Archive for Film

Cult Scenes: Shogun Assassin

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2009 by themoviecult

Here is the introduction to Shogun Assassin – the 1980 Japanese film about a lone wolf and his cub, directed by Robert Houston:

This is an efficient opening, because in such a short ammount of time, the major characters and the dilema are established. Also, because it is beautifully shot and well written (as is the rest of the movie).

Rap fans may notice the child’s voiceover sounds familiar. GZA/Genius, a notable fan of classic Japanese Martial Arts Films, based his 2002 album, Liquid Swords, around Shogun Assassin. Much of the dialogue and voiceover is sampled and used.

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Amazing Movies You must Watch #3

Posted in Amazing Movies that you Must Watch with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by themoviecult

Once Upon a Time in America is spaghetti western director Sergio Leone’s last film. It’s a crime drama with coverage of the lives of several characters from the early 1920’s to the late 1960’s. Epic, indeed.

In Once Upon a Time in America, David “Noodles” Aaronson is the ringleader of a small band of tightly knit criminals. In their youth, they start by rolling drunks, and during prohibition, their operation evolves to bootlegging moonshine.

At the beginning of the film, Noodles is nowhere to be seen. The gangsters are going through his friends, torturing and murdering; Trying to find him. Something has gone horribly wrong. Noodles’ associates are dead. His friends and family are dead. He is on the run. His only option is to flea from New York.

At this point, Noodles’ past is revealed through flashbacks. We watch him as a streetsmart child, losing his innocence. Many complex, well-written characters are introduced. The storyline progresses, until Leone takes us back to that horrible mistake.

Noodles later returns to New York as an old man, one of the only few characters to have survived – albeit in a boring life where he has survived by, “going to sleep early”. He haunts the town, alone, like a ghost, going back over every detail. He tries to figure out the mystery: Why has he been called back into town?

There’s so much to the plot. So many layers and themes. So many story arcs, involving the aforementioned colourful characters. There’s a redeeming factor for almost all of the characters – so even those crazy types that need to identify with characters to enjoy movies will enjoy Once Upon a Time in America. The acting is almost perfect. Leone hired the big hitters – De Niro, Woods, Pecsi – and even some great lesser known character actors.

It is a masterpiece, because Leone was in love with the novel which his script was faithfully based upon – The Hoods by real life mobster, Harry Grey. Leone turned down an offer by Paramount Studios to direct the Godfather to focus on planning the project.

It all worked out, because the last film to Sergio Leone’s name, Once Upon a Time in America, is a masterpiece.

The Joke #1: Zombie Honeymoon

Posted in The Joke with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2008 by themoviecult

ZOMBIE HONEYMOON!

The subject of the first edition in The Joke segment is David Gebroe’s 2004 straight-to-dvd release, Zombie Honeymoon. The romantic horror is more than just a (terrible) movie, because it provides a  framework through which the viewer can measure their real life relationships.

The film asks that important, eternal question: Can love shine through zombification? Take a moment to ponder this, while you watch the trailer. Think about your girlfriend, or your boyfriend; husband or wife. If you need to, think about one of your parents. Would you stay with them if they became a zombie? Would you cover for them if you stumbled into a feeding session in the bathroom? If they were picking your mutual friends off, one by one, would your love endure?

These are the questions that the protagonist, Denise (no surname specified) must ask when she witnesses the man that she married a few days prior, Danny (no surname specified), die for minutes, and then arise as a Zombie.

Zombie Honeymoon is by no means consistent with conventional zombie lore. A few differences between Zombie Honeymoon and other zombie movies are notable. For one, in Zombie Honeymoon, a zombie may make a human a zombie by vomiting into their mouth. Also, the process of turning into a zombie may take up to a week, and for most of that time, a zombie is in full use of it’s mental functions.

There’s more! Bad acting, bad writing and horrible dialogue have aligned like the planets to present a rare hub of stupidity. Be sure to check Zombie Honeymoon out.

Cult Horror – an Introduction

Posted in Cult Horror with tags , , , , , , on August 6, 2008 by themoviecult

It is hard not to love horror movies.

They touch on the macabre; speculate on the unknown; present horrible monsters. They inspire nightmares; bring chills. They’re the reason to sleep with the lights on. They’re subtle and grate away gradually or they’re over the top – bucket’s of blood and all.

Fads and genres in movies come and go, but horror has been steadily popular for a long time now. We identify with the situations horror movies present because we fear death. We fear corruption – both physically and spiritually. We fear for the safety of our family and friends. We fear the unknown origin of creepy sounds. We fear having to face danger alone.

Great things can be done with horror in the right circumstances. If a horror movie identifies what we’re most scared of, establishes that anything can happen at any second, and then paces itself correctly, it is bound for greatness.

This segment is for exploring great horror, and touching on the bad. In a series of articles and reviews over the coming weeks and months (interspersed with regular programming), classic and modern horror will be analysed, and ideas will be investigated.

To get the ball rolling – what is your favourite horror movie? What has managed to scare you senseless?

Ahead of the Pack #1

Posted in Ahead of the Pack with tags , , , , , , , on July 22, 2008 by themoviecult

Superbad follows three friends over the course of one day at high school. They are invited to a small party by some ladies, and offer to get them some booze with a fake id. Things don’t go to plan, and they end up on a crazy adventure into the night – evading policemen, and trying to find alcohol.

Ask some of your friends whether they like Superbad. If they say no, chances are that they didn’t drink in high school. They can’t relate to the movie because they can’t understand the characters and the situations – they’ve never been scared shitless and underage in a liquor store, and they’ve never gone for one of those long, adventurous drunken walks. Superbad is a memory, a kickback to your high school days, when you were less mature, and your priorities were different. If you liked Superbad, it is probably because the main characters in the movie are similar to your high school friends, or at least people you knew around the schoolyard. Same interests, same sense of humour, same preoccupations.

There’s no relating to the main characters in many other teen movies. They’re mostly unrealistic and take themselves far too seriously. Many teen movies define the characters as nerds, or jocks, and leave no area for complexity and evolution.

The high school experience that the films portray is also wildly different from the typical high school experience. Aspects are warped and exaggerated to make the films more appealing, or to allow the themes to fit in. Most teen movie screenwriters also don’t seem to understand that love and the daily routine of life during teenage translate to trivial, boring films. Portrayal of teen angst is annoying, yet it seems to be the cornerstone of the genre. The screenwriters have tried to find a unique vantage point for teen movies, but have failed miserably.

Of course, this is generalisation. Some teen movies are heavy in one of the err departments, and light in others. At any rate, in terms of characters, realism, and humour, Superbad is superb, much better than the rest of the market.

Cult Scenes #2

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2008 by themoviecult

The Devil\'s Advocate

The Movie
The Devil’s Advocate – Taylor Hackford’s 1997 adaptation of Andrew Neiderman’s novel; a tale of Good Vs Evil. Well-written, with the dialogue and camera angles almost completely tailored to the themes of the movie, including many little extra touches; enough to make re-watching enjoyable.

The Context
Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is a criminal defendant from Florida that never looses – even when he is representing a guilty party. He has been invited to work for a big law firm in New York because of his perfect record.

He has just won his first case with the firm – defending a man named Moyez, who was ritualistically sacrificing a goat. In the street, he talks to the head of the law firm, John Milton (Al Pacino). Kevin has no clue yet that his boss is Satan and he wants Kevin’s soul.

Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) and John Milton (Al Pacino)

Scene (Warning: Language)

EXT. CANAL STREET (CHINATOWN) – DAY

Milton (Al Pacino) and Kevin (Keanu Reeves) are standing at a food stall. Milton pays for Kevin’s food.

MILTON
Best street food in the world.
Try that. Tell me it isn’t great.
(as Kevin eats)
New York. What a scene, right?
Guy like Moyez living in that
subterranean shithole all the
time he’s running around with
fifteen million dollars in the
bank.

KEVIN
You gotta be kidding.

MILTON
What do you think? We’re giving
you away? He’s paying us in
goat’s blood? I’m billing you
out at four-hundred an hour, my
friend. I don’t see a whole lot
of pro bono work in your
immediate future.
(buzzing here)
Seriously, what I like, you got in
there with him. Inside the cage.
That’s instinct. Can’t be taught.
You gotta hear that on your own.
It’s gotta be in your blood. It’s
molecular. I bet I’ve got five
thousand lawyers working around
the planet. I couldn’t name
ten — couldn’t name three —
I’d trust with Moyez.

KEVIN
So what the hell are they doing?

MILTON
What are they doing? They’re
corporate lawyers, what do
you think they’re doing? They’re
busy reducing life and death to
the proper position of a semi-
colon. They’re doing needlepoint.
Push button battles. Push button
wars. Armies that get so fucking
far away from each other they
need satellites to tell them
who won. No pain. No sound.
No smell. One big, multinational
circle jerk. You, on the other
hand, you’re on the slaughterhouse
floor. You can’t help but smell
your clients.

KEVIN
I figure you came to court to
make sure I didn’t fuck this up.

MILTON
Maybe I did. But don’t get too
cocky. No matter how good you
are. Don’t let them see you
coming. That’s the gaff, my
friend — make yourself small.
Be the hick. The cripple. The
nerd. The leper. The shit-
kicking surfer. Look at me —
I’ve been underestimated from
day one. Do I look like a
master of the universe? That’s
your only weakness as far as I
can tell.

KEVIN
What’s that?

MILTON
The look. The Florida stud thing.
‘Scuse me, ma’am, did I leave my
boots under your bed?’

KEVIN
Never worked a jury didn’t have a
woman.

MILTON
You know what you’re missing?
What I have? This beautiful girl
she’s just fucked me every way
she knows how — we’re done —
she’s walking to the bathroom —
she turns — she looks —
It’s me. Not the trojan army that
just fucked her. Little old me
And she gets a look on her face,
like “How’d that just happen?”
Right there, from that moment on,
she’s got a secret. I’m the hand
up Mona Lisa’s skirt. I’m the
whisper in Nefertitti’s ear.
I’m a surprise. They never see
me coming. That’s what you’re
missing.

Milton and Kevin depart from the stall.

(This is just one of the many great monologues from John Milton in the film. If you’ve seen the film, or don’t care about spoilers, you can watch the final monologue, here – Warning: Language.)

Amazing Movies You Must Watch #2

Posted in Amazing Movies that you Must Watch with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by themoviecult

Sex, Lies, and Video  Tape

Sex, Lies, and Videotape is an explicit drama about the sex lives of four people, released in 1989.  Written and directed by the sometimes amazing Steven Soderbergh, and starring great character actors in the main roles, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, is a great example of independent cinema.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape has a complex, character-driven plot.  It starts with John Mullany (Peter Gallagher) and his wife, Anne Bishop Mullany (Andie MacDowell), who are living in a weak, loveless relationship.  Anne is sexually repressed, and John is having an affair with her sister, Cynthia Patrice Bishop (Laura San Giacomo).  John’s old friend, Graham Dalton (James Spader), is back in town and comes to stay with the couple.  Right away, he seems unusual.  Graham learns about all of the characters, but as hard as he tries, he is unable to keep from revealing himself to them.

Graham and Anne

There’s more to it, and it’s all about Graham’s unusual sexual fetish – but summarising it here would spoil a lot of the fun and enjoyment Sex, Lies, and Videotape has to offer.  It is near impossible to guess what may happen next in Sex, Lies, and Videotape – Soderbergh’s script keeps its twists close to its chest.  The ending of the movie, itself, is as satisfying as the brilliant build-up deserves.
 
The writing in Sex, Lies, and Videotape is superb.  The realistic dialogue is almost perfectly unique to each character, and used to help track their growth.  While the love triangle aspect of the film’s writing had happened in many movies before (and has in many since), Graham’s character is amazingly fresh.  His peculiarity makes for an explosive catalyst to the story.

Cynthia

Do see this film if you get the chance to, because it is an amazing display of writing, acting, and directing coming together to great something brilliant.