Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Game Over

Alpenbitter. The official drink of Game Over: Pat Orams official 2010 Bachelor Party Extravaganza.

Made in beautiful Grimbsy, Ontario, this flavourful 'digestive', or 'digestif' as I'm told by Nick, is an ancient blend of 11 alpine botanicals and herbs, made from an ancient Celtic Druid recipe. Which means it tastes like Jagermeister mixed with mouthwash.

Several hours of Talisman followed.

TIFF 2010

I attended some films at TIFF.

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen - Not a very good film. I have since watched The Legend Begins: Ip Man, and that film is 100 times better than Donnie Yen and Andrew Lau's cheap Bruce Lee/Jet Li imitation.

13 Assassins - Read my review of it here. I thought it was absolutely spectacular.

Red Nights - This was sort of like an old HK Cat III films made as a Giallo. The two french guys who made it also wrote Running Out of Time, so they have obvious Johnnie To cinematic tendancies. Regardless of the fact that Seppuku Paradigm did the soundtrack and Sebastien Prangere edited the film, it still looks and feels like a Milkyway Production. Regardless, very atmospheric and entertaining.

I Saw the Devil - Wow. I love Choi Min Sik and Lee Byung Hyun more as time goes by. This film doesn't have the emotional depth of my favourite Kim Jee Woon film, A Bittersweet Life, but its pretty visceral and intense, and between the two leads and some outstanding cinematography, you don't need another reason to watch this film. Unless you want to see the best achilles tendon mutilation since Pet Cemetery.

Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame - Tsui Hark seems to have forgotten how to make entertaining and coherent films with emotion and depth. The last film he made that really struck me was Time and Tide. That was 10 years ago! Andy Lau cannot save this film from its trite shortcomings. It feels one of those wuxia TV productions that are edited down from 25 hours to a 2 hour film for a DVD release here. I know Tsui Hark is embracing the digital era and using high definition cameras and CGI, but some of this film looked like shit. I want to be excited about his remake of Dragon Gate Inn, but this film doesn't generate any kind of confidence.

The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordman - This film was a good followup to Detective Dee because it was a Chinese period film made like Ashes of Time or The Blade, so it was sort of refreshing. Some of it was very funny and original, some of it not so much. And it really wasted the talents of Xiong Xin Xin, who was the films fight choreographer, although you'd hardly know anyone choreographed anything.

Bunraku - This film had a lot of imagination and a visual style that at times makes your jaw drop. Unfortunately, its marred by some of the worst voice over since 300. I give props to Josh Hartnett for his mad boxing skills, and the Oldboy inspired tracking shot of Hartnett going floor to floor knocking out bad guys was pretty cool. One question: why was Demi Moore in this film?

Cold Fish - Visceral doesn't even being to describe Sion Sono's follow up to Love Exposure, and the first film from Sushi Typhoon which is actually outstanding in all respects. This is more Sono ala Strange Circus, with a Edogawa Rampo inspired fusion of sex and violence that is rarely seen this side of the seventies. I had no idea that was Asuka Kurosawa until the credits rolled.

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