Monday, April 26, 2010

DEATH NOTE: L CHANGE THE WORLD (2008)

Yawn. This entire movie is about L. Now I like L, but without his nemesis, Light, he's kinda boring. As you remember from the end of Part 2 L wrote his own name in the Death Note saying that he would die peacefully in 23 days. This is the story of what happens during that time.

It's entertaining, but without Light or Misa (my god she was hot!) or Ryuk the whole thing is disappointing. It's like if there was an episode of "Buffy" starring only Giles. Honestly, if you're a big DEATH NOTE fan I would just skip this film, it's just going to disappoint you. As a stand alone film it's OK, but still boring. Skip it.

I guess I could tell you the plot: L has to stop some terrorist from releasing a deadly virus that will kill everybody on the planet. Of course, if he didn't burn the Death Note at the beginning of the movie he could just kill them. Then again that would be against L's morals.

Part 1
Part 2

Sunday, April 25, 2010

DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME (2006)

What's up with that Red Hot Chili Peppers song?!  It seemed completely out of place during the closing credits of the first film, but now, not only is it in the closing titles of this second film, but it's played during the opening of the film as well!  It doesn't make any sense.  This is a Japanese language film about death and murder and they start the film with some upbeat California rock song?  It's completely out of place, but it does bring to mind a great movie game: Most Inappropriate Closing Credit Songs.  A few examples:

Chumbawamba - "Tubthumping", TITANIC
DMX - "Party Up (Up In Here)", ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
Ghostemane - "Venom", AN AMERICAN TAIL: FIEVEL GOES WEST
The Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" - THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE
The B-52's - "Love Shack", THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
Papa Roach - "Last Resort", THE HOURS
They Might Be Giants - "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", MIDSOMMAR

...the list is endless really.

Anyway, this second Death Note film starts out strong as fuck.  As you remember, the first film ended on a cliffhanger that left the viewer going "Ohhh, shit!!!", but then the second film takes the excitement even further with the introduction of a second Kira!  "Ohhh, double-shit!!!"  It's awesome.  I was on the edge of my seat for the first half of the film, but then things get overly complicated and the ending drags on forever.  It was disappointing.

I still really like this film and watch it occasionally, but I usually stop about 3/4 of the way through.

Part 1 - Death Note (2006)
Part 3 - Death Note: L Change the World (2008)

THE CROOKED WAY (1949)

Eddie Rice has been in the military hospital for the last few years. He's got a piece of shrapnel lodged in his brain and he can't remember anything at all before he woke up in the hospital. The doctors give up so they release him. He enlisted in Los Angeles so that's where he goes to look for answers and he finds them quick: he used to be a big time gangster and right before he enlisted he squealed on the #1 crime boss in town. *gulp!* A normal person would hear this bit of information and run away as quickly as possible, but no not this genius he sticks around and gets shot at and the crap beat out of him repeatedly. And that's my biggest problem with this movie: I feel no sympathy towards the main character. All of his problems are of his own making. A better story would be a guy trying to avoid trouble, not going around sticking his nose in where it doesn't belong.

Just a few hours after he arrived in town the bad guys beat the shit out of him and tell him if he doesn't leave town in 24 hours they're going to kill him. What does this guy do? He goes to their illegal gambling hall and starts talking shit!

Beautiful looking noir (thanks to cinematography by John Alton) that's held back by the stupidity of the main character.  Still very much worth watching and filled with great lines and characters.  Recommended.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

DEF-CON 4 (1985)

Three astronauts are in orbit in a space station when WW3 breaks out on earth. From their high advantage point they watch nuclear missiles destroy all of the major cities on the Earth. Bummed out and depressed they float around for a few more months before their navigation computer is mysteriously taken over from somebody on down below and they crash down on an American beach. They soon learn that the survivors of the war are cannibals!

That sounds super exciting and for the first 20 minutes or so I enjoying it, but once they get to Earth the entire story falls apart and it's just your standard post-apocalyptic survival story that we've all seen before a million times, except this time there little action and no nudity.

Low budget, boring script with zero tension or likable characters, the "school girl" character is fugly and the action scenes are sub-"The A-Team" level. Skip this movie. The poster though is a real attention getter and probably the reason why 95% of the people who actually watch this movie ever wanted to see it. I know it tricked me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

DEATH NOTE (2006)

Light Yagami is a college student who naively believes that if he pursues a career in Law that he will be able to make a difference. One night he witnesses something that shatters his beliefs.  A few moments later he finds the Death Note. It's a notebook that belongs to a God of Death (think Grim Reaper) named Ryuk and there's a bunch of rules to it, but simply put: you write a person's name in the book and they die.  Also, Ryuk hangs out with Light now, but nobody else can see him.

That's a huge oversimplification of the story (I completely left out the exciting cat and mouse stuff with the brilliant crime fighter, L), but I don't want to give too much away, because one the most satisfying parts of watching DEATH NOTE for the first time is discovering all the new rules and crazy twists and turns as it happens. Yeah, some of it's silly, but DEATH NOTE is still a wicked story.  Silly and wicked.  That's my kind of movie!  I love it.  Highly recommended.

Part 2 - Death Note: The Last Name (2006)
Part 3 - Death Note: L Change the World (2008)