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

Hud (1963) explores the brazen world of American egocentrism

Martin Ritt’s adaptation of Larry McMurty’s 1961 novel Horseman, Pass By is a nearly perfect adaptation that creates an overwhelmingly powerful acting vehicle for an all-time cast. Starting with Paul Newman’s best performance, bar none, his womanizing, apathetic and lost Hud paints a picture of disturbing ambivalence. Next is the fantastic Patricia Neal (Alma) who … More Hud (1963) explores the brazen world of American egocentrism

Weird Cinema: Jacques Tati’s Debut Film Jour de fête (1949)

Jacques Tati’s debut film and it’s an absolute banger. Tati, as the unaware mailman, navigates his real home town, sliding and ducking objects, getting thrown in and out of restaurants, and above all, delivering the mail through it all. It’s incredibly funny slapstick with some of Tati’s best gags involved and one of his best characters.  … More Weird Cinema: Jacques Tati’s Debut Film Jour de fête (1949)

He is (Oscar voting), eager for fun. He wears a smile, everybody run.

He is (Oscar voting), eager for fun. He wears a smile, everybody run. Welcome to bizzar-o land and the end of an overlong Oscar season once again. The best films of 2021 are being decided in late March 2022, which makes sense to someone, somewhere but I’m lost on how waiting this long drums up … More He is (Oscar voting), eager for fun. He wears a smile, everybody run.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) the definitive WWI experience

The greatest film experience finds a mix of immersion, thought provocation and engagement through the senses. All Quiet on the Western Front, through the use of magnificent sound design, production design, and the rawness of the actors and writing, combines all these elements to give a taste of war that’s incredibly powerful. Adapted from Erich Maria Remarque novel, Lewis Milestone bombards the audience with the mortar fire that could collapse the bunker at any second, exploring the idealism sold to prospective soldiers to sacrifice their lives. The sound design is that of a shell-shocked soldier, trying and failing to cope with the horrifying nature of this singular experience. Every second is hell for these soldiers and All Quiet on the Western Front expresses this terror. … More All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) the definitive WWI experience