Archive for dark comedy


Posted in Japanese Cinema with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2012 by Cristina Blackwater

Outrage – 2010


plot: The boss of a major crime syndicate orders his lieutenant to bring a rogue gang of drug traffickers in line, a job that gets passed on to his long-suffering subordinate. The plot concerns a struggle for power amongst Tokyo’s Yakuza clans, today just as likely to be playing the stock market as shaking down pachinko parlors, over which the Sanmo-kai clan holds sway in the face of constant betrayal and ever-changing allegiances. Sanmo-kai chairman Ototomo (played by Kitano himself) learns that his henchman Ikemoto has struck an alliance with the drug-dealing Murase family, and is not best pleased, to say the least. The ensuing retaliation triggers an orgy of killings, territorial invasions and score settling while law enforcement officers, too corrupt to intervene

 Kitano is fucking back with a vengeance. let’s all bow and thank the japanese film gods. after laying off the yakuza genre for nearly 10 years, master Takeshi Kitano brings us Outrage, once again starring himself as the main character. Outrage follows the ins and outs of Yakuza politics of revenge and atonement between bosses, brothers, and cohorts, and an unstoppable backstabbing bloody avalanche of awesome.




the winning recipe here is the ultra violence topped off with irresistible black humor. you gotta love it when the fatalities and horrible, blood filled yakuza situations you are presented with also make you let out an out loud chuckle or two. i mean there’s a reason why Tarantino loves this guy so much, right? right.



one way Outrage differs from Kitano’s other notorious yakuza movies, is that his character, and generally the story itself, lacks his distinctive outcast-inner struggle, the nuances in the people involved are put aside for a more straight forward kind of story telling, but after all, as Kitano remarked publicly about his making of Outrage, he is giving the people what they want – no pretense of artistic embellishments, but rather blunt, cruel acts of violence of the professional criminal devoid of any romanticism.



so sit back and enjoy the bloody ride, and then, if you’re hungry for more, remember this is the same guy who brought us masterpieces such as Brother, Hana-bi, and Boiling Point. it’s never too late for a good re-ash.


The Host

Posted in K Cinema with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

The Host (Gwoemul) – 2006


from Imdb: On 09 February 2000, the American military base of Yongson releases toxic chemicals in the drain to the Han River under the direct order of an arrogant coroner. Six years later, a mutant squid monster leaves the water and attacks people on the side of the river. The teenager Park Hyun-seo is carried by the creature and vanishes in the river. While grieving her loss, her slow father Park Gang-du; her grandfather and owner of a bar-kiosk nearby the river Park Hie-bong; her aunt and archery medalist Park Nam-Joo; and her graduated unemployed uncle Park Nam-il are sent by the army with all the people that had some sort of contact with the monster to quarantine in a facility. During the night, Gang-du receives a phone call from Hyun-seo telling that she is alive in a big sewage nearby the river. Gang-du tell the militaries but nobody believes on his words, saying that he is delusional due to the shock of his loss. The Park family joins forces trying to find Hyun-seo and rescue her.

The Host is a 2006 movie directed by Bong Joon-ho and starring the amazing Song Kang-Ho as Park Gang-du, a devoted father who witnesses the capture of her little daughter by a mysterious monster taking over the city from the Han river.

It was a smashing hit in Korea from the get go. Also tagged as “one of the best monster movies ever made”. And i totally support the description. Hello korean Nessie! This sort of giant squid with too many tails to count and a ferocious huge mouth that leaves no mercy behind, if only for this little girl who ends up trapped in the sewers, starving and seeking for help.



The soundtrack is amazing and creates an intense, but also really funny atmosphere. There’s a lot of dark comedy in this movie, and i couldn’t be more enthusiastic about it. Song Kang-ho is perfect for the role (as seen in The good, the bad, the weird for his funny side, and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance for the intense one) and delivers a stunning performance as usual. The movie is about family bounds, about the incompetence of the police force, about the presence of the american army in the korean system.



A lot of comical relief is shown between moments where the director tells us about political resistance, family values, the loss of loved ones.  The characters continually walk that fine line between comedic and serious performances. Each of them have their flaws which are shown throughout the film, but in the end each get their chance to redeem themselves and sometimes they get multiple chances, often they need them too.

The Host gets his point across loud and clear, and it will move you, make you laugh, and even frustrate you.

Absolutely a must see. Just another little teaser and taste of Park Chan Wook’s favorite actors until we wait for Thirst to come out. Song Kang-Ho is the main character in both of them, so sit back, watch this movie, and learn about his talent.

Plus to get really get down to it, monsters are awesome. Try and deny it.

The Quiet Family

Posted in K Cinema with tags , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

The Quiet Family – Joyonghan Gajok – 1998

the_quiet_family_poster The construction of an important road on the mountains renders the hotel business very attractive for a family that decides to run an inn. But the road construction is postponed and customers do not show up. When finally luck appears to be changing, for some reason the guests have difficulty surviving the night. Their first guest commits suicide and so does the couple arriving the next night. Afraid of ruin, the family reaches the conclusion that it is better to keep some shovels around, and start burying one body after the other.

This is the debut film of beloved director Kim Ji-Woon (see also: A Tale Of Two Sisters)  and falls into a category that i admire particularly: dark comedy. That is not only because i’ve been a really goth teenager in my past, but mostly since it has the power to combine two of the best things in the world, horror and laughter. Kim Ji-Woon‘s style is at an early stage and yet already amusing, the set design, use of rich colors, and innovative camera-work are spectacular and largely responsible for the eerie atmosphere. Also, the family uncle is the one and only Choi Min-Sik(the protagonist of Oldboy).. which is only a plus. His presence would make any movie interesting by default.

Many of you oriental movie lovers already saw this movie without even knowing it. It was in fact remade by Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) as a stop animation/musical in 2001, under the name of The Happiness Of The Katakuris. This is one of the extremely rare times where i won’t bash a remake, and i have a very good reason to stop me. Just a few words about this remake: singing and dancing bloody zombies. Amazing!

All in all, The Quiet Family sets a peculiar balance between humor and suspense. It’s funny and tense all at the same time, from start to finish. Visually appealing, interesting characters, and lots of bloody corspes being buried at night.  What’s not to love?