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Member's Reviews

Ballad of Narayama, a review by Antares

Ballad of Narayama (1958) 83/100Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

(From Antares' Short Summations on January 2nd, 2014)

Member's Reviews

Ring 2, a review by Jon

Ring 2
2 out of 5

Rachel and her son have survived their first encounter with Samara, but not without a price. She's trying to rebuild her life in a sleepy town when a local boy is found dead, in worryingly familiar circumstances. It soon becomes clear that Samara is now coming for the two of them, but why?

I always judge remakes -especially of foreign films- on how they stand up if the original didn't exist. Remakes are rarely better, but every now and then you drop across one that certainly did nothing wrong and was a watchable version. I thought the American Ring was like that. It was loud, brash and overdone, but the intricate storyline was intact and still powerful. Unfortunately this sequel to the remake is a missed opportunity, especially when directed by Hideo Nakata, director of the first Ringu.

Japanese horror films seem to generate a lot of impact by being made as simple dramas; no unnecessary editing or music and the actors play it straight. Howard Hawks once said, "no action without danger" and it makes a lot of sense. I get the impression Hideo is trying that here, but the score and cast are still being played like there is a ghost around every damn corner. Nothing can be accepted for what it is, it's overflowing with unresolved innuendo and furtive glances. It doesn't help that most of the cast are wooden or half-developed characters.

Naomi Watts is gorgeous as usual and does nothing particularly wrong and David Dorfman still impresses as Aidan coming across much older than his years, although I think he's being stretched in the last act. They're let down though by a murky, unfocused script and poor supporting characters. It tells you something when the most memorable is the ever reliable Gary Cole who is on screen for about 30 seconds. He gives the film a much needed slap in the face, but then goes away again.

Overall I quite liked the premise. Fitted in well with the mythology, as you'd expect. It just needed some... oomph! There's a scene toward the end in Samara's well that was great.
(click to show/hide)
It needed lots more of that while letting the drama scenes lighten up and simmer down.

All in all, this is a Asian-American fusion that has failed completely, taking the worst of both sides.

Note: there is an extra on the DVD, a short film acting as a sort of prelude to the first victim, that while being weak nevertheless makes me think it could have been a decent storyline for a sequel on its own. All the Rings start off with kids finding tapes and showing them to each other, scaring themselves shitless. Here they go one typical teen step further by forming a cult that records everything that happens after viewing the tape and seeing how close they can get to the 7 day deadline before showing it to the next person, a pre-appointed "tail". I liked the idea of them trying to play Samara at her own game for thrills.

(From Jon's Random Reviews on February 2nd, 2009)

Member's TV Reviews

Tom's Buffy and Angel Marathon, a review by Tom

6.12 Doublemeat Palace
Writer: Joss Whedon (Created By), Jane Espenson (Writer), Joss Whedon (Writer)
Director: Nick Marck
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), James Marsters (Spike), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Elizabeth Anne Allen (Amy Madison), Pat Crawford Brown (Old Lady), Brent Hinkley (Manny), Kirsten Nelson (Lorraine Ross), Kali Rocha (Halfrek), Douglas Bennett (Phillip), Marion Calvert (Gina), Kevin C. Carter (Mr. Typical), T. Ferguson (Gary), Victor Z. Isaac (Pimply Teen), John F. Kearney (Elderly Man), Sara LaWall (Housewife Type), Andrew Reville (Timothy)

An average episode with its moments. Though Willow with her withdrawal symptoms gets on my nerve.


6.13 Dead Things
Writer: Joss Whedon (Created By), Steven S. DeKnight (Writer), Joss Whedon (Writer)
Director: James A. Contner
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), James Marsters (Spike), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Danny Strong (Jonathan Levinson), Adam Busch (Warren Meers), Tom Lenk (Andrew Wells), Amelinda Embry (Katrina Silber), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), Bernard K. Addison (Cop #1), Marion Calvert (Gina), Eric Prescott (Cop #2), Rock Reiser (Desk Sergeant)

Okay, but nothing which really stands out for me. The Geek trio are getting themselves deeper into the "dark side" then they would have like (at least Andrew and Jonathan).


(From Tom's Buffy and Angel Marathon on November 28th, 2010)