Damien: Omen II

I’m a pretty big fan of the Omen trilogy, and so it was fun to revisit this for the first time in quite a while. I think it’s maybe the weakest of the three (I’ll need to revisit the third one though to confirm), but it’s still a good time to see Damien hit puberty and start realizing his power — all while discovering the people who are supporting him (I’d forgotten about the twist at the end). I find that it’s a shame that they don’t make horror films like this anymore — now it’s all slasher/torture porn, and the films that we do get that are supernatural are still more concerned with the violence and gore than the suspense.

Game of Death

I was actually angry while watching this movie. I’d completely forgotten that his was the “last” Bruce Lee film, using up a bit of footage (an entire 11 minutes) that was shot before his death, and then building this insanely dumb movie around it, using doubles to clumsily (with a beard, in shadows, wearing shades, from the back — with a fucking photo stuck on a mirror) replace Lee. It’s a horrible, horrible film, and I couldn’t believe what I was watching (I guess I was more forgiving as a kid)… and then I got to the fight scene at the end that does feature the real Lee, and it’s fucking magic. That sequence in particular where he’s fighting with yellow nunchucks in his yellow jumpsuit is just so fantastic, and gave me goosebumps while watching it. It doesn’t forgive the rest of this lousy movie, but that short sequence was enough to remind me of the genius that was Bruce Lee, and I think I’ll need to revisit his “real” movies now.

To Catch a Thief

This is definitely the lightest of the Hitchcock films I’ve re-watched so far, more on the comedic/romantic side, but with a slight dose of mystery (who is this thief everyone is trying to catch). The star here though is the amazing scenery of Nice and its surroundings, beautifully captures in “Panavision.” It wasn’t one of my favorites, but still fun to watch.

Train to Busan

I’ve grown pretty tired of the zombie trope — both in film and games — and so it took me quite a while to find the desire to watch this, even though I had heard (and been told) it was really good. I finally decided to watch it last week, and must say it’s a fantastic film. Using the train as a cramped environment to deal with works incredibly well, and the film as a whole is just really well done, with great character moments — and that includes the incredible hate I felt for that CEO guy. I know there are a lot of good Korean movies I still haven’t gotten around to watching, and this put me in a mood to do this sooner than later.

Flavors of Youth

This is a new anime anthology film out on Netflix, and it’s an absolute wonderful watch. It looks like it’s a co-production with China (the settings are Chinese as well, and of the three parts, two are directed by Chinese directors), but feels a lot like the films of Makoto Shinkai (Your Name), with hyper-realistic backdrops, and beautiful use of colors and soundtrack. I think the middle part (about the fashion model) is the weakest, but overall I enjoyed this immensely.

Deadpool 2

I consider the first Deadpool movie to be one of my favorite super-hero flicks, and so I’ll start by saying that the sequel isn’t as good as that. I was especially let down by the first half of the movie, but then things started picking up when they attempt the truck rescue, and I generally had a good time watching the rest of it. It does still have some very funny moments, just not as consistently as in the first film I feel. The end-credit bits are pretty good though (especially the Wolverine and Green Lantern bits), and overall I came out liking it.

Blade the Immortal

It’s been quite a while since I’ve watched a film by Takashi Miike, even though I used to be a big fan of his movies — I dropped off when he started making a lot of films based on licenses. A friend of mine had seen this movie — based on a manga series — at the Fantasia film festival last year and told me it was quite good, so I was happy to see it pop up on Netflix. This is indeed quite a fun movie, and I had a good time watching it. Sure, it does suffer a bit from trying to be too close to the source material — character designs that look fine in manga/anime form, but end up looking a bit hokey in live-action — but it’s a good brutal take on the samurai movie. 

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle

I quite liked the first Godzilla anime film on Netflix, that marked the start of trilogy. The second part is now out, and I really enjoyed this one as well. Just like the first movie, it’s a hardcore sci-fi take on Godzilla, and this one features even cooler mech-on-Godzilla battles. Do make sure to stay for the after-credit tease, as it’s a big one, and makes me that much more excited for the next film.

Halloween (1978)

After saying goodbye to 1968, I kicked off a run of 1978 movies last night with the original Halloween film. The absolute star of this movie is the fantastic soundtrack by Carpenter — that iconic theme is just as good now as it ever was, and its use really does make it feel like it’s an integral part of the Meyers character. As for the rest of the film, sure, there’s a lot of silliness (why does she keep dropping that damn knife after using it), and the audio dubbing is at times atrocious, but it was pretty fun to watch, and I’m glad I’ve gotten this refresher ahead of the release of the new Halloween film this year, that’s a direct sequel to this (with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role, as well as the actor who played the original Michael Meyers). I really hope the same audio cues show up as well.

Topaz

Last week’s Hitchcock film was Topaz, which I think is a much better spy thriller than Torn Curtain. I quite like this movie, and it shows just how diverse Hitchcock could be — we celebrate him as the “Master of Suspense,” but I think he covers quite a few genres, and is just as good at comedy too (not in this movie, but just in general). Well worth watching.