Archive for August 24th, 2009


Sam with site regular Bobby McCartney at Film Forum on Sunday night

by Sam Juliano

As the dog days of summer wind down towards Labor Day, action at Wonders in the Dark was again remarkable with Allan’s The Elephant Man review attracting 99 responses, Tony’s Isle of Flowers examination landing 40 comments all of a scholarly slant, and the Henry V review landing over 70 submissions.  Joel Bocko’s Jaws piece from the Boston Examiner is up and running.  Several other threads received incredible support as well.

Around the blog world Dave Hicks’s Best of the Year series is up to 1970, where he listed The Conformist as his best film, John Greco’s review on Fritz Lang’s Human Desire is still headlining at Twenty Four Frames, T.S.’s Buster Keaton series is ongoing at Screen Savour, David Schleicher and Craig Kennedy heaped praise on Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, at The Scheicher Spin and Living in Cinema and Dee Dee continues to showcase reviews from Andrew Katsis at Noirish City. Ed Howard’s most recent gem is his review of Hitchcock’s Family Plot at Only the Cinema. There are many other friends who have stuff up, but I’ll acknowledge some of those next time.

The Brit Noir Festival continues at the Film Forum and I saw three double features this week again:

The October Man  ****  (Wed.)

The Green Cockatoo  ** 1/2  (Wed.)

Hell Drivers   ****  (Sat.)

Never Let Go   *** 1/2  (Sat.)

Gaslight (Dickinson)  **** 1/2   (Sun.)

Hatter’s Castle  ****  (Sun.)

As I stated in a prior post, I will have a full report of every film I’ve managed to see in a massive final consideration of the festival in September.

I saw two films otherwise:

Inglorious Basterds  ** 1/2  (Friday afternoon; Edgewater multiplex)

The Headless Woman   **    (Friday night; Film Forum)

I stated my views on the Tarantino, and will say more on this thread, and THE HEADLESS WOMAN was a torturous art house feature that gives a bad name to the genre.  Again, I will elaborate.

So, how about you?  This is a forum for film, theatre, music, food, sports, literature and politics.

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kagemusha 1

(Japan 1980 180m) DVD1/2

Aka. The Shadow Warrior

Immovable as a mountain

p  Akira Kurosawa  d  Akira Kurosawa  w  Akira Kurosawa, Masato Ide  ph  Kazuo Miyagawa, Asaichi Nakai, Takao Saito, Shoji Ueda  m  Shinchiro Ikebe  art  Yoshiro Muraki

Tatsuya Nakadai (Lord Shingen Takeda/Kagemusha), Tsutomu Yamazaki (Nobukado Takeda), Kenichi Hagiwara (Katsuyori Takeda), Hideji Otaki (Masakage Yamagata), Kota Yui (Takemaru), Hideo Murota (Nobufasa Baba), Daisuke Ryu (Nobunaga Oda), Jinpachi Nezu (Sohachiro Tsuchiya), Takashi Shimura (Gyobu Taguchi),

At the time of its release, in the west at least, Kagemusha was hailed as a supreme return to form from a master returned from the wilderness.  Certainly it was his best film for years, but when the splendour of Ran followed it five years later, it seemed that Kagemusha had been, in retrospect, the dress rehearsal for the real main event.  Kagemusha was, in many ways, perhaps, the double of Ran, holding fort until the real one was well enough to take over.  The story of how it came to be made, financed and co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas – his way of repaying his stealing the plot of Star Wars from The Hidden Fortress – and then was cut by twenty minutes in the States and much of Europe, is well known.  As is the fact that many critics turned their back on Kagemusha, the sort of film intellectuals were to afraid to call tedious.

            Set in 1573, Lord Shingen is a powerful, ruthless, but loyally-followed warlord who is laying siege to his enemies when his brother, who frequently impersonates him in battle so he can be elsewhere, introduces him to a thief saved from crucifixion because of his remarkable resemblance to the lord.  He is instructed to learn to behave like the lord in case of emergency, but then the lord is fatally wounded by a sniper’s bullet and, when he finally dies, the double is hired to be his Kagemusha, not just part-time but 24/7, a task which he doubts he will be up to, but which he begins to enjoy.  One by one, Shingen’s enemies try and find out whether the rumours of Shingen’s death are true, but the ruse is maintained for nigh on three years until it is finally discovered when the Kagemusha is thrown from Shingen’s horse.  Now useless to the generals, his is sent packing, to wander in the wilderness and fall into insanity. (more…)

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