Monday, January 09, 2006
Five Things I Totally Heart This Week
1. French Radio
Despite the fact that I don't speak or read more than ten words of French, j'adore French pop music (from the 80s and beyond, not so much that weird 60s Serge Gainsbourg stuff). Over the weekend I downloaded this thing that plays around a dozen French radio stations on my computer, and I'm becoming addicted to it. The only downside is, when I hear a song I really like, I have pretty much NO WAY of knowing who or what it is. It's not like I can do a lyrics search or anything. Bummer.

2. Peep Show

M sent me the first season of this show and it's completely hilarious. I don't really know where to begin summing up the premise, but Wikipedia does a pretty good job.

3. Masters of Horror
Freakin' awesome horror anthology series on Showtime. This is a real who's who of horror cinema, with segments directed by the likes of Dario Argento, Stuart Gordon, and John McNaughton. Aw crap, I'm irked now. Takashi Miike was set to direct an episode, but it seems to have been taken off the schedule. Well, here's hoping he makes it to season 2, along with Clive Barker who is notably missing from an otherwise stellar lineup.

4. Books of Blood

In keeping with the horror theme, I've been reading this set of short stories by Clive Barker lately. I started reading these when I was in college, and I was always under the impression that there were only three volumes. Wrong, there are six. From what I can tell, there were only three volumes made available in the U.S., for some cracked out stupid reason. So for Christmas, M set me up with 4-6. Awesome. I like Clive Barker, but his short stories are generally a lot better than his novels. Stephen King is the same...

5. The Descent
A kickass horror film that I also have courtesy of M. Hey, M is responsible for three things on this week's totally heart list. Anyway, The Descent is (in brief) about a group of women who go on a caving vacation in the N.C. Appalachian mountains (note: this is uncomfortably close to where V lives, as is the area where Deliverance was filmed). Once inside the cave, they're set upon by a horde of cannibal mutants. The film is creepy and atmospheric enough even before the monsters show up. If you're at all claustrophobic (as I am), there are a few very uncomfortable moments. If you're at all squeamish (as I am not), there are a few more. I definitely jumped a few times watching this one.

So yeah, that's this week's list.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance
Last year I had the privilege of seeing a Korean film called Oldboy. It was a sick revenge film, with one of the most warped plots I think I've ever encountered. This man is held prisoner in a small flat for something insane like 15 or 20 years. Why? Who's keeping him there? Finally he's let out, and everything goes batshit insane.

Turns out Oldboy is the second film in something called the Vengeance Trilogy. The third film, Lady Vengeance hasn't been released in America yet. Which brings us to the first film in the trilogy: Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance.

Like Oldboy, this is full of bizarre and sadistic twists and turns. There's not much I can say about the plot without giving too much away, but let's just say there might be more than one Mr. Vengeance. It's a whole cycle of A getting revenge against B, and then B has to have revenge for that, and then naturally A must retaliate, and so on, so forth for a little over two hours. There's much ambiguity as to who is right/who is wrong, who is good/evil, what is justified, etc. In the end, I had sympathy for both Mr. Vengeances. And for most of the other characters as well.

This one has a little bit of everything... organ theivery, kidnapping, bloody death, sex, extortion, mentally ill derelicts, honor killing, revenge killing, regret killing, accidental killing, electrocution, sadism... like I said, everything.

I rented this from the local Hollywood Video, and the DVD was in pristine condition, which usually means nobody else has rented it (and subsequently tried to clean it with steel wool or their car keys or whatever), and that's a shame. I guess there's not much of a local market for foreign films. And that's another shame. Blame it on laziness or ignorance or xenophobia or whatever, but I'd estimate at least 70% of the really awesome films I've ever seen have NOT been American made.

In short, watch this. And then watch Oldboy. But maybe not, if you don't have a strong stomach for violence and depravity.
Friday, January 06, 2006
More Awesome
Check out this clip from a French film about a kid who likes butterflies. Someone's changed the subtitles. I think I'd rather see their version of the film than the real one.