I was there a few times last week. Here’s what I saw.

Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samauri is a sort of anime/documentary about famous warrior of Samauri age. Musashi is sort of a pop culture icon in Japan, I guess. Apparently, like George Washington and other historical figures, he’s been subject to mythology and exaggeration. This movie attempts to clear that up with anime recreations of his duels, while we’re guided by a 3D comical historian, and his silent bumbling short skit wearing assistant. Midway through we get a comparison of Samurai soldiers to Chinese cavaliers to European cavaliers and their affect on history. That was the most interesting part of the film to me, as I don’t think I can tell you much about Musashi after watching this. 3 stars.

Thirst, from superstar Korean director Park Chon Wook (of Oldboy fame) is about a Priest who volunteers for a medical experiment to cure some disease. He’s the lone survivor, but soon turns into a vampire. He then has a forbidden love affair with a frustrated housewife that he knew since childhood. It’s not scary but parts are kind of funny. The character growth of the housewife is interesting, and there’s lots of blood and some nudity. Parts of it do drag a bit. 4 Stars.

Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians is a 1981 film from the Czech republic. It’s based of a Jules Verne novel (And a Jules Verne biographer was present and did a Q and A afterwards) I went into this knowing it wasn’t in English and had no subtitles. It may remind viewers of Mony Python with it’s over the top props and goofy antics. I won’t give it a rating because I couldn’t follow it but it was fun to watch.

True Woman for Sale is sort of about the life of a prostitute in Hong Kong. In fact it has a lot of characters whose lives don’t always intersect as much as I’d expect them too. There’s a good emotional scene at the end but even that is not fully understood due to the addition of new information. 4 Stars.

Lifeforce, based on the novel The Space Vampires, was released in 1985 and directed by Tobe Hooper, of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame. In the future astronauts find an alien spacecraft with three naked humanoids inside (Two male, one female) who end up coming back to earth and wreak havoc. The two men are almost non-existent to the plot, but there are lots of long shots of the naked chick slowly walking around. (And she is really hot, of course) The plot moves really slow considering the urgency of the situation. Patrick Stewart has a small role. It’s a nice mix of genres (the end resembles a zombie film) but it does move a little slow at points. Good 80s special effects. It’s a little scary, but could be scarier. 8/10.

My Name is Bruce was made from Dark Horse productions. Bruce Cambell has the guts to play himself as a washed up, shallow, pathetic coward, but it’s all in good fun. A fanboy from a small town kidnaps Bruce to stop a real life Chinese spirit. Bruce at first thinks it’s just a movie shoot, which leads to some laughs. It’s about what you’d expect, which isn’t bad. 8.25 out of ten.
Bucheon was my favorite Korean film fest, but it wasn’t as fun this year for some reason. One nice touch they had was a promo short for the festivals 13th year. We see a young school girl singing happy birthday (In Korean) in a dark creepy house. We find across the table is a man with a sack over his face with one eyehole, which is apparently Jason from the Friday the 13th series. We then see the cake saying happy b-day Bucheon Film fest. Nice touch. They also had another parodying the end of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Oh well. Until next year, cheers.

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