DVD Review: A Tale of Legendary Libido

DVD Review: A Tale of Legendary Libido

  <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> A Tale of Legendary Libido begins with a wooden nose, broken off a statue, that looks just like a penis. It’s been somehow activated by a widow’s prayer for a man to ‘reliever her loneliness’. When someone picks up the nose, a couple dozen young men in loincloths suddenly appear and have sex with everyone (and everything) in sight. Since this can disrupt a village’s daily routine, the magic wang is buried, hopefully never to be seen again. But of course it is, or there wouldn’t be a movie. Later, the village has become a place where traditional gender roles are switched: women are sexually aggressive, and the men are too passive to even challenge a group of thugs from a neighboring village. All except Byun. Byun can run off the bad guys, but after an unfortunate experience where his crotch was set on fire, he can’t satisfy any woman in bed. The women of the village relentlessly make fun of him for his lack of skill and equipment. It’s even worse because his brother, Kang-mok, is the manliest of the manly men, coveted by all the women. Byun forms a crush on beautiful newcomer Darling, who earns the enmity of the other women when their men play Peeping Tom while she’s bathing. Meanwhile, an old man who was around during the original magic wang incident drops back in with his grandson. He takes pity on Byun and tells him where to find the buried nose, and that by sipping the wine it was buried in, he cane become a real...
Happy Halloween! 13 Horror Film Review for You

Happy Halloween! 13 Horror Film Review for You

Happy Halloween Eve everyone! Here’s a treat for the night before: reviews on 13 scary movies I watched this month so you don’t have to. <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> Intruders (2011) Intruders benefits enormously from the presence of Clive Owen, manliest of the manly men. I hadn’t seen him in anything for a while, so it was a bit of a thrill. Unfortunately, even with Clive Owen, this movie is just okay. The film tells two parallel stories: one about a little boy named Juan in Spain, who is tormented by a demon/spirit/monster without a face, and another about a 12-year-old girl in England named Mia. On a trip to her grandparents’ country house, Mia finds an old, handwritten story in a hollow tree. The story is about a faceless creature called Hollowface, that stalks children to steal their features. She copies it and presents it as her own work in school, and apparently Hollowface takes this as permission to start messing with her. Her adoring father, John, is the only other person who can see this monster. As psychiatrists discuss the possibility of a folies a deux, John and Mia try to figure out how to vanquish this monster. <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> Intruders has a solid premise, but it relies heavily on a double twist, the first of which is telegraphed well in advance. The end is anti-climactic, with the tired solution of love saving us all. The has some genuinely creepy moments, as when Juan and his mother see Hollowface in a church (or do they?) but a sub-plot about...
30 Days of Hellraiser: Hellraiser

30 Days of Hellraiser: Hellraiser

I’ll say it out front. Hellraiser lives up to its reputation. It also holds up very well, something which can’t be said for a ton of mid-80’s horror films. Clive Barker’s psychosexually violent tale of lust, sadomasochism, and infidelity is as effective in today’s torture-porn saturated landscape as it was upon its release in 1987 and if nothing else deserves praise for introducing two of horror’s most iconic images – the baroque Lament Configuration and the perverse, demonic Cenobites. The heart of the story is a thoroughly dysfunctional love triangle between nebbish Larry (Andrew Robinson), his cold, spiteful wife Julia (Clare Higgins), and Larry’s n’er-do-well brother Frank (Sean Chapman). Larry is a meek pushover whose finances seem to be the only thing keeping Julia around; on the other hand, Frank is everything Larry isn’t – virile, seductive, and forceful. It’s no surprise Frank was able to cajole Julia into a sexual tryst shortly before her wedding. Indeed – Julia still carries a torch for her brother-in-law, and when she comes across some erotic photos of Frank after moving into his and Larry’s childhood home she pockets one as a memento. But hey – good news for Julia! Frank’s disembodied spirit is hanging around the attic, where months before he was taken into some sexual hell-dimension after using a mysterious puzzle box to summon a bunch of aliens in bondage gear. After Larry injures his hand on moving day and deposits a fair amount of blood on the floor of the attic, Frank’s gradual reincarnation begins. All he needs now are a host of unwitting saps to spill more of...
Film Review: Lust in Hell

Film Review: Lust in Hell

<!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> Lust in Hell (2009) is a misleading title. While Hell appears in the movie, and there’s plenty of lust, the lust never actually occurs in Hell. In fact, nothing really takes place in Hell. It kind of pops in and out over the course of the movie, but never really takes center stage. Honestly, such a titillating title is almost a guarantee of disappointment, and Lust in Hell is a disappointment. The film opens with Koto, a young woman, escaping from a psychiatric facility to visit the place where her parents died in a car accident a year earlier. While there she sees Shinji, whose girlfriend was killed in the same accident, getting ready to off himself by jumping into traffic. She persuades him to give up his suicide plan by telling him he won’t go to Heaven because it doesn’t exist; all that awaits those who die is Hell. This dire warning is said in a cute, squeaky voice befitting a talking guinea pig. Shinji logically decides to take this charming person home with him. They almost do it, but Shinji decides he’s not ready yet. Later that night, they both see the apparition of his dead girlfriend. It turns out that after the accident Koto gained the power to see rifts in this world that open into Hell, and her presence attracts the ghosts of those trapped there. Shinji’s friend/colleague calls him to come to a meeting with his boss. It turns out that Shinji and his boss are ex-cops, and now they kill people for a reason. Shinji’s had...
Hey, You Guys! It’s a Movie Roundup

Hey, You Guys! It’s a Movie Roundup

<!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> As Tears Go By ATGB is an early Wong Kar Wai film, and you can tell. It doesn’t have the slow, surreal feel of most of his movies. It’s a pretty basic Hong Kong gangster movie, but the performances are what carry it (those, and Andy Lau’s tiny, tiny shorts). Andy Lau plays a mid-level gangster who would probably have risen higher in the ranks if he wasn’t always trying to cover for his buddy, Fly. Fly is a fucking idiot who continually insults high-ranking members of other gangs, and gets his ass beat. Only the intervention of his BFF keeps him from getting murdered over and over. Everyone tells Andy Lau to dump this guy, but he and Fly have been friends for ages and he can’t seem to make himself get rid of him. It gets more complicated when Andy Lau’s cousin shows up unexpectedly. She has some vaguely-explained illness, and has come from her rural island home to Hong Kong for treatment, and expects to stay with Andy Lau. Of course they fall in love (this sounds kind of gross, but if your cousin looked like Maggie Cheung), and just when it seems Andy Lau might be able to get out of the thug life and live happily ever after, Fly gets in trouble again… ATGB is a predictable story, but it’s entertaining and not a little sad to watch Andy Lau’s hopes of a normal life spiral downward. Even the hideous 1990’s fashions they force Maggie Cheung into can’t diminish her beauty. If you don’t go into ATGB...
Quick Review: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Quick Review: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

The other night the Husband and I watched a movie called Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. This title sounds like a middle-grade kids’ novel, but it’s actually a 2010 Tsui Hark film starring Andy Lau as the titular Detective Dee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeMLCCws5m8 Now, this isn’t great cinema, but if you’ve seen Hark’s films before you know what to expect: very, very loose historical setting, fantasy elements and ass-kicking. Detective Dee has all of these. The movie is set way back when, as the Empress Regent is about to be crowned honest-to-god Just Empress, because she is so awesome even her son, who is now old enough to be the rightful Emperor, wants her to take over. Eight years before Detective Dee protested her taking the regency, and was summarily locked up in jail for eight years. But now the Empress-to-be wants him to come out and help her, because he’s a fucking awesome detective and a couple of her state officials have mysteriously caught fire and burned to death. Which is a problem because it’s right before her coronation and she doesn’t need this shit. Detective Dee gets on the case. Along the way we get to see CSI: Ancient China, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, dudes catching fire, the spectacular collapse of a monstrous statue of the Buddha, Andy Lau kung fu fighting a fucking deer, and a guy named (I am not making this up) Donkey Wang. The movie is about 30 minutes too long and while Lau is a decent martial artist, he’s nothing particularly special (Sammo Hung’s action direction helps with that). Even with...