Editor by profession, film/music lover by trade.
CASTING BLOSSOMS TO THE SKY is my favorite of Nobuhiko Obayashi's anti-war films (tied if not edged slightly out by LABYRINTH OF CINEMA), a film that poignantly addresses Japan's collective post-war trauma through historical recounts and personal testimony, but whose impact lies significantly in how it examines the role of art and culture in addressing post-war trauma as well as the responsibility of future generations in carrying these reflective traditions. It is a poignant introduction to Obayashi's thematic trilogy (or…
Dragon Inn is the deliberate counterpoint to the lives of the occupants; the excitement onscreen contrasts with the mundanity of the real world. The few people gathering to see the film live their own lives in a state of ennui and listlessness. Some of them gather in the hopes of finding a personal connection, but maybe all that can be offered for them is a moment of escapism into the fantasy of the movies.
The cinema is often deemed a…
I came for the ass-kicking and stayed for Bolo Yeung’s wig.
The plot is all over the place with several characters and villains introduced on a whim; one of the major final fights involves two characters introduced merely a couple minutes prior. I don’t want to dock major points off action films for lacking storytelling chops necessarily, but this really does feel like several fight sequences haphazardly strung together with a loose thread much of the runtime.
Who cares?! Those…
Vladimar Johannsson embraces the quiet of his setting and that of the life of his central characters. Þórarinn Guðnason’s slightly unsettling score is sparsely used, and when it is it operates on a low timbre. Eli Arenson’s cinematography is wide but minimalistic. And yet these elements are enough to create mystery and atmosphere to build up to a certain upending without ever trafficking in the more obvious tropes of the elevated horror genre, embracing subtle and sometimes shocking reveals without ever forcefully calling attention to them. Johannsson’s approach feels ambiguous and uncertain even as the story feels definitive or resolute.
The worst tendencies of Vice amplified to 11; once again, Adam McKay is preaching to the choir and telling us literally nothing new, all while condescending to and yelling at that same audience and thinking he is the smartest and most important person in the room. Doesn’t help that this is a frequent mess tonally regardless, with McKay’s direction—shoddy handheld camerawork and sloppy editing being the most prominent flaws—and his ensemble cast’s performances rarely ever on the same page (poor…
If Luke Skywalker were the main character in The Force Awakens, that would give a pretty good idea on how The Matrix Resurrections plays much of the time.
On the one hand, the ways this film acknowledges the legacy of the prior trilogy feel poignant in how they acknowledge just how far, for better or worse, the world has changed in several ways since the release of Revolutions. What’s more prescient are the personal reasons bringing Lana Wachowski back to…