Wednesday, January 10, 2007

January 10th Log

2005, Takashi Miike, Japan
1st Viewing, DVD

The Great Yokai War is a fascinating film in its over-the-top wackiness. The fact that it is completely over-the-top is what the film embraces and really what makes it so strangely charming. The film comes from Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike, who is one of the masters of horror filmmaking and at the forefront of the Asian Shock cinema movement. Miike works at a feverish pace, usually releasing two or three films per year, and though usually working within genre he always find ways to make different types of films. Miike has openly stated his interest in working outside the horror genre and this family-orientated fantasy film seems to establish such a statement. Sharing the strangely inventiveness of his family horror film, The Great Yokai War combines elements of genres (fantasy, adventure, comedy, horror). The imagery of the film is truly bizarre (of puppets, ghosts, giant monsters, animation, CGI). Miike always excels with establishing an atmosphere and here it is one of unusual splendor, imaginative spectacle, and dark humor. While maybe a bit all for younger children, The Great Yokai War is a highly entertaining family film. The film very much evokes the work of the great Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki in its themes of environment, technology, and age, as well as the sheer wonder and inspirational spirit.

2006, Richard Glazer / Wash Westmoreland, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Quinceanera was the unanimous choice at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival winning both the Jury and Audience Awards for Best Feature Film. You can certainly see the appeal, as this is the kind of intelligent, character-driven, coming of age independent films that are always embraced at Sundance. The film centers of two parallel stories that are essentially connected: a 15-year old girl is kicked out of her house when her preacher father learns that she has becomes pregnant, not listening to the fact that her daughter swears she is a virgin. The other story centers around a troubled outcast who is gay. Both of them are related and embraced by their great great uncle. Together they become a new family. The real core of the film lies in its expression of a community under transition (both religiously and economically). Through this transition comes conflict and connection as well as redemption. It is the small, insightful details of this change that make this film most effective. Also the characters are well developed and performed giving Quinceanera are warm-hearted feel. Sometimes the film reaches for sentiment, but there are some really touching moments that understandably make this a crowd pleasing film.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home