Friday, March 25, 2011

Movie Review: Sucker Punch

We couldn't be further apart...

Rotten Tomatoes give Sucker Punch a dismal 20% rating. However, I think it's one of the Best Movies of the Year.

Today was also my first introduction to Ultra AVX (Audio Video Experience), the rival to IMAX that has just arrived in Canada. Naturally, you pay more for Ultra AVX, $3 more. It's not quite as expensive as IMAX, but I can tell you that, as a Cheap Bastard, I won't be paying for Ultra AVX very often.

The screen is almost as big as IMAX -- wider but not as tall. The Ultra AVX theatre has only reserved seating -- wide, rocker seating. Incredibly comfortable. I selected seat F17, which was just about ideal, although I did have to crane my neck a little bit. To avoid that, you'd have to sit further back, but then the screen wouldn't fill your vision as much.

(Note: Because of reserved seating, I advise you to get to the theatre early. Today, it didn't matter because the theatre was 90% empty.)

As soon as the commercials started playing, I knew I was in for a remarkable cinematic experience. The picture was crisp and sharp and highly detailed. The sound was thunderous, but the bass was tight, not sloppy. The sound stage was excellent. And these were just the ads!

The story is about a young girl -- let's call her Baby Doll -- who is institutionalized in an insane asylum. She has a plan to escape, but she needs the help of her fellow inmates: Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie, and Amber. In order to get through her dark experience in the asylum, Baby Doll also has to escape from her mind into fantasy. It is in this fantasy realm that director Zack Synder, who brought you 300 and Watchmen, treats us to spectacular and stunning visuals, the likes of which I have not seen before.

The film reminds me of Inception, with delusions within a delusion. And these delusions are truly wonderful. Great action and fight sequences. Very imaginative art direction. And the girl soldiers are sexy as hell. (You can bet I'll be going to bed tonight with Baby Doll on my mind...)

Zack Snyder's next film is Superman: Man of Steel (2012), and based on his three successes (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch) I can hardly wait!

In conclusion, Ultra AVX is terrific. I'd say it's as good as IMAX. But because of the cost, I'd reserve Ultra AVX for special movies, movies that promise spectacular visuals and sound.

Sucker Punch is a fabulous movie. I will definitely get the Blu-ray disk when it comes out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Movie Review: I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil is a profile of evil incarnate. This statement doesn't do it justice. The film is a gruesome depiction of the worst excesses of the human mind...

Speaking of worst excesses, I Saw the Devil is the latest from Korea that pulls no punches when it comes to painting horrific images. It's the kind of movie that only Korean filmmakers excel at -- the visual vomit makes Hollywood's most demented creation look like a Saturday morning cartoon.

There was one scene that almost made me throw up, a first for me. And I've seen a LOT of disgusting horror films.

American = Derivative. Japanese = Anime. Korean = Cinematic Depravity.

The story revolves around a school bus driver named Kyung-chul. He's a sexual sadist and a serial killer and a cannibal. At the beginning of the film, he targets the daughter of a retired police chief and fiancée of an elite secret agent name Soo-hyun. In the scene that I referred to above, Kyung-chul takes a meat cleaver and chops her up into pieces like you would find in a butcher shop.

When Soo-hyun (who looks an awful lot like Daniel Dae Kim from Lost and Hawaii Five-O) identifies the killer, he takes his revenge to an epic scale. Who is the monster in the film?

At 2:24 long, this film contains a number of profound plot twists. It's very engaging.

By the way, Min-sik Choi, who plays Kyung-chul, also played the villain in Oldboy and Lady Vengeance, two films that I enjoyed. I'm just guessing, but I think he needs to expand his repertoire before he becomes stereotyped.

Major Thumbs Up. Highly recommended. But I strongly advise you to steel yourself before entering the movie theatre...

And just a minor point: Why am I not having nightmares? What is wrong with me??