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.
Enjoy my blog and don't hesitate to comment, I will answer without delay!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Day Of The Samurai 2: After The Rain 1999

For this week’s Day Of the Samurai I’ve chosen a film with a most interesting history surrounding it.
Ame Agaru is a Samurai film made in 1999 not long after the death of one of Cinema’s all time greats, Akira Kurosawa. He left behind him a script that he had not had the chance to put to film. Then came in Takashi Koizumi who had been his assistant director for many years, he took the script and with it made this film. So in a way, this is Kurosawa’s last offering to Cinema.
But there are even more interesting facts surrounding this film; for one of the main actors was Shiro Mifune, the son of Toshiro Mifune whose famed collaboration with Kurosawa had given rise to one of the greatest actor/director teams ever from which sprung 17 fantastic films.
Thus we have the legacies of both Kurosawa and Mifune that live on through their “heirs” of sorts and create this film. But it is not only the spirits of these two greats that lives on through this film, it is also the whole spirit of the Samurai genre, which by the year this film was made had waned considerably since the 60’s when it was at its height. As well as this, much of the crew, including Editor, Cinematographer and more, had worked with Kurosawa previously, mostly on Ran, so this was very much a reunion for this great group of talents as well as a tribute to one of the greatest directors. Even Kurosawa’s daughter designed the costumes, and then went on to become a successful costume designer.
Tatsuya Nakadai
Furthermore, another veteran Japanese actor and a favourite of Kurosawa’s appears in a small role in this film, Tatsuya Nakadai, star of Ran, Kagemusha and many other Kurosawa films who also received much praise for his performances in other works such as The Human Condition Trilogy. I was overjoyed to see his name listed in the opening credits as he was a great actor who survived well past the height of his career, which was probably in the late 50’s and 60’s. It felt very fitting to see him in such a nostalgic film. For it is a very nostalgic film, in both the way it is executed and through its script.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Herzog and Kinski: 5 Films

Cinema has been filled with memorable director/actor collaborations, think of the famous Scorsese/De Niro or more recently Scorsese/Di Caprio, or perhaps Kurosawa/Mifune or Kurosawa/Nakadai.
And although each of these collaborations have produced not just one but several masterpieces of Cinema, none of them were as explosive, as contradictory, as inspired as the work produced by the creative partnership between German director Werner Herzog and German actor Klaus Kinski.

If you've seen the excellent and informative documentary Werner Herzog made about his professional and personal relationship with Klaus Kinski, named My Best Fiend, then you will already know that their relationship was a troubled one.
Arguments, violent clashes, and even death threats abounded. Much of the cause was the fact that Kinksi was possibly clinically insane. And yet he is easily one of the most terrific actors, each of his performances is mesmerising, but none more so than the work he did with Herzog.
they complemented each other perfectly and through their collaborations, made five astounding films. Some greater than others, but all worthy of consideration by any serious film buff.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

International/Classic Review: Rocco e i Suoi Fratelli - 1960

For some reason I've never really been able to get into Italian Cinema. By which I mean the golden age of Cinecitta, with famed directors such as Fellini, Bertolluci etc... Recent Italian films are a whole other story.
But I had seen a few, some, like Il Conformista by Bertollucci, were disappointments and dampened my enthusiasm for Italian Cinema, but others such as Luchino Visconti's Il Gappardo made their way into my list of all time favourites.
In fact, seeing Il Gappardo was very much a turning point for me, before then I had just assumed that Italian Cinema was "not for me". Fortunately, I was wrong. Il Gappardo lead to Fellini's 8 1/2 which I loved and since then I've found myself enjoying Italian Cinema much more than ever before.

But one of the highlights would definitely be a film I watched recently, by Luchino Visconti again, named Rocco e i Suoi Fratelli or Rocco and His Brothers.

It's a film that may appear simple at first glance, but hides a depth of emotion and a maturity that is increasingly hard to find in Cinema. Rocco and His Brothers is a film about conflict, family, tainted love and much more.
It is a masterpiece and only confirms what I had suspected, that Visconti is one of Cinema’s most talented directors, who sadly doesn't get as much praise or recognition as his less talented compatriots such as Bertollucci and Antonioni.

Monday, 18 July 2011

End Of The Week Month Post

I'm back! This post marks my triumphant return to blogging.
Due to my massive move, I haven't been able to see as many films as usual, and have not been very active on the internet at all. However I did manage to see these few films over the last month or so, since my last post which was on the 19th of June. 
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get much written during this break, mainly because I've been busier than usual and have had a terrible but thankfully temporary internet connection. 
Now my connection is considerably better and I've started putting together my various ideas for posts.

Films seen:

Touch Of Evil - 1958 directed by Orson Welles
Yet another Classic I had never seen. I like Orson Welles very much as both an actor and a director, and I'm glad I saw this fully restored version which was as close to Welles original vision as possible.
The directing and cinematography were extraordinary, I'll never forget that dolly shot that opens the film. Overall the film is a technical marvel, and Welles gives a fantastic performance. The story was rather interesting, but I thought it felt rather incomplete, like a rough draft rather than a fully finished script. This, combined with the strange attitudes and performances from the rest of the cast and the unnatural stilted dialogue, took away from my enjoyment of the film somewhat. But nonetheless it remains a great cinematical achievement.