Monday, March 19, 2007

2007: The Year of Watching DVDs, Week VIII: Before the Catastrophe

If I hadn't damaged myself on a trip, this blog entry would have been published exactly eight days ago. See, it's the eighth weekly installment of this ever-popular SUPERBLOG!! feature. Since I'm a bit behind, I guess I'll be back later this week, say, Wednesday, with the update for Week IX. Then, on Sunday or so, it's time for Week X.

If you're reading this in the future you can disregard the last paragraph and read all about the films I saw before everything fell apart:

Smultronstället (1957)
AKA Wild Strawberries, for those among you can't read Swedish (losers!). It's a weird road trip. Very interesting, but not much fun. They watch this in film classes all over the world, you know. Suckers! But you know what's amazing? How much Swedish society has changed in just 50 years. Today you'd be hard pressed to find a single polar bear on the streets of Stockholm. It's sad, really.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Wilderian courtroom drama.

The Hustler (1961)

Cinderella Man (2005)
Based-on-a-true-story story of a stupid, proud boxer who's stupid and proud. And who boxes. Directed by Ron Howard, starring Russell Crowe and Renée Zellweger. So that's three reasons to hate it right there. But it's actually kind of okay. I'll give it two Keatons and one Willis.

Tengoku to jigoku (1963)
AKA High and Low. Yeah. I'd be interested in seeing these old Kurosawa movies with restored picture and sound on a big screen some day.

Kumonosu jô (1957)
AKA Throne of Blood. Favorite line: If you build a mountain of corpses, build it to the sky.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Did you know War Is Hell? Me neither! But this film was probably one of the first to say it. What do I know? Why are you even reading this? Are you seriously telling me my "reviews" have an influence on what you choose to watch? Didn't think so, no.

Three Kings (1999)
Non-stop adventure in the Iraqi desert! I like it a lot even if the second half lags and the ending half-sucks.

Out of the Past (1947)
I couldn't really tell you why, but, like The Wild Bunch, this film completely fails to involve me, despite it having a bunch of ingredients I like. Maybe it's Robert Mitchum's fault? But he's dead now so I forgive him.

Kakushi-toride no san-akunin (1958)
AKA The Hidden Fortress. I'm told (by my friends in the industry) that it was a major influence on Star Wars (though probably not as major as Jack Kirby's New Gods). Whatever, dude.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Pretty great for a movie of its time, but pretty weak compared to the book. Of course, you should never compare the movie to the book.

Crash (2004)
Featuring: Crackers! Niggers! Spicks! And even chinks! Almost every single one of which is a stupid asshole, at least at the onset of the film. Along the way, some characters will learn an important lesson, some will develop in predictably ironic fashion (i.e. white racist saves black life, etc.), while others will remain underdeveloped. On the whole I'd call it a good story but I couldn't help but think that it could have had a lot more resonance in the hands of, say, Paul Thomas Anderson.

And this is where I had to go away on a bizniz trip and during my trip I HURT MYSELF. I'll be back later this week with the rest.

You know what I suddenly realized might make these reviews a tiny little bit more fun? If I add an image to illustrate each film. But that's hard work so I won't do it now. But maybe next time? If you want me to do that, please give me absolutely no sign.

Thy will be done.


Moocko said...

I didn't care much for OUT OF THE PAST either. But it annoys me that I really don't know why...

Koala Mentala said...

I told you why! It's Robert Mitchum's fault. What about the rest of them? Seen any?

Moocko said...

Sadly no, but Smultronplace and Kurosawa-movies are on my "to see"-list.

Erika said...

Supposedly Seven Samurai is more of an influence on Star Wars, at least according to the Big Pooba (and I do mean big) George Lucas. After watching all three and a half hours (egads!) of SS over the weekend, I don't see it.

Koala Mentala said...

If Lucas told you so, he's a lying bitch. Incidentally, I watched Seven Samurai during Week VI.

Here's a link about Kurosawa's influence on Fat George Lucas.