I know it's nearly mid-March but since I have a momentary break from crushing deadlines, here are my thoughts on the last several movies I watched in February.
LATE SPRING (1949) Director:
Yasujiro Ozu. Writers: Kogo Noda, Yasujiro Ozu. Cast: Chishu Ryu,
subtle Ozu brilliance. Maybe not quite as intense or masterful as TOKYO STORY but
there’s so much to admire about the way he tells a story. Especially the things
he holds back from the audience. It’s always refreshing to see a film that's more
powerful because the filmmakers understand what should and should not be
directly told on screen.
I watched the Criterion Collection Blu-ray.
TOKYO-GA (1985) Director: Wim Wenders
Wenders' travelogue doc ostensibly about finding the Tokyo he knew only from the
films of Ozu. The big drawback here is Wenders himself. His ponderous, eye roll
inducing narration makes it hard to take the film seriously. There are a few
interesting interviews, particularly with frequent Ozu lead actor Chishu Ryu
and cameraman Yuhara Atsuta. Even these are marred by Wenders translating the
interviews with his own voice-over rather than letting us hear their voices and
read subtitles. Still, the travelogue portions feature excellent photography by
This was included as an extra on the Criterion Collection Blu-ray of LATE SPRING.
great Realist painter and fascinating character. This doc is narrated by personal
correspondence throughout his life and I have to say they are frequently
hilarious. He was ridiculously pompous but frequently pompous on the side of
right. A little slim on specifics but very entertaining.
some ways the short doc included on this dvd about the history of his painting
“The Origin of the World” is even more interesting.
Hubert Cornfield Writer: Steven Ritch Cast: Gene Raymond, Jeanne Cooper, Elisha
oddly understated and stripped down low budget heist picture from the late
fifties. I could imagine this coming off as clunky but I found it strangely
compelling. The film has a pretty flat look but Olive Films gives it an excellent
presentation on it’s BluRay.
(1940) Directors: William Conttrell, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, T. Hee,
Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen. Producer: Walt
been re-watching the classic Disney animated movies, though since I haven’t seen
any of them since I was a very young child it’s kind of like watching for the
first time.After enjoying DUMBO, SNOW
WHITE and LADY AND THE TRAMP to greater and lesser degrees, PINOCCHIO is the
first one that really didn’t work for me.
get me wrong, the animation is spectacular. Particularly the whale sequence
which is just amazing. The horrifying donkey transformation scene is also very
the misguided and highly moralizing story that I didn’t buy. Pinocchio is
constantly being punished and force-fed these lessons yet there’s no way he
could know what he did wrong in the first pace. He was born then shoved out the
door by Geppetto with little concern for his safety much less given any
preparation for the world that awaits him. His cricket conscience is just as
big a deadbeat, abandoning the puppet kid at the first opportunity. They’re the
characters who need to be taught a lesson. Give me that rat from DUMBO any day.
could read this as existentialism but that would be pretty disingenuous. I’m
not even sure the movie knows exactly what it’s trying to say. But it’s
definitely nice to look at.
Gotz Spielmann Cast: Johannes Krisch, Irina Potapenko, Andreas Lust
Austrian thriller, which takes a couple dubious turns but is entirely redeemed
by its satisfying and surprising ending. Recommended.
NINTEENTH CENTURY VISION (2004) Writer/Director: David Lebrun
informative documentary on nineteenth century biologist Ernst Haeckel and his
study of one-celled microorganisms known as radiolarians. Nothing
groundbreaking here but an interesting doc, none the less.