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red peony gambler / the valiant red peony / habitant bakuto by kosaku yamashita (1968)

having known about this series for twenty years or more, and sensing it was a highly-regarded oversight in films needing a release in the west, i'd long been looking forwards to this. surprised to see it finally appear, we get the first three, of which i've watched the first.

seeking revenge for her father's death, carrying a clue and wandering the country to ask favours of other clans, although we've a female lead there's a focus on her beauty and a romantic undertone (with takakura ken), breezy youthful style, but unfortunate naive direction and acting that doesn't make it as substantial or nuanced as similar series - it's certainly not got the mileage of zatoichi, or the boldness of 'female convict scorpion' and so many others that have beaten it to the market here.

junko fuji is a beauty, but the contorted face acting she resorts to makes her look poor, and a band of yakuza underlings are as amateurish as i can remember seeing. it's all very low brow, disposable stuff, shot and produced quite solidly, but very frequently misjudged and disappointing. i hope the other two in this set from eureka are better, get the tone right, as it will otherwise become an exercise in wondering how it gained a reputation as interesting when i know there's been so much more that's out there that doesn't carry the same burden.

 

Edited by logboy
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On 7/3/2024 at 6:49 AM, Squee said:

Chinatown - Nothing beats Roger Rabbit.

It’s true! Who Framed Roger Rabbit is so fun and inventive. May be one of my favorite protagonists, he literally would risk death to deliver a punchline. Chinatown is great too, though. Have not seen that one in a while might be due for a rewatch. 

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Gonna finally watch Dune on Netflix. Have to be in a certain mood or frame of mind for a 2 and 1/2 hour Sci-Fi movie. Alert but not too energetic, weather is sunny but also heavy rain at times. Hope it's good.

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RLM mentioned it in one of their roundups back when it came out, I think. I've been meaning to watch it since forever. My guess is nobody's seen it because it's called The Kid Detective, which sounds like a garbage straight to video 90s kids comedy.

 

I'll watch it, thanks for reminding me.

Edited by Silent Member
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red peony gambler II - gambler's obligation by norifumi suzuki (1968)

suzuki often gets lumped into a crowd of well-regarded director's of exploitation films, and here also turns his hand to writing. noticeably better than the first entry, the film still surprises with it's apparent strong female lead, but arguably corrupts or reduces it's power by having a central thread of romantic interest, possible removable of herself from the yakuza life to potential married life. not that the idea in itself is bad, it feels as though this is something i hadn't heard of before : it seems to be appealing to a young female audience, and maybe panders to their own instincts to be traditional wives rather than independent or authors of their own destiny. not wrong to want to live in a more traditional way per se, but there's so much stock put into the portrayal of strength - the admiration of those around her, the skills and honour displayed, the sophistication of the formality in how relationships are handled, the elegance of her poise and dress - that it's hard to wonder what is maintained if the life is so fundamentally changed and she follows her hearts desire to leave it all behind. it's a set-up for melodrama, a lighter, more mainstream and quite naive (by now) genre film that is not as substantial as it could have been relative to others often compared with each other, or to other genre films from the period and same industry. everything else on display in the story is far too familiar and disposable, and again i'm more inclined to puzzle as to how it established a solid reputation that lasted the decades, when so much around it that was so much more obviously doing something more original, barely managed to get any time - whether you're fans of this kind of film, the period, the director and so on.

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I rarely watch a film more than once, only a handful I watch more than twice. I could watch Dune again this evening and have no qualms about it. Been thinking about it today, another sign of a classic. An astounding film. Of course now I'm wishing I watched it at the cinema. Big mistake not doing that. I think imax Waterloo show part 2 on odd occasions. This is a must.

Edited by beerwolf
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furiosa-a-mad-max-sagas-first-poster-is-

found this very disappointing. i get miller was trying to flesh out this universe, but imo, it turned out looking like early video game action sequences. also, the dichotomy betwix furiosa taking everything so seriously and demntuis, not, made the film seem uneven to me.

medicore out of fury road

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48 minutes ago, Rubin Farr said:

Anyone seen MaXXXine yet? Is it worth finishing the trilogy? 

I have not seen any of them, were not on my radar at all, kind of want to check them out, though, after reading Scorsese give them all high praise:

https://www.worldofreel.com/blog/2024/7/8/martin-scorsese-again-praises-ti-west-and-the-x-trilogy

Quote

The first, “X,” is “the ’70s, the slasher era”; “Pearl” is “’50s melodrama in vivid saturated color; “MaXXXine” is “’80s Hollywood, rancid, desperate.” They are, Scorsese wrote, “three linked stories set within three different moments in movie culture, reflecting back on the greater culture.” By smuggling thoroughly modern ideas into films that were also steeped in the aesthetics of the past, Scorsese thought, West had done “something bold and thoroughly cinematic”.

Paul Shrader was a little more curmudgeonly (also very funny to me that he makes posts on Facebook):

Readers' Thoughts on 'MaXXXine' + Paul Schrader's Mixed Review — World of  Reel

Been reading a little about Ti West, and it sounds like some of his earlier films before the trilogy are pretty good too based on reviews from regular moviegoers.

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i will def see MaXXXine when i can. I liked the other two especially the first one. Her monologue at the end is great. I like Mia Goth though.. but i try not to watch any interviews w/her for some reason. something about keeping her weird characters weird and not knowing who she actually is.  

I watched Furiosa, Mad Max Saga last night and liked it a lot. was surprised really. it's well written. pretty dark and pretty weird. They really made it pretty dark right to the end. i thought i'd be annoyed by the one character the Dementor or whatever.. but he was quite good and well written/consistent. they really got the wasteland vibe on a deeper level this time. also, somehow, Anya Taylor-Joy is well disguised in this. less recognizable than i expected.  it does feel like a graphic novel to me. 

edit: lol just saw Nebraska's post. perhaps a situation of going in w/low/mediocre expectations made it seem awesome but i genuinely liked it and will probably watch it again eventually. 

Edited by ignatius
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