A samurai film with Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai is like a Western with John Wayne and Lee Marvin: you don't need to know any more about it to want to see it.
Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) begins as an unlikely protagonist. An IRS adjuster who lives his life by the numbers, every day is much like every other and though he may not actually like it, he has become accustomed and reconciled to it. Emma Thompson narrates his existence and uses his wristwatch as a narrative device to discuss how mundane it all is.
In the West, there's no question that Akira Kurosawa is best known for his period pieces with samurai. From the ground-breaking Rashomon and epic The Seven Samurai to the cowboy-film-in-disguise Yojimbo that inspired Western imitations and Shakespeare adaptations like Ran and Throne of Blood, Kurosawa's samurai dominate the Western perception of his work. To only focus on these masterpieces, however, is to miss the great work he did with contemporary settings and stories. The Bad Sleep Well is such a one.
Il n'y a pas de plus profonde solitude que celle du samouraï si ce n'est celle d'un tigre dans la jungle… peut-être…
Joseph made a post titled Dizzy With Nostalgia on his blog and commented on the failure of people in the (forgive me for any inaccurate description; it was never my scene) communist/socialist/anarchist/environmentalist/? underground scene to fully reflect on their past efforts. This isn't really a comment on that, but some reflections it engendered on the … Continue reading Hipsters and Prodigal Sons
In perfect honesty, this mid-war film does not show Ozu at his very best. The heavy hand of national propaganda can be clearly felt overpowering his characteristic light touch at several points in the film. Regardless, Ozu is always a cut above the madding crowd and this turn by Ryu is particularly impressive since he manages to convey a man who ages 30ish years over the course of the film with very little in the way of makeup.
Robert Duvall is a great actor. No one would probably argue that point. Turns out he can direct pretty well too, but what really sets this movie apart is the writing. I'm sure I won't do this one justice, but there's no way I could leave it off this list. I myself am not a part of the Pentecostal/Holiness church tradition, but I am familiar with small-town, Southern Christianity in a general way since one side of my family comes out of that. This is the most honest film portrayal I've ever seen of how that aspect of Southern life functions.
I'll put this right up front: this movie has more nudity and sexual content than any other film on the list I've put together for these posts this year. The topic does figure into the plot and thus isn't wholly gratuitous, but it would perhaps have been possible to include by indirect means the plot critical elements... If you're still here, then lets talk about the rest of movie.
This is certainly a pre-Code film. Crime pays, there's quite a bit of innuendo, and plenty of implied non-marital relations. Nowadays it would still be a mild PG because of the deft hand of the director giving it that Lubitsch touch.
The season has begun! Ran through the first week of games, April 1 through April 7. I've considered going day by day with the interesting things from each game, but I think that would take far, far too long to get through multiple seasons. So I'm going to take it a week at a time … Continue reading Fictional Baseball – FIB Update 5