The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Starring: Paul Christian, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway

Writer: Fred Freiberger/Eugene Lourie/Louis Morheim/Robert Smith

Director: Eugene Lourie

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is one of the godfathers of the monster movie genre. Released in 1953, its popularity in Japan directly influenced the creation of Godzilla. Couple that with a Ray Harryhausen created monster as well as my love of monster movies and you’ve got one very interested viewer. How does it stack up? Outside of some issues due to aging (mostly the effects) and some of the acting, it is actually a pretty good movie even to this day.

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Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Starring: Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Yukihide Benny

Writers: Kengo Kaji/Sayako Nakoshi

Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura

Here’s a brief list of things that I saw with my own eyes while watching Tokyo Gore Police:

  • Someone (actually many someones) getting chopped right in half.
  • A man grow guns for eyes when the top half of his head is ripped off (just the skin mind you)
  • A freak show where people were turned into oddities (we’re talking a girl becoming a legitimate SNAIL, bugged out eyes and all) and then others bid to have sex with them.

Any of these situations interest you? Then you’re gonna love the hell out of Tokyo Gore Police. It is a gory as hell ride through the bowels of a crazy Japanese man’s mind…and it…is…AWESOME.

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The Auteur (2008)

Starring: Melik Malkasian, John Breen, Katherine Flynn

Writer/Director: James Westby

If you have a short attention span (which I know I do), you’ll remember that awhile ago I reviewed the James Westby film Film Geek. While it had some flaws here and there, I loved it, especially the lead performance of Melik Malkasian, so when I found out his second film, The Auteur, was also available on Netflix, I jumped right on board. While I still like Film Geek a lot more (many of those reasons pertaining to my own geekdom of the entertainment business), The Auteur is still a clever comedy, and it left me with one big question: how is Melik Malkasian not more famous?

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Film Geek (2005)

Starring: Melik Malkasian, Tyler Gannon, Tara Walker

Writer/Director: James Westby

Company: First Run Features

WARNING: Spoilers for the end of the movie in the comments section.

When watching Film Geek, many thoughts occurred to me: a) it’s ironic that I’m watching a movie based around a video store clerk on the very service that is killing them and b) this movie is a lot better than what I was expecting. Film Geek stars Malkasian as Scott Pelk, a socially awkward film geek (guess where they got the title?) who works at a local Portland, Oregon video store. His abrasive personality, and lack of social grace, makes him a nuisance to the patrons who come to the store and his co-workers, who don’t care about what Jean Luc Goddard has done or the in’s and out’s of Aliens. When not at the store, he is at his small apartment covered in VHS tapes and movie posters, eating cereal and obsessively updating his personal film site, which still has 0 views.

Eventually, his boss has enough of his antics and fires Scott. Scott is heartbroken, and takes a job at a local auto parts warehouse, after failed attempts to get a job at the other Portland video stores. One day, Scott meets hipster Niko (Taylor Gannon), who is able to match him on film knowledge, but is initially turned off by his awkwardness. Scott decides to pursue her anyway with the same obsessiveness he approaches film, and eventually they strike a shaky friendship…which Scott wants to be more than that.

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Paper Heart (2009)

Starring: Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, Jake M. Johnson

Writers: Charlyne Yi/Nicholas Jasenovec

Director: Nicholas Jasenovec

Rating: PG-13 for Some Language

Paper Heart is a movie that I missed when it came out last year due to the fact that I don’t live anywhere near an independent theater. I was initially skeptical to begin with anyway, being as I’m not the biggest Michael Cera fan in the world and Charlyne Yi annoyed the crap out of me in Knocked Up. However, its unique storytelling style and adorably cute story got me through my prejudices, and I ended up loving the crap out of Paper Heart.

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The Commitments (1991)

I am a sucker for a movie about musicians. Everything from That Thing You Do! to the TV miniseries The Temptatons I have devoured and loved. The 1991 film The Commitments, is one that passed my radar and for good reason: it was 1991 and I was too busy being five years old and playing with wrestling figures (as opposed to now being 23 and playing with wrest…I mean lifting weights), plus it’s never on TV. My roommate, who is also a big fan of movies about music, decided to fire up the ol’ Netflix Watch Instantly on his Xbox 360 and put this one on, saying it would be worth a watch. Planning to go to bed, I said I’d give it twenty minutes and then I was out. Two hours later, the movie is over, and I am wowed. The Commitments may possibly be the best (and most realistic) movie about a band ever made.

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Antichrist (2009)

The first five minutes of the 2009 Lars Von Trier film Antichrist is a slow motion black and white “prologue” to his full story and features not only full on penetration but a toddler jumping out of a window to his death. Now if I was going to start a movie, that is definitely the way I’d go. However the rest of the movie? Not so much. Filled to the brim with pretentiousness, storytelling that can best be described as “completely ridiculous”, and two scenes that will challenge your gag reflex, Antichrist is a very loud misfire and a movie better left unwatched.

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