Crime School (1939) the Warner Bros obvious Dead End (1937) knock-off

The Dead End Kids being sold with Humphrey Bogart, Crime School (1939) is the Warner Bros version of Dead End (1937). A cheap attempt to profit off the discovery of this group of Brooklyn teenagers with charm, comedic timing and acting instincts
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Capsule review: Chūshingura: Hana no Maki, Yuki no Maki (1962) – the best of the 47 Ronin

Many films have been made about the 47 Ronin story. No other piece of Japanese history has been portrayed this many times in 24 frames and Hiroshi Ingaki’s take is one of my favorites.
More Capsule review: Chūshingura: Hana no Maki, Yuki no Maki (1962) – the best of the 47 Ronin

Barbarian (2022) the surprise horror film of the year

Barbarian surprised me with its subtlety. It’s a fairly traditional story with a great twist, but it doesn’t veer off too far from the average horror monster and setup. Regardless, Cregger holds the tension in creative ways, not allowing it to become so involved in the mystery in the basement until it’s necessary. It’s an excellent entry into the genre and hope  we get to see more from him in the future  … More Barbarian (2022) the surprise horror film of the year

Fall (2022), the influencer survivalist thriller

Fall is cheap storytelling. A short film idea expanded into a feature-length.  It’s got moments of sheer tension and others of unnecessary character building. The character backstories don’t make the film any worse, however, it’s so forced in the middle of what’s supposed to read as dread. There are far too many plot conveniences in a situation that’s supposed to be dire … More Fall (2022), the influencer survivalist thriller

It’s Only the End of the World (2016) is Xavier Dolan at his most emotionally raw and confused

Xavier Dolan’s family dramas are explosive, unrepentant pieces of art that pushes every tensile emotion to its limits. In this view, the script can come off a bit contrived, as we see how hard the writing is trying to invoke a heavy emotional response. It’s over bloated in emotional moments, reaching hard to pull that out of the audience. However, many of these moments resonate because it doesn’t devolve into melodrama. It’s mostly challenged and unacceptable. … More It’s Only the End of the World (2016) is Xavier Dolan at his most emotionally raw and confused

Isao Takahata returns to Japanese folklore in Pom Poko (1994) to cope with the changing Japan

Takahata genuinely uses every imaginable story from Japanese mythology to convey the dying culture of contemporary Japan. It’s used to charm, but also used maliciously and even results in the death of some humans. However, it’s expressed as a battle for their survival and the story carefully relates the trouble inflicted on the Tanuki, foxes, and all the creatures of the forest to express the message. A message that each new development takes valuable resources away from all those who depend on them. … More Isao Takahata returns to Japanese folklore in Pom Poko (1994) to cope with the changing Japan

The Salt of Tears (2021) is the Salt of My Tears

Pointless postmodern melodramatic romance that left me feeling deeply offended. It’s a film that hits all the cliches of what’s generally associated with arthouse cinema but in the sarcastic, negative sense. There’s no essence to the character study as it simply wallows in the dourness of the atmospherics.  … More The Salt of Tears (2021) is the Salt of My Tears

No Man’s Land (2001) the messy, unthinking psychology of war

Two soldiers caught in no man’s land – one Bosnian, one Serb, barely keeping the thin veil of civility held together, while the threat of grave violence sits overhead. The pressure comes and goes, as the two soldiers seek a general truce with the understanding that violence could erupt at any time. Danis Tanović understands the psychology of the soldiers, the media covering the absurd event, and the UN soldiers having to take the impossible position of peacekeeper. It paints the situation as the evil and the obscurity of war impacting all interested parties. … More No Man’s Land (2001) the messy, unthinking psychology of war