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Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)



Musashi Myamoto, who was once a gifted but wild ashigaru, is now a knight-errant that is unmatched in skill with the blade. His renown has caught the eye of Shogun, who would like to utilize him as a teacher and vassal, but has also drawn closer Sasaki Kojirō the ronin. Iching to test his mettle against Musashi, Sasaki obsessively needs to prove that he, not Musashi is the greatest swordsman in all of Japan.

Straight off the get-go Musashi Myamoto is the fully realized samurai that he was working towards becoming through the first two movies in the trilogy, and Toshiro Mifune perfectly encapsulates this in each and every frame. He is now kind, wise, and completely confident in himself in all things... but the things of love. Samurai II ends with Musashi pouncing on Otsu fully expecting her to be down for some serious love-making, is shut down awkwardly, because Otsu just wasn't ready. Musashi, being totally not an awful rapey bastard like 90% of the men in this series, feels a deep shame over what he did. Which leads me to something that I really loved about this series as whole, when it starts an arch it ****ing finishes that arch. When Otsu and Musashi meet again in Samurai III it is very awkward until they actually have an adult conversation about what had happened, and this misunderstanding is handled surprising well for movie from this era. The conversation allows Musashi to move past his shame, and it also give Otsu the perfect opening to once again pour her heart out all of Musashi. The arch completes when Musashi surprises Otsu by referring to her as a "Samurai's wife" like a suave mother******.

Another arch that came to satisfying close was that of Akemi, the daughter of a scheming prostitute, but unfortunately it's a tragic one. Akemi desperately wants to be better person than her wicked mother and in the first film she seems to be a promising young girl with a big heart. In Samurai II we see a bit of her mother come out of her when she lies to Otsu and threatens her with a knife, but she still seems like a nice enough girl deep down... Surely this was just a one time thing. In this final film Akemi completely succumbs to her unfortunate familial traits and unleashes a pack of bandits on an entire ****ing town, after Musashi rejects her one final time. Though, we do still see the Akemi we once knew when she snaps to her senses and saves Otsu from the chaos that she totally created, and dying in the process. Her dynamic performance made her one of the highlights of the entire trilogy for me. It was a fantastic tragedy.

And then there is Sasaki Kojiro, the arrogant, ambitious, and subtly villainous ronin. Everything not only in this film, but the previous two as well is leading up to this final duel between Sasaki Kojiro and Musashi Myamoto. But not because we the audience are dying to know who the better swordsman is... but because Sasaki is the mirror image of Musashi. He is who Musashi used to be. In order for Musashi to truly become the samurai he was always meant to be, he needs to defeat the man he used to be. This final duel is quick, but poignant, leaving Musashi visibly full of emotion while he stares down at the man he once was dead on the sandy shore of Ganryu.

The only areas where I found this film lacked compared to the first two in the trilogy were in it's actions sequences and visuals. That's not to say it isn't a beautiful and well shot movie, the final duel for instance is absolutely gorgeous and very well choreographed, It just didn't quite have the same level of style and visual flair as what had came before. Where this film truly shines is in it's ability to tie up everything from the previous two films in such a satisfying way. What really impressed me was how it made me appreciate the previous two a lot more, especially Samurai II. I know it's almost cliche to say this, but I actually find it hard to look at them as three separate films because of how well each installment compliments the other. I guess you could say they are three separate movies, but one giant epic. Fantastic film. Fantastic Trilogy.




Hillbilly Elegy- 9/10

A nice movie with great acting by everyone involved.



You mean me? Kei's cousin?

Evangelion 3.0 + 1.01: Thrice Upon a Time (2021)

Whoa. Evangelion fans have been waiting a long time for this film, but it seems the wait was worth it. Hideaki Anno's finale to the Rebuild of Evangelion does pretty much everything right. While one would understandably expect it to be a bit lengthy at 154 minutes long, the film never drags, moving from one story beat to the next with aplomb. The story is a natural extension of the three films that preceded it, developing Shinji's character in ways even End of Eva didn't while fleshing out the characters around him and bringing his character arc full circle in a thrilling, poignant, and emotionally satisfying fashion. We even get the first deep dive into Gendo's backstory ever seen in animated form, which is quite impressive for an anime and manga franchise nearing its 30th birthday in just a few years. Moreover, the film boasts more of the stunning animation Evangelion is infamous for, Shiro Sagisu's excellent musical score is once again perfectly suited to the action on screen, and Hikaru Utada's One Last Kiss and Beautiful World close the film out perfectly. Amazon Prime's English dub is also excellent, with several cast members from the previous films, some of whom have been dubbing Evangelion for 25 years or better, returning. The legendary Spike Spencer, in his signature role, is once again excellent as Shinji Ikari. Things change quite a bit here, with Shinji shedding the depressive, fearful and ambivalent ways that have earned him unfair hatred from someóor maybe I'm just biased since I suffered Shinji-level depression as a teenagerówithin the film's first half. Tiffany Grant is equally impressive reprising her role as Asuka Langley Shikinami, Shinji's fellow Eva pilot who certainly doesn't suffer what she considers idiocy. Allison Keith is also above par returning as Misato Katsuragi, who was once Shinji and Asuka's legal guardian. John Swasey also returns as Gendo, Shinji's father, which is good since Swasey's is easily the definitive English-language portrayal of the character. While I'll admit I prefer Brina Palencia, who voiced the character in the Funimation dubs of the previous Rebuild films, Amanda Winn-Lee is also solid as Rei Ayanami, returning from the ADV dub of NGE. Deneen Melody is also pretty good as Mari Makinami Illustrious, a somewhat eccentric Eva pilot who has an odd affection for the smell of LCL. Melody took some getting used to, but I found myself enjoying her portrayal nearly as much as Trina Nishimura's by the film's endgame. I was initially a bit salty that they didn't get Caitlin Glass back from the Funimation dub, but Amy Seeley is surprisingly excellent as Maya Ibuki, having greatly improved in the nearly two decades since she voiced the character in the Manga dub of End of Eva. Brett Weaver also returns from the ADV dub as Toji Suzuhara, one of Shinji's best friends from middle school. While I wouldn't complain if they got Justin Cook from the Funimation dub of Rebuild or Johnny Yong Bosch from the Netflix dub of NGE, Weaver does a fine job. We also get Felecia Angelle as Sakura, Toji's younger sister, returning from the Funimation dub. The one voice actor who struck me as slightly miscast was Mary Faber as Dr. Ritsuko Akagi, though she's certainly decent and my opinion is at least somewhat colored by the fact that I've become accustomed to Colleen Clinkenbeard's portrayal of the character. I guess Faber just isn't quite as cold and calculating as I imagine Dr. Akagi to be, but it is what it is. With that said, the others are also solid and the dub script is thankfully a far cry from the stilted, awkward, and unnatural script the Netflix dub of NGE had, though changing "I mustn't run away," to "Don't run away," will probably never sit right with me. Overall, Thrice Upon a Time is an exciting, thought-provoking, and emotionally satisfying endgame to the Evangelion film series, and no fan of the franchise should miss it.
__________________
Look, Dr. Lesh, we don't care about the disturbances, the pounding and the flashing, the screaming, the music. We just want you to find our little girl.



Paprika (2006)



In the near future scientists have developed the Mini DC, a technology allowing a person to view or even step inside of another's dreams. When the senior Doctor begins spouting complete nonsense and leaps out of a window it is discovered that someone has stolen a Mini DC and intends to terrorize the public with it.

To be honest, I almost did not want to review this just yet. I feel like I need to gather my thoughts with a second viewing, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. This movie is just unreal and I can't believe it has taken me so long to watch it. It's tempting to compare it to the movie that was inspired by it, Inception, but they are actually two very different movies doing very different things. Where Inception is a fairly straight-forward action film revolving around gaining intelligence from unaware dreamers, Paprika is a big emotional ball of repressed feelings and secret desires doubling as a love-letter to cinema. Take for example Detective Toshimi Konakawa who is being given psychiatric help from Paprika secretly: Early on we find out that Toshimi adamantly does not like movies, but over the course of the film we discover this man contains an usual amount of film knowledge. My favorite showcase of this knowledge is when he is explaining to Paprika what "breaking the axis" means while wearing the same hat that was iconic on Akira Kurosawa. What this shows is that not only does he have detailed knowledge of film production, but also fanboyish knowledge of a famous director. By the climax of the movie we learn that Konakawa has been repressing his love for film because he is saddened that he stopped pursuing a career in it after his friend, and filmmaking partner passed away. And this is only one example of many throughout the picture.

The film is a big emotional release. When everyone's emotions and desires are laid bare waltzing the city streets, we the audience feel a sort of release as well. This feeling is underscored by the film's music. There is a very specific song that is unleashed whenever the chaotic dream parade comes out in full force, and this track really emphasizes the whole movie's point. It is this chaotic carnival of instruments that somehow manages to be both foreboding and relieving, almost comforting? How the hell did Susumu Hirasawa even manage that? It's ****ing impressive. Is it possible to get this on Vinyl? Because I want it. Visually this film really exemplifies what animation can offer as an artform. The way in which Paprika and others hop from dream to dream is not only pleasing to the eye, but also accurate to the very nature of dreaming. I've always found it amazing how natural it feels to completely switch locations within my own dreams, like going from trying to find my seat grade 8 science to driving through a busy street completely nude. These sequences in Paprka are so well done in how familiar they feel to us, even if recalling our dreams can be difficult.

There is a ton to unwrap in this film and this little review, for me, doesn't quite feel sufficient. Like I said, I really want to watch this again soon. I supposed when I get right down to it what really stuck with me was the feeling it gave me when the closing credits came up. Relief. Like a huge weight was taken off of my shoulders. The fact that this film made me feel this emotion to the extent that I imagine is close to the same level as the characters within the film were feeling it, is one hell of an achievement.




Shame (2011)

Intensely dull film about unlikeable people.

Rating: 1.



Shame (2011)

Intensely dull film about unlikeable people.

Rating: 1.
Masterpiece.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?




The Green Knight (2021)
++ Lately, when I see the words "a retelling" I literally cringe, but after seeing the trailer for this and the opportunity to first witness this on a big screen, I was more than willing to give it a go.
And I was very happily surprised and even a little impressed with this "retelling" of the old Gawain and the Green Knight. While only hinting at the connection to Arthurian Legend, Director David Lowery delves into the mystical, introspective sojourn of a more intricate Quest. Beyond the more recent approach of basic "get the magic item, take out the evil, win the day" gaming mentality.
For me, this was the very old (aka ancient) school of not simply seeking out the conclusion of a Quest but taking severe stock of the Knight in question's worthiness.
Aiding in this is some quite beautiful cinematic composition that leans toward the more symbiotic in nature.
Taking this route, for me, makes all the difference.
__________________
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.



This.

Have you seen McQueen's Hunger, btw? I might be the biggest fan of it on this forum, but I strongly recommend it.
The only McQueen I havenít seen is his Amazon series but I hope to rectify that soon.

Heís among the best active directors.



The only McQueen I havenít seen is his Amazon series but I hope to rectify that soon.

Heís among the best active directors.
Yeah, I've only seen his first two feature films. I should watch more of his stuff.







SF = Zzz



[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it



Really a fun movie -

Free Guy - Our movie of the night, in a theater (the Senator) - It's really cool, definitely worth a re-watch because there's SO much going on.

A fairly bland guy wakes up, goes to work, dresses the way he always does, is impeccably polite, but it all gets strange. It becomes apparent that he's a character in a computer game. His character has become self aware and thinks he's real. Meanwhile all of the usual action and carnage of a computer game goes on around him.

It's a comedy and a rom-com but unlike either genre. It's also an amazingly animated fantasy with layers of content that you recognize from somewhere else, but it's all moving so fast that you can't keep up. Alternately, you're in a game or a movie or a TV show or reality or all of the above or some of the above. It's really worth a second view, since it's derivitive from almost everything but completely unique.








The Green Knight (2021)
++ Lately, when I see the words "a retelling" I literally cringe, but after seeing the trailer for this and the opportunity to first witness this on a big screen, I was more than willing to give it a go.
And I was very happily surprised and even a little impressed with this "retelling" of the old Gawain and the Green Knight. While only hinting at the connection to Arthurian Legend, Director David Lowery delves into the mystical, introspective sojourn of a more intricate Quest. Beyond the more recent approach of basic "get the magic item, take out the evil, win the day" gaming mentality.
For me, this was the very old (aka ancient) school of not simply seeking out the conclusion of a Quest but taking severe stock of the Knight in question's worthiness.
Aiding in this is some quite beautiful cinematic composition that leans toward the more symbiotic in nature.
Taking this route, for me, makes all the difference.
Yeah, I really liked it. I've read the original anonymous medieval fantasy, which is even stranger than the movie, but for a movie version that needed to be shorter and somewhat comprehensible, I thought it was well done. Arthur is a peripheral character in the medieval poem too.







The Green Knight (2021)
++ Lately, when I see the words "a retelling" I literally cringe, but after seeing the trailer for this and the opportunity to first witness this on a big screen, I was more than willing to give it a go.
And I was very happily surprised and even a little impressed with this "retelling" of the old Gawain and the Green Knight. While only hinting at the connection to Arthurian Legend, Director David Lowery delves into the mystical, introspective sojourn of a more intricate Quest. Beyond the more recent approach of basic "get the magic item, take out the evil, win the day" gaming mentality.
For me, this was the very old (aka ancient) school of not simply seeking out the conclusion of a Quest but taking severe stock of the Knight in question's worthiness.
Aiding in this is some quite beautiful cinematic composition that leans toward the more symbiotic in nature.
Taking this route, for me, makes all the difference.
I'm really dying to see this. I'm a bit of sucker for anything connected to Arthurian legend. And I don't mean like I like everything Arthurian related, I'm more just a sucker for watching everything. I'm especially stoked because this actually looks fantastic. Nice review.




Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15766779

Tombstone - (1993) - DVD - (Director's Cut)

First time I've seen this, and as with Real Genius the thought behind me watching it was to see another Val Kilmer film I haven't yet seen. He's great in Tombstone - easily the best character (Doc Holliday) and performance in it. It's a more than serviceable ensemble though, and I got a kick out of seeing Billy Bob Thornton in such an early role, a year before he made his Some Folks Call it a Slingblade short. I think Unforgiven really beat it in the race to try and redefine the Western genre, and it straddles both sides of the line between authentic realism and Hollywood escapism. George P. Cosmatos, director of such fare as Rambo : First Blood Part II and Cobra probably wasn't the best guy in the world to helm the film, but rumours abound that it was Kurt Russell himself that did most of the work.

Overall it's accomplished and has a great cast in very good form.

Special Features - Director's commentary (I hate when they say things like, "Here comes a train" when a train enters the shot - I can pretty much deduce that for myself) but for the most part it's passable and gives us some extra knowledge. Three documentaries tied into one. 9 different trailers and teasers. The complete storyboard to the 'gunfight at the O.K. Corral' part of the film.

I'd stick with the theatrical cut if you're ever in the mood to see it, even though the director's cut only contains an extra 5 minutes.

7/10







Long time fan of Oliver Stone, Natural Born Killers is still one of my favorite films, the psychedelic scenery, the energetic Patti Smith song, the philosophy of human instincts surpassing morality. Also like his films with Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin, but there were still major films that I've never seen before, JFK is one, and Platoon was another.

Tom Berenger made a tremendous performance, I was scared of the guy, what a scare. Although I liked the film, it tried to pass and authentic image of all the various individuals, characters that went to that war, their reasons, but is my opinion it didn't came near to Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. I think he made good directing in close up scenes, the pain, the constant suspense surrounded by green, it showed how everything could go south in a matter of seconds and that was evident trough out the entire film, in the rest of the scenes he used a angels masterpiece of a song, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings that in my opinion lacked better photography to create the intended emotion, that's where I believe a master of a director is shown, in combining all the variables to create a perfect scenery according to his vision.