Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Red, The Bird People in China, Return to Sleepaway Camp, City on Fire

RED is a film based on Jack Ketchum's book by the same name. It was adapted Stephen Susco (The Grudge, The Grudge 2) and directed by Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee. It stars Brian Cox as Avery Ludlow, a man who's dog Red is senseless murdered by the town hothead Danny (Noel Fisher.) Avery is thwarted at every pass in his journey to get justice because Danny is the eldest son in a rich family, headed by another hothead (played by Tom Sizemore.) Eventually, things get out of control, as things often do, and blood is spilt from both sides of the argument.

It started out well enough, and had a great trailer, but was severely brought down by too much exposition and a truly terrible performance from Tom Sizemore. He was bad and I mean really, really bad. Thankfully, the leads, Brian Cox and Noel Fisher, were excellent. There were also appearances by Amanda Plummer playing Robert Englund's screen wife and Ashley Lawrence played Tom Sizemore's character's wife. That was distracting, the stunt casting of Englund and Lawrence. Their characters were pointless in the movie. They could have easily been played by anyone at all. Ah well.

The script could have been a lot better. It needed a little bit of work before going before the cameras, i think. Cutting down the exposition would have helped. That's better suited to a novel than a movie.

The direction was okay. I'd love to know why there were two directors. Lucky McKee is big enough to be able to direct by himself and he's pretty good at it. So why the other dude with the really cool name?

Overall, I wouldn't recommend it. I'd recommend watching the trailer. That was some good stuff.

*****

The Bird People in China was directed by Takashi Miike from an adapted screenplay by Masa Nakamura. It's about a business man and a yakuza who are sent to a remote part of China to investigate a vein of jade and are changed forever. A plot description from the IMDb, posted by Danny Leary, says it better:

A young Japanese salaryman is sent by his company to a remote Chinese village to evaluate precious Jade that is found there, but before he arrives meets the yakuza who was sent to tail him to protect his bosses interest in the company. When the men finally arrive their mission become sidetracked by their interest in a mysterious young village girl, her haunting English language song and the secret that makes men fly like birds.


It's a wonderfully imaginative little flick, very sweet and only slightly strange. Everything about it was wonderful. I did find the colours to be a little muted, a little untrue, but that could just be my teevee getting ready to die. This is nothing like Audition or The Happiness of the Katakuris or Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, and Sukiyaki Western Django. Miike-san's films are all very unique, even if he's making something to capitalize on a current trend (One Missed Call, for example.)

Everything about it was superb and I highly recommend it.

*****

Return to Sleepaway Camp.

I'm not going to bother with all the cast and crew stuff like I normally do. This was easily among the worst films I've ever seen and I've seen some real stinkers. I liked Sleepaway Camp, but I've never watched any of the sequels, not that you need to in order to see this flick.

Bah...don't bother unless you're really into the Sleepaway Camp movies.

*****

City on Fire.

I'd like to have a review of this for you, I really would. The problem is that Netflix only has the Dimension release. I watched it up until the characters started speaking, then kicked the DVD out of my house. It was dubbed and there was no option to turn off the dubbing.

Dimension ruins Asian films when they release them. I'd purchased The Heroic Trio when Dimension released it unaware of how miserable they were and took it back immediately after watching half of the flick so I could purchase a real copy (I got the Tai Seng release and it was a fantastic purchase.) The Supercop they released here is nothing like the original version, known in China as Police Story 3: Supercop.

So, eventually I'll have a review of this flick for you, which is basically the original version of Reservoir Dogs once I track down a better copy.

2 comments:

Marvin the Martian said...

Hey you, thanks for following me! You haven't posted in awhile! Or did you start a different blog when I wasn't looking?

Lori said...

Hey there!

No, I haven't had really anything to post about yet. Just waiting on notifications from festivals and such...and I don't want to post about stuff I'm working on because it's all kind of up in the air.