Bad Frank [Film]

“Headlined with a true Breakout Performance by Award-Winner Kevin Interdonato, and featuring electric support from Amanda Clayton (Bleed For This), Tom Sizemore (Showtime’s Twin Peaks, Saving Private Ryan, HEAT), Brian O’Halloran (Clerks 1 & 2), and boxing icon Ray ‘Boom-Boom’ Mancini, Bad Frank has become a majorly sought after Film this year, and acquired by heavyweight Foreign Rep, Lotus Entertainment.

Frank Pierce (played by Interdonato) leads a seemingly normal life, but when a disturbing past re emerges and something precious is taken from him, his mask of sanity loosens and unearths the urge to be violent once again.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting when I went into Bad Frank. It was definitely an intriguing sell, and definitely seemed worth the watch. For one, I always try to make an effort to see everything that Brian O’Halloran ever works on. Even if the part turns out to be minimal and underwhelming, he always does it so damn well. Such is the case in Bad Frank. And the addition of the legendary bad ass Tom Sizemore definitely jumped at me and made me think, “Alright, let’s see what this is about.” And dammit if I am not enthralled that I gave it a shot.

Bad Frank is a brilliant indie blood darling of a film. It is a brilliant tale about how the demons inside of us are sometimes impossible to sustain, and that the past is always there to haunt us even if we attempt to avoid any acknowledgement of its presence. Kevin Interdonato gives a truly gut-wrenching performance as the lead man, and is definitely a force of nature that we should all be looking out for. And Lynn Mancinelli was a sleeper act that really brought the whole thing together. And dammit if legendary Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini didn’t pull of a brilliant performance that he seemed to be born to do. Also as I already mentioned, we had the great Brian O’Halloran and his continuous brilliance.

Overall Bad Frank is a deeply disturbing story told extremely well with a cast that is top shelf. It is also a film that will leave you with a few “What If’s” on your mind. Especially, “what if they just had more money?”. I know I ended the film thinking just this. I was left with two thoughts: 1.) It is amazing what a talented filmmaker like Tony Germinario can pull off on what appeared to be a shoestring budget, and I want to know more about him, and 2.) It is plain sickening that more brilliant ideas like this aren’t being given the fair treatment they deserve. For every god damned Marvel movie that comes out every year, 50 brilliant films like Bad Frank could be coming out. But, that isn’t the way the cinema world works I’m afraid. No matter the budget though, there was nothing stopping me from enjoying Bad Frank for exactly what it is, a damn good story featuring damn good actors.

Check out this trailer for Bad Frank, available NOW on VOD:

Sunday Matinee: Leftovers [Film]

“I live a pretty good life, so I have no complaints. Nothing.” These are the words of a man who is in physical pain every damn day. A man who literally depends on the help of a Meals on Wheels program in order to live a life of pain that he considers “pretty good”. And when he can, he donates some of the little money that he may have to foundations that feed children. In just few brief moments in this film, he manages to show the world what great people should look like. And wouldn’t you know….he lives on the brink of starvation. And furthermore, we don’t seem to give a single solitary shit about him.

When I started to watch Leftovers, I had a feeling it would be a very impactful film, simply based on the subject matter. But, I honestly had no idea just how incredible emotional and on the brink of tears it could make me, on a subject I had honestly NEVER thought about before.  I just want to be real with you good readers. I was honestly under the impression that Meals on Wheels, and other organizations that feed the elderly, were more of a nicety than something that was so important and absolutely necessary. I was aware of food banks and types of programs that feed the children….but, I never considered the elderly. And I don’t believe many people really do. I know I personally never thought about how shitty we as a nation are treating our senior citizens. This is the main reason that Leftovers may very well be one of the most important documentaries I have ever seen. It is a gripping, beautifully produced, and damned inspiring film. First time filmmaker Seth Hancock truly knocked it out of the proverbial park on his first time out. He’s tackled such a specific and dangerous problem that absolutely must be dealt with accordingly. And an amazing film like Leftovers may be just the tool necessary to bring about some serious change. I know he got at least one heartless blogger to re-consider his lifestyle and seek to find what he could do to help.

Seriously Everyone, I am finding it hard to completely describe just how important and impactful this film truly is. You absolutely MUST see this amazing film. And after you do, find out how you can give back. Look into your local Meals on Wheels program, and figure out how you can help support the over 5 million Senior citizens who are going hungry every day. “There is enough food in this country to feed every man, woman, and child, we just the courage to do it.” This is NOT a line we should have to hear in a film, but sadly enough it is absolutely true. We shouldn’t need “courage” to fucking feed people. It should NOT be a courageous act to give people the nourishment they physically need to survive.

Unfortunately, because hunger has become acceptable in our nation, it is indeed a courageous effort to help people simply not die. As pointed out while Seth was visiting in Texas, it was easier to receive a concealed weapons permit than it is to receive food stamps. Our priorities are fucked, people, and it has to be stopped.
Please, watch Leftovers, and find out what you can do help the fattest nation in the world spread the wealth a little bit and help those who truly need it.

Leftovers is available now on VOD, and will be available August 29th, 2017 on DVD. Check out the trailer for this amazing film here:

Sunday Matinee: The Confessions [Film]

“A G8 meeting is being held at a luxury hotel on the German coast. The world’s most powerful economists are gathered to enact important provisions that will deeply influence the world economy. One of the guests is a mysterious Italian monk, invited by Daniel Roché, the director of the International Monetary Fund. He wants the monk to receive his confession, that night, in secret. The next morning, Roché is found dead…
Toni Servillo (Gomorrah), Daniel Auteuil (Jean de Florette), and Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Reloaded) co-star in a uniquely metaphysical whodunit, screening nationwide from July 7.”

I just have to come out and say this first off..there is SO much to love about this film. I honestly don’t even know where to begin. I know what I would like to focus on, which is the incredible cast. Of which I will speak of at lengths. But, I feel as though it would be behoove me to mention some of the other aspects that made The Confessions one of the best films to be released this year (for those of you in America, anyway).
The Confessions (or Le Confessioni) could easily be classified as an Italian film because, well, it’s made by and featuring Italians, but almost entirely set out of Italy and does not feature prominent Italian speaking roles, although much of it is. Confusing enough? Just go back to the first sentence of this article, and remember that the story takes place around a G8 meeting, and it should all make sense. Sadly though, I can tell that if this film had been a Hollywood production, it would have all been in English just for convenience sake. Thankfully it was not. No, this is not a Hollywood film, this is a true hearted and brilliant multi-cultured film. But, for the sake of argument and probably unnecessary categorization, let’s call it an Italian masterpiece. Although I would prefer to simply call it a masterpiece.

To start out with, filmmaker Roberto Andò had the brilliant mind to stack the deck a bit with an amazing script he co-wrote with Angelo Pasquini, as well as having Maurizio Calvesi work the cinematography. The look of this film is definitely one of the highlights, and truly pulls the words from the script out and into our ears like gentle daggers. It is a story that seems simple at times, but with the perfect bit of informational neglect, it keeps you on your toes and looks absolutely stunning while it does. With such a diverse and inscrutable group of characters, there was also no way this film wasn’t going to be amazing. Even then, it exceeded so many expectations.
Speaking of the group of characters, this is where the film truly gripped me like so few films coming out today seem to do. This was one hell of a cast. Obviously I have to state that Toni Servillo was absolutely phenomenal, and has again rose in the ranks as one of the finest actors of this modern time. While his role as Roberto Satus in The Confessions may not be as entirely fascinating as compared to his brilliance as the charasmatic Jep Gambardella in another amazing film, The Great Beauty, it simply shows that his versatility is absolutely amazing. We seriously need to see more of this guy in our world. And I mean in no way take away from his performance in this film, obviously. They were two entirely different roles, both some superbly well. Again, we need MORE Toni Servillo in our lives.

But, Toni couldn’t do it alone, and thankfully he didn’t have to! Literally every person in this film was absolutely incredible in handling their own, right down to the cute little Ben, the crazily obedient canine who played Rolf. Seriously, everyone in this film was so great, it is almost unfair to namedrop just a few. But, I guess I will: Marie-Josée Croze as the Canadian minister was a character that I felt was underplayed (or maybe I personally just wanted to see more of her) a bit, but every moment that Marie-Josée was on screen, she was absolutely dynamite.
Connie Nielsen (who is having a great year by the way, with the success of Wonder Woman as well) was all you would expect her to be as Claire Smith, which is nothing short of brilliant. Nielson is person I feel as though we need to see more of, and now that she has made her way into the DC universe, I feel like we will definitely be hearing more form her in the near future. But on a personal level, I am always going to adore her most for her work here in The Confessions.

Seriously folks, everyone in this film was absolutely incredible. Daniel Auteuil was just damn right spooky at times, and quite unpredictable as well! He had a wonderfully written part to work with, and he did it absolutely stunningly.
Again folks, I honestly cannot say enough good things about The Confessions. It is a beautiful tale of deceit, greed, and death that is as visually stunning as it is brilliantly written. For anyone seeking a true artistic experience in the world of cinema, I cannot recommend this amazing work of art any more. If I did the star rating thing, I would give this an easy 10 stars. Out of 5! Yes, It is that great. So check it out!

Check out a trailer for The Confessions which will receive a U.S. nationwide release this Friday, July 7th, 2017.

Sunday Matinee: Unpresidented [Short]

Hello Everyone! Yes, we are coming to you all on the unusual Sunday here with a new feature on the site that we are very excited to share with you all. Welcome to the Sunday Matinee! I know that we have less than subtly been pulling an MTV on you all and skewing away from being a music centric site, and have leaned into the world of film and television. And with the addition of this feature, there is obviously no stopping the monsters within. But, I think you all are going to love it.

For the first official edition of the Sunday Matinee, we would like to share an amazing new short from the fine folks at Ganglebot Films entitled Unpresidented. You may recognize Ganglebot from the sensational viral videos aptly titled The Drunk Series, which we also highly recommend. And the company’s latest venture into the world of politics is absolutely incredible, and something we are so happy to share with you fine readers.

Unpresidented is a short bit of satire that feels absurd and ridiculous in it’s own right. I mean, it is children saying some frightening and offensive things on camera. Problem with it is, 95% of the frightening and offensive dialogue the children are using, are taken almost directly from the voice of our current sitting President of the United States of America. And that is what should truly be frightening and offensive to the viewers. The film manages to clearly explain the events surrounding the 2016 Presidential Election that led us to the state that we are in today. It is a masterpiece of satire and hilarity that is sure to make you cringe while laughing hysterically.

So please enjoy Unpresidented, our first venture into the world of the Sunday Matinee.

 

Besetment [Film]

I want to start this thing out by saying that I had far more fun with this film that I thought I would. Also, if you are a person like me who enjoys a splendid ending to a very fucked up tale that has you shaking your head and muttering “God, dammit” in a truly positive way, I can absolutely guarantee that Besetment is the film for you. So let’s begin….

Filmmaker Brad Douglas is definitely one of these amazing guys that was obviously destined to be a masterful storyteller for the screen. With Besetment, he has managed to visually display a truly original story even if it surrounds itself in usual circumstance. I won’t pretend to think that I am the first person who is going to say that Besetment is Psycho meets Twin Peaks, right down to the wonderful music and the police comradely. These things are obvious, and a brilliant homage. But where Douglas stands out is in his obvious belief that nothing exceeds like excess. I’d love to explain this further, but I really feel like you need to watch the film, and only then will you truly know what I am talking about. And with that, maybe an explanation of the film itself is in order. So here we go:

“Besetment stars Abby Wathen (The Bay) as a young woman who takes a hotel position in a small town where she ends up fighting for her life.

Amanda Millard, struggling and desperate for a job, takes a position at a hotel in a small town in Oregon. It’s a creepy, back country kind of town but owners Mildred Colvin and her son Billy seem nice enough at first. It’s not long before Amanda discovers their real intentions, and her struggle to make a living becomes a nightmarish fight for her life.”

Yeah, that just about explains the story in the most generalized context, without giving some truly amazing and completely fucked up little bits that truly make the film original and compelling. Brad Douglas has the same sort of gall that I have always admired in the likes of a brilliant B Horror filmmaker like Steve Sessions, who many readers will already know I admire whole-heartedly. Both Douglas and Sessions are wonderful writers and filmmakers who know how to get to the true essence of a story, and how to portray it on film in a great way…yet, you wish the land of Hollywood was able to throw them a few million bones to bring their amazing vision to a more polished work. But, when you live in a constant state of resentment for the bullshit that is brought before our eyes on a weekly basis, you learn how to look back at the brilliant independent filmmakers who simply want to tell a brilliant/terrifying as fuck type of tale. And that is exactly what we have with Besetment. You could wish it had a couple of million dollars thrown at it, or you can simply respect it for what is in front of you.

And speaking of what is in front of us, the acting is mostly something I would definitely NOT trade out for the world. For anyone who is reading this post viewing, you are bound to and should be ordered to say that Marlyn Mason was absolutely brilliant and fucking disturbing! She is definitely an obvious highlight of the film. But, Abby Wathen’s performance should not be over-shadowed as she is a brilliant actress with an incredible amount of promise that we are sure to see more of in the future.

Overall, this is a brilliant independent horror film that, if given a proper chance, can be truly appreciated by anyone who enjoys a great story and a collection of wonderful performances. So watch Besetment folks, you won’t be disappointed.

Besetment premieres on VOD June 6th with a DVD release to follow September 5th.

Check out the trailer for Besetment, here:

Do You Dream In Color? [Film]

do-you-dream-in-color-poster

 

For so many of us, High School just down right sucked. The struggles of dealing with that in awkward and developmental period between adolescence and pending adulthood can be a real painful, sometimes embarrassing, and downright horrifying time. And most of us, were given the luxury of sight when working through these disturbing times. So imagine if blindness were just a another stick in spokes of the proverbial bicycle tire that is High School life? Well, that is exactly what the beautiful souls who act as the main subjects in the soon be released documentary Do You Dream In Color? are going through, and their unique and individual experiences make for an extremely humbling experience of a film.

Synopsis: Connor, Nick, Sarah and Carina are like most teenagers navigating the growing pains of high school, but unlike their peers these four teens face another challenge – they’re blind. Do You Dream in Color? is an enlightening and poignant coming of age story that captures the inspired journeys of four courageous teenagers as they strive to achieve their goals: to be a sponsored skateboarder, to travel the world, to become a rock star and to be the first family member to graduate high school. Their extraordinary stories shine a provocative light on both the social and institutional obstacles faced by people who are blind in the sighted world and what it takes to surmount these barriers.

I believe it is absolutely fair and only right to admit that there is definitely going to be a large bit of bias when you go into the watching of this film. Whether the idea and subjects of the film hit home for personal reasons or not, this is obviously a film that is going to “hit you right in the feels” as the kids today would say. Any film, whether dramatic or documentary, that deals with the trials and tribulations of physical or mental impairment is destined to be given some sort of emotional leeway right off the bat. So the content was not entirely complicated to emotional convey on screen, but it became the job of the filmmakers Abigail Fuller and Sarah Ivy, to make it an exceptional rollercoaster of emotions stylized for the common viewer. And in the case of Do You Dream In Color?, I think it is only right to acknowledge that they did just that. Fuller and Ivy managed to create a film that is as captivating as it is mesmerizing, especially when you begin to understand just how little they had available in the way of resources for completing the project. Also not to mention the amount of time the two, as well as the rest of the crew, put into making this film a possibility. Between the time consuming agony of crowd funding, and the constant waiting game for distribution and festival acceptance, all of which does not even include the actual filming and editing of such a project, I sincerely believe that the end result is something completely admirable and deserves some very high praise.

Now, to be perfectly clear, the film is not absolutely perfect. There are moments in watching the film when he can almost physically see the monetary restrictions that were placed on the production. Without feeling necessarily rushed, the film does feel like it has a few holes in between scenes that could have been filled with a few thousand dollars here or there, but it just wasn’t possible. But even with that being said, the quality of the film that was presented in the end really needed absolutely no improvements. It’s more of the classic complaint of “we wanted more!” type of situation. Which is actually a far more commendable aspect to the film, in my opinion. While working with so little, they managed to make something absolutely beautiful. And, again, this also wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the tremendous spirit and courage of Connor, Nick, Sarah, and Corina, the film’s subjects.

Seriously people, the amount of hope that this film can, and most likely will, inspire in you should be enough for you to run right to it. It is an extremely power film that can inspire generations to come.

Do You Dream In Color? releases on VOD February 10th, and in select theaters soon thereafter.

Godzilla – World Cinema and American Language Barrier [Film]

godzilla

Chapter 2 – Subtitle Remake

Godzilla is the king of the monsters, but Hollywood is the king of the blockbuster. During the early 90s small screens across America gained access to TBS and TNT via basic cable packages. These two channels routinely aired themed marathons on weekends in one of four ways – the spy weekend centered around James Bond, the war movie weekend centered around Red Dawn (1984) and Kelly’s Heroes (1970), the drama weekend centered around The Outsiders (1983), or the monster weekend centered around Godzilla featuring his more playful films of the 1960s and 70s with their iconic dubbing. Godzilla is definitively Japanese with his destruction left purposefully less realistic as men in suits battle and crush miniature cities. Through basic cable, Godzilla became a woven part of the American lexicon despite our current gritty visually realistic take of storytelling through Hollywood blockbusters.

The largest export of the United States is our pop-culture delivered by Hollywood to nations across the world which reciprocate billion of dollars in ticket returns. In 1954, Godzilla was introduced in Japan with great success spawning 27 squeals over a fifty year period from the Toho Company. Hollywood took notice of this Japanese hit release Godzilla, King of the Monster two years later. With access to all the international markets across the oceans the United States home market remains the most profitable for American Studios. From this notion foreign films will not always work in their original form as financial successes within the United States. This is not a question of the quality of storytelling but the audiences’ ability to relate to the work presented. World cinema’s most revered films international rights are thus acquired by American Studios for the purpose of being  remade as Hollywood blockbusters based on American sensibilities with English dialogue.

Gojira_1954_Japanese_posterHollywood and Japan’s first introduction was not Godzilla but four years prior with Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon (1950). The film is a Japanese period drama starring Toshiro Mifune based on two stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. The film’s characters provide alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions a woman’s rape along with the murder of her samurai husband. Kurosawa intended the film to be an exploration of multiple realities rather than an exposition of a particular truth. Rashomon won the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival that year and an honorary Academy Award for most outstanding foreign language film at the 25th Academy Awards. R.K.O. acquired Rashomon for American distribution releasing the film in its original Japaneses with English subtitles. By 1952 the film had only grossed 200,000 dollars. Rashomon was a defining influence on a young Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and other future students of the 1960s USC School of Cinematic Arts but also a financial failure in the United States due to the use of subtitles.

Until the late 1920s film was a silent medium. Warner Brother’s 1927 release of The Jazz Singer  forever changed how film was received. The Jazz Singer tells the story of Jakie Rabinowitz, a young man dealing with his Jewish roots and love for Jazz singing. The film features six musical numbers of synchronized singing to filmed performance. This incorporation of sound added unforeseen language barriers to world cinema. The addition of sound made it difficult for studios to export their films to foreign markets. Silent era Charlie Chaplin films were universally received because the audience was able to project their own culture and language directly onto the Chaplin’s silent Tramp character. With talking films a producing country’s cultural and language isolate the work from easy distribution to international audiences.

Across the Atlantic in 1931 Germany, Director Fritz Lang premiered his first talking picture, a thriller entitled M. The film is about criminals taking the law into their own hands in order to find a child murderer. The film did incredibly well in Germany and was sold to Foremco for international distribution in the United States, Foremco premiered M in its original German language with English subtitles. Following an initial two week run the film was pulled from theaters for poor performance attributed to the usage of those subtitles. M was later dubbed by director Eric Hakim with only actor Peter Lorre reprising his role. This dubbing incorporated partial re-shoots with American actors performing select cut away dialogue scenes. This reworking of M was done without Fritz Lang’s involvement in the hopes of gaining wider American returns.

The same year M was recut with American actors the definitive jungle picture King Kong (1933) premiered in New York City simultaneously at the 6,200 seat Radio City Music Hall and the 3,700 seat R.K.O. Roxy Theater across the street. King Kong is the story of a giant ape who lives on Skull Island and whose death is the result of his attempts to possess a beautiful young woman. The special effects spectacle was from Willis H. O’Brien who blended a claymation ape rampaging through jungle and city with live action actors. King Kong sold out the combined two theater’s 9,900 seats for four days straight with ten showing a day grossing just under 90 thousand dollars in 1933 money. Over the film’s initial run, King Kong would take in just over 2 million dollars and tens of millions over subsequent releases in 38, 42, 46, and 1952 – two years before the original Japanese Godzilla (1954). King Kong became the catalyst for the next generation of special effects film makers such as Eiji Tsuburaya of Japan and Ray Harryhausen of the United Sates (20,000 Fathoms Under the Sea – 1953).

Director Ishiro Honda and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya took inspiration from King Kong for Godzilla (1954) who had captivated their imagination of wonder and mixed that spectacle with the context of Cold War nuclear annihilation. The conclusion of World War II is marked by the dropping of atomic weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. War was turned into occupation as the United Sates forces led by General Douglas A. MacArthur implemented military, political, economic and social reforms upon the Japaneses until 1952. As the world rebuilt, lines were drawn between a capitalist west and a communist east linked through a nuclear arms race as the threat of mutually assured destruction provided the only safe guard to avoiding world annihilation. With the ending of the American occupation of Japan, previous censorship restriction were lifted allowing Japaneses post war film to address the atomic age to which no other country was better suited.

rome open city

Post war cinema became a medium for people to express and deal with their nations’ feelings about the war’s devastation. Rome, Open City is an Italian film released in 1945 from director Roberto Rossellini which deals with the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944. Joseph E. Levine, an American Film Producer involved in the production of over 500 films including the importing of foreign films into the United States, acquired the film’s international rights. Levine initially released Rome, Open City in the States in its original Italian language with English subtitles. Similar to Fritz Lang’s M, with little returns, the film was pulled from screens after two weeks. Levine recognized the fundamental fact American audiences do not like subtitles. Rome, Open City was dubbed over by English voice talent and re-released. The film went on to gross over 1 million dollars being the first foreign film in Hollywood history to do so. Levine followed Rome, Open City with the releases of Paisà (1946) and Bicycle Thieves (1948) each grossing over 1 million dollars themselves.

Director Ishiro Honda opens Godzilla with a sequence depicting a Japaneses fishing boat being obliteration through radiation breath. A slimier real life event became a key inspiration for the film. The United States tested their first Hydrogen Bomb on Bikini Atoll in the Marshal Island six months after the Soviet Union had tested their own Hydrogen Bomb. The real Japanese fishing trawler (Lucky Dragon 5) was fishing for tuna in a predefined safe zone until the area was overwhelmed by the Castle Bravo nuclear test which had yielded a 15 megaton blast rather than its planned six megaton. The crew of Lucky Dragon 5 faced radiation sickness and six months after the event the radio operator succumbed to the Castle Bravo radiation asking the world in his final breaths that he be the last casualty of the Hydrogen Bomb.

Immediately following a showing of Godzilla entrepreneur Edmund Goldman purchased the international rights to the film for 25,000 dollars. At that time 3,000 dollars was considered an average price for film rights. Richard Kay and Harold Ross later became involved with Goldman helping to finance the promotion budget for the American release. The three would show the film to Levine who immediately contributed 100,000 dollars of his own money into the production. Godzilla would not just be another dubbing, Levine would remake the film for American audiences.

godzilla_1956Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956) from TransWorld Releasing Corp was the adaptation of Godzilla (1954). This new recut version consisted of numerous new scene centered on the character Steve Marin portrayed by actor Raymond Burr. Director Terry O. Morse with his background in low-budget crime dramas and who was also known in Hollywood as a film doctor was brought in to direct the new scenes. Morse took the Japanese footage and created something new for American audiences. Through clever editing and set imitation Journalist Steve Marin appears to actually interact with the original Japanese cast who had been dubbed over by American voice actors with newly written dialogue.

Today dubbing is consider an insult to film. From the early 1940s through the late 1950s dubbing was considered the highest level of respect one could pay a film because having a film dubbed meant a producer and distributor believed enough in the film they were willing to invest their own money into the picture. Subtitles were cheap, but dubbing cost enormous sums of money. Hollywood took Godzilla and morphed it into an American monster attacking Tokyo. Godzilla, King of the Monsters would break Levine’s previous records of success. Toho also loved the recut version as it gave Godzilla a larger audience. Hollywood in more recent years has taken a different approach to successful foreign films.

Warner Brother’s release of Godzilla in the summer of 2014 is an American remake of the Japanese idea. The original 1954 and the 2014 remake share some similarities to the  monster genre. Both film take recent tragedies fresh in the audiences’ mind and incorporated them into their films but changed just enough to retain the entertainment aspect and not become to documentary. The 2014 film uses the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster in addition to the 2004 Indonesia Tsunamis as disasters fresh in the audience’s mind to elicits stronger emotional reactions to Godzilla’s devastation while the 1954 film parallels the dropping of atomic bombs on Japaneses cities and the Lucky Dragon 5 incident.

The two films although differ in the context of the genre. It is obvious what Godzilla (1954) is about – nuclear annihilation. Godzilla is the embodiment of that fear, a radioactive behemoth destroying all human society in his path. The people of Japan can do nothing to stop him with the exception of developing a weapon even greater then atomic weapons but at the cost of throwing the world into an even worse arms race. Godzilla (2014) is not really about anything other then being an American summer blockbuster that places Godzilla into the world in the most realistic way CGI can.

In 1954, the special effects pioneered by Eiji Tsuburaya were state of the art and amazed audience in the same way the Lumiere Brothers Train Arriving at Station (1896) caused people to faint. People attend films to see something they have never seen before. People saw Godzilla (1954) to see something they had also never seen before. Film requires elements of the fantastic and wonder. Cinema is the projection of that spectacle. I attend theaters in the pursuit of this awe inspiring wonder and to suspend by disbelief in the never before seen. Godzilla (2014) is a great American blockbuster in this regard. I cheered for the king of the monsters multiple times at my screening and witnessed some amazing visuals. The American blockbuster has in some ways developed into its own genre with specific rules of genres have such as one example – the destruction of a major city. On this new genre Godzilla succeeds. I had a great time watching the film but the fantastic elements or the character moments are not mutually exclusive as new blockbuster would try and claim they are.

Original Nation Title United States Title
Sweden Let The Right One In (2008) Let Me In (2010)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Insomnia (1997 Insomnia (2002)
Japan The 47 Ronin (1942) 47 Ronin (2013)
Ring (1998) The Ring (2002)
Ju-on: The Grudge (2002) The Grudge (2004)
Seven Samurai (1954) The Magnificent Seven (1960)
South Korea Oldboy (2003) Oldboy (2013)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) The Uninvited (2009)
Hong Kong Internal Affairs (2002) The Departed (2006)
Germany Wings of Desire (1987) City of Angles  (1998)

With languages barrier in world cinema from synchronized sound with movement remakes became the logical solution for American Studios. Over 9.6 million tickets were sold in Japan marking Godzilla (1954) the eighth highest attended film in Japan that year earning over 2.25 million dollars (152 million Yen) for Toho Company. The recut version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956) was later premiered in Japan. Raymond Burr’s character was subtitled back into Japanese but the original Japanese dialogue was left untouched. The film was recut based on how visual elements came together and not how dialogue worked as the original Japanese lines had been rewritten to fit the new story. I can only image what sitting in a Japanese theater during the summer of 57 watching  Godzilla, King of the Monster and listening to the complete nonsense of non sequitur after non sequitur dialogue must have been like.