Category Archives: Movies

Elysium: Official trailer

From the director of District 9, Neill Blomkamp, another dystopian vision of the near future starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Most of the planet earth is a garbage heap while the elite live in splendor… but this is set in the future. Art, meet life.

Watch the trailer here.

Tonight’s Movie: The Man From Nowhere

imageA 2010 South Korean movie that has been suggested to me by a few friends. I will give a longer synopsis after I watch the film.

From IMDB, a seemingly standard plot, think Leon: “A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug- and organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.”

More @ IMDB.

Update. Not as good as Leon but there were elements of very artistic camera work that was, unfortunately, too lonely in a sea of “seen it done better before.” And I hate voice overs but I had no choice. I much prefer the original language with subtitles. I can read.

More derivative than original but worth the watch if you are in the mood for a South Korean crime thriller about drug smuggling and illegal organ harvesting.

And yes, I suck at movie reviews.

I liked the aspect ratio of the film.

Tonight’s Movie: Escape from New York

John Carpenter’s classic 1981 movie with Snake Pliskin (Kurt Russell) attempting to rescue the President of the United States after his plane crashes in the maximum security prison that is the island of Manhattan. The year, 1997.

I wonder if in this alternate timeline Elton John’s Candle In The Wind is the number 1 song of the year?

Tonight’s movie: Habemus Papam

imagepopeSince I have been planning my Rome trip I have been taking care to learn some phrases in Italian and the history of the places in Rome that I will be photographing! I am having lots of fun and I haven’t even gotten there yet! It is really great waking up each morning and seeing Rome on CBC since the Conclave has begun.

At the suggestion of my friend Carla, tonight’s movie is from 2011 called We Have a Pope. Carla, one of my co-workers, has been very helpful with my trip, contacting her family who is in Rome to find the best situated B&B. I’ll be staying on Via Serpentine, right in the heart of where I want to be!

Back to the film. From wikipedia: We Have a Pope is a 2011 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Nanni Moretti. Its original title is Habemus Papam, the Latin phrase used upon the announcement of a new pope. The film stars Michel Piccoli as a cardinal who, against his wishes, is elected pope. Moretti co-stars as a psychiatrist who is called in to help the pope overcome his panic. The film premiered in Italy in April 2011 and played in competition at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.

Update: Wow. I really enjoyed this movie! Traditional Italian character drama that I thought was going to be the story of the Conclave and the decision making à la 12 Angry Men. But then the film took some rather light hearted, humorous jabs at Vatican bureaucracy. In the end, this movie is less a comedy and more of a reflexive, dramatic, piece where you truly dig deep into Piccoli’s character and his dreams to be a stage actor. His intense emotions regarding the expectations that he and others have placed on him in the central conflict in a movie that could have been written as a play. The film is political (it is Italian cinema, after all) addressing gender issues within the Church quite strongly with the juxtaposition of the gentrified male Cardinals and the young vivacious mothers who provide the guidance and perspective to the new Pope. The Christ parallel also comes in rather bluntly when it is announced that the Pope has really been really absent for three days from his apartment (renting a hotel room and living with a troupe of actors) prior to his return but, except for some of these peculiarities (like volleyball? maybe I just don’t get the inside humour), the film is certainly worth an evening.

See the trailer in HD here.

Oh… and see Tristan, I don’t just watch Japanese samurai films!

Tonight’s movie: Hari-Kiri, Death of a Samurai

harikiimovieposterAnother Takashi Miike film, this time from 2011. Ichimei, is a remake of the 1962 Kobayashi film. This isn’t really a samurai film, it is closer to kaidan, a ghost story.

I just finished the movie and what an experience! The cinematography is spectacular as is the story and characters. Miike does not disappoint!

Following the Battle of Sekigahara and the consolidation of the Tokugawa Shogunate at the beginning of the 17th century, there were many samurai that became masterless ronin. This is the story of two such ronin.

Hanshiro enters the courtyard of the powerful Ie clan asking to commit ritual suicide. Suspecting that this is merely a bluff, Kageyu, the head retainer of the house, tells Hanshiro of the tale of Motome, a young warrior who previously had asked the same. Calling Motome’s bluff, the House forces Motome to commit suicide with a dull wooden short blade. This is a sad story.

But Hanshiro has a secret. Hanshiro is a great samurai and is at the House of Ie to regain his honour, and the honour of his household, including his dead son in law, Motome (told you it was sad). What comes next is incredible sword fighting in a beautiful setting. The cinematography from Nobuyasu Kita is first rate, placing this film on a par with the beautiful films of Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) or Stanley Kubrick (2001). Arguably without Kazuo Miyagawa, Kurosawa’s Roshomon would not have been a masterpiece. Or without the brilliant Vittorio Storaro, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now would not be the epic that is turned out to be. Miike is great, with Nobuyasu Kita, this film is brilliant!

I could go on but I’ll leave you with this: this film will haunt you, this film will disturb you, and this film will make love to your eyes.

See the trailer in HD here.

13 Assassins: Takashi Miishi

13assassinsI love Japanese samurai films. Old, new, it doesn’t matter and this is one of my favourite of all time Takashi Miishi films to boot. 13 Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku) is the story of a group of samurai warriors who band together to kill an evil lord in the twilight years of the Tokugawa reign. And when I say evil, I mean like hack off a woman’s arms and legs to use her as a sexual plaything evil. The swordplay is exquisite as are the costumes and the characters. When I think of the evil lord, Naritsugu Matsudaira, I often think of Yukio Mishima and his romantic vision of the aristocratic heritage of Japan’s Tokugawa Shogunate system. The Lord, after using an entire family as targets in archery practice speaks of how the punishment of servants is the obligation of the nobility and necessary for the preservation of harmony. Unlike Mishima, however, Miike makes sure to inject heroes from all walks of life; indeed, one of the heroes of the tale is a disfigured peasant whose gross irreverence of samurai and their pretence stands in stark contrast to the duty bound nobility.

Samurai Spy is later tonight!