My Week in Film (4/21- 4/27)

This edition of My Week in Film might be a little late but it's still pretty awesome!

In The Mood For Love (2000)
(Directed by Wong Kar-Wai)*

Wong Kar-Wai's luscious paeian to love unfulfilled. This was my second time watching it and although the amazing feeling I got from the first time wasn't there, I was still able to enjoy myself a lot. It also cemented that nagging feeling I had that I much prefer when Wong is dealing in the immediacy of youth. This also made clear that Tony Leung is the man and I will watch anything he's in (well, almost anything). Watching this and Chungking Express made me realize how awesome the guy is. But, yeah, the movie! It has a great soundtrack, fantastic cinematography and Maggie Cheung looking beautiful as always. My love for this movie might be based on the purely superficial but that doesn't make it any less valid.


The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
(Directed by Mamoru Hosoda)*

Well, it's definitely the best anime film since Mind Game. While it's nowhere near as creative as that masterpiece, TokiKake delivers on an emotional level that few films can touch (let alone animated). This is not to suggest that this is some sort of weepy crap that would fit comfortably fit with the doramas on NHK, nah. In fact, it is a very funny and thrilling movie that just happens to be filled with characters you care about so when they are forced to make certain choices, it matters. I named it as one of my top 5 for 2006 and a second viewing only reinforced it.


Stray Dog (1949)
(Directed by Akira Kurosawa)

It's kind of hard to explain how an almost 60-year-old film can thrill even more than films that are being made today. I certainly can't explain it to myself. All I know is that with Kurosawa, I know I'm in good hands. I can sit back and expect to be entertained. Adding to this the presence of Mifune AND Takashi Shimura and I'm in heaven. What's really great is that even though it works as great suspense it also makes fine for fine commentary on the state of post-war Japan.


Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008)
(Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg)

Harold and Kumar are interesting because they are minorities. Their films are interesting because the minorities are portrayed no differently than the usual white heroes. Is that supposed to be some kind of victory for minorities everywhere? The Harold and Kumar movies might raise these points (however offhandedly) but the characters themselves couldn't care less. They just want to get high. So yeah, funny shit. Plus Doogie Howser riding an unicorn? Fuck yes. The Bush stuff isn't that funny though.


Moolaade (2004) (Directed by Ousmane Sembene)

Ousmane Sembène's final film not only serves as a plea for the end of the practice of female circumcision but also doubles as pure entertainment. The film never preaches but, instead shows you people and what they believe in and why they believe in that. It draws such sharp characters and creates such a believable community that we can picture it continuing to exist long after the film is over. By the film's end, cliches start to manifest themselves but by that point it doesn't really matter that much. The point has been made and the characters can choose to do what they want.


Barton Fink (1991)
(Directed by Joel Coen)

It's strange how funny and horrifying this film is. Seriously, it all begins as a darkly comic satire of both Hollywood and self-important writers but then this film takes a shift into territory that's much darker than what had previously been suggested. However, it is this shift into the near apocalyptic is what makes the film special. There are clues to what is going on though. Just think of that damn wallpaper that keeps peeling off. It's not subtle but it sure gets the point across. Also, holy shit! Fred Flinstone!


Strange Days (1995)
(Directed by Kathryn Bigelow)

Strange Days is a weird breed of movie. It's basically the Southland Tales of the 90s except, you know, good. And while this film might lack that one's psychotic comic brilliance, it makes up for it in scope. It seems to mix up every single thing that was happening in the 90s (the LA riots, dead rappers, etc) and throw it against the wall and sees what sticks. After that, it adds in sci-fi/noir elements and voala! You got yourself a totally perplexing film. The most interesting about the film though is definitely the concept of "playback," "squids" and all that junk. I guess I'm into voyeurism? Ergh...


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Yes, I'm picking it over Sembene, Wong Kar-Wai, the Coens and Kurosawa. Bite me.

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