The Geisha of Gore’s TOP MOVIES OF 2012
The Geisha of Gore’s Top Movies of 2012
By Colleen Wanglund
I don’t go to see new movies very often…in fact it’s rare. Most of my theater-going experiences involve midnight screenings of older and classic films. This past year, however, I did go to quite a few new movie screenings, mostly because of the New York Asian Film Festival this past summer. Anyway, here are the movies I loved from 2012, in no particular order.
VULGARIA (Hong Kong 2012) A truly laugh-out-loud comedy starring Chapman To about what one producer went through to get his porn film made, VULGARIA was an opening-night screening at Lincoln Center during the New York Asian Film Festival. It included a Q&A with the film’s writer and director, Pang Ho-Cheung, who informed the sold-out crowd that the movie is based on true events. I was very impressed with the fact that nothing was lost in the subtitled translation.
THE RAID (Indonesia 2011) This film didn’t screen in the US until 2012 so it counts. Written and directed by Welshman Gareth Evans, THE RAID stars Iko Uwais as Rama, an idealistic young cop who is along for a raid against a major drug lord’s stronghold—a whole apartment building full of (mostly) criminals. The film is full of non-stop action, mostly of the martial arts variety. It’s beautifully choreographed and there are a few nice surprises thrown into the story.
TORMENTED (Japan 2011) Written and directed by Takashi Shimizu of JU-ON fame, TORMENTED (also known as RABBIT HORROR 3D) is a follow-up to his film THE SHOCK LABYRINTH (2009), but is not a true sequel. The film tells the story of Kiriko (Hikari Mitsushima) whose younger brother has been mysteriously transported to another world by a giant bunny, and how she tries to save him. I know it sounds weird, but I found it quite entertaining. I also understand now how a giant stuffed rabbit can actually be scary. To me it’s worth the viewing just for Christopher Doyle’s cinematography. TORMENTED is another film that did not make its debut in the US until 2012.
NAMELESS GANGSTER (Korea 2012) This film stars the legendary (and one of my favorites) actor, Choi Min-sik, as a corrupt customs official who enters into the world of drug gangs almost by accident. Written and directed by Yun Jong-bin, NAMELESS GANGSTER is an amazing gangster film that takes an unflinching look at corruption and nepotism in various levels of government and how they deal with the gangs that sell illegal drugs. Choi is superb as a man who, regardless of the loyalty shown him, is only interested in personal gain and saving his own sorry ass.
4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH (USA 2011) I’ve included this movie because I saw its theatrical debut in 2012—which included a Q&A with famed cult film writer and director Abel Ferrara and star Shanyn Leigh. 4:44 follows artist couple Skye (Leigh) and Cisco (Willem Dafoe) during the last day of life on Earth. It is a quiet yet powerful apocalyptic film that did, in fact, terrify me. I really loved the subtly that Ferrara uses to tell this story and the fact that it elicited such an emotional response from me.
© Copyright 2013 by Colleen Wanglund