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  • Three Outlaw Samurai 1964

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Apr, 2014

    Asian April #10

    Hideo Gosha shot out of the starting blocks with an action packed samurai story, that presents a fresh side to the life of the ronin, fleshing out the storyline that in itself holds few surprises with the title being what it is.

    Three Outlaw Samurai is incredibly entertaining, and the three protagonists get to represent unique versions of the, for the most part, loyal swordsman.

    As in Goyokin, the other Gosha film I've seen, TOS has quite…

  • Youth of the Beast 1963

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Apr, 2014

    Asian April #9

    Youth of the Beast is Suzuki as reserved as I've seen him, but still offering up a very jazzy noir that nods it's head to Kurosawa while at the same time letting a furious Jo Shishido run loose in front of the camera. The story is sort of straight forward, with the odd twist, but the proceedings get a "Suzuki" treatment via jump cuts, wild use of camera, score, a wonderful mise en scene and special mention…

  • Fish Story 2009

    ★★★★★ Watched 22 Apr, 2014

    Asian April #8

    Fish Story is a great song, literally and figuratively. Been a while since a film grabbed me and held on for a close to two hour snuggle.
    Spanning several decades and encompassing stories of impending apocalypse, a band biopic, a coming of age, a hijacking and more, every single storyline comes together in the end so punk can save the world. Damn!

    Some stories get much more storytime than others, but each one is entertaining in it's…

  • Joe 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Apr, 2014 2

    David Gordon Green is a shoe-in for a hypothetic list of top5 personal favourites among directors working today.
    I don't think I mind that much that he went off on a "two year bender" either, it just makes him more endearing and human. I've still not dared to touch The Sitter with a ten foot pole, though.

    Onwards to Joe, a film I've been anticipating for a while (Green's upcoming Pacino starrer hasn't even entered my radar). I'm so glad…

  • The Message 2009

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Apr, 2014

    Asian April #7

    Visually a bit over exaggerated, but at times the cinematography is stunning. The mystery is kept under wraps all the way through to the reveal, and the acting is pretty good, but it drags at times and the characters aren't all that interesting.
    As far as stories from the same period, and in and around the same area (Nanking), there are definitely better films out there.

  • Enemy 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 10 Apr, 2014 3

    Yeah, this was confusing as fuck.
    Won't even pretend to write up any sort of analyzis until I've at least watched it once more, or twice (or thrice?), but Villeneuve continues to evolve as a director, and adds to the experience with excellent direction.
    The mystery is a very brooding one, but the complexity of it all was too much to take in on just one viewing. Maybe I need to read the book.

    Anything else I'd write now would just be to fill out the blank space.

  • Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus 2003

    ★★★★ Watched 07 Apr, 2014

    Early on in this documentary trying to capture some of that elusive Southern spirit, Jim White states that the South is more than a state of mind, it's an atmosphere.
    Andrew Douglas manages to capture some of that atmosphere as White guides us in, through and around places at least I'd never get to see for my self. In these places there's always folk willing to spill some of their heritage, and it's a great time all round. Unfortunately the…

  • Walesa. Man of Hope. 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 07 Apr, 2014

    This month's surprise screening was the biopic of Lech Walesa, a man we perhaps only know the official side of, and this picture does nothing to remedy that.
    You'd think that in this day and age a biopic concerning big issues would choose to dig a bit deeper.
    In stead this is part comedy, part family affairs and part political revolution.

    Wajda constructs a story with engrossing visuals, the soundtrack consisting of mostly Polish punk songs from the 80s helps…

  • Montage 2013

    ★★½ Watched 06 Apr, 2014

    Asian April #6

    A promising start is let down by the proceedings becoming more and more contrived.
    The comic relief side kick, a highlight from the off, vanishes without a trace and from there on in the film slowly drops in quality. For many more reasons than just that, of course.
    The last half an hour drags so much it literally becomes a chore to finish watching.
    Kim Sang-kyung (Memories of Murder) is a more than decent actor, but he can't help Montage becoming more than a by the numbers, and I do mean every number, Korean revenge thriller.

  • Take Aim at the Police Van 1960

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Apr, 2014

    Asian April #5

    Not Suzuki at his craziest (and best), but nevertheless an entertaining noir even if the big reveal left me dumbfounded.
    A very strong first half is more than enough to make up for a meandering second half, and a nikkatsu film is never, ever boring. The opening scene is especially fun.
    The sniper henchman should've got a film of his own as well, I think I'd have loved that to bits.

    Had Suzuki made this 10 years later, I think it would have been a masterpiece.

  • The Front 1976

    ★★★½ Watched 31 Mar, 2014

    A lot of victims to the ridiculous, bigotted, paranoid, petty, narrow minded and vicious blacklisting of major as well as minor Hollywood players come together in the making of this film, and appear both in front of and behind of the camera.

    Fortunately, it's a talented group of people, and the righteous anger is channeled into a very, very funny film.
    Woody Allen both works, and doesn't, and the film doesn't really nail the landing, even if the final line is great.

  • Tokyo Drifter 1966

    ★★★★½ Watched 01 Apr, 2014

    Asian April #1

    This is we're the party's at!
    Seijun Suzuki plays with the nikkatsu universe, with so much visual style it practically becomes the film's substance. Might as well be, as there is no plot to speak of, all we have is a muddled narrative filled with an ebundance of cool.
    And I can't leave this little column without mentioning the cinematography and how it's highlighting the colours, sets and visual to make you forget the negatives. Because the…