Archives for October, 2008
Written By Kevin VanHook
Art by Tom Mandrake
Just in time for Halloween, DC Comics gives us those perennial favorites: vampires and werewolves. The days of the mainstream horror book are coming back and with it fun crossovers with our favorite superheroes. This comic and horror fan is quite thrilled about this. Bring on the monsters and candy corn!
Superman & Batman Vs. Vampires & Werewolves gives you everything you need in the title. Why would you not pick this book up! Its two great things that go great together. No it is four great things all at once. It seems that vampires are killing people in Gotham City and Batman is trying to figure out what is going on. While the first issue gives us no Superman, we get a Wonder Woman cameo that is really nice. …continue reading
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Ossie Davis
Guest Starring: Abe Vigoda, Maureen Stapleton, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Doug McClure, Dom DeLuise, Paul Gleason, Cicely Tyson, Charles Nelson Reilly
Before the 1990s and incarnations of serious crime drama and real life police shows such as: CSI: every major city and suburb and Law and Order: every adjective that describes law enforcement, the 1980s gave the viewing public fun over the top detective shows that were equal parts outlandish and fun self awareness. Those were the days that birthed B.L. Stryker. …continue reading
Directed By: Michael Haneke
Starring: Naomi Watts
Some things are universally scary to people all over the world. The idea of home invasion is apparently one of those things as “Funny Games” covers that very subject. This film is a remake of a German film of the same name. The director headed up this very near shot for shot American remake of his own film. This is literally an English language carbon copy of the original, completely unnecessary as it does nothing new that the original already did. This story is universal though, it plays on universal fears and it features universal social commentary on the wealthy. There’s also commentary on the media and the effects on those that take it in.
A family, Anna, George, and son Georgie, travel to a summer home on a lake for a couple of weeks of sailing and relaxation. Upon arriving they notice that their neighbors seem a bit strange. After a few seconds of contemplation they drive on up to their house and decide to talk to the neighbors later. Anna begins to prepare the house for dinner while Georg and Georgie prepare a boat for the water.
Soon a peculiar young man shows up at Anna’s door saying he is friends with the neighbors and asking to borrow some eggs. Anna agrees and lets him step into the house while she gets the eggs. She only has one box of a dozen eggs but she gives him four. On his way out he drops them. He asks for four more and she reluctantly agrees. While he waits for the eggs he clumsily knocks the families cell phone into a sink full of water. He drops the replacement eggs outside and comes back into the house with a friend and asks for the last four. She refuses and they refuse to leave.
What follows is a series of brutal psychological and violent games played by the two home invaders on the family. The games start slowly, just plain annoying at first, then slowly becoming more and more terrible. Just when you think it is about to end the games continue. Much of what happens is left to the imagination of the viewer, and in my opinion that makes “Funny Games” a much more disturbing film than it would have been were it more explicit.
On occasion one of the home invaders would acknowledge the camera and the viewer “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” style. These actions further the feeling of being sucked into the games along with the victims and unable to save them. Through these acknowledgements I began to feel like I was an unwilling partner to the invaders. There is one time when the character steps out of his role to acknowledge the audience during the third act that is a little heavy handed and it really breaks up the flow of the movie. At the same time the scene plays further into the social commentary about modern media and how it affects those that are easily influenced. This ties into a final conversation between the two home invaders about whether something is truly fiction if they can see it, like watching a film or television show. At the surface of it the answer to that question seems simple, but I don’t think it is simple for these two boys.
There are a couple of instances in the original film where the Director just lets the camera linger on the victims for many minutes as they sit almost stone silent and then crying. During these scenes the hopelessness really began to engulf me. I felt like I was lying on the floor beside Anna unable to move, unable, to help, and unable to comprehend the terrible event that had just taken place. This same scene staged an lit almost identically to the original occurs in this film too although it doesn’t seem to linger in that one space quiet as long. Even with the slightly shorter sequence it’s still very effective. This sort of lingering camera is used a couple of other times in the film to great effect.
This is truly daring and extremely well executed filmmaking. There’s no moral subtext, there’s no comedy relief, and there’s no hiding behind hip cutaways to give us as the audience a break from the violence. It’s very hard to watch. I hate that the original film didn’t get a theatrical run here in the United States and I hate that the film had to be remade in English to get a wider audience but I’m happy that more people are experiencing this stunning and unforgettable story.
What really makes the story disturbing is there is no reason for these guys to do what they do. They never really steal anything; they just commit these home invasions one after another for fun. I found “Funny Games” to be a well acted very tense, disturbing story. There’s nothing funny at all about “Funny Games”. If you like “A Clockwork Orange” you’ll probably enjoy (is that the right word?) this film as well. Be prepared this is a real nail biter.
Directed by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Eric Stough
Starring Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall, April Stewart
If Cartman is your favorite student at South Park Elementary School, this set is for you. Comedy Central recently released South Park: The Cult of Cartman: Revelations on DVD.
Collected in this release are 12 episodes that all feature Cartman in the center of each story. Cartman, not known for his subtle tongue or forgiving nature, is shown in all of his outrageous glory. …continue reading
Created By: Anthony Wilson
Starring: George Peppard, Ralph Manza, Murray Matheson and Christine Belford
Before he was Hannibal Smith of the A-Team George Peppard was Banacek, a specialist in restorations. His usual ten percent recovery fee is expensive but cheaper than the hundred percent payout that the insurance company would have to fork over if Banacek didn’t manage to “restore” their insured stolen property. Banacek’s ten percent fee finances his elegantly appointed home in Boston, his 1941 Packard convertible as well as his chauffer, Jay. The different jobs also introduce him to a string of beautiful and vulnerable women to seduce and insurance company investigators to humiliate. …continue reading
Starring William Hurt, Raul Julia
Directed By Hector Babenco
Kiss of the Spider Woman is one of those classic films that many people have heard of but never seen. Now with this new release on a 2 – DVD special edition if you haven’t seen it you can. …continue reading
Directed Kon Ichikawa
Starring Fujiko Yamamoto, Kazuo Hasegawa, Ayako Wakao
Legendary Japanese director Kon Ichikawa (Fires on the Plain, The Burmese Harp, 47 Ronin) brings film fans this story of revenge. Revenge of the Kabuki Actor was recently released on DVD by Animeigo.
Set in the 19th century Edo, Revenge of a Kabuki Actor tells the tale of Yukinojo (Kazuo Hasegawa), a very skilled Oyama. An Oyama is a male actor that plays the parts of females in Kabuki Theater. Yukinojo is very talented, popular and absorbed in his art. This dedication to his craft helps him to mask the hurt from a painful past. …continue reading
Directed by Rob Schrab, Wayne McClammy, Steven K. Tsuchida
Starring Sarah Silverman, Laura Silverman, Brian Posehn, Steve Agee
When Sarah Silverman isn’t making jokes about her boyfriend’s testicles or what her grandmother smells like on stage, she and her sister star in this Comedy Central series. The Sarah Silverman Program: Season Two, Volume One was recently released on DVD. …continue reading
Directed By: Sun Chung
Starring: Liu Yung, Chen Kuan-Tai, Lo Lieh, Tanny Tien Ni
Chen Kuan-Tai – Tan
Tanny Tien Ni – Lung’s wife
Lo Lieh – Chao Chun-Feng
Liu Yung – Lung Shu-Ai
Tan and Lung, two of the leading lights of the community, are constantly trying to one up each other. Everything they get involved in becomes a competition. Even the New Year’s Day lantern competition. Lung’s effort to beat Tan’s beautifully crafted entry has a grisly outcome, but you can be assured that everything will be resolved with an epic kung fu battle. …continue reading
This past weekend we sat out to execute 24 back to back episodes of the official CineGeek Podcast as a part of the annual 24 hour Comic Book Day Event. Artist met at Comix City in Madison, TN to each create a 24 page comic book from scratch. So we decided to stick out with them by doing shows that featured special guests and our typical pop culture discussion. The last artist finished at the 17 hour mark, which is amazing. So we have here on the site and in iTunes 17 new episodes of the podcast with special guest artists, DJ’s, and even founders of an anime convention. Scroll on down to check out lal of these great shows. The final hour finds all of us just running on adrenaline and nothing else so it gets quite chaotic but it’s a great time!