Snowpiercer (2013)

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My game.

The world is a frozen wasteland. The last remnants of humanity are confined to a giant train, and forced into castes based on what car they live in. Those in the front lie in the lap of luxury, whilst those in the tail dwell in total squalor. Twice before, the inhabitants of the tail staged uprisings, only to be beaten back into submission. Now, though, the tail Enders are smarter. They’re better organized. They’ve got a charismatic leader in the form of Curtis Everett, and, this time, they’re going all the way to the front. They’re going to take control of the engine, and, by extension, the world. Will they succeed? Watch it, and find out.

Snowpiercer is a special film, for multiple reasons. Not only was it the most expensive Korean movie ever made, with a budget of about $40 million, it was also director Bong Joon-Ho’s English language debut, and cemented his status as a cinematic superstar. Because even though films like Memories of Murder earned him critical praise, and The Host, which I reviewed here recently, put him on Hollywood’s radar, Snowpiercer’s massive critical and commercial success guaranteed he would continue to be given high profile projects.

But why was the movie such a huge hit? Well, like The Host, it all comes down to superior craftsmanship. And I don’t just mean the acting or the script, both of which are excellent. I mean the way the movie looks, how its edited, the sound design. It’s all top notch. This really feels like a fully-fleshed out world, with each of the train’s cars having a distinct look and design. My favorite one, easily, is the sea food and aquatic life car. It is, to put it simply, gorgeous! The movie is also extremely exciting. There are two really great action scenes; one in the dark where the tail Enders are being attacked by guys with night vision goggles, and one involving a sniper, who’s trying to shoot the heroes from across the cars. If nothing else, you never feel bored while watching this movie. And that alone is enough to warrant a recommendation.

That being said, Snowpiercer does have flaws. The biggest, by far, is the fact that it doesn’t have much replay value. See, a lot of the movie rests on certain twists that get revealed towards the end, and when you uncover them, you can’t really look at the movie in the same way anymore. And unlike other films with twist endings, like The Sixth Sense or Fight Club, which demand that you watch them again, so you can see the clues, there really isn’t any such demand with Snowpiercer. Those earlier films are puzzles. You need to watch them multiple times to solve them. You really don’t have to with Snowpiercer. I watched it once, I got everything I needed to know, and have never seen it again. Even so, the film’s strong performances, unique premise, tight plot and impressive effects do make it worth watching. Don’t hesitate to give it a look.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.

Today I’d like to talk to you about Mad Max: Fury Road, or as it should be known, “car crashes and explosions in the desert.” Oh yes! This dystopian action flick is very, very…loud. And not just in terms of noise. Sure, there are plenty of exploding vehicles, shouting extras, and revving engines to burst your ear drums, but the costumes, sets, and extreme action sequences will also do a good job of knocking out the rest of your senses. There is absolutely nothing subtle about this picture. Everything–from the countless extras slathered in body paint, to the cars and trucks covered with spikes and skulls, to the sets that look like the love-child of TIm Burton and HR Giger–is over the top. The only exception to this might be the acting, which, in spite of everything else, is surprisingly subdued. Basically, if you were to make a movie out of the word “exaggerated,” you’d probably get something that looks like Mad Max: Fury Road.

Now, does this mean that Mad Max is a bad film? Not necessarily. Yes, it offers nothing in the way of plot or character–the protagonist, Max, has a total of five lines, and the story, if you can call it that, boils down to a group of concubines trying to escape an evil overlord. But it’s not offensive, and by god, its visuals are truly something to behold. The stunt work, the action sequences, and the stylized sets are nothing short of magnificent. If you can imagine what the Transformers movies would be like if they didn’t have so many crass jokes, racist stereotypes, and gratuitous shots of women’s bodies, then you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect with this film. It’s silly, but not stupid. It’s completely brainless, but it doesn’t insult your intelligence. It’s a throwback to the early days of filmmaking, when directors like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg could blow our minds with great, ostentatious spectacles. It’s a wild ride, and one that even I, a person fully aware of it’s weak narrative and characters, was able to enjoy.

And that, loved ones, is why I have decided to give Mad Max: Fury Road a 7 out of 10. By no means perfect, this movie is a great summer blockbuster, and a sure-fire way to get the adrenalin pumping. Don’t hesitate to give it a look.