Three Observations

POSTED: September 15, 2007 18:10 | By: Carol Borden

about Sukiyaki Western Django:


Since the dawn of time, humankind has been interested in 2 things, gunslingers and samurai, resulting in movies like Yojimbo, the Western-ish samurai movie, and Fistful of Dollars, the samurai-ish Western.  And maybe incidentally in a movie where Bruce Willis is a gangster because someone thought humankind is interested in Bruce Willis. They were wrong. Humankind is not interested in Bruce Willis.

Sukiyaki Western Django fulfills the promise of both samurai movies and Westerns.  It is everything I never knew I wanted:  an English-language Japanese Western mixing the Heike Monogatari, the tale of Yoshitsune, the War of the Roses and Spaghetti Westerns.


about Mad Detective (yes, I know it?s not Midnight Madness):


We are lucky to live in a world with Johnnie To.  We are even luckier to live in a world where he is working with Wai Ka-Fai, who wonders about things like, ?I wonder what Vincent Van Gogh would be like if he were a detective??

And so we?re blessed with Lau Ching-Wan?s bandaged, ear-slicing return to drama with his portrayal of a detective who can see people?s inner personalities tracking down a killer with seven.  His head bandages were neat, but I loved him most of all for his short dress pants and clunky shoes without socks.

I am left wondering, why are all Johnnie To/Wai Ka-Fai movies so seemingly effortlessly good?

(All of them, I don?t care what that fanboy at the screening who derided their ?crappy romantic comedies? thinks. Those are good and well-crafted romantic comedies.  If you don?t like that kind of thing, don?t watch). 


about Dainipponjin:


Rubber suits rock.  I love kaiju, Japanese giant monsters.  I thought I only loved suitmation till The Host, when CG worked fine for a slimy, slippery river monster.   But I realized once again, during the last half hour and closing credits of Dainipponjin that suit-based special effects are the shit.  I kind of wish all the giant monster battles in Dainipponjin had been shot not with CG, but in those parodically downscale rubber, felt and fun fur suits.*  I could watch that all day long.

*I recognize that this would undercut the documentary style of the first 2 thirds of the film.  So I will appreciate on an intellectual level the way Matsumoto blends different media Dainipponjin.  But the suits still make my heart go squish.


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