A Perspective from Within

I’d thought I’d take the time to not review a movie.

“Why’s that,” you ask? As a critic myself, I love to review movies and tell others what I think of them. But my criticisms come mainly from my experience in the film industry itself, which makes my view different from most other’s even if only slightly. A viewer will watch a movie and think “Oh, this movie was good,” or “I just hated this movie.” I, on the other hand, see every film ever made as a result of a miracle. It staggers the mind how so many people can agree on a project, produce said project, then release that project to a number of people. (It’s even more staggering if it’s a bad movie with a poor premise.)

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The Guilty Pleasures Pile: Carnosaur

Science Fiction; U.S.; 1993; 83 minutes; written and directed by: Adam Simon; based on the novel by: Harry Adam Knight; produced by: Mike Elliot; Executive produced by: Roger Corman; New Horizon Home Video

Actual Quality

Guily Pleasure Quality

There are some movies that defy all thought and predictions. Films that go beyond the boundaries set for them by their contemporaries. Films that literally boldly go where no respectable person has gone before. (Mainly because respectable people know better.) These are films that are so bad they’re good. You laugh at they’re vain attempts to make you care, the silly ideas that are meant to scare you, and performances that no one, not even the actors and director, seemed to know what they were going for.These are the films that find themselves in our Guilty Pleasures Pile, and though many on this film blog have already thrown stuff into the pile, I’m going to make my first contribution in a while to the stash with a little mockbuster film Roger Corman executive produced en lure of Jurassic Park called Carnosaur. In fact, it’s fun to see how these two franchises kept butting into each other’s territory.

Corman was known in the olden days as the director who looked for one thing from his actors and one thing only: Stand on the tape mark, you turd. Actually, he was a wonderful guy to work with and lot of fun, but you had to hit your marks. He didn’t care what your line sounded like, he didn’t care how you did what you did… he just wanted you to stand on the tape mark and say your piece so he can say “cut”. Read more of this post

Megamind

Science-Fiction, Action, Comedy; 96 minutes; 2010; U.S.; Directed by: Tom McGrath; Procuded by: Lara Breay Denise, Nolan Cascino; DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images, Red Hour Productions

There are two things I’ve never enjoyed in Hollywood matter how hard marketing tries to make me enjoy them: Will Farrel movies and DreamWorks movies.

Well, that last one is a slight exaggeration. The first two Shrek films were enjoyable for me when they were funny. But the franchise was quickly exposed to be no more than a mindless and spiteful Disney mockery when their jokes failed to entertain those watching them, even if the viewers did tire of the Disney formula that DreamWorks was trying to demolish in their own jerky way. And as for Will Farrel, I’ve never enjoyed him in… anything. To me, he just comes off as a sick joke that’s trying too hard to be funny. Heck, I didn’t even like Elf, and that movie was trying to stay away from Farrel’s usual tacticks.

So why would I even watch a film that packaged these two annoyances together into one set for the Hollywood studio to throw at me? Well to be honest, I don’t quite know why myself. But I’m sure glad I watched the new DreamWorks film starring Will Farrel: Megamind.

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AKIRA

Japan; Science Fiction; 125 minutes; Produced by Ryōhei Suzuki, Shunzō Katō; Based on the graphic Novel by Katsuhiro Otomo; Written and Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo

The year was 2007, I was close to ending my first year in film school, and I hated anime. I didn’t just dislike anime, or was merely uninterested in anime, I had a burning hatred toward any Japanese animated product I had ever seen. Sure, I was into the Digimon merchandise back as a kid, but never saw any of the shows. And after seeing other stupid Japanese shows like Yu-Gi-Oh and Dinosaur King, I never wanted to. To my naïve brain, this is all Japanese animation was about: 30 minute time slots for poorly written merchandise commercials.

That is until I met this guy while volunteering for various stage drama activities. He seemed rather knowledgeable about film, so we got along very well. Then I found out he liked anime. I was dumbfounded. How can someone so smart enjoy watching such crap? Upon my inquiry he merely responded, “Oh, you just need to see good filmmaking.” I never told him but I spend the next couple days muttering the likes of “What does he know? I’m in film school. I know more about good filmmaking than he’d ever wish to know.”

He had mentioned several anime features, but the name that mysteriously stuck in my head was AKIRA. So when I saw the film on DVD at the school library I decided I’d watch it and tell off this otaku about the difference between good filmmaking and Japanese cartoons. I also picked up Koyaanisqatsi and Russian Ark that day just so I could build up a good arsenal of examples of what good filmmaking actually is. Read more of this post

From the Dust-Bins: Turkish Star Wars

It's actually much worse than this, but the numbers only go so low.

1982, Turkey; 91 Minutes; Directed by: Çetin Inanç; Produced by: Mehmet Karahafiz. No studio listed for apparent reasons: no company wants to fess up to this abomination.

YouTube seems to be the leading site in plagiarized video materials in our modern age. There are many arguments for and against the use of copyright materials for educational or entertainment purposes, but I’m not going to debate that in this article. I’m merely bringing this up to compare it to the similar breaches of copyright committed by the Turkish back in the 1980s. Particularly, the use within 1982 film Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, translated into English as The Man Who Saves The World.

Star Wars has had many rip-offs since it’s release in 1977. My film instructor personally knew a man who was cast to play a gold-plated version of Darth Vader in a space odyssey film that was supposed to be better than anything Star Wars had to offer. Odd that I can’t remember the film’s title, huh?

But none of the rip offs made by the States can top the stupidity of downright plagiarism portrayed in The Man Who Save The World. This film has been the black sheep of any film group since the day of it’s birth, and it’s popularity as laughter fodder has only been growing in light of its availability on the internet. In fact, you can find the Turkish film right here. And seeing that it actually uses the special effect shots from the original Star Wars movie, it has been called by many “The Turkish Star Wars”. Read more of this post

Love & Pop

1998; Japan; 110 minutes; Directed by Hideaki Anno; Produced by Toshimichi Otsuki; Dist. by Toei Company

Hideaki Anno used to have a really solid grasp of clear simple story-telling. Really, he did. Back when we was working with Hayao Myazaki and directing Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Anno had a very charming, “Miyazaki-esque” style of story-telling that pulled in his audience and made them smile throughout the story while occasionally pulling at a few heart-strings. You’d never guess that by looking at his more popular work, Neon Genesis Evangelion, where Anno seems to channel a darker, more complicated side of his self and produces quite unnerving angles to an already dismal story premise.

Anno’s trend of complicated and unsettling visceral story-telling seems to be realized to its fullest with his first live-action, experimental film Love & Pop, a coming-of-age story about a young girl, named Hiromi Yoshii, who struggles as she watches all of her friends grow up into different people. Read more of this post

Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone

Evangelion 1.0

KlockWorx & Khara; Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki; based on the original GIANAX series.

Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this is both a review of the film and a comparative essay of the film and the television series it was based upon. The two have been separated into a spoiler-free review and an in-depth look into the two different incarnations of the story. This lets the people who want to avoid spoilers from reading any, which I hate as well simply because spoilers tend to confuse me when mentioned outside of the context of the film.

Review
The film kicks off by throwing the audience into the thick of a bizarre, sci-fi battle. Giant alien monsters, called Angels, attack a city called Tokyo-3 (we’re not entirely sure yet what happened to the first two Tokyo cities), and giant synthetic humanoid units called Evangelion are deployed by an organization called NERV to combat them. Shinji, a timid 14-year-old boy, is called upon by his father for the first time in years to assist in combat against the Angels.

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