The Killing of America (1981)

The Killing of America
Director: Sheldon Renan, Leonard Schrader
Writer: Chieko Schrader, Leonard Schrader
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

“Plot”:
A documentary on violence in the United States of America, edited together from footage of actual (violent) crimes, shedding light on gun violence, racial violence, serial killers and the cults that surround them.

The resurfacing of The Killing of America does come at a rather poignant point in time. It feels like many parallels can be drawn between what we see on the screen in this documentary and what’s happening today. It’s interesting and depressing as hell to see how things really stay the same the more they change.

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Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin [Creepy] (2016)

Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writer: Chihiro Ikeda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Based on: Yutaka Maekawa’s novel
Cast: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Yûko TakeuchiTeruyuki Kagawa, Haruna Kawaguchi, Masahiro Higashide, Ryôko Fujino, Toru Baba, Takashi Sasano
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) used to work as a detective, but has given the field up for a teaching position. When he is pointed in the direction of an old case of a family’s disappearance, his curiosity is triggered and he starts to investigate, beginning with the family’s only remaining member, Saki (Haruna Kawaguchi). Meanwhile his wife Yasuko (Yûko Teakeuchi) is busy with their new house and their strange neighbor Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa) who is by turns stand-offish and disregarding of boundaries. Nishino’s daughter Mio (Ryôko Fujino) also behaves weirdly. But that’s only the beginning of the strangeness.

Creepy starts off well enough with a decent amount of tension and intrigue, but the further we get into the plot, the stupider it gets and the more it lost me and my attention or regard. In the end it becomes a film that is at its best when it’s laughed about afterwards.

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Kanashimi no Beradonna [Belladonna of Sadness] (1973)

Kanashimi no Beradonna
Director: Eiichi Yamamoto
Writer: Yoshiyuki Fukuda, Eiichi Yamamoto
Based on: Jules Michelet‘s book Satanism and Witchcraft
Cast: Aiko Nagayama, Katsuyuki Itô, Tatsuya Nakadai, Masaya Takahashi, Shigako Shimegi, Natsuka Yashiro, Masakane Yonekura
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Jeanne (Aiko Nagayama) and Jean (Katsuyuki Itô) just got married and are very much in love. But the Lord (Masaya Takahashi) who rules over their village has the right to the first night according to tradition – and he takes it and rapes Jeanne. After she returns to Jean, they try to forget what happened and start their life together. But Jeanne finds herself visited by a phallic demon (Tatsuya Nakadai) who urges her to take revenge.

Belladonna of Sadness is a beautiful film. Striking visuals, haunting music and a challenging story make it something really very special.

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Ballad in Blood (2016)

Ballad in Blood
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Writer: Ruggero Deodato, Jacopo Mazzuoli, Angelo Orlando
Based on: the murder of Meredith Kercher
Cast: Carlotta Morelli, Gabriele Rossi, Edward Williams, Roger Garth, Ernesto Mahieux, Noemi Smorra
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
After spending Halloween night partying, Lenka (Carlotta Morelli), Jacopo (Gabriele Rossi) and Duke (Edward Williams) wake up in Lenka’s apartment to find her roommate Elizabeth (Noemi Smorra). Still in a haze and barely able to piece together the events of the night before, the three of them try to figure out what happened.

Ballad in Blood was modelled after the Meredith Kercher murder, and then reworked so it was far enough from established facts that nobody would get sued. In a case like this one where everything has been unclear and sensationalized, this is already a problematic approach. It’s made worse by the fact that Deodato decided to go with the most misogynistic and sexist version of events possible.

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Ah-ga-ssi [The Handmaiden] (2016)

Ah-ga-ssi
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Seo-kyeong Jeong, Chan-wook Park
Based on: Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith
Cast: Min-hee Kim, Tae-ri Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Jo, Hae-suk Kim, So-ri Moon
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim) lives with her adoptive family who ply their trade as thieves and with various cons. When a regular collaborator with them, called Count Fujiwara (Jung-woo Ha), suggests a new con, Sook-Hee suddenly finds herself training to become a maid to the rich Hideko (Min-hee Kim), one of the Japanese occupiers in Korea. Hideko lives in a remote estate with her uncle Kouzuki (Jin-woong Jo), an avid book collector. The Count was a guest of theirs and saw the perfect opportunity: he would marry Hideko and then get rid of her, but keep her money. All he needs is a confidante who makes sure that Hideko makes the right decisions. And so Sook-Hee travels to the estate to make sure their plan goes off without a hitch.

I expected many things from the film, since I both loved the book it’s based on and Park’s Vengeance Trilogy and Stoker. Happily it all managed to keep up with my expectations. It’s a beautiful and gripping film.

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Mei ren yu [The Mermaid] (2016)

Mei ren yu
Director: Stephen Chow
Writer: Hing-Ka Chan, Stephen Chow, Chi Keung Fung, Miu-Kei Ho, Ivy KongSi-Cheun Lee, Zhengyu Lu, Kan-Cheung Tsang
Cast: Yun Lin, Chao Deng, Show Lo, Yuqi Zhang, Hark Tsui, Zhang Wen, Kris Wu
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Shan (Yun Lin) is a mermaid with a mission. She and her people have been all but entirely pushed out of the sea and the very last corner they can still call their own is now severely threatened by the rural developments led by Liu Xuan (Chao Deng). So Shan – as the best walker – is chosen to find Xuan and to assassinate him. But she is fascinated with life on the shore, and with Xuan himself and soon finds herself questioning her own loyalties.

I had laughed my ass off at both Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, so my expectations for Chow’s most recent outing as a director were quite high. I’m happy to say that Mei ren yu was one of the funniest, silliest film I have seen in a very long time. Every second of it is brilliantly entertaining, even if there’s a serious core message in the film as well.

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Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2016

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2016 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Ariane Louis-Seize Plouffe for her short Wild Skin.
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Reviews by cornholio.]

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Atmo HorroX (2016)

Atmo HorroX
Director: Pat Tremblay
Writer: Pat Tremblay
Cast: Roch Desrosiers, Syl Disjonk, Claude Dubé, Pawel Krol, Laurent Lecompte, Donald Lévesque, Martin Savard, Pat Tremblay
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2016

Plot:
[I usually make an effort to write my own plot description, but in this case, I just couldn’t. So here’s what imdb gives us.]
Through a surreal chase of spying, Catafuse (Laurent Lecompte), a dubiously dressed creature, hunts humans with the help of Molosstrap (Donald Lévesque). But in a world ruled by the pharma industry, reality become so complex, that the mastering of insanity might just be the only way out.

Atmo HorroX is its very own kind of animal and your mileage will vary wildly. I can imagine people thinking it genius as much as people thinking it’s utter trash. A little bit of both is probably true. My opinion, though, fell somewhere in the middle.

[Spoilers, maybe, possibly, I don’t know.]

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Spring Break Zombie Massacre (2016)

Spring Break Zombie Massacre
Director: Robert Carnevale
Writer: Sam Suchmann, Mattie Zufelt
Cast: Sam Suchmann, Mattie Zufelt, Madeline BrumbyAllison Maier, Johnny Collins, Paul ‘Pauly D’ DelVecchio
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Half-brothers Sam (Sam Suchmann) and Mattie (Mattie Zufelt) were born on the same day to different mothers. Their birth was marked by their huge powers – powers so great, the devil himself (Johnny Collins) came to claim them, but failed. 20 years later, Sam and Mattie are preparing to party through Spring Break when the devil shows up again with a horde of zombie minions to try once more to defeat the brothers.

Spring Break Zombie Massacre is a pure male wish-fulfillment fantasy made film, proving that men with Down syndrome have the same sexist fantasies as men without.

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HK: Hentai Kamen – Abnormal Crisis (2016)

HK: Hentai Kamen – Abnormal Crisis
Director: Yûichi Fukuda
Writer: Keishû Andô
Based on: Keishū Ando’s manga Kyūkyoku!! Hentai Kamen
Sequel to: Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero
Cast: Ryôhei Suzuki, Fumika Shimizu, Ken YasudaYûya Yagira, Narushi Ikeda, Nana Katase
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Kyosuke (Ryôhei Suzuki) is still wearing Aiko’s (Fumika Shimizu) panties to transform into Hentai Kamen. But he’s also still struggling with being a perverse superhero, as is Aiko who asks him for her panties back. Kyosuke agrees, although only very reluctantly. But it’s just at that moment when a new villain enters the scene who seems to be stealing all the panties in the entire city, leaving Kyosuke helpless.

Hentai Kamen 2 has some very funny bits too offer, but it does overstay its welcome ever so slightly. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to watch, though, especially in a cinema filled with people in a boisterous mood – which is how I saw it.

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