons, which were admittedly quite difficult. I think the main reason for that was that we started at night and finished in the morning. The early morning hours are obviously the hardest to stay awake. That's why we'll be starting our 24-hour marathon tomorrow at 8am, finishing at 8am the next day. Looking ahead, it shouldn't be too much harder than the 12-hour marathons, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

One thing that I think will help is the fact that we've recently taken out the back row of theatre seats in our home cinema and replaced them with two business class airline seats. They're a lot more comfortable. When we did the 12-hour marathons, my back ached for days afterwards. Hopefully with a bit more comfort that won't be the case this time.

We've stocked up on essentials - numerous cans of energy drink and a pile of snacks. I've done some research on public 24-hour movie marathons, and found that they have breaks for meals. That's good - as I'm diabetic, skipping meals isn't an option - so we've scheduled breaks for lunch, dinner and breakfast over the 24 hours.

What movies will we be watching? I'm not going to reveal that just yet, but as a clue we've got quite a few new/recent releases, a couple of 80s flicks and a Japanese movie that promises to be a real mindfuck. The only ones we've seen before are the two 80s flicks, and that was many years ago.

I'll be blogging as we go, offering my thoughts on the different movies as we watch them. I can't promise the entries will make much sense, especially into the early hours of Tuesday morning.