31 Days of Film: Last Four Days

First Week, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four

January 28th-Ninotchka from 1939 (Director: Ernst Lubitsch, Writers: Melchior Lengyel, Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Walter Reisch, Stars: Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas, Runtime: 110 mins)

Ernst Lubitsch directed my all time favorite romantic comedy, and maybe my favorite comedy in general, Trouble in Paradise. That’s what appealed to me here, not finally seeing a Greta Garbo movie. So this is the third Lubitsch movie I’ve seen and all three are good to great. This one is about a dispute between Soviet Russia and an ousted Duchess over her jewels all set in France. The Russians send Greta’s character over to deal with the situation and meets the Duchess lawyer and of course they start to fall for each other. This is a slick comedy, part satire on Russia’s anti-capitalistic views of the time. With Greta’s character, and the other three Russians, enjoying life outside their home and taking advantage of the world around them. The romance is pretty good, Greta is great. So cutting at times and just fun to watch. Was fascinated to read this was her second to last film and first full comedy. She’s a natural and want to see more with her. I would have shaved about 15 minutes in there but overall a great film. I’d definitely watch this one again.

[Trailer]

January 29th-The Poseidon Adventure from 1972 (Director: Ronald Neame, Writers: Stirling Silliphant, Wendell Mayes Based on The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico, Stars: All Star Cast lead by Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine, Runtime: 117 mins)

A cruiser capsizes in a tsunami. A group of people try to escape to the top, hoping to get rescue. This is apparently part of the 70s All Star Cast disaster movies! This and Towering Inferno produced by the same super producer. The gimmick I guess is get a bunch of famous actors, set the film up, and then see who survives till the end. So the ship capsized, Hackmans Preacher yells at Bornine’s character a lot to try to get as many people to the top. Some don’t want to move from the hull-guess what happens to them. They start aking their way up, some people of course die along the way. How fucking dare you with Shelly Winters! Fuck that. But she got the only acting Oscar nom for the film. It had dozen noms, mostly technical and won four. Won some acting noms elsewhere, including Winters at the Globes. This is an enjoyable film. Little frustrating but I liked it. Now I want to watch Towering Inferno. Maybe next time I do 30 or 31 films.

[Trailer]

January 30th-The Villainess from 2017 (Director: Jung Byung-gil, Writers: Jung Byung-gil, Jung Byeong-sik, Stars: Kim Ok-bin, Runtime: 129 mins)

I got mix feelings on this one. It has insane fights and action sequences but the shaky cam is crazy. The final bus part starts kinda weird. The story is frustrating which revolves around a woman raised by killers looking for her dads killer. She is recruited into an Agency and hired to take out targets. There is a bunch of double crosses, secrets, and stuff that is needlessly complicated. This film represents the best and worse of Asian action films. The opening sequence, despite the shaky cam its incredible. One of the earliest scenes in the Agency recruitment center is pretty cool. The action is mostly flawless, the performances are pretty damn good, but it drags at times and that third act may hurt the film for the viewer. Okay, I’d recommend this for fans of action films and Asian action films. Other than that, maybe not. I liked it.

[Trailer]

January 31st-Logan’s Run from 1976 (Director: Michael Anderson, Writers: David Zelag Goodman Based on Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, Stars: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Runtime: 118 mins)

The last days of these sometimes feel the hardest. Every once in a while I end on a high note. Doesn’t really feel that way with Logan’s Run. The scifi classic about a society that kills their population in their 30th year is okay. I knew going into it there were comments about it being kind of boring, it is. It looks okay, the main two performances are fine, but the ending showdown is disappointing. I don’t really got a lot to say about the film. Its really high concept and just ‘meh’ execution.

[Trailer]

Ranked from Favorite to Least Liked
I, Tonya
Rebecca
Get Out
3:10 to Yuma
Lifeboat
Tokyo Drifter
Tales from the Hood
High & Low
Nintochka
Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
Gaslight
The Snake Pit
The Birds
The Lure
Matinee
The Poseidon Adventure
The Love Witch
The Killers
Yous Mines and Ours
The Villainess
Detective Story
Gambit
Boys in the Trees
The Bad and the Beautiful
The Most Dangerous Game
Cleopatra Jones
Logan’s Run
$ (Dollars)
Frenzy
Thriller-A Cruel Picture

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31 Days of Film: Week Four

First Week, Week Two, Week Three

January 21st-The Killers from 1946 (Director: Robert Siodmak, Writers: Richard Brooks, Anthony Veiller and John Huston Based on “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway, Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, and Sam Levene, Runtime: 103 mins)

A man nicknamed Swede is murdered and a life insurance investigator who tracks down their beneficiary begins piecing together this mystery mans background. This leads him to an old friend of Swedes who is a detective. Turns out the man was an ex-boxer who was involved in a serious heist. So, one of the noir classics and Oscar noms in several categories. Debut of Burt Lancaster and also Ava Gardner’s breakout role. Moving along to what I thought, I thought it was good. Sometimes seemed a little slow in the investigation, but otherwise it was good. I can’t say much else, honestly. None of the performances really meant much to me even though I thought everyone was good. Its a nice look film with some excellent angles and tracking shots. Yet, just sort of left me cold. Go figure.

[Trailer]

January 22nd-The Bad and the Beautiful from 1952 (Director: Vincente Minnelli, Writer: Charles Schnee Based on “Tribute to a Badman” by George Bradshaw, Stars: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan and Gloria Grahame, Runtime: 118 mins)

A director, an actress, and a writer speak with a film executive about a producer who wants to work with them. The problem is this producer wronged them. Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood, and this was nominated for several categories and won in adapted screenplay and Gloria Grahame for Supporting Actress. Look her up, she’s interesting. Its a film with three stories about a guy who is an asshole with a vision. This movie I was indifferent to and started losing interest after the first story cause I figured what was going to be about. The performances are good and the story itself is … fine. I don’t care. Really I don’t. I can’t say anything bad because objectively it was good, but not a film I really cared for.

[Trailer]

January 23rd-Gaslight from 1944 (Director: George Cukor, Writers: John Van Druten, Walter Reisch, John L. Balderston and Based on the 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton, Stars: Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten, Runtime: 114 mins)

You ever heard the term gaslighting? It means to psychologically abuse a victim into doubting their sanity. That’s from this. An orphan name Paula returns to her childhood home married. She begins to doubt her sanity as things start going missing, she hears voices, the lights turning on and off and so forth. All while her life is in turmoil a young police officer is looking into the unsolved crime of Paula’s mother. This is one of those Oscar classics and I liked it. Admittedly I was distracted through the first half having to do other things but I paid attention and really was laser focused on the last half. Ingrid Bergman is fantastic through out. You can see how she starts to slowly lose her grip as the film progresses. The look of the house and the way its shot has a gothic quality which I very much appreciate. Definitely the best of the old classics I’ve watched thus far.

[Trailer]

January 24th-Yours Mine and Ours from 1968 (Director: Melville Shavelson, Writers: Mort Lachman and Melville Shavelson, Story by Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis, Based on the Book by Helen Beardsley, Stars: Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, Runtime: 111 mins)

A widower with 10 kids and a widow with 8 meet and fall in love. Then try to put both their houses together. This is a light, sweet, a little annoying at times film. Annoying because it moves by quick by with kids/teens who have little to do at times but have to contribute to the story by being overly dramatic. Ball and Fonda are incredibly likeable in the leads. Its very good.

[Trailer]

January 25th-Matinee from 1993 (Director: Joe Dante, Writers: Charles S. Haas with Story by Jerico Stone and Charles S. Haas, Stars: John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, and Simon Fenton, Runtime: 99 mins)

During the Cuban Missile Crisis a young monster film loving boy looks forward to the premiere of a new monster movie. During this his fathers away on a military job, his brother and mother are growing concerned with what they hear on the news, he meets a girl whose parents are “question the world around you” types and his friend is having girl troubles of his own. I purchased this films blu-ray just after it was released last Friday. I use to love watching this film on VHS. Since I needed a change of pace from I slipped this in. This film is simple and fun. Its basically a short coming of age film bookend by a love of genre films and real world peril. The world in peril stuff is not as effective as it should be but the Goodmans director character is pitch perfect as the kind of film maker who takes advantage of real world horror to sell his crappy films. Even though the head on his Mant character looks too good for that era of films. Its a cheesy movie but director Joe Dante knows how to take a cheesy film and give it heart or charm or just good fun

[Trailer]

January 26th-Detective Story (Tantei monogatari (探偵物語)) from 2007 (Director: Takashi Miike, Writer: Tsutomu Shirado, Stars: Claude Maki and Kazuya Nakayama, Runtime: 99 mins)

A private detective and hacker neighbor with the same name try cracking the case of a serial killer. Or rather the detective, not picking up the case of a woman feels obliged to look into it and drags the hapless neighbor with him. Takashi Miike is an interesting filmmaker. Moving from ultra violent grindhouse spectacles (the graphic Ichi the Killer), to cinematic wonders (13 Assassins or infamous Audtion), to kinetic family fun (Zebraman, my favorite), to cheap looking works. Detective Story is a cheap looking work (Bodyguard Kiba). One that probably would have worked better as a ultra violent grindhouse spectacle as the case and some of the imagery screams for more. The violent case is wrapped up in pieces from more famous thrillers and horror films. Luckily Miike has the talents of the two Raita’s. The actors are very good. The detective character is bit of a wildcard whose mood changes on scenes but most of the time is joking. His hacker has a bit of the hapless chap syndrome going and you kind of feel bad for him. The other performances are fine, some doing what they can with cliche parts or thankless parts. I have not seen a Miike film where the acting was the saving grace. Not that his films necessarily have bad acting, though a number of do, most of his memorable work has great performances. This one is okay would’ve been improved with a better story. I bought this movie from Hollywood Video, used, when they closed years ago and only watched it today cause I wanted something short. Also, reminder for me to check out some of his more interesting efforts of recent.

[Trailer]

January 27th-The Snake Pit from 1948(Director: Anatole Litvak, Writer: Frank Partos, Millen Brand and Arthur Laurents Based on The Snake Pit by Mary Jane Ward, Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Runtime: 108 mins)

Have you ever heard stories about mental hospitals? The old ones? They are crazy. Crazier than this but this was a depressing story. A woman with trauma thats messed her up and the one doctor who cares and that womens husband who is standing beside her. This is the kind of film where you have to invest in the journey of a character with mental issues and it can be hard. The way its paced and the cold feeling, but its a very good movie. Olivia de Havilland is excellent in the role. I don’t have much else to say since its been a few days since I’ve watched it so not quite as fresh in my mind. Except for how they had multiple wards for people depending on how severe the issues were and the fact there was that one nurse who was a total bitch to Virgina character. I didn’t like that nurse.

[Trailer]

I, Tonya
Rebecca
Get Out
3:10 to Yuma
Lifeboat
Tokyo Drifter
Tales from the Hood
High & Low
Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
Gaslight
The Snake Pit
The Birds
The Lure
Matinee
The Love Witch
The Killers
Yous Mines and Ours
Detective Story
Gambit
Boys in the Trees
The Bad and the Beautiful
The Most Dangerous Game
Cleopatra Jones
$ (Dollars)
Frenzy
Thriller-A Cruel Picture

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2017 Favorites: Films

Favorite Ensembles
8. Power Rangers
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
5. Get Out
4. Baby Driver
3. Stephen King’s the It
2. Shape of Water

1. Thor: Ragnarok

Favorite Actresses
6. Dafne Keen for Logan
5. Charlize Theron for Atomic Blonde and The Fate of the Furious
4. Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman (and Justice League)
3. Allison Janney for I, Tonya
2. Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water


1. Margot Robbie for I, Tonya

Favorite Actors
6. Mark Hamill for Star Wars: the Last Jedi
5. Michael Keaton for Spider-Man: Homecoming
4. Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out
3. Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour
2. Jon Hamm for Baby Driver


1. Hugh Jackman for Logan

Favorite Direction
6. Rian Johnson for Star Wars: the Last Jedi
5. Edgar Wright for Baby Driver
4. James Mangold for Logan
3. Jordan Peele for Get Out
2. Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk


1. Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water

Favorite Films


6. Dunkirk


5. Logan


4. Baby Driver


3. Get Out


2. I, Tonya


1. The Shape of Water

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31 Days of Film: Week Three

First Week, Week Two

January 14th-The Most Dangerous Game from 1932 (Director: Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack, Writer: James Ashmore Creelman Based on “The Most Dangerous Game” 1924 Collier’s by Richard Connell, Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray and Leslie Banks, Runtime: 62 mins)

From the people who made the more popular King Kong comes The Most Dangerous Game, based on the influential novel. A big game hunter is shipwrecked on an island with a madman who has decided hunting people is the most dangerous game. Yep. This is the first film adaptation of the story and there have been many adaptations and many works inspired by the story. Also, Zodiac Killer referenced the book in one of his letters.

So the movie is fine. It really plays like a film that would’ve been thrilling in its day but now in the era of Battle Royale, Hunger Games and even Predator a little tame. That said the Leslie Banks is fun as the villain. His look and delivery are fun. His castle, when we are inside, have a col and creepy factor are appreciate. There’s not nearly enough hunting but some interesting locals. Overall its a fascinating little movie that may have benefited from more of the hunt.

[Trailer]

January 15th-Tales from the Hood from 1995 (Director: Rusty Cundieff, Writer: Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott, Stars: large ensemble, Runtime: 98 mins)

This black horror anthology follows three drug dealers who visit a creepy mortician to make a drug deal and on their way to “the shit” he tells four creepy stories. One about a black ex-cop who leads three racists/corrupt cops to the resting place of a black civil rights leader they killed. The second about a young boy afraid of the monster who hurts him. The third about an ex-KKK member who is trying to run for office and is being stalked by a voodoo curse. The final story about a violent gang member who agrees to go into behavior modification. Black horror films are fascinating because they bring a different feel to horror. Sometimes social commentary, sometimes not and yet still a new perspective. This film definitely brings social commentary but while a little heavy handed at times is pretty effective. Definitely brutal. This is a very unique film . There are some stand out performances, speciically Wings Hauser, David Alan Grier, Corbin Bernsen, and the creepy Mortician played by Clarence Williams III among others. High recommendation to all horror fans or fans of black movies.

[Trailer]

January 16th-The Love Witch from 2016 (Director/Writer: Anna Biller, Stars: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, and Laura Waddell, Runtime: 120 mins)

Anna Biller wrote, directed,edited, composed the music, was art, costume and production designer. She crafted a film that looks like the campy horror films of the 60s. Only seen a few but yeah, this films look is impressive. Everything else? Depends on you. The look of the film, the stylized witchcraft, and Samantha Robinsons performance are excellent. But this is a difficult film. The film is stage din a way where the performances feel campy, or just off. While Samantha is excellent it makes a lot of the secondary roles are just bland. The central story about witch looking for love is interesting but it isn’t… thrilling? I didn’t care much for parts in the middles. I thought it was effective in its first hour and then went off on the rails. The ending moment was slick though. Visually, beautiful movie.

[Trailer]

January 17th-Boys in the Trees from 2016 (Director/Writer: Nicholas Verso, Stars: Toby Wallace and Gulliver McGrath, Runtime: 112 mins)

A 1997 Halloween set coming of age story dressed in horror stories and fantasy. Two former friends reunite into a journey of fear and self-growth. It’s… Interesting. It is fueled by 90s nostalgia and some slick imagery but the middle section of the film just sort spins its wheels at time. Luckily it sticks the landing (mostly) after your attention starts to wain. The performances from the cast are on point, music is good including the collection of songs, and it looks good. This is a okay film, I’m sure in a weeks time I’ll upgrade that to good. It feels like in a few years I might even say great. But right now, as I’m writing this, it’s okay.

[Trailer]

January 18th-Freeway from 1996 (Director/Writer: Matthew Bright, Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Keifer Sutherland, and Brooke Shields, Runtime: 102 mins)

Its Little Red Riding Hood is Little Red Riding Hood was a 90s set thriller with Red being an illiterate and violent brat, the Wolf a serial killer, and an entire segment of court and prison. Seriously, WTF!? Vanessa Lutz flees her probation officer (or is it social worker) who was going to send her into the system again after her sex worker mom and drug maker step-dad get carted off. She meets Bob, a counselor for young boys, who might be a serial killer. Thats like the firs half. Reese Witherspoons character is horrible. By which I mean a total crazy mess with deep mental issues who explodes in violence and foul language. She even says some pretty racists shit at the black cop. Granted the black cop was being an asshole but c’mon. That cop also did a little extra work on her case. Still, this film is wacky and pretty stupid but Reese is committed to the performance and Keifer is pretty good in his part. Brooke Shields has nothing to do. This is just weird 90s exploitation grindhouse style with some serious talent on the cast. Hell, Danny Elfman did the soundtrack!

[Trailer]

January 19th-$ (or Dollars or the Heist) from 1971 (Director/Writer: Richard Brooks, Stars: Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn, Runtime: 119 mins)

Joe Collins is an American security consultant working at a German bank. Him and his prostitute friend Dawn Divine track the movements of a mobster, drug smuggler and corrupt US Sergeant. Collins has a plan to rob their safe deposit boxes. Okay, this film felt about 20 minutes too long. Good chucks were boring. The actually planned robbery was pretty good and the escape by Beatty’s character fleeing the people he swindled was alright. The film gets an overall ‘meh’ from me. The biggest shock was finding out Goldie Hawn is in her seventies. I knew her from 80s films but she’s been doing movies since the 60s. She ages amazingly.

[Trailer]

January 20th-High and Low from 1963 (Director: Akira kurosawa, Writer: Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Eijiro Hisaita and Akira Kurosawa Based on King’s Ransom by Ed McBain, Stars: Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai and Kyōko Kagawa, Runtime: 143 mins)

An executive is trying to take over his company but before he can do it his chauffeurs kid gets kidnapped, thinking it was the executives kid. What happens over the course of over two hours is how a criminal put together an almost masterful plan and how the police worked hard to not only find the man who did it, but also nail him for more crimes. Its interesting to watch both the exchange for the ransom go down and how the police work to crack the case. Its filled with top performances but I was surprised at how little Toshiro Mifune was in it. Mifune is top billed guy but he’s gone for long section in the middle of the film. Mifune is a great actor and excellent when he shows up but the many supporting actors get time to shine. The criminal even gets a great final sequence across from Mifune. This is not one of Kurosawa’s best films but its still really good. Kurosawa directed 7 Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Stray Dog, Rashomon and Hidden Fortress. No way this compares. But it’s an excellent film.

[Trailer]

I, Tonya
Rebecca
Get Out
3:10 to Yuma
Lifeboat
Tokyo Drifter
Tales from the Hood
High & Low
Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
The Birds
The Lure
The Love Witch
Gambit
The Most Dangerous Game
Boys in the Trees
Cleopatra Jones
$ (Dollars)
Frenzy
Thriller-A Cruel Picture

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31 Days of Film: Week Two

First Week

January 7th-Lifeboat from 1944 (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Writer: Screenplay by Jo Swerling with Story by John Steinbeck, Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee, Runtime: 96 mins)

One of Hitchocks best known films is the one about a lifeboat full of people during WWII including a German soldier, all trying to survive and find land. The film starts with the assembly of parts and begins to play with the characters. Arguing over who is in charge, the direction to go, dealing with lack of food, water and of course illness. This is a film where it only works if the actors are on point and the performances are all good to great. This was my first time seeing acting legend Tallulah Bankhead who I read about years prior. A notorious party girl, sharp witted woman and ambisextrous. I have to say, I was not disappointed, she was great. This was a good film, not one of my fave Hitchcock films, still liked it better than Vertigo. Also for less then 2 hours it felt longer…

[Clip]

January 8th-Frenzy from 1972 (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Writer: Anthony Shaffer and Based on Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern, Stars: Jon Finch, Alec McCowen and Barry Foster, Runtime: 116 mins)

That was the worst Hitchcock film I’ve seen. Now I don’t like Vertigo but Vertigo is far superior to this. An annoying and rather unlikable guy is believed to have murdered his ex-wife and girlfriend. There’s the cop looking into the case and of course the killer as well. The film looks fine, it’s got fine performances, but the lead pissed off all through out and I didn’t care about anyone but the cop. It’s a mean film. I guess objectively it wasn’t bad, I just did not care. It did not have any standout performances, any beautiful shots or camera work, and the story just didn’t do a thing for me. It’s no fun. This is the 23rd Hitchcock film I’ve seen, its on the bottom of the list.

[Trailer]

January 9th-The Birds from 1963 (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Writer: Evan Hunter and Based on The Birds by Daphne du Maurier, Stars: Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren, Runtime: 119 mins)

One of Hitchcocks best remembered films and the first movie of two movies with Tippi Hedren. So Tippi’s Melanie Daniels goes to deliver a pair of love birds to Rod Taylor’s MItch so he can give to his much younger sister. She gets attacked by a seagull. Then as the days pass the birds just attack everyone. Because birds fucking hate everything. It’s a good movie. I saw it long time ago, bought the DVD many years later, and finally watched it… Many years later.

Also, as this is the last Hitchcock film, I’ll leave you with Tippi’s daughter, Melanie Griffith, opinion on the man “He was a motherfucker, and you can quote me.”

[Clip]

January 10th-Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance from 1974 (Director: 1974, Writer: Norio Osada and Kiyohide Ohara based on the Story by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura, Stars: Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon and Miyoko Akaza, Runtime: 89 mins)

The second Lady Snowblood film, a series of films based on the manga. I bought these a few years ago, watched and enjoyed the first one but never got around to the second until now. So this time out Yuki is doe fighting and gives up. But then the secret police break her out of prison (?) and set her to spy and assassinate a anarchist with a document that could cause problems for the regime. I don’t remember the first film that well but I do remember it moving at a brisk pace where as this one moved slower. Especially in the middle. That said there are strong performances and the film looks GREAT! Its stylish from the characters to the set design. I love the bright red of the blood splatter. It makes it look more menacing in the fights. The fights themselves are swift and cool. So yeah, weaker than the first film but still really good. The movie stars Meiko Kaji who is a bad ass. A cult icon from these films and the trashy Female Prisoner series. Tarantino was a huge fan looking to the first lady Snowblood for inspiration and taking the theme from Female Prisoner, as sung by Meiko, for the soundtrack.

[Clip]

January 11th-Tokyo Drifter from 1966 (Director: Seijun Suzuki, Writer: Yasunori Kawauchi, Stars: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Hideaki Nitani, Runtime: 86 mins)

Director Seijun Suzuki is an interesting man. Fought in the Japanese Army in WWII, has been shipwrecked twice, and is one of the most acclaimed directors in Japanese cinema. He made 40 films between 1956 and 1967. Only a handful of his movies are readily available in the states, one of them is Branded to Kill. A black and white fever dream of a hitman movie that resulted in his firing. He sued the studio and was black listed for ten years. His second film back was Zigeunerweisen which won the Japanese equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar.

Tokyo Drifter is a film where the story really does not matter. It feels like an exercise in style and it is fucking stylish. Art direction, set design, lighting, wardrobe, cinematography. This movie looks cool. Boss Otsuka’s hangout above the jazz club, the fancy bar Tetsu’s girlfriend sings at, a saloon where a wild brawl breaks out. Tetsu, played with simple cool by Tetsuya Watari, always looks good as he walks around singing the title theme. This movie makes simple things like a small town covered in snow look special. It’s like a collection of art pieces given life. Look, the story is about a Yakuza hitman trying to go straight getting into trouble because his boss and another yakuza boss got problems. here’s a building involved, whatever. All that’s important is Tetsu looks cool against cool backdrops. It’s both a great film and a very thin film.

[Criterion Version]

January 12th-Thriller-A Cruel Picture from 1973 (Director/Writer: Bo Arne Vibenius, Stars: Christina Lindberg and Heinz Hopf, Runtime: 107 mins original Uncut)

Thriller is a rape and revenge film. A subgenre of exploitation films which were common in the 1970s. They usually involve the first at ending in the attack, second act in the rehabilitation, and third act in the revenge. Some break out of this structure like the excellent Ms. 45. Others stick close to it like this film. Thriller, a Swedish movie, has two attacks. One that traumatized a young girl named Madeleine who is now a mute. The second attack is later in life and involves a man who drugs her, kidnaps her, and begins pimping her. When she fights her first client he stabs her in the eye so now she’s got a kickass eye patch. She is allowed some freedom and uses the little money she has to learn self defense, firearms, and driving. All to get to the point where she seeks revenge.

This is not a particularly good film. Banned in its home country and for good reason. The uncut version has quite a bit of real sex. Performed by a real life couple. Apparently live ammunition was used and the production took out a life insurance policy on the star, Christina Lindberg. The only good things I can say are the following. Madeleine looks cool. Tarantino based the look of the character Elle Driver from Kill Bill on her. Lastly, the final sequence with Madeleine and her pimp was pretty well done.

[Trailer]

January 13th-The Lure from 2015(Director: Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Writer: Robert Bolesto, Stars: Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszańska, Runtime: 92 mins)

Two mermaids become singers at a nightclub. One falls in love with the bass player of a band. A horror-fantasy-musical loosely based on Little Mermaid. This movie is strange. I don’t really know what to say. It looks good, the performances are good though some of the characters come off as stupid and make confusing decisions. The span of time makes little sense. The songs sound okay. My understanding based on an interview with the director is that Poland does not have a history of either musicals or horror so in that regard I’d cut the film some slack. I haven’t seen too many mermaid movies, this one is okay, maybe even good. Its unique. The ending is depressing.

[Trailer]

I, Tonya
Rebecca
Get Out
3:10 to Yuma
Lifeboat
Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
Tokyo Drifter
The Birds
Gambit
The Lure
Cleopatra Jones
Frenzy
Thriller-A Cruel Picture

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2017 Favorites: Wrestling

Favorite Matches
25. Meiko Satomura & Io Shirai vs Chihiro Hashimoto & Hiroyo Matsumoto-Sendai Girls 12.2.2017
24. IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs Kota Ibushi-NJPW Power Struggle 11.5.2017
23. WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Rollins & Ambros © vs The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus)-WWE No Mercy 9.24.2017
22. WWE World Title Elimination Chamber Match: John Cena © vs AJ Styles vs Bray Wyatt vs The Miz vs Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin-WWE Elimination Chamber 2.12.2017
21. Sendai Girls Championship Match: Chihiro Hashimoto © vs Meiko Satomura-Sendai Girls 9.24.17
20. BJW Tag Team Championship Match: Twin Towers (Kohei Sato & Shuji Ishikawa) © vs Strong BJ (Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi)-BJW 1.2.2017
19. Velveteen Dream vs Aliester Black-WWE NXT Takeover: War Games 11.18.2017
18. Best of the Super Juniors Finals: KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay-NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Finals 6.3.2017
17. WWE World Championship Match: AJ Styles © vs John Cena-WWE Royal Rumble 1.29.2017
16. Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega-NJPW G1 Climax 8.12.2017
15. KUSHIDA vs Rysuke Taguchi-NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 5.29.2017
14. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito-NJPW G1 Climax 8.11.2017
13. NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Elimination Match: Authors of Pain © vs #DIY vs the Revival-WWE NXT Takeover: Orlando 4.1.2017
12. IWGP United States Championship Tournament Final: Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii-NJPW G1 Special Night 2 7.2.2017
11. G1 Climax 27 Finals: Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega-NJPW G1 Climax 8.13.2017
10. Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL-NJPW G1 Climax 8.5.2017
9. Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Meiko Satomura-Sendai Girls 4.6.2017
8. Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin-NJPW G1 Climax 7.22.2017
7. IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito © vs Hiroshi Tanahashi-NJPW Dominion 6.11.2017
6. IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship Match: Katsuyori Shibata © vs Hirooki Goto-NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 1.4.2017
5. WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Hell in the Cell Match: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) © vs The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E w/Kofi Kingston)-WWE Hell in the Cell 10.7.2017
4. IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito © vs Michael Elgin-NJPW New Beginnings in Osaka 2.11.2017

3. WWE UK Championship Match: Tyler Bates © vs Pete Dunne-WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago 5.20.2017

2. IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada © vs Katsuyori Shibata-NJPW Sakura Genesis 4.9.2017

1. IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada © vs Kenny Omega-NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 1.4.2017

Favorite Tag Teams or Factions
10. Authors of Pain
9. Syrui and Hikaru Shida
8. Roppongi Vice
7. Guerillas of Detsiny
6. Young Bucks
5. War Machine
4. The Bar

3. New Day

2. Los Ingobernables

1. The Usos

Favorite Wrestlers
-I DQed a certain wrestler due to the bullshit he pulled this year, however he did appear in the top matches list-
20. 3 WAY TIE: Andrare “Cien” Almas, Hirooki Goto, and Ember Moon
19. Hiroyo Matsumoto
18. Braun Strowman
17. Roman Reigns
16. Katsuyorui Shibata
15. Kota Ibushi
14. Pete Dunne
13. Will Ospreay
12. Chihiro Hashimoto
11. Hiromu Takahashi

10. KUSHIDA-Great run in the BOSJ and excellent feud with both Hiromu Takahashi and Will Ospreay. KUSHIDA always delivers.

9. Meiko Satomura-Only watched a handful of her matches but always on point and one half of my favorite womens matches of the year.

8. Asuka-No one was more consistent, more dominant.

7. Tomohiro Ishii-Almost made this man my #10then realized that was fucking stupid. His matches with Omega, Naito and the G1 matches pushed him up.

6. EVIL-King of Darkness

5. AJ Styles-Best WWE wrestler.

4. Kenny Omega-What? You thought I’d make him #1? Nonsense. Excellent year but I liked other guys more.

3. Tetsuya Naito-Tranquilo. Great start to the year, carried the IC title better than anyone since Shinsuke Nakamura with great defenses. Had an amazing G1 and feud with Naito.

2. Hiroshi Tanahashi-He’s the ACE.

1. Kazuchika Okada-First of all, lets stop pretending Omega wileld those 6 star matches by himself. Okada is a fucking pro. His match with Shibata is an amazing masterpiece. His title defenses are all great encounters. He’s on a hot streak unlike anything I’ve witnessed in my years watching wrestling. Make it rain.

 

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2017 Favorites: Television

That time of year again…

Favorite TV Ensembles
9. A Series of Unfortunate Events
8. Luficer
7. Stranger Things
6. Riverdale
5. Legion
4. Game of Thrones
3. Legends of Tomorrow
2. GLOW

1. Brooklyn Nine Nine

Favorite TV Actors
7. Kit Harrington as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones
6. Joe Kerry as Steve Harrington from Stranger Things
5. Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events
4. Dan Stevens as David Haller in Legion
3. Pip Torrens as Herr Star from Preacher
2. Christopher Meloni as Nick Sax from Happy!

1. Jimmy Tatro as Dylan Maxwell from American Vandal

Favorite TV Actresses
6. Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper on Riverdale
5. Caity Lotz as Sara Lance aka White Canary on Legends of Tomorrow
4. Emma Dumont as Lorna Dane aka Polaris from the Gifted
3. Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel from the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
2. Betty Gilpin as Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan from GLOW

1. Aubrey Plaza as Lenny Busker aka Amahl Farouk/Shadow King from Legion

Favorite TV Episodes/Arcs
10. Legends of Tomorrow S2 Ep10 “The Legion of Doom” (Director: Eric Laneuville, Writers: Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim )
9. American Vandal S1 Ep8 “Clean Up” (Director: Tony Yacenda, Writers: Matthew McManus & Kevin McManus)
8. Riverdale S1 Ep13 “Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter” (Director: Lee Toland Krieger, Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)
7. Lucifer S2 Ep13 “A Good Day to Die” (Director: Alrick Riley, Writer: Joe Henderson & Chris Rafferty)
6. Legion S1 Ep1 “Chapter 1” (Writer/Director Noah Hawley)
5. Riverdale S2 Ep1 “Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying” (Director Rob Seidenglanz, Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)
4. “Crisis on Earth X” crossover (Directed by Larry Teng (Supergirl), James Bamford (Arrow), Dermott Downs (Flash), Gregory Smith (LoT), Story by Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim, Teleplay by Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller (Supergirl), Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski (Arrow), Todd Helbing (Flash), Phil Klemmer and Keto Shimizu (LoT))
3. Brooklyn Nine Nine S5 Ep4 “HalloVeen” (Director: Jamie Babbit, Written: Dan Goor)
2. Ricky and Morty S3 Ep3 “Pickle Rick” (Director: Anthony Chun, Writer: Jessica Gao)

1. Game of Thrones S7 Ep6 “Beyond the Wall” (Director: Alan Taylor, Writers: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss)

Favorite TV Series’
Honorable Mentions: An Unfortunate Series of Events, Stranger Things 2, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Agents of SHIELD (season 2), Steven Universe, Voltron

12. The Gifted-An intense and thrilling adaptation of the X-Universe that digs into the prejudice and hate mutants face.

11. American Vandal-What I expected to be a dumb spoof on true crime turned into a well constructed mystery with strong performances. Yeah, its a comedy but its built out of love for true crime and it shows. Better than it has any right to be.

10. Arrow-After season 3 being disappointing and season 4 downright sucking, Arrow looked like it was dead. Season 5 righted the ship with an excellent season and season 6 is building tension through out. Good to have the show back in top form.

9. Legion-A crazy and inventive take on the X-Men character. Legion pushing what you can do with these X-Characters on TV.

8. Lucifer-It may not be the best acted or directed show but GOD DAMN IT I enjoy this series.

7. Game of Thrones-Of course.

6. Rick & Morty-PICKLE RICK! A show about depression, struggles, family, and scifi craziness.

5. Legends of Tomorrow-The best superhero on television is a show that embraces the zaniness of superhero comics. Costumed vigilantes and superpowered heroes travel through time protecting the timestream and shit always goes wild. season 1 was a slog but season 2 is among the finest of any superhero shows. Season 3 keeps it going strong.

4. Brooklyn Nine Nine-Favorite sitcom. Its a joy to watch.

3. GLOW-As a wrestling fan I was skeptical but this show nailed it. Great performances (with some actual wrestlers involved) and direction. It feels special.

2. Bojack Horseman-My #1 in previous years had another amazing season. It’s just hard to get through with the weight the characters carry. Yes its a comedy but its one that is about the struggle to find happiness. Or at least contentment.

1. Riverdale-I don’t know if this series is great, or even good, but I just can’t get enough of it. It has me thinking about it longer than I should. I’m invested deeply into this trash. Between the romances, the Lodge parents shady dealings, Betty’s family issues, Jughead with the Serpents, and all the other stuff-what the fuck!? And then of course the mysteries. Oh yeah…

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