Cinepub


Zombie Month: Battlefield Baseball by Jamie

Spoilers ahead. Also, I’m writing this at half four in the morning so don’t expect a masterpiece.

Oh Japan. Japan, Japan, Japan. You’ve previously driven me to the brink of madness with a little film called ‘Executive Koala’ and now it seems as though you seek to do it again. This time the film is called ‘Battlefield Baseball’ and it easily rivals that koala film in terms of batshit crazy if not surpassing it completely it’s also another film that leads me to wonder just who at Wikipedia is determining what is and isn’t a Zombie film. Anyway, on with the ‘plot’.

Kocho, the Seido High School principal and baseball coach is excited because his team finally has a chance of going all the way to Koshien Stadium in the big tournament thanks to their star player, the Gorilla. This excitement quickly becomes despair however when it is revealed that their first match is against Gedo High, a team that slaughters their opponents because it’s legal to do during a baseball match for some reason.

Then a new student appears, Jubeh, saving the teams worst player Four-Eyes from the leader of a gang of bullies Bancho who hates baseball. It turns out that Jubeh is a great baseball player but he refuses to play for some reason. His beating up of Bancho also results in the bully leader having a change of heart about baseball as well as a change of face (for some reason the change of heart makes him change actors because… I dunno. It just does) because Jubeh’s beating healed an old shoulder wound. He joins the team.

Then there’s a song about why Jubeh won’t play baseball. It’s because he once threw a pitch so hard that it killed his father. Still Four-Eyes begs Jubeh to play, explaining that his mother hates baseball and would punish him severely if she were to find out he was playing. Jubeh is touched by Four-Eyes pure love for the game and agrees to join the team.

On the day of the game, however, Jubeh is arrested for some reason. And so the Seido team go and play valiantly without him only to end up completely slaughtered. Jubeh finally gets out of jail and arrives in time to hear the Principal and Bancho lament the loss. He then finds a body he believes to be Four-Eyes before realising that he’s actually still alive over in the dugout. The body is actually a bomb which explodes, killing him.

Jubeh awakes in the afterlife and comes across his father who tells him to embrace his killer pitch, dubbed the tornado pitch. He then rises from the grave to discover that Bancho to is back, this time changing bodies entirely as he is reborn as a child. Bancho also came across Jubeh’s father and he gave him a catcher’s mitt, one that will hold up against the strength of the tornado pitch. They also discover that Four-Eyes’ mother has discovered that he plays baseball and is punishing him by keeping him locked in a cage.

Jubeh confronts the woman, defeating her in battle and she explains why she hates baseball so much. Her husband was killed by her eldest son’s powerful pitching skills and he became traumatised and ran away. The story leads Jubeh, Four-Eyes and mother to realise that they are all a family and mother, over-joyed at the return of her son, agrees to let Four-Eyes play ball.

And so a new Seido team goes to confront Gedo High, in vengeance for their fallen team mates and to try to make sure that Gedo can never hurt anyone ever again. The coach mocks the small size of the new team but suddenly a couple of the old players return, including Gorilla, resurrected by cyborg technology…. Yeah. The team is also joined by a cheerleader and Jubeh and Four-Eyes’ mother. The game begins.

And it’s quickly over. Soon the only people left concious are Jubeh and the Gedo High coach. They fight with bats until Jubeh is knocked to the ground and the coach gains the upper hand. He reveals a new weapon, a bat filled with poisons and healing herbs that keeps you alive for 100 years in constant pain and agony. The coach slams the bat down towards Jubeh but Four-Eyes jumps in the way, taking the shot instead. Jubeh is furious and manages to take the coach down. He’s about to strike the final blow when the Gedo players beg that he is merciful for they are orphans, taking in by the coach and he;s all the family they have. Jubeh agrees to spare his life

Suddenly one member of the Gedo team begins unloading guns into everyone, his own teammates and the coach included as well as the spectators. Jubeh manages to take the gunmen out by doing some weird move that rips the flesh from his bones. He then sheds a tear as he looks at the carnage around him, a tear that brings everyone back to life. The crowd cheer and the narrator, who had intermittently spoken throughout the film, explains that everyone lived happily ever after except for one man, his owner who died from alcoholism ten minutes earlier. Still he was happy because he was watching baseball. Also the dead man was the narrator’s owner and it turned out the narrator was a dog all along! Kooky.

I honestly don’t know what can be said about this film. I’m not entirely sure what the zombies are that make this a zombie film. Is it the Gedo High team? They all have skin like the zombies from the original ‘Dawn of the Dead’ but it’s never stated that they’re resurrected corpses. Or maybe the fact that pretty much everyone in this film is brought back from the dead at some point qualifies it as a Zombie film. I just don’t know. The point is that zombie film or not, this is that certain brand of weird that only the Japanese can do well.

The plot manages to make sense and make absolutely no sense all at the same time in some kind of way that seems to defy the laws of the universe by it’s sheer existence. Things happen completely randomly without much of an explanation apart from a slight mention in passing. The Deus Ex Machina seems to be operating at full steam, churning out miraculous event and coincidence at an almost constant pace throughout the running length of the entire film.

It’s the kind of film that’ just plain difficult to review. Sure it’s fun but it’s also kind of frustrating, I’d probably recommend you give it one watch and see how you feel about it. It’s not one I can judge for you. Still, my opinion is three pints out of five. Laterz.



Zombie Month: Battlefield Baseball by Jamie

Spoilers ahead. Also, I’m writing this at half four in the morning so don’t expect a masterpiece.

Oh Japan. Japan, Japan, Japan. You’ve previously driven me to the brink of madness with a little film called ‘Executive Koala’ and now it seems as though you seek to do it again. This time the film is called ‘Battlefield Baseball’ and it easily rivals that koala film in terms of batshit crazy if not surpassing it completely it’s also another film that leads me to wonder just who at Wikipedia is determining what is and isn’t a Zombie film. Anyway, on with the ‘plot’.

Kocho, the Seido High School principal and baseball coach is excited because his team finally has a chance of going all the way to Koshien Stadium in the big tournament thanks to their star player, the Gorilla. This excitement quickly becomes despair however when it is revealed that their first match is against Gedo High, a team that slaughters their opponents because it’s legal to do during a baseball match for some reason.

Then a new student appears, Jubeh, saving the teams worst player Four-Eyes from the leader of a gang of bullies Bancho who hates baseball. It turns out that Jubeh is a great baseball player but he refuses to play for some reason. His beating up of Bancho also results in the bully leader having a change of heart about baseball as well as a change of face (for some reason the change of heart makes him change actors because… I dunno. It just does) because Jubeh’s beating healed an old shoulder wound. He joins the team.

Then there’s a song about why Jubeh won’t play baseball. It’s because he once threw a pitch so hard that it killed his father. Still Four-Eyes begs Jubeh to play, explaining that his mother hates baseball and would punish him severely if she were to find out he was playing. Jubeh is touched by Four-Eyes pure love for the game and agrees to join the team.

On the day of the game, however, Jubeh is arrested for some reason. And so the Seido team go and play valiantly without him only to end up completely slaughtered. Jubeh finally gets out of jail and arrives in time to hear the Principal and Bancho lament the loss. He then finds a body he believes to be Four-Eyes before realising that he’s actually still alive over in the dugout. The body is actually a bomb which explodes, killing him.

Jubeh awakes in the afterlife and comes across his father who tells him to embrace his killer pitch, dubbed the tornado pitch. He then rises from the grave to discover that Bancho to is back, this time changing bodies entirely as he is reborn as a child. Bancho also came across Jubeh’s father and he gave him a catcher’s mitt, one that will hold up against the strength of the tornado pitch. They also discover that Four-Eyes’ mother has discovered that he plays baseball and is punishing him by keeping him locked in a cage.

Jubeh confronts the woman, defeating her in battle and she explains why she hates baseball so much. Her husband was killed by her eldest son’s powerful pitching skills and he became traumatised and ran away. The story leads Jubeh, Four-Eyes and mother to realise that they are all a family and mother, over-joyed at the return of her son, agrees to let Four-Eyes play ball.

And so a new Seido team goes to confront Gedo High, in vengeance for their fallen team mates and to try to make sure that Gedo can never hurt anyone ever again. The coach mocks the small size of the new team but suddenly a couple of the old players return, including Gorilla, resurrected by cyborg technology…. Yeah. The team is also joined by a cheerleader and Jubeh and Four-Eyes’ mother. The game begins.

And it’s quickly over. Soon the only people left concious are Jubeh and the Gedo High coach. They fight with bats until Jubeh is knocked to the ground and the coach gains the upper hand. He reveals a new weapon, a bat filled with poisons and healing herbs that keeps you alive for 100 years in constant pain and agony. The coach slams the bat down towards Jubeh but Four-Eyes jumps in the way, taking the shot instead. Jubeh is furious and manages to take the coach down. He’s about to strike the final blow when the Gedo players beg that he is merciful for they are orphans, taking in by the coach and he;s all the family they have. Jubeh agrees to spare his life

Suddenly one member of the Gedo team begins unloading guns into everyone, his own teammates and the coach included as well as the spectators. Jubeh manages to take the gunmen out by doing some weird move that rips the flesh from his bones. He then sheds a tear as he looks at the carnage around him, a tear that brings everyone back to life. The crowd cheer and the narrator, who had intermittently spoken throughout the film, explains that everyone lived happily ever after except for one man, his owner who died from alcoholism ten minutes earlier. Still he was happy because he was watching baseball. Also the dead man was the narrator’s owner and it turned out the narrator was a dog all along! Kooky.

I honestly don’t know what can be said about this film. I’m not entirely sure what the zombies are that make this a zombie film. Is it the Gedo High team? They all have skin like the zombies from the original ‘Dawn of the Dead’ but it’s never stated that they’re resurrected corpses. Or maybe the fact that pretty much everyone in this film is brought back from the dead at some point qualifies it as a Zombie film. I just don’t know. The point is that zombie film or not, this is that certain brand of weird that only the Japanese can do well.

The plot manages to make sense and make absolutely no sense all at the same time in some kind of way that seems to defy the laws of the universe by it’s sheer existence. Things happen completely randomly without much of an explanation apart from a slight mention in passing. The Deus Ex Machina seems to be operating at full steam, churning out miraculous event and coincidence at an almost constant pace throughout the running length of the entire film.

It’s the kind of film that’ just plain difficult to review. Sure it’s fun but it’s also kind of frustrating, I’d probably recommend you give it one watch and see how you feel about it. It’s not one I can judge for you. Still, my opinion is three pints out of five. Laterz.



The Vampire Double Feature: Let The Right One In and Twilight by Jamie
17/02/2009, 6:52 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ah, Vampires. I’ve always liked the undead, blood-sucking little bastards. Wow, Microsoft Word doesn’t recognise the word undead. That’s unexpected. Anyway, blood drinking monsters have existed for as long as civilisation but the suave, pale seducer that we know as the vampire today has only really been around since the 19th Century and is most famously portrayed in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.
In this day and age, Vampires are not just some of the most popular movie monsters but also some of the silver screens most popular sympathetic characters. They symbolise the gift and curse of immortality, the inherent loneliness of living forever, the harsh truth behind the fantasy. They also represent a dark side to our sexuality, a very real, forbidden predatory nature with the act of penetration replaced with the biting of the neck and the drinking of the blood.
So with that in mind, let’s get into today’s two reviews, the 2008 Swedish language film, Let The Right One In and another 2008 film, this one in English, Twilight. Let’s begin with Let The Right One In.

Directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist of the same name, Let The Right One In, tells the tale of a 12 year old Swedish boy and his blossoming friendship with a 200 year old vampire.
Set in the 1980’s, Oskar is a young troubled boy, bullied at school, who spends his free time alone stabbing trees. It’s whilst doing this that he first meets Eli, someone who has recently moved into the area with a man who is apparently her father. She only comes out during the night and has an odd choice of clothing for the freezing cold weather.
Over time their friendship grows, cemented in the fact that they are both outsiders with no friends but each other. They begin communicating with each other by banging on the wall between their rooms when they can’t be outside together. Their relationship eventually reaches a point where Oskar decides to cement their relationship by cutting their palms and mixing their blood. At this point Eli cannot help herself and so her secret is revealed to Oskar.
This is about all I’m willing to reveal about the plot. I honestly cannot express how much you owe it to yourself to see this film. It manages to tell a sweet, romantic story between the mortal and the immortal, whilst balancing it perfectly with the acts of horrific gore that Eli must perpetrate in order to survive. It also touches on some of those familiar vampire themes mentioned earlier, particularly the loneliness of the immortal soul but it also manages to place equal emphasis on the loneliness of the mortal in this relationship as well.

And so to the second film in this double feature, Twilight, another vampire film based on a novel, this time the wildly popular 2005 first novel in the series of the same name and tells the tale of a seventeen year old American girl and her blossoming romance with a 108 year old vampire.
The story begins with Bella Swan moving from Arizona to Washington to live with her father since her mother and step-father are going on a bit of a road trip. At school she makes a few new friends and becomes interested in an apparently young man by the name of Edward Cullen. It seems at first that Edward is repulsed by Bella but a few days later he saves her life when she’s nearly hit by a van, apparently making use of super speed and super strength. A few days later Bella figures out Edward’s secret.
In the sake of fairness I’m going to leave any revelations about the plot there, though this certainly isn’t a film you need to see in the same way as Let The Right One In. I was however surprised by it. I wanted so much to hate this film. It seems, though I consider my self politically liberal, when it comes to movie monsters I’m deeply, deeply conservative. I want my zombies slow and numerous, my werewolves to be vicious, instinct based killers and my vampires to be fanged and to worry a little more than sun burn if they go out in the daytime. And for the first part I did hate this movie. I felt cheated that after 45 minutes I’d seen more compost than blood and more dress shopping scenes than on screen kills. In fact most of the first half of the film seemed to be made up of awkward, furtive glances across a school cafeteria but in the second half of the film things pick up a little with an awesome special effects-laden baseball game and finally a little bit of violence.
Once more the main theme of this film is loneliness and accepting the fact that the immortal can find companionship in a human, but it also explores the relationship between the predatory nature of the vampires and how they regard humans, their prey, which I thought was a nice touch.
Overall I have to say I did enjoy Twilight. I’d definitely recommend it for a rental when it comes out on DVD and depending on the special features, I might even consider adding it to my collection. I mean, hell, I own The Super Mario Bros. movie on DVD and I don’t enjoy that at all.




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