Author of the DVD DELIRIUM book series and owner of the site Mondo Digital.
Arrow Video's line of outrageous '60s Japanese sado-epics from Teruo Ishii continues with this comparatively restrained anthology of three stories about the perils of sex, tattooing, or even just being alive during the Tokugawa era. Beautifully shot and definitely not for all tastes, it's almost respectable for the first third until it busts out the leech baths, kinky nuns, and battered Caucasian missionaries to rile up the audience. mondo-digital.com/shogunjoy.html
Visually gorgeous if not entirely satisfying krimi that gets a lot of value out of its moody scope black-and-white look and a nifty if very underused title character who ultimately doesn't really have much to do with the story. Actually, the main narrative here is mostly sidelined for the first half by a lot of filler involving forged banknotes, gambling debts, and no less than three major characters inexplicably fixated on Grit Boettcher, the dullest heroine in the Rialto Edgar…
For years people will be debating whether this is a horror film, a dark comedy New England period piece, a twisted Americanization of the Prometheus and Sisyphus myths, and/or a bitterly amusing portrait of male aggression and (terror of) intimacy. Any way you slice it, this is a visually intoxicating and brilliantly acted two hander from Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson that manages to surpass Robert Eggers' mostly excellent The Witch (or The VVitch if you wanna be all 7even about it) by sticking the landing all the way to the unforgettable final shot. Easily worth repeated viewings and one of the great macabre nautical nightmares.
A raw, screaming art film with a capital A that I deeply enjoyed but would probably never outright recommend to anyone else. Those of us emotionally attached to the Dario Argento film of the same title will have the toughest hill to climb here as Luca Guadagnino doesn't even try to outdo it, veering instead into guilt-ridden, traumatized waters where the only way to survive is either mentally purge your sins or hope someone next to you gets destroyed instead.…