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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits!
page added: 2/10/05



Doogan's Views - Main Page


Welcome to Doogan's Blog or How I Disappeared and Totally Ignored That Fact

Let's ignore my long absence and just jump right into the swing of things, shall we?

Yet again, I'm changing the format of my ravings and rantings, and I hope that this might be the last time for a long time.

What I figgered would be best is, get this, a Blog. Yes, Doogan's Views is now a Blog and this will allow me to write anywhere and everywhere, anytime and every time a thought hits me. Sometimes it will be a silly thought. Others it will be a news item I see and think is too cool to ignore. Hey! I might even post a link to an eBay item I think is wicked or stupid. Go ahead and try and stop me! You can't, I'm all powerful. Oh, and just for kicks I might even review some titles for you.

Now, I have to get something off my chest. I have come to hate DVD Reviews. Yes, surprise surprise, Mr. DVD -- the guy who's been writing about DVD longer than anyone on the web, has now come to despise something he helped create.

DVD reviewing has become meaningless to me.

Everything coming out looks pretty damn good, so reviewing the pixel and grain of a film has become boring. Sound is good unless the studio frick-fracks it up, and extras are so standard these days, there's really nothing more to say anymore.

You know DVD is dumbed down to the point of retardation when Blockbuster is delivering titles to your door giving fan favorite Netflix a run for its money.

I dunno. Maybe it's just... when some goof-ball sues a film studio because he assumes he deserves more than he is getting on DVD, then it's time for those of us that know better to pack it up and call it a day. There's no educating people like that. There's no arguing with a fool, 'cause at some point, you become the fool.

The one thing that holds me here, the one thing that hasn't changed about DVD is the one thing that I will never hate: the film itself. I love movies. Possibly more than many of you out there. That's a bold statement I know, but I'm standing by it. They have given me everything I have. They are such a part of me, I don't know what I would do if I couldn't watch just one each day. When everything in my life crumbles and things look their darkest, I always have the ability to pop in or go to, a movie. They've become the best friend I ever had. Good ones, bad ones, cheap ones, epic ones... it makes no difference to me.

So, what does that mean? Is Todd breaking up with The Digital Bits? No way Jose. I'm here for the long run. I love everyone I work with. I love everyone who has ever contributed to this site and I love, most of all, Bill and his lovely wife Sarah for everything that have done for and with me and everything we plan in the future. Hey, I even love Jahnke, despite what the voices in my head say about him.

What I plan to do from this point forward is talk about the films on the discs. I'll tell you about the features sure; I'll let you know when something is so bad on DVD even if the film is worth checking out. But for the most part, I'll be writing about film in this column/Blog, and not necessarily DVD.

That means, I may also talk about movies out in a theater or coming to one near you. Films like...


Ong Bak (Film Review)

Ong Bak

Damn.

If you needed a one word review, there it is. Damn. Is Ong Bak a good film?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha... no. In terms of a story, Ong Bak is very, very weak. But as a martial arts flick it does kick some serious ass. Remember how The Matrix came out and everyone was so blown away, and true fan boys were all scratching their heads because between Asian Cinema, manga/anime and Vertigo graphic novels there was nothing in that movie we haven't already seen? That's what this flick is. It's a film we've all seen before, yet done up in such an aggressive and original way, that you can't help but be blown away.

Ong Bak is about a young man named Ting (Tony Jaa) from a small Thai village who volunteers to retrieve the statued head of their local deity which was stolen by a big city mob boss. Ting is master in a martial art known as Muay Thai, a very elbow and leg heavy form of beating on your opponent. He's promised his master he will never use it to fight, but he has little choice when the only way to get the head back is to fight in underground fighting tournaments. That's pretty much what the film is about.

But it's those fights that make this film so much fun to watch. They are basically to the death, and without his skill, Ting's a dead man.

Those fights and an extended chase through a busy Bangkok street are what will wow every single person who watches this film the most. Just imagine what you felt the first time you saw Jackie Chan do one of his stunts, multiply it by three and that's what you get. The fighting is very raw, very fluid and comes off very natural. The only thing that might be considered a negative with these fights and extreme stunts is the fact that the filmmakers edit every possible angle for each stunt into each other, which gets rather annoying as you see each thing happen three or four times looped over and over. Sure it proves there were no wires, CG or stuntmen involved, but it gets old quickly.

Making up for that annoyance is the fact that Ong Bak is an incredibly smart film in terms of filmmaking, even if it's slight on story. The filmmakers have a lot of fun poking fun at action film cliché by staging a reckless "car" chase scene with moped taxi trolleys complete with cliff hangs and explosions. It also introduces us to tough guy/comic relief George (Perttary Wongkamlao) who fights in true action star style: without abandon when forced to. The cute thing here is the fact that in the middle of the fight he forgets the guy he's fighting is wearing a motorcycle helmet. Cute, fun and smart. Top it all off with one of the most original bad guys in a long while: a wheelchair bound thug with a tracheotomy and an electronic voice box that's running low on batteries. In the end, Ong Bak is not a film you will pick for the most meaningful film you ever saw, but you will be recommending it to all of your friends. If you love martial arts films, think that Jackie Chan in his prime was super cool or just want to say, "Damn" over and over again, Ong Bak is a movie made for you. I can't wait for the DVD.

Doogan's Rating: B-

Since we're talking about martial arts and saying, "damn" as you watch them, Synapse just sent me a movie that I can't wait to recommend to you.

It is what it is, and what it is, is cool.


Budo: The Art of Killing

Budo: The Art of Killing

Packaged as a mondo film with promises of heavy death tolls, Budo is actually a very well-made documentary about the Japanese martial arts and way of the Samurai. I was drawn into every minute of this film. Every aspect of Japanese martial arts are covered here: the Samurai, Sumo, Kendo, Aikido, Karate... all of it. And it's filmed so beautifully that I couldn't believe I never heard of this film outside of a few recommendations from friends who studied martial arts through the years. "Have you ever heard of a flick called Budo? No? Oh, man you need to see it. It's so frickin' cool." And now that I've seen it, I agree. It's not exciting in a Lone Wolf and Cub way, but it's absorbing, informative and if you love Japanese film you'll almost HAVE to check it out.

The film is presented full frame and looks great. There are very few extras, aside from a vintage press packet preserved on the disc and an essay by Chris Poggiali.

Fans of Asian cinema owe it to themselves to at least see it. Curiosity seekers too.

Doogan's Rating: B+


I'll be popping back more often now that I have direct access to this column, so check back often. And if you're lazy, Bill will let everyone know when I update on the front page.

Thanks for all the support over the years and I hope we have a few more years left to talk about these great films coming out on DVD.

Todd Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com


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