WTF

Screw You photo
Screw You

Cujo remake has terrible new title


Things that are OK to hate
Jul 07
// Matthew Razak
Ready to bash your head against your keyboard. They're remaking Cujo (no, don't bash yet) and the new film is going to be called C.U.J.O. That stands for Canine Unit Joint Operations (you're good to bash now).&...
Jurassic World box office photo
Jurassic World box office

Jurassic World earned the biggest worldwide box office debut of all time


"That is one big pile of s**t"
Jun 15
// Hubert Vigilla
C's get degrees, and C-grade movies get lots of money. Jurassic World earned an astounding $511.8 million around the world, giving the film the biggest opening global box office of all time. The movie features Chris Pratt all...

Review: Reality

May 05 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]219356:42363:0[/embed] RealityDirector: Quentin DupieuxRelease Date: May 1, 2015Rating: NR On some level, this review is the third part in a series on Quentin Dupieux's absurdist rollercoaster. In March of 2013, he blew me away with Wrong, making it the first film I ever broke the nearly-impossible-to-break 95+ barrier for. It changed the way I viewed cinema, the requirement for such a high score. It proved to me that absurdist cinema is a thing that can exist in a way that’s every bit as brilliant as absurdist theatre. It was eye-opening, and I loved it. Later that year, he released Wrong Cops. To put it bluntly, Wrong Cops is garbage. My review of the film features the line, "I wanted to punch a baby." With Wrong, I called Dupieux a modern-day auteur. With Wrong Cops, I wondered if it had just been a fluke. Wrong received a 95, Wrong Cops a 35. (Undoubtedly the most severe drop in scores seen on this site.) But whereas Wrong Cops was built on the premise of the previous film (while learning absolutely none of the lessons from it), Reality was something new. The only image I saw, the one on the poster, looked like the kind of thing I had wanted from Wrong Cops and gotten from Wrong. I was willing to chalk Wrong Cops up as the fluke, not Wrong. So for me, there was a lot riding on Reality, because I really, really wanted to like it.  Reality is at its best when it embraces its absurdist roots. Wrong Cops' fundamental failing was its inability to create a world where everyone accepted that things were weird. There were absurdist characters in a real-ish world. Reality threatens to be that sometimes. Case in point: The film opens with a man killing a wild boar. He brings it home and guts it. In the boar is a blue VHS tape. He simply throws it into the trash along with all the intestines. So far so good. At dinner, the young girl asks why there would be a video tape in a hog. There is a discussion about the fact that that wouldn't make any sense. For a moment, I was worried that we were in Wrong Cops: Round 2. It turns out, though, that the movie we are watching is, probably (and I emphasize probably), a movie within this movie. And suddenly it is acceptable again. People in the movie within the movie can comment on things that don't make sense. And, honestly, questioning the logistics of any given action can work in a grand sense as long as the response is always something to the effect of, "Because duh. That's why." There are plenty of times when characters in Reality question their surroundings, but the answers to their questions never actually answer the questions. In fact, they rarely even acknowledge the question's intent. This world makes sense to them, and if someone else is a little bit confused, it's fine, because they'll get into it before too long. There is no one in the film who is simply incapable of accepting the absurdities of the world, even if they are mildly annoyed by some of the specifics. And so the pendulum swings back. And as the film delves further and further into its own demented logic, all worries fade away. This is absurdism. And though it isn't as universally effective as Wrong, it has its own contributions to the genre. Wrong 2 would be stale. So we need to go somewhere else. In fact, Reality comes off as a response to Wrong's single sorta-failing. Late in the film, a series of events happen, only to be revealed as a dream or hallucination or something to that effect. When I realized what that meant for the narrative, I was originally sorta angry, before realizing that it totally didn’t matter in any way, shape, or form. It simply was, whether it happened or not. Reality is that sequence taken to its logical extreme. You might have expected that, considering it’s called Reality. You never know if something is real, a dream, a movie, a movie within a dream, a dream within a movie, a dream within a dream within a movie, or any number of other options. Any given moment could be any number of these things. It’s probably several at once. You don’t know it at first, of course, because you’re stuck within one version of reality, but as soon as it starts to bend, suddenly the genius of the whole thing becomes clear. Rubber would have been more interesting as a play. Wrong is more interesting as a movie, but it could become a reasonably compelling play without any fundamental changes to its narrative. Reality is a movie, and there is no way it could be translated to the stage. Of course, the fact that it’s about movies and about making movies helps that, but it’s more complicated than that. Take a punchline that comes relatively early on: A film producer is complaining to a director about how he uses too much filmstock because he won’t just say cut. The camera just keeps rolling for no reason. And then we move to a new character driving a jeep. And driving. And driving. And driving. It’s amazing. It’s perfect, even. (Honestly, the entire sequence that follows is flawless and is easily my favorite part of the film.) It’s also uniquely cinematic. And many of the tricks used to obfuscate reality (e.g. blatantly obvious continuity errors) are medium-specific as well. When Reality’s credits rolled, I thought, “Thank god.” Thank god that Wrong Cops was a fluke, because we need someone like Quentin Dupieux. But I also thought that it was still a step back from Wrong. And in many ways, it absolutely is. But though it may be a few steps back, it also takes some important strides forward. Reality makes sense as a follow-up to Wrong. He’s proved that the medium can be home to brilliant, absurdist narratives. And now he’s pushing those boundaries that he created. He may not be as wildly successful on every level, but it would be more disappointing to see something stagnant. Reality is new, and it paves a pathway for the future of the genre. And I’m positively giddy about what that future might hold.
Reality Review photo
Or something like it
I imagine that the script for Reality is caustic. That it antagonizes the reader and makes for something that is even less comprehensible on paper than it is on screen. Rather than following the regular format, it's prob...


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Ip Man 3 will feature Mike Tyson and a CG Bruce Lee


So... will this Donnie Yen sequel be partial schlock or total schlock?
Mar 24
// Hubert Vigilla
Ip Man 3 (or Ip Man 3D) has been in the works for a while, but the Donnie Yen sequel started shooting today in Shanghai. With the start of production comes news of some really bizarre stunt casting. According to The Hollywood...

Enter to win a The Purge: Anarchy prize pack!

Jul 18 // Liz Rugg
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#CrimeDay
Good afternoon, dear readers! In honor of #CrimeDay, the release day of The Purge: Anarchy, we have an extra special giveaway in store for you! To help you on your crimey-est Crime Day adventures, we're giving away to one luc...

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Flix for Short: Butter Ya'Self (NSFW)


A stop motion rap about food
Jun 27
// Liz Rugg
Presenting: Butter Ya'Self, a stop-motion animation of food rapping about food. You're welcome. Butter Ya'Self was created by a bunch of people at CalArts, but specifically by Julian Petschek. The characters are all voiced b...
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Watch: two new featurettes for Obvious Child are obviously adorable


Jun 27
// Liz Rugg
Look guys, I'm not a huge rom-com kind of girl. They're usually too saccharine and unreal for me. Obvious Child, however, looks more my speed. Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child stars the adorable and...
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Dreamworks picks up Felix the Cat rights


Jun 20
// Liz Rugg
Felix the Cat is a bit of an oddball. Not just character-wise within the various incarnations of his television shows and movies, but also his iconic status. I feel like most people can recognize the character, even if they h...
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Trailer for Frank starring Michael Fassbender is goofy fun


Jun 20
// Liz Rugg
Frank tells the story of a young musician named Jon who joins a group of eccentric musicians, lead by the enigmatic Frank, a man who makes music purely for the joy of creating ... and who wears a giant fake head all the time...
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New trailer for whimsical soccer movie This is Not a Ball


May 30
// Liz Rugg
Leading up to the 2014 World Cup, (which is taking forever, am I right?) artist Vik Muniz has created the quirky, tongue-in-cheek documentary This is Not a Ball. This is Not a Ball follows Muniz all over the world as he expl...
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Watch a clip from Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Dance of Reality


May 16
// Liz Rugg
Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of those directors people either love or don't understand. His classic surrealist films from the 1970s like The Holy Mountain are still taught in film studies courses. This year is the first time ...
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Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways To Die In The West has an 8-bit game you can play


May 16
// Liz Rugg
A Million Ways To Die In The West, Seth MacFarlane's upcoming Western comedy movie, now has an 8-bit videogame counterpart online at Adult Swim. Perhaps capitalizing on the nostalgically easy-to-die-in games of the 80's 8-bit...

Review: Blood Glacier

May 09 // Liz Rugg
[embed]217734:41508:0[/embed] Blood GlacierDirector: Marvin KrenNot RatedRelease Date: May 2nd, 2014 (US) Blood Glacier takes place in the glacial Austrian Alps where a group of scientists are going about their daily work, drudging along and preparing for a visit from their hiking-enthusiast Prime Minister, when they find a peculiar glacier high up in the mountains that appears to be oozing a reddish liquid. They take some samples from the glacier to study and soon begin to find mutated, super-aggressive animals roaming the desolate, mountainous landscape -- just as the Prime Minister's hiking party is approaching of course. Blood Glacier soon devolves into a series of pseudo-slasher scenes that don't ever seem quite sure how self-aware they were supposed to be. In one particularly comical scene, the female Prime Minister bores through the skull of a mutated Ibex with a power drill while screaming at the top of her lungs - this scene got waves of giggles from the audience I saw the movie with and seemed intentionally over-the-top. However, Blood Glacier is full of other scenes where they characters are being attacked by what clearly look like semi-believable puppets at best, and in those moments the movie seemed to be attempting to be pretty genuine. It was genuinely trying and genuinely confusing. And the editing. Oh god, the editing. For the most part Blood Glacier is a pretty coherent movie, the premise may be absolutely stupid but it is laid out pretty clearly. Sometimes though, the editing in the movie makes some extremely basic mistakes. Things like a character jumping from laying down to standing up, a giant bird-mutant attacking a person then cutting to a stab-wound, etc. At times the editing in Blood Glacier is pretty awful, but it's also that much more fun to watch. From a "so bad it's good" standpoint, Blood Glacier is enjoyable, but not particularly stellar. It's something that I'd recommend to check out based on its goofy premise and unintentional hilarity, but it doesn't have the same level of constant "so bad it's good" fun as say The Room or Troll 2. Blood Glacier is a bit too long and it bit too boring to be in my "so bad it's good" canon. However, I totally had a great time watching it, and would watch it again with friends in a heartbeat. Oh and guys, the ending. The ending of this movie. I can't spoil it for you, but it has one of the most unintentionally hysterical, completely serious and oblivious endings of all time. At the end of watching Blood Glacier, the entire theater was laughing their butts off and loving every second of it.
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Are you ready to get Blood Glaced?!
When I heard there was a movie titled Blood Glacier, I knew I wanted to see it. After learning about its premise, my heart was set on it. What Blood Glacier ended up being was more, oh -- so much more, than I ever expected. I...

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Watch: Jon Stewart takes on FOX News Noah critics


Apr 10
// Liz Rugg
I don't think anybody really expected the talk shows on right-wing news organization FOX News to love Darren Aronofsky's bible story inspired movie, Noah. However, it appears they have gone as far as to criticize the movie w...
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TMNT

Michael Bay's Ninja Turtles might look super ugly


They ain't got no alibi.
Jan 23
// Nick Valdez
I'm not the hugest fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I understand the very thought of Michael Bay going through a franchise I enjoy and possibly mucking up the whole thing for everybody. And even if I'll stick by M...
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Road House is ...sigh... getting a remake


Sometimes you just want to give up on the world
Nov 25
// Matthew Razak
This is only going to get worse so if the idea of a Road House remake already has you pulling out your hair in anger then just stop reading. MGM will indeed be remaking the Patrick Swayze starring Road House, thus confir...
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J - A - C... See you real soon!
During an event in Beijing, Jackie Chan said he's interested in creating his own theme park in Yizhuang. According to the Malaysia Times, the park will be called JC World. The two square kilometer park will be comprised of fi...

Uwe Boll turns to Kickstarter for Postal 2

Aug 29 // Hubert Vigilla
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Seriously
While the internet continues its post-mortem on Spike Lee's Kickstarter numbers, there's another director who's jumping into the crowdfunding fray: Uwe Boll. That's right, Uwe friggin' Boll has turned to Kickstarter to make ...

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Sadako (The Ring) throws opening pitch at baseball game


Oh, Japan, don't ever change
Aug 26
// Hubert Vigilla
Sadako from The Ring (Ringu) series is one of the most iconic characters in J-horror. To promote the forthcoming release of Sadako 3D 2, Sadako threw the opening pitch at a Chunichi Dragons/Hanshin Tigers baseball game. Yes,...

Fantasia Review: The Weight

Aug 12 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]216283:40561:0[/embed] The Weight (Mooge | 무게)Director: Jeon Kyu-HwanRating: NRCountry: South Korea The Weight has no story. There are characters, discussions, events, even flashbacks, but they don't come together to create any kind of real narrative. Jung (Cho Jae-Hyun) is a hunchbacked mortician, and being surrounded by death means he invites, intentionally or not, all kinds of odd people into his place of work (which is also his home, by the way). Sometimes they're alive, oftentimes they aren't, but everyone clearly has a story of their own. Unfortunately, The Weight doesn't tell many of them. Early on, it seems like the film might be trying to focus on its vision of South Korea rather than just follow a single character, but that unfortunately turns out not to be the case. A flashback shows the gruesome circumstances under which two corpses ended up on Jung's metal tables, but it never happens again. It's a real shame, because those last moments of a person's life can reveal a lot about them, even without context of the rest of the life. A drunk walking home gets hit by a bus. A woman fights her mugger and gets shot. These are stories that could have fit perfectly with The Weight's tone and would have made it much more compelling. That single instance was a tease, as was the one flashback for a not-actually-revelvant living character. These showed a fascinating world beyond the morgue's four walls, one that even the scenes that take place in the open don't properly portray. Instead, the story focuses on Jung and Dong-bae, his transgendered sorta-sibling, with whom he has an uncomfortable relationship. That's uncomfortable for me, by the way... not so much for them. The Weight tries to explain their backstory through flashbacks, but they don't really clear much up. It wasn't always obvious who was who in the flashbacks, and it's not until now that some of it is starting to make some sense, but even then it still doesn't all fit together properly. A second watch might help to close some of the holes, but it might also break them wide open. You've probably gotten a sense of how weird The Weight is, so I won't spend too much time on it, but I will say that it really is a bizarre movie. It's not The Warped Forest weird, but it's certainly strange. I will leave most of the oddness up to you to find out, though, because it's really what makes the film worth watching. Seeing the next odd character or interaction keeps thing interesting and surprising throughout, even if there isn't much reason behind anything that's happening. There's a lot to see, and while everything is pretty much played straight, there are a couple of good laughs that come from the insanity of it all. Unfortunately, The Weight suffers from an unnecessary obsession with sex. From glory hole gallivanting to random streetside sexual encounters, The Weight spends far too much time focusing on penises and vaginas and the interplay between those things. In the case of Dong-bae, it makes some sense, because he/she is currently in the middle of a gender shift, but I could have done without the necrophilia. I could have done without pretty much all of it, actually. There's a lot of nudity because the Jung's corpses are naked as he works on them (duh), but there was no reason to go beyond that. In the latter half of the film, things are less sexually charged, but it doesn't justify everything on display in the beginning. The Weight doesn't seem like it was a film made for anyone other than the director, and while I can't say I loved the film, I have to appreciate his willingness to just make it happen. He got people who were willing to go along with his deranged vision, and he deserves some credit for having done so. Not a lot of people are going to like what he's done here, and even fewer are going to "get" it, but it's still worth seeing.
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Hunchbacks, necrophiliacs, and bares, oh my!
When The Weight started, I thought for a moment that I was watching the wrong movie. Even though the opening credits were in Korean, I was very clearly not looking at Korea. What I was looking at what actually outside my wind...

NYAFF Non-Review: Sion Sono's Bad Film is a masterpiece

Jul 23 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
Bad FilmDirector: Sion SonoStarring: Tokyo GAGAGACountry: Japan Seeing Bad Film in a theater feels like a joke. It's not a movie that should be in a theater; it should be seen on an old VHS tape found in an attic somewhere. It's footage from 1995, but it seems so much older. It truly feels like a lost film, looking more like restored footage of a century-old print (although not so scratched up) than something made in my lifetime. Some of that is inherent in the scaling up of the Hi8 format. Hi8 simply isn't a theater-ready format. Its effective digital resolution is 560×480, which isn't even Standard Definition (a term I haven't thought of in years). When projected as an HDCAM, which has a resolution of 1440x1080, the footage (even upscaled during post-production), it just doesn't look very good, and that's putting it gently. It's impossible to truly get lost in a world as ugly as Bad Film's. All of the technical issues add up to a film that never lets the audience forget it's a film. Whether it's the existence of other cameras and microphones that are periodically on screen (something that is hilariously given justification in the narrative) or the fact that the dialogue is barely audible, and the periodic bouts of English don't have subtitles, it is the very definition of artificial. For 161 minutes, I felt like I was the butt of a joke. When the picture cut out for about ten seconds about halfway through while the tape was changed, it was a perfect moment. Was it over? Nope, guess not. Good. Because you know what? I have never had an experience like watching Bad Film in a crowded theater. Ever. And I will never have that experience again. Bad Film is truly unique, a one-of-a-kind project. Making comparisons across genres is basically the worst thing ever, but it's kind of like the Deadly Premonition of movies: a technically flawed work of art that is the execution of a vision of a deranged Japanese mind, and it's something I wouldn't want to change in the slightest. That makes it difficult to talk about, because it might read like sarcasm when I exclaim that the presence of a time-code on a particularly fascinating scene in the film is amazing, but it isn't. It's completely amazing. And this isn't some ironic hipster bullshit. As I said before (and will almost certainly say again) Bad Film should not exist. Not as something with a 2013 North American premiere... and really not ever. When it ran out of money, it should have died. But instead it sat there degrading further and further until its creator came to revive it like Frankenstein's monster. And it is truly beautiful. It works because it doesn't work. It's beautiful because it's ugly. Bad Film is a contradiction in all its parts. It has to be seen to be believed, and if it is seen it will be loved. Bad Film has a cast of hundreds. A collaboration of the 2000-person performance art collective Tokyo GAGAGA, formed by Sion Sono in 1993, the sheer scale of it fascinating. Everything was shot guerilla-style, no permissions or passes. They showed up in a train with dozens of "gang members" and cameras and shot their footage. The passers-by look at the groups and the cameras in confusion, once again reminding everybody that it is, in fact, just a movie. Or maybe it's a documentary, or a mockumentary at least. Several scenes were clearly shot just once, like the several-hundred person "gang fight" in the middle of a busy intersection. If it featured interviews with the characters, it could actually make the claim that it is a mockumentary. There are scenes of characters just being dumb (trying to deposit a pig's head at a bank? hilarious), and maybe that's the intended effect. To make it feel like a real thing. During the film's most impressive moments (the aforementioned gang fight, the burning food cart, etc.), the technical issues became even more apparent and more bizarre. It feels like a movie that has resources behind it, and it feels like it should be more professionally shot (on 8mm film at least). All it really has is manpower, and a whole lot of it. Bad Film's storyline is racially, sexually, and politically charged. In the near future of 1997, tensions between the Japanese and Chinese are running hot: A Chinese gang is trying to take charge of a particular area in a Japanese city, and the Japanese are not happy about it. It's your typical turf warfare story, although most turf warfare stories don't involve Japanese men shouting into megaphones about how foreign penises will caught massive vaginal damage to Japanese women. Nor do most turf warfare stories have sexual factions. You see, in this film the homosexuals are different, and they have a pro-gay agenda that comes at the expense of the heterosexuals. It's a Southern, white American male's worst nightmare, and it's beautifully rendered. The primary manifestation of this agenda is the price of weaponry. For some reason, all weapon purchases are run through a lesbian weapon ring, and they sell their wares more cheaply to other gays.  There's also a bit of a Romeo & Juliet story going on, except it's more like Juliet & Juliet, as lesbian love becomes the singular force that cannot be pulled apart by race, gang affiliation, or language barrier. Who needs verbal communication when there are bubbles to be blown? (That's not some weird sexual euphemism. The two of them fall in love over blowing bubbles.)  All of these plot threads are thrown together to make a film that feels epic in scope despite it being confined to a relatively small area. Its length helps. Only 14 minutes shorter than The Godfather, there is plenty of time for betrayals and murders, fist fights and gunfights, and all of those other things someone might want from a film of this sort. Except that I wanted it to go on forever. Long before the fourth (and final) act began, I realized that once this film ended I would have to go back to the rest of my life. The lights would come up, I'd have to leave the theater, and then return to see Hentai Kamen. I didn't want that to happen. So even as I lost some interest in the characters and what they were doing (although the action ramps up pretty heavily later on), I couldn't let it end. Any shorter than 161 minutes and I would have felt cheated. Even if I was never lost in Bad Film's world, I was invested in it. I was invested in the poor production values and the batshit insane narrative; I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see where everything would go and how it would get there. For better or worse, I was in it, and I was loving every moment of it. If my mind wandered for a moment, the next crazy thing would happen and I would snap right back to attention. I haven't mentioned the humor (though I hope it's been implied), but the movie is hilarious. In 2013, it should be. I don't know if it was intended to be in 1995. There's a sincerity to the bald leader of the Japanese gang imitating a monkey and blocking traffic as an insult to the leader of the Chinese gang, and one of the most legitimately violent shots I've ever seen (dozens of people are actually smacked around) is done without any humor at all. There's a lot of manipulation that can be done with 150 hours of footage (and some proper voiceover and music). But whether its tone now was intended then is irrelevant. This may have been created in a bygone era, but it's a modern film (similar to Apocalypse Now: Redux, except there is a point of comparison for the changed directorial intent there). It's a perfect sendup to the new age's Remix Culture, and I would love to see this idea taken in the future. I've spoken in specifics here, but I've barely scratched the surface. There is so much to talk about, but it would ruin some of that magic. If you can see Bad Film, you must. If you can see it in a theater, pay through the nose to do so. You will never have another experience like it. It's such a different film, one that could never be made again (and probably should never have been made at all). So see it. Love it. Praise it. Worship at the altar of Sion Sono, because he deserves it. Bad Film truly is a masterpiece.
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Truly it must be seen to be believed
Sion Sono's Bad Film is truly a movie that should not exist. Shot in the mid 90s on Hi8 video, the film ran out of money and lay unfinished for well over a decade. If it were anybody else's project, it would likely have staye...

Japan Cuts Review: The Warped Forest

Jul 22 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]216090:40450:0[/embed] The Warped Forest (Asatte no Mori | あさっての森)Director: Shunichiro MikiRating: NRCountry:  Japan The Warped Forest is a sorta-sequel to 2005's Funky Forest: First Contact, which is actually meaningless to me because I've never seen that movie. I considered watching it before writing this review, but when I learned that A) it basically doesn't have a narrative and B) it's 150 minutes long, I figured my time could be better spent doing pretty much anything else. The Warped Forest has enough insanity in its 82 minutes to last me a lifetime. The fact that it's supposedly less strange than its predecessor makes me both fascinated and horrified by what Funky Forest must be. But I digress. The Warped Forest is a truly brilliant realization of a completely bizarre world. From beginning to end, the film is committed to its alternate reality and never wavers from it. Almost every shot has something in it that could be considered "wrong," whether that's the previously mentioned vagina-fruit tree women or the gun that is actually a penis (kind of), but that's completely fine. Maybe I never really got my bearings, but that's only partially the film's fault. I definitely believe that if I were to watch it again (something I'm not planning on doing), I would be much more comfortable. It may actually be possible that the film is too short for its own good. Almost nothing is explained, but there isn't really time to do so... Then again Funky Forest is more than an hour longer, so length might not help. The world just is, and everybody has to deal with it. Fortunately, dealing with it is a lot of fun, and "everybody" part definitely helped. The Warped Forest is a comedy at heart, so it's easy to just laugh it off when things get really weird. Because it's supposed to be funny, the immediately uncomfortable confused laughter quickly gives way to real laughter, and the entire experience is better for it. Seeing this film alone would be a mistake; the group "Umm... haha!" dynamic is really necessary. Knowing that the people around me were just as in-the-dark as I was helped a lot, and a shared hallucination is far less disturbing than a singular one. We all laughed together, and that felt good. The audience was clearly having a good time. But The Warped Forest isn't all fun and games. There are hints of a narrative, and many of the characters experience serious dramatic events. Relationships begin and end, people are cursed with horrible diseases, and it's all played as straight as it can be. Many of the characters are obsessed with dream tinkering, something that will allow them to travel through space and time. It's an expensive proposition, costing lots of pocos (the currency, acorn-esque objects that are stored in the belly button), and it can also have drastic consequences, but the mundanity of their lives makes them want more. Even if their environment and end goal are out-of-this-world, those are the kinds of feelings and emotions that keep the characters somewhat relatable. It's hard to realize it at the time, but after the fact some of it does make sense. Kind of. This really isn't a film that lends itself to a spoiler-free discussion. I mean, it's hard enough to have a spoiler-filled discussion, because it's just so out different and the world is so out there. It feels like I'm just kind of going around in circles. "There's a thing, but it's crazy... well, mostly crazy. It's funny, but it's crazy. Dramatic. Crazy. Awesome. Crazy." I should really quit while I'm only a little bit behind. The number beneath this review is kind of meaningless, even if the second sentence in the description suits this film perfectly (the first one... not as much). It's not really possible to reduce this film into just a couple of sentences. Much more telling are the golden pterodactyls in the big red banner. The Warped Forest is so unlike anything I've ever seen, and apart from Funky Forest unlike anything else out there. At only 82 minutes, its short enough that the weirdness doesn't overstay its welcome and long enough to feel like there never needs to be another one. I can't say that I ever want to see it again, but I'd be a liar if I said if I'm not incredibly glad I saw it once.
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When I explained to a friend that I had just seen a film that featured trees that are actually women with skin colored "branches" that are watered by a woman putting water into her mouth and kissing it into theirs and be...

After the Credits: Why would you want to see trash?

Jul 21 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
Flixist Originals Ten films that should be in the Criterion Collection Ten more films that should be in the Criterion Collection Should works be held accountable for creators' views? - The (Movie) Question Flixistentialism 23 - Sleepy Dre and His Noise Hole FlixList: Best of the Criterion Collection (Part 2) NRH's Weekly Analysis: Die Hard with a Vengeance's NYC Interviews Lee Won-Suk - Director of How to Use Guys with Secret Tips Dada Chan - Actress in Tales from the Dark and Hardcore Comedy Joshua Oppenheimer - Director of The Act of Killing Jung Ji-Woo - Director of Eungyo (A Muse) Reviews The Act of Killing The Conjuring Only God Forgives Turbo Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp NYAFF/Japan Cuts Reviews Rurouni Kenshin Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Super Hero Lesson of the Evil The Complex A Woman and War Secretly Greatly Weekly Releases Netflix Now: Worst Ever Edition New Releases, week of 7/20/13: Evil Edition Box Office Numbers: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em News Audience votes Hentai Kamen as best film of NYAFF 2013 Mel Gibson confirmed as Expendable 3 villian The Conjuring is already getting a sequel Wan approaching Fast & Furious 7 as 70's revenge film Fantasia International Film Festival This Way Comes   Previously on After the Credits... The Korean Romantic Comedies of NYAFF 2013
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Look how sad this is making me
Earlier this week, I finally posted my review of A Woman and War, a film that I saw several weeks ago and have been stewing over ever since. Here on Flixist, it got the reaction I was hoping for: "Nope." Even Matty Shoestrin...

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Flix for Short: Airy Me


Jul 18
// Liz Rugg
Airy Me is a beautiful little animated video for the ethereal songstress Cuushe and animated by artist Yoko Kuno. The animation in the video is so fluid, constantly shifting and swirling like it's a liquid, but it also suppo...

Japan Cuts Review: Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Super Hero

Jul 17 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]216069:40438:0[/embed] Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Super Hero (HK Hentai Kamen | HK 変態仮面)Director: Yuichi FukudaRating: TBDCountry: JapanRelease Date: April 6, 2013 (Japan) Hentai Kamen is a mix of Troma schlock during their heyday and a low-rent porn parody of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies with all the porn bits cut out. The most surprising thing about Hentai Kamen is that it's a generally competent superhero movie, automatically making it twice as good as Green Lantern. Right at the beginning we see the odd circumstances that gave rise to our hero Kyosuke (Ryohei Suzuki). There's his father's intense commitment to justice and his mother's intense perversion. And then he puts panties on his face. Sure, it's a flimsy set-up, but it works for the weird world of the film. Kyosuke's a high school student who's inept when not wearing panties on his head. He's awful at martial arts, though very good at taking hits to the solar plexus. He's so shy that he has difficulty making small talk with his classmate Aiko (Fumika Shimizu). He's a pushover. His alter ego Hentai Kamen (which means "Pervert Mask") doesn't have those problems. Hentai Kamen's a near-naked ass-kicker through and through, beating up foes left and right, and shoving his crotch in their face as a stunning coup de grace. Aiko is totally in love with Hentai Kamen too. The plot of Hentai Kamen is episodic and has something to do with a crime boss with braided pigtails trying to find treasure buried under the school. It's got more holes in it than a pair of edible crotchless panties made of Swiss cheese, but just go with it as a framework for lunacy. From the first minute, Hentai Kamen had control over the audience. Laughter erupted all around me, and I couldn't help but be swept up in it. I probably would have found the film funny had I watched it on my own, though I'd probably feel really weird watching Hentai Kamen alone. (I picture my roommates coming home midway through the film. I'd quickly shut off the DVD player and pretend I was reading in the living room. "Hey, Hubert. Why are you reading an upside down copy of The New Yorker... with panties on your face?") I also would have laughed a lot if I were watching it in a room with some friends. But in a big crowd the laughter is like a pandemic. And it'd be hard not to laugh at Hentai Kamen, if you're the right sort of person for it. (If you're even remotely interested in the movie, you're the right person for it.) There's just something absurd about it all, and director Yuichi Fukuda milks the wackiness in each scene. We watch as Hentai Kamen jams his crotch into his opponents's faces, and the look of fear and awkward disgust was probably real. Some of Hentai Kamen's special moves involve fanciful ways of smothering mouths in ballsack or general crotch-to-face gyrations. At one point a guy screams, "He's snapping my nose off with his dick!" Because the audience was in hysterics for such long periods of this movie, the sudden lull about 2/3 of the way through stood out really bad. About as bad as a mostly naked man with a pair of panties on his head, come to think of it. Hentai Kamen is 105 minutes long, which isn't that long, but it feels like the film is around two hours. This is a 90 to 95-minute movie that's been padded out for some unknown reason. You can feel that extra 10 to 15 minutes like a pair of warm testicles on your cheek. I think a large part of that lag has to do with the story's structure. Hentai Kamen was adapted from a manga series and part of me wonders if the filmmakers attempted to translate the story in the manga directly to the screen rather than adapt the story or alter it to fit the screen. Hentai Kamen was also intended as a DTV release rather than a theatrical release, so maybe some quick-fast-cheap disregard also played into the film's execution. We kick back into gear for the finale, though it ends on such an underwhelming, cheap-o note (again, the DTV vibe) that only half the audience seemed to get back in the spirit of the film. Maybe Hentai Kamen just laughed the audience out early. If you get tickled long enough, it goes from enjoyable to annoying to painful/masochistic. Most of us aren't as perverse as the hero of the film, so we didn't get back into it after it hit the masochistic stage. So how do you score something like this? Well, I was originally going to give Hentai Kamen a 70 despite its dip in momentum and its finale that was so cheap-looking that it made movies from The Asylum seem like great examples in production value. Then I was considering a 65 just to demean it and humiliate it, but finally I decided to give the movie the only score that makes sense. You like that, don't you Hentai Kamen? Just short of good? Oh so close. But oh so right. You should beg to be good, but this is all you are. You were also so bad. I bet that makes you feel like less of a movie. And I bet that turns you on. You pervert. Alec Kubas-Meyer: Hentai Kamen is about as stereotypically Japanese as a thing can get. A teenager puts panties on his head and suddenly he's a superhero. The only thing it's missing is tentacles, and thank god there aren't any of those (though given the rather blatant Spider-Man references, I'm surprised there wasn't a Doc Ock knockoff). It's also way too long. How anyone thought the concept could last for more than 90 minutes is completely beyond me, but it's not surprising that my enjoyment of the film ran into a wall right about that time. The last 15 minutes or so went from being hilarious to excruciating, and it's not that the film got any stupider (although it did); the joke just wore off. And the film has literally nothing else going for it. The atrocious CGI could be endearing but really isn't, and the pathetic attempts at color correction (Magic Bullet Mojo, anyone?) make it look like a student film. For a while, I loved Hentai Kamen, but insert early climax/totally spent joke here. Shave off a half hour and you've got something amazing. But as it is... it's just 68 - Decent
Hentai Kamen Review photo
Oh, Japan...
Hentai Kamen is a superhero movie about a guy who becomes an unstoppable force for perverse goodness whenever he wears a woman's panties on his head. I know, you've heard that story countless times, but this movie makes that ...

The Battle For A More Conscientious Tonto

Jul 05 // Liz Rugg
2013's The Lone Ranger marks the first time in history that an actor playing Tonto has received first billing. It's also the first time the character has been fleshed out in any sort of sense. In The Lone Ranger, we see an Indian who from an authenticity standpoint is initially infuriating. He is described as Comanche but looks and acts completely on his own, not adhering to actual Comanche practices and dress. For instance, the raven Tonto wears on his head is not a real practice of the Comanche people or any historical Native American group for that matter. The idea of the raven hat began, according to Depp, with a painting by artist Kirby Sattler which features a Native American man with a raven directly behind his head and the same facepaint as Depp wears as Tonto in the movie. The character in the painting is fictional and so is Depp's Tonto. However, the movie works very diligently to create a detailed back story for Tonto, explaining him and really creating a singular mythology of his own. Note: spoilers ahead! It is eventually revealed that Tonto is actually an orphan -- his family band was murdered by white men after the young Tonto showed the men where a large silver mine was located near their camp. When this back story is explained to Reid, the Comanche leader telling him the story explicitly says that Tonto is an outsider, has probably lost his mind due to this past traumatic event, and that some of the spiritual jargon that Tonto has been telling Reid is made up. This puts Depp's Tonto in an interesting place. Depp's Tonto is inauthentic, period. But the movie frames his character in a way where it acknowledges that he is inauthentic and gives a relatively reasonable explanation for it, making it all somehow acceptable -- swallowable?  -- that Tonto would act the way he does and have his own unique character traits, such as mimicking feeding his raven hat over and over again. The rest of the Native Americans portrayed in The Lone Ranger are more like the depictions of Native people we're used to seeing from Hollywood. They are one-dimensional side characters and are on the screen about as much as the Black house workers or the Asian silver miners. Despite having a brief moment where the Comanche leader and his gang break out into laughter at Reid's character, a rare humanizing moment, the Comanche people are depicted as a solemn, noble and doomed group of Indians who are eventually slaughtered by the misguided United States Army. The particular battle scene between the Comanche and the army is also treated very typically; the Comanche group drives its attack down a hill headfirst towards a single firing line and machine gun, even though they snuck up on the army and had the upper ground, and in reality the Comanche were extremely adept at warfare. This sort of easy, abbreviated and recognizable depiction of Native Americans is what we usually see from Hollywood throughout film history, and at large, the Comanche people in The Lone Ranger are really not breaking out of that. However, in Tonto we have Verbinski's attempt at a breath of fresh air. Even though Depp's Tonto is recognized as acting on his own and not trying to fit within a particular real Native American tradition, this does not make it un-critiqueable. Some people may have a problem with the idea of Johnny Depp, a man of no real Native American ancestry playing a character that is supposed to be Native American, but unfortunately this sort of ethnic role playing happens all the time in the film industry. This issue goes back to the early era of filmmaking, where, for example, D.W. Griffith cast a squinting white actor as "the Yellow Man" in the 1919 film Broken Blossoms. More recently, Memoirs of a Geisha caused a controversy because it employed actresses that were Chinese to play roles that expressed traditional Japanese life. Both actresses Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi were called traitors by both Chinese and Japanese people, and the film itself came under fire for being insensitive. Critically though, the film was very well-received and both Li and Ziyi's performances were praised. This sort of ethnic fudging does not necessarily ruin a movie, and from an acting standpoint ideally a movie should have the actors best suited for a role in every sense, but what makes The Lone Ranger problematic is that it becomes another movie made by people outside of a cultural group about a cultural group. Depp's Tonto may have a plot that allows some excusability, and his character may be a slight step forward in terms of a well-rounded Native American character in a Hollywood action flick, but The Lone Ranger is yet another movie with a colonial viewpoint. It's another flashy movie made for American popular culture with a colonial gaze on the Native American and on our shared history.  And ultimately, that's my problem with The Lone Ranger's depiction of Tonto and of Native Americans. In Tonto, Depp was able to craft the kind of superficial shaman-like character he seems like he's always wanted to play, but his character isn't solving any issues facing the treatment and representation of Native Americans in Hollywood. In fact, in many ways it reinforces them. Depp's Tonto may be well-intentioned, but it fails to portray Native Americans as anything more than a vanishing people infused with magical properties, endlessly romanticized and fictionalized by those who consistently undermine them. But, you know, at least they gave him screen time. [For more on Native Americans in film, I recommend the documentary Reel Injun by filmmaker Neil Diamond, as well as following the writings of Ojibway film critic Jesse Wente.]
Is Tonto still offensive? photo
An analysis of the characterization of Tonto in The Lone Ranger
The portrayal of Native Americans in film has been problematic for a long time. Going back as far as John Ford's 1939 western Stagecoach, the Native American has been stereotyped, truncated and even vilified by traditional Ho...

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If you smell what The Rock is cooking.
In a weird twist (or ankle lock or double-arm suplex), WWE will help produce a new straight-to-DVD Flintstones special that will feature voice cameos by WWE superstars John Cena and CM Punk, with WWE CEO Vince McMah...

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Check out the 10ft Robocop statue going up in Detroit


OMG
May 14
// Liz Rugg
Just when you think the world couldn't get any more awesome, we finally have pictures of the glorious statue of Robocop that's going to be placed in the city of Detroit. Detroit is were the original movie takes place and thus...
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Theater manager hires cosplay gunmen for Iron Man 3


Seriously? What the hell?
May 13
// Hubert Vigilla
In Jefferson City, Missouri, Capital 8 Theaters manager Bob Wilkins had one of the dumbest ideas ever for a publicity stunt. Wilkins hired cosplayers dressed as Iron Man and armed (!) S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to storm a screening...
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Seth MacFarlane asked to host the Oscars again


Apr 19
// Liz Rugg
After a very controversial run as last year's Oscar host, The Academy has reportedly asked director and comedian Seth MacFarlane if he would like to host next year's show too. Now, what's important is that MacFarlane's Oscars...

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