The Gold Rush (1925)

Well I can finally have another film lifted off of the "I'm so ashamed that I've never seen this movie" list. You know, everyone has one, but I'm hoping to make mine shorter. Anyway...The Gold Rush definitely lived up to all of my expectations. It was classic in every sense of the word, it was entertaining the whole way through, and it was funny, it was just funny. 

This is the first Charlie Chaplin film that i have seen and I have always heard that he is a genius, but until you really see him in action it is hard to have a grasp on just how brilliant and groundbreaking his work was. About every ten minutes one of the two of us watching the film would mutter "oh that's where that came from." On top of that, I was entertained the whole time. There was never a moment that stuck out to me as being particularly dull or falling off even though at 95 minutes, it has a pretty long run time for a silent film.

One thing that struck me was the fact that the film maker's chose not to subtitle a good chunk of the dialog. It made for a much more fluid film and it was a great choice. It was always very apparent what was being said in the film if not by context then just by simply reading lips and, at times, not hearing the dialog added to the comedy.

Especially for 1925, the film was shot in beautiful black and white. It looked clear and crisp and didn't usually fall into the aesthetic pf being under-lit like many other films of that era.

Overall, The Gold Rush, is a must see film and one that is very much worth your time. It is one of those things that is obligatory but ultimately incredibly rewarding.


The Host (2006)

While I am totally bummed that I didn't get to see a giant monster wreck the shit out of Seoul Godzilla style, I did end up enjoying this film. Unfortunately, I think that a lot of it is lost on someone who has never lived in Korea, particularly some of the more quirky aspects. 

First of all, I thought that it was funny. I am surprised by this. Korean humor is generally not even mildly entertaining and relies heavily on physical comedy, overacting, worn out ideas, and strangely, men in drag. Yes, the humor was for the most part physical but it was done in a way that wasn't too over the top or goofy. One of my favorite ten second of the movie was when the family was sitting around in their food stand waiting for their ramen noodles to cook. If you have spent 24 hours in Korea, you totally know the feeling. It's frustrating. Anyway, it came at just the right time and was so effective at breaking up the tension a bit that I was really shocked at how subtly they managed to pull that off. 

A scene that I found a bit jarring, and I think that many people will agree, was the scene where the family was writhing on the floor crying at the girl's memorial. I understand where it comes from though. That's just how Korean drama's are. They are the most melodramatic and over the top shows that I have ever seen. I think that ultimately the film makers were trying to playfully poke fun at Korean dramas with that scene. And really, the fight that broke out was awesome. 

There were a lot of Korean stereotypes in the film. Namely, the drunk uncle. In this country, alcoholism isn't a disease, it's a way of life. The stuff in the green bottles, Soju, is cheaper than water and twice as popular. In fact Jinro Soju is the number one selling brand of alcohol in the world. Keep in mind that there are roughly 45,000,000 people in Korea (including babies and children) and you may get an idea of how much people drink. It was endlessly entertaining to me that they fought the monster with Soju. 

I really did enjoy the family dynamic in the film and it thought that it was a somewhat unique take on a traditional monster film. I also appreciated that at no point, did they shy away from showing the monster. Was it the best CGI I've ever seen? Heck no! But it was good enough and totally entertaining. 

For the past six months I have been hearing about how much I need to see this film from a bunch of twelve year olds. I have to say that I'm not disappointed. Yeah, it's not the greatest horror film ever made (as I have heard this claim many times) but I love a good campy monster movie and The Host certainly delivered.


Seven (1995)

Unfortunately, I didn't have the time this week to re-watch this film. I've seen it quite a few times though so I'm just going to have to work on memory. The good thing about it is that this film is in fact so incredibly memorable. 

The concept, as with most serial killer movies, is an interesting one but could have very easily turned out poorly. While there are shocking things in the film, the shock value is never the sole thing that the film makers are trying to achieve. The fact that the movie has a mystery feel with a twist ending is generally another red flag in my mind that makes me wary of something. Again, they pulled it off brilliantly though and it wan't contrived or campy. 

Of course, the acting was mind-blowingly good which is to be expected with the cast that they assembled for the film. The actors have amazing chemistry and you are never taken out of the story by anything they do.

Aside from all of this, the film is just pretty. I mean, as pretty as a dark, dirty, horror/serial killer film can be. The design was flawless even down to the last detail (and if you read about the dedication that the design crew had you will understand what I mean).

Seven is one hell of a film and while I don't think that I could recommend it to everyone, if you have the stomach for it, you should seriously see it.