Glib Reviews of Random Movies #9

Spirit of the Beehive

Holds up well. deep, literate film yet simply told story of two young Spanish girls in the late 30's with broken disaffected parents, and healthy imaginations. Gorgeously shot, paced.

The Insect Woman.

1963 Shohei Imamura. Back in tha day Imamura was a bit of a bad boy director... this was his comeback film after the awesomely titled "Pigs & Battleships" went way over budget (though did well theatrically) and the "system" chose to make him take a sabbatical - during which he wrote several scripts and a play - The script for this movie being one.  It's the most conventional (despite it's dated use of freeze frame etc) social history of Japan in the 20th C. that you will see from Imamura... he tends to stick to smaller scope stories. There are flashes of his later brilliance, and overall this is a very enjoyable picture. It has a circular structure and reinforces the old japanese adage about the nail sticking out, being pounded back down.

Intentions of Murder

1964 by Shohei Imamura... continuing to work my way through the new Imammura Criterion/Janus boxset of Imamura early films. This picture is where he really starts to get his groove going. You also cannot heap enough praise on his collaborator Shinsaku (credited as Misahasa iirc) Himeda... who was like a Japanese Gregg Toland! The visuals are truly stunning. It's still a very typical Japanese postwar tale of a young woman trapped by her low social class and antlike lifestyle. A dude breaks into her house, beats her up steals her savings, rapes her, then keeps dropping by for similar, eventually she tries to break free. It's a big very literate melodarama. I woke up with images from the film rattling through my brain.

Pigs & Battleships by Shohei Imamura.

It's the movie that got him noticed as an up & comer and yet briefly stalled his career as it went way over budget etc. Great film though about a gang of really small time yakuza and prostitutes, who live off scraps and black marketeering at Yokosuka US base in Tokyo Bay. There are a few Battleships, and lots of pigs. not quite as audaciously photographed as the last two of his films I detailed here above, but beautifully shot nonetheless. more traditional, less hand held, and camera trickery.

Coraline

3-D on DVD. The 3D is underwhelming compared to what they can do in a theatre these days. The story though is awesome and lifts this scary and beautiful fable above the need for 3D or any gimmickry at all, actually.

Wise Blood

John Huston from that Flannery O'Connor story you read in Uni. No not that one, the other one: "Wise Blood". Great Huston from a period that was fruitful but forgotten due to the films being hard to find for so long... Fat City being another that needs to get into a DVD pressing asap. Thank You Criterion. Gorgeously shot, realized adaptation of a great story. Brad Dourif is revelatory.

 Pontypool 

(Bruce McDonald) 
a nice twist on the Zombie tale. about a zombie plague caused by... well that would be a spoiler... so I'll just say it was well done, with some snappy camera work and good acting. Solid adaptation as well by Tony Burgess (no relation afaik) from his own novel "Pontypool Changes Everything".

The Friends Of Eddie Coyle

(1973) By Peter Yates. Starring Bob Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Alex Rocco, etc. great looking early 70's Heist-y picture with a bit of a rambling Nashville feel, set in Bahsstann. loose story, great characters, dialogue. Mitchum constantly talking utter nonsense but in a scary way so gets to mostly do what he wants. clever and yet bleak. Great unheralded/legendary flick. brought to glorious DVD by Criterion. Now they need to get on that Fat City release asap. Oh also Farewell My Lovely. speaking of Mitchum. that'd be an awesome Criterion release. oh ps some great actual Hockey footage from a 72' Bruins/Blackhawks game. Bobby Orr and etc looking great not a frickin helmet in sight.

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