Hostel and Hostel: Part II (Drawing, Review)

August 11, 2008 at 4:16 AM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , , )

I watched both Hostel (2005) and Hostel: Part II (2007) back-to-back, this weekend.  The first movie begins with three friends, Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) heading out to a hostel in Bratislava, Slovakia, in search of beautiful women who will "do anything" with an American tourist.  Once there, things take a turn for the worse when one-by-one, they disappear — we realise later that they’ve been abducted by an underground "Elite Hunting" club, who kidnap tourists and offer them up to rich people to torture and kill in any way they see fit!  The sequel is more-or-less a retread of the first film, except this time we have three female lead characters — Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) who go to the Slovak hostel, and we get to see more of what happens "behind-the-scenes" at Elite Hunting.  Both films also have the appearance of the "Bubblegum Gang", a group of little kids who are very, very dangerous.

Both movies come from writer-director Eli Roth and are executive produced by Quentin Tarantino.  The movies became well-known due to their extremely violent and bloody content — these two, along with the Saw movies are commonly referred to under the "torture porn" genre.  Of course, both are well-done movies and if you like this sort of thing, they’re highly recommended!  I thought the Saw movies were a notch better than this series, though.

I did a drawing today based on Hostel and Hostel: Part II.  It was done with ballpoint pen and I added some colour to it on computer.  The drawing features Rick Hoffman as the "American Client" from Part 1, the Bubblegum Gang leader from both movies, Lauren German as Beth from Part 2 and Jay Hernandez as Paxton from Part 1.  You can click on the images to see larger versions (warning: black and white image large version contains profanity).

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Wanted (Drawing, Review)

August 10, 2008 at 10:32 PM (Art, Comics, Movies) (, , , , , , )

Wanted is a movie adaptation of a comic book miniseries by Mark Millar (writer) and J G Jones (art).  James McAvoy stars as Wesley Gibson, a nobody who leads a pathetic life as an office worker.  Life seems to be going nowhere for him (this part of the movie reminded me very much of Fight Club in terms of dialogue and tone, which was awesome — plus, one sequence has the Nine Inch Nails song "Everyday is Exactly the Same" playing in the background!), until one day, he meets Fox (Angelina Jolie).  She tells him that his father was one of the greatest assassins in the world, and that he was killed the previous day.  She leads him to an underground "Fraternity" of assassins, led by the mysterious Sloan (Morgan Freeman), and this is where his training begins.  Wesley is trained to be part of the Fraternity, so that he can avenge the death of his father.  Of course, the movie has a few twists up its sleeve as well, beyond this.

The movie is a loose adaptation of the book — some of the elements are retained, while much of the fantastical elements are removed.  In the book, the Fraternity are actually a group of supervillains (all superheroes having been eliminated in 1986), and there are a group of warring factions within.  Some of the scenes from the book make it intact into the movie (for example, some of the training montages).

The director of the movie version is Timur Bekmambetov, who made the Russian films Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) (2004) and Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) (2006).  Like in those movies, the visuals are stunning here — there are some jaw-dropping and "Whoa!" inducing action sequences.  The movie has a nice demented sense of humour too (one example which you can see in the red-band trailer — Wesley smashes a computer keyboard on the face of a coworker, and momentarily, as the keys fly out, they form the words "fuck you", the last "u" being a tooth!), and one point that is to be really appreciated is that they didn’t tone down the violence — there’s quite a lot of bloodshed here.  The acting is all good, and fans of the "Watch" films will be glad to see Konstantin Khabensky in a small role here (he played Anton Gorodetsky in those movies, and appears as a character called "The Exterminator" here).

I watched the movie in a theatre and had a big grin on my face when the movie was over.  Highly recommended.  Rating: 9/10.

And that brings us to the drawing above — which I actually did before watching the movie.  It was done in pencil, and I added the brown colour in the background in Photoshop.  You can click the image for a larger version.

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Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Drawing, Review)

August 10, 2008 at 6:06 PM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , )

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a film from Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto.  It begins with a character called the "Metal Fetishist" inserting rods of metal into his body.  Subsequently, the Metal Fetishist is run over by a Salaryman (an office worker).  What follows is a bizarre sequence of events and images, where the Salaryman apparently starts mutating into a metal creature, with wires and other objects of metal emerging from his body.

This is a nightmarish film that is shot in black-and-white, with very little dialogue and a grungy, decayed look.  Shinya Tsukamoto wrote and directed the movie, and also stars as the Metal Fetishist — which makes one question his sanity!  One could compare this with a David Cronenberg movie, where "metal is the new flesh".  The movie is well made and has some very good effects and visuals, all accomplished on a low budget.  It is one of the weirdest movies I have seen (the weirdest would be David Lynch’s Eraserhead, but this also comes close), and I would recommend watching it if you have a taste for stuff like this.  Beware though, that it contains some explicit content and is definitely an adults-only film.  Shinya Tsukamoto made a sequel to this, called Tetsuo II: Body Hammer which I have not seen.  Rating: 7/10.

And as you might expect, I did a drawing based on this movie which you see above.  It was done in ballpoint pen and shows the Metal Fetishist on the top right, with the Salaryman in an advanced stage of "metal mutation" on the bottom left.  You can click it for a larger version.

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