Two recent Japanese animated features – Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s Patema Inverted and Keiichi Hara’s Miss Hokusai – and Caltiki: The Immortal Monster, an early low-budget horror from Mario Bava, illustrate the range of styles and content available to fantastic film.
A collection of random thoughts about recent viewing and reading, including an ambivalent excursion into Netflix streaming.
Juzo Itami’s international hit Tampopo (1985), a prodigiously inventive comedy about our relationship with food, gets an excellent release on Blu-ray from Criterion.
Criterion adds another landmark of Japanese popular cinema to their collection with an impressive Blu-ray release of the complete Lone Wolf and Cub series, a dark, poetic, bloodily violent adaptation of Kazuo Koike’s epic manga.
With HMV Canada going bankrupt and closing down, a disk addict gets a couple of months of increasingly cheap deals, leading to some great and some not-so-wise purchases.
His Girl Friday (1940) and Only Angels Have Wings (1939), two of Howard Hawks’ most critically acclaimed movies, have received excellent treatment from Criterion on Blu-ray, along with a restored transfer of Lewis Milestone’s pre-code adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s play The Front Page (1931), the source of Hawks’ cynical 1940 romantic comedy.
Another random sample of recent viewing, from Ken Russell’s debut feature French Dressing through Andrew Bujalski’s retro-video experiment Computer Chess to David Mackenzie’s Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water.
Criterion’s release of Felipe Cazals’ Canoa: A Shameful Memory (1976) makes available a key film in Mexican cinema history. A devastating depiction of political violence, the film uses radical techniques to deconstruct a brutal incident which actually occurred in the small town of San Miguel Canoa in 1968.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray release showcases Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years (2015), a subtle character study with career-best performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a married couple whose settled lives are disrupted by an event which predates their relationship.
A round-up of recent Blu-ray viewing, with some classics, an occasional dud, and a few old favourites.