Tokyo Story | A+

1953 | Yasujirō Ozu

Tokyo Story is so basic in its premise, if it was pitched as a recommendation, one might find it hard to believe such a film exists. The truth is, Yasujirō Ozu’s masterpiece is a technical marvel; a film so tightly structured, so deliberate in its planning and composition that its story gains its resonance from technical structure. Ozu’s visual strategy is so rudimentary, one may mistake his cinematic approach as that of techniques taught in a high school filmmaking class. The film is so far removed from the visual storytelling methods of Western cinema, it undoubtedly proves that a film broken down to its core elements is far more profound than films disguised in esoteric ambiguity. Continue reading “Tokyo Story | A+”

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Tokyo Story | A+

Iron Ivan | D

2014 | Gleb Orlov

A young Ivan Poddubny curls his fists as a group of bullies descend on him. Instead of fighting, he makes the smart choice and evades them, running home. When he tells his father he has been teased, his father whips him for not staying and fighting. The Poddubnys are fighters, not runners. They are winners, not losers. This is an attitude Ivan adopts fully as he becomes a man, finding a job working as a fitter in a shipyard, known by his friends and colleagues as a strong-willed man with physical capabilities to match. Ivan Poddubny was actually an incredibly successful Greco-Roman wrestler, who remained undefeated from his first fight in a circus ring until his death in 1949. It is the classic, inspirational story of the underdog fighting against all odds to win. Unfortunately, Iron Ivan is an empty shell, an A-Z tale of the life of a famous wrestler.
Continue reading “Iron Ivan | D”

Iron Ivan | D

The Fool | B

2014 | Yury Bykov

Life is hard in lower-class Russia. At least that’s what writer-director Yury Bykov would lead us to believe. After a pipe bursts in an old, dilapidated apartment building, Dima (Artyom Bystrov) is called out almost in the middle of the night to investigate, as the head of this particular department doesn’t want anything to do with it. After an examination of the burst pipe, Dima runs outside to see the building is actually sinking in its foundations, which has caused one incredibly large split down the building’s structrual walls. The building is about to collapse and will take the lives of its 800 residents with it. Continue reading “The Fool | B”

The Fool | B

Man Bites Dog | B+

1992 | Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde

One of the fascinating things about Western culture is the celebrity of criminals, especially serial killers. Our captivation with people such as Charles Manson and John Wayne Gacy has desensitized us to the point where television shows such as Dexter are entirely dedicated to the glorification of serial killers, labelling these people as the heroes of the show, rather than the villains. Oliver Stone (and Quentin Tarantino) typified our media’s determination to celebrate criminals for the purposes of entertainment and profit in 1994’s Natural Born Killers. The opening shot of Man Bites Dog features a woman being grabbed in an alley and brutally murdered. Continue reading “Man Bites Dog | B+”

Man Bites Dog | B+