Thursday, July 29, 2010



The most bracing idea behind Christopher Nolan’s trippy dream heist epic is his hauntingly resonant motif about a man trying to make amends for past transgressions. In “Memento”, Guy Pearce was trying to piece together his life and resolve the (maybe?) murder of his wife. In “The Prestige”, perhaps the most complete yet overlooked film in Nolan’s career, Hugh Jackman reboots himself to maddening proportions in order to carry out the perfect allusion, triggered by revenge and obsessive compulsive memories of his wife. And in “Inception”, it’s easy to get caught up in the nonlinear dream states that fold in on themselves, or guess exactly what that final shot means, but the most invigorating concept for me is Leonardo Dicaprio’s silent stretch of the imagination just to go home to his wife and kids. Whether any of this has anything to do with Nolan’s own emotional capacity is up for debate, but it drives “Inception” into a near cathartic experience while maintaining an equal amount of ‘wowness’ in the supporting performances (Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy especially) and complex heist that sometimes veers into the ludicrous. Bottom line, I bought the ludicrousness because its so expertly staged and edited. “Inception” held me in complete rapture from start to finish. One of the very best films of the year.


Speaking of ludicrous, Philip Noyce’s “Salt” is a supreme disappointment after all the chatter about “throwback 70’s thriller” and female Bourne talk. The problem is this- what makes the Bourne Trilogy so terrific is it’s attention to realism that “Salt” blows out the window from the first chase. The image of Angelina Jolie jumping from eighteen wheeler to eighteen wheeler on the highway and its bevy of stand-around-and-shoot-poorly-government-agents strikes me as nothing throwback. Where Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass maneuvered Bourne out of tricky spots with careful calculation and quick witted thinking (such as the masterly edited scene as Jason Bourne escapes the downtown London subway station through observation and body cloaking with other people) Noyce and screenwriter Kurt Wimmer love the nauseating effect of slow-down/speed-up method of filmmaking that has become ingrained in video game consumerism and blockbuster action films as Jolie bounces off walls and expends grenades with sultry looks of satisfaction. I was bored after 15 minutes and only got worse as the action intensified. And the worst part? We’re left with the possibility of a sequel.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Concrete Beauty

Pretty speechless by this video.... Dallas architecture timed to beautiful perfection.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

70's Bonanza: The Outside Man

Jacques Deray's 1972 Los Angeles noir is notable for several reasons: it's not only a Euro noir that successfully transplants its moody French-killer-tone into a vibrant portrait of early 70's Los Angeles funk (and thereby earning its spot in Thom Anderson's substantial documentary "Los Angeles Plays Itself"), but its a film that features a delicious cat and mouse chase between Jean Louis Trignitant and Roy Scheider with Ann Margaret thrown into the mix, cleavage and all. It's also, sadly, AWOL on DVD distribution. From the opening moments as hit man Trignitant arrives in Los Angeles to carry out a contract, its obvious director Deray is in awe with the concrete jungles, giving us an overview shot up from downtown, down the I-5 and following snatches of interstate into Beverly Hills. Trignitant carries out his orders, and is then turned into the hunted himself as Scheider (as a wordless hit man himself) tracks his every move as the purveyor of a true double-cross. Their battles carry them to an abandoned, almost bombed-out looking portion of Venice beach and a manicured funeral home finale that turns into a bloodbath worthy of Scorsese's "Taxi Driver". I can certainly imagine Michael Mann taking something away from the point of view shot as a man hangs onto the side of a car, clinging for life, then slowly letting go and fading away (see "Public Enemies"). In short, "The Outside Man" looks and feels like one of those 'insider movies'.... locked away from the general public but highly influential for a generation of filmmakers who fashion their work with mood and style.

Deray, who produced a number of fine crime films in his native France, never quite achieved the level of grandiose wonder that is present in "The Outside Man". The entire film has a fog of discovery hanging over it.... one that native Los-Angelian Anderson describes in his documentary as fitting perfectly with its title- a film that takes an outsider and places him squarely in the rat race of modern America. We've seen some of these grimy locations on film before, but in "The Outside Man", they have a distinct off-centerdness that fits with the point of view of a foreigner on the run for his life. And as the cold, calculated stalker hunting Trignitant, Scheider looks to be having a ball.

As the outside man in question, Trignitant is silent. He registers little emotion, but its one tiny moment in the film that expresses its enveloping nihilistic attitude. With a chance to board a plane back to France, Deray employs a slow zoom on Trignitant's face as he measures his future, ultimately deciding to stay in Los Angeles and face the consequences. It's a striking moment, made all the more stylish by Deray's decision to film his next appearance standing in the middle of an airport street as Margaret tries to drive away from dropping him off. Just like its legendary L.A. locations, Deray clearly has a penchant for swell emotional cues. It makes the impossible (caring for a hit man) ring somewhat believably honest.

Monday, July 19, 2010

If I Programmed A Film Festival

Day 1:

The Last Run (1971)- **** Euro Crime Pic Selection- Part 1 of a selection of grossly overlooked 60’s and 70’s Euro crime pics… starring George C Scott and written about here.

One Deadly Summer (1983)- Part 1 of that lovely genre known as sexy-young-French-girl-revenge-drama with a stunningly beautiful Isabella Adjani on the sexual warpath to make up for past transgressions.

The Addiction (1994)- **** Double Feature Post Modern Vampires- The vampire genre given an introspective and almost poetic spin by bad-boy auteur Abel Ferrera and sadly hard to find anywhere.

Rabid Dogs (1971)- **** Euro Crime Pic Selection- Hugely entertaining Mario Bava tale of a kidnapped couple by criminals on the run. Sweaty, nasty and with one chilling ending.

Smile (1975)- Brilliant Michael Ritchie flick about, of all things, a beauty pageant. In all its skewed humor, it rivals “Nashville” for its mood and precise view of early 70’s California.

The Fixer (1968)- An exercise in punishment of a Jewish man during the early days of Czarist Russia, creatively brought to life by John Frankenheimer. Should play well with another persecution film on this bill.

Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969)- As the closing film of day 1, if people are having a hard time staying awake, then this perverse obscurity from Koji Wakamatsu will certainly keep everyone awake.

Day 2:

A Real Young Girl (1976)- Second entry in the French revenge drama category, helmed to suffocating tension by Catherine Breillat.

Breaking In (1989)- Something to brighten the mood a bit, and this late 80’s Bill Forsyth comedy about an aging burglar (Burt Reynolds) who takes on an apprentice (Casey Siemasko!) is right on the money. See it for the watchdog scene alone.

Daybreakers (2010)- **** Double Feature Post Modern Vampires- Neat little film with an interesting take on a well tread genre. It’s not the best movie of 2010, but its certainly one of the most gory and the one where I’ve had the most fun.

Grand Slam (1967)- **** Euro Crime Pic Selection- This one with an all star cast all vying for the heart (and bank key) of sexy Viven Leigh as an uptight bank manager. Feels like a Jules Dassin film, expertly paced and wholly involving.

The Messenger (1999)- I’ll never understand the bile for this Luc Besson film. Milla Jovovich suffers like the best of ‘em and the opening battle sequences are sweeping. One of the year’s best in a very crowded ‘99 and along with “The Fixer”, it makes one pine for maximum security prisons today.

Le Cercle Rouge (1970)- **** Euro Crime Pick Selection- There are a lot of Jean Pierre Melville, masterpieces, but this color entry in his silent, tough guy criminal exercise is especially good.

Greaser’s Palace (1969)- Nothing quite like this Robert Downey oddity to send everyone off on a high note. I’m not much of a fan, but its impossible to watch this film without your jaw dropping to the floor.

p.s. donations and a movie theater are now being accepted to help me begin my own film festivals…..

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Indie Spirit

Winter's Bone

Director Debra Granik continues her 'bone' fascination with "Winter's Bone", a slice of down-on-their-luck life that succeeds in presenting a young girl's scary waltz through a white trash netherworld of meth cookers and trouble-makers in the Missouri backwoods. Like her debut feature, "Down To the Bone", Granik seems completely in tune with a female versus the world attitude. In that film, relative newcomer Vera Farmiga gave an exhilarating performance as a single mother carrying on two lives... one of affection and dedication to her daughter and the other as a struggling drug addict. In "Winter's Bone", Jennifer Lawrence could be Farmiga 15 years earlier, posing a steely gaze and giving a riveting performance as a 17 year old desperately trying to track down her criminal father before his bond-hopping causes her to lose her home. But Lawrence delivers only half of the film's penetrating mood and atmosphere. As secondary characters, John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey and Lauren Sweetster inhabit their roles with straight authenticity- right down to the black fingernails and bad teeth. One never knows just exactly where a scene is headed or where Lawrence's journey through backwoods purgatory will end. "Winter's Bone" defiantly bucks the expectation, expertly written and perfectly acted... none more so than in a quiet scene with Lawrence discussing the possibility of joining the army with a recruiter who reveals the naive child behind her otherwise worldly facade.


Another well written film that will most likely end up as one of the year's best, Mark and Jay Duplass' "Cyrus" extends the directing duo's range with an off-kilter romance that veers wildly into several genres without falling into disarray. Part black comedy, part psychological thriller, "Cyrus" proves that "Baghead" (their previous film) was no slouch effort and these guys can walk a tightrope with the best of them. Some have derided the relationship presented in the film between John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei as unrealistic, but as the film unfolds and we get beyond the meet-cute set up, "Cyrus" shows that both of them are potentially damaged souls who happened to intersect at the right moment. It all felt entirely plausible to me. Enter Tomei's 21 year old son played by Jonah Hill (featuring probably his best performance yet) who makes it his goal to usurp their relationship in quiet (but altogether devious) ways and "Cyrus" morphs into a shaggy dog comedy with a black heart.

Monday, July 12, 2010

An Appreciation: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Kandagawa Lewdness Wars (1983) ** - Kurosawa’s debut film is something of a compromising mess. Part “pinku” film and part self-reflexive homage, it’s clear he stayed true on his commission of delivering a straight up erotic film while sneaking in bouts of Godard-like pop moments and sly evocations of Hitchcock. The story: two female friends, one bored by continuous sex with her boyfriend and the other just bored, spy across the street from their apartments and observe an older woman forcing her son into incest. They devise a plan to spring him from the confines of this life, thus sending the film into an airy series of foiled break out attempts and long shots of people running around in very animated mannerisms. It doesn’t always come together, but Kurosawa’s deviant swipes of humor and his obvious love for Godardian snatches of cinema (the two women staring directly at the camera and posting a paper on the wall that reads “charge!”, as well as the endless names of classic films on the background of one apartment) create a slowly endearing attitude. Not available on DVD.

Excitement of the Do Re Mi Fa Girl (1985) *1/2- Even for the most ardent Kurosawa devotee, this is a tough pill to swallow. A young girl comes to a local university looking for a lost boyfriend. Beyond that, the film is a Godard like riff on campus politics, heady professors and over-sexed coeds.... and I'm making it all sound a bit more interesting than it really is. Even the inclusion of Nicholas Ray film titles on passing poster boards or the allusions to "Made In USA" fall a bit flat.

Sweet Home (1988) *** - This tribute to the scary old house genre reveals the beginnings of Kurosawa’s visual style, such as his obfuscation of images through shadows (especially faces) and his playful attention to light and dark. The story- a news crew enters an old house that belonged to an iconic Japanese artist and stir up some pretty ugly spirits- is straight out of the horror genre playbook, yet Kurosawa makes it work through some nightmarish creatures and genuinely unsettling images. It also features one of his more outwardly affectionate finales through personal sacrifice. And honestly, any movie that inspires a video game (and not the other way around) has gotta earn some bonus points! Not available on DVD.

The Guard From Underground (1992) **1/2- Besides being a slasher film where the killer is revealed face and all in the first ten minutes, “The Guard From Underground” also deploys Kurosawa’s now trademark visual style for the first time. Filmed completely in a dank, industrial office building where the predominant colors are green and black, a newly employed six foot plus security guard goes on a killing spree as art buyer Narushima (Makkiko Kuno) chooses the wrong day to start her new job. The film lags a bit at times, but its most interesting as the breeding ground for Kurosawa’s slow-burn long takes, spooky lateral tracking shots around corners and a deep psychological about face in the finale that has a killer questioning his actions in a world that doesn’t seem to understand him.

Door 3 (1996) **1/2- “Door 3” (as in the number of a door and not the third in a trilogy) is more interesting for its ideas that will eventually surface in his later films than for its own outright creepiness. Basically, this is Kurosawa’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. An insurance saleswoman (Ryo Amamiya) travels to a non-descript office building, where she becomes seduced by the male client there,. She is then slowly stalked by a group of zombie women who spit out little green monsters. Yes, I realize the description sounds like a bad 50’s sci-fi, but this is nothing new for Kurosawa…. Recycling themes and bracketing them around his own distinct style (slow zooms, shadows, plastic sheeting etc). It is curious, though, because “Door 3” features the identical blueprint for a scene that would appear later in “Pulse”- the crab walk woman, although less freakish here, is rolled out with the same droning music and shot placement. “Door 3” is a minor work in Kurosawa’s oeuvre, yet it’s fun to see this talented filmmaker playing with ideas and images way before they became ingrained in the Japanese horror new wave.

The Revenge- Parts 1 and 2 (1996) ***- Like his later films "The Serpent's Path" and "Eyes of the Spider", Kurosawa takes a central theme and tweaks it just enough to back end two films together in alternating fashion. Starring long time regular Sho Aikawa, "The Revenge; Parts 1 and 2" tracks a man's existence from goodly cop to incessant revenge-driven killer after his wife is murdered by the local yakuza. Part 1, titled "A Visit From Fate", is the better of the two parts, building up a slight back story for Aikawa's cop Anjo as his family is murdered before his eyes while he cowers in the closet as a scared five year old. Spared by the seemingly aloof killer, Anjo grows up to become a policeman. After a drug suspect kills himself when running from Anjo later in life, his body is picked up by a guardian, who turns out to be the seemingly benign killer who spared his life as a child. Anjo's tracking of the guardian leads him into the spotlight of a local yakuza gang, so they murder his wife as a warning. From there, Part 1 and Part 2, titled "A Scar That Never Disappears", follows Anjo on his quiet but violent quest to exact revenge. At times more of a comedy than anything else, Kurosawa's style of oblique editing and violent outbursts feel like a Takeshi Kitano film with its languid swagger and blank faced killers. Not available on DVD and hard to find outside of avi files.

Cure (1997) ****- Kurosawa’s first real international success and a truly harrowing, disturbing film that turns the moody serial killer genre on its ear. After three viewings, “Cure” is a film that continues to enrich and unfold it’s oblique narrative in startling ways. Each time, a different interpretation can be gleaned. In essence, a psychology student (Masato Hagiwara) stumbles across the ability of Franz Mesmer’s hypnotic suggestion technique and tweaks it in violent ways. Left to solve the rash of baffling murders is Kurosawa regular Koji Yakusho, a detective suffering the pressures of this case plus the weary job of tending to his mentally ill wife. I think. Kurosawa tenders information in subliminal cuts, elliptical editing and long takes that allows the tension and atmospheric dread of each scene to overwhelm the viewer, explaining very little overtly and ending on a succession of images that are frightening and maddening. Through it all, though, “Cure” is a dazzling masterpiece that opened the door for Kurosawa’s enigmatic career in the States.

The Serpent’s Path (1998) ***½- The first part in a two film series that examines the nature of revenge. Much like Park Chan Wook’s revenge trilogy, “The Serpent’s Path” morphs into a heavy moral tug of war that shocks as the true motivations of its characters is slowly revealed. A low level yakuza thug (Teruyuki Kagawa), with the help of a physics professor (Sho Aikawa), kidnaps a fellow criminal and forces him to confess to the murder and rape of his 8 year old daughter. More kidnappings follow as each yakuza member fingers someone else for the ghastly murder. The real force of “The Serpent’s Path” lies in the story of the professor, Nijiima, and exactly how and why he manipulates everyone to his satisfaction. Through simple, elegant camera moves and pans, Kurosawa expresses deep emotion. And the dark humor is never far behind either. The finale, which takes place in one of those omniscient and dilapidated buildings which visually marks so much of Kurosawa’a work, explodes on the screen in a wave of violence. Think of it as the Japanese “Taxi Driver”, just as fierce in its obsession for redemption and cathartic anomaly. Not available on DVD.

Eyes of the Spider (1998) **1/2- Less successful than its sister film, “The Serpent’s Path”, “Eyes of the Spider” is a complex reversal of that previous film. Where “The Serpent’s Path” was an oblique and shattering examination of revenge from the point of view of ordinary men, “Eyes of the Spider” shows just how an ordinary man could get wrapped up in the yakuza lifestyle. At times reminiscent of a Takeshi Kitano film, Sho Aikawa again takes the lead as a mild mannered professional who kills the man who murdered his daughter six years earlier. His photo is taken as he pays for a gun from some shady yakuza men, and an old friend soon comes calling to ingratiate him into the lifestyle. As a yakuza film- which is what Kurosawa was commissioned to do with both films- “Eyes of the Spider” is a more straightforward example of the genre but less interesting. There are a few haunting images though, built around the guilt of the dead girl and Aikawa’s stone faced portrayal of a man caught in some sort of hyper reality. Not available on DVD.

License To Live (1999) *** - “License To Live” was one of five films produced within a year and a half of each other, and one can sense Kurosawa’s overriding desire to slow down and populate a generous tale of a young man who awakens from a ten year coma and tries to reunite his dispersed family. Some of his regular crew are back, yet “License To Live” feels like a breath of fresh air, instilled with beautifully timed comic moments and a harmonious sense of peace. As the 24 year old who awakens from a coma and slowly learns to grow up, dour faced Hidetoshi Nishijima is a quiet revelation. And just when one thinks they know the direction “License To Live” is heading, Kurosawa usurps our expectations and favors his nontraditional approach to story and character… none more so than when Nishijima meets the man who put him in a coma for the second time and the final scene that speaks volumes about missed connections in life. Not available on DVD.

Barren Illusions (1999) *1/2- A love story in the most skeletal of terms, “Barren Illusion” is an almost impenetrable tale that stood as the third film of the year for Kurosawa in 1999. Taking place in 2005, the film follows a young couple as they waste away (literally and figuratively) in a Japan beset by a roving band of thugs and pollen pollution that forces the masses to intermittently wear gas masks. There are two scenes where the young girl appears to die, first by passively jumping off a building then later being beaten by a gang of men, and then reappears in the next scene alive. The couple wish to run away, but are thwarted by their own indecisiveness and a skeleton that washes up on the beach beside them. There’s an ominous shadow lady who appears to the young girl in the basement of the post office where she works and claims that the copy machine stopped working in 2000. All of this is thrown together with little regard for explanation or cohesiveness. There’s something in “Barren Illusions” that touches on Kurosawa’s penchant for societal alienation, yet its languid pace and unwillingness to allow any introspection works against Kurosawa this time. Not available on DVD.

Charisma (1999) **- A wild collision of genres and ideas is “Charisma”… a film I’ve best seen described as an ‘eco-thriller’. Kurosawa regular Koji Yakusho plays a failed police officer who runs away from his responsibilities and family and ends up in a forest, seduced by the allure of a seemingly magical tree. The ironic idea presented in “Charisma” belies the fact that despite being set in a forest, the power plays between aggressive environmentalists, feminist biologists and a crazed protector of the tree who lives in a decrepit sanitarium feel just as crowded as the city he’s abandoned. “Charisma” doesn’t fully come together in the end, but it feels like Kurosawa’s most pointed effort to the future…. A film that employs the slickness and ambient noise that will dominate his post Y2K features.

Séance (2000) ****- “Séance” is all about atmosphere, and the most perfect distillation of where Kurosawa the filmmaker is headed. Full of portentous zooms, figures that hide in the shadows and an unnerving sound track, this could be called one of the founding efforts in the J-Horror wave. And, as one of the few Kurosawa films not written by himself but based on a separate novel, “Séance” feels like the most complete film in the director’s oeuvre to date as well. Regular Koji Yakusho and his spiritually gifted wife end up smack dab in the middle of a little girl’s kidnapping, making all the wrong decisions (as in the best of noirs) and burrowing themselves into a psychologically haunted recourse with a devastating outcome. “Séance” has much in common with “Ring”… including the long black haired female spirit that crawls and swirls around the corners of the frame… and this is just exactly the greatness of the film. Kurosawa uses every inch of the frame to disturb and unsettle. In one scene, a couple have an ordinary conversation with a window in the background that looks out into a bevy of trees violently swaying in the gusty wind… and one half expects something to pop up. Kurosawa is in deep command, and in turn, “Séance” evolves into a devious subversion of the thriller genre. His familiar themes of a woman ghost in a red dress and the doppelganger idea are also explored a few years before each subject would get the full treatment.

Pulse (2001) ****- Much of the J-Horror wave enabled their narratives around the potential calamity of technology via spiritual influence, and “Pulse” is the apex of this idea. Hell is basically overrun with souls, so they reach the living through the Internet, slowly causing everyone to commit suicide and bring about the apocalypse. Challenging and a bit confusing at times, one cannot deny the genuine and propulsive spookiness of “Pulse”. Visually, “Pulse” also announces a dank netherworld that gives Kurosawa’s images a terrifying swath of darkness around the corners, toying with the viewer as images dance and swoon around the edges of the frame. It’s not only a masterpiece during a very productive time in Kurosawa’s career, but one of the best horror films of the last 30 years as well.

Doppelganger (2003) ***- I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of doppelgangers, and many movies have elevated the idea to unsettling proportions. Kurosawa’s take on the idea is a comic exploration when scientist Koji Yakusho splits in two and his evil twin begins to act out his repressed fantasies and feelings. Riffing on familiar themes, “Doppelganger” is an accomplished film that finds Kurosawa in a more playful tone, such as when the finale abruptly shifts to one of those dilapidated warehouses Kurosawa obviously loves. And, I can’t think of a more amusing moment in his entire career then the scene of an artificial robot body, wildly flaying its arms and slowly rolling towards the edge of a cliff like a child playing on the beach.

Bright Future (2003) **- An ironic title to say the least, mostly because it breaks from Kurosawa’s typical visual style of careful, static camera placement towards handheld photography and digital video… formats that where certainly the future in the mid aught. The story itself is not quite as interesting, involving a stunted factory worker who inherits the pet jellyfish of a friend that commits murder and subsequently populates the canals and rivers of Japan with said jellyfish. Rambling and incoherent story lines has never been a real problem for Kurosawa. He typically makes up for it in grand fashion, yet “Bright Future” failed to grab me on any real level. There is a version out there that is 20 minutes longer, so perhaps the film’s shagginess is a victim of the cutting room floor.

Loft (2005) *1/2- As one of the purveyors of the J-horror movement with “Pulse” and “Séance” five years earlier, Kurosawa’s unthinkably hard-to-find 2005 film serves as a cheap entry into the genre… and not much else. “Loft” spins a story around a woman writer (Miki Nakatani) who retreats to a country house, only to be disturbed by a sulking ghost and a slightly off-balance anthropologist who houses a thousand year old mummy next door. There are slight moments of unease, but “Loft” feels like a very labored piece of work, made all the more disappointing due to the fact it was written by Kurosawa himself. Part of me wonders if “Loft” was an intended throwback to the rubber and latex glory days of 80’s Asian horror- and more specifically, Kurosawa’s own “Sweet Home”.

Retribution (2006) ***- Dense paranormal murder mystery that distills a number of previous Kurosawa themes- including his fascination with ghostly female apparitions in a red dress- “Retribution” feels like a culmination of his recent films dealing with the sins of the past wrecking havoc on the modern population of Tokyo. Koji Yakusho is back as an amnesiac police detective working the deaths of several people who’ve been killed by loved ones possessed by something highly reminiscent of his breakthrough film “Cure”. As his investigation progresses, certain clues lead back to himself as he battles with his own visions of a tormented woman. “Retribution” has the potential to be something very special, but its ultimate reliance on past themes and ideas wears a bit. For newcomers to Kurosawa’s oeuvre, though, it’s likely to still terrify and unnerve.

Tokyo Sonata (2008) ***½- The most pointed effort to strike at the heart of Kurosawa’s recurring theme- the loss of self. By stripping away genre pretense, “Tokyo Sonata” is a straight forward family drama as the nuclear family tumbles apart from each other after father (Teruyuki Kagawa) loses his job and then pretends nothing happened. Youngest son Kenji (Inowaki Kai) submerges the fact that he’s taken his lunch money and paid for piano lessons. Oldest son Takashi (Yu Koyanagi) leaves home to become a soldier. And wife Kyoko Koizumi, whose story is probably the most revealing of the four as she’s kidnapped by burglar Koji Yakusho and has a sort of spiritual awakening on a beach, tries to hold everything together by dutifully cooking dinner every night. Even though “Tokyo Sonata” feels like the least identifiable feature in over a decade by Kurosawa, it does pack a wallop, especially in its beautifully realized closing moments as parents finally understand the meaning of child prodigy when they listen to Kenji play piano.

Friday, July 09, 2010

A Strange (and Finally Great) Week

First, the Dallas metroplex experienced this.

And now, Cliff Lee!!!!!!

Probably sold our souls and young Justin Smoak- who has looked a bit lost, offensively, for the past 2 months or so- may come back to haunt the Rangers in their 20 games a year against Seattle, but at least it shows the team is committed to making things happen this year. With Lee, Lewis, Wilson, Holland and Feldman making out the rotations, a lot of us fans feel comfortable with post season chances in a short series. God... I can't believe I'm saying the Rangers have a chance with the 4th lowest payroll in baseball this year..... and alot of high falootin ESPN folks agree to.

Finally, how awesome is this commercial:

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Little Music..... Just Because

Things have been hectic lately and I just, frankly, haven't had the energy to write. In the meantime, a couple excerpts of music that I'm currently digging....