Cinepub


Review: Godzilla (2014) by Jamie

I’ve tried to keep this spoiler free but it’s hard to tell what people consider spoilers these days so be forewarned. You may be unintentionally spoiled in some way.

In 1954 the Japanese Toho production company brought a King to the Silver Screen. His name was Gojira, soon to be Americanised to the admittedly better Godzilla, and he would begin a cinematic legacy that would last for sixty years and counting. He has been many things during his storied career from destructive force of nature to wacky good guy who saved Japan from a host of other monsters and back to destructive force of nature again. And there was that American film produced in 1998. That one was… well. Yeah. It just wasn’t Godzilla.
So when I heard the news that the Yanks were going to take another shot at bringing the King of the Monsters back to the screen, I was a little concerned. This concern only grew when I heard that Gareth Edwards was set to direct, my concern originating from the fact that he had only directed one feature length film before, Monsters, which left me slightly underwhelmed. And the trailers started appearing and I was ready to get excited.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to be a fan of a film series that, to be fair, has not always been stellar and then finally looking forward to something new from that series. I grew up watching Godzilla films, Son of Godzilla in particular which is easily one of the worst of the bunch but it played a big part in my childhood so I’ll always have a soft spot for it. Hell, my pet gecko is called Godzilla because a) I love the king of the monsters and b) reptile owners are not the most original people when it comes to names. To be fair, there aren’t that many famous reptiles to go to for names. It’s pretty much Godzilla, Dino from the Flintstones and Rango. Godzilla is clearly the best out of those three… I’m sorry, I seem to have become distracted. Where was I? Oh yes, feeling excitement for a Godzilla movie. It was truly a wonderful thing, especially after that ’98 piece of shit that for all intents and purposes killed Matthew Broderick’s career just like he killed two people that one time in Ireland. Look it up.

And so the weeks went by and the release date grew closer and closer and I took the time to revisit every Godzilla movie ever made, twenty nine films in total. It was a bit of a long haul but overall an enjoyable experience and so I felt properly prepared and primed for the King’s return to the silver screen. Finally, the day of release came and I was working so I went the following day. Would the film see Godzilla reclaim his crown or would it be another American turd in the Tokyo punch bowl? Christ, that was a lot of preamble.

Simple fact straight up: I loved this film. Loved it. Is it a perfect film? No, not by a long shot. There are definitely a few things that could have been done differently, a few casting decisions that could have been corrected and a few special effects decisions that maybe didn’t sit right with me but overall, I loved this film.

Perhaps we should start with the things that weren’t so great. First up, a lot has been made about Aaron Taylor-Johnson and how he’s just not that great in the film and it’s true that he is probably the weakest link in the film. I’m not going to go all the way and say he’s bad, though he does exhibit a few moments of ropey acting here and there. Fact is that he doesn’t have much of a character to work with. He’s something of blank plate which I believe is deliberate attempt by the film maker to allow the audience to put themselves in his position, projecting their thoughts and feelings on to him. It’s an age old storytelling trick, one that was recently most successfully employed in the Twilight series. The fact that a girl can easily imagine herself in the place of Bella is what makes those things so popular despite being poorly written pieces of trash. Yeah, I just bashed Twilight. Deal with it. Unfortunately for Johnson, a lot of people didn’t want to be taking his place, experiencing what he was experiencing. They wanted to see monster fighting and during the middle of the film, it dragged a touch simply because Taylor-Johnson is not a giant monster.

There is also the problem of Taylor-Johnson’s character very conveniently finding himself able to easily move from location to location where all the monster action is taking place. I suppose it could be easily explained by saying that he’s a member of the military so he’d be able to move with the armed forces to where he and they need to be and also what are they gonna do instead? Leave their main character behind whilst the monsters fight elsewhere? Still, it does occasionally stretch the limit of believability in this giant nuclear lizard movie.

Finally, the biggest problem I had was the M.U.T.Os. I was not a major fan of their design, seeming as they did a little bit too Cloverfieldy and then there’s that name. Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism is what M.U.T.O stands for and it seems like such an unnatural string of words to put together just to get an acronym which sounds a little bit like mutant which is obviously the reason that that name was chosen. Which is a shame because M.U.T.O. just sounds fucking stupid coming out of an adult human beings mouth. Seriously, any time someone said it, particularly David Strathairn, I cringed. Just stupid. Frankly it was the kind of role that could have easily been filled by a second-tier Toho monster like the Praying Mantis-esque Kamacuras.

Now on to the good and frankly this all comes down to this being a Godzilla movie and whether or not it is a worthy continuation of the big guy’s saga. This was a Godzilla movie and frankly, I’m surprised by just how much it followed some of the conventions of the series and not just the original ’54 Godzilla as I was expecting. Villainous monsters showing up first to wreak havoc? Check. Humans trying but failing to solve the problem? Check. Godzilla awakening from his slumber to sort shit out? Check. Even the music was perfect. It was loud, it was bombastic. It was everything I wanted from the score for a Godzilla film though I’m perhaps a little disappointed that Akira Ifukube’s Godzilla March wasn’t used or referenced but I suppose you can’t have everything.

Now on to the main event. The Big G himself, Godzilla. There has been much discussion about the fact that Godzilla has so little screen time in the film. This is true. Personally, I loved this choice. It made all the time that we actually got to spend with Godzilla all the more impressive and impactful. Besides, I never felt as though he was missing from the film. From the first time he shows up in Hawaii, I felt his presence was there. Just scenes where you see his dorsal spikes sticking out of the water, flanked by aircraft carriers, as he hunts his prey help to convey his size and really build up the anticipation for that awesome final fight. Seriously, if there is one thing that this film does great in my opinion, it is building up anticipation.

I love the redesign though I did originally agree with some Japanese fans that he was a touch on the chunky side though once I saw it in action, it fit in with this Godzilla’s more bear-like movement and way of holding himself. And of course there’s the roar. The roar is beautiful and really should be heard in a cinema to truly appreciate it. Yes, just like this IS a Godzilla film, this IS Godzilla. I felt his personality come through in the limited time that he was on-screen and it genuinely felt like a certain Godzilla from a certain period of his film history. There’s even one moment which really caught me off-guard in which is probably the best moment in the film, a moment I shan’t spoil here but when that moment occurs, I was literally grinning from ear to ear. The King had returned.

So yeah, like I said, I love this film. I can understand the frustration that some people have with the film but personally it’s a frustration I do not share. Would I hate this film if it weren’t a Godzilla movie? Hate may be a strong word but I definitely would not have enjoyed it as much. It’s the things that make this a Godzilla movie that largely make it enjoyable to me. So yeah. Four pints out of five… And in my long winded ramblings, I realise that I have largely overlooked the actors so lets just say good cast overall though some are criminally underused. *cough* Bryan Cranston *cough* Laterz.

Snowtown_(film)



31 Days of Horror 3: Carved (2007) by Jamie

Ah, Japan. Home to big titted zombies, executive koalas and battlefield baseball. Yes, the land of the rising sun is often a source of fascination for those in the West because sometimes their cultural output can seem a little… odd to our sensibilities. Awesome but still odd.

So hey, I thought, let’s go for a good ol’ fashioned Japanese horror film for this edition of 31 Days of Horror. Something different to excite the blood a touch. And was I disappointed? Well, yes and no. Carved (aka Kuchisake-onna or Slit-Mouthed Woman) is based on a modern Japanese urban legend about a woman with her mouth slit open from ear to ear, ala the Joker from ‘The Dark Knight’. I won’t recount the entire legend here so I shall point you to the wikipedia entry here. Needless to say, it is exactly the kind of thing that kids come up with, no different really than something like Bloody Mary or the like.

And the legend actually makes a fairly decent, if somewhat subdued, movie. It’s obviously something of a low budget film as the few times that you do see make-up effects, they are clearly a bit budget but they are used sparingly enough that it doesn’t really matter that much. Despite it’s low budget, the movie manages to serve up a few creepy and shocking moments, particularly moments involving children that I don’t think you’d ever see in an American horror movie.

Despite the fact that the film was enjoyable as a whole, I did feel as though it did start to drag towards the end and I found my mind wandering a little. There is also some kind of message about child abuse (the hitting kind not the catholic priest kind) that is a little lost on me. So if you hit kids you become a slit-mouthed crazy lady? But people who didn’t abuse their kids were also possessed by her and… No, I’m just not sure I’m getting it. As for the acting, well, I can’t really comment. When someone’s talking in a different language, they could be Japanese Tommy Wiseau and I’d be hard pressed to tell.

So overall not a terrible film but nothing spectacular either. I guess it’d fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum so 2.5 pints out of 5. Laterz.

 

Eeek!



Halloweak: Horny House of Horror by Jamie

Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year again, Halloween, and that can mean only one thing: Watching a huge amount of shitty horror movies in order to get you in the right mood. Sure, you could watch a bunch of good horror movies, and I’ll certainly be doing that after I’ve finished this week of bad ones in order to cleanse my palate, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of horror films aren’t worth the film they’re printed on.

It’s a genre plagued with crap largely because many people who make horror films think you don’t need to rely to heavily on plot. A couple of gruesome effects shots, a few gallons of blood and zang, you have a horror film. Another thing that contributes to the glut of truly awful horror films is the fact that, compared to some other genres, they can be done relatively cheaply. So with all that out of the way, let’s get on to the first entry of this cavalcade of crap, the Japanese offering ‘Horny House of Horror’.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this before but the Japanese can sometimes seem a little weird to our Western sensibilities, what with their ultra-violent cartoon porn and their robots and what have you. But fair enough, each to their own and all that. I’m sure they find the prospect of NASCAR or uncensored hardcore pornography equally as weird. And sure, the Japanese never didn’t come up with some of the crazy shit that we have like the ‘Saw’ films, the ‘Hostel’ films or indeed ‘A Serbian Film’ (more on that later in the week) but they certainly have a certain talent for taking the term torture porn and really running with it. Just look at ‘Audition’ for example. And it’s kinda in this vein that ‘Horny House of Horror’ falls though with a bit more of an (attempted) comic twist.

The story begins inside Shogun Massage Parlour where a customer is receiving a happy ending of the oral variety from an employee, Nagisa (Saori Hara) and he excitedly tells her to suck as hard as she wants. She smiles, descends on his penis and proceeds to bite it of, much to the man’s chagrin. It tunes out that this is a most decidedly unhappy ending. Cue unrealistic amounts of blood and cut to credits. So yeah, this pretty much tells you what you should be coming to expect from this film.

After the credits we are introduced to three friends returning home after a baseball match, Nakazu (Yuya Ishikawa) a man about to get married, Toshida (Wani Kansai) and Uno (Toushi Yanagi). Besides Nakazu (and I might be being a bit generous), none of these characters really have much in the way of characterization. The two friends actually kinda seem to have the exact same personality which can be best be described thusly: They are both douche bags. Still, the three friends come across the Massage Parlour and Toshida and Uno decide they should get Nakazu a girl as one last gift before he is married. This makes Nakazu incredibly nervous as he’s never paid for sex before. In fact it’s hinted that, even though he’s a man of forty, he might still be a virgin. Also, he’s incredibly faithful to his wife to be even though she forced him to quit the baseball team and seems to ring him constantly to check up on him. Still his douche bag friends force him to go in there anyway. Because they are douche bags.

Upon entering the men are confronted with three holes through which the three female employees stick their arses so the men can judge just which one they’d like to be getting a “massage” from. This leads to fondling, pinching and farting causing much hilarity. No, wait. Not hilarity. What’s that thing that’s not hilarity? Oh yeah, boredom. Seriously, just get to the genital mutilation already… Hmm, never thought I’d find myself typing those words.

Finally after a short period of waiting during which Toshida and Uno continue to mock Nakazu, the action finally gets underway. It’s Toshida’s turn first and he get’s his revenge for the girl, Nonoko (Asami) farting in his face earlier by cumming in her mouth. She takes great offence to this and proceeds to cut his penis of with a metallic pair of jaws she has stashed away in her vagina. This results in an amount of blood that can only be described as biologically unfeasible, especially since Toshida survives this assault.

Next, it’s Uno’s member that’s on the chopping block, quite literally this time as he has been chained to a wall and has to resist getting a boner whilst Kaori (Mint Suzuki) does a sexy dance for him. If he manages to stay flaccid, he gets to keep his member and go free but if he fails and becomes aroused, his cock will be sliced off by a samurai sword. Of course, he fails leading to yet more crazy amounts of bloodshed.

Meanwhile Nakazu is managing to resist the charms of Nagisa and finally realises the danger that he’s in when he hears the screams of Uno as he is de-membered and he narrowly avoids Nagisa’s hand job with special acidic lotion. He attempts to rescue his friends but they both die along the way, as long as the two hookers who had so grievously wronged them. So in the end it’s down to Nakazu and Nagisa, both trying to escape as it turns out that the poor girl only worked there to raise money for her brothers. Unfortunately Nakazu is shot by a gun that emerges from the wall and Nagisa is left to confront the Big Boss who has been watching this whole time. He claims to have some grand scheme for removing all of the brothel’s client’s genitals and, as it turns out, keeping them in jars of formaldehyde but Nakazu accuses him of doing just because he has a small penis and is just jealous of every other man on the planet which I guess kinda makes sense but seems to be a bit of a harsh way to go about resolving the issue.

So what to make of a film about a whorehouse where customers are lured in with the promise of cheap sex on to get their members dismembered? Well, I kinda wished they’d made up their mind about whether they were making a horror or a comedy. Yes, horror and comedy can mix really well together but there needs to be a delicate balance. I suppose that if I had to call it, this tried to be far more of a comedy but it just wasn’t funny enough for that. As for the horror side, well, because of the continued attempts at humour it really wasn’t particularly scary either. It really needed to be a bit more over the top, violence wise, which is kinda odd for me to say because I’m generally not one for what has been dubbed ‘torture porn’ but when the film’s about something like genital mutilation then tortuous and hard to watch is exactly what those scenes should be. In the end it’s kind of like this old advert from America. Just imagine that instead of chocolate the guy is saying ‘genital mutilation horror’ and the girl is saying ‘cheesy sex comedy’ instead of peanut butter. Also imagine they are both incredibly disappointed by the outcome of the combination of both of these things:

 

On the plus side I suppose, the girls are hot and the acting is fairly competent throughout. The effects are, again, kinda underwhelming mainly because of the ridiculous amount of blood that ends up spurting everywhere. I know that this is kind of a hallmark of Japanese horror films, particularly those of these type but it just serves to pull me out of what is already a pretty ridiculous affair even more. All in all, the whole thing was just really, really unsatisfying and overall quite boring which is disappointing in something that probably should have been just a cheesy, fun film. Still, I’m sure this film will have it’s fans and bless their little cotton socks for getting something out of it that I just couldn’t find myself. One pint out of five.



Zombie Month: Big Tits Zombie 3D by Jamie

Well, it’s the day before Christmas eve though this will be posted on the day itself and I’m a little inebriated with… shall we say Christmas cheer? Ok, it’s booze but I have to be because I just watched ‘Big Tits Zombie 3D’ because nothing says Christmas like a Japanese film about Zombies and strippers. Seriously, name one thing that’s close to being as Christmassy as that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Anyway, due to my current condition and the fact that writing is becoming increasingly more difficult, I’ll make this quick. The basic story is that five strippers working in a Podunk little town in Japan discover a secret room linked to their dressing room which houses the Book of the Dead. One of them uses it to raise the living dead and before you know it, Zombie Apocalypse.

Of course being as this is Japanese, it can’t just be your normal, everyday Zombie Apocalypse. Nope, it’s the kind that includes Zombie Samurai, a tentacle beats and most disturbing of all (and trust me, you know it’s bad when there’s something more disturbing in a Japanese film then a tentacle beast) a zombie women with a hell vagina that shoots flames. Yeah. That’s something I’ve seen now. Thanks Big Tits Zombie…

Oh god, I need to drink more. Bear with me…. Right, where was I? Yeah, this film is pretty fucked up. The special effects are terrible though. CGI blood everywhere and the most hilarious effect ever done for someone being run over that I’ve ever seen (imagine a still photo of a person being flipped on it’s back as the car goes forward). Hell, you can even see the strings on the tentacle beast puppet. Still, there’s the odd bit of nudity… Weird nudity, like a scene where you just get a close up of tits with blood spraying all over them. So yeah, it’s kinda like bukkake with blood instead of cum. Again, thank you movie.

The thing is, this film would actually probably be bad enough to be worth a look if it wasn’t for the 3D. Unfortunately it’s the old style red/blue 3D and you have to take the glasses off and then put them back on for certain scenes. Your eyes just can’t adjust quickly enough to so many changes during such a short film and so it fails. I’ll give Big Tits Zombies 3D two 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.



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 Depress-A-Thon: The Cove by Jamie

In recent years, my impression of dolphins has really gone down a few notches. In my youth I quite liked them but as I grew up, I heard more and more horror stories that convinced me that these so-called ‘clowns of the sea’ were actually unrepentant bastards. I’ve seen reports where they’ve tried to rape divers, cases where they’ve killed men in order to get to a woman and one harrowing documentary which showed the darker side of the bottle-nosed menace where they were actually killing baby porpoises and enjoying the fuck out of it.

No, I consider myself a shark person. Sharks have always gotten a bad rap, Great White Sharks in particular (Ironically due to the success of one of my favourite films of all time, Jaws). The truth is sharks kill very, very few people. Generally they mistake a diver for a seal, take a bite, realise that there isn’t enough fat to make a decent meal and swim off. It’s a shame that that bite can be quite substantial but hey, they’re just predators without a great deal of intelligence. Like Matt Hooper says “All they know how to do is swim, eat and make little sharks.” Dolphins, on the other hand, know exactly what they’re doing. They’re self-aware, highly intelligent and apparently serial-killing, psychopathic rapists.

Still, I highly respect them for their intelligence, an intelligence which we really don’t fully understand. Hell, they might be more intelligence than us but without the benefit of thumbs they’ve really fallen behind in the technology stakes. And that’s probably a good thing. Who knows, if dolphins had the technology to build suits that allowed them to move about on land uninhibited, they’d probably rape you and everyone you care about… I’m fairly sure I was supposed to write about a movie at some point…

So yeah, the film is called ‘The Cove’ and it follows the adventures of Ric O’Barry and his Oceans 11-esque crew of high tech eco-warriors as they attempt to bring attention the yearly slaughter of 23,000 dolphins in a cove in Taiji, Japan. The public face of the operation is catching dolphins for aquariums around the world, selling them for massive amounts of money so they can be enslaved and trained for our amusement like I’m assuming God intended. The rest of the dolphins are then herded into a smaller, more secretive cove nearby and harpooned to death.

And why is Ric O’Barry so concerned about the welfare of these animals which decided to evolve in reverse for some reason? (I mean seriously, what animal evolves to go back to a fully aquatic life after their ancestors had tasted the sweet, easy life on land?) Well Ric feels somewhat responsible for the captive dolphin shows taking off the way they did. You see he used to be a dolphin wrangler and trainer for the TV show ‘Flipper’. It was these show which caught the public’s imagination and began the love affair with dolphins. From then on dolphin shows became big business. O’Barry’s opinion on this treatment of our cetacean friends changed when his favourite dolphin, Cathy, appeared to commit suicide by purposefully closing her blow hole which he attributed to depression caused by her captivity. And it’s easy to see why. If you were born with free range over the planet’s oceans and you suddenly found yourself confined to a concrete tank being forced to do tricks for moronic hairless apes, the noise they make completely fucking up your primary sensory organ, you’d be pretty depressed too.

So O’Barry and his team travel to Taiji in order to film the slaughter, setting up cameras in order to get a complete view of the cove in some pretty sweet covert operations. I don’t wanna give too much away except to say the tricks they come up with to get this whole operation done are pretty fucking awesome. If the real message of the film wasn’t so important I’d say that this alone was reason enough to watch it. Of course the important thing is the message, the footage that they capture and massively depressing and distressing it is too.

I know I’ve made jokes at the expense of the issue and the animals during this review but I just kind of felt the need to because the facts of what are happening in Taiji are truly, truly horrific. The scene where they finally show you the dolphin slaughter is an image that’ll probably stick with me for the rest of my life. You get the impression that these aren’t just animals acting on the whim of a basic survival instinct but intelligent beings who are experiencing real panic and terror, creatures that understand the concept of death just as well as humans do and know what it is that is happening to them. It’s heart wrenching.

The film isn’t just about the well being of the dolphins, though. It also hits on some of the issues surrounding human consumption of dolphin and whale meat due to the high mercury content of their meat and some of the political issues involving the International Whaling Committee and the way that the Japanese government basically manipulates a powerless organisation and buys off other, poorer countries in order to get their support. The lengths they go to in order to keep killing cetaceans is really quite incredible.

All in all I think ‘The Cove’ is an incredibly important film one that should be viewed by anyone with even a passing interest in these animals, even if that interest is as simple as getting drunk and yelling accusations of rape at the ocean… But seriously, it’s an important film, an interesting film and, despite it’s very serious subject matter, it even manages to work a little bit of humour in there as well which is much appreciated when dealing with such a heavy issue. The Cove gets five pints out of five.

To find out ways you can help bring an end to cetacean hunting you can visit this site.

You can buy the Cove on DVD from the Cinepub Amazon.co.uk store.




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