January 25th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
You can do yourself a favor and see TOKYO WAKA this week. Seriously. It’s a damn fine picture and I don’t mind telling you why.
In a happy trend, documentaries are returning more to their cinema verite roots. Why tell when you can show? Isn’t the true cinematic power of film its ability to show 24 pictures a second, pictures being worth a thousand words? This film focuses on crows, of course, but it happens to capture the essence of Tokyo at the same time. The reverence shown to crows by Japanese people is explored through religious symbolism and cultural signifiers, and is elegantly and eloquently paced throughout the film. There is the same repetition and reprisal of themes spaced so as to truly create a poem of a movie. A fine film to watch while the dry, grey winter air makes one melancholy in our own city.
In stark contrast to the quiet stoicism of TOKYO WAKA stands RAZE, weekend late night and around for the full week. Fans of the classic grindhouse, Roger Corman-era “women in prison” movies and the new school horror, Eli Roth-era “torture porn” movies will be happy to see the two married together for bare-knuckled fights to the death. Speaking of GRINDHOUSE, in its recent Tarantino incarnation, Zoe Bell from DEATH PROOF is the star of the film. One of my personal favorite female genre stars, Rachel Nichols, co-headlines the bill.
We’ve added some more tasty treats to the calendar, be sure you scroll the whole main page!
—WAKA WAKA WAKA, Fozzie Bear, dan
January 18th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
I wish I could have seen Evangelion last week. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to watch it ahead of time: so no blog.
However, I was able to get my grubby mitts on BEYOND OUTRAGE, a remarkable film directed by and featuring Takeshi Kitano, whom I recognized as being the teacher from BATTLE ROYALE. But of course, he’s so much more than that to the right person. GI volunteer Edwin told me he’s an respected auteur in Japanese cinema, so I’m sure we’ll have some stalwart fans out for this one.
As to the film itself: though it was a sequel, I didn’t feel lost or left behind by not having seen the first one. It felt like a very natural place to start a yakuza film, with an absolutely great opening shot. Handled with a pacing more in line with the Godfather films, this film is a refreshing throwback to old school gangster films, discarding the hyperkinectic editing and twists and turns of so many films of late. Sparsely scored, this film lets ambient sound and dialogue take center stage, sonically speaking. It helps create a gritty atmosphere, perfectly suited to the exquisitely framed shots.
We’ve got so many other great Japanese films on this calendar, it’s crazy! Another dose of anime with ANOHANA THE MOVIE and a poetic documentary about crows, TOKYO WAKA.
And don’t forget, Friday and Saturday nights we’ve got special screenings of one of the best music docs of 2013, THE PUNK SINGER. Perfect storytelling and incredibly intimate, THE PUNK SINGER hits you hard and fast as one of BIKINI KILL’s seminal songs. A must see, especially for PNW natives.
—next week, Zoe Bell, dan
January 4th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Welcome to 2014. I’m back after December off. Didn’t really have any new thoughts to share on IAWL and I was knee deep in some other stuff. But guess what? I’m here now, and we’ve got two very GI-worthy films to ring in the new year.
First off, the sequel in spirit (or at the very least, titularly similar) to last year’s GI hit WRONG. That’s right, none other than WRONG COPS. Not since RENO 911 have cops been painted in such a selfish, boneheaded, and hilarious way by an ensemble cast of funnymen (including my boy Eric Wareheim!). It’s not the laugh-a-minute fast-paced antics of that crew, but a motley crew slightly more corrupt and even less concerned with the need to perform as proper officers of the law. Not as surreal as WRONG or RUBBER, Quentin Dupieux’s latest film is simultaneously weirder and more relatable. And just when you were feeling down about Steve Little going away with EASTBOUND AND DOWN now off the air, here he pops back up to make you love him all over again! At least, I love him! He and Eric Judor from WRONG both feature in this film. Perhaps the greatest pleasure is Marilyn Manson’s sublime supporting role.
Comin’ on up in the late night slot for the next two weeks: the film HERE COMES THE DEVIL. I didn’t see it when it was in SIFF 2013, but I’m sure as hell glad I saw it now. Another one of the great 70s horror/thriller homages I’ve seen come out in recent years, fans of Ti West’s HOUSE OF THE DEVIL will find a lot to like here. The film has some aesthetic touches that link it firmly in a 70s milieu, such as sudden zooms on key revealing details (making me think of horror/thrillers like those of Argento or perhaps Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW). Not full of gotcha twists or jump scares, this is how I like my horror. I just you could go see the new PARANORMAL ACTIVITY sequel, but if you’re reading this blog, you’ve got a more acquired taste than that.
Sorry we don’t have THE THIN MAN this week, blame that crazy winter they’ve got going on on the east coast right now. Hard to imagine with that sunny day we just had. I’ll be seeing you next week with EVANGELION 3.0, I loved the first two and I’m stoked!
—sunny day, chasing the clouds away, dan