Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hitman: Mass Murderer

As a Silent Assassin, myself, I know exactly what it's like to kill with everyday objects like an emotionless machine and escape unnoticed from every single situation I've been put in without killing anyone but the target and earning my Double Ballers.

In that light, Hitman was amazing and perfectly mirrored my experiences (except for the killing with a variety of guns, the faux-emotion, getting noticed in every situation he was in, and mass murdering everyone, including the target, twice, and not earning his Double Ballers.)

Hitman: 5/10

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Blueberry Nights

Pretty pictures, good

performances, artsy flair

amount to nothing.

My Blueberry Nights: 4/10

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Harold and Kumar 2: Yellow Fever

Yes! Yes. This movie gets it. It's about time we minorities fought back against racism by being racist back to the white people, thus pre-emptively out-racist-ing them into submission (except without the slave chains and cotton plantations, of course). It worked for Afghanistan and Iraq, why not in the real world?

In fact, this entire spring has been a coup for us yellows. I noticed a total of three Oriental-oriented movies on the marquee tonight: The Forbidden Kingdom, Harold and Kumar 2, and, of course, 21.

The only thing about the film that briefly disappointed me was that the entire Escape From Guantanamo Bay only took about 10 minutes (and no, that's not a spoiler -- the fact that it's stated in the title disqualifies it), but then I realized that nobody laughs at racism from Cubans -- we at racism from white people, because, you know, all white people are racist. Everyone knows that.

Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay: 4/10

Monday, April 21, 2008

American Gangster

Two words. Ruby Dee. Much, much deserved Oscar nomination. She owned this movie.

You know, when I first heard about that Oscar pick, I thought it was just one of those body-of-work/respect-for-your-elders picks, but, man did she steal the show.

How many scenes this she appear in, again? One? Two? All the more impressive! Not just anyone can rack up a nomination for a seven line role. But who can? Ruby Dee can, that's who.

Russell and Denzel couldn't hold a candle to her screen presence because their flame would just be blown out by all the hot air.

Great film though, with a great message, as exemplified by the final shot.

That's right, don't become a ruthless gangster or you'll be punished by the penal system, end up penniless and on the streets, right before Hollywood rewards you for the rights to your life story.

Inspirational stuff. That Frank Lucas sure had his royalties coming.

American Gangster: 7/10

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Trap

A Serbian film from 2007, which is shocking in and of itself, because I thought Serbian was merely a language. It's about a hapless father who is put into a predicament when his son is diagnosed to require some sort of vague surgery to cure some vague disorder that causes not-so-vague seizures.

Naturally, the "hapless" comes into play because he can't afford it and is forced to turn to measures like sulking around in his office, getting drunk, trashing furniture, and killing people. This protagonist is just so likeable! No wonder everyone loves him and thinks he's a good man.

However, what I admire most about the movie is how it hits all the important social issues down the road, and then runs away recklessly in its red Renault 4, without even checking to see what sort of monster it has hit. Every single time!

After all, nobody likes watching social commentary. Nobody wants to face the problems. Why do you think alcohol's so popular all over the world?

So every time social injustice rears its ugly head, The Trap does the sensible thing and merely nods, in acknowledgement, shies away politely, then goes on its way, absorbed in its own melodramatic conventions and self-importance.

The Trap: 5/10

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thankfully [REC]ycled

I watched the Spanish horror movie, [REC], a couple weeks ago and left the viewing speechless. It was the most horrifying, intense, and thrilling cinematic experience I'd had since... I can't even remember.

Needless to say, I absolutely hated it.

Here were the two major problems:

  1. It was way too scary.

  2. It felt way too real.

So imagine my relief when I saw the trailer for the upcoming American version.

Way Too Scary
While I can't judge Quarantine on its scares yet (because there's no general consensus to rip-off yet), previous foreign horror remake indicate that it'll be half as scary as before, which reassures me, because that means half the insomnia. And, trust me, that's a good thing, because the terror in the third act of [REC] was just overwhelming.

Let me note, at this point, that I watched [REC] as the second part of a Cloverfield-[REC] double-feature, and it was so scary that I couldn't even remember watching Cloverfield by the time [REC] was done, which was extremely disappointing, because who spends money to see a movie just to forget it? That's right, I blame [REC] for the time and money I wasted on Cloverfield, which brings me to my next issue.

Way Too Real
I loved Cloverfield and its cute, adorable attempts to feel real. It was endearing, like rooting for the retarded, handicapped cash cow to succeed.

Take the cast, for example -- the irrational romantic hero, the smart-aleck doofus sidekick, the hot girl-next-door-the-hero-mistakenly-hadn't-proclaimed-his-love-for, the slighly-gothic, sassy girl, and the token black woman along for the ride -- it was like The Breakfast Club's Godzilla New York Minute. By using cookie-cutter characters, the audience was reassured that it was just a film, and that there's nothing to be afraid of, everything's okay.

In contrast, however, [REC] takes realism to an extreme. You never get to know the characters, just like real life, there's no backstory, except when the camera discovers it, and there's no gimmicky flashbacks for emotional resonance. The only emotion there was pure unadulterated fear, which is just plain scary.

Furthermore, it's geniuinely grainy, sloppy, low-budget, and flawed and it felt like they hired an amateur to shoot it (as opposed feeling like a seasoned professional jiggled the camera a bit while making smart-ass comments to lighten the mood).

It was too believable. And nobody goes to movies to experience reality, they go for escape. They go for clear-cut monsters and pretty young casts running sweatily.

Which brings us back to Quarantine. Cloverfield's polish is back, its attractive cast is back, and even the monsters look like movie monsters, unlike the very human-looking infectees of the original. And, finally, even the exposition is back, because God knows reality never has a prologue.

Thank goodness Quarantine is here to save us from the horror of [REC].

[REC]: 8/10
Cloverfield: 5/10

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Knew That Pose Looked Familiar...

I guess it's the fearless-scientist-who's-mankind's-last-hope-against-undefeatable-monsters outfit.

Posters from Internet Movie Poster Awards.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

21 and its So-Called "Whitewashing"

While I have not seen the movie, I've been asked several times what I thought about Hollywood "whitewashing" history with Caucasian actors. Do I think the move is racist? Am I angry about it? Offended? As a minority, do I care?

And, invariably, I just turn to them and chuckle at their ignorance, and ask, "Minority? Are you sure about that?"

In fact, I completely support this move because Caucasians are underrepresented as it is. In fact, I pity them. More than half the world is of Asian descent and, for you colored folk who don't know your math, that's more than 50%.

Asians are hogging up all the screen-time on this planet, it's like Caucasians don't even exist except on niche, fringe western islands like "North America," and even then they have to share the space with other people of color. I can only imagine such invisible underappreciation.

Furthermore, Caucasians are typecast constantly. It's about time they're portrayed as smart, mathematically-inclined folk (even though it is, of course, just a movie). Plus, when they are portrayed, white people never have any shades of gray. I guess it's just their nature.

These groundless assertions that Hawk's "Shop Assistant," Jim Sturgess, was cast just to bring theatergoers into the audience is complete hogswash. Everyone knows Caucasians don't sell. If anything, all they do is buy, buy, and buy, and, if we're lucky, maybe pay reparations once a century when under extreme societal pressure.

As far as I'm concerned, all this bitching by the Asian community is really very unfounded. If anything, we should encourage giving Caucasians voice in this world, especially since a lot of them only bother to learn one language.

It's about time we gave back to our less-fortunate race and let them shine, for once. And for that, Hollywood and 21, I commend you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Crash is About Racism

It didn't hit me until the credits were rolling and I realized I couldn't pronounce 10% of the names. (Oh, you, Michael Peña! Your demented "n" above the "n" blew my mind.)

See, being as unracist and equal-opportunity as I am, I never even noticed the multi-racial cast since everyone non-Asian looks the same to me. If it weren't for the credits, all the color just would've whizzed me by.

I really should've noticed it just by the title, though. See, there was never any crash depicted on-screen. I was waiting for it the whole time, only to be quarter-satisfied by some weak off-screen car wreck that was non-essential to the plot. (Hell, the whole plot was non-essential to the plot, but that, of course, is just another reflection of racism in society.)

Then I thought to myself... "If Mr. Haggis wants me to look for crashes, where would I look?" And then it hit me. "Crashes happen in races!"

The title wasn't just an arbitrary term tacked on because a film called Racism would never sell. Crashes happen in races. Now, that's symbolism.

The message is so subtlely laid out throughout the film that if you replaced the entire cast with white people, it would've just been a non-sensical mish-mash of characters and circumstance. Instead, it's a non-sensiscal mish-mash of characters and circumstance with different ethnicities. Just like life! My horizons are broadening already.

Thanks to the realizations this movie have taught me, I now know that white people are ignorant, Persians love guns and shoot people, black people either steal cars or pick fights with white policemen, Hispanics love family, and Asians are completely invisible.

Crash is a landmark film on racism and the world, in general. It's just a shame that, because of his artistry, so few people got the message.

Crash: 5/10

Horton Hears a Who! is About Mental Disorder

It's about time that somebody taught our children an introductory catalog of mental illness so that we can teach our children how to avoid insanity in general. Dr. Seuss, I commend you for sharing your expertise, and teaching the world that midgets are people, and not a species.

The most obvious disorder depicted by the movie, it must be pure delusional, hallucinatory, paranoic insanity that Horton has not yet become the mascot of schizophrenics of the world.

Not only does Horton hear voices from dust particles, perceive the world as an anime, bursts out into random song, is an outcast, and suffers bouts of clinical depression, but eventually, through sheer force of nature and perseverance, he succeeds! And he gets the world to accept and believe in him -- the ultimate delusion them of all.

Not only does the good Dr. Seuss illustrate the effects of bulimia, but he takes an extra step of greatness that most doctors never reach by actually judging the disorder. By assigning this evil to communist foreign villain, Vlad Vladikoff, Dr. Seuss shows the world what he thinks of this shameful wickedness.

Also notice that the name "Vladikoff," itself, is a near-homophone of "bladder cough," when said in an evil Russian accent -- another indication that bulimia is just the equivalent of making your mouth a penis/vagina and then coughing with it. But only if you're socialist.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
At one point in the film, Horton meticulously picks, groups, and categorizes 9,005 clovers in an effort to re-claim his insanity -- which, of course, he finally achieves when when he starts hearing voices again.

Dr. Seuss teaches us that, not only should you work for you insanity, but you should be happy when you find it, because it's what makes you unique, and what you're ultimately classified as in history.

Motion Sickness
Furthermore, taking place in a field of clovers, the aforementioned scene is, of course, also secondarily an allusion to Cloverfield, re-assuring us that motion sickness and death are inevitable parts of humanity's monstrous nature.

While not in the movie, per se, notice how the title is phrased as a question, and yet is punctuated by an exclamation mark so that Horton Hears a Who? turns into a shout.

This choice effectively equates a question mark with an exclamation and, by extension, uncertainty with screaming. This is yet another brilliant, but subtle masterstroke that conveys to the throngs retards out there (many of whom are reading this) that, when you don't know something, just SHOUT IT OUT LOUD and people will think you're making a bold statement.

Other disorders covered by Dr. Seuss's treatise include:
  • Trypanophobia: The Mayor's fear of sharp objects is rational, just like yours!
  • Introversion: When depressed, misunderstood, ignored, and surrounded by 96 women you can't have relations with, turn goth and make your own kind of music.
  • Multiple Personality Disorder: If you're lucky, you'll have Horton's talent of temporarily disfiguring your body to match your inner essence. If not, go here.
  • Fascism: Like bulimia, this is is an evil type of insanity, as personified by Sour Kangaroo.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: Finally, if you have faces like these, you're probably just dumb and evil.

Horton Hears a Who!: 6/10