A Film Enthusiast's Journey: Exploring International Cinema in 2007
by Ted Tschopp
From Japanese Animation to Russian Thrillers: A Year in Review
I’m starting to feel like I’m a film snob. I’m putting together a list of movies that seem interesting to me, and I can categorize them into two lists. Movies with a stupid amount of money spent on them and movies that look truly interesting. There seems to be a common thread in most movies that peek my interest. Each of the interesting films seem to come from places outside the United States. Paprika is from Japan, while Day Watch is from Russia.
I fear the trend is growing. Here is a complete list of films that I enjoyed last year: Pan’s Labrynth (from a Mexican director filming in Spain) and Children of Men (from a Mexican director filming in the UK), The Illusionist (almost an American Film), The Prestige (American), Lady in the Water (American), Brick (American), Casino Royale (UK), Fearless (Chinese).
Paprika This movie is from Japan, and is animated. The plot sounds interesting and unusual. The themes are about reality, humanity, and the mind. I don’t know if I’d ever want to see it made into a live action film, as it might be a bit too disturbing. Can’t be all that bad, an animated film that’s rated R.
In the future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the “DC Mini” it is able to act as a “dream detective” to view inside people’s dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes is stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer’s personality while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream world under her exotic alter-ego – “Paprika” – assisted by Detective Kogawa Toshimi (the victim of bizarre recurring dreams), in an attempt to discover who is behind the plot to undermine the new invention.
Soon, dream and reality blend to a point of being indistinguishable from one another.
This movie is a sequel to another Russian Film called Night Watch. The original beat out Star Wars when it was released in Moscow. The books the movie is based on are very different, but also very good. And yes, that’s a screen capture from the movie of a Mazda Miata driving on the side of an apartment building.
It has been some time since the grand finale of the original film (Night Watch). Anton continues to fight the forces of Darkness while simultaneously attempting to find and save his son from the clutches of those same forces. But when vampires belonging to the Dark side start mysteriously being killed, and Anton is framed for their murders, he must put that goal on hold and try to escape the Day Watch that is looking for his blood.
At Worlds End; Pirates of the Caribbean Ok, obviously this is an example of a movie that falls into the category of “I don’t care how much it costs” production. It will basically be another ILM effects reel that has a bit of story and funny lines thrown in. And it’s got Pirates. Too bad it’s not rated aaRRRRRrr!
After Elizabeth, Will, and Captain Barbossa rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from the clutches of the Kraken, they must face their foes, Davey Jones and Lord Cutler Beckett. Beckett, now with control of Jones’ heart, forms a dark alliance with him in order to rule the seas and wipe out the last of the Pirates. Now, Jack, Barbossa, Will, Elizabeth, Tia Delma, and crew must call the Pirate Lords from the four corners of the globe, including the infamous Sao Feng, to a gathering that will make their final stand against Beckett, Jones, Norrington, the Flying Dutchman, and the entire East India Trading Company.