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01 - Love Exposure - Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô WatabeLove Exposure (愛のむきだし): everything’s epic these days: a night out, food, car insurance, 99% of fails… how about this for a movie epic: a 4 hour film examining the relationships between religion, cults, family, perversion, sins, obscenity, love, erections, and upskirt photography. THAT’S EPIC! First-off, it feels a lot more like a TV series: technically (camerawork, budget, quality etc) and story-wise in the four, quite individual hour-long segments of the film. The acting however is fantastic; all three youngster are great to watch, but the two main adults are particularly engaging and believable – really adds to the drama. When one of the main story threads is the usage of ninja moves (and weapons) to take upskirt pictures in order to sin – it’s mental, it’s batshit mental, and when you throw in some schoolgirl karate lesbians it could really only be from Japan. In saying that, it’s all done very well and with lots of humour, much like the pervert’s motto the film is “Careful, Oblivious and Bold”. Staying true to it’s subject matter, there’s at least one – if not a montage – panty shot every 10 minutes – so if that’s your bag, this is an absolute must-own. For being as long as it is, the melodramatic final half hour is the only time the film feels like it’s truly stretched. Love Exposure is a lot of things, but at four hours (237 minutes!) long, and containing this subject matter – forgettable is definitely not one of them.

Score: 7/10

06 - Love Exposure Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe05 - Love Exposure Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe04 - Love Exposure Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe03 - Love Exposure - Sakura Ando - Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe10 - Love Exposure - Hikari Mitsushima -Upskirt Panchira パンチラ panty-shot Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe

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Sucker Punch: after being checked into the world’s worst foster home Baby Doll must gyrate for her life, and has some super-crazy dreams to keep her mind off of the job. This is surely the single-biggest attempt to tick every single nerdy niche box: schoolgirls, robots, dragons, ninjas, goblins, WWI, Steampunk, noir, hosiery, vintage undies, pigtails, swords, the future, nazis, girls with guns, manga-influence, lesbian undertones… if geeks like it, it’s in here somewhere! As with previous outings Sucker Punch is very well directed, and a visual orgy-feast. However, this verges into over-direction, and over stylisation, which makes some scenes feel like a music video (with over-emphasised music), and others like a Victoria’s Secret advert (with an over-emphasis of lingerie). The dream sequences in particular look amazing, and are topped off with great fight/action choreography; unfortunately the asylum/caberet aspect gets tedious by the end. Sucker Punch May not be perfect but given the quality of Watchmen and 300 blu rays, I’ll be treating myself to this down the line – despite the pretty bleak colouring. Sucker Punch was a ballsy film to make, but it reasserts that Snyder is to pariah geek culture what Tarantino is to retro-cool.

Score: 6.5/10

Quantum Of Solace: we join Bond about ten minutes after Casino Royale, trying to bring his main lead – Mr White – to M for questioning. After the culprit is busted out of custody by double agents in MI6, 007 has to find out how deep the terrorist group Quantum has compromised their operations. Back to back viewings definitely aids QoS as it’s definitely not a stand-alone film.

... and here's the government worrying about texting and driving!

The movie expands and reinforces what we previously learned about 007. As before, he remains a violent (yet arguably successful) instrument, with no self constraint or controllability, and a tendency to leave a trail of destruction wherever he goes – killing off almost every potential lead. Sadly, because 007’s riding solo for much of the story, and his Russian pal is a lady of few words we don’t get much new information, other than an emphasis on his insatiable desire to avenge Vespa. Revenge hasn’t looked this good since Bittersweet Life – Bond looks very sharp; wearing stylish suits, jackets and the very best of London high-fashion!

Making sure hit kills go out with style!

The action set-pieces in this film are shockingly handed. The cuts are so short, editing so rapid, and camera movement so shaky that trying to establish what’s happening and where the people are in relation to each other – and their surroundings – is impossible. Definitely the most poorly constructed action of all the movies.

Someone's falling? Running? Rooftop? Behind the other guy? In front? WTF?!?!

The single biggest thing that Quantum of Solace has going for it is the story, carrying on from the previous film, it follows Bond’s quest for revenge, coupled with his Carmille’s similar story. These stories are tied in with the great, and scarily realistic, idea of a secret society – similar to SPECTRE but with more humble, profit-driven plans – that permeates every institution from the British secret service to the CIA and some rotten dictatorships in Latin America. Not content with slating the easy political targets, it also casts a cynical eye over the UK and US governments for the first time – with both countries stating that they’ll work with anyone that has oil, or any other desirable resources.

Corrupt businessman and corrupt politician... I miss the megalomaniacs

As with the past few movies this one harks back to some of the older adventures, although I’m not sure if these are smug and subtle self-referencial nods, or just a side-effect of the franchise having to recycle old ideas because after 22 films, there ain’t a whole lot left to work with. QoS has the classic suffocation scene from Goldfinger re-done with oil, two people one parachute and the good ol Citroen – among others.

Strawberry Fields - Bond's wondering if the carpet matches the curtains...

The lack of gadgets is also starting to get pretty uncool. I realise that the re-boot is firmly rooted in reality – and we definitely don’t need another battle suit or invisible car – but it doesn’t have to be this boring. The only remotely technological things are a normal phone and a few Minority Report style computers.

"Folks, how do we compensate for no gadgets? Ah, explosions"

Other reasons this film stands out: sandy credits (that stuff goes everywhere!), gunbarrel sequence appearing at the very end (insane!), and someone in photography having a hard-on for contemporary architecture with the Opera house, Bolivian Hotel and Desert Hotel given lots of attention. Most insulting, is the ridiculous collection of stereotypical fonts used to represent different countries. Serious London font. Stylish Italian font. Quirky Latin American fonts. ЯúSSIдN font! How dumb do they think new-age Bond fans are?!?!


As the follow up to Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is just not handled near as well, and while it’s not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, it would be somewhat unfortunate to end a 22-film legacy with this. It it’s well photographed, has a villain, some Bond girls, a henchman and a nasty plot, but they’re all just so boring.

Score: 6/10

Felix looking like a mean-ass mo-fo!!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: European, cool, short, hunched and limping, no talents. Booo! 3
Henchmen: Elvis – literally a secretary with a gun. Booo! 2
Babe: Sunburnt Russian girl. Ms Fields – a tasty toff. 7
Action: Car chase / Footchase / Boat chase / Aerial dogfight / Hotel fight at end (+ lift fight / bar escape). 5

With Bond 23 being kicked in to production James Bond January has done its job!

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Note: this was the very first ‘film review‘ I posted back in summer ’09!

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist: 3 gay guys try to set up the ultimate band-nerd guy with the ultimate Indie Cindy, for double the awkwardness. Michael Cera plays himself again but to balance it up there’s loads of shots of Kat Denning‘s extraordinary, super-sized, super-bouncy, jiggly-and-beatuiful… lips. The first hour has a drunken side-story that Ke$ha seems to have based her career on, although it’s got the most rancid (toilet) gross out I can remember. Samberg & Burrell get blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos.  The film only just loses out to (500) Days of Summer on the quirk score leader board, no mean feat! There’s some good running gags (chewing gum/Taxi) and a few good scenes; the romantic moment where the camera follows the mic leads through to the studio is great. It’s enjoyable but totally vapid and inoffensive with a predictably boring N.Y. based indie/art rock soundtrack.

Score: 5/10

The Fox Family: bear with me here… it’s a comedy musical about 4 foxes trapped in people’s bodies that need to find live human livers to eat at a specific time in order to become fully human, they also run a circus; makes sense? Because it’s Korean and weird the style is characteristically slapstick, raunchy, gory and camper than a row of tents. The ‘musical’ element is overplayed with only a handful of songs, none of which are catchy. There are some good jokes and memorable scenes like lapdancing on a subway carriage, sexy noodle montage and tramps / riot police / activists bursting into dance but you kind of get the feeling the story and music were written in one big (stoned) session and nobody bothered to check it afterwards. Unfortunately this ‘unique’ idea ends up being mediocre so for birazzo Asian musicals, best stick to the ‘Happiness of the Katakuris’

4.5/10

Hell Ride: Biker ‘Pistolero’ is out for revenge after a rival gang had his lady killed years back. Scene one: guy lying on the ground with an arrow in his stomach. Scene two: some chick being beaten, tied, throat slit and burned. Rest of film: bodies dropping right, left and centre. This my friends, is ‘Bikesploitation’ – bikes, babes, beards and beer tediously linked by a wafer-thin plot. The casting is just as poor, especially Michael Madsen, who is 100% Budd from Kill Bill, Vinnie Jones as another badass, and remember cyber nerd Milo from 24, just pretend he’s really mean. The dead men walking supporting cast were so indistinguishable (hairy, shades and stupid names) that it was pretty hard to follow who was who, although they all got killed, so meh! It’s good to see Dennis Hopper and Dave Carradine on screen again. It had so much potential and although I wasn’t expecting much it still disappointed; it really is one of those films that is so bad it’s… bad. Note to Tarrantino: please stop presenting shite films!

Score: 2.5/10

Machine Girl: (Blu Ray) the story’s just a vehicle for the onslaught of gore, so it’s not even worth dwelling on… ‘revenge’ should cover it. This action & blood fest includes… <spoilers> shot in the eye, face shot to bits, hand hacked off, exploding head (2), maid murder, extreme bullying, tempura arm, brains facial, intestine facial, blood facial showers (gave up counting – ?), cook brutality, forced cannibalism, ninja stars (?), fingers sliced, amputation (2), necrophilia, urban ninjas (3), decapitation(?), blood drinking, nails in the face, fountains of blood (?), chainsaw deaths (?), bucket of death (2), limb fighting, an unforgettable boob job and many an OTT gory death. To lighten he mood they also chucked in some… swordfights, cleavage, ghosts, questionable first aid, midriff, sexy lingerie, a drill bra, pant wetting, death by strobes, Japanese schoolgirls and a MILF. </spoilers> The picture quality drifts between barely acceptable and below upscaled DVD, the sound is also poor – definitely not worth paying more for the BD. Bad and camp acting throughout, but for being on a budget the gore’s pretty good and is more comical than serious. It’s pretty entertaining but definitely a required taste: think ‘Story of Ricky’, ‘Braindead’, ‘Versus’, ‘Bad Taste’

Score: 3/10