Category Archives: G

The Great Mouse Detective

The Great Mouse Detective (1988): United States – directed by Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, and John Musker

Rated G by the MPAA – contains an evil rat

And so we continue our trek through the Disney vault.  It has been very interesting looking at these movies with adult eyes.  Certain themes pop out, dark, evil moments are more apparent, and it’s amazing how much smoking these cartoon characters did back in the day.  But such discussions are better left for another day.

The Great Mouse Detective begins with a heartwarming scene in a small shop in London of young Olivia Flaversham (voice of Susanne Pollatschek) and her toy-maker father.  He has just presented her with a new toy when there is some noise at the door.  After a moment a terrifying bat bursts through the window and absconds with Olivia’s father.

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Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment

Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment (1985): Japan – directed by Satoru Ogura

Not rated by the MPAA – contains torture and nothing else

Note: This movie was absolutely worthless, and I fear that you would be wasting your time as much by reading this review as I was by watching the film.

There is only one possible reason that this film deserves any sort of recognition or review.  In the history of cinema, including the deepest, darkest underbelly, this perhaps holds a certain spot.  It is, I would venture to say, the very first torture porn.  And, since I am at least partially interested in all aspects of cinema, I thought I would briefly review this film.

This was definitely not the first exploitation movie, though it can hardly be considered one.  It’s also not the first alleged “snuff” film, though it most certainly tries to be a snuff film.  In fact, that’s the only reason this movie (or its many sequels) are of interest to anyone.  Charlie Sheen, seeing part of the second film, contacted the MPAA, which forwarded to the FBI his concerns that an actress was murdered onscreen.  The FBI investigated, but learned that Japanese authorities were already looking into the matter.  (Source and Wikipedia) It all turned out to be fake.

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Gran Torino

Gran Torino (2008): United States – directed by Clint Eastwood

Rated R by the MPAA – contains swearing, grumpiness, racism, and a little violence

Gran Torino is basically Clint at his growliest best, being racist and old school to the max, and it’s great fun.  The film also has a bit of a message to it, which isn’t all that subtle by any means.  But no problem.

We start at the funeral of Clint’s wife.  Clint plays Walt Kowalksy, a Korean War vet living with some bad things he may have done.  He’s old and grumpy, living in an old neighborhood in Michigan.  He’s about the only white person there these days. Some Vietnamese folks live next door, and Hmong and Latino gangs roam the area with some black gangs as well.  When the boy next door gets in trouble trying to steal Walt’s Gran Torino as gang initiation, Walt gets sucked into the family and the lifestyle.  Though hesitant at first, he eventually finds he has more in common with them than with his own spoiled children and grandchildren.

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Gomorra (2008): Italy – directed by Matteo Garrone

Not rated by the MPAA – contains violence and language and maybe some other bad stuff

Gomorra is a neorealist gangster movie, similar in tone to City of GodLa Haine also comes to mind.  It’s interesting how these three foreign gangster movies (though La Haine really isn’t a gangster flick) seem to have quite a bit in common, despite coming from Italy, Brazil, and France. Gomorra, unlike City of God, tends to use a restrained camera; non of the rapid jump cuts and camera throwing that Fernando Meirelles used.  This helps.  The grittiness and dark atmosphere help convey the mood quite nicely.  Naples is not the place to grow up or have a family.

I have to confess, I did not understand much of what happened.  And I was blessed with English subtitles that my sister did not have (when she saw the movie in Milan last fall).  There are approximately 8000 characters in the film.  There is no central protagonist to keep the story anchored.  However, after watching it I read this Guardian article, and it helped me appreciate the film more.   There are several main story threads.  Apparently the Cimorra (a gangster group) practically owns Naples.  Everything is done through them.  But there are clans within the Cimorra who don’t mind killing each other.  One main thread involves two clans getting into a war with each other, just as young Toto (Salvatore Abruzzese) is starting to be brought into the ranks of one clan.

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