Monday, August 29, 2011

Missed Movies Number 9

This particular Missed Movie was supposed to be posted Friday, but the Hurricane put a nix on that (I'm fine by the by, fled inland tuesday morning) so here it is only 2 days late. This one is based around movies that are, one way or another, kind of weird but still exceptional movies.

Omitted From List: The Entire Works of David Lynch. Minus Dune.

Sleepy Hollow

It's very easy to mock Tim Burton putting Johnny Depp in 2/3rds of his movies, and at least 2 of them are genuinely bad, but it makes it easier to overlook when the movies the two of them have done together reads like a laundry list of their respective best works. Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissordhands, Corpse Bride (last one mostly to break up the line of movies named after a person) and while Sleepy Hollow isn't quite up to that level, it's a good piece of offbeat entertainment.

The story is a reworking of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but really just keeps the main character's name and the concept of the Headless Horseman, here a real spirit sent to behead certain targets around the village of the title. And while the movie itself has a certain level of silly gore (one guy's head spins when it gets cut off), the script is solid, ALL of the actors are putting in great work (especially Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman when he still had his head) and the film itself is pushed forward by a unique and interesting mystery. It's not a masterpiece, but it's worth watching.

Mr. Vampire

With the scourge of modern Vampire films sucking, it's important to look to older vampire films, and in particular the vampire films of other countries, such as Let The Right One In or Nosferatu and indeed Mr. Vampire. But being a Chinese Vampire, the rules are distinctly different. For example, a Chinese Vampire can't see you if you don't breathe. No really. And that's just the tip of iceberg (wait'll you see how they get around). AND it's still cooler than the Twilight vampires.

The plot is concerned with a Tao priest who, while performing a reburial finds that the corpse is actually a vampire, that his bumbling students unleash, and spend the rest of the film trying to stop. The film itself is an amusing mix of horror, comedy and martial arts, that's more than worth watching. It's not an entirely perfect film, but it's a unique bit of Chinese culture that's more than warrants a look. If you can track it down.

Being John Malkovich

This is one is, to put it simply, completely weird. The plot it concerned with a puppeteer getting a job at an office and discovering a tunnel that leads one into John Malkovich's head, allowing you to see what he sees and do what he does. Not John Malkovich the person, although the character of John Malkovich is played by John Malkovich (confused yet?). Believe it or not it just keeps getting weirder and weirder until it's reaches it's zenith of weirdness...about 10 minutes before the end of the movie.

This sort of movie would be insufferable if it wasn't handled right, but Being John Malkovich isn't just handled right, it's handled damn near perfectly. This movie has enough ideas for at least 10 movies but it breezes through all of them like it's nothing. The script is amazing, the actors all perfect in their roles, the story unique and intriguing, the direction manages to find a nice middle ground between the weirdness fueling the story and the human drama of the characters (something which a lot of weirder movies and a lot of movies in general ignore). It's damn near a perfect movie, so if you have to choose only one of these movies to see, make it this one.

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