Crazy foreign movie review

Discussion in 'The GatorTail Pub' started by Emmitto, May 5, 2014.

  1. Emmitto
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    Emmitto VIP Member

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    I recently got to watch some fare from my personal choice as the best cinema on the planet, Korea, and some other selected countries. While I still find the very top level of American movies to be among the best, far too often we get watered-down, focus-grouped, happy ended formulaic next-to-nothingness. America also produces by far--and it's not even close--the largest amount of absolutely worthless brain kill.

    Korean cinema makes some feel-good stuff too, and a needless pile of gar-bage here and there, but what I like about the typical offering is the absolute disregard for things I mentioned above. A happy ending is no guarantee. A woman might get beat up by a man. Taboos are almost non-existent. The acting is stellar. The direction is flashy and spectacular, yet utilitarian. IOW, they make grown-up movies and let other grown-ups be their own judges. Clearly that won't work for everyone, but you should have the option to make that determination, not accountants and their bosses who are also de-facto accountants, except they have enough money to hire them instead of actually be them.

    So if The Other Woman and Brick Mansions aren't exactly making you wish your day off would come early so you can go see them, then consider some of these (mostly streaming on Netflix). Although you might have to limit your viewing party. I have watched some that even I am too socially manipulated to recommend.

    New World (Sin-se-gye): classic Korean mobster stuff, but this one has a detective with multiple, deeply embedded tentacles running (or attempting to) the show. The brilliant CHOI Min-sik (Oldboy, I Saw The Devil) plays the detective and at one point his character even says "What a twist." As with the best Korean stuff, there really are no "good" and "bad" guys. The good guys are actually flawed (unlike a typical American flawed hero--you know, he's sarcastic) and the bad guys don't walk around strangling puppies all day.

    Bleak Night (Pasookkoon):
    this one is actually not violent at all, and not very shocking. It's essentially a take on bullying, as a group of guys who have grown up going to school together begin to mature and realize they have a jerk in their midst. It's slow but effective. I think the beauty here is that again, unlike a cardboard cutout we'd likely get in the U.S., the bully isn't devil spawn. It's more complicated than that. And how his friends deal with him and how he deals with that is fascinating. I especially liked the performance of the bully. Grandma can probably handle this one (there is still some frank teenager dialog.)

    Pieta: this one isn't quite as good, but it's worthy of mention on a WTF Korea? thread. Some graphic violence (the main character is a low-rent debt collector with mommy issues -- she abandoned him) and a shocking sexual encounter (it gets less shocking as the plot unfolds, but there's no complete unring of the bell) made one reviewer call this "repulsive on every level." I disagree, as the strength here is a villain who isn't totally villainous and a conflicted hero. And another nuanced performance in a role that could easily be nuance-free from the lead.

    And as usual, a movie that I simply cannot UNRECOMMEND enough.

    House of Good and Evil: classic example of limited ratings (including one from Film Threat and evidently 142 people who know the makers of this poo on Rotten Tomatoes) tricking me into wasting valuable resources like time, Internet bandwidth, and a calorie or two clicking Play. It did make me realize that in their next update Netflix should embed a STOP FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY button. I mean no offense, because if someone would let me I'd make a movie too, and it would suck, but there is truly no way this movie should ever get a good review that isn't signed "Mom" or "Producer" or whatever. I would rather watch a naked mole rat devour itself, and I don't even know what a naked mole rat is. I'm just assuming it's disgusting but not as unpleasant as this movie.
  2. FrankGator627
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    FrankGator627 VIP Member VIP Member

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    Foreign films are different. I remember watching an Italian or French film in a film studies course in college. The movie had absolutely no point to it. None. It just chronicled someone's day about town and ended rather abruptly.
  3. Emmitto
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    Emmitto VIP Member

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    He he...and they still make some of those. Hey, David Lynch has made a career out of that type of thing here. While I'm pretty sure there is usually a point, damned if I can decipher it. And I love it! French and Italian aren't my faves, although I'll watch anything with Vincent Cassel in it. And of course there's Fellini. Aside from the Koreans, I like the Scandinavians and the Aussies, with a little German here and there. And South America puts some good stuff out. But I'll give some credit for effort alone, even if it's a swing and a miss. Plus I'm sure I get shielded from a lot of their nonsense, unlike American cinema. It's just that so much of our stuff is instantly forgettable (sometimes I only wish I could forget it.) You can choose a random Korean movie on Netflix and odds are it's pretty good.

    A good modern French movie is 7 Days. It's a few years old now but it's got some of that no-holds-barred mentality that the Koreans embrace. Tough to watch but you can't not watch it.
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    I like a lot of Chinese films. There were a few really good ones. I'll try to find the names of them.

    If you like action/fight scenes, Ip man and Ip man 2 are awesome movies.

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