Korean Cops, Woody Allen, Monsters and Lonely People: Movies Watched (#SFWApro)

THE CHASER (2008) is a Korean crime thriller in which an ex-cop turned pimp discovers some missing whores of his haven’t run away, they’re victims of a serial killer. This leads to him running his own investigation overlapping the legitimate police, who narrow in on the perp early on but without the solid evidence to convict. A good crime thriller, though I wonder if I’m missing some South Korean subtext — while initially this looks like a classic Cops Play By The Rules So They’re Useless set-up, the pimp doesn’t really do any better than his former colleagues.  “Do you have a hammer or a club?”

WOODY ALLEN (2011) is a documentary tracing Allen’s life from Brooklyn childhood through comedy writing, then stand-up comedy, then his jump to movies. This covers a lot of ground such as why Annie Hall threw his fans such a curve ball (“Instead of writing jokes, he wrote characters — so of course, the jokes are funny.”), his  awe of Ingmar Bergman’s films and his willingness to follow his own star from comedy to crime drama to dramedy and back. Though surprisingly for an auteur several actors interviewed here said he’s totally open to them changing his lines if it works better. Doesn’t cover the abuse accusations against him, and it doesn’t make me any fonder of his recent films, though it turns out I’m not the only fan of Midnight in Paris (it set box-office records for him). Good overall, though “After Manhattan the audience was willing to follow Woody anywhere — except Stardust Memories.”

A MONSTER IN PARIS (2011) is an animated film in which a giant mutated flea discovers that Paris of the 1920s is just as inhospitable to outcast freaks as any other movie setting. Cute in spots, but too stock and too geared to kids to work for me. “The monster has shrunk to its original size, I have now crushed it!”


THE MAN FROM PLANET X (1951) is a visually stylish SF drama in which the eponymous alien greets us in friendship until Scientist of Doom William Schallert breaks the ET to his will by cutting off his air supply. This is enjoyable for most of its length but wraps up too fast, for example suddenly hitting us with the news that the sympathetic alien is actually front man for an invasion force. All rights to image remain with current holder. “The man who controls this formula controls the industry of the world!”

THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953) was the era’s ground-breaking giant monster film in which nuclear tests revive a gigantic “rhedosaurus,” which heads down the coast and into its ancestral stomping grounds in the Big Apple. This is way too slow and talky, though it picks up a lot once the Beast has NYC to smash; still the added threat that it’s carrying a deadly disease in its cells comes out of the blue (mostly to explain why the authorities can’t just blow it to bits and risk spreading the germs). Godzilla did this sort of thing much better. “Ordinary bullets have no effect and a method of destroying the awesome creature has not yet been formulated!”

JACK GOES BOATING (2010) is a Love Between Two Lonely People film that never really caught my interest. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the socially awkward guy who falls for an equally lonely woman and struggles to connect, the same role he played in the off-Broadway original. Unfortunately like a lot of stage plays transferred to film, the dialog has an annoying archness, though I’m not sure it would work well even without that — the ending explosion between the leads’ respective best friends felt very forced. Only the Lonely did the same thing better. “I’m not ready for penile penetration yet.”

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