• I Graduated, But...

    I Graduated, But...

    Ozu short. Cheeky Ozu is pretty fun (as anyone who's seen Good Morning can well attest), and I think this a potentially rich comedic premise, but the execution seems lacking due to this being just the 11 surviving minutes of a mostly lost 70 minute film. It's unfortunate, but I really do like the premise and I'd be curious to see it fleshed out with the appropriate Ozuesque tone.

    Couldn't help but notice the Harold Lloyd Speedy! poster in the background in that one scene. A tale as old as time, throwing movie posters in the scenery of unrelated movies.

  • A Story of Floating Weeds

    A Story of Floating Weeds

    I watched this and Floating Weeds (1959) out of order, but this is just as beautiful a telling of that story, even without the sound and color of the eventual remake.

  • The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer

    The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer

    ★★★★★

    Morality is futile? Kaji seems to realize that wartime reasoning really is different from that of peacetime, and despite his hope to reconnect with his prior life, war destroys hope… bleak.

  • The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity

    The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity

    ★★★★★

    Not to dumb down my thoughts on part two of what is surely one of the finest films on war out there, but I really admire how much Kaji is depicted as a total wife guy. The extreme swells in the score every time he sees her in the distance — or in this case, finds out he gets to spend the night with her at basic training, so basically when he's just thinking of her — are so beautifully…

  • The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

    The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

    ★★★★★

    The way this film challenges the principle character's leftist convictions and pits them against human nature, corruption, and devastation is absolutely arresting. The cinematography is also top-notch. Kobayashi is so fucking good. The scene in which the miners and sex workers realize their suffering under imperialism is identical is really powerful, too — in all, this is just an incredible, unflinching depiction of the bleak blackness of wartime.

    "This is wartime. Peacetime reasoning doesn't apply."

  • Angst

    Angst

    ★★★★★

    Feverish, impulsive as a dog, unbridled by the fear of consequence. The depiction of psychopathic sadism feels so real that the blood splatters the viewer’s face too, and now I need to wash my face in the sink and miss a spot right behind my ear too. The central performance, cinematography, and score are all-time-great for the genre, right next to Possession in my recent viewings in terms of virtuosic filmmaking and stomach churning content.


    Hilarious that this is one of…

  • Dead or Alive 2: Birds

    Dead or Alive 2: Birds

    ★★★★

    Batshit yakuza murder movie with a ponderous heart at the center. Kind of a weird decision to treat this as a sequel to Dead or Alive (they're unrelated except for the two stars), but maybe as a commentary on the violence I kind of get it? Weird to see a sentimental Miike, but also kind of funny to see him giddily infuse it with violence around that soft core. Lovely movie. Love Tsukamoto's cameo in the first five minutes.

  • Youth of the Beast

    Youth of the Beast

    ★★★★★

    Postmodern Yojimbo where everyone and everything is brutal. I really dug the films being projected on the wall in the background of the Sanko Family's HQ, and how that came into play when Jo first infiltrated them. I love Suzuki — his style is breathtaking.

  • There Was a Father

    There Was a Father

    ★★★★

    You could probably do a MadLib Ozu review in which you espouse Ozu's precision and simplicity in a story about generational friction and familial sacrifice and then fill in the blanks with the narrative specifics, but this is yet another beautiful, heart-aching example. The restoration on the Criterion Channel is in dire shape, we must be very lucky to have it at all.

  • Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    ★★★★★

    Dreamlike and mysterious, I'm in love with the little nuances of this. It's something quite in love with the very idea of love, but even more so the pain of love lost and longing — one of the most cinematic emotions, I think! or at least one of my favorites to see captured. One of my favorite films of 2021! I can't stop thinking about this.

    I can't even pick a favorite chapter, they're each wonderful in their own ways. The first chapter really reminded me of Hong Sang-soo, which is always a good thing.

  • Harold and Maude

    Harold and Maude

    ★★★★★

    Gorgeous photography, and I listen to the soundtrack all the time on Spotify, it feels like rewatching the movie tbh you should try it

  • Fighting Elegy

    Fighting Elegy

    ★★★★★

    Imperialist/fascist rage informed by unrequited sexuality. A repressed Catholic youth unleashes his machismo through fighting — double feature this with Joker for a story of a crazed incel unleashing his misbegotten sexual rage onto the world through brutal violence. I'm dumbing it down for the Joker bit, but this is a really excellent movie about youthful fragility and stupidity and how the mentally weak can be swayed under fascism. Great stuff.

    Fully on board now with Suzuki as a "genre…