For one of them British people like me it’s kind of insane for me to consider the idea that Battle Royale was not available in a home release form in the U.S. until 2012. It is entirely understandable though what with the alarming frequency of school shootings that have happened over the years, something that is, thankfully, very rare in the UK. We don’t have a history of violent gun crime amongst teenagers and maybe the thought of Battle Royale, a film that revolves around teenagers forced to kill each other off, struck too much of a nerve with U.S. distributors and the mess of an organisation that is the MPAA. So I understand that, as most of my views come from the U.S. there is a good chance that whoever reads this may not have seen Battle Royale. There may be some spoilers ahead, but please do read on, because Battle Royale is a film that needs to be seen as it is one of the most important works of cinema since the turn of the century. Click the link below.
Category Archives: World Cinema
So I happily admit to having a bit of a thing for classical Japanese cinema these days. Been trying to spread out the reviews so this doesn’t become Japanese Cinema Dump but it’s nearly Halloween and I felt like reviewing what is generally considered the precursor to the J-Horror genre. This film was recommended to me by Mark Cousins, director of The Story Of Film and, most recently, Here Be Dragons. I asked him to recommend either this or Kuroneko, and Onibaba was his pick. So, was his recommendation a good one? You’ll have to click the link below to find out I guess. Although he did feature this film in The Story Of Film so… yeah… it’s pretty good.
A couple of weeks back… probably more by the time you stumble across this review whilst looking for something else Final Fantasy VII related… I did a post about video game based film adaptations and how they, quite often, suck a load of donkey balls. One such film that I mentioned not being all that great was Final Fantasy The Spirits Within. That film is often derided for being massively off base of what the Final Fantasy games were. Which was pretty amazing seeing as it was made by Square, the makers of the games. Although looking back they sure did think they were the dogs bollocks around then. So, what happens when they not only make a Final Fantasy film that mirrors the games but is actually a sequel to one of the games? Their most highly praised Final Fantasy at that. Click the link for my review which is sure to piss off a few fanboys.
Many years ago I got myself coerced into watching a number of Bollywood films by some Asian work friends who, as far as I could tell, thought it was funny that I’d actually watch them. To them Bollywood films was entirely a product of their culture and, by proxy, should make no sense to a silly Englishman such as myself. Over some time I sat and watched Baazigar, Daag: The Fire and Gharwali Baharwali. All of which are damn enjoyable films and quite a good crash course in modern Bollywood movies. None of those movie hold a candle to the film I’m reviewing today though. Sholay goes beyond being a big deal in India. It played solidly in cinemas for 5 years and it still wouldn’t be too hard to find a cinema showing it today some 38 years later. When adjusted for inflation it is the highest grossing Indian film of all time. It also proves that Bollywood films aren’t just for the people of their homeland. I say this because Sholay is one of the greatest Westerns of all time. Click the link for my review.
You know what I love? Other than inappropriate humour, that is. Discovering a new artist that I enjoy. Last year I watched Mark Cousin’s excellent documentary The Story Of Film. Early on in the film… well about 6 hours in, it is a 15 hour long film… he covers the work of Yasujrio Ozu, a director I was aware of but had never seen any of the works of. A little after that I rented myself a copy of Ozu’s masterpiece Tokyo Story from Lovefilm. Not long after that I had brought a copy after being taken back by it’s beauty (this copy also came with Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family which I will get too before too long) and about a week ago I purchased another film of his in the form of Floating Weeds. Tokyo Story hooked me into Ozu’s work and directorial style. Floating Weeds has convinced me that he is easily one of the greatest directors that has ever lived. This is true classical style film making. Click the link for me saying pretty much the same thing but with more detail.
I wanted to search for a less challenging film to review the last two I covered. Something that would actually have flaws I could get my teeth into. Something that wouldn’t carry with it the weight of years of academic praise and deconstructions. I believe I found that film. The live action adaptation of the Osamu Tezuka Manga, that wasn’t called Astro Boy or Black Jack, Dororo. Here’s a story with an incredibly silly/convoluted premise that has so much promise for great visuals and something of a unique style. Did I get all of those things with this film? Click the link to find out.
In my last review, for Mulholland Drive, I remarked that I don’t enjoy writing reviews of unquestionably great films. I find writing those reviews a taxing experience due to the fact that whatever I write will have been written a million times before. Plus I generally assume that if you’re reading these reviews you’re already fairly knowledgeable in the world of film and are likely familiar with the work already. But I made a decision nearly 2 years ago to review every film I see and, after watching Mark Cousins’ superb The Story Of Film, I have found myself building a collection of classic films I have never seen. And so here I am, with a BFI restoration of Battleship Potemkin, one of the most important films ever made. Often placed at the top of greatest film ever lists and possibly the origin on montage film and the use of editing to manipulate the audiences emotional links to the character. Also, the most praised propaganda film of all time without question. Yes, more so the The Hurt Locker. Well then, click the link for my review. I promise to review something simpler next time.
During 2012 a number of films were released that could almost be seen as love letters to the history of cinema. We had Hugo which featured the early career of George Melies and many silent cinema nods. Cabin In The Woods played out as one huge love up/damnation of the horror genre which simultaneously paid tribute to classic horror whilst showing you how horror worked and, by proxy, how simple horror has recently become. Mark Cousins released a beautiful 15 hour long film about the Story Of Film which is a must watch for any film fans. Today’s film is another of these tributes to classic cinema in the form of The Artist. At The Oscars last year it was The Artist and Hugo that swept up a lot of the awards, which kinda says a lot about how nostalgic the Oscar committee are. Does The Artist manage to be more than just a tribute to the early days of cinema? Well, click the link for my irrelevant views.
Back when I watched and reviewed Mark Cousin’s Story Of Film (Review No.126) one directors work featured in that documentary struck me strongest. It was the work of a director I only had a passing knowledge of having never seen his work and only knowing him by name. I was unaware of his techniques and what it was that made his films great. I decided to research his methods and work and find a film that would be a good starting point. That director was Yasujiro Ozu and now I know just what is so great about the man and his work. Last night I watched Tokyo Story and I’m pretty sure I just added a new film to my top ten favourite films of all time.
Bit of a mouthful of a title that ain’t it? Not as bad as The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain but it’s close. Also this film doesn’t have Hugh Grant in it so that’s good. Sorry for the gap between this and my last review. I had Uncle Boonmee rented from Lovefilm and the copy I had started freaking out like Nicholas Cage in… any Nicholas Cage film… for the last 20 minutes. I got the jist of what was happening but didn’t want to commit to a review until I could watch the final scenes minus the frozen frames and skipped shots. So anyway, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives eh? Click the link for my views.