Archives for August 2011 | Varied Celluloid - Page 2

Archive for August, 2011

“Come and See” Review

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 25 - 2011

Today we have something slightly different! Hey, there’s a reason this site is called “VARIED” Celluloid, ya know? Anyway, how does some arthouse war cinema sound? Not into that? How about an extremely disturbing piece of arthouse war cinema? Yeah, I thought that would catch your attention. So, come and see what the big deal is about Come and See!

The Plot: Come and See tells the story of a young boy named Florya (Aleksei Kravchenko) who in 1943 is drafted into the military of Belarus in order to fight in the second World War. The young boy pines for warfare and hopes to become a great hero, but when he arrives at the forest base-of-operations he is left behind by the commander Kosach in order to look after the camp. He soon finds Glasha, a beautiful young girl who is in love with Kosach, and the two share their grief about being left alone and are soon enough spending a great deal of time together. What seems to be the start of a romance is quickly distinguished when German paratroopers and heavy artillery starts crashing down around them. Florya is deafened by the artillery rounds crashing around him, but the two children are able to escape and quickly run back to Florya’s village. Once they arrive they find that the war has spread throughout their small country and the stench of death now dominates everything.

Come and See

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 25 - 2011

Come and See (1985)
Director: Elem Klimov
Writers: Elem Klimov and Ales Adamovich
Starring: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova and Liubomiras Lauciavicius



The Plot: Come and See tells the story of a young boy named Florya (Aleksei Kravchenko) who in 1943 is drafted into the military of Belarus in order to fight in the second World War. The young boy pines for warfare and hopes to become a great hero, but when he arrives at the forest base-of-operations he is left behind by the commander Kosach in order to look after the camp. He soon finds Glasha, a beautiful young girl who is in love with Kosach, and the two share their grief about being left alone and are soon enough spending a great deal of time together. What seems to be the start of a romance is quickly distinguished when German paratroopers and heavy artillery starts crashing down around them. Florya is deafened by the artillery rounds crashing around him, but the two children are able to escape and quickly run back to Florya’s village. Once they arrive they find that the war has spread throughout their small country and the stench of death now dominates everything.

The Review
Come and See isn’t so much an exploration of the tragedies of warfare as it is an opportunity to crawl inside of the mind of human being torn apart. It just so happens that the trauma is inflicted due to the immense horrors of warfare. With our lead character Florya we are shown at first the optimistic glory-seeking view of battle from a youth’s perspective, but as the film progresses we quickly see the real life trauma of such a situation. While this concept is anything but new, the way in which director Elem Klimov manages to throw us into the film via a near-first-person-perspective is something not often seen in war-cinema. Certainly in 1985 it would be hard to find another film dealing with the topic of “war” that could come close to this level of realism. Come and See puts the human element inside of this war film and crafts something so heart-breaking that it has the capability of mentally scarring its audience for the remainder of their days. You cannot and will not forget a film such as this one.

Although Sean Penn describes the film as one of the very best anti-war films of all time, I think simply lumping Come and See into that category is a bit unfair. It’s because the term “anti-war film” brings to mind any number of Vietnam based pictures that tried to follow along with Apocalypse Now and ultimately created a pattern that would unfortunately become the standard. Come and See may feature many aspects to it that have been covered before in films previously, but it’s a feature that never casts itself as being a copy of any other film. Come and See is a survivalist tale about the nightmares of war, but through its beautiful use of steadicam and the brilliant performances from the main cast – it manages to be more than just that. While watching you are absorbed into the environment, you fear for the innocents who will perish and a knot is developed in the lower part of your gut. Things will turn out bad and we know this, but we still hold out hope… and that is where director Klimov really gets us. That hope for sympathy that manages to go unfulfilled keeps the audience tuned in for what may be the most harrowing 150 minutes that they could have ever imagined.

You can only say “war is hell” so many times before it loses its punch. Saving Private Ryan showed us the gritty realism of combat and even though it had a more digestible message and theme than Come and See, both films make their point in brutal but honest ways. Come and See isn’t the four hour torture-fest that Philosophy of a Knife was, thankfully, and it doesn’t feature a great deal of onscreen violence, but the ever-imposing threat of violence and the unmerciful and faceless destruction of war creates an atmosphere of chaos and violence throughout the entire picture. It is for this reason that you will often see it landing on any number of “most disturbing” lists out there. However, this is certainly a film that doesn’t rely heavily on nastiness, but instead looks to do a service in providing both a voice for those affected by the inhuman tragedies committed at the behest of the German war machine during the second world war, as well as all who have been effected by the destructive aftermath of war in general.

There is another side to Come and See however that will certainly leave some upset from an entirely different position than just those who are offended by the disturbing content. There is no question that the film is rather unfair to the German people, as it at no point ever tries to give a differing perspective on the German population other than that they are all inhuman monsters. After the film, its easy to imagine those who are easily persuaded feeling a new animosity for the German people. Yet, part of my respect for the film comes from the fact that it doesn’t dare attempt to play up to the politically correct viewpoint that only the highest echelon of the German military were actually members of the Nazi party. Still, the monstrous portrayal of the soldiers in the film certainly reflects the anger that this film comes from. In sequences such as the much-talked-about burning-of-the-church, the villains are broadly drawn in such a way that they can no longer be considered human. They are laughing beasts drunk from blood and carnage. Even though there were likely Germans who were more reserved than this, hated the situation that they were in and quite simply had their hands forced in order to commit these atrocities… Come and See comes from the direct focuses of a young boy who has everything taken from him and in his eyes: no one committing these acts are without sin. His world isn’t a polite or genteel place and ultimately neither is this film.


The Conclusion
A startling, horrifying and brilliantly crafted piece of cinema… Come and See blew me away. If you have any interest in war on film, then this is a must see. However, it isn’t a polite or particularly “nice” movie, so be prepared. I give it our highest award, a five out of five. Definitely a must see piece of film.




“MST3K: Gamera vs. Guiron” Review

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 21 - 2011

Everyone’s favorite avenging turtle is back! It’s Gamera to the rescue! We’re getting close to finishing off our Gamera movies from the MST3K vs Gamera box-set, but as always I’m sure there’s more MST3K goodness just around the corner. Read on to discover one of the strangest monster movies ever made. Spoilers: a giant turtle fights a dog with a knife for a face!

The Plot: Joel Robinson and his robotic friends Crow and Tom Servo are stuck in outer space aboard the Satellite of Love where they are forced, by the evil Dr. Forrester, to watch very bad movies. The crew try to make the most of the flicks that are presented to them by continually cracking jokes while the movies play on for the audience at home. In this episode the crew tackle yet another Gamera movie: Gamera vs. Guiron. This time out we focus on two young boys who notice what seems like a spaceship crashing into earth near their home. When the two go out and find this mysterious aircraft, they accidentally hijack it and steer it toward its very strange homeplanet. As the family of the two boys deal with their disappearance, despite the sister of one boy continually telling them what happened, the boys find themselves coming face to face with the alien creatures who inhabit this planet. At first glance it seems that two women, who look VERY human, seem to be the main inhabitants of this desolate planet, however there is also Guiron: the giant knife faced monster lurking about. With the boys held captive here, their only hope turns out to be the giant monster Gamera who as we all know is a friend to all children!

MST3K: Gamera vs. Guiron

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 21 - 2011

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gamera vs. Guiron (1991)
Starring: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy



The Plot: Joel Robinson and his robotic friends Crow and Tom Servo are stuck in outer space aboard the Satellite of Love where they are forced, by the evil Dr. Forrester, to watch very bad movies. The crew try to make the most of the flicks that are presented to them by continually cracking jokes while the movies play on for the audience at home. In this episode the crew tackle yet another Gamera movie: Gamera vs. Guiron. This time out we focus on two young boys who notice what seems like a spaceship crashing into earth near their home. When the two go out and find this mysterious aircraft, they accidentally hijack it and steer it toward its very strange homeplanet. As the family of the two boys deal with their disappearance, despite the sister of one boy continually telling them what happened, the boys find themselves coming face to face with the alien creatures who inhabit this planet. At first glance it seems that two women, who look VERY human, seem to be the main inhabitants of this desolate planet, however there is also Guiron: the giant knife faced monster lurking about. With the boys held captive here, their only hope turns out to be the giant monster Gamera who as we all know is a friend to all children!

The Review
As we get closer to the finale of the MST3K vs Gamera box set, it seems that the movies are becoming progressively more and more abstract. Although Gamera vs. Guiron is yet another very familiar title within the lineage of Gamera movies, it is a flick that ultimately takes the childlike innocence that was very much a part of the original movie but manages to amplify it to some rather insane levels. It seems to be the movie that director Yuasa was always moving towards, but in a slightly more disastrous turn that I would have ever imagined. Essentially Yuasa takes the concept of children being central figures within the Gamera universe, but moves the entire production in a direction that leaves the earth’s stratosphere both literally and figuratively in terms of general weirdness. The resulting mess creates a Gamera movie that leaves a lot to be desired as a movie of its own, but turns out to be a suitable and highly entertaining episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

With every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, it always seemed as if Joel and the bots were getting better with what they do, and watching these Gamera movies in linear-order really allows for the viewer to see that in action. Straight out of the gates, Joel and the bots are all over this Gamera title in an episode that likely compiles the very best riffing that this series has seen. Not only is this Gamera title the most purely insane feature within the collection so far, it also acts as one of the most incompetently distributed. Sure, Gamera vs. Barugon and Gamera vs. Gaos weren’t exactly well-handled when it came to their English dubbing, but Gamera vs. Guiron is on a completely different level of bad. The introductory sequence which features Eiji Funakoshi, the scientist from the first Gamera movie making a return, marks one of the very best moments of MST3K riffing as far as Gamera movies go. Pointing out just how terrible the dubbing is, and how long it takes Funakoshi’s character to actually complete a very simple sentence, the guys exacerbate the ridiculousness of the situation and strike comedy gold. A gut-busting’ly funny sequence in the very opening minutes of the film thankfully doesn’t fill us with false hope, because the rest of the movie gains on those laughs.

According to Kaiju expert and resident man of awesomeness August Ragone, who has an amazing featurette on the MST3K vs Gamera box set, at this point in time the Gamera films were finding overseas financing in the form of American distributors who liked the movies so much that they were buying them up before the movies had even been made! So, with this Western influence on the productions we started to see Caucasian characters popping up here and there within these movies. With Guiron we’re introduced to a neighboring Western family who allow for their boy to spend time with their young star-gazing neighbor. Normally this kind of strange international casting would probably have you scratching your head… but lets be honest here, this is a movie where two young boys hijack a space ship and fly across the galaxy to another planet, where they are nearly devoured by cannibal women, until a giant space turtle comes to rescue them. The international casting is far from the strangest thing going on here.

When it comes to technical innovations from previous Kaiju movies, these flicks have one scale to judge them by: the monsters. Is the monster impressive? And how are the fights? Well, even though Guiron is probably the silliest looking Gamera creature ever, director Yuasa does a great job of quickly establishing Guiron’s incredible skills by immediately killing off one of Gamera’s greatest enemies: Gaos. Not only does Guiron kill Gaos, he completely butcher’s him. Literally! Guiron, whose nose is a gigantic blade, chops the bird monster into tiny little pieces in one of the most violent sequences I have seen from a Gamera movie at this point. This is of course quite odd, considering the considerable role that children play within this movie, but what exactly makes sense about a project like this? The fight sequences that Guiron and Gamera have throughout the majority of the picture turn out to be some of the most entertaining of his career, including the notorious bit where Gamera spins on the parallel bars like an Olympic athlete, but unfortunately there just weren’t enough. Truly the monsters play background roles while the majority of the film focuses on the children and their exploits on this wild and new planet.


The Conclusion
A weak Gamera film makes for an epic and strong episode of MST3K as Joel and the bots tackle this movie with the greatest of ease. Although these episodes seem to get better and better as they go along, Gamera vs. Guiron is hard to beat.




“The Matrimony” Review!

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 18 - 2011

Whew! Back with another review! We have a lot of catching up to do! Anyway, here is a review for the new Asian horror film The Matrimony, starring Leon Lai. A spooky story about a man and his wife.. wives… err, something like that. Give it a look!

The Plot: Junchu (Leon Lai) is a film composer reeling from the recent death of his former lover. After the initial grief phase has waned, his mother sets him up in a new marriage that is ultimately devoid of love because of his remaining grief. This new wife however won’t let Junchu simply mope around forever and she desperately wishes for the two to consummate their relationship. After some spooky moments in their new home, she is eventually visited by the ghost of Junchu’s former lover who promises to help the new wife as long as she can overtake her physical form in order to have a final fling with Junchu. When Junchu finally starts to warm up to his new wife though, his former lover’s ghost starts to feel rather jealous. Will she overtake the young lover’s body forever or will the young couple figure out a way to banish this unfriendly apparition?
NAVIGATION

VIDEO

TAGS

Sponsors

About Me

Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

Twitter

    Photos