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  • Ivan the Terrible, Part I

    Ivan the Terrible, Part I

    ★★½

    Sadly this was a bit of a disappointment. A lot of pomp and circumstance but not much substance. I'll praise Einstein's epic staging and cutting-edge war scenes all day along with the great costume design. But my problem is I was hoping for some sort of interesting character study of Ivan and this just didn't deliver as we have no real insight into his life or thought process.

  • The Yakuza Papers, Vol. 1: Battles Without Honor and Humanity

    The Yakuza Papers, Vol. 1: Battles Without Honor and Humanity

    ★★★★

    I think the chaotic opening 10 minutes or so is the perfect introduction to this now yakuza classic. The theme plays over a still of the nuclear mushroom cloud and then cuts to the Hiroshima black markets, a city trying to survive in the post war destruction as the yakuza gangs fight over what little is to be had. Within these opening minutes a Japanese girl is nearly raped by several American GIs, men are shot and stabbed, arms are…

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  • Carmen Comes Home

    Carmen Comes Home

    ★★★★

    Kinoshita is now 2 for 2 in my book with this beautiful film (Japan's first color movie) about national identity, culture shock and loss of innocence. A lot of it reminded me of Ford in some ways with Kinoshita's great community/world building and it's fantastic pastoral setting (when the train comes into town near the beginning I immediately thought of The Quiet Man).

  • Straight Outta Compton

    Straight Outta Compton

    ★★★½

    Adheres to the basic biopic formula needlessly and isn't without some issues but overall it's a pretty damn entertaining and exceptional movie. The cast is great but special props to Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E who really delivers a terrific performance.