the earth remembers
the stones remember
If the earth and stones could only speak
they would tell us many things
—Native American Proverb
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2003) – This movie is generally considered the best Godzilla film (ignoring as it does every other Godzilla film except the first one) and by the 25th minute mark, when the central conceit of this film is revealed, I begin to believe that.
Never a Godzilla fan I’ve seen other Godzilla films and they generally do not transcend the campy concept of watching rubber suits attack each other, with no real story.
This movie however has a story, only gingerly touched on, of Godzilla as some interpretation of the vengeance of God, a punishment for the attrocities of the War in the Pacific; an engine of destruction powered by the restless dead. It is a movie that has an unexpected conscience, calling to memory Japan’s (in many way’s overlooked) attrocities during the pacific campaign.
From rape and concentration caps, to ethnic cleansing and wholesale genocide, the Godzilla of this film is the personification of all the wrath for those wrongs, married to the mindless, unthinking attrocities of the atomic bomb, of true holocaust.
Godzilla is very much Japan’s antagonist in this film, and the antagonist of all the industialized world, a howling tirade against all that creulty and science that went into his creation.
And if Godzilla is the film’s heavy, the trio of other monsters he squares off against in this film are the protectors of Japan, the souls of earth and air and glade and all that should endure in the flora and fauna and hope of Japan. However it’s hard to, while not condoning Godzilla’s destruction, not root for him against all adversaries, Man or Monster. Given Man’s history it is hard not to root for the King of Monsters and the spirit of vengeance, and see man as some particularly virulent termite deserving of the heel.
This dichotomy makes it a far more complex film then its cheesy and campy origins should allow, as this particular Godzilla film becomes a film about war by walking acts of god, and as such beyond the judgement of men; can at best only be endured and hopefully survived by men.
Or for those seeking to read less into their rubber monster movies, it is also just a good monster throw-down. Either way it grades a solid B+.
HEADSHOT-Needlessly convoluted with a purposely fragmented and confusing structure, no doubt aping such films as MEMENTO, there’s room for frustration and dislike when watching director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s HEADSHOT. However it is, for much of its running time, done and played well; and the central conceit such an intriguing idea, that it transcends mimicry and suspect storytelling, to be an involving film in spite of itself.
Stylish and existential, this is a very different crime thriller, that has a voice over (a film noir trope for this new age film noir) that is compelling.
The movie does lose momentum mid-way through, forgetting to use in any meaningful way or examine the interesting idea of the title character’s affiction, and becomes a rather ordinary and plodding man on the run film.
So a film not without its failings but one that has enough intriguing moments to transcend those failings, and have you interested in the end. Grade: C+.
GRIMM Season 1- Surprisingly entertaining fantasy show that works in a way that other shows such as WAREHOUSE 13 do not
LIFE Season 1- A wry and off-kilter and charming and undeniably different tv drama. tinged with a whimsy and a bit of magical realism that makes it more than a simple police procedural
TOP SHOT Season 1, 2, 4- I’m not a ‘reality’ tv fan, but this history channel competition show is nothing short of fantastic. Additive and fun watching
TOP SHOT Season 3 – One competitor and the drama he introduces (the words functional psychopath come to mind) almost makes the season unwatchable. Thankfully he gets removed, and allows for an exciting season finale.
PRIMEVIL Season 1, 2
THE MEDIOCRE OR JUST PLAIN AWFUL
24 Season 1
24 Season 2- horrible and moronic writing and painfully contrived plot choices, and overblown performances makes this ultimately a waste of time
Today’s Recommended Roku Channel: VIEWSTER
Recently added to the Roku platform, VIEWSTER is a Swedish run on-demand channel that presents a surprising variety of free on-demand films. With a nice helping of Indie and Documentary films you are unlikely to find on other on-demand channels, as well as classic and current films.
Some that may be of interest this week are:
THE THIRD MAN
WHEELS ON MEALS
LOVE COMES SOFTLY
EVIDENCE OF A HAUNTING- the word on this movie is the only thing interesting is the poster, but you can see it for free here and decide for yourself
THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME
HE WALKED BY NIGHT
THE AMAZING MR. X
THE RED HOUSE
THE FRAGILITY OF SECONDS
SO YOU’VE DOWNLOADED A DEMON
UNDER OUR SKIN
THE SISTERS FOUR
THE MYSTERY OF SINTRA
THE BIG COMBO
Take a gander and let me know what ones you recommend.
Go back and see previous lists for more great recommendations.
Okay onto today’s list:
Review of movies/programs to catch on the on-demand Roku channel CRACKLE today:
CRACKLE the premier channel for free on-demand movies is showing the following flicks:
The ‘it will do if you have nothing better to watch’ pile:
EMPIRE OF THE WOLVES- a horrific premise, graphic scenes, and an intriguing if convoluted and dubious premise makes this french thriller worth a cursory look
THE CUTTER- This 2007 flick shows Chuck Norris still capable of mixing it up. The premise of this film about Nazis and diamonds doesn’t really hold one’s attention nor do the performances, but there are a couple decent and surprising fight scenes that are worth a look.
WIND CHILL- Starts off generally very effective and intriguing, but comes apart completely in the 3rd act.
The ‘Awful or trust me you really should avoid’ pile:
THE DEVILS TOMB
SCREAMERS:THE HUNTING- Starts off intriguing, but once we get to the obligatory Noble Black who has to buy it in the first act of the movie, we’re in complete hack mode. Couldn’t finish it. Awful.
The Great or Very Good:
HERO WANTED- This 2008 flick is yet another fantastic Cuba Gooding Jr film (something that I thought for a long time was an oxymoron). Following up on my recent watch of HIT LIST. This and HIT LIST both are good enough that you’ll probably want to add them to your DVD collection.
LEGENDARY ASSASSIN- An action/martial arts movie, but what sells this one is really the touching story at its heart. Tender performances enliven what otherwise would be a routine actioner.
RUSSIAN SPECIALIST- An example of a great Dolph Lundgren film
SILENT RAGE- An example of a great Chuck Norris Film
HARRY BROWN- Michael Caine is mesmerizing in this tale of generational warfare and geriatric vengeance