Wednesday, 19 October 2011

When the Wind Blows (UK, 1986)

When I was growing up, one my favorite times in my life was when my parents would take me to rent movies. Even as a child, I loved films, so much that I would watch anything, whether it was made for kids or not. Luckily I was raised by loving parents that would, for my benefit, protect me from content that my growing mind might not be able to process. As a child, I saw this selective editing of my choices to watch everything as an insult to my capability of comprehending good from bad. It drove me to rages of anger.  As an adult, I am grateful for their patience and protective nature, especially after seeing the cartoon "When The Wind Blows".
                 Still maintaining an "R" rating, this lesson driven cartoon has no visual violence, no foul language, no nudity or sexual content, yet with its absence of foulness delivers an emotional  shock to your system. In the near future, an old English couple prepare for what may be a nuclear attack. And we the viewers then watch a loveable and naïve couple deal with the physical effects of a nuclear bomb. we see them bicker like an old loving couple, chat and gossip, worry about their loved ones and go on with their lives as they bodies slowly react to a nuclear attack. Their innocents and lovable characters bring this morality lesson to such an emotional jolt to your system, that this movie will sit with you long after watching it. I found myself moved to tears watching the final 20 minutes of this gloriously important piece of art.
                And speaking of the art, while appearing simple, it is quite beautifully put together. The two characters are 2 dimensional cartoon characters as we are accustom to seeing, but they exist in a real 3-dimentional environment, which appears to be a house made for claymation characters.  When moving from one room to another, or from one character to another, we are treated to a 3D panning of the house, making the visuals pop off the screen.  They are fictional cartoonist characters dealing with a real world situation.
                If I were to have seen this as a child, and I had often requested renting this movie because it was obviously a cartoon and therefore cartoons are made for children, I might have missed out on how amazing powerful this film truly is.  Even worst, if I were to have seen this as a child and understood the films dark depressing atmosphere and message, it may have destroyed a part of my childhood. This is powerful stuff. 

See it

Chain Letter (2010)

With all the Slasher flicks made for the past 3 decades, we have been treated to outrageous plots and gimmicks, ranging from evil twin birthday parties, social pathetic doctors teaching bad patients how to sarcastically take care of their body, to even metal head plate fisherman that when a particular music piece is played and reaches a particular frequency causes the metal plate to vibrate which leads the fisherman to catch and reel in victims into a secluded cabin and grind their body parts into paste.  So therefore, a plot about a chain letter that one person doesn't pass on to other or they die, wouldn't be too outlandish for Slasher fans to jump on board.
                It is amazing that with the hundreds of lousy Slasher flicks developed, year after year, a corny gimmicks such as not responding to a chain letters or you die has not been tackled until 2010 (at least to my movie watching knowledge). Yet, perhaps it is because of the ridiculousness of the premise that the writers attempted to add another angle to this preposterous tale of hack and slash. So they have added a cult bent on destroying technology and the advancement of technology. How do they wish to accomplish this, by ironically using technology to destroy the people that use it the most.  Nothing like a dose of  heavy irony to get people to think twice about their life choices.
                So we get to know  a twenty something group of actors playing high school teens, all of which have received the chain letter and are being knocked off by a large deformed killer. Luckily one of the teens is smarter than the police and starts solving the mystery revolving around the brutal murders. Oh, and to make matter more corny, the murders are all performed with chains, specific chains that are so unique the head cop on the case believes that the type of chain will lead him to the killer. This then has the cop carrying a link of the chain in his pocket around with him to everyone he investigates, like most police he doesn't keep the evidence in a bag, just freely in his pocket.
                So being that the plot is not worth supporting, we would then look to the highlight of most Slasher flicks, tits and gore. Well the tits are there, even right from the start with a non-supporting character barely connected to the films story line. Then we have the over the top gore that doesn't really gross me out because the scenes ignore basic biology and physics of the flesh. The first chronological murder has a man's face and head being cut by two sawing chains. The chain links are about two inches thick and yet cut through the man's face like thin piano wire. This unbelievable massacre is accomplished on screen through the art of editing.  Watching it happen on DVD allowed me to replay the murder to see if my eyes were deceiving me and no they saw what I thought they saw… a terrible film.
Avoid it