This weekend was a great one for themes. There were two films from 1999 in the mix, three Japanese Criterion films, two ghost movies (technically, one of those two had a lot more than just ghosts), and two films that dug deep into the psyche of the business of sports. For good measure, Elijah Wood made an appearance in a gimmicky Hitchcockian thriller involving a piano. This is the movie weekend that was. Continue reading
Category Archives: Japanese Film
Last weekend, thanks to the fantastic review from the always trustworthy Goregirl’s Dungeon, I caught up with the Criterion Collection release of Kuroneko (1968). It’s about a woman and her daughter-in-law, who are raped and killed in a fire by a band of samurai. They return as ghosts, exacting their revenge upon all samurai… until they encounter the woman’s son (and the daughter-in-law’s husband), who has become a samurai. I won’t continue lest I spoil the film. Needless to say, it’s a tremendous movie. And it made me look back on all of the Japanese films I’ve seen out of the Criterion Collection. I haven’t seen a bad one yet. Continue reading
Merriam-Webster defines sociology as “the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings”. Whether we know it or not, the cinematic medium is in a constant state of flux, providing future cultures a glimpse into our lives. In short, film history provides a constantly growing archive for future sociologists to study the way human beings organize, interact, develop, and structure their lives at a specific moment in time. It lets them know everything about us. Here are some examples of what sociologists can deduce from film. Continue reading
The majority of film directors have a unique style, an imprint that they place on all of their films. It can be something as significant as David Lynch’s surrealism or something as minor as Quentin Tarantino’s car trunk POV shots. A large part of the fun that I have in watching movies is seeing a director’s style develop, recognizing what they’re doing, and seeing the patterns when they do these things again and again. However, there are occasions where directors have films that break from their own conventions. They create something entirely different. They create a black sheep, as it were. These are films that stand out (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse) in their catalogue. Here are several examples:
Director: Robert Altman
Film: Secret Honor (1984)
First and foremost, Robert Altman is known for drowning his viewers in overlapping dialogue. His characters all speak all at once. It’s quite an immersive feature for the viewer. Some may find it distracting. Personally, I find that it makes me feel like I’m in the room with his characters. You find it all over the place in Altman’s movies. Imagine my surprise when I watched Secret Honor, a movie that featured only one character (a fictionalized Richard Nixon) and his endless monologue. It’s a credit to Altman that the film works so well. It’s also a testament to the film’s sole actor, Philip Baker Hall. Continue reading
When I passed the 100,000 hit marker in November, I honored the event with what became one of my most popular entries- 100 Things I Love About the Movies. As it turns out, my odometer recently rolled over another milestone- the 200,000 hit marker. As logic follows, I’m due for another stroll down 100 Things Avenue. So without further ado, here are 100 More Things I Love About the Movies: Continue reading
The other day, I found myself wishing that movies turned people on the way they turn me on, metaphorically speaking. This led to some pondering about what exactly does turn movie geeks on? How about seedy calendars?!?! And with that, I present to you my proposal to the Criterion Collection- a calendar featuring the sexiest ladies that the Criterion Collection has to offer. And yes, Deneuve is the August pic. Because my birthday is in August. Happy birthday to me!
I had a little party last night to celebrate my blog’s first birthday. I also invited some friends. Left to right: Continue reading
Usually, directors are behind the scenes, spinning their vision into a movie. But they don’t always stay there. Occasionally, they’ll appear on screen. Sometimes, it can be a leading role. Other times, it’s merely a cameo. Here are ten great acting performances by directors in the films of others.
Fritz Lang as Fritz Lang, Contempt
Lang’s films- especially his silent films- are some of the best movies ever made. But before I’d ever seen a single film that he directed, I saw him playing the director in the film within Godard’s film, Contempt. How’s that for post-modern cinema? A director acting in a film in the role of… a director. Making it even more off-kilter, he didn’t even play a fictional director. He played himself, and it was precisely what the movie called for. Continue reading
After enjoying a Spaced marathon a few days ago, I remarked to my friend, “That was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made”. And it’s true. I bought the entire series- two seasons of Daisy and Tim and Mike and Marsha and Brian and Twit… er, Twist- less than 12 months ago. I’ve already re-watched it twice. On top of that, I’ll be loaning it to a friend and fellow Edgar Wright fan within the next few months. I look forward to helping someone else turn on and tune in.
Hearing the comment come out of my mouth made me wonder just what exactly inspires me to buy the movies (and TV shows) that I buy? Continue reading
The Criterion Collection has a very enjoyable series called Top 10s where they invite filmmakers, film critics and theorists, and just good ol’ fashioned celebrities to list their Top 10 from the Criterion Collection. It’s a really unique series because you get great insights into what has influenced these people. For instance, Steve Buscemi lists John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence at #10, and states:
I have been under the influence of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands and their extended family in film ever since I saw a retrospective of Cassavetes’s movies at MoMA soon after he died.
Is it any surprise at all that Steve Buscemi, a stalwart of 90’s indie cinema, would hold such reverence for John Cassavetes, the Godfather of independent cinema? Guy Maddin lists Clement’s Forbidden Games at #1 and Häxan at #10. If you’re familiar at all with Maddin’s films- silent film homages which generally place a magnifying glass on childhood trauma- you realize the imprint that these films had on him. Admittedly, I’ve only seen approximately half of the Criterion Collection, around 250 films or so in their catalogue. Here’s my stab at the Criterion Top 10. Continue reading