Posts Tagged ‘epic

14
Apr
15

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013) Blood Sacrifice for The Movie God

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a Primal Root written review

It takes a certain breed to be a cinema buff.  I became a believer in the beauty, the appeal and the power of the movies in a near religious manner. Friday nights as a child were spent at the local movie theater (Oak Lakes 6, Miracle 5 or Capital Cinema here in Tallahssee FL, Rest in Peace, my friends) or at one of multiple video rental stores. I learned more about morality, courage, compassion, love and humanity from what I watched on the silver screen and through my VCR than I ever did by going to church and all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life is make that one perfect film I have in my head. My masterpiece. My chance to project a story upon that screen and make people laugh, scream, cry and think. In this sense I completely understand where someone like the character of Director Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa) is coming from in the 2013 Japanese gangster, action, comedy, gore epic Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

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Teenage Director Hirata, along with his closest filmmaking comrades known as The Fuck Bombers,  discover a young Sasaki taking part in a back alley brawl. Hirata instantly dubs Sasaki “The New Bruce Lee,” and gives him Lee’s iconic yellow and black track suit and a pair of nunchaku. The group of dreamers spend their formative years at the local community center watching movies and the rest of their free time shooting backyard movies and incidents they come across on the street.

Meanwhile, young Michiko is the singing and dancing star of a toothpaste commercial and has become an overnight sensation. That is, until her Mother, the wife of Michiko’s Yakuai gang leader Father Taizo, is sent to jail after brutally slaughtering a half dozen enemies who invaded her home while she was slicing up carrots.  Michiko’s Mama is thrown in jail for ten years and the powers that be have Michiko’s ridiculously popular toothpaste ad removed from the air. I’m trying to refrain from spoilers as much as possible here, but Michiko comes home to the aftermath of her Mother’s bloody encounter, ends up lsipping sliding through some blood and comes face to face with the man who was sent to kill her family. It’s both incredibly cute, funny, graphic and sets the rest of the film’s story line in motion. A series of mind boggling coincidence, or is it fate (?), that leads to one of the greatest gangster epics ever filmed.

See, Taizo has sworn to Michiko’s Mother that Michiko is starring in an incredible action film, one that will make her proud of her daughter. But when Taizo realizes it’s all fake, that there is no heart behind the camera, no passion and no vision, he enlists the assistance of the now grown up, but still insanely passionate Hirata and The Fuck Bombers to film the epic battle to the death between these two rival gangs with the young and vicious Michiko as the film’s star. See, The Fuck Bombers never realized their dream of making the ultimate Yakuza action film. They made it as far as a mock trailer for the film they lways dreamed of making, but the dream has gone unfulfilled and the group is beginning to fall apart because of it. But this opportunity to film what promises to be the bloodiest gang battles in history. They have prayed to “The Film Gods” their entire lives, and it now seems that their prayers are answered. Director Hirata and his team tackle the project with a manic kind of glee as they rush about the battle with their eyes glued to their camera as blood, limbs, and heads fly the through the air and splash upon their smiling faces.

WDYPIH

I can honestly say it’s the most heartwarming and joyful bloodbaths I’ve ever witnessed in a movie. Everyone is willing to die for this project. Both gang bosses, their henchmen, Michiko, The Fuck Bombers, just to make this piece of cinema as true and spectacular as they feel it should be. And everything is amazing, that is until the fucking police show up (MPAA Ratings Board/Censorship?) and fuck it all up.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell is ludicrous, completely batshit crazy, brutally, cartoonishly violent and a jubilant celebration for the art of filmmaking. Filmmaker Sion Sono has captured perfectly the exhilaration and exasperation of going after any creative endeavor. There is love here for those who dare to dream and are waiting patiently for their moment to come. for their chance to speak through the cinematic medium. It’s impossible to not feel the excitement as hardened Yakuza gangsters become passionate and exacting about sound recording, as Hirata runs through thick puddles of blood, demanding reshoots as the people he’s making these requests to are actually being sliced to ribbons and as the cameramen redefine the art of “Shooting a Movie.”

There’s plenty of carnage candy in this blood encrusted cinematic odyssey, but there is an unmistakable depth of heart present throughout the proceedings. We genuinely care about life long friend, The Fuck Bombers, and their ambitions of making their movie dreams come true.  We find ourselves fully believing that Michiko’s toothpaste jingle could beguile generations of TV watchers including the rival gang’s leader who has been infatuated with her ever since.  It’s the fact that Why Don’t You Play in Hell and it’s wet, nasty, over the top action is grounded in believable, likeable, three dimensional characters that makes the ride of watching it so goddamn exhilirating. You’ll be cheering all the way to the final frame and even shocked to the point of tears by the fate of many of these characters. At least they all died battling for their art, their honor and their dreams. And this mixture of naive optimism and midnight movie bedlam leaves the viewer not only endeared to such shenanigans, but leaves you thirsty for more.

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For fans of not only Trash Cinema but the art of cinema itself,  Why Don’t You Play In Hell? is a flick you MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN. It will knock you flat on your ass, hose you down with blood, then french kiss you with a mouth full of glass, and when it’s all over, you’ll wipe away the blood and beg to go through it again.  Trust me, it’s THAT fucking good.

I award Why Don’t You Play In Hell? FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

24
Sep
10

Rotten Review Ep. 15: Return of the Living Dead 3


Hey Gang,

The Primal Root is back after a month off and to celebrate I am showcasing a piece of Trash Cinema featuring one of my all time favorite zombie femme fatales. That’s right, Ms. Julie Walker as brought to glorious undead life by the unfathomably gorgeous Melinda Clarke.

Get ready for a Special Guest Appearance from Ms. Jessica Critten (in her final appearance), grotesque body self mutilation, angry Latinos, tortured sewer dwelling do-gooders, half naked dancing zombies in chains and lederhosen, 2-4-5 Trioxin, dumb scientists, brain freeze bullets, teenagers listening to lite rock, necrophilia, terrible government security, brain munching and plenty of slimy, freakish canned zombies.

It’s a wild, bloody, stupid ride with Julie and Curt as they tamper in God’s domain and end up paying the price. It’s not quite Bride of Frankenstein…hell, it’s hardly Bride of the Monster. But Return of the Living Dead cracks me up every time and you cannot deny the appeal of a beautiful  re-animated redheaded  zombie girl with metal stuff shoved through her flesh.

Well, I think I’ve sufficiently creeped you all out enough. Enjoy the latest offering from yours truly, The Primal Root, and The Rotten Reviews.

Stay Trashy!

– Root

06
Aug
10

Freddy vs. Jason: Adolescent Wish Fulfilled

a Primal Root review

For me, there was no bigger event film this past decade than Freddy vs. Jason. It was the film my friends I would talk about on the playground when I was in elementary school. Who would win? Who has the advantage? It was so much fun building these scenarios and debating who was the tougher monster between hanging from monkey bars and playing flag football. I think it was in those early discussions that I grew an allegiance to Jason Voorhees in a giant sandbox at DeSoto Trail Elementary. . We already had King Kong vs. Godzilla, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman….where was Freddy vs. Jason? It was the movie all of us were dying to see. The years passed and I waited.

And then the news broke. It was actually going to happen after all these years of hoping, waiting, rumors, false reports and face palmingly weak leaked scripts it was finally happening. New Line was putting into production the one film I’d been wanting to see since I was in short pants. Freddy vs. Jason. I could not have been happier. For the majority of 2003 leading up to the release of the film I could not stop watching both franchises over and over, hyping myself up into a frenzy over the upcoming film to the point I knew my friends wished I would get caught between the two slashers and be quieted for good.

The big day finally arrived. I put on m Jason costume and hockey mask as a sign of allegiance, and headed to the midnight showing. I got there early and rushed to the best seat in the house. Turns out only myself and two of my friends had dressed up as who we were rooting for (two Jasons, one Freddy) so we stuck out like the awkward, over enthusiastic horror fans we are.

Freddy vs. Jason Opening Night!

The lights dimmed, the trailers ran…and then the movie began.

Freddy vs. Jason begins with Krueger narrating his life story over footage of his final moments and his life as the eternal dream demon, Fred Krueger. It’s been almost a decade since Freddy has seen any action, Springwood has hushed up those who remember him and white washed everything regarding his very existence. Without the children’s fear, Freddy is rendered powerless to haunt their dreams and has been dwelling in Hell ever since.

Freddy Krueger reminds you to brush and floss every day.

But, being the evil genius he is, Freddy has found a way to make the children of Springwood remember. By resurrecting the towering hunk of unstoppable rotted death, Jason Voorhees. Freddy is hoping Jason can spark some fear into the kids, and in the process, bring the legend of Freddy back to life.

The plan goes swimmingly at first. Jason rips up some Elm Street residents, the kids start getting scared and Freddy is again able to enter their nightmares. But there’s one  little bit of the equation Freddy left out. See, Jason is REALLY good at what he does. He may not be the high concept killer Freddy is but Jason knows how to get the job done, quickly and efficiently which might be why he always has the higher body counts.  Jason kills just about everyone within machete shot where Freddy brings in a kill total of…1. Way to bring your A game, bro.

Freddy vs. Jason is a blazingly cool and tantalizing idea. The simple day dreams of these two laying into each other is the stuff of childhood fantasy. And that’s what we went in expecting, a none stop battle to the death between the greatest icons of modern horror. One thing we hadn’t counted on was all the teen melodrama which makes up almost three quarters of the film.

A riveting scene with our teen protagonists.

See, there’s this plot about a girl named Lori who lives at 1428 Elm Street now with her psychiatrist father.  Lori’s Mom was murdered in the house and her pops is made up to be a red herring, which if you buy into, you’re a complete idiot. Of course Freddy killed her. Anyway, Lori’s boyfriend Will saw the murder go down and is now locked up at Westin Hills (REMEMBER! From Nightmare 3 & 5? Yay, for references to previous films!) with his buddy Mark on Lori’s father’s orders.

Jason sneaks into Lori’s house, kills a jerk, Will escapes and finds Lori and blah, blah, blah, did anyone care? Does anyone care now? It’s all just filler and a means to slow the pace of the film to a snail’s crawl and deliver inane, moronic dialog that helps to crap all over both franchise mythologies.

“Freddy’s afraid of fire, Jason’s afraid of water…how can we use that?”

And the problems roll on from there.

When the shit did Jason become afraid of the water? Sure, deep down subconsciously (does Jason even have a subconscious?) which is where Freddy is able to tap into it. It makes sense, seeing as he drowned at Crystal Lake (or, kind of drowned but didn’t and doggy paddled to shore and decided to never inform his Mom of this fact) but in the real world? Jason’s been literally living in and around the lake for decades! He doesn’t show much fear of the water in the real world during Freddy vs. Jason, but the sad thing is, that single line uttered by Lori has ingrained in many young horror fan’s minds that Jason really is afraid of water. Like, you could turn a hose on him and he’d run away like a frightened little girl. This is simply not the case and we all know better.

LIES!

Then again, I guess the writers had to give Jason some kind of weakness in order to balance the fight. Because let’s face it, once Freddy enters the real world and is face to face with Jason, that fucker’s dead as Dillinger. But of course, Freddy has taken kung-fu lessons while in Hell and busts that shit out all over Jason’s ass in a surreal and comical fight sequence at the end of the film.

It’s this battle royal that the two titans get into, Round 1 in Freddy’s Dream World & Round 2 at Camp Crystal Lake, that Freddy vs. Jason really starts cooking. The battle commenced and it was a sight to behold .It’s insane and over the top and quite cool in my book.

Freddy continually gets the upper hand thanks to his intelligence and agility but his cockiness tends to get the better of him. Jason just takes the damage, as always, and keeps on ticking. Sure, he looks like he’s hurtin’, but it’s Jason Voorhees. To him, everything is just a flesh wound.

I'm fine!

My favorite moment in the fight comes when the two are on the pier together, lit by the burning cabins in the distance, Jason rips of Freddy’s arm, Freddy sticks Jason’s machete deep int he hockey masked killer’s chest. The music sweels, the  two lock eyes and exchange hate filled glares before a huge explosion erupts sending both boogiemen hurtling in Crystal Lake. It’s almost like a final goodbye, like a strange, slasher twist on that last kiss between guy and girl before they both part ways. It was THIS moment I had been imagining for years. When the two monsters, caked in blood and gore, gasping for air and on their last leg, starred into one another’s eyes. Two legends fueled with hate, one of pure evil and the other eternally seeking vengeance, embraced in death.

I’m not going to lie, I got a little misty eyed from beneath my hockey mask on first viewing.

There’s still some debate as to who won this thing. Freddy fans will always say it was Freddy and Jason’s fans will say Jason is the clear victor. . I dunno, it’s really up in the air and it has to be by design. I’ve heard some fans on both sides griping about this but it’s fine with me. I half expected it to end that way going into the movie. The moments between Freddy and Jason were so entertaining I can forgive them for not wanting to please just one side or the other.

Freddy vs. Jason works pretty well as a Friday the 13th film but is probably around the same level of artistic merit in the Nightmare franchise as Part 4: The Dream Master. It’s an event film, pure and simple. Not something made to be anything more than pure entertainment for the masses and a tip of the fedora/hockey mask to the loyal fans who had been waiting since the mid 80’s for this sucker.

Simply beautiful...

The sad thing is how boring and lack luster the segments featuring our teen leads are. They just seem more annoying and useless than usual but that could just be because I am so anxious to see what the title of the film is promising. I just remember wishing the film would get moving whenever our teenage pals showed up to furrow their brows and talk about how much it sucks their friends are dead. Come on, Freddy vs. Jason, let’s get to the main event!

It’s old hat with a bit of a twist in matching the two guys together. Freddy’s charisma is a great foil to Jason’s silent brutality and it makes for an enjoyable viewing experience when they are in one another’s company.

This was a film I had dreamed about for years and now I own it. I have seen it numerous times, I have the poster rolled up in a tube. What was once simple childhood playground debates is now set in stone. It went down, the masters duked it out, and now it’s over. I left the theater with a smile on my face. I had witnessed what we had always talked about. I wonder what my childhood friends thought of it? It took me back to that time and I think that’s the major appeal of the movie to me. It’s not just the ultimate battle of  horror pop culture icons, but a trip down memory lane and a loving tribute to the slasher form.

Both franchises had completely run out of steam at this point. The Friday the 13th series had crapped out Jason X and Wes Craven had delivered the poetic and  darkly beautiful New Nightmare as a final chapter for Freddy. But if both series wanted to bring their heads to the surface and gasp one final breath before plunging into the annals of trash cinema history for good, I was pleased they did it together.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

25
Sep
09

The Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews presents Queen of the Damned

Hey Gang,

The latest episode of the show that brings you the best in trash is up and running for your viewing pleasure. That’s right, The Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews just posted a new episode, this time, Root’s taking a look at the EPIC Vampire Rock Opera, Queen of the Damned!

I’m also dealing with a nasty bite I received from one of my neighbors. So, this episode documents the aftermath of that encounter as well. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Stay Trashy,

– Root

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/85098933″>Queen of the Damned (2002) The Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews Episode 5</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user24396091″>Kevin Cole</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>




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