Leaving Las Vegas April 11, 2013Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Movie Drunks , add a comment
I can’t remember why I suddenly had an urge to watch this the other night. I have seen it a few times over the years and it still leaves me with the same feelings, it’s a great movie, Nic Cage’s acting is amazing and reminds me he did do other things before ‘Ghost Rider’. It is a deeply affecting story. Based on the semi autobiographical novel of the same name by John O’Brien who killed himself after selling the rights to the novel. There is a lot to this film and you definitely feel that while watching it. For me it brought back some memories, in particular, what an ex gf of mine told me after she watched it. Saying that the main character reminded her of me (no comment).
Our main character, Ben, goes to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. His Wife and Son are gone, he is not sure if they left him because of his drinking or if he started drinking after they were gone. He burns all his belongings, drives to Vegas, rents a Motel room and continues drinking. During the course of a nights drinking he has a chance encounter with a Prostitute, Sera, and after spending a night together talking and drinking a relationship starts to form between them.
Critics of the film say the story between the characters is unrealistic, that no prostitute would take a drunk off the street, that such a relationship can’t be formed. But I beg to differ. There are people who stick in bad relationships, hang around the wrong people and love those that suit them worst. Why is it different that a prostitute who is abused by her pimp and an alcoholic who has thrown his life away not find something in each other’s souls? They find in one another that person who doesn’t care about what they do but care about something deeper inside the soul.
This film hits me harder in the gut each time I see it. Not many films can do that on repeated viewings but this is one of them. It’s one of the best romantic movies around and it is one of the best ‘drunk’ movies to watch while drinking.
Favorite Quote: “Sera… what you don’t understand is - no, see, no. You can never, never ask me to stop drinking. Do you understand?” - Ben
Cyber City Oedo 808 February 12, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Animation, DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga, Best Ever , 1 comment so far
A favorite anime of mine which I first viewed in the early 90s late at night on the UK Channel 4 back when it used to show anime on weekends. Back then anime was still a bit of an underground cult, it wasn’t as accessible, an unknown among many people and had slightly more respect before the days of Pokemon.
It blew me away the first time I saw it. The animation style, the characters, the stories. It was dripping of Cyberpunk and opened up a new world of anime to me. Viewing Cyber City Oedo years later represents to me what I miss in Animation these days. The colors in animation today are dull, pale tone, the characters look less human, more otherworldly in appearance. Cyber City Oedo was colorful, vivid, the characters were designed closer to that of real people. The action was in your face. Less artistic and more like a real action film. It didn’t pander to a general audience. But I guess being an OVA film it can get away with that.
The story revolves around 3 criminals released from prison in the year 2808. They work for the special service section of the police catching other criminals in the attempt to reduce their own prison sentences which are into hundreds of years. To prevent them from escaping they each wear an explosive collar around their necks (oh yeah!) and if they fail their missions they’ll be feeling quite light headed after too. The first two episodes are of excellent quality. The third loses it’s way a bit in terms of story, animation quality and even the english dub seems a bit off. It’s a little closer to Kawajiri’s other offerings.
Part of it’s cult status is not just the animation and story but the UK dubbing which took some liberties with the dialogue, although in my own estimation it makes for some kick ass and at times hilarious lines such as..
“You wouldn’t recognize a goddamn vampire if one jumped up and bit you on the end of your fucking dick. So just get off my back.”
“Eat this dick splash!”
The UK voice cast delivers these lines with all the gusto they can muster and it wasn’t surprising to hear this kind of dialogue in dubbed anime back in the day. Added to that was a legendary soundtrack by Rory McFarlanes which forgoes the slightly generic Japanese anime theme of the 80s and replaces it with something suiting it’s Cyberpunk setting. Most fans seem to love it and would rather have that version on DVD than the original Japanese music.
The setting of the series is in a futuristic Oedo and the characters and setting reflected that. The stories are varied from People trapped in a Tower (ala Die Hard). Robots with Psychic powers (ummm..) and Vampires (vampires). There was a rich world of storytelling opened up in this SF Cyberpunk series but…. this is all we got. Just 3 episodes. I’m still as disappointed now as I was 20 years ago when no more episodes were broadcast.
In my opinion this is a MUST SEE animation that is still riding the cult status two decades on.
Favorite Quote:“You fuck this up and i’ll pop all your collars for sure.” - Hasagawa
Ring Ø:The Birthday January 14, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , add a comment
‘Ring 0′ リング0 バースデイ is in many ways the most unlike Ring film in the series. It hits scare points of ‘Ring’ and ‘Ring 2′ but it’s less terror and more tragedy. Here Sadako isn’t yet the monster we know from the previous films. Here she is a super sweet, cute girl that has a smile that could evaporate the ocean. Where was i… yes, the monster aspect is there somewhere but Ring 0 plays Sadako as more like Frankenstein’s Creature from the first Universal Frankenstein movie in 1931. Seeing the good Sadako being beaten to death by an angry acting troupe is like watching Frankenstein’s creation trapped in the Windmill being burnt down by an angry Mob who see him as nothing more than a monster.
It’s this innocent, misunderstood Sadako that makes this different to anything we’ve seen before. Even in the books she’s not this nice and has a seductive personality along with a few other “things” that make her very different to the Sadako here. Screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi does a good job of creating a new back story for Sadako that ties in with the supernatural side of Sadako he created with Ring and Ring 2. Yet he also incorporates the story ‘LemonHeart’ from Suzuki Koji’s novel ‘The Birthday’. Norio Tsuruta does an excellent job of putting it all together onscreen and it’s quite a visual feast of a film that is haunting in a dramatic way. Interesting to note that Norio Tsuruta was suggested by Hiroshi Takahashi as a possible director for Ring.
Why we have two Sadako’s isn’t really explained in the film. We do see some documents in professor Ikuma’s Home relating to it but nothing more is said. It seems to be some kind of Mitosis. The actual explanation is given in a prequel Manga released around the same time as the movie called “The curse of Yamamura Sadako”. In it, little Sadako’s stress over her mothers insanity causes her to split in two, one normal Sadako and one that looks like her father…
Nakama Yukie gives a fantastic performance as Sadako. Butter would not melt in her mouth, folks. Today she can often be seen on varity shows, dramas and TV commericals (sometimes wearing that White Sadako dress)
The best way to enjoy the film is to go into it fresh without any preconceived expectations of getting the same “it’s behind you” feeling that ‘Ring‘ and ‘Ring 2′ gave you. By the end of the film you are definitely on the side of Sadako and ready to be one of her shamblers.
Favorite Quote: “If I could be reborn, even though it violates the will of God himself, I would want to be at your side, with you. If it were all a dream when I awoke, if only you were there.
But the light of morning shows me as I really am.
Still, I want to say..
I love you. ” - Sadako Yamamura
Ring 2 January 6, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, J-Horror , add a comment
When I first watched ‘Ring 2′. 10 years ago… I really liked it. It wasn’t as good as ‘Ring’ but I thought it to be a very worthy successor to it and in many ways it was. It was the successful alternate sequel that ‘Rasen’ wasn’t. It kept the tone of the first film and expanded on it with some shit your pants scary scenes but suffers from dragged out scenes and filled with technobable that would make a Star Trek writer proud.
I’ve watched the film quite a few times but over the years I have also read the Novels the films were based on which have expanded the Ring World in my mind. Now, all these years later I start to see some glaring flaws with ‘Ring 2′. The impression I’m left with at the end is that it had a lot of scenes with people standing around looking stupid and then Mai (our heroine) faints. Really. The film consists largely of scenes like this. I was counting the seconds of characters standing there with dumb looks on their faces until the moment that Mai Takano played by Mai Nakatani faints. It seems like a mistake to replace heroine Reiko Asakawa played by Nanako Matsushima from the first film after her strong performance. In general Mai is not only physically weaker but a character with little background, all we really know about her is that she “worked” with Ryuji; Reiko’s ex husband and father of her Son Yoichi who seems to have been possessed by Sadako in some way.
It also starts to veer away dramatically from the source material. This was in part because of Rasen and how unsuccessful that was. Ring 2 has a new story separate from the spawn of Author Suzuki Koji’s original idea. Now characters seem to have developed Psychic powers. Powers that include telepathy, astral projection, some Akira type killing powers and communication with the dead. Yes, our character’s have become almost superhuman in some aspects and their powers are increasing fast over this sequel’s 92 minutes.
I like that the film attempts to keep some continuity of the financial failure sequel Rasen. It seems here too that Mai is on her period in this film too which might excuse her fainting every 5 f’ing seconds.
To avoid further confusion on which sequel is which and what is actually based on the book check out below.
Another thing that ‘Ring 2′ expands on is Sadako’s origins. Clearly Ring and Ring 2 have taken the Supernatural horror path and made her the Daughter of the Sea, we might even say daughter of ‘The Devil’ since the Sea is considered the Underworld in some religions. Sadako is Japan’s answer to Damien.
Sadako’s Uncle informs Mai that Hot Mom Shizuko gave birth to Sadako and then told her Brother that she had given Sadako to the sea, however the next day Shizuko returns with baby Sadako in her arms. This story is recounted in what appears to be a cave of Sai-no-Kawara (Children’s Limbo) at the moment that Mai questions whether Sadako is born from the sea there is a strong wind as if to answer her question.
‘Ring 2′ doesn’t end as dramatically as ‘Ring’, the scarier scenes take place earlier in the film with encounters of Sadako’s Mother Shizuko and a recently deceased (at the hands of Sadako) Schoolgirl Kane providing tense horror moments.
‘Ring 2′ also features dumb males once again in a J-Horror film. I had previously discussed this in my review of ‘Kairo’. Yes, all the men in this movie are complete idiots with 1st Prize going to reporter/cameraman Okazaki who lets a hot girl who is attracted to him die to save his own ass. In the end the girl Kanae returns to haunt him and some people have even suggested that any future sequels might have continued with Kanae as the ghost Villainess.
I watched this version of ‘Ring 2′ on the remastered DVD Tartan Box set released a few years back. The subtitles are good and make the plot far clearer than the original subtitles of the previous Tartan. Strangely though it brings back the Translation of “Frolic in the brine, Goblins be thine” line that was changed in the first film.
Favorite Quote: “That Boy isn’t Yoichi anymore.” - Granpa Asakawa
Doctor Who Series 7 part 1 October 15, 2012Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Time Travel , add a comment
Oh dear, this isn’t good. There has been a bit of a backlash from fans as to the quality of this series going from must see show of the week to maybe see sometime show just for the sake of it. I wouldn’t go that far myself but it has been so far the weakest first half of a series since it’s return in 2005.
So what went wrong.
There seems to be mixed feelings from fans as to how last years series 6 turned out with a long running arc dealing with River Song taking up a chunk of the series. I quite liked it for the most part but the vocal majority might have influenced the Moff this year with his plan to do Doctor Who episodes as complete stand alone episodes having the quality and story of a movie crammed into 45 minutes.
This is NOT what we got.
Asylum Of The Daleks
So a great way to start the season with the return of the Daleks and not just the most recent Daleks to appear but the Moff said they were bringing back EVERY Dalek model since the show started in the 1960s
This is NOT what we got.
I hardly saw any of the old models. None of them appeared as moveable characters onscreen, they were background filler covered in dust and cobwebs making them indistinguishable. As an episode that heavily promoted the return of ALL of the Daleks this aspect was a let down.
The good parts were that now Daleks of some kind can now look human, an interesting new development which striked terror into me and I felt the Daleks overall were scary this time. Skaro was cool too.
Unexpectedly the Doctor’s future companion shows up in this. I did not like her one bit. Witty genius has been done. As has the “Rory and Amy have an argument” thing…
As has this damn “Doctor Who?” stuff. OK we did this cliche years ago yet it keeps cropping up frequently in episodes throughout series 6 and 7.
This episode was not the most inventive Dalek story and I expected a little more from the life long Doctor Who fan Moff on this.
Dinosaurs On A Spaceship
Such a fun concept that couldn’t even keep me awake through my tiredness. There seemed to be an effort to make the episode more exciting than it actually was. A Kiddish episode that ends with the Doctor letting someone die as payback.
A Town Called Mercy
The Doctor acts weird in this episode as we see him waving a gun around. Are we dealing with a post ponds Doctor?Meaning this is a Doctor meeting the Ponds before their eventual fate which he is aware of? Or is it a prelude to the Valeyard.
The good thing I liked was the brief talky moments where the Doctor is compared to the Villain and that when self righteousness is brushed aside the dark deeds of the Doctor aren’t so dissimilar.
The Power Of Three
A nice episode with Doctor spending time on Earth with the Ponds. Would have liked to have seen more funny Doctor on Earth moments.
The Angels Take Manhattan
As a Weeping Angel episode this was fairly weak and the “don’t blink” rule isn’t in full force in my opinion as they are able to escape the angels far too easily. The focus is mostly the end of the Ponds and perhaps it was wrong to include the Weeping Angels in an episode where the main focus wasn’t on them. I mean putting the Angels in it already gives people a good guess as to how Rory and Amy will buy the farm.
As for the time travel inconsistencies, well, jesus……here we go…
So in the end Amy and Rory are trapped in the past. I believe 1938. The Doctor says he can never go to 1938. Then can’t he go to 1939?
The Doctor sees their Gravestone. No date on it except their age at their death. The Doctor says that this is a “fixed point” that is unchangeable in time.
Pretty F’ing useless having a time machine then!
I jest of course…
Hasn’t the Doctor watched Bill and Ted? He could have gone back in time and put that gravestone there himself. If Amy’s name can appear on it, the Doctor could surely make it disappear. Do a ‘Back to the Future’ on it and it’s erased. The magic headstone tells me Rory and Amy weren’t originally part of that timeline so where’s the paradox? It’s not like Rose’s Dad. It’s not a fixed point. They aren’t living in their own timeline, they weren’t originally part of those Historical events. Even consider the Butterfly effect (time ripple) of having two people from 2012 (2021?) living in 1938 who never should have been there to begin with. The consequences could be catastrophic.
After all this we still don’t know why the Doctor uses Guns now and kills people.
A weak start to series 7 and it’s been a really off year. This is the blandest series yet. I’m still watching though. I still believe in the Moff.
Favorite Quote: “I’m not running away from things. I’m running to them before they flare and fade forever.” - The Doctor
Elementary September 27, 2012Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Sherlock Holmes , add a comment
The two thousandth three hundredth and second incarnation of Sherlcok Holmes (i guess) to be made.
This is a well made pilot for a detective series. I think that this could be called almost anything and feature any character. It doesn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes but it being Sherlock Holmes once more is the hook for moi. What I’m trying to say is that these characters aren’t Holmesian and Watsonian enough to make me think this is Sherlock Holmes. Greg House felt more like a Sherlock Holmes character than Jonny Lee Millers. And the other most recent offering with BBC’s Sherlock really is the closest to the character of Holmes in recent years.
Regardless of the above this is a series I would still tune into each week if they can keep up this level of story telling and I’m interested to see where these character’s will be taken. Lucy Liu’s Joan Watson is a Watson that can stand up a little better to Holmes and is able to wound him far easier than the others it seems, maybe because she’s a woman. Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock is a little bit too apologetic and dare I say, normal. At this stage in Holmes’s life he is already off the drugs having just come out of rehab. He is shown to be keeping Bees on his roof. Something which he didn’t do until retirement in the books. The dialogue is a little bland and it’s not as sharp as witty as it needs to be for a character who can be a bit of an unlikable asshole.
Best of all it doesn’t step on the toes of BBC’s Sherlock and we can all rest easy. Many had thought that this American series might try to rip off what the BBC did and had even tried to get Steven Moffat involved in the production of the series. Another interesting thing was that Jonny Lee Miller had recently starred in the stage play of ‘Frankenstein’ with Benedict Cumberbatch with both actors swapping roles for the creature and Dr. Frankenstein on different nights. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think that the producers of Elementary saw this and thought to capitalize on it’s popularity and the connection to Cumberbatch.
Favorite Quote: “Do you believe in love at first sight? The World must be a cynical place and I must be a cynical man thinking a woman like you would fall for a line like that. The thing is, I have never loved anyone as I do you, right now.” - Sherlock Holmes
Star Trek Enterprise Season 4 September 8, 2012Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Time Travel , add a comment
Season 4 would be the last series of Star Trek Enterprise and so far the last of the franchise. Things were already looking pretty grim for the series ratings wise and it was looking touch and go for a while whether or not the series would even get a season 4. However the odds were a little more in favor for season 4 as it would bring the episode count up to 98 close enough to 100 to put the series into syndication.The show was moved to Friday nights in the US much like the original series was in it’s 3rd season. A position where it’s ratings had little chance of increasing.
B&B seeing blood in the water took a back seat to production and Manny Coto took lead of the series. His plan was to produce mini episode arcs that spanned 2-3 episodes each. This would save cost on production and would represent a mini movie within the series. He being a big fan of Star Trek tried to fix the continuity issues of the series and brought in writers such as Judith and Garfield Reeves Stevens to write some episodes of Star Trek.
Season 4 starts awkwardly leaving Manny Coto in a bit of a hole he needed to Dig himself out of. Space Nazis! The whole Temporal Cold War storyline up until this point had been a complete mess and the two part episode ‘Storm Front’ did little to change that fact.
The in episode continuity even makes a bigger mess of it. Reed mentions that Vosk must be stopped from starting the Temporal Cold War. What? Nobody said that. Did he mean the “time war”? Somehow Vosk’s future actions are what cause the mess to begin with and I can’t be bothered trying to explain this. It makes no sense, really and truly. A pretty poor start to series 4.
Brent Spiner returned to Star Trek as Arik Soong. As a bit of a ratings booster and probably as a favor to producer Brannon Braga whom he would shortly work with on a new sci-fi series (that got cancelled).
For all the good season 4 did something about it seemed a little off early on. I don’t know if it was the 3 episode story arc or the lower budget but I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly was wrong. It was lacking some bit of intensity that the previous seasons had. Take the Augments arc. The main villains are pretty much a bunch of models with grunge type clothing, they had no screen presence. Of course at this stage I was being completely awed by Battlestar Galactica.
Things got awesome for Enterprise with the Vulcan Arc though and suddenly I felt like I was watching the Star Trek series I had wanted to see. The first episode of the Arc was written by the Reeves Stevens and they blew it out of the water. CBS, put these magnificent writers in charge of the next series and your pockets will never be empty.
Some puzzling things. Where did the Trip/T’pol relationship spring from? I know they had a bit of a fling in season 3 but come season 4 there seems to be some kind of relationship that we didn’t see form clearly. Unless we consider the one night stand in season 3 to be an actual relationship development.
The return of the Romulans was done so well, first in the Vulcan arc and then in the Coalition Arc. It’s quite an impressive idea to use Warbirds outfitted as Drone ships to attack others vessels and a nice way of planting the seeds for the unseen Romulan War. We also get the first hints of the Federation with a coalition of different Alien species as a response to the Romulan threat.
‘In a Mirror Darkly’ was a fun episode and was a bit on the fannish side, as some people might call fan wank. But never the less it was fun. Watching it by myself I thought it was just ok but watching it again about two years later in Tokyo with a few drinking buddies at a guest house it became a lot more enjoyable as the two other guys had no idea what was going on but loved all the twists and even shouting “yay Enterprise!” when the constitution class Defiant came on screen.
The final two episode worked on by Manny Coto and his crew was the Terra Prime two parter that was seen as the last hurdle humanity had to overcome, themselves. It would have been a perfect way to end the series but instead we got….
“These are the Voyages….” The final episode of Star Trek Enterprise written by B&B who called this a “Valentines to the fans”. The fans called it “a kick in the balls and a slap in the face”.
If we had ever gotten a Season 5 would would have seen such stories as the Borg Queen Origin, The Romulans as major villains, the return to the Temporal Cold War, Shran joining the crew of the Enterprise, The Kzinti, the first starbase, the return to the mirror universe and a possible crossover episode with Doctor Who! Bugger we missed that!
Favorite Quote: “Up until about a hundred years ago, there was one question that burned in every Human, that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them. Are we alone? Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers driven to know what’s over the horizon, what’s beyond our own shores. And yet the more I’ve experienced, the more I’ve learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They’re within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other. A final frontier begins in this hall. Let’s explore it together.” - Captain Jonathan Archer
The Ring Virus June 20, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , add a comment
A more interesting attempt at a remake of Ring that combines elements of the original Japanese movie and the novel it was based on with some incest thrown in for good measure!
The film starts off “well” with a young girl doing some stretching on her bed. But after she dies in the first 5 minutes the rest of the film gets less interesting (except for the incest thing). The problem is that it’s just without any momentum and starts to drag it’s feet from early on.
I didn’t really feel these characters actually thought they were going to die within seven days. They handle their investigation pretty calmly only smashing a glass vase in a moment of anger. There is little onscreen chemistry. The male character Choi Yeol, based on Ryuji is closer to the novels and is pretty much a prick who sees the whole thing as a game. I felt the character lacked sympathy and didn’t have anything to lose which made him pointless. Closer to the novel is good, but the novel’s character is so much more of a prick that he is an interesting one. This guy in the film is just a jerk asking a woman when was the last time she got laid. Less intelligent and more morbid.
The Sadako character Eun-Suh is a bit of a babe. However it’s not advised to spy on her in the shower because this character is closer to the Novel version of Sadako, the reason being that she is a hermaphrodite, meaning she has male and female genitalia.The beginning of the film alludes to this with the discussion of Zeus cutting people in half making them male and female when they had once been both. Eun-Suh represents perfection as Choi Yeol puts it near the end of the film and this plot point is a crucial key to the origin of the Virus.
The only thing that is unique to this story is the incest where Eun-Suh’s half brother attacks her and throws her down the Well. Unfortunately this new twist isn’t really explored and I question the necessity of making her killer her half brother.
The problem with ‘The Ring Virus’ (링 바이러스) is that it’s not sure what it wants to be, straight out horror or science fiction mystery. By not being one or the other it just gets lost within the story and becomes something routine thanks to the added acting skills of the cast. There’s not much going for it. There’s nothing that stands out and takes a punch at the audience as ‘Ring’ did. There is only replication of the simplest form and done in a less frighting way.
Favorite Quote: “Just as light and darkness existed as one before the big bang, man and woman probably co-existed as one. A perfect combination of strength and beauty. But she was the target of ridicule in her life.” - Choi Yeol
The Ring June 18, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, J-Horror , 2 comments
Before you die, you see the Ring. Quite literally in this American remake where they whack you over the head with the image of the title. An image of a Ring, because been subtle would be just silly when you need to explain everything clearly.
I question the necessity of ‘The Ring’. Except to rip off the original and make more money than it. Of course we continue to see examples like this today with close remakes of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, ‘The Grudge’, ‘Dark Water’ etc etc.
The reason seems to be partly because English speaking Audiences are less conditioned to watch foreign language films where they have to read the subtitles to know what’s going on. I realize not everyone is in the same boat and statistics are a bit blurred on this when the foreign distributors of the original film don’t show it in enough cinemas for people to watch and instead have it remade to get the ka-ching!
‘The Ring’ isn’t a bad movie. It just sucks out all the atmosphere and tension the original had and sticks in CGI effects and movie make up to make the horror more “real”, because having everything look normal would be unrealistic. Yes, I’m being facetious….
It just ticks me off that the Director Gore Verbinski of ‘The Pirate of the Caribbean’ movies would be so damn lazy and play it safe by copying the original Japanese film almost ‘Ring’ scene for scene. (Call it Ringu and i’ll send Sadako after ya). He even takes some scenes from Hideo Nakata’s other film ‘Dark Water’ using elements of that as part of Samara’s machinations.
The kid in this, Aiden is too much of a rip on the kid in the ‘Sixth Sense’. Rather than just being like, you know, a normal boy, he is a creepy little kid with knowledge of Samara and her ways. I can see this working better for an adult character but the film is already about a creepy little girl who kills people with her video tape. We don’t need a creepy boy also.
What I really like about this movie is the score by Hans Zimmer, the majority of the theme revolves around a little song Samara sings near the end. It’s a chilling piece that sticks with you longer than the visuals.
The Ring TwO
Didn’t do as well as the original but I always find that sequels to the first Ring movies are difficult. In the original you have that 7 day countdown giving momentum followed by that twist ending that scares you pant less. That’s a hard act to follow unless you’re gonna be really creative.
In the Ring TwO Samara seems to be out in full force having been released from the Well by Rachel in the previous movie. Samara’s attention turns to Rachel’s son Aiden as she slowly starts to possess him.
They brought in Hideo Nakata to do the remake. Pretty smart move I thought. He is the one who made ‘Ring’ scary and letting him lose with an American budget was fun. He does go a little too CGI for my tastes and there are parts of the film that drag in places. But I still find it to be quite scary in places and it is at the very least, original.
It is somewhat confusing as to when Aiden is under Samara’s possession and when exactly he was taken over by her. The film seems to be more of a series of scenes developed first with the story tying them together after.
I found Samara to be more frightening in this film. Firstly she is bigger in some scenes and also has the Sadako screeching sound effect which reminds me of the originals in a scary way. In ‘The Ring TwO’ she is played by Kelly Stables. In ‘Ring’ she was played by Daveigh Chase and only her image is used in some scenes here where her face is CGIed in which didn’t look great. While Samara in Ring TwO is full on Well Mode I rather liked Chase’s portrayal of Samara pre-Well, you sense there’s an unnatural power and she’s not all that sweet to begin with.
Samara’s origin seems to be related to the Sea too like that in the Japanese sequel ‘Ring 2′. She is the daughter of the sea/underworld like a female version of ‘The Omen’.
Interesting to note that Suzuki Koji wanted to script ‘The Ring 3′ which would include elements of ‘Spiral’ in the story making it more scientific as Suzuki himself has said he never considered the Ring story to be Horror.
Favorite Quote: “I’m not your fucking Mommy!!!” - Rachel
Ring June 15, 2012Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror, Best Ever , add a comment
Upon it’s release in Japan in the summer of 1998 ‘Ring’ became an instant success, it was followed by two sequels with alternate stories, a prequel and was remade as ‘The Ring’ in the US and ‘The Ring Virus’ in Korea.
In ‘Ring’ (リング) female reporter Asakawa Reiko discovers that her niece and friends have mysteriously died after watching a video tape they found in a log cabin in Hakone. After setting out to investigate she too becomes caught up in events, becoming cursed herself and with a 7 day deadline she has to resolve it’s mystery in the hope of breaking it.
‘Ring’ takes a familiar curse idea: the chain letter. Unless you send the letter on to other people you’ll have bad luck. The video tape is the ultimate chain letter, killing those that don’t copy and send it on after 7 days. The execution of the curse in the film ‘Ring’ is sheer genius. Using the Television as the device through which those cursed are killed by. Every home has a TV set and usually in more than one room. It’s an inescapable reality and once you’ve watched the film ‘Ring’ yourself you can never look at a TV in the same way again. Surely you won’t turn your back on it at least because in your mind you too wonder if you have been cursed after watching the film. Who didn’t secretly count down the 7 days after watching ‘Ring’ and breath a sigh of relief when they passed them without event? I’ve heard stories of people who placed table cloths over their Television sets after watching the movie so as to protect themselves.
The movie is based on the equally excellent Novel “Ring” by Koji Suzuki. The movie follows the Book’s plot very closely except for the change of the main character Asakawa to a female lead, as is the norm with most J-Horror movies. The overall Tone of the film is changed too. You can still feel a “presence” in the background of both the Movie and Novel however the movie introduces a supernatural aspect to the curse where as the Books take a more scientific/realistic approach grounding the Virus (curse in the movie) to the real world. The supernatural quality works unsurprisingly well for the movie and the imagery dreamt up by it’s Director Hideo Nakata is, as I said above, genius.
When they made Ring they also made at the same time a film called ‘Rasen’ (English title ‘Spiral’), also based on the sequel Novel of the same name. The problem with Rasen is that it loses all the tension, all the psychological horror of it’s predecessor, replaces it with gore and becomes a straight forward mystery from then on. In ‘Rasen’ we are introduced to a new character Mitsuo Ando a former friend of Ryuji Takayama. Upon doing an autopsy of his friend he is brought into the events surrounding the cursed tape, with Ryuji’s ex wife and son missing and later found dead it is up to Ando to discover why they died.
That problem with ‘Rasen’/'Spiral’ seems to be a lack of communication. One director decided to be creative, the other did a more straight forward adaptation of the novel. They decided to go their own ways. The tone and atmosphere of each movie is completely different. ‘Ring’ is Horror, ‘Rasen’ at best a mystery and Horror lite. In ‘Ring’ we have the chain letter curse, in ‘Rasen’ it’s the self replicating Virus. ‘Rasen’ also relies on the gore aspect a little bit too much, for example Ryuji’s autopsy at the beginning which was unnecessarily graphic. ‘Ring’ was all about not showing things and letting the audience use it’s imagination. ‘Rasen’ leaves little to the imagination. It isn’t a bad film. But up against it’s predecessor it’s hopeless, it’s not the sequel people would expect after going into see Ring. In ‘Ring’ Sadako is a queer walking pus eyed monster, in Rasen she’s a sexy, hot, perverted ghost who licks your face. Now I’m not complaining about hot Ghost chicks that lick faces, but sexy ain’t scary. However, credit can be given to the fact that the characterization of Sadako matches the novel more so as that of a seducing temptress. When both films were released in Japanese cinemas Audiences went to see ‘Ring’ but skipped ‘Rasen’ which lead to an alternate sequel ‘Ring 2′ being released a year later, the movie would tie in closer with the first film.
The first time I watched ‘Ring’ was on UK channel Film Four in 2001. The most recent viewing of the film was on the Tartan DVD box set which has updated the subtitles. While it’s a nice transfer and all the subtitles are a bit too perfect a translation and leave a lot of the “flavour” of the original out. Take this line for example
“Frolic in brine, goblins be thine.”
Which is now
“If you keep doing SHOUMON, BOUKON will come.”
What the Fudge?! How could they mess that up. They screwed a great line.
Ring is what started the J-Horror wave, it changed the Horror film industry and introduced a new element into it that remains until this day. It’s why I see the film as being so significant. It also scared the hell out of me like no other film did and planted Sadako in my mind forever leaving me psychologically scarred. Yay!
Favorite Quote: “This kind of thing… it doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own.” - Ryuji Takayama