Dienstag, 28. Juni 2011

Album: The Sonics - Here are the Sonics (1965)

The energy level of this album is incredible. Favorite track: The Witch. Some others one that I liked a lot, too!

Dante's Inferno - Read by John Cleese - Audiobook

John Cleese makes quite a good reader and he even gets to show off some comical aspects of the rather gruesome depictions of hell.

Montag, 27. Juni 2011

Sugata Sanshirô - The Judo Saga (Kurosawa, 1943)

The master pupil of the new Judo school gets to know himself and love.

So far the most disappointing and only bad film by Kurosawa. There are some interesting things to study. The fight scene at the end is absolutely fantastically photographed and deserves detailed analysis, esp in regards to lighting.

Some shadow on a screen thing, but doesn't work either.

Scriptwise the story never really picks up.

Sonntag, 26. Juni 2011

Akahige - Red Beard (Kurosawa, 1965) - TSPDT #703

A young doctor learns to come his arrogance by studying at Red Beards clinic.

Very positive and nice film. Fantastic photography and the storyline is a coming-of-age type with various stories of the different patients filling up most of the three hours. Very touching moments but a peaceful get together at the final marriage ceremony. One can literally feel Kurosawas struggle for color (even in the title).

Not as ballet like groups of people like in the earlier films.

Mittwoch, 22. Juni 2011

Kenya (Machito, 1957) Album


I've never cared the slightest little bit about Afro-Cuban Jazz. This album sounds so great though that it changed my mind quite a bit. Really great stuff and sounds fantastic in stereo.

(found through 1001 Albums to listen to before you die)

No regrets for our youth (Kurosawa, 1946) - TSPDT #1993

A woman is caught between  the political views of her two lovers and faces the consequences.

A very nice story of a woman coming to terms with her inner views on life. There are bigger themes tackled by the script but the actual story itself is nice enough to keep you captivated.

Again very interesting is how the figures are arranged in space. Definitively something to go back to and study.

There is a fantastic shot where she learns about her husbands death in the cell. I want to use this shot asap!

Montag, 20. Juni 2011

Anatomy of a Murder (preminger, 1959) - TSPDT #776


A DA-turned lawyer and his booze happy counselor take on a murder case and try to convince the jury of an excusable deed.

Although it is based on a true story the fact that just by showing that Mary Pilant is the daughter of Quill doesn't seem to satisfy the swaying of the jury. There must have been some very "local" patriotic feelings as well. Not as inspiring as I hoped it would be. The intro sequence is stellar.

Sonntag, 19. Juni 2011

The Inheritors (Golding, 1955) - Audiobook

The Neanderthals encounter the group of modern men. This contact will change their fate.

Took me a while to get used to this type of novel, although once I picked up I really like it a lot. I really like the "pseudo-telepathic" communication between the tribe. It shows how only a slight change in interpersonal communication could lead to an extremely different culture - even if the creatures in question are not so different from us.

Samstag, 18. Juni 2011

Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa, 1975) - TSPDT #451

After being saved by Dersu Uzala, a Russian surveyor bonds a deep friendship with the hunter from the Siberian Woods.

Beautiful photography and wonderful colors. This one desperately needs a remastering. A rather simple story, and maybe the final revelation of the Russians biggest fault could hit a little harder. But Dersu's soul is indeed beautiful and the film captures it nicely.

Colorwise I noticed a distribution of colors within the frame of the picture. Blue left, red right and vice versa, eg the shot were they watch the sun and the moon and afterwards the steaming kettle on the fire.

Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011

Stray dog (Kurosawa, 1949) - TSPDT #1261

A young police officer tries to track down his stolen gun to prevent crimes doe with it.

Gripping storyline, moving very slowly but a great climax. The relentless determination of the police man gives his final behavior enough explanation. Strong acting. Beautiful, contrasting imagery with flowers and nature to oppose the rotten minds of the good and the bad guys.

The scene at Harumi's place where he makes her wear the "bad" dress is also very telling. There is a certain confinement to the camera in this films which the later films don't seem to have, but it works very well here.

Some fantastic photography from the underground, dancers and many other scenes.

Dienstag, 14. Juni 2011

Sanjuro (Kurosawa, 1962) - TSPDT #1498


A ronin helps ten young clan members overcome their corrupt superintendent and his henchmen.

Something that might best carry the title "Action-Comedy", very interesting setup in this movie.

Excellent framing. Kurosawa seems to have been bent to keep ALL ten men in the picture at all times. For some of the scenes it feels more like a ballett or a stage play, when all of the men run into positions 1-10. A surprising large number of shots take place in very confined spaces.

There are two very violent scenes - one, where Sanjuro slashes all the guards in the force and the laughable ending with the other samurai.

There is some randomness introduced when the women find the pieces of paper in the small water trickle. Because of the large importance of the river as signal medium it had to be introduced. It seems a little unconvincing, though.

Extremely beautiful framing and very interesting edits. (Beginning, Introduction of the waterway)

The hidden fortress (Kurosawa, 1958) - TSPDT #650



A samurai general tries to protect his princess and the gold from rivaling clans.

Very action ladden but in my opinion not as strong as Yojimbo. As usual, the characters are very overdrawn in the beginning. The two peasants commit blunders over and over and there is no change in their perception of the world at the end. They provide constant comic relief, but this film seems a little more dated than the rest.