Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tamara, Itchi the killer, 21 -- reviewer Lee Pletzers

This weekend is almost over (luckily we have Queens Birt6hday this Monday--extended weekend) but I enjoyed 3 movies. Two I had bought and got from (a bit like and one I saw at the cinema. The movies were: Tamara, Itchi the Killer and 21.


Tamara -- I have wanted to see this film for a long time. Almost two years. Finally a copy came available and I jumped on the chance. Tamara is the story of a loser chick who practices witchcraft. She is picked on at school and has a crush on her English teacher. She also writers articles for the school paper and she exposes the use of drugs in high school football. Naturally, the jocks are pissed off with her. Later that day, one of the jocks GF hears Tamara declare her lover for Mr English Teacher by trying to kiss him. He leans away and she bolts. That night, they devise a plan to pull a prank on her. Naturally, it all goes wrong and Tamara end up dead. Coming to an agreement, the pranksters decide to bury her and never speak of the matter.

The next day at school, a very sexy and short dress wearing Tamara walks into class.
Then the fun really kicks off.

This is an enjoyable movie. I wouldn't call it fantastic and one killing is really nicely done. Worth the purchase cost, if discounted.


Ichi the Killer -- Not a very good outing for Takashi Miike. The storyline is very weird (can be a good thing) and hard to follow. The subtitles were good and matched a lot of the movie word for word/meaning. It was funny as hell, as well as gory.

The story is about a Yakaza boss disappearing and his underlings trying to find him. Head underling is Kakihara and he is convinced his boss is still alive and goes looking for him. His 'investigation' is torture and it is nicely done -- blood, long steal needles and bubbling fat. (hee hee)

The second storyline is Ichi the killer. He is a mentally abused young man who is convinced her has to get rid of the bullies of this world, after being tormented at school and watching (unable to help from fear) a girl who came to his aide and ends up being raped.

Third storyline is the girl who was raped. She doesn't remember until her end is near (I won't say how she remembers as it is a nice twist in the plot).

Kakihara is fun to watch. He has several scars on his face and two slices that extend his lips. And he loves pain. He wants people to attach him with love and bash his face in. Unfortunately, only the boss has been able to do that. Leaning about Itchi the Killer, is a great thing for him. There's a couple of times he is surprised by Ichi and he loves running away scared. And he really enjoys the confrontation with Itchi on a building roof.

This movie is enjoyable. But that's it. It is not the fantastic gory horror that Japan raves about. Enjoyable. Worth owning.


The movie: 21. I saw this at the cinema with my wife and a handful of people who also showed up the watch it. I thought it would be more popular than it was. Released only a few days ago and taking a good 133 minutes to complete, the story is long and good. It is the story of a math kid who wants to go to Harvard medical school, has no money and looks like he won't get the scholarship on offer. His only chance is to write an essay that shows real LIFE experience.

He doesn't have any real life experience until he is noticed in math class and recruited into a small team of card counters. They have a system that is near unbeatable and with a group of five it is hard to catch what they are doing.

For a few months everything goes well and Ben is saving enough money not to be bothered with the scholarship.

Until it all goes wrong and he blows $200,000 on the table. The leader abandons the group and the team decides to make the money themselves. Ben is quickly caught by security and ends up tied to a chair in a dark basement, getting a beating.

He returns home, beaten and broken, only to discover his apartment has been raided and all his savings are gone. There is also a note on his door, saying he won't graduate this year. Ben's life is ruined. The only person who can fix it is the team leader, his math teacher. They decide on one last game. A big hit. Seven figures.

The storyline for this movie would have been a smash hit in the 1990's or early 2000. In 2008, the ending was predictable. How they reached the ending was a fun ride and although you knew what was coning, it was still a good movie and very watchable. The actors played their roles well and the story line was well thought out.


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