Well, this blog's traffic just shot through the roof. What used to be a sleepy little blog getting 10-20 hits a day--maybe 30-40 during a popular film festival--just took off this weekend and got over 150 hits yesterday. And they're all from people looking for information about "Hostel: Part II". I hope all you new visitors enjoy my review, but more importantly I hope you stick around and read some more. Particularly, if you're in the SF bay area, I hope you check out what I've written so far on Indiefest's Another Hole in the Head Festival (aka Holehead). The festivals just started, and almost everything plays 2 or 3 times, so if you read about a movie that sounds good, chances are there will be another chance to see it. Just check out their schedule here.
And speaking of Holehead, I just saw one movie last night, and it was a little unusual for Holehead, but it's one of my favorite movies of the festival so far. "Hazard" is a Japanese film about 3 guys who are dissatisfied and alienated by Japan's early 90's homogeneity, sleepiness, and economic depression. Looking for excitement, Shin (Jô Odagiri) leaves Japan for New York City, drawn by it's reputation as the most dangerous city in the world. Once there, he sets out to find "Hazard", and is quickly mugged. He subsequently falls in with Lee (Jai West) and Takeda (Motoki Fukami), who teach him to be a thug, embracing the cowboy/gangster/gun-toting maniac American stereotype. Things get a little frenetic, with robberies, gang wars, carjackings, and ice cream. Mmmm...ice cream. It's shot in a handheld, up-close style reminiscent of Dogme 95, and it really drags you deep into the action, implicating the audience in their reckless disregard for law and order. And by filtering American stereotypes through disaffected Japanese eyes, it implicates and condemns both American and Japanese culture, and highlights how--while our cultures might be very different--deep down we're very scarily the same.
"Hazard" was written and directed by Sion Sono ("Suicide Club") with some writing contribution from Indiefest/Holehead favorite Kazuyoshi Kumakiri ("Antenna", "Green Minds, Metal Bats", and "Kichiku Dai Enkai"). It plays again Friday, June 8 at 11:45 pm.