Welcome to my blog, if you are looking for reviews of the latest releases then I would suggest taking a look at some of the other excellent blogs mentioned to the right of this blog, for I review an eclectic mix of films from any era and any country and have sadly little time for the latest film news.
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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Quick Ratings/Reviews of The Week

Hiroshima, Mon Amour - 1959 directed by Alain Resnais.
I didn't know quite what to think after watching Alain Resnais Last Year in Marienbad a while ago, thankfully Hiroshima Mon Amour is much more comprehensible film.
I thought it was great, it wasn't what I expected, it starts by showing the horrors of the atomic bomb strike of Hiroshima but then becomes a Romance of sorts and an interesting character study.
While I have to admit that it's love story didn't interest me much, I do think this was quite ground breaking in it's depiction of the horrors but also because of the fact that it shows clearly the suffering a young French woman who fell in love with a German during WWII, at the end of the war she was persecuted and banished, and I felt that the way the film dealt with this was commendable for this is a part of French history that is not often mentioned here in France.
The acting was very good, and the cinematography was stunning, as was the use of music. The script did have a tendency to get a bit too cerebral at times, but I'm not complaining, intelligent dialogue is always welcome even if it does feel slightly out of place at times.
Great film, highly recommended, but probably not everyone's cup of tea.

Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid - 1973 directed by Sam Peckinpah
And so my Peckinpah marathon commences, I won't be watching his films in chronological order, but I will be watching all of them, from The Deadly Companions (1961) to The Osterman Weekend (1983).
This film I thought was very good, it was a rather conventional Western made better by some great performances.
Not one of his best, but a solid, reliable Western that while not being a masterpiece is still essential viewing for fans of the whole genre, in my opinion.

Major Dundee -  1965 directed by Sam Peckinpah
A pre-Wild Bunch Peckinpah film that often gets overlooked yet is one of his best.
With a long run time, a large cast and a wide variety of settings this is definitely one of Peckinpah's biggest films. It's a classic Western that just cements Peckinpah's reputation as the greatest American director of Westerns, in my opinion.

Ride The High Country - 1962 directed by Sam Peckinpah
A forgotten gem, this is a much smaller and simpler Western than the two previously mentioned and the Wild Bunch, yet it's worth a watch.

The Getaway - 1973 directed by Sam Peckinpah
This is a film that's gets better as it goes along, it was Peckinpah's most profitable film and whilst it isn't one of his best, it still makes for a very good and entertaining Crime film. It reminds me of Bonnie and Clyde and the many other films of a similar style in which couples go on the run from the law often robbing or murdering people, such as Badlands, Natural Born Killers, True Romance etc...

Straw Dogs - 1972 directed by Sam Peckinpah
Slightly disappointing, I don't know why some consider this to be his masterpiece. It's not a bad film but it could have been a great film, I thought the rape scene was completely unnecessary and kind of ruined the film. It would have been perfectly fine without it and considerably less controversial.

Love and Death - 1975 directed by Woody Allen
One of Woody Allen last all-out comedies, he afterwards directed Annie Hall and hasn't stopped with the neurotic rom-com's since. This one ranks alongside his best works. It is as hilarious as Bananas, Take The Money and Run and Sleepers. Yet manages to be slightly more intelligent in it's comedy than those films.
All fans of classic Russian Literature, Bergman's films and Allen's comedy style will love this. The jokes are as always hit and miss, but they hit far more often than they miss.

The Yakuza Papers AKA Battle Without Honor Or Humanity 
Part 1 - 1973 directed by Kinji Fukasuku
N/A (I will wait until I have seen all five parts before rating them)
A classic of the Crime genre, this five part series of films dealing with the rise of the Yakuza after the War is not as well known today as it used to be... I look forward to seeing the other parts, I'm sure I'll enjoy them just as much as this one if not more. Sure this first part was messy and very flawed, but one can't deny the enormous influence it has had over the years.

The Yakuza Papers Part 2: Deadly Fight In Hiroshima - 1973 directed by Kinji Fukusaku
Again no rating yet until I see all five parts.
I must admit that I'm gradually coming to really like these films, they are not great but they sure are an entertaining watch. I like the intricacies of the plot and the large amount of characters, who generally end up dead. Due to the series length, there is much time to set up and develop the various crime families and the Yakuza's who are part of them, but mostly it's loads of guys running around shooting and chopping each other to death..

The Yakuza Papers Part 3: Proxy War - 1973 directed by Kinji Fukasuku
This one was a lot of build up, less violence than the previous ones but I'm expecting the next one to be pretty brutal. A lot of negotiating and double crossing in this one, interesting stuff though. The main actor is actually very talented, easily the best of the cast, the rest are so over the top.
Apparently Yakuza's blood was very, very bright red in those days, and they were immensely tough, taking about 20 shots to kill at close range, according to these films anyway...
And also it seems they wore 70's style suits all through the 50's and 60's...
Still despite these things I'm enjoying this series.

More comments will come when I've finished the series, I prefer it that way.

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