Hello! We have reached the end of week one! I’m really excited about today because this is a day of perfection. I watched three (technically five, but more on that later.) absolutely stunning movies today and hopefully I will have many more days like this.
I watched the brand SPANKIN new Daniel Radcliffe movie, Horns, the film Three… Extremes which is an anthology of three different Asian horror films directed by three different directors and which I will be talking about separately (Fruit Chan’s Dumplings, Park Chan-wook’s Cut, and Takashi Miike’s Box), and I finished the day with The Devil’s Backbone (the last Guillermo del Toro movie I needed to watch I HAVE NOW SEEN ALL OF HIS DIRECTED WORKS!!!).
And, we away…
Alexandre Aja’s Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe in what is, in my opinion, his greatest performance to date. He plays a man named Ig Perrish, accused of murdering his girlfriend. Before the movie even begins, all of that is already over with and we discover he was not convicted. However, most people don’t believe he is innocent and he is hated or feared by most of the people he knows, with the exception of his public defender, his family, and bartender he had been friends with since childhood. One night he gets drunk, sleeps with the bartender, and awakens with horns. He then discovers people begin revealing their private thoughts, feelings, and actions to him. From there, it gets much stranger.
While the bulk of this movie won’t really scare you or make you jump, it is a compelling look into how terrifying the truths of people you thought you knew can be. There is one particularly powerful scene (in a movie FILLED with them) involving Ig’s parents that I won’t spoil here. Daniel Radcliffe, as I said, gives something of a career-defining performance as Ig. His evolution and ups and downs as a character are played beautifully and completely believably by Radcliffe in something of an unbelievable (in a good way) movie.
I highly recommend this movie and it’s one of my favorites to come out this year. Definitely one to watch out for. I believe it’s out on iTunes presently and will release in probably limited theaters on Halloween. If it comes to my area I may go see it again.
Three… Extremes (2004)
Film 1: Dumplings – Fruit Chan – Hong Kong
Dumplings is, without question, the most straight-up disgusting movie of the three. It’s not like some kind of gore-soaked splatter movie. It’s actually a pretty reserved, almost minimalist story. It’s about an aging former actress who hears of these almost magical age-defying dumplings that a mysterious woman named “Aunt Mei” makes. She eats them and reaps the benefits of younger looking skin, a more youthful and active body, and all the energy she had as a young actress. To say much more would spoil the movie which, if you can stomach it, is phenomenal.
I mean it’s extremely disgusting. Like seriously people who are easily grossed out, stay away. Or film your reaction! Also they made this one into a full-length feature film and it’s on Netflix instant! I haven’t watched yet but I ABSOLUTELY plan to.
Film 2: Cut – Park Chan-wook – South Korea
From the man who brought you Oldboy, Thirst, Stoker, and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance come this incredibly disturbing, occasionally very darkly humorous tale of an insane movie extra. He takes a director hostage on his own movie set and tells him that he has been too good a person for how rich he is, and that isn’t fair. So he tells him that if he doesn’t choke a little girl to death, he will cut off all of his wife’s fingers. Fun for the whole family!
This movie had some pretty surprising depth and some great social commentary. I love Park Chan-wook so I expected nothing but greatness and I was still surprised by how deep this particular short was. It’s also SUPER disturbing but hey, the anthology is called Three… Extremes so what did you expect?
Film 3: Box – Takashi Miike – Japan
I’m going to be blunt: this one was my favorite. Is it because I am biased because Miike is one of if not tied for my favorite director? Maybe. However, this one has it all. STUNNING cinematography, an insane, twisting narrative involving a woman dreaming and remembering and the blurred lines between dream and memory, and it has Miike’s eye for incredible style.
This movie. It’s almost difficult to talk about because there are so many concepts on the field. Dreams and memories, survivor’s guilt, jealousy, pedophilia, inferiority complexes, the lines between dreams and memories and memories and reality and reality and dreams. It’s not without its controversy (it wouldn’t be Miike were it not controversial). All-in-all this was not only the best short of the three (all great), this is one of Miike’s top films, at only around 40 minutes long. If you watch any of these three, watch this one.
The Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del diablo) (2001)
Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone is the story of a boy whose father was killed during the Spanish Civil War and is brought to a boarding school in the final year of that war, 1939. There he is bullied and makes friends. One night, as part of some kind of dare or rite of initiation, he stumbles into a basement area beneath the kitchen and discovers what he believes to be a ghost. As we follow his experience and the experiences of the staff and caretakers, we discover that many of these people have secrets, and the supposed ghost may be the least of everyone’s problems…
This movie was not at ALL what I expected and that’s completely okay because it was amazing. It was less a straight horror film and more of a supernatural suspense horror, with less focus on scaring you and more focus on making you really worried. The atmosphere is as del Toro as it gets, with his eye for bizarre set design against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War (is EVERY Spanish movie political or am I only watching political Spanish movies?). The performances here are amazing, especially considering half the cast are children. Sometimes in movies that feature a bunch of kids you end up with some LACKLUSTER performances (here’s looking at you, EVERY ANNIE MOVIE) but here, these kids exude talent rare in people that young.
Okay so that was today and it was a good day. If you have any questions or comments or critiques or complaints GET AT ME. I don’t know what I’ll watch tomorrow. Maybe Child’s Play. Maybe Hausu. Ooh maybe Lord of Tears.