Snowpiercer (2013) Great if you like trains, meh if you don’t.

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Director: Bong Joon-ho

Starring: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, and Kang-ho Song

 

Korean movies/dramas are another guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve been watching Kang-ho Song since I was a wee kid. Loved him in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Gwoemul (2006). Didn’t know he was in Snowpiercer (2013) until that first snort of kronol. A happy revelation, to be sure, because Chris Evans’ halfhearted “I’m not a leader!” proclamations (despite being the only white dude with the most lines/action sequences and prophetic-like story arc) was starting to bore me. Can we also give a hand to Octavia Spencer and Ah-Sung Ko? Well-done.

This is a KOREAN movie. Don’t let the big-name American actors fool you. The phenomenal, racially diverse cast are a refreshing change of pace. The fighting sequences are glorious, the wacky plot gnaws on big ideas concerning class and privilege, and Tilda Swinton was bloody fantastic. And there’s trains. And pregnant ladies with machine guns. And Ed Harris. What’s not to like?

Well, there’s quite a bit not to like after 2/3 of the movie. The ending was phoned in. I rolled my eyes several times. The story isn’t great, OK? But who cares? It’s an action movie masquerading as transgressive filmmaking. Just roll with it (pun intended…cuz we’re talking about trains, remember?)

I don’t know whether to give this a B or C. Snowpiercer aimed too high and missed the mark for me, but I was never bored while watching this film and despite the plot-holey ending, I enjoyed the ride. Oh, hell. Let’s just give it a B. If you’re in the mood for a peculiar and funny thriller, Snowpiercer (2013) is for you!

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“Delicatessen (1991)” has cannibal butchers!

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The creators of quirky, romcom, “Amelie,” are behind the strange, off-kilter, and obnoxiously French, “Delicatessen.” Kitsch dystopia meets surrealist cannibalism.

Delicatessen (1991)

Director: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Writers: Gilles Adrien, Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring: Marie-Laure Dougnac, Dominique Pinon, Pascal Benezech

What an usual treat Delicatessen (1991) is! It was directed/created by the same minds behind the movie, “Amelie,” starring Audrey Tatou. The same quirky humor I enjoyed in “Amelie” take a dark, dystopian twist in Delicatessen. The story takes place in a French town where food is scarce and the only available currency is corn and meat. To feed themselves, the townpeople put out ads for handymen and then eat him after a week. The butcher is responsible for killing the handymen, and while the townsfolk feel bad about the grisly scheme they say nothing in fear of the maniacal butcher chopping them up into pieces, too! The butcher’s daughter falls in love with one of the poor handymen and joins an revolutionary society of corn-eating lunatics deep in the sewer systems to thwart her father before the handyman is butchered.

The story isn’t as enjoyable as the characters and surreal cinematography. The acting is dry, witty and obnoxiously French. I loved the Troglodyte sewer people and their pantry-raids in the butcher’s kitchen for his corn. I loved the character who thinks she’s hearing voices and her failed, often comical, attempts to commit suicide. I loved the butcher’s daughter’s sleeping herbs, the handyman’s chimpanzee, the frogs and snails, and everything else. This isn’t a movie that takes itself seriously, and if you love surreal, zany plots, with dark humor, I recommend Delicatessen. Watch it in French with English subtitles. There are many free, online videos to choose from, but I watched it HERE.

I’m giving it a B+.