Monday, November 21, 2011
FLICKS OF THE WEEK: November 6-12, November 13-19
NOVEMBER 6TH - 12TH
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this sci-fi spy mash-up is strangely hypnotic. The fish out of water tale that places Lemmy into an unfamiliar world, is interesting enough, but combine that with the film noir-like atmosphere and you've got yourself one hell of an original movie with enough mystery and mystique to compel the viewer onward for quite some time. Setting the film in 1960's Paris, as Alphaville's futuristic dystopian city, is a simplistic notion but one that pays off by use of some fascinating locales within the French metropolis. I had an interesting journey with this one and highly recommend you check it out if you haven't seen it yet. It's a rather unique flick with an abundance of subtexts that lie just underneath the main narrative, just begging to be explored by the determined cinephile, plus you can't go wrong with Godard. The man makes magic.
The film is a blast, relying on the mystery of the disappearances to move the narrative along. There's also a great deal of horror infused elements, like a ghost ship filled with green glowing ghouls that horrendously devour anyone they touch. The decision to focus this story in the more seedier side of the Japanese culture was a nice touch for this science fiction tale, taking more of a cue from the films of the time and their centralization on the gangster culture. It's an interesting mixture of genres that never ceases to entertain, while providing a highly original concept that warns future societies of the dangers of waging war with atomic weapons. Another great Toho film!
Another great addition to the Toho catalog and my recent string of Toho viewings, Mothra is a well put together little film that follows in the footsteps of the great Godzilla's destructive path, yet sets itself as its own unique beast. There is a lot of fun to be had with this film for there are a plethora of comedic moments, mostly provided by the character of the journalist, who at first annoyed the hell out of me but then gradually I began to warm to. It's also interesting to see the comparisons to the country of Rosilican to the United States and we even get a nice set of destructive scenes as Mothra brings the pain to a very familiar location. Good stuff.
Infused with a great sense of Eurospy cool, the film has all the trappings of a 60's spy romp, including sexy femme fatales, diabolical evil masterminds, and armies of dangerous henchmen that fall by the hands of the unstoppable Paul. It's an extremely fun movie that never takes itself too serious, but is competently executed and filmed with a vivid style. I'm glad I hunted it down, cause it was entertaining as hell. Hopefully I'll be able to run across some more Asiaspy flicks during my cinematic journeys. Check it out if you're a fan of the Bond films or just love anything spy oriented in the 60's.
NOVEMBER 13TH - 19TH
It seems that this film is another one of those Japanese lost gems, where only a handful of people are out there promoting it and giving their insight on the movie, but this is one of those flicks you really should hunt for. It has an extremely beautiful style to it, almost lavish in a sense, and respectfully succinct in providing an entertaining thrill ride of action and intrigue. 3 Seconds Before Explosion is another wonderful step for myself, into the wild world of Asiaspy flicks. Here's hoping for more gems like this.
I was kind of shocked by how epic this film really is. There's a lot going for it in its rather modest run time and you definitely get more bang for your buck compared to the other films of the era. I especially enjoyed the way that they made the threat of the alien invasion so wide spread and ominous, forcing everyone on planet Earth to unify as one in order to collectively combatant this shared enemy. It was kind of inspiring and hopeful that if such a thing did happen in real life that us Earthlings would stop fighting amongst ourselves for one second and come together for the common good in its most dire of moments. In general the film is just grade A class all the way and an instant classic of the genre. I had a fun time with this one and I think you will too.
THX 1138 is George Lucas' most respectable film, in the dramatic and thought provoking sense, giving us a story of rebellion in the 25th century. This science fiction dystopian tale tells of an oppressed society, grinding on order and standards, and void of compassion and human feeling. Drained to the core, a man and woman attempt to rebel against the system, only to find that it is easier said then done. The main thematic impulse of the film is the pursuit of freedom. Freedom in every sense of the word, and the insurmountable odds one has to push through in order to obtain it. With its strikingly established world, filled with the visual burdens that come with living in an imprisoned state of loveless existence, THX 1138 is a tremendous statement on what it means to be human and it's a great example on how far we can go if pushed to the limit, in both life and filmmaking.
Lucas depicts an extremely humanistic story, built on the emotional and inherent needs found in all of us, making it all the more puzzling that his breakout film is Star Wars and not this more thought provoking piece of cinematic art. Now don't get me wrong, I love me some Star Wars, but the level of filmmaking on display in THX 1138 is on a whole other level then what he would eventually be known for around the world. Still, it is a hard film to wrap your head around and a lot of the content found within the story could be unsettling for some viewers. It still is a masterful piece of filmmaking that establishes itself quickly and gives an extreme amount of ideas for the audience to mull over long after the credits have finished rolling and we wander back into our own intimately entrapped lives. Way to go Lucas. I just wish you would have focused more on this kind of caliber work, then in revisiting your equally wonderful series of Star Wars films. What's a science fiction fan to do?