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Archive for July 19th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Japan 2008 237m) DVD1/2

Aka. Ai no mukidashi

All perverts are create equal

p  Yutaka Morohashi  d/w  Shion Sono  ph  Souhei Tanigawa  ed  Junichi Ito  m  Tomohide Harada, Taikoko Yurayura  art  Takashi Matsuzka

Takahiro Nishijima (Yu Honda), Hikari Mitsushima (Yoko), Sakura Ando (Aki Koike), Makiko Watanabe (Saori), Atsuro Watabe (Tetsu Honda),

There are some films that, upon completion, just leave you dumbstruck, as if standing provocatively in front of any potential reviewer – in this case dressed in traditional Japanese schoolgirl attire of short skirt and knee length socks – as if to say “review that, if you can.”  Invisible bullets from invisible wars, statues of the Virgin Mary becoming abused teens, attempted incest, Tosatsu photos, Beethoven, Ravel, Corinthians 13, budgies, a cult religious group called Zero Church and more homages than you can wave a katana at.  Where the heck to begin?

            Yu Honda is a 17 year old high school kid of faintly androgynous appearance who, since his mother died six years earlier, has had an ideal of The Virgin Mary for his future bride.  His father enters the priesthood but is seduced out of it by a faintly psychotic stalker, Saori, who then leaves him when he doesn’t marry her.  The father, Tetsu, then turns puritan, wanting to punish his son for sins he hasn’t committed and preaching of hell from the pulpit.  To satisfy his father’s whims, Yu trains in the art of Tosatsu, taking upskirt photos of young girls using martial arts techniques, and becomes regarded as a master of this perverted ‘art’.  When he tells his father, his father beats him and sends him packing, so he sets up with three other youths who see him as the ‘chosen one’ of perverts, and they set up their own society, until one day, Yu loses a bet and is forced to dress up as Miss Scorpion and kiss his true love, a young girl called Yoko.  In doing so, when he helps her fight a pack of thugs, she falls in love with Miss Scorpion. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

     Composed during the peak period of Mozart’s career, in the last months of his life, the four horn concertos remain today as a major section of the horn player’s repetoire.  Written for the composer’s friend, Joseph Leutgeb, the compositions have always been though as particularly difficult to perform, even on the period instruments of the day.  It is a testament to Leutgeb’s considerable skills, that they were successfully negotiated.  Comparatively speaking, the ‘French horn’ was a newer instrument for Mozart to write for, as it generally began appearing in the early 1700’s with chromatic enhancement in baroque orchestras, after it made its debut as a hunting device in France.

    Leutgeb was a noted virtuoso, who was known to serve as the principal horn in Salzburg during Mozart’s earlier years.  By 1770 he was largely involved in solo work, and was having a successful run in Paris, where the Mercure de France praised his ability “to sing an adaggio as perfectly as the most mellow, interesting, and accurate voice.”  He is reported in February 1773 to have joined Wolfgang and Leopold Mozart on part of their Italian tour, and in 1777 he moved to Vienna, where he kept his musical activities on track, while simultaneously managing a cheese store.  Mozart’s manuscripts reveal both a mischievious humor and deep respect for his childhood companion, whom he described as ‘unswervingly loyal.” (more…)

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Coming of age Irish gem, ‘Kisses’ playing at the Angelika

by Sam Juliano

“If you’re looking for rainbows, look up to the sky, and never, no never, look down.”      -Charles Chaplin, lyrics to ‘Swing Little Girl” from The Circus

As we move deeper into the summer and lament on the inability to complete what we may have initially set out to do, we can at least hope to enjoy some well-earned R & R, whether it’s on a seashore vacation, a trip abroad or even at home, with air-conditioned movie viewings.  Here at Wonders, we’re nearing the end of the months-long 2000’s decade countdown, a project once thought to be endless in duration.  We have decided to delay the naming of Allan’s #1 film until Tuesday (tomorrow) , to give it a kind of regal annointment.  Normally, this final and ultimate placement would have been posted today, without the 24 hour red carpet time window.   At Good Fellas, Dave Hicks’s popular ‘director’s countdown’ is also nearing completion, though the venture has about two weeks still left.

Many of us are mourning the passing of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, whose bottom line tactics brought a number of World Championships for our beloved Bronx Bombers.  Despite the bullying and seemingly unscropulous methods emplyed since he bought the team from CBS in 1973,  many revelations have emerged about his charitable acts to many and his already-known larger-than-life personality.  He was a remarkable figure and a true American, and Friday night’s Yankee Stadium game was one of the most emotional ever staged in sports.  Even Red Sox Nation have issued their own tributes.

The Anthony Mann Festival concluded Thursday night, with showings of Men in War and The Fall of the Roman Empire, and I succeeded on my mission to watch all 32 of the films offered.  It’s the first time in my life I’ve managed anything of this magnitude, and it was achieved with quite a bit of luck and timing.  While nearly everyone I know believes I was there for every film, for the sake of accountability, I will be displaying the ticket stubs for all my appearances on that Thursday post, as the Film Forum features the title of the films on each stub.  I feel like I know Mr. Mann so much more than I ever have, and predictably he’s risen in my estimation to the first rank of American directors.  I am planning a comprehensive post for Thursday, July 22 at WitD, where I will reflect on the experience and write capsule reviews for all 32 films.  The Chaplin festival is up next, with a one-week run for The Circus, and then two weeks for all his remaining features, and a good deal of the shorts.  After that it’s William Castle.  Again I plan to attend both aggressively, and will have some of the kids on board for many.  After seeing The Circus at 1:10 P.M. with the entire family in a beautiful new print, one would be hard pressed to deny this as a first-rate Chaplin masterpiece.  The excellent short The Idle Class was screened first.

On Saturday night I saw a theatrical show in the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row in Manhattan staged as a benefit for the early passing  of a revered artist who passed from pancreatic cancer.  The superlative 45 minute work, THE SHOEMAKER starred Danny Aiello and Lizbeth Mackay, and was written by the show’s moderator, Susan Charlotte.  Dealing with the aftermath of 9-11, the show combined sry humor with poignancy and was followed by the greatest Q & A I have ever witnessed, with the relatively small sold-out audience including a number of Aiello’s relatives and famous stage stars.

I managed two contemporary films in theatres this week, INCEPTION and the Irish coming-of-age drama, KISSES.  Of course I also saw the final six of the Mann films at the Film Forum, and the two Chaplins, making for a total of ten films:

Inception  ****    (Friday night)   Edgewater Multiplex

Kisses   **** 1/2   (Sunday afternoon)  Angelika Film Center

The Great Flamarion  *** 1/2  (Monday night)  Anthony Mann Festival

Strange Impersonation  *** 1/2 (Monday night)  Anthony Mann Festival

Reign of Terror   ****      (Wednesday afternoon)  Anthony Mann Festival

Side Street    ****             (Wednesday afternoon)  Anthony Mann Festival

Men in War   **** 1/2    (Thursday evening)  Anthony Mann Festival

The Fall of the Roman Empire **** (Thursday evening) Anthony Mann

The Circus  *****    (Sunday afternoon)   Charles Chaplin Film Festival

The Idle Class  **** (Sunday afternoon)  Charles Chaplin Film Festival (more…)

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