Friday, September 09, 2005

Recent Movies

I tried to start watching Ichi-1, the prequel to Miike's Ichi the Killer, but found it unbearably dull. I may go back and try again eventually. Maybe I was just in a mood. I find it quite interesting mind you, that the American video market has translated "Koroshiya 1", which makes absolutely no bones that the "Ichi" is not a proper name but rather the numeral 1, and left it untranslated and written phonetically.

The other two are much brighter news.

I saw Dario Argento's The Card Player. It's gotten quite mixed reviews from the world of Eurocult fandom, so I went in with some concerns. Ultimately, while it didn't necessarily rank above the middle in the scheme of the Argento oeuvre, it may be the movie I recommend in the future for people interested in trying Argento. It has considerably less of the aspects that tend to be troublesome for the uninitiated. The performances are more nuanced and casual. There is very little blood onscreen. And while he seems to have purposefully toned down his over-the-top visuals, there is still the sense of them in the composition and lighting at key moments.

Upon some recommendation from the fine folks at the Mobius Home Video Forums, I watched Dead Birds starring Henry Thomas and Patrick Fugit. This suffers the same marketing flaw as the likewise worthwhile Shallow Ground in having the most unappealingly generic DVD cover art possible. It is, however, a smart little Southern Gothic style ghost story with some modern texture (read: gore). The performances are uniformly excellent, the mood is built slowly and effectively. This will get buried on the shelves with the other straight-to-video horror movies, which is too bad, it's a darn good movie and certainly deserves more shelf space and promotion than Cursed or The Ring Two.

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