Naturally, the first school break I have when I’m off of work and don’t have homework, I get sick.

I can’t focus too much. But last night I watched Battle Royale (2000) version and was absolutely in love with it. I’m attempting The Quiet Family now.

Hopefully this goes away quickly…

Exte: Hair Extensions

imagesExte: Hair Extensions, 2007
(Ekusute)
Dir. Shion Sono
Starring: Chiaki Kuriyama, Megumi Sato, Tsugumi
4.1/5

I’ve always been drawn to horror films with peculiar concepts. On top of the classic horror greats like Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Mummy, I’ve witnessed killer tomatoes, crazy clowns, pothead zombies, cannibalistic deli owners, screaming skulls, psychotic dolls (not Chuckie)…so many to list. One of the most interesting, and by far my favorite, involves evil hair extensions.

The film follows two stories. The first is of Yuko, an independent aspiring hair stylist who lives with her friend. One day, her reckless sister Kiyomi leaves her young daughter, Mami, with Yuko. Yuko does her best to take care of Yuko, get rid of her sister, and earn a higher spot at Yuko’s salon.

The second story is the weirder one. Customs agents discover a lot of hair used for hair extensions in a trailer – as well as the dead body of a young girl who they believe was killed for organ harvesting. After she is turned over to the morgue, the night watchman, Yamazaki, develops a strange attraction to her body, which rapidly sprouts massive amounts of hair from all over her body. The two stories collide when Yamazaki begins selling the dead girl’s hair to local salons, as well as sees Mami and her beautiful hair.

So, it sounds freaky and morbid and all around ridiculous. However, there could not have been a better way to execute such a story line. I’ve seen with many bizarre “monsters” that an original idea is developed, but interpreting its true evil just doesn’t go over well. Although this film wasn’t terrifying, it was extremely well done and is far from being a B-grade film.

Favorite thing: Yamazaki’s character, although morbid, was a very intriguing, psychologically disturbed person. His infatuation with the dead girl is not only creepy, but hilarious at times.

Worst thing: The ending was too touchy-feeling considered all that happened in the film.

Should you watch it? Certainly. Even if you’re not a fan of horror, this isn’t very scary or graphic.

Aside

Really wishing there was a Vampire Lestat film when the Vampire Chronicles were being adapted into film. The book was good and deserved its own movie, not a tie-in with Queen of the Damned. I know they may remake it soon but it should have been when Tom Cruise was in his prime. 

Summer Interlude

h5dMRBSpoJVmCCtDEn9Ta7ClxkASummer Interlude, 1951
(Sommarlek)
dir. Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Maj-Britt Nilsson, Birger Malmsten, Alf Kjellin
3.6/5

I finally enjoyed a Bergman film.  I FINALLY ENJOYED AN INGMAR BERGMAN FILM! It’s a big deal for me. I think I said in a previous post that I’ve started several Bergman films, but they were completely lost on me. But this one was good! And it made sense! And I liked it!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a happy movie. The film follows Marie, a 28-year-old ballerina. One day, she receives a diary in the mail, which inspires her to travel to an island she had spent her summer vacations at. She then recollects the summer of Henrik, her first love fifteen years prior. The beauty and tragedy of their short-lived romance not only explains the wall she has built around herself, but gives her the means to help break it down.

Ignoring my excitement over this film being a Bergman, it actually was a very sweet story – actually, quite relatable. Like Marie, I’ve had relationships that affected me so deeply, I have trouble thinking that anybody could take the place of “boyfriend” again; but then, I learn the real success lies within using the past to help improve the future. I found the acting exquisite, and no part of the film seemed boring or bizarre-ly artsy.

Favorite thing: Nilsson’s beauty is quite unique – she pulled off being a 28-year-old as well as she did a 15-year-old. Perhaps makeup did her justice in one case or the other, but still very cool.

Worst thing: Marie’s creepy Uncle Erland. Uncles hitting on nieces just isn’t my thang.

Should you watch it? Yes. Especially if you are like me and don’t think directors of Bergman’s esteem interest you.

Follow Up: The Room screening

This morning, I got a bit of a surprise: an email from Greg Sestero! Apparently somebody forwarded him my post about The Room screening, in which I talked about how he seemed “moody” and “indifferent”.

I’d like to take back those statements and apologize for shedding a bad light on Greg. He seems to have just had an off day and was a little run down from all of the screenings with Tommy. Luckily my blog is still hilariously unpopular, so I don’t think it had a huge impact on his popularity.

Kudos to Greg for the email, and I sincerely hope that the next time I attend a screening that he and Tommy are at, I will catch him on a better day.

(No, I will not give you Greg’s email.)

Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero at The Room Screening!

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From left: Tommy, Greg, and the GM. I was a little far away.

Last night, I went to a screening of The Room, and Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero were visiting!

We got there about an hour early and were chatting with the general manager of the theater and some regulars of the screenings. We discussed how Tommy doesn’t get why people think his film is funny, as well as Greg’s upcoming book.

After about 20 minutes, Tommy and Greg walked through the front door and started saying hello to everyone! Well, at least Tommy did. You could tell from the start that Greg did not want to be there. Anyway, Tommy was shaking hands with everyone, and when he got to my friend Zach, something happened and Zach’s football dropped to the floor. Tommy immediately went after it and we ended up throwing the football around for a couple minutes with everyone there before setting up for the meet and greet.

Tommy was very friendly. He joked around a bit with everyone, and after each picture, gave people a moment to look at it and make sure they were happy with everything. For being such a weird guy, he really was pretty cool and not caught up in his “fame”. I concluded at the end of the night that Tommy knew The Room was a hit, but didn’t understand why people thought it was funny.

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My signed shirt.

Greg, on the other hand, was a bit moody. I think he knows the movie is bad and is getting sick of the screenings, getting made fun of, and Tommy’s ignorant bliss. He wasn’t sociable at all, stepped away a lot to look at his phone, and didn’t say much when anybody talked to him, even if it was serious. One girl just asked when the book was supposed to come out, and he just said “Sometime soon” and that was that.

I got three pictures with them. However, in two, some random guy was standing with us because Tommy thought we knew him. In the only good one, I have no pupils.

The Q&A before the film was a good time, but Tommy got inexplicably fed up with people about halfway through. Greg maintained his indifference. However, they did talk about an animated version of The Room, the next Wiseau/Sestero film entitled Foreclosure, and Tommy’s upcoming underwear line.

They left and didn’t stay for the screening, but it was still fun. Everyone in the audience was pretty cool, and having it be so interactive helped me see a lot of funny things I never did before (plus, some of the commentary was priceless).

If any screenings of The Room take place near you, I would recommend going, whether Tommy and Greg are there or not. The Room is quite the cult obsession, and attending one of these screenings really brings out the peculiar togetherness of that.

A Tale of Two Sisters

tale_of_two_sisters-poster2A Tale of Two Sisters, 2003
(Janghwa, Hongryeon)
dir. Jee-woon Kim
Starring: Kap-su Kim, Jung-ah Yum, Su-jeon Lim
2.8/5

I once had a roommate who was sort of as obsessed with film as I was – not necessarily the same types, but more of a master of the classics, if that makes sense. She never watched too many independent or low-key films on her own, but she was very fond of Asian horror. She always argued that they did horror better, that it was actually scary and there wasn’t as much sex, that it was better than most American-made horror films.

One of her favorites was A Tale of Two Sisters. After she watched it for the first time, she couldn’t shut up about it. Leaning towards the psychological thriller genre, the story focused on Su-mi and Su-yeon, two sisters who have just been released from a mental hospital. Tensions are high between the pair and their stepmother, and despite loving their father, he tends to be a little distant and ignorant to the girls’ woes. Things in their house begin going crazy as the tension grows, a ghost appears, and everything turns out to be anything but what it seems.

Maybe I didn’t like this film because my old roommate and I no longer speak. Maybe I didn’t like this film because I wasn’t paying attention due to being bored out of my mind. Maybe I didn’t like this film because after reading a synopsis to get a better grip of what happened, I found it rather overdone and predictable. This surprised me, because it seemed like the film had a lot of fan who gave it a mostly good rating. Still, in the long run, it was not scary, and the psychological aspect was more generic than thrilling.

Favorite thing: The stepmother’s character was interestingly twisted.

Worst thing: A lot can be done with a mental health film, and this story isn’t really original.

Should you watch it? Nah, you’re not missing much.