Sunday, November 05, 2006


And two of them are Japanese, just to show that I'm not an uncritical Japanophile.

Game 6 (dir. Michael Hoffman). I've previously expressed my dissent from Scott Eric Kaufman's loathing of Don DeLillo, but I do have to give him this: Game 6, the film DeLillo wrote the screenplay for, is terrible. The main problem isn't that the characters all sound the same (Kaufman's complaint against DeLillo in general), but that you can't imagine anybody actually saying the things they say or doing the things they do, the protagonist in particular. This might work in a novel, or perhaps even in a stage play, but definitely not in a film, especially one with a patina of realism. I confess that I didn't watch the entire film: I stuck it out nearly to the end, but a plot twist about five minutes before the end was just too much for me. I watched Hoffman's sporadically interesting commentary for about half an hour. Judging by it, he can't be blamed for the film's awfulness: he approached DeLillo's screenplay with reverence. He also says that a number of professionals were so impressed by the screenplay that they volunteered to work on the film for free. I find that mind-boggling.

Imprint. This is the notorious Takashi Miike film that was made for Showtime's "Masters of Horror" series, but which Showtime refused to air. As a fan of Miike I hate to say this, but its not airing may have been for the best in the long run. For a lot of people, it would have been their first introduction to Miike, and it's a mess. There's certainly a lot of gross and grotesque stuff in it, but unlike in Miike's best films of this type (e. g. Ichi the Killer), here it just seems pointless and arbitrarily thrown in. And it doesn't help that the climactic reveal, rather than being scary or horrifying as it's intended to be, is just silly. The other big problem is the weak performances of the two main actors. Billy Drago is especially bad, but Youki Kudoh is no great shakes, either.

Third-party DVD commentary tracks are rarely interesting, but this one was. Chris D. and Wyatt Doyle, who recorded it, are obviously both fans of Miike, and they clearly didn't like the film very much. They discuss the faults mentioned above, and some others as well. (For instance, the fact that although the film is in English, none of the actors aside from the two leads could speak English very well: in fact, it sounded to me like a lot of them had learned their lines phonetically.)

Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf (dir. Teruo Ishii). I know, I know: how can a film with a title like not be great? Part of the problem is that while there is a "blind beast" (actually a blind serial killer) and a killer dwarf, they never fight each other, and I don't think they even meet. In fact, the two storylines they're in barely interact with each other. The "blind beast" storyline is based upon the same Edogawa Rampo short story that Yasuzo Masumura's film Blind Beast was based upon. Masumura's film is better and more disturbing, but Ishii's version has its good points, particularly the performance of the actor playing the serial killer. The "killer dwarf" storyline is a straight detective story (apparently based upon another Rampo story), and frankly I found it boring.

The film's trailer makes it seem much weirder and more interesting than it actually is.

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