Double Feature: Bug (2006) & You Get Me (2017)

 Another double feature here today! Tax season makes for a lot of background film watching. Gotta get something positive from the boring tax preparation, right? 😉

Two odd and random choices for myself since these two are two films that I wasn’t particularly completely invested in which was great for the criteria of being a background film. The first is 2006’s psychological thriller Bug with one of the debut roles of Michael Shannon played alongside Ashley Judd. Followed up by Netflix Original You Get Me starring Bella Thorne in a role outside of her normal bitchy high school girl, which is replaced by an obsessive character. I guess in some psychological way, these two do have something in common.

Let’s check it out!

Bug (2006)

bug

Director: William Friedkin

Cast: Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr., Lynn Collins, Brian F. O’Byrne

An unhinged war veteran holes up with a lonely woman in a spooky Oklahoma motel room. The line between reality and delusion is blurred as they discover a bug infestation. – IMDB

Where do I even start with Bug? In a completely spontaneous viewing, I checked out Bug on Shudder. What started out with something of generic story of a lady, played by Ashley Judd, hiding away from her ex,, played by Harry Connick Jr.  after he was released from prison and meets a stranger, played by Michael Shannon who she ends up falling in love with. Its easy to chalk this movie away in its opening moments but as the plot thickens once we start see the relationship between Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon gets deeper, it gets so much more thrilling than the threat of Harry Connick Jr’s character showing up. Although, I do have to say that I thought Harry Connick Jr did such a great job at being the ex. I’ve only seen him in some romantic drama with Sandra Bullock. I think it was Hope Floats (review).

The question here really lies in whether you believe Michael Shannon’s character and the conspiracy theory that he believes in…or is it the reality? The movie does a great job as his crazy actions expand to where Ashley Judd’s character believes it also. As they get more unhinged, the blur in reality and delusion (as mentioned in the summary above) is the key element of the psychological thriller and its executed in a pretty competent way. Right up to the end, even when some extra characters come into the scene, it proves the theory and then denies it and its just a crazy trip you take with these characters. Whatever you want to make of the ending will depend on how you would analyze the whole thing and get out of the movies.

Props here goes to both the wonderful cast here. It always baffles me how underrated Michael Shannon is because in every role I’ve seen him in, he just does a great job. Convincing and believeable role. The story is thrilling and full of questions and as these questions bug these characters, we are wondering what is the same thing and the reality and delusion. The more I think about it, the more I want to watch it again and see if I can pick up something else.

You Get Me (2017)

you get me

Director: Brent Bonacorso

Cast: Taylor John Smith, Bella Thorne, Halston Sage, Nash Grier, Anna Akana

Tyler’s crazy in love with his perfect girlfriend Ali, but when a big fight makes him and Ali break up, he lands in the arms of sexy out-of-towner Holly who shows him a night he’s gonna remember. The next morning he finds that not only is Ali taking him back, but Holly is a new student at their school and is dead set on her new man. – IMDB

I’m definitely in a 50/50 feeling for this one. I guess it explains how I’ve never been more certain about giving this one a 2.5/5 on Letterboxd. You  Get Me isn’t particularly innovative. It leans into a lot of predictable territory. However, the execution isn’t all bad. They do some nice shots and a good progression from some sweet moments in the beginning that spirals more and more out of control. I’d have to say that a lot of the greatness in this movie is that to date (from what I’ve seen, haven’t seen The Babysitter yet), I feel like Bella Thorne delivers one of her best performances. She’s always been a fairly one dimensional actress where she is the bitchy self-centred teenage girl role. This time, she dumps the bitchy and brings in the crazy and man, she definitely delivers it.

Sure, You Get Me never really hits the dangerous levels because it doesn’t seem like it would step into something so extreme, even though Netflix Originals usually do get some extreme if they wanted. There are some nice sexy scenes. Other than Bella Thorne standing out and Taylor John Smith being okay as the male lead since he is a decently attractive dude, I wasn’t too on board with the monologues he did. It felt so unnecessary and preachy about life and whatever. It wasn’t his acting that bothered me but just the script for that part. It was trying too hard to be deeper than the movie actually was. There are some thrilling moments but unfortunately, its one that is easy to watch and had a few tense moments but still never reaches the potential it could have reached as it didn’t break out of the predictable territory.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Bug and/or You Get Me?

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Recap: Goodfood #17

Goodfood

Time for last week’s Goodfood recap!

Shrimp Sushi Bowl
with Seared Edamame, Cucumber & Carrots

Shrimp Sushi Bowl

Shrimp Sushi Bowl was the meal I looked forward to the most in this box. Everything worked pretty well. Making the carrots was a bit of a pain but it still tasted fairly decent. However,  there’s something that just didn’t seem to be absolutely awesome. Although, my favorite part is the seared edamames. Oh boy, those were so tasty. I would definitely try to see where I can find it soon and sear some to eat.

Honey-Dijon Chicken
with Zuchinni Slaw & Orzo

honey dijon chicken

Orzo and Chicken and honey-dijon are all super awesome for this meal. I didn’t try out the zucchini slaw since I don’t eat raw foods but my husband liked it quite a bit for the freshness and the crunchy taste of everything. The best part of this meal was how simple it was to make. It estimated about 20 minutes and did take about 30 minutes for myself since I’m slow at grating food. It just hows how recipes don’t need to be over complicated to taste good.

Roasted Chicken Thighs
with Root Vegetables & Fennel Slaw

roasted chicken thighs

Double chicken menus are always welcome in our household. When its a one pan solution, it gets even better. The only deal here was that I had put the lemon juice on the dish at the end and boy was it overpowering the dish. Maybe it was because I let it sit too long before eating it for lunch. However, it still worked well for what it was. The spices were really good and it had a nice balance between veggies and meat. I’ve realized that this is one of the few ways I do enjoy eating fennel so this one is a decent win.

Mosto Cotto-Glazed Pork Chops
with Millet, Kohlrabi & Dried Cranberry Salad

mosto cotto-glazed pork chops

The final meal of the box was the one that we weren’t too sure about. We do love pork chops but didn’t really know what Mosto Cotto is. However, this one turned out quite tasty. The millet, kohlrabi and dried cranberry salad turned out to be pretty good as well with a nice crunch. My husband wanted more walnuts but the balance was all there. This was a good meal also.

Overall, this box was pretty good. It didn’t have anything that particularly blew our minds but a lot of the flavors were there and it was all fairly efficient meals. Ticks the boxes I like about getting these boxes. Some new ingredients that we’ve never tried out also which is also part of the experience and why we keep getting it.

Double Feature: Bullhead (2011) & The Shape of Water (2017)

Next up in the recaps is an odd combo, I’d guess. Probably should have taken the next double features movies (since I’m way ahead on watching movies but way behind on reviewing them). Either way, it is what it is. As I work through the Shudder movies, Bullhead came up which I wanted to watch because I love Matthias Schoenaerts. And then, I remembered that I had a rental that was almost due for The Shape of Water so here we are with two features with nothing in common except that they are both dramas.

Let’s just check it out!

Bullhead (original title: Rundskop, 2011)

Bullhead

Director (and writer): Michael R. Roskam

Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Jeanne Dandoy, Tibo Vandenborre,  Frank Lamars

Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Jacky, a young cattle farmer who is constantly pumped on steroids and hormones, is approached by a veterinarian to make a deal with a notorious beef trader. – IMDB

Before we start this up, there’s a serious language labelling issue on Shudder. It said this was in English but its not. Bullhead is in Limburgish, Dutch and French. The French parts are the only ones that I had any ease at watching although it was fairly good subtitles. Regardless of that, Bullhead is quite an interesting movie. I don’t think that the crime part did a whole lot for me but the intriguing part is in watching Jacky, played by Matthias Schoenaerts as he grasps his character so well, with its aggression, pain and complex emotions. Its more of a character study than anything because everyone lacks depth in comparison to Jacky who we start learning about his past and why he is the way he is. There is a lot of unspoken moments and I love movies that can deliver those moments well.

Honestly, this movie is fairly slow-paced and requires a little bit of patience. It is a dramatic and at times, a little off-putting. Overall, Bullhead might not exactly be a great crime thriller that it was cut out for but Matthias Schoenaerts taking on the role of the main character Jacky is exceptional.

The Shape of Water (2017)

the shape of water

Director (and co-writer): Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones

At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity. – IMDB 

Exceptional style and great visuals are two things to always expect in Guillermo del Toro films and The Shape of Water is no exception. There is a real balance between its colorful characters, thanks to an outstanding cast, along with its music/soundtrack paired up with the great visuals and set and how can we forget the Amphibian Man. While I can’t say that I think the story was particularly great, it did hit a lot of great elements and it derived from a story using a mute girl, played by Sally Hawkins who can’t seem to fit in and be heard but finds her place in only a few friends but it seems to truly make her come alive when she encounters the Amphibian Man. The lack of talking on her part emphasizes on how skillful Sally Hawkins was in her role as it gave her moments a lot of time to just imagine what she would do next but never quite know until she’s doing it.

As great as the visuals and the music here, the cast here shines also. Sally Hawkins, as I mentioned above is great in her role and hard to imagine any chemistry between her and an Amphibian Man but she manages to get there and at the same time, also let her character grow and develop. Octavia Spencer is always a joy to watch on screen. She has so much charisma and attitude that she truly embraces her role while Richard Jenkins plays a character somewhat the opposite of her character but also shows his worth and how everyone of them has their struggle to find their worth as well. And its how these two people are also friends with Sally Hawkins’ character. Now, let me take a breath as I talk about Michael Shannon because oh my goodness, is he a great actor? You can probably go back to the movies I’ve reviewed of his and you’ll see me say that also. I never think about Michael Shannon but whenever he shows up in a movie, he just is awesome and its no different here as he plays the villain. I actually had actual moments of disgust and hatred towards his character by the end. Its really a great thing one someone can carry a role in such a believable way.

Overall, there is so much to love about The Shape of Water. I don’t know if its Best Picture material since I haven’t seen the other nominations but this one is a must-watch. Its not quite as spectacular as some of del Toro’s earlier work but it tells a fantastic story and the soundtrack and visuals are great. There are some great sets here. What I love most about this story is the way they end it. Some people mess up the ending but this one I think ended it in such a smart way.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these films?

My Weekly Adventures #63 What’s Up Revival!

My Weekly Adventures

Nothing much happened in the last two weeks. Just some quick and easy stuff to go through!

Meals with Friends

Jack Saloon

Easter weekend was an eventful one. For one, it was my birthday. On Monday when I got back to work, lets just say it was really stressful in an eventful way also. My husband however had the week off and decided to hang out with some friends and we went out for dinner at Jack Saloon’s. Its been years since we’ve gone there and I went back to get a pulled pork sandwich. I can’t say it was as great as when I had it a few years back though. It was still pretty good but not quite like I remembered it. However, the company was spectacular and entertaining so that is what matters.

Marshmallow WandsThen the weekend afterwards happened. If you missed it, Battle of Ingredients also happened. You can find the post HERE. I made a few veggie dishes and this easy marshmallow wand dessert.

Le Cartet

As per tradition, one of my good friends took me out for breakfast. I need to spend some time to research a new breakfast place to go to but this place called Le Cartet in Old Montreal is just so delicious. This is called Le Canton or something like that and its absolutely delicious. I love it to actual bits. It also is quite filling so I really only have this for my birthday breakfast. Next year though, I’ll figure out somewhere else to try.

Kickstarter Rewards

Its been a week of rewards coming back. The first came in the mail just as I was looking through Twitter and saw a lot of people already received it but I hadn’t yet just to get home and find it in the mailbox. tis the Wayward Sister Anthology. TO Comics is now one of my favorite comics. I backed this project just because I had read one of their books and loved it so much. I recently also backed another one of their projects. I’m hoping to get to this one after my mountain of books and commitments are done, which might take a month but I’ll get there. When I need a change in palette, I go for comics/graphic novels.

Second reward I got back was for The Black Gloves, which is a film from the director of Lord of Tears, which was the first project I backed of his on Kickstarter. The review is HERE if you don’t know about the movie. Wow, 2013 movie and five years later and I’m now about to back his 4th film project (as soon as I work out some finances). I still have to review the last two films but Laurie Brewster (the director mentioned) has such a great eye for horror. Its a little odd and awkward but I love the tone that he sets and the atmosphere and just how he puts it together. Anyways, I know that he wrote that The Black Gloves is now available on Amazon so here’s the link if you want to check it out.

Snapchat Fun

My husband’s family loves to play around with Snapchat. I never quite got into it until recently..and boy was that a can of worms I did not need to open. It is pretty adorable and cute..the filters, not me. I’m not too into my own selfies so posting that kind of took some confidence. These posts is about what I’ve been discovering in life. I tell you, this Snapchat thing is quite hilarious, especially when its not for myself like the one below.

What’s Up Revival

It seems I have so many announcements in these things that I lose track of what is brewing up in my head! Anyways, this is the final one for a while. As I try to expand more content on my own Youtube channel since there’s no unboxing right now and its just sitting dormant, I decided that I’ll be reviving the What’s Up segment as a video format. That way, I can recap on films that I’ve seen and for those of you who subscribe, it’ll be an earlier capsule of things I’ve seen and usually an earlier short opinion of it. I’m about to film the first one soon (like tonight) so depending on the length since I usually go through movies and games and TV series, I might cut them into different segments to go up on different days of the week since I don’t want any part to be more than 10 minutes. I mean, who has more than 10 minutes to sit there and watch or listen to me ramble about these things, right?

I do want to eventually expand to some vlog stuff or opinion pieces and random thoughts but I never seem to have any recording stuff with me whenever I’m in those situations. I’m going to work it into my schedule slowly and we’ll get there. 🙂

Yet again, if there are any topics or whatnot that you have suggestions for what would be interesting content for the Youtube channel, suggest away in the comments and I’ll give it all a thought. I miss the days when I took recommendations for movies. It helped me credit others in this wonderful community.

Cute Kitty Pic

 

Sunday Lists: Abigail Breslin Roles, Best to Worst

Abigail Breslin has been in the acting business for over 10 years. In fact, her debut role started in 2002 with Signs. She’s been a lot of movies since then and taken on a wide range of roles from independent films to downright Hollywood blockbusters. She’s worked with some great actors and actresses. Today’s task is to rank her roles from best to worst.

The list will be updated as I watch some of the roles I haven’t caught up with yet. For now, it will highlight the top 5 roles with a little of why I’ve placed them there. As I see more roles than 10 of them, I’ll expand on it with the updates.

Olive Hoover -Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Olive Hoover

Review

Little Miss Sunshine in itself is an odd independent film but just so well done in so many elements. Not surprising that their own Little Miss Sunshine who is the innocent one in this family is played by Abigail Breslin in a much younger role. Her youth and her fun role as Olive Hoover really is a captivating one. She might be the youngest but she is the glue of the messed up family that she is in. If you haven’t seen Little Miss Sunshine, let me tell you, it is a treat.

Little Rock – Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland Little Rock

Review

Probably one of the most bad-ass roles for Abigail Breslin (at least from what I’ve seen as of this point), she takes the role of a gun-toting girl running with her rag tag group away from zombies. This is a great role for her to see how much of a smart-ass she was and really keep up with being the youngster in the group.

Nim Rusoe – Nim’s Island (2008)

nim's island

This is the first role I ever saw of Abigail Breslin and it was the one that really stood out for me especially as she played across Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. She captured Nim’s adventurous spirit really well. It adds a lot of entertaining and fun moments that takes you for a wild ride through her island while just holding her fort and being brave while her father was away.

Anna Fitzgerald – My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

my sister's keeper

Review

One big heavy role for Abigail Breslin in My Sister’s Keeper as Anna Fitzgerald, playing a sister who goes to court with her parents for emancipation so that she doesn’t have to be born just to save her sister. Family drama at its best but Abigail Breslin takes on this role with so much heart. It was a great job as she plays across from Cameron Diaz who plays as her furious mother who doesn’t understand why she’s doing what she is.

Maya Hayes – Definitely, Maybe (2008)

Definitely Maybe

Abigail Breslin plays something of a supporting role here since she plays a daughter called Maya who asks her dad, played by Ryan Reynolds, to figure who her mother is as he tells her love story. She makes child-like remarks especially when he talks about buying cigarette and making the love story take little cute breaks. She honestly takes on the smart-mouth kid role so well and she has being incredibly cute on her side to make up for it instead of coming up annoying (which a lot of kid actors have that problem).

Haunter – Lisa (2013) Review
Casey Welson – The Call (2013) Review
Valentine Wiggin – Ender’s Game (2013) Review
Zoe – No Reservations (2007) Review
Hailey – New Year’s Eve (2011) Review
Veronica – Final Girl (2015) Review

Can’t remember or haven’t seen

Signs – Bo Hess
Raising Helen – Sarah Davis
Princess Diaries 2 – Parade Girl Carolina
Keane – Kira Bedik
Chestnut: Hero of New Central Park – Ray
The Ultimate Gift – Emily Rose
Santa Clause 3: Escape Clause – Trish
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl – Kit Kittredge
Quantum Quest – Jeana (voice)
Janie Jone – Janie Jones
Rango – Priscilla (voice)
Zambezia – Zoe (voice)
August: Osage County – Jean Fordham
Perfect Sisters – Sandra Anderson
Maggie – Maggie Vogel
Fear, Inc. – Jennifer Adams
Freak Show – Lynette
Yamasong: March of the Hollows – Nani

TV Binge: Gilmore Girls (Season 6, 2006)

To see the TV binge for Gilmore Girls Season 5, check it out HERE.

Its been a long journey getting these TV binges in. I sometimes feel like it just gave me a reason to watching Gilmore Girls over and over and over again. Not that I need a reason to watch it since its so incredibly feel good and fun. After quite the turn of events that ended Season 5, we start Season 6 with a pretty new type of scenario and perhaps it is what the show needs in terms of change, or maybe not.

As always, if you haven’t seen the previous seasons and there will definitely be spoilers, so consider yourselves warned!

Gilmore Girls (Season 6, 2006)

Gilmore Girls Season 6

Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino

Cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Keiko Agena, Liza Weil, Melissa McCarthy, Yanic Truesdale, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann, Sean Gunn

Season 6 is a really fun ride. On one hand, the changes here work for the better because we truly see Lorelai and Rory apart and the other aspects of their life grow as they focus on other things in each of their lives. On the other hand, their relationship can also be very frustrating especially because Rory always seems to be this less refined version of Lorelai who doesn’t quite find herself and her individuality. However, it gives her character a lot of development as she questions her path eventually.

This season had a lot packed into it. Luke and Lorelai get ready for their wedding while Lorelai and Rory go through half the season separated. During this time, Lorelai gets a dog while Rory serves her hundreds of hours (literally) of community service while working at the DAR and spying as intel and event organizing as well with her grandmother.

Lorelai and Luke

gilmore girls

Talk about a roller coaster ride, right? Lorelai and Luke was in focus the whole season as they go from one obstacle to the next. It seems that they never quite get their break. But then, you could say that its all part of them figuring themselves out and getting their ducks on a row before finally being together, right? In many ways, we got to see how they are at their best and of course, at their worst and how they treat each of these situations.

Paul Anka

Gilmore Girls

Its weird to mention a supporting part like Lorelai’s dog Paul Anka but in the first few seasons, we already knew that Lorelai is not a pet person since she lacks maturity in herself. However, we do see that when she got Paul Anka, just like the quirky name that she chooses for it, he is just as quirky as the Gilmore Girls are and is a perfect fit. Its always a fun time whenever they talk about Paul Anka and just adds on to the awesomeness of the show.

Rory’s Detour

Gilmore Girls

Rory takes a big detour in life and completely changes course from where she wants to go because of one road bump. It is a completely necessary detour because everyone needs to have that at one point or another in their life to realize how the hard times makes you stronger and fight even harder to achieve what you want as it gives you a clearer image of what you want (if that makes any sense). Being away from Lorelai and owning up to her mistakes and seeing what she is capable of doing and what she wants and doesn’t want, its all part of Rory’s character development and this season, there’s a big focus on her character growing up and finding herself in a way. Plus, the part where she comes back and has to embrace the break-up with Logan while going to see the psychologist and see how she just breaks down from everything is hilarious.

Jess’s Cameo

Gilmore Girls

Its no secret at this point if you’ve been following these TV Binges for Gilmore Girls that I love Jess. Its sad to see that his relationship with Rory never got further than it did but he keeps having cameos and thats always a welcome thing in my book. In this season, he gets two cameos which act as something of a wake-up call for Rory in her life choices because Jess knows what she can do and believes in what she can accomplish even when she doubts herself. Even if he is really blunt with his words. But that is the charm of Jess and I’d like to think that we all meet a Jess in our lives who is the person who tells you off when you are doing something dumb or stupid and puts you back into the right path. With that said, its why I love how even without having Jess as a regular but just in cameo and we’ve seen how his character has grown and matured and has turned into a positive influence on Rory’s life.

Lorelai & Emily

Gilmore Girls

Every season of Gilmore Girls has included a ton of great moments with Emily and Lorelai Gilmore as we watch this mother and daughter come back together no matter how different they are. It feels like they’ve never had as much progress as this season as Emily and Richard truly embrace Lorelai’s choice and realize that Lorelai does know best in some situations. It does help that this season included so many situation and rifts that truly pulled them together and Lorelai can’t help but to look to her mother for support by the end.

April

Gilmore Girls

A plot point that truly comes out of the left field is the appearance of Luke’s daughter, April who is a very smart 12 year old who really doesn’t have many social skills. You can take a stab at where she probably gets it from since Luke doesn’t deal well with other people or detecting social cues and such. This does lead to some hilariously awkward moments especially since April is fairly blunt when she speaks. It fits into the tone of the show and her character adds on a new layer to Luke’s character as well. I personally like April quite a bit even if she’s not too frequently there.

Dragonfly Inn Crew

Gilmore Girls

I always feel like I don’t give enough credit to Sookie and Michel which is Lorelai’s great partners in her business. They always retain some great funny moments. Between Sookie’s carelessness and her obsession with cooking and Michel’s feisty and sass and neverending sarcastic comments, its a fun ride with them. Dragonfly Inn takes a big part this season especially when the town events officially affect them especially with the change in street names.

Rory and Logan

Gilmore Girls

Its also no secret that I’m not much of a Logan sort of girl. However, Logan does have his moments even if he makes dumb decisions but Rory is the girl who reforms him to knowing how to be a boyfriend and deal with a relationship because he’s never had one before. Its a learning curve and while their relationship has their ups and downs, Logan’s character also has a lot of growth and maturity when he’s with Rory at least. When she’s not there, well…lets just say he still manages to go back to make dumb life choices. So can you really change someone? The life questions that Gilmore Girls brings up while being entertaining, right?

Overall, that kind of sums up the season except for say Lane and Zach getting married without heading too much into spoiler territory. Now, Season 6 was a true ride. There were some fantastic moments and hilarious ones. It had character development and lots of character cameos and revisits. There was a lot packed into one season. that made it work out in all kinds of ways and I actually love Season 6 quite a bit. Not really as much as Season 3 or 5. This one did seem like too much was going on at times but it spent a lot of time with the relationships here and it all worked together to be a fun watch. The season finale was kind of a bummer though…thats how it gets us to keep going into Season 7 but thats for next recap, coming up hopefully soon. 🙂

Double Feature: Seoul Station (2016) & Audition (1999)

Welcome to a Friday edition of Double Feature!

My initial plan at the beginning of the year was that Fridays would be for sharing my dive into Asian cinema (more particularly Hong Kong films) but hey, I’m a fan of all kinds of movies so as I ease back into the Asian cinema world, I’m heading into another Shudder double feature with Audition (1999) recommended to me by my fantastic co-host Elwood and the prequel of one of my favorite zombie movies, Seoul Station. Japanese and Korean double feature. This one is all kinds of different tags for why it works as a double feature already.

I’ve heard good stuff for both of these movies so I’m excited to check them out!

Seoul Station (2016)

seoul station

Director (and writer): Sang-ho Yeon

Voice Cast: Ryu Seung-ryong, Shim Eun-kyung, Lee Joon

Several groups of people try to survive a zombie pandemic that unleashes itself in downtown Seoul. – IMDB

With the massive success of Train to Busan (review), its hard to pass up the prequel that started the story. Seoul Station takes us back to where it all started pretty much. Although, who did bite the poor homeless man? We never will know how it started but Seoul Station focuses on a few people whose lives are intertwined and are escaping for their lives as the people around them are infested and attack the people around them. These clueless characters learn about what the zombies are capable of and that well, they are actually the undead. Seoul Station has its good and bad. Is it quite as good as Train to Busan? No, its pretty far from the tension and the story pacing and characters. However, that isn’t saying that its a particularly bad animated prequel. It does a good job to set the stage of what its successor can go from and builds an understanding of how the zombies in this world work. Of course, there’s still a lot more to learn in Train to Busan as movies like to make zombies evolve.

Seoul Station doesn’t have quite the exceptional characters to love. The main girl is made to be weak and whiny but somehow makes it through a lot of close calls. Her boyfriend that is on a separate area as they track each other time to meet up is pretty useless as well and makes a lot of bad calls and doesn’t have the guts. However, he is paired up with an older man who is tough as nails. There’s a whole story behind this and that leads up to the plot twist at the end. The story is somewhat generic but the twist was a surprise although the final twist was quite predictable. Where I find it excels is in its art. The movement and speed of the zombies have this blur behind it which is a lovely touch added in to make something of a motion blur and that works wonders for the aesthetics and effect. The areas and the zombie itself are creepy to look at. The tone of the movie and the backdrop here are done incredibly well also.

Overall, Seoul Station might not offer a unique zombie story and has its surprises and some rather predictable moments. However, it delivers on its art and visuals in this animated feature. Not quite as memorable as its successor but still worth a watch to lay the foundation for the next film.

Audition (1999)

Audition

Director: Takashi Miike

Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura, Renji Ishibashi, Miyuki Matsuda

A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all. – IMDB

In many ways, I can see how Audition is a great horror film. In fact, its quite the psychological journey. Messed up and what not the further you dive into the plot. In fact, the ending is so weird that it kind of goes through a confusing phase. I still can’t quit figure out what went on. As psychological as it all was, it was one of those situations that never felt right to begin with. Auditioning for girls for a role that fitted into what this widower wanted, not sure I’m okay with that since it feels pretty contrived and manipulative in the first place. Nothing good comes from that. Then the girl herself was really weird to begin with but apparently Aoyama (played by Ryo Ishibashi) saw something in her.

The story has many layers and to be fair, it works for the most part. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of Audition. There are some solid atmosphere here and the pacing is fairly good. The cinematography and sound design is great in boosting the atmosphere. The star of the show probably did have to go to the girl here played by Eihi Shiina who was so creepy and mysterious. The final moments however kind of did it for me. What started out as psychological turned into this torture porn that turned my stomach a little and I’m usually not so easily disturbed by it. If that was the intention, it definitely achieved its goal but for myself, I felt like it didn’t fit in so well.

I can’t quite pinpoint what I felt let me down for Audition but it just didn’t feel like it ever reached the potential before heading in directions I wasn’t too fond of. I do acknowledge it has some great character and a lot of mystery and atmospheric horror. But something just didn’t work completely for myself.

That’s it for this Asian Horror double feature!
I anticipated watching both of these quite a bit but both of them let me down just a little.
I can definitely see their merit but it just wasn’t exactly for me particularly Audition.

Have you seen these two? Thoughts?