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Archive for December 17th, 2010

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in the Coens' "True Grit"

by Jennifer Boulden

At its entertaining core, True Grit is a story of opposites thrown together in conflicting dichotomies. The story begins in the last bastion of law and order before Indian Territory, a place of both murder and retribution, my adopted hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas. There the salty Marshal Rooster Cogburn replete with his legendary vices teams up with a young girl whose prim manners, innocence and idealism stand in oxymoronic contrast to everything he represents. The one trait they share is grit. These two spirited characters have courage, resolve and undiluted gumption in spades. It turns out they, and the film, also have a surprising amount of heart.

To its credit, True Grit is a hard film to pinhole. It’s a Western where action for once sits back in the saddle while character development charges forward, idiosyncrasies blasting. It’s a family film that older girls and boys alike will enjoy, but far from a Disneyfied one, more akin to a PG-13 Deadwood. Like most of the Coens’ work, it is full of iconic imagery and remarkable dialogue that is laugh-out-loud funny and highly quotable, but see the film with the wrong audience and you might miss the humor entirely. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Italy 1934 90m) DVD2

Aka. Everybody’s Woman

I am the love of the world, nobody is for me

p  Emilio Rizzoli  d  Max Ophuls  w  Max Ophuls, Hans Wilhelm, Curt Alexander  ph  Ubaldo Arata  ed  Ferdinando Maria Poggioli  m  Daniele Amfitheatrof  art  Giuseppe Capponi

Isa Miranda (Gaby Murge/Moriot), Memo Benassi (Leonardo Nazzi), Tatiana Pavlova (Alma Nazzi), Nelly Corradi (Anna Murge), Federico Benfer (Roberto Nazzi), Franco Coop (Veraldi), Lamberto Picasso (Colonel Murge), Attilio Ortolani (Giovanni),

Life is movement, as one of Max Ophuls’ characters famously said, and during the 1930s the master director rarely stayed still for long.  The reasons for this nomadic lifestyle were not all out of choice, of course, fleeing Hitler’s Germany after making Liebelei and Laughing Heirs, he came briefly to rest in another fascist state, Mussolini’s Italy, and it seems somewhat remarkable that he could make anything approaching art in such an environment, but the result is probably the greatest film made in Italy in the thirties and one of his early masterworks.  

            Gaby Moriot is a rising Italian film star about to sign a contract with a French film studio who attempts suicide in her apartment. When she’s discovered, she’s taken to hospital for an emergency operation to try and save her life, while the studio heads worry not about Gaby but about their lost promotional outlay if she dies.  While anaesthetised during surgery, Gaby thinks back over her life in flashback, back to her days as a teenager when her affair with a music professor saw her shamed and made an effective prisoner in the home of her strict Colonel father.  Her first escape comes when Gaby and her sister Anna are invited to a party at the house of a rich banker, Leonardo Nanni, but when the banker’s son Roberto asks her to dance at the party while everyone else shuns her, it’s brought to the attention of Roberto’s invalid mother, Alma, who summons Gaby to her.  (more…)

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(Japan 1998 2 Episodes X 30 min) aka Yokohama Shopping Trip

Director Takashi Anno; Character Design Atushi Yamagata; Art Director Hiroshi Kato; Chief Animator Masayuki Sekine; Voice Acting Hekiru Shiina (Alpha), Mikio Terashima (Ojisan), Akio Suyama (Takahiro), Ikuko Sugita (Doctor Koumiishi), Mikki Nagasawa (Makki), Ryu Naitou (Nai), Toshiyuki Morikawa (Ayase)

by Stephen Russell-Gebbett

When you come across something startling and unexpected you tend to say: “Why haven’t I heard of this?” Well, sometimes if you want to see something different or special you have to go looking for it.

Yokohama Shopping Log is based on a manga (written and drawn by Hitoshi Ashinano), as so many anime series are. This is the story of Alpha, a ‘female’ android who runs a coffee shop while her boss is away. Her boss sends her a camera. He asks Alpha to take photos and remember what she sees. She doesn’t take many photos but her search for places to immortalise allows her to explore the world.

Japan has lived through some sort of catastrophe. There appear to be few people left alive. Mankind, if it is about to pass away, is passing peacefully: “To think that an era came to its twilight so pleasantly”, says Alpha. It is hard to imagine this and easier to reckon that Alpha is not connected emotionally to the people who have gone. However, the human characters we meet – a grinning gas station attendant, his grandson Takahiro and an older woman doctor – are melancholy rather than sorrowful. They still smile.

(more…)

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