Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fast Men, Faster Cars: Le Mans

Le Mans (1971, Lee H. Katzin)

Steve McQueen, one of the true great Hollywood screen legends, was known to be an avid driver. Small wonder that in one of his most popular films, Bullitt, the greatest action scene, perhaps the only genuine action scene, is a phenomenal car chase through the streets of San Francisco. A racing film per say would, therefore, feel like the most perfect fit of all. The famous actor had in fact attempted to create what he wanted to be viewed as the ultimate racing film, but the rights to the material that had caught is eye went to someone else, who then had John Frankenheimer direct said movie, titled Grand Prix (another entry in this very marathon in fact). It was therefore towards the legendary Le Mans 24 hour race that McQueen turned his attention to.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blog update: Milestone (!) and other trivialities

Hello readers,

How is it going? Well, I presume, I think, I hope.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fast Men, Faster Cars: Drive

Drive (2011, Nicolas Winding Refn)

'Real human being and a real hero.'

Truer words were never spoken. Well, to be more accurate, they are not exactly spoken in Nicolas Winding Refn's most popular film, Drive, but rather sung. Much has already been written about the film under review today, with a host of immensely articulate critics and reviewers espousing very intelligent remarks, many of which far surpass what will be analyzed at this blog. Everyone's tastes are subjective of course, and so is how people read ideas into movies. The notion which has been brought up time and time again in regards to Refn's picture is the power and confidence in its style. Style is, in many ways, a tremendously important part of film, depending on what sort of story one desires to share. What of Drive's style? What does it mean, how does it make its presence known, and in what ways does it impact the story's emotional core?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Comica Obscura: Lady Snowblood rebuttal

To fully comprehend why an ass whooping is about to occur, please go and read Bill's review of Lady Snowblood at his Movie Emporium.

Look, Bill, I like you and all, I don't think that comes as a surprise or anything, but I was...befuddled by the review you wrote for Lady Snowblood last Sunday.

I found it curious that, following a few paragraphs during which you valiantly attempted to argue for the film's strong feminist approach (and don't worry, I'll get to that in a moment. I like starting small and building up arguments before going in for the 'coup de grĂ¢ce') you write 'With my pretentious ramblings and all the feminist claptrap out of the way,...'. I sat there thinking for a brief moment: 'Has Bill just admitted that he was writing nonsense since the start of the review?' It did not seem possible, for many times in the past you have fought tooth an nail to support your opinions, both at your Movie Emporium and on the movie message board we used to frequent. I immediately squashed that possibility out of my mind, although your use of both 'pretentious', but more interestingly 'claptrap' hit me hard. I had a strong indication of what claptrap meant, but I'm a nit picky type of person when it comes to the written word, and so visited the Merriam-Webster anyways.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Capsule reviews: Wrath of Titans, Hunger Games

Happy Easter Monday. If you're like us, you're benefiting nicely from a well deserved day off. If not...well, sorry about that. Didn't mean to make you feel bad or anything. Oh, I have an idea that might cheer you up. Here are a couple of capsule reviews!
Wrath of the Titans (2012, Jonathan Liebesman)

BBS Productions Presents: The King of Marvin Gardens.

The King of Marvin Gardens (1972, Rob Rafelson)

The dysfunctional nature of human beings has been one of the core themes to describe many of the BBS filmmography. From Head, Five Easy Pieces to A Safe Place, a lot of the people who inhabit these worlds have not been the most stable individuals, sometimes incapable of keeping their own two feat on the ground, other times experiencing significant turbulence when getting along with others. Their quirks and personalities simply keep on digging wedges between themselves and others. The concluding film in our outlook on late 60s and early 70s American independent cinema, The King of Marvin Gardens, is driven by much of the same ideas and, fittingly enough, is directed by the same fellow who brought audiences the first BBS film, Rob Rafelson.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Comica Obscura: Lady Snowblood

Lady Snowblood (1973, Toshiya Fujita)

Revenge tales in cinema are, for the most part, strikingly similar when compared. Someone of note is wronged and, convinced that the perpetrators must suffer punishment at all costs, dedicates themselves to tracking down their prey with vicious cunning and deadly seriousness, often circumventing law, which in their eyes is an insufficient tool in ensuring the villains pay their dues. Change any of those ingredients too much, and one is left with something other than a revenge story. Conversely, being too rigid within the parameters of the genre and the result is a movie which brings nothing new to the table, not to mention that the genre itself is not the most fertile ground for remarkably dynamic storytelling. As the old saying goes: 'You've seen 1, you've seen them all.' Director Toshiya Fujita and screenwriters Kazuo Kamimura and Kazuo Koike give it their best to shake things up a bit in the adaptation of Lady Snowblood, one of Japan's most celebrated manga books.

Sunday, April 1, 2012