Movie Review – Dredd 3D

Movie Review – Dredd 3D

10 years from now, fandom’s failure to support Dredd 3D will be seen as a cock-up of Firefly-level proportions. Coming out of the theater I was acutely aware of the film’s dismal box office performance and profoundly sad that I had likely seen the one and only shot Karl Urban will get at filling Judge Joe Dredd’s voluminous boots. Dredd 3D is a mighty accomplishment, meeting and perhaps surpassing Marvel’s billion-dollar juggernaut The Avengers for sheer tenacity. Which is not to discount Whedon’s film – it’s everything you want out of a big Summer superhero flick…but for sheer balls, Dredd 3D has my vote for comic book film of the year. Think of it this way: The Avengers Dredd 3D You see what I’m getting at there? The genius of Pete Travis’ adaptation of the popular 2000AD strip is the white-knuckle constraint of screenwriter Alex Garland’s script. Instead of a sprawling travelogue of Dredd’s universe (which was used to poor effect in the 1995 Stallone-fronted disaster), Dredd 3D locks the titular Judge and his charge, psychic rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) into a 200-story concrete gauntlet of death oxymoronically called Peach Trees. For nearly the film’s entire 120-minute running time, Dredd and Anderson are immersed in a pitched battle against Ma Ma (Lena Headly), a vicious drug-lord who runs Peach Trees block like her own private city-state, and her seemingly endless supply of drug-addled henchmen. It’s a perfect throwback to 70’s era exploitation films like John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13. It’s a siege film in which the heroes are doing the besieging. Karl Urban’s Dredd is pitch perfect...
DVD Review: The Raid: Redemption (ALMOST Spoiler-Free!)

DVD Review: The Raid: Redemption (ALMOST Spoiler-Free!)

Probably the best thing I can say about The Raid: Redemption is that it is very good at being what it is. It’s an action movie. And if your action movie has a predictable plot, undeveloped characters and a silly premise, you better make sure it has 90 minutes of wall-to-wall bloodshed.  Which, thankfully, The Raid does.  Bright and early one morning Rama, a newbie police officer and expectant dad, gets up and goes to work. Today his unit is scheduled for a top-secret raid on an apartment building owned by crime lord Tama, who rents out most of the apartments to other criminals of varying stripes. The raid is organized by Lieutenent Wahyu, an old veteran who is understandably uneasy about having so many rookies taking part in such a delicate operation. But kindly Sergeant Jaka assures him everything will go swimmingly. Of course, if he was right, this movie would have been a lot more boring.  The officers make it to the sixth floor before being spotted by a teenage lookout, who alerts Tama before being killed. Tama promptly send down reinforcements who wipe out a good chunk of the team with machine guns, then goes in the PA and, in a stroke of brilliance, announces to his residents that anyone who takes out some policemen will get free rent for life. Meanwhile, Sergeant Jaka learns from Wahyu that backup will not be forthcoming…because this raid is kind of off the books. The survivors are pursued and repeatedly attacked by crazed men wielding guns, machetes, pipes, knives and their bare fists. Luckily for Rama, in previous incarnations...
DVD Review: Bangkok Love Story (Spoiler-iffic)

DVD Review: Bangkok Love Story (Spoiler-iffic)

I am one of those women who is all for gay guys. Dudes banging is hot. So when I watch a movie, even if it's not great, I can still enjoy myself as long as there are some scenes of gay men getting it on. At least, that's how it usually goes. Bangkok Love Story is the sole exception to my gay-guys-doing-it-is-always-fun rule. It's an hour and thirty minutes long, but my God, it feels much, much longer- not in a good way. The film opens with a montage of our main man, assassin 'Cloud', doing what he does best: killing people, riding the bus, walking the night-time streets, and stroking his gun suggestively while sweating a lot He receives his next assignment and begins stalking him; the handsome-and-he-knows it Stone usually has his girlfriend hanging off his arm. Cloud shoots at him in the middle of a crowded street, and in the ensuing panic manages to separate Stone from his woman and kidnap him. He takes Stone to a (really large but with ugly carpet) hotel room and proceeds to doze off, dreaming about his tragic past- because of course he has one, all pretty assassins do. When Cloud takes Stone to the crime boss who hired him, he discovers that Stone isn't a bad guy at all- he's a witness to the boss' evil deeds. He refuses to kill Stone when ordered, and is shot in the arm for his trouble. The two escape on a motorcycle, and Stone interrogates Cloud as to his motives while Cloud is bleeding all over the damn place. He takes Cloud...
DVD Review: The King and the Clown

DVD Review: The King and the Clown

The King and the Clown bears a strong resemblance to the Hong Kong movie Farewell, My Concubine. Both feature a pair of performers, one of whom always plays female roles. Each of the more feminine men is gay and in love with his partner. In both films the performers are threatened with destruction by powers far beyond their control. But in Concubine the menace is the Communist government’s Cultural Revolution; in Clown it is a traumatized, maddened king. Gong-gil and Jang-saeng are 15th-century street performers. Gong-gil’s feminine beauty dictates that he plays women’s roles, and the troupe’s manager often pimps him out to rich audience members. This infuriates Jang-saeng. Eventually things come to a head; in the resulting confrontation the manager is killed. Gong-gil and Jang-saeng flee to Seoul, where they join up with other street performers and create a new troupe. The ruler of Korea is the cruel, tyrannical Yeonsan, and when the troupe puts on a play mocking him and his favorite consort, Nok-su, they find themselves swiftly arrested. Jang-saeng manages to get the troupe an audience with the king; if their skit makes him laugh, he reasons, then they’ll be allowed to live. It works, and the performers become King Yeonsan’s personal entertainers, put up in the palace itself. Yeonsan is especially interested in Gong-gil, and often calls him to his chambers, to the dismay of Jang-saeng. But Yeonsan seems almost as enamored the troupe’s art as he is in Gong-gil; instead of buggering him silly, as one (well, I, because my mind is filthy) might expect, instead he asks Gong-gil to teach him the art...
DVD Review: Ju-on (The Grudge)

DVD Review: Ju-on (The Grudge)

POP! Goes the Dead Kid I’ve seen nearly all the famous Asian horror films. And by ‘famous’, I mean the ones that Hollywood tried to remake: The Eye, The Ring, A Tale of Two Sisters, Pulse, Dark Water. There was just one I’d missed: Ju-on, aka The Grudge. That’s been rectified. The movie begins, as all good movies do, with a murder. More than one murder, actually. We don’t know who or why, but you do know where- so it’s hardly a surprise when Social Welfare Office volunteer Rika shows up on the doorway of the House’o’Murders to check up on the joint’s inhabitant, a really old lady who has let the place go to hell. Like all the idiots in Pulse, when Rika finds a door that’s sealed shut with packing tape, she just has to open it. She finds a cat. Oh, and a little dead ghost kid. The film then jumps to some unspecified time (but the same bat-location), when the old lady’s son and daughter-in-law are complaining to each other about the mess and ruckus the old lady’s making at night. The daughter-in-law, Kazumi, finally seems to get a clue when little-dead-ghost-kid handprints show up on the doors, and a random cat appears in the house. The son (who has a truly wretched haircut) comes home from work to find his wife all comatose with terror, just before she becomes an ex-parrot. Then Kazumi’s sister comes over for dinner, barges in without knocking, and is promptly treated to the son acting fucking crazy. He kicks her out. Then we get the sister’s POV- she’s called...
February Review Blitz: Forest of Death

February Review Blitz: Forest of Death

[wdgkt_img source=”http://geekyandgenki.imaginaryexercise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2011/02/Forest-of-Death-e1354979558989.jpg” thumb=”http://geekyandgenki.imaginaryexercise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2011/02/Forest-of-Death-e1354979558989-210×300.jpg” align=”right” width=”210″ height=”300″ alttext=”Forest of Death Poster”] [/wdgkt_img] So I decided to give the Pang Brothers a third chance. They’ve made so many movies, after all, they can’t all be as flawed as The Eye and Re:Cycle, right? But…three strikes and you’re out, boys. Sorry. Forest of Death is even worse than either of their other films I watched. Somewhere unspecified in China, there is a vast, deep forest where people like to go to off themselves, for whatever reason. The number of suicides there is tabloid fodder, but it gets even more sensational when a woman turns up dead in the forest…only she didn’t kill himself (though not for lack of trying), she was raped and murdered. The cops are pretty sure they have the right guy in Patrick Wong, a slimy fellow who wears his Oxford shirt buttoned all the way up (a sure sign of a psycho killer if there ever was one; that should be evidence admissible in court), but there’s no physical evidence against him. Detective CC Ha, the only female detective in her precinct, has been assigned to wrap up the case before her boss retires. She’s stumped, until she sees a botanist on TV explaining his pseudo-scientific BS theory about how plants are sentient and can communicate with humans through magnetic waves or some shit. Anyway, Detective CC Ha (I am going to use her full title and name because it looks funny typed out) calls up Dr. Shum Shu-Hoi (played by Ekin Cheng, who has grown from Pretty Boy to Foxy Man, although maturity has done nothing to...