Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Format! Woo Hoo!

Hey ramblers!
So, with the new template designer in blogger, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and mix my blog up a bit. I think it's a little lighter and makes much better use of the space.

Whaddya think?
Any complaints, comments, suggestions?

Pretty please?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lusty, Lewd, Lollygagging Lists of Enlightenment

New segment! Woop woop! Put your hands in the air, Yo!
This one is clearly my list segment. I love reading lists, so I figured it was about time I started making them. The reason these are Lists of Enlightenment is simply because they are constructed using only my opinions, thoughts and feelings. As such, they may enlighten my readers to various aspects of my personality that would otherwise have remained unknown. So, today’s list is:

Top 5 Movies to Turn me into a Snivelling, Slushy Bag of Sap
That’s right, these are the movies to remind the world (and myself) that I am a woman and actually quite capable of being reduced to a giggling ball of fairy floss as well as a sobbing mess.

pride_and_prejudice5. Pride and Prejudice
The BBC series, not the Keira Knightley, “didn’t really need to be made and really wasn’t as good” number. I know it’s technically not a movie but I could care less. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy *sigh* *swoon* *sigh*.

Resize%20of%20JointSecurityArea064. JSA: Joint Security Area
No, this isn’t a girly movie, but my reaction was. At the point where I realised how this was going to end, I got quite upset. When it finally happened, I wept. I’m not ashamed, it was a magnificent film and I’m glad to still be affected in this way. So there :P

3. Love Actually
This movie is played every Christmas and every time it comes on I get a big ol’ smile on my face and say “I looove that moooovieee!”. I blame Colin Firth and Liam Neeson. And possibly Bill Nighy just a bit ;)

2. My Sassy Girl
This movie made me laugh, cry, laugh again, and go “Awwwwwww! That’s so sweeeeeeet!” (pitch should increase to the level of squeaking). And I finished on more tears. Then I watched it again with my Mother, and I still teared up. It just rocks so much :)

1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Yeah, this film destroyed me. If you need more details, go here. I’m not explaining it again.

So that’s my list. Let the ribbing begin…

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Actors FTW!!! Song Kang-ho

Hello peoples :)

song I’m starting to get my shit together a little here at RMO and I’m starting to set up some regular segments (mostly so that I have something to fall back on when writers block hits). I started earlier with the new segment “Movies to Grow Up On” and now I’m starting “Actors FTW”. In this segment I plan to outline an actor that I have recently been impressed with and the movies that acquainted me with said actor. Today is Song Kang-ho.

Host Song Kang-ho is a South Korean actor that I first saw in The Host. I really enjoyed that film and the simple yet utterly devoted father played by Song is one of the reasons. His goofiness is perfectly balanced, as is his desperate need to find his daughter. This was actually the very South Korean film I had ever seen. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was onto a good thing.

From there, I found him again in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Considered the calmer of Parks Vengeance Trilogy (see my review here) I enjoyed this film nonetheless. His part wasn’t spectacularly huge though so I’ll move on.  Straight after watching Sympathy for Lady Vengeance I watched Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, which is backwards but I’m glad I watched it in that order.  Song’s performance in that film is just brilliant. He demonstrates the lengths a father will go to to have his child returned to him, and the actions he might take if that doesn’t happen. mrvengeance

At this point, I started my 4 Week Subtitle Sensation and was really pleased that a few of the films I watched in that time had Song Kang-ho in them. I won’t go through all of them, but the titles and the order I watched was JSA: Joint Security Area, Thirst, Memories of Murder, and Shiri. All of those titles are brilliant, but I feel the need to draw attention to Memories of Murder. Not only are the performances fantastic, but it’s as Coffin Jon of the VCinema Podcast pointed out to me, its an awesome retelling of Moby Dick.

So if you haven’t seen any of Song Kang-ho’s work, I strongly suggest you go looking. Meanwhile, I’m going to continue to hunt down the rest of his films :)

thirstpromopics02 He not too shabby on the eyes either. Just sayin’…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Movies to Grow Up to – The Battle for Endor

m_950dd87162fa4de6814096a66c5f9311Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been inspired. The source of that inspiration? The Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnight Cinema podcast.
“Oh,” you might be thinking, “we don’t need any of THAT sort of inspiration here.”
But it’s totally not what you’d think! And besides, they weren’t responsible for any of that nasty salsa waffles business anyway.*

It just so happens that I was a-listening to the GGtMC’s most recent podcast and the topic got onto what movies The Samurai intends on showing the new edition to his family (Mrs Samurai is expecting! FTW!!). It got me thinking about the films that helped me grow into the she-geek extraordinaire you see before you. Now that I’m 30, you see, I feel I’m allowed to say things like “you know what’s wrong with kids these days?” I also feel like the answer of “they watch the wrong movies” is actually a pretty good one.

So I’ve decided to start going through the old movies I used to watch repeatedly as a youngster. I plan to make this a regular feature. Hopefully I can give some future parents some ideas, or at least get some nostalgia juices flowing. Yes, I know what I just said there…

The first film I’m going to talk about is the result of yet another twitter conversation. I recently mentioned the term Caravan of Courage and was immediately rewarded with recognition by Emily, creator and owner of the XTREEEEEM Deadly Dolls House of Horror Nonsense. Yeah. She cool, yo’. She then reminded me of the other Ewok title.

The Battle for Endor

ew This film is the sequel to The Caravan of Courage. It centres around Cindel, the little blonde girl with the ace headband and totally rad curly hair, and Wicket W. Warrick, Ewok. The basic story is a group of nasty marauders led by King Terak and the witch Charal attack the Ewok village, killing Cindel’s family (thank God, that snarky teen brother is infuriating) and capturing the Ewoks. Cindel and Wicket escape and manage to find the only other human on the planet, Noah. Noah also has a funny, furry friend named Teek (not an Ewok). They join forces to defeat the baddies and save the other Ewoks.

*Smile* I love this movie. It’s dodgy as all bollocks. The acting is absurd, the dialogue more wooden than Keanu Reeves and somehow Wicket can talk, which is funny because this supposedly takes place before Jedi where he meets Leia and can’t understand English. But Teek is disgustingly cute with a spectacularly addictive giggle and the monsters are genuinely monstery. Not the sanitized, plastic attempts at scary you get in kids films today (sans Pixar). On top of that, you’ve gotta admire Warwick Davis and Niki Botelho. Both of them ran around in the summer wearing teddy-bear suits. Forget. That.


*Sigh* Meeeemoriiiies. Light the cooorners of my miiind…

* Not for public consumption.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Hey champs, fiends, and inbetweenies, I’m done with discussing the cowardice of anonymous commenting and I’m back to reviewing movies from my 4 Week Subtitle Sensation.

First off, my review of I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK is up on (Cool)Shite. Go check out the review and then watch the film because it is awesome :)

diving_bell_and_the_butterfly Secondly, here’s my review of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I’ve posted it on here because this review is going to go into a little detail on some personal experiences of mine, so I decided it should probably stay on my personal movie blog. I guess I should warn you that if you’re looking for a clinical, intellectual or unemotional review, you’re reading the wrong blog but I will break it up.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, French a journalist who was the editor of Elle magazine until he suffered a massive stroke. The stroke leaves him with a condition known as locked-in syndrome, where he is completely self-aware but paralysed and unable to speak. Through the patience and encouragement of a brilliant speech therapist, Bauby learns to communicate by blinking his one functioning eye as she reads reads a list of letters to spell out his messages. As a well respected journalist, Bauby had already signed a contract with a publishing firm for a book deal. In a pretty incredible act of faith the firm agrees to send a secretary to take dictation, allowing Bauby to write his book.

Intellectual Side

divingbell-03The direction of this film is superb. At the beginning of the film we are restricted to seeing what is happening through Bauby’s eyes. We hear what he is thinking in response to the people speaking to him, but the camera only moves with Bauby’s good eye and we experience his frustration at being unable to communicate or move. It’s not until Bauby himself begins to look beyond his loss and see his future that we as an audience are allowed to do the same.

From then we see the writing of the book juxtaposed with Bauby’s memories, his recollections and regrets. We see him find similarities in others who find themselves “locked-in” to their situation, and we see him attempt to reconnect to his family. The movie flows perfectly from the writing to the story being written about and back again. It never feels heavy-handed nor sappy, but if you don’t find yourself moved then I would seriously consider checking your pulse. You could be a cyborg.divingbell_butterfly

Emotional Side

divingbellbutterflyI remember when this film was release in Australia. I didn’t go and see it in the cinema and I have to say, I’m pretty glad about that. I’m also glad my friends and family didn’t go and see it. You see, about a month before the Australian release of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Dec 2007) I suffered an intracranial brain haemorrhage, otherwise known as a brain bleed. I experienced aphasia (couldn’t speak) and lost all feeling to the right side of my body. At the time of its actual release I was in a rehabilitation hospital. I heard about it because my speech therapist was going to see it.

That was 2 years ago (last November). It didn’t take long for me to start speaking again, nor did it take long for me to walk again, but the feeling of not being able to do those things is not something you forget. Consequently, watching this film was like a rollercoaster for me. About 20 minutes in, I fell to pieces, put myself back together again, fell to pieces again, and so on. And the ending completely destroyed me. The imagery of the diving bell that is used when Bauby is feeling completely isolated is just striking. Likewise when he has his awakening of sorts and starts embrace his rehabilitation (the first of my little breakdowns), the depiction of the honest, human therapists who are genuinely concerned with his wellbeing reminded me of the people who helped me.  diving-bell-and-the-butterfly

I found that the true brilliance of this film was in the small details. Things like the awkwardness of some visitors who couldn’t quite hide their grief, the well-meaning staff turning the television off, or the person who should have come to visit but couldn’t handle seeing him in his weakened state (there’s some contention about whether that actually happened, but I didn’t know that when I was blubbering into my puppy).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this film is pretty damn real and heart-wrenchingly honest.

And if you or anyone close to you has ever had a brain injury, get ready for a shit-storm.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dear Anonymous...

Hi pets.
As a lot of my regular readers (and twitter followers) know, this blog hit a spectacular milestone today. That’s right, I received my very first idiotic, narrow-minded comment from Anonymous. It’s on the post directly after this one, but so that you don’t have to leave this page to see what it says, here it is:complaint
I was so excited. As a horror/exploitation/art-house/foreign film blogger, you aren’t important until someone thinks you’re disgusting. It turns out that Anonymous had tried to post the same comment on the review of Deadgirl I posted on (Cool)Shite. Knowing that at least explains where the points in the comment are from. It’s still idiotic and narrow-minded, but at least I can see what movie brought it on.

The post started receiving support comments (all of whom identified themselves) and talked with a lot of people on twitter and there was a couple of things that became clear. Firstly, Anonymous is a self-righteous coward, secondly, as a woman I feel obliged to answer the charge that people who watch horror films like Deadgirl think rape is sexy or get enjoyment from witnessing violence against women. I’m not going to waste time defending my review. I used to have a t-shirt that said “Sarcasm is just one of the services I offer”. Maybe I should add that to my bio on (Cool)Shite. Obviously Anonymous has no sense of humour though, so I don’t think I’ll bother.

irreversibleSo Anonymous thinks horror films like Deadgirl, Martyrs, or Irreversible glorify violence against women and that people who watch them find rape sexy. I have some questions for you, Anonymous. Firstly,  are you trying to tell me that the film industry should not portray rape or assault? Or that people should not choose to watch these films? Why? Is it so the existence of unpretty or unhappy things can easily be forgotten or denied? Perhaps it’s so that people who experience these nasty things will think they’re the only ones and keep their mouths shut?

What about movies like Iron Jawed Angels? That’s the movie about a group of uppity birds thinking they had the right to vote (FYI – sarcasm). You know the one, where the women get sent to a work camp so they declare a hunger strike and get force-fed. The force-feeding scenes are pretty horrific, best if we shield the worlds eyes from such nastiness. Nevermind that it’s a true story and an integral step in the Equal Rights movement. After all, sexual assault is true and real but you obviously don’t approve of it being made a public issue.

Tori AmosKnowledge is power. It’s a cliché but, like most clichés, its quite true. One of the greatest barriers stopping victims of assault (domestic, sexual, any really) from coming forward is that they lack the knowledge that they aren’t alone. They aren’t aware that the world knows it happens and that there is help available. They also lack the encouragement and inspiration to do what is required to free themselves f rom their isolation. There’s a fabulous singer named Tori Amos who was sexually assaulted after a gig just before she started making albums. Her first solo album Little Earthquakes contains the song Me and a Gun, an a cappella number describing her assault. She then went on to co-found RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and went on a year-long campaign called, wait for it, “Unlock the Silence”.

And so, Anonymous, I throw your charges back at you. The only intelligent reason I can think of to ban movies with assault is to hide it’s existence. The only reason to disparage those watching it is to encourage ignorance. If you don’t like watching horror films, then don’t watch. If you have the opinion that they shouldn’t be made, then stand up.

I’m not just speaking to the coward who posted the above comment, I’m talking to anybody who has ever posted an abusive comment and hidden behind Anonymous. You call me and mine pathetic, at least we have identities. If you have an opinion, stand the fuck up and own it.

Get on twitter and discuss it.
Email me and explain yourself.
Otherwise, shut up and fuck off.

From here on in, any comments posted under Anonymous will be deleted for being gutless. Only identities can have opinions here.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Update – The Exceptional

Hello again! I’ve managed to find myself with my laptop and no TV, so I’ve resolved to get as much writing done as possible. Right now I’m on a train on my way to Kalgoorlie.

My last post went through some of the great films I’ve been watching as part of my 4 Week Subtitle Sensation. In this post I’m going to go through some of the exceptional films I’ve been watching. These are films I recommend everyone watch, though I’ll mention which are horror (not everyone enjoys horror).

AttackTheGasStationAttack the Gas Station
Hilarious! It’s like a Korean Airheads,  but with less reason and more madness! Everyone needs to see this film. Everyone :)

*Shudder* Whooee. There isn’t much I can say about this film without spoiling it, but I want to advise that it’s pretty much the slowest burn to ever stay alight, so give it a chance.

Horror, and then some! Almost too realistic. It’s quite possible to imagine the events of this film playing out exactly.

JSA: Joint Security Area
Oh God, that was so sad. You can see what’s going to happen, but you have to wait the whole film to learn exactly how. I was distraught afterwards. Just ask my twitterfiends!

let_the_right_one_in_poster Let The Right One In
Original vampire movie. I know! There’s 2 in this list! Beautifully shot, slow-burn film. Loved it.

Has it’s own post but it has spoilers. It’s an uber-intense study of torture, madness and faith. Not for the faint hearted.

Cyberpunk, noisy, madness. Listen to the VCinema Podcast (if it’s out yet *dig dig*). Actually, you should be doing that anyway.

The Bird People in China
Awwwww! I loved this movie! The yakuza is my favourite. He’s funny from his first scene :)
I should probably mention its a Takashi Miike.
Chan-Wook Park’s take on the vampire thing. Very awesome (of course) with Park’s usual quirky humour which I am completely in love with.