Director Jason Axinn’s animated gore fest is “Funny Games,” meets “Saw” meets Twilight Zone’s “The Masks” wrapped up in one sick sadistic mutant. It’s gory, and vicious and mean spirited and occasionally baffling, but damned if I didn’t have a good time with it. There’s just something about watching the wealthy tear each other apart that hits a nerve, and “To Your Last Death” is a movie that has fun with its own concept. Not only does Jason Axinn break the conventional narrative, but he uses it as a means of bringing the ugliest sides out of his characters.
Like most elseworlds tales involving Superman and most DC superheroes, “Red Son” examines what the world would look like with a small alteration in mythology. And it’s also a look in to what would happen if Superman was on a different side of history. It’s a history in the controversial albeit acclaimed graphic novel where America loses the Cold War, Russia is the dominant force and Superman is a being whose own personal hell was paved with good intentions. The problem is that with “Red Son,” we’ve basically seen it all before.
One of the bigger more interesting memes at Tiktok right now is the “#IfAnythingHappensILoveYouChallenge.” This particular meme involves a person or people filming themselves before and filming themselves after watching “If Anything Happens I Love You” on Netflix. Every video so far has shown each viewer beginning the movie with a nervous smirk and closing the video with teary eyes. Some of the users are nearly inconsolable afterward. If you didn’t think a short film could legitimately derive so many emotions from viewers, well them you probably have never seen “If Anything Happens I Love You.”
It’s apropos and yet somewhat inexplicable that Hayao Miyazaki would end his career on one what is easily his most divisive film. Miyazaki has spent so much of his career delivering masterpieces of animation that discuss the horrible fall out of war, destruction of the environment, and war machines. So it’s absolutely confounding that Miyazaki takes a more objective approach to Jirô Horikoshi and his creation of what would become certified weapons of war.
BOOTLEG FILES 746: “Cow on the Moon” (1959 animated short by Dušan Vukotić).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most likely due to a problem with rights clearance.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.
During the mid-1950s, Yugoslavia began to make its presence known on the global cinema scene through the output of Zagreb Film, a Croatian-based studio specializing in offbeat animated shorts. At the time, animated shorts were still dominated by the Hollywood studios and their line-up of beloved zany characters. But the Zagreb Film animators slowly found their way into major film festivals and theatrical release thanks to inventive, stylish and subversively funny mini-productions.
I wish there were more movies like Jesse Blanchard’s “Frank & Zed” in theaters and midnight movie showings. It’s a movie that promises to become a cult classic and for good reason. Not only is it wildly inventive, and absolutely charming, but I was completely sucked in to everything from the story, the gruesome gore, and the shockingly incredible production values (40 Handmade puppets!). While the movie is low budget, Blanchard’s ability to make every single element of his film feel epic in scope, keeps “Frank & Zed” consistently brilliant and absolutely entertaining.
2006’s “Pirates Ahoy!” is one of the more clever animated sequels to come from the aughts when the “Scooby Doo” movie series was pretty much stale. By this time they’d given up fighting real monsters, and reverted back to criminals and goons with fancy costumes and illusions. It’s surprising how much talent these direct to DVD movies always attract, and the cast compliments what is a pretty nifty mystery, altogether.
The 90’s had some of my favorite animated movies and TV series of all time, and suffice to say it also had some bang up villains. I thought it’d be great to list five of the scariest villains of the 90’s that tormented heroes on TV and in the movies.
What were some of your favorites?