Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Based on a Graphic Novel/Comic (Non-Superhero)


Boys and girls, it's Thursday. You know the deal. It's time for Thursday Movie Picks. I have been especially looking forward to this week's edition because the shackles have been removed. I'll explain soon. First, a quick rundown on what's going on here for those wanting to be down with the cool kids. The wonderful, terrific Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves started this thing. Every Thursday she provides us with a theme and a bunch of highly informed bloggers, plus myself, suggest three movies that fit. You, too, can take part. Just click the link to her site to find out how.

Now, about those shackles.

Last week, our theme was German Language Films. While there is a rich cinematic history of such movies, much of it is lost on me. I gave my three suggestions, and added two bonus picks for a total of five. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, I've only seen maybe another handful of qualifying movies. I wasn't picking from a large pool. I like to suggest those hidden gems most of us haven't seen. That was literally impossible last week.

This week I don't have that problem. The topic at hand is Movies Based on a Graphic Novel/Comic. Shheeeiit, I've seen hundreds of these. There is a catch, though. They can't be superhero movies. That's it? No worries.

Deep down I'm just another one of those assholes watching movies, I seriously entertained the idea of picking all Batman movies. After all, there is a passionate faction of us nerds that will tell you that The Caped Crusader is not a superhero because he doesn't have any "super" powers. I decided against that because I said I'm an asshole, not a dick. With that, I pulled out my shovel and tried to dig up some things that will be new to you.


Heavy Metal
(1981)
Occasionally, when you dig, you bend the rules just a bit. In this case, it's because Heavy Metal is based on a monthly publication that looks and feels like a graphic novel, but calls itself a magazine. Whatever. The movie features about a half-dozen vignettes framed by the interaction between a frightened little girl and an ominous, glowing, and speaking green orb telling her about the fate of those who tried to harness it's great power for personal gain. The very first commercial I saw for this on TV, back in '81, featured a woman disrobing and promised some serious violence. It was at this precise moment I realized all cartoons weren't about talking animals trying to outwit each other, and they certainly weren't all for kids. I was ten. Two or three years later I actually got to see the movie. I was completely scarred for life. In a good way. At least, I thought so. Nudity, violence, profanity, drug use - what more could a kid want in a movie?


Ichi the Killer
(2001)
When one of the Yakuza's underbosses is murdered, his sadomasochistic enforcer named Kakihara sets out to find the person responsible. All signs point to Ichi. Lots and lots of nutty, vile, and/or darkly humorous things happen. Before the Pokemon craze, anime was known to be excessively gory, violent, and to be batshit insane. Here, we not only have an out there manga, or Japanese comic book to simplify, but also a movie directed by one of the least restrained directors in all the world, Takashi Miike. The result is a film you probably can't handle. Challenge thrown down.


The Neighbor No. Thirteen
(2005)
What would you do if your adult life were suddenly turned upside down by the guy who ruined you middle school years. That's pretty much what happens to Juzo. He shows up for his first day of work at a construction site and finds out "that guy" is his supervisor. That wouldn't be so bad, especially since that guy doesn't even recognize him. It gets worse. When Juzo arrives home, he finds that guy living with his wife and son. To make sure I'm clear on this, I repeat it. That guy is living with Juzo's wife and son. And they don't recognize him, either. To make things stranger, still, there's a scary looking new dude living in the area who may or may not be out to kill him. New dude only goes by Number 13. This psychological thriller is based on the manga Rinjin 13-gô. Good luck figuring this thing out.



Bonus Pick:

Yo Yo Girl Cop
(2006)
Based on the manga Sukeban Deka, this one is only a bonus pick because some might see it as a superhero flick. It does play like one. Then again, it starts out like a number of straight up action flicks, too. After her visa expires, Saki Asimiya is picked up in New York and deported home to Japan. Once there, one of those super secret government organizations snatches her up and blackmails her into working for them. Her mission: to pose undercover in a high school where they believe someone is running a website that is ultimately responsible for several deaths at said school. And she has to go without Channing Tatum or Jonah Hill. No worries. Since this is a school, she can't exactly go in there packing heat. Her weapon of choice is, you guessed it, a yo yo. Bad acting, hokey dialogue that seems to come straight from the comic, our heroine whooping ass with a yo yo. Oh yeah, it's so bad it's awesome!

22 comments:

  1. The last of your picks sounds interesting, I may check it out. I haven't seen your other two picks either, but I have read that the title of Ichi The Killer is spelt out in semen...how lovely...but anyway... Challenge accepted!

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    1. Yo Yo is dumb fun. As for Ichi, at least you have an idea of what you're in for. Can't wait to read that review.

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  2. Haha, I think you should have picked the Batman movies, you do love bending the rules! I haven't actually heard of any of your picks (!!) so I'll have to check them out!
    - Allie

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    1. What are rules for, if not bending? Hope you get to check some of these out.

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  3. I haven't seen any of these, but they all sound like something I'd enjoy. I'll have to look into this.

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    1. They are all on the nutty side. If that's enjoyable for you then, by all means, go for it.

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  4. I've always wanted to see Ichi...but...as you say...I'm not sure I can handle it.

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    1. It's definitely something different...and not for the squeamish.

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  5. Ohh Heavy Metal! What an odd movie that is. It was one of those Holy Grail titles for many years because it came and went so quickly and in those days before DVDs and limited cable access its reputation as a lost gem built quickly. I watched it as soon as it became available and while I wasn't entranced it was definitely unique at the time. I haven't seen any of the other three though.

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    1. I knew it had a cult following, but had no clue that it being difficult to find was a contributing factor. In the early/mid 80s HBO used to run it all the time. I must have watched it a dozen times, if not more.

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  6. Oh, Takashi Miike. Haven't seen Ichi yet, but there are at least a couple of his films where I haven't been able to get further than five minutes in.

    Neighbor No. 13 looks really good. And Yo Yo Girl Cop sounds AMAZING(ly awful).

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    1. I'm not surprised you have that relationship with Miike.

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  7. I'm pretty sure I saw Heavy Metal when I was in high school, but I have no memory of it. :-)

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  8. RADAR-RADAR-RADAR-RIDER!!!!!! Fucking love Heavy Metal. So fucked up but goddamnit, it is amazing.

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    1. Glad to have found another fan! And yes, you describe it perfectly.

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  9. Very nice choices, Heavy Metal was also one of the first few animated films made for adults that I watched alongside Akira and Wizards around the same time. Have yet to watch the other two choices but I'm curious to get around to them eventually and I have seen Yo-Yo Girl Cop though it's been a few years and I don't remember any of it anymore.

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    1. Man, I still need to see Akira. You're the perfect person to ask even though I know you don't remember any of it, but would you consider Yo Yo Girl Cop a superhero flick?

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  10. Haven't heard of your picks! They all sound outrageous, might check them out!

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  11. Wow...you always feature some interesting titles; the only one I've heard of is Ichi.

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    1. Thanks. I wouldn't have any fun just picking low hanging fruit.

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