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Archive for August 23rd, 2009

Jaws, 1975, directed by Steven Spielberg

The Story: “Sharkkkkkkkk!!!!!!”

And yet it’s so much more than that. At its heart, of course, Jaws is a fantastic monster movie, a film that plays on fears – that employs Hitchcockian suspense and haunted house surprise to hold us in the grip of masterful entertainment. It has been blamed for a dumbing-down of movie audiences, an onslaught of blockbusters concerned only with reeling in adolescents, and a retreat from the edginess and depth of 70s cinema. Yet Jaws consistently holds human figures at its center – and not only because the mechanical creature malfunctioned through much of the production, while a 27-year-old newbie filmmaker, one Steven Spielberg, had to improvise shooting around it. At heart, Jaws is a story about people more than about a shark. (more…)

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last emperor 1

(UK/Italy/China 1987/1998 219m) DVD1/2

The New Lord of 10,000 Years

p  Jeremy Thomas  d  Bernardo Bertolucci  w  Mark Peploe, Bernardo Bertolucci  ph  Vittorio Storaro  ed  Gabriella Cristiani  m  Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, Cong Su  art  Ferdinando Scarfiotti, Bruno Cesari  cos  James Acheson

John Lone (Aisin-Gioro/Pu-Yi), Peter O’Toole (Reginald Johnston), Joan Chen (Wan Jung), Ying Ruocheng (The Governor), Ryuichi Sakamoto (Amakasu), Victor Wong (Chen Pao Shen), Dennis Dun (Big Li), Ric Young (interrogator), Tsou Tijger (Pu-Yi, aged 8), Richard Vuu (Pu-Yi, aged 3), Jade Go (Ar Mo), Maggie Han (Eastern jewel),

It seems incredible that one can look back on Bertolucci’s epic with a sense of nostalgia, but that is exactly what one feels approaching it two decades on.  It really was the last of the old fashioned epics, before the days of CGI and just at the very end of the period where masses of extras could be deployed.  When it was first released in 1987, and indeed won its hatful of Oscars, it seemed disjointed, fractious, tried to cram too much in and lacked cohesion.  One always sensed there was a great film there somewhere, and hoped that a longer coherent version would finally arrive.  It took a decade for it to reach the west, but reach us it did.  Finally the film justified David Thomson’s comment that it was “a true epic, but with an alertness in feelings as small and humble as a grasshopper.” (more…)

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