Archive for the ‘Giant Pigs’ Category

Journey to the West (2013)

 

JOURNEY TO THE WEST is now available to download on iTunes and to watch on demand. If you have access to New York City, it’s playing at Cinema Village. This is the brief rave I wrote about the movie when I put it in my top ten of 2013. It’s not much but I hope it makes clear how emphatically I recommend it.

 

Journey to the West

 

Journey to the West

 

The way I feel about Stephen Chow’s movies is the way you probably feel about Pixar’s movies. KUNG FU HUSTLE alone is literally perfection. JOURNEY TO THE WEST may not be his single best film, but it’s a, incredibly strong addition to a beautiful filmography.

 

BIG TROUBLE

 

Fleet, funny, broadly universal, and unexpectedly moving, JOURNEY TO THE WEST is the story of a young demon hunter named Tang Sanzang (Wen Zhang) who takes on a wild menagerie of monsters and villains, looking to get them to change their evil ways rather than simply killing them. He’s both aided and bedeviled along the way by a pretty demon hunter known as Miss Duan (Shu Qi) and her gang of killers (including the insanely cute Chrissie Chau), all of whom would prefer the more extreme option. For stone killers, they’re as adorable as it gets.

 

SMILES

 

The relationship between Tang Sanzang and Miss Duan is the through-line of the movie, which otherwise progresses from demon battle to demon battle. The characters voyage through a variety of exciting environments; some inviting, like the open-air river battle against a gigantic fish demon, and others far less inviting, like the hellish domain of the nightmarish pig demon.

 

BIG FISH

 

Most prominently featured is the Monkey King (Huang Bo), the most duplicitous of the creatures but also the most likable and enjoyable. He’s the reason for the movie’s dance sequence, is all I’m saying.

 

DANCE FEVER

 

 

Like all of Stephen Chow’s best-known movies, JOURNEY TO THE WEST reaches heights of joy few movies can match, but it also comes packaged with moments of heartbreak. It’s an epic adventure stuffed with comedy and romance that ends up having agreeably spiritual resonance, based as it is on a classical work of literature dating back to the Ming Dynasty. But then again it also has a giant gorilla. This really does have everything you need from a movie.

 

@jonnyabomb

 

 

Xi you xiang mo pian

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Wanted to clue everyone in to a guest post I did for the terrific movie blog Rupert Pupkin Speaks, which has been inviting all kinds of well-travelled movie writers to contribute their lists of favorite quote-unquote “bad” movies.  (It’s all subjective, right?) 

I think you’ll enjoy this one.  I had a lot of fun putting it together.  I’m very proud to be featured on another site I enjoy, amongst some fun people.  You’ll have to click through to get to the meat of what I wrote, but I wanted to share some posters, still frames, and YouTube clips also, so scroll down for those.

>>>Read my list HERE!!!<<<

If you know me or have stopped by my site before, you know that this is hardly the end of my voyage into tremendous cinematic badness.  It’s only the beginning.

The journey continues! 

Find me on Twitter:  @jonnyabomb.

 

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Predator was released 25 years ago, on July 12th, 1987.  The movie was written by Jim and John Thomas (with possible on-set contributions from Lethal Weapon’s Shane Black, who also played the Sgt. Rock comic-loving Hawkins) and it was directed by John McTiernan (whose very next film was Die Hard) .  It’s one of my favorite movies, so I watched it last night to mark the occasion.

The following is what happens when you deprive me of sleep for a couple weeks and then mix me and an internet connection with a movie I’ve been known to say I love like a brother.

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It’s the 25th anniversary of the original release of Predator.  If you doubt this is a thing I’d actually celebrate, get to know me better!

Here’s to 25 more years of love and friendship! #PREDATOR

“Goodbye” by Alan Silvestri, off the score from Predator. #gonnahavemesomefun

Old Painless. #namestocallmyprivates

The #PREDATOR platoon includes three future lawmakers, the director of Iron Man 3, the director of Sister Act 2, and Carl Weathers. #victory

No one ever remembers poor Poncho. #PREDATOR

“If these guys are Central Americans, I’m a goddamn Chinaman.” (Mac does not appear to possess Asian lineage.) #PREDATOR

Arnold actually never sounds more awkward than when he’s saying swear words.  #PREDATOR

It’s so silly that Arnold is the star of this movie.  Or any movie, really.  It gets weirder the more you think about it.  #PREDATOR

“Hey Billy, get me a way out of this hole.”  #thingsArnoldmightalsosayatanorgy

Fun fact: Carl Weathers and Elpidia Carrillo later reteamed for Dangerous Passion, the insane movie I watched the other night.  #PREDATOR

Fun fact:  The guy in the Predator suit also played Harry in Harry & The Hendersons, which also was released in 1987! #silveranniversary

#PREDATOR has moments of magic that none of the sequels or remakes have been able to approximate. I’m serious!

A partial list would include:

Sonny Landham’s laugh. #PREDATOR

Mac and Blaine’s friendship. #PREDATOR

“We’re all gonna die.”

Billy admitting he’s scared. #PREDATOR

Mac’s moonlight soliloquy. And then the surprise pig attack. #PREDATOR

The razor snapping off against Mac’s cheek. (Mac is kind of the most watchable character for me on this go-round.) #PREDATOR

Carl Weathers’ disembodied arm refusing to lay down and die. #PREDATOR

That splash in the lake the very moment after Arnold collapses in the mud. #PREDATOR

Food for thought: #PREDATOR shows a friendship in irrevocable decline (Dutch & Dillon) against one that will never die (Mac & Blaine).

Or maybe the fact that Dutch tosses Dillon the gun when they split up means there’s [briefly] hope for their friendship after all. #PREDATOR

Dutch tells Anna “he didn’t kill you because you weren’t armed”, yet when Dillon is disarmed (literally) the Predator axes him anyway. #notfair #badpun

The Predator is a total dick, for the record. The won’t-shoot-if-you-don’t-have-a-weapon thing does not at all level the playing field WHEN YOU CAN TURN INVISIBLE.

They love because they are so alike.

It’s worth noting that #PREDATOR is structured a whole lot like a slasher film, with Arnold in the Jamie Lee Curtis role. #genderstudies

I’d love to get Dick Cheney’s take, considering that the Predator is a recreational hunter who royally screws over the American military.

Now realizing that I ranked #PREDATOR too low on my all-time top-50. Gonna be time soon for an update.

But that’s it for now.  Good night, #PREDATOR.  Good night, @Twitter-platoon.  Cuidado a “el cazador trofeo de los hombres.” It’s the hot season.

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See also:  Predators (2010)

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Now go ahead.  Mess with me on Twitter: @jonnyabomb

 

Movies about giant killer pigs are not a common occurrence, but every continent seems to have one.  The best-known feature in the genre is probably 1984’s Razorback, an Australian movie from the director of Highlander.  I haven’t seen that one recently enough to confidently write about it, and I’m not sure I can do better than this, so let’s look at the dark horse candidates.  (Mixing metaphors now…)  Asia’s entry in the competition is Chawz and America’s is called Pig Hunt.  Let’s take a look at these two prize hogs and see who takes home the blue ribbon. 

Chaw, sometimes known as Chawz, is a horror-comedy from Korean director Shin Jung-Won.  Why is it called Chaw? I don’t know. Why is it also known as Chawz?  I don’t know.  It’s a Korean horror-comedy. We may not need to ask such questions, because there may not be an answer. The only word we have in America that makes any sense of the word Chaw has to do with chewing tobacco, and that product has no correlation with this movie, except for the fact that somebody was probably smoking something somewhere.

Apparently, in Korea there is a very real problem with wild boars. Their territory is being encroached by development, and so as a result of these belligerent animals being displaced, there have been several incidents of farm animals, pets, and even people being attacked. 
 
So one could conceivably read Chaw as a commentary on modern events. One could do that. But why must one justify their enjoyment of a giant killer pig movie by referencing its timeliness and environmental conscience? And why must one refer to oneself as “one”?  One sounds just a little bit pretentious.  One needs to loosen up  Anyway:  Chaw.
 
The story of Chaw is blatantly, blissfully derivative. A young policeman with a ripe pregnant wife is re-assigned to a mountain village that is famously “crimeless” — anybody else here seen Hot Fuzz? — and of course the body count starts rising. Much like the Mayor of Amityville, the cloddish town officials are hesitant to close down the mountain, until the death toll becomes too big to ignore. At that point, they call in a big game hunter (who looks like All-Star ex-Yankee Hideki Matsui), and a super-team of monster-trackers hits the trail.
 
Most of the movie’s action is cribbed from Jaws, almost shockingly brazenly so, although there are direct swipes from Aliens, Predator, the aforementioned Razorback, Sleepy Hollow (!), and Jurassic Park (the whole bit with the footsteps causing water to ripple). 
 
It’s most like Jaws, only doubled and enhanced – the young scientist character that we Americans remember Richard Dreyfuss for is recast here as a cute chick (an improvement). The pony-tailed Matsui hunter guy isn’t the only Quint-like character in Chaw — there’s also an old recluse with a personal vendetta against the beast —  but he’s the most memorable one because he has much weirder quirks than stewing shark jaws and scratching chalkboards. What I’m telling you is that he talks to his dogs. What I’m really telling you is that his dogs talk to him. His pair of hunting dogs, Mighty and Mickey, get killed by the giant boar, and then later appear in hallucinations and demand revenge.
 
I’m going to stop here and declare that if you’re not at all interested in a Korean remake of Jaws that swaps out the shark for a giant killer pig and has a talking ghost dog in it to boot, I don’t know what to tell you. You might be on the wrong website, and you’re most definitely reading the wrong writer. 
 
I loved this movie. It’s crazy, it’s silly, it’s way too long for what it is, it’s well-photographed, it’s sharply satirical, it’s occasionally really dumb, and it has the most bizarre and unnecessary post-script sequence in recent memory.
 
(SPOILER: After the monster pig is vanquished and the sequel is set up via a Leone-style close-up over a baby pig’s vengeance-crazed eyes, we find out what has happened to a character we previously assumed was dead. He’s trussed up and tortured in a Fatal Attraction kind of scenario by a peripheral eccentric character, which just makes one more random reference for this movie to add to its checklist.)
 
Before I got to see Chaw. I’d seen many comparisons to The Host, but Chaw is much sillier than The Host, and that’s a movie which has a pretty good sense of humor to begin with. Chaw has its own anarchic sense of humor, and a giddy enthusiasm about movies in general and giant killer pigs in particular. I wish that more movies would take themselves less seriously, the way this one does. It’s a whole lot of fun.
 
 
Rating:  “Squeeeeeeeeeeee!”
 
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Meanwhile, the Americans have served up Pig Hunt, a low-budget creature feature from the director of Skinwalkers, which was a decent movie by werewolf-genre standards.  That’s shorthand for saying that while I’d rather watch a werewolf movie than a Meryl Streep movie, most werewolf movies aren’t very good at all.  So if Skinwalkerswas an okay movie by those standards,  it won’t warrant a mention in Cahiers du Cinéma.  And Pig Hunt is actually a step backwards in the quality department. 
 
Pig Hunt stars no one I’d ever heard of, as a conspicuously diverse group of friends who leave San Francisco to go on a weekend hunting trip.  There’s the main hero, just short of a redneck, his badass Asian girlfriend, a gun-crazy black guy in camo gear who wields a .44 Magnum and no discernible acting ability, a supremely dopey Filipino guy in a wool cap, and a chubby dork with the kind of frantic expression on his face that tells an audience that before movie’s end, he’s either going to be raped or killed.
 
The press materials for Pig Hunt advertise it as a blend of Jaws, Deliverance, and Diner.  On that last point, seriously, what the fuck?, but at least you can see what they were going for on the first two reference points.  It’s just that Pig Hunt was not made on the level of craft of a Steven Spielberg or a John Boorman.  (No pun intended; he’s the director of Deliverance.) Which is weird, because the problems with Skinwalkers weren’t technical — despite whatever story concerns there were, it was an accomplished, stylish movie that looked like a movie.  There are a few pretty shots, but not many, and besides, taken together the movie doesn’t fit together smoothly.  Pig Hunt looks like a SyFy movie, at best.  It’s not just a budgetary question.  I mean, they clearly had some money.  The giant pig looks pretty good!  That is, when the movie finally gets to him.
 
The biggest problem with Pig Hunt is pretty simple to pin down: Not enough pig.  This movie concerns itself with a whole lot of things besides a giant pig, like weed farmers, angry hicks, and dog murders, and actually seems to forget about the giant pig until the very end of the movie.  There is an awful lot of character interaction between some pretty awful stock characters before you ever get to THE THING ON THE DAMN POSTER THAT MADE A WEIRDO LIKE ME WANT TO WATCH THIS MOVIE. 
 
 
Look, if you want to make a political allegory or a social satire or whatever else somebody (such as SF critic Mick LaSalle) thought was going on in this movie, maybe it muddies the point a little bit when you punctuate it with a gigantic pig puppet.  Because ultimately, and maybe I’m just not much of a political guy, but I’d rather just see the pig puppet. 
 
I’m no Communist, but if I’m being honest, after Chaw I have to concede that Pig Hunt is only the second-best giant-boar movie released in 2009.  The Asians did it better, basically.
 
Rating:  Not so “Squeeeeeeeeeeee!”
 
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Africa, South America, Europe, and Antarctica… you guys are up.  Time to enter the intercontinental hog run.  Let’s see what you guys can do with a giant pig and a movie camera.
 

Now on DVD: CHAWZ.

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Giant Pigs, Movies (C)

When I originally wrote about Chawz, it was called Chaw. Normally I can’t endorse adding “Z”s to anything, but in this case I won’t press the issue. Korea has a different set of rules when it comes to douchebaggery. And besides, how seriously must I take a movie about a giant killer pig?  Thankfully, not very. This is a fun, silly movie, and I recommend that you read this piece and then run out and get the DVD. (With a side of boneless spare ribs.)
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Chaw is a movie about a giant killer pig. Do you really need more?
Chaw is a recent Korean film from director Shin Jung-Won that screened as part of the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. Why is it called Chaw? I don’t know. It’s Korean. We may not need to ask such questions, because there may not be an answer. The only word we have in America that makes any sense of the word Chaw has to do with chewing tobacco, and that product has no correlation with this movie.
Apparently, in Korea there is a very real problem with wild boars. Their territory is being encroached by development, and so as a result of these belligerent animals being displaced, farm animals, pets, and even people have been attacked. So one could conceivably read Chaw as a commentary on modern events. One could do that. But why must one justify their enjoyment of a giant killer pig movie by referencing its timeliness and environmental conscience? And why must one refer to oneself as “one”?  One sounds just a little bit pretentious.  Anyway:  Chaw.
The story of Chaw is blatantly, blissfully derivative. A young policeman with a ripe pregnant wife is re-assigned to a mountain village that is famously “crimeless” (anybody else here seen Hot Fuzz?), and of course the body count starts rising. Much like the Mayor of Amityville, the cloddish town officials are hesitant to close down the mountain, until the death toll becomes too big to ignore. At that point, they call in a big game hunter (who looks like All-Star ex-Yankee Hideki Matsui) and a super-team of monster-trackers hits the trail.
Most of the movie’s action is cribbed from Jaws, almost shockingly brazenly so, although there are direct swipes from Aliens, Predator, Razorback, Sleepy Hollow (!), and Jurassic Park (the whole bit with the footsteps causing water to ripple). It’s like Jaws, only doubled and enhanced – the young scientist character that we Americans remember Richard Dreyfuss for is recast here as a cute chick (improvement). The pony-tailed Matsui hunter guy isn’t the only Quint-like character in Chaw (there’s also an old recluse with a personal vendetta against the beast), and he even arrives with weirder quirks. What I’m telling you is that he talks to his dogs. What I’m really telling you is that his dogs talk to him. His pair of hunting dogs, Mighty and Mickey, get killed by the giant boar, and then later appear in hallucinations and demand revenge.
I’m going to stop here and declare that if you’re not at all interested in a Korean remake of Jaws that swaps out the shark for a giant killer pig and has a talking ghost dog in it to boot, I don’t know what to tell you. You might be on the wrong website, and you’re certainly reading the wrong writer. I loved this movie. It’s crazy, it’s silly, it’s way too long for what it is, it’s well-photographed, it’s sharply satirical, it’s occasionally really dumb, and it has the most bizarre and unnecessary post-script sequence in recent memory.
(SPOILER: After the monster pig is vanquished and the sequel is set up via a Leone-style close-up over a baby pig’s vengeance-crazed eyes, we find out what has happened to a character we previously assumed was dead. He’s trussed up and tortured in a Fatal Attraction kind of scenario by a peripheral eccentric character, which just makes one more random reference for this movie to add to its checklist.)
I’m so glad I got to see Chaw. I’d seen many comparisons to The Host beforehand, but it’s much sillier than The Host, a movie which has a pretty good sense of humor to begin with. Chaw has its own anarchic sense of humor, and a giddy enthusiasm about movies in general and giant killer pigs in particular. I wish that more movies would take themselves less seriously, the way this one does. It’s a whole lot of fun.
And there, I got through this entire review without a single bacon joke,


As seen on Mapcidy.com:

There are so many year-end lists on so many sites that it’s hard to know who to listen to anymore.  To help, Mapcidy has parsed the best lists from across the internet to select the best of the best, those lists that were that much more interesting and taste-making and life-changing than the rest. 

Naturally, this list of the ten best lists has a bias towards movies and movie-making, because who am I kidding with the indirect third person?  It’s me, your beloved Mapcidy Entertainment Editor, who saw over a hundred movies this year and has movies stamped on most brain activity at this point.

Without any further foreplay, here they are in all their glory:

10.  Edgar Wright’s Top 10 Movies Of The Year (The Playlist)

Like Quentin Tarantino before him, Edgar Wright, the director of Shaun Of The Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is as talented a curator and well-travelled a film enthusiast as he is a spirited filmmaker.  (Here’s Quentin’s, by the way.)  The Playlist got Wright to expound upon the shorter Top 10 list he made for GQ, making time to include his Most Underrated.

9.  New York’s Most Interesting Street Art of 2010 (Gothamist)

Gothamist posted a photo gallery of the most compelling graffiti and street art to be seen in and around New York City over the past year.  I’ve always had an interest in this equally lauded and derided art form, but especially after this year’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, this gallery is really cool to see all in one place.

8.  The 20 Hottest Women In Westerns (Complex)

I’ve kind-of-sort-of covered this territory myself – here and here – but this list by hip-hop lifestyle mag Complex has made several very different (but equally valid) choices.  Notice how theirs and mine end on exactly the same number-one, though.  Couldn’t be any other.

7. Horror Icons’ Top 10 Horror Films (Total Film)

To commemorate Halloween in 2010, the terrific UK film magazine Total Film polled some of the most prominent horror directors of today and yesterday, in order to find out what each one chose as his/her favorite scary movies of all time.  This prestigious grouping includes George Romero, John Landis, John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Neil Marshall, Alexandre Aja, Gareth Edwards, and Edgar Wright (him again!), and naturally it prompted yours truly to come up with an alternate list of thirteen – a slightly more appropriate number, I think.

6. The Top Twenty Internet Lists of 2010 (Nerve)

You want to get meta?  Let’s get meta!  I know it’s like being granted three wishes and wishing for more wishes, but let’s face it, that’s the first thing I’d try if I ever met a real genie.  Here’s a list of twenty more great lists from the past year, including the Top 15 Douchiest John Mayer Quotes, 25 Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber, 50 Worst States In America, Top 10 Hungover Owls, and Top 10 Animals That Don’t Have Asses.

5.  Filmography 2010 (Genrocks)

Mapcidy featured this excellent compilation video when it made the internet rounds a couple weeks back.  It’s an impressive piece of editing that makes everything look good by proximity.

4. The Best Viral Videos Of 2010 (Videogum)

Viral videos and internet memes are a daily part of our computer-using lives at this point – at their best, showing us something we never expected and often making us laugh at the same time, and at worst… well, plenty of examples come to mind.  Like Genrocks’ Filmography 2010, though, this mash-up mega-mix makes it all seem symphonic and even epic, giving the best of us and the worst of us alike the impression that we’re all in this humanity shit together.

3. The Ten Awesomest Movies About Fighting (Television Without Pity)

TVWOP’s Zach Oat wrote an impeccable list of the ten greatest fight films, in honor of both Scott Pilgrim and The Fighter.  This inspired me to provide a list of ten solid runner’s-up.  Zach’s a particularly keen list-maker, and prolific, so be sure to seek out his stuff at Television Without Pity.

2.  The Best Cat Videos Of 2010 (In 90 Seconds) (Gawker)

This is just irresistible.  Cats are the funniest animal on the planet, even funnier than monkeys, owls, and Zach Galifianakises.  And I’m very vocally a dog person, so that takes a lot to admit.

1. The Last Airbender & 50 Other Movie Titles That Sound Like Types Of Doody (Mapcidy)

Hey, if you were on the ballot for President Of The United States, wouldn’t you vote for yourself too?

Happy 2011, everybody!

Chaw is a movie about a giant killer pig. Do you really need more?