Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Oscars: An Incredibly Awkward Experience

I know the Academy Awards do not always represent the most essential films in existence; a lot of films go unnoticed or forgotten. Most of the time these involve films of a certain genre (horror, fantasy, anything that doesn’t fall under the “drama” category) or films that have lack of funds. However, sometimes the Academy gets it right. I’ll get back to this in a moment.

Why is it that in a group of actors, actresses, directors, producers, all around movie makin’ professionals, that these people can’t seem to get it together and make a kickass awards show? Have the Academy Awards always been this awkward or has it just been in the last couple of years? How are they awkward you ask? Did you see the Oscars!? Let me run it down for ya: long awkward silences between jokes, a creepy Ben Stiller in avatar makeup, weird background noises while people were presenting (maybe from all the crazy mechanisms that were moving the stage around?), that lady that Kanyed* that director of that short documentary, George Clooney’s grumpy faces, the really bad dance number that involved break-dancing, oh boy, the dance number was really, really bad. I just don’t understand that in a business of entertaining people they can’t make an entertaining award show; although, the awkwardness does become entertaining at times.

Ok, anyway, I am really glad The Hurt Locker won best picture and that Kathryn Bigelow won best director. She is an amazing director. She transcends the gender stereotype. It isn’t about a woman making kickass action films and the fact that she is a woman should mean nothing in a truly equal world. Her being recognized seems to be a step in the right direction. She has directed some of the best, most unique films in American cinema, including The Loveless, Blue Steel (with Jamie Lee Curtis!), Near Dark, Strange Days, and Point Break (yeah, I know, Point Break!) Please, check these all out if you haven’t already. And definitely see The Hurt Locker because it is the most relevant picture of our time!

* Kanyed; to be Kanyed; you just got Kanyed: when someone runs up on stage and interrupts you in the middle of your acceptance speech. Usually involving loud confusing remarks about how someone deserved the award more than you. Look it up on the Google ya’ll!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Uzumaki the comic written by Junji Ito (best artist ever!), is incredible. Especially for horror fans, the comic has it all: a wonderfully imaginative idea, gorgeous art, and a truly scary and engaging story! Uzumaki the film is a sad comparison to the comic, but that happens when you translate a book or comic into a film. It is a bit easier with comics because they are a little like a storyboard, but when translating a long complicated story like this, it is near impossible to equal the comic into one film. But, let’s say you forget the comic and just watch the movie. Then Uzumaki the film becomes pretty darn good. It’s super funny, quirky and so fun!

Kirie Goshima (played by super cute Eriko Hatsune) lives in a town that has become engulfed in the Uzumaki, which is Japanese for “spiral”. The supernatural spirals begin appearing in the sky and water; anything with a spiral pattern becomes entrancing and the townspeople begin to embody the Uzumaki. Her boyfriend Shuichi Saito (played by Fhi Fan) is quiet and brooding and I personally find him dreamy. He is the only one who really notices the danger of the Uzumaki. His father has become obsessed with anything and everything with a spiral pattern. He becomes entranced by the Uzumaki. In a scene at the beginning of the movie he is seen by Kirie crouching in an ally obsessively filming a snail and its spiral shell. The two sweethearts try to find some answers while dealing with their crazy parents. The film is divided into chapters. In each chapter the town and people become more and more consumed by the Uzumaki and people start dying gruesome deaths always involving the Uzumaki! I don’t want to tell much more for fear of spoiling it. I will say this: the soundtrack is wonderful! The music fits the quirkiness of the film. And if ever a real person looked so much like a comic character, it would be Fhi Fan as Shuichi Saito! The resemblance is uncanny, from the glasses to his eyebrows, and also his entire disposition. I mean this guy just needed glasses slapped on him and, “voila” the personification of Shuichi Saito! I looked the actor up and it seems his only role was in this film. I want to see more of him!

The comic engulfed me in spirals. I found myself becoming obsessed with them, much like Shuichi Saito’s father had been. I started seeing them everywhere for weeks! However, I don’t know if the film accomplishes this as effectively. Overall, the movie is a little disjointed and tries to cram a lot of ideas and scenes from the comic, without much connection to the main characters or overall story. Yes, ultimately the comic is more engaging, scarier, and of course much better than the film. However, whether or not you have read the comic, I would still recommend seeing the film. If you have not read the comic, you get a fun, goofy and really creepy film that, unfortunately, is also a bit confusing and unfinished. If you’ve had the privilege of reading the comic, then the film is not quite as confusing and you get an extra treat because you can see some of Junji Ito’s beloved characters and images come to life!

This review is part of the Final Girl Film Club! Check out all of the reviews of this film and go to Final Girl for some of the best horror writings ever! Mmmmm Final Girl….