Friday, April 14, 2006

Reviews - Howl's Moving Castle, Three Extremes

I have been putting off doing reviews this week since I have seen so few movies. But it's just time now. Oddly enough I watched only Asian stuff this week but from two opposite ends of the spectrum: animation & horror.

Howl's Moving Castle (Miyazaki, 2004, English dubbed version)
A young girl finds herself under the spell of an evil witch and seeks out help from a wizard name Howl who has a... well, moving castle!
Normally I avoid dubbed versions of everything, but they actually had some talent in the English dub that I had to
check out: Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, Christian Bale, and Lauren Bacall. They did well, but I still have a feeling we're missing something of the original. Otherwise the movie was beautiful, mystical, magical, and unexpected. But there was just a hint of cheesiness that didn't work for me. However, I loved the darkness of it, and it's nice to see some people still sticking with traditional animation styles.

Three Extremes (Chan, Miike, Park 2004)
A trio of short stories by three Asian directors (from South Korea, China & Japan) featuring horror themes that are macabre, disturbing, and yes, extreme.
The first two stories (Dumplings and Cut) are certainly strange, and very disturbed, but not all that interesting. I was drifting off into boredom by the second story, and the hubby threatened to leave as the third (Box) began. I am not sure if he's glad I made him watch it, but I am glad I did. It was the only one that was worth sitting through in my mind. It was beautiful and mysterious. It had a stunning lyrical quality to it while staying deeply dark. It was like watching a poem (perhaps written by the devil). It was elliptical; it breathed in and out of a delicious dream, albeit a nightmare. What all three stories lacked however was terror of any kind. I must say that the website is actually much scarier than the entire movie itself. Still, I would definitely watch Box again.

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