Feb 3 2011

Diva (1981)

Dazzling and Thrilling. 3 1/2 out of 4.

The 1980’s was a time when style superseded substance; music, fashion, television and film all seemed more concerned about the way they looked- which is does not mean they had nothing to say.  Granted, while some mediums of pop culture in this era were superficial, others used visuals to tell the story, but most were a little of both, and unabashedly so.

The “cinema du look” movement in France was a response to the French New Wave, in which filmmakers like Jean-Jacques Beineix, Luc Besson and Leos Carax favored experimenting with visual spectacle rather than with a film’s narrative.  The result was the creative use of primary colors, lighting and mise en scene to create a world that spoke for itself.  Amongst the first cinema du look films was Beineix’s Diva, which was made at the beginning of the decade and set the bar for the rest of the movement.

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Oct 14 2009

The Killer

Film Duel is our written review format in which Benn and James each review a film, and then comment on each others’ reviews to give a proper balance and really fill out the commentary as well as possible.  For those who liked the action in Face/Off and Mission: Impossible 2, we review one of the earlier works of John Woo, from before he made the transition to U.S. soil.  The Killer, is one of his better known, and better respected films, and this week we take it on as part of our film duel column.

The Killer
Year: 1989
Directed by: John Woo
Written by: John Woo
Starring: Chow Yun Fat, Danny Lee, Kong Chu
Genre: Action, Crime

Benn and James’ reviews and rebuttals follow after the jump. Continue reading

Sep 14 2009

Japanese Cinema: A Beginner’s Guide

So you fancy yourself a film buff now. You’ve watched enough movies, a mix of film-studies classics and pop, cult favorites, to carry on an hour-long discussion. The conventions of Western story telling have become predictable and you yearn for cinematography that will wow you.

World cinema is looking more and more attractive, but you don’t know where to start. Then, while watching that episode of Cowboy Bebop from the first season you got at DVD Planet, it hits you: What about Japanese cinema? Continue reading