Friday, April 9, 2010

Quick takes #5

20th Century Boys.

Lately, I've mostly been working or sleeping, not watching movies. But when I finally do sit down to watch a film, I've haven't been able to formulate a single thought about what just appeared before me on the screen, I hardly even feel anything. Not that I'm usually very insightful or anything, but it is pretty annoying. I remember times when I watched four or five films a night and wanted to write something about every single one of them, now I have trouble sitting through 2o minutes of any film, so these quick takes are going to be real quick.

Lala Pipo
(Masayuki Miyano, 2009) - Written by Tetsuya Nakashima (Kamikaze Girls, 2004, Memories of Matsuko, 2006), Lala Pipo has the same look as his films and kind of the same feel. It features some great performances and touching moments, but ultimately it's kind of flat and empty. I felt the same way about the writers other films.

Stop the Bitch Campaign: Final
(Kosuke Suzuki, 2009) - Let this be the final one. Kenichi Endo is out stopping teen prostitution by having sex with teen prostitutes and humiliating them, so that they'll stop! It's an ingenious plan and it works perfectly until a group of girls decides to catch him and beat the crap out of him, just like in the first two films, only this one is even worse.

20th Century Boys: Chapter 3
(Yukihiko Tsutsumi, 2009) - Big disappointment. The first film was a great conspiracy thriller that was actually kind of creepy in places while at the same time being like a children's adventure but the second film turned into a boring mess. I was hoping that the third film would tie it up nicely though, but no such luck. It has its moments, but they are few and far apart.

Accident (Soi Cheang, 2009) - Starts out pretty good with a story about a group of assassins staging elaborate accidents to get to their targets but turns into a weak psycho drama when accidents start to happen to them. Soi Cheang seems to have lost it with Shamo (2007) and this one, after the great Love Battlefield (2004) and Dog Bite Dog (2006). Louis Koo however is turning into one of my favorite HK actors.

Louis Koo in Accident (2009).

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (Naoyuki Tomomatsu, Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2009)

Resurrected schoolgirl getting chopped up for the second time in Tomomatsu and Nishimura's Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009).

I said I wasn't going to watch anymore of these recent low budget gore films out of Japan, but when I saw that Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl was out on dvd I couldn't help myself. I don't know why since I've been disappointed by every single one since I saw Versus (Ryuhei Kitamura, 2000) back in 2001. Strangely enough, the one film I watch after having decided not to watch anymore turns out to be the best one so far. Tomomatsu and Nishimura takes the few good things that worked out of their earlier films and actually creates a pretty entertaining film. I don't know exactly who did what, but I assume Nishimura was more in charge of the special effects and got some help from Tomomatsu with the writing and directing, and it seems to have paid off.

Vampire Girl... is better paced and not as overlong as Tokyo Gore Police (Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2008) and as a result it's a lot more entertaining. The balance between the gore and the moronic story about a vampire high school girl who battles the resurrected daughter of the vice principal/insane scientist (Kanji Tsuda goes Herbert West) is better, less story and more gore that is, and the film is a lot more fun than Nishimuras previous borefest.

After having kind of liked this one, I know I'll end up watching Robo-geisha (Noboru Iguchi, 2009) and Mutant Girls Squad (Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2010) too.