The Tree of Life

If I were to describe this film in one word, that word would be “overrated.”  On further reflection, however, words such as “disjoint,” “muddled,” “confused,” and “pretentious” would suffice as well.  The only problem is that none of those words carry the same weight of disappointment that came upon me after the final twenty-some minute long climax and dénouement had finally croaked its weariness into the comforting blackness of the closing credits.  Then again, perhaps that simply describes Terence Malick’s game face in general. Read more of this post

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Never Let Me Go

Very early on while watching Never Let Me Go I was struck with the realization that I must be watching an adaptation of a novel. There’s simply a certain quality that such adaptations have that original screenplays don’t. They’re marked by a certain stately elegance, a temporal broadness (for whatever reason, feature film screenplays tend to stay rooted in one time period), and, most of all, a feeling that the visuals are struggling to capture the original prose and say more about the characters than are possible through a camera lens. Other such films in the past decade that also had these qualities were Chocolat, The Hours, Atonement, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Perceptive readers might note all of these films were nominated for Oscars as well, and there’s a part of me that’s surprised Never Let Me Go wasn’t. Read more of this post

The Great Madcap


Before Luis Buñuel was the great surrealist master that released some of the most provocative and fiercely intellectual films of the 60s and 70s, he was a struggling director attempting to recover from the fallout of L’age d’or’s controversy. With the exception of a short documentary and two co-directing jobs, Buñuel didn’t get behind the camera at all between L’age d’or in 1930 and Gran Casino in 1947. The Great Madcap followed two years later, and both were films that found Buñuel playing the part of the professional director rather than the artistic provocateur. Much of that is likely due to the fact he didn’t have a hand in writing them. Madcap could also be considered the “proper” comeback considering Gran Casino was a semi-musical. Read more of this post

Golgo 13: Queen Bee

In the commentary for Golgo 13: Queen Bee, director Osamu Dezaki and executive producer, Mataichirô Yamamoto, discuss why it took them 13 years to create a sequel to their first Golgo 13 film titled The Professional. I’m not entirely sure they ever really deliver a solid answer, even though both seem to love the character, the series, and desire to do more. Or maybe I just missed it because the two spend the majority of the runtime talking about sex. They talk about it culturally and philosophically and socially and fictionally, but mostly they talk about how they tried to use it to define their titular character whom, in the span of 55 minutes, gets at least four sex scenes. The pair mentions that they didn’t want to come across as just two dirty, middle-aged men, but I’m not sure they succeeded.

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