Saturday, March 15, 2008

Films We Saw This Week

Dora Heita (Ichikawa Kon)

Hammy, funny in parts, interesting tale of a samurai renowned for his drinking and carousing ways who is then appointed governor of an outpost close to a town filled with drunkards, gamblers, liars, thieves, cheats, prostitutes, pimps, smugglers, and all-around ne'er-do-wells. Not what I would call one of the great films of all time, but pleasant, amusing, a sort of Tokugawa-era murder-mystery with dancing and shenanigans.

Ugetsu monogatari (The Tale of Ugetsu: Mizoguchi Kenji)

We actually saw this before. Still good enough to see again. Mizoguchi Kenji was one of the golden triad (Yasujiro Ozu, Kurosawa Akira) of the golden age of Japanese cinema. We've seen several of his movies at La Casa de Los Gatos, and highly recommend Oharu and Sansho the Bailiff, as well as this one. Caveat: Mizoguchi's films tend to be sadder than Kurosawa's or Ozu's. This is a classic Japanese ghost story, moral and all. The scary parts are pretty damn scary in a "kids at the campfire" sort of way. Mizoguchi is very good at using light and dark to scare the pants offa you.

Le Peuple Migrateur (Winged Migration)

Oh, my. This is such a beautiful piece of work. If you do not see it, you will probably be labeled a very silly person and jeered by obnoxious sprogs who will secretly put chewing gum in your hair. Even Los Gatos loved it. We had to peel Gustav off the screen a couple of times when he did his best Gollum impression (birdses! tasty birdses!), and the others were actually rapt and well-behaved throughout a pretty long but stunningly beautiful film. The directors assure us no tricks were used, but some of those shots are ... unbelievable! Los Gatos assure me that they give it Ten Paws. Other inhabitants of mi casa offer four (unsevered) thumbs up. Total rating: Fourteen Thumb-equivalents.

When The Levees Broke

Let's just say that if this film doesn't make you scream and cry a few times, you need your ticker replaced. I'm talking to you Mr. Dick "Dick" Cheney. Fuck. This is part deuxieme. We have to, so to speak, get it up to watch part troisieme. Better lay in a good stock of booze and happy meds and whatever else it takes, if you plan to watch this. On the other hand, you have to watch it. Spike Lee proves his greatness and viability as an American director with this trilogy. He subtitled it A Requiem In Four Parts. We sincerely hope this is not the requiem, and that New Orleans comes back again.

Have His Carcase (Christopher Hodson)

The BBC did a fine job of putting Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey and his eccentric and clever companion, Harriet Vane, on the screen. If you like: good filmmaking, murder mysteries, British television productions, witty dialogue, Dorothy Sayers, you will love this film.

If you don't &mdash well don't just sit there, you great suffering gob, you've got Netflix, don't you?

No comments: