Showing posts from June, 2022

I Was Born, But... (1932)

Director: Yasujiro Ozu Writers: scenario by Akira Fushimi, adapted by Geibei Ibushiya from an idea by Yasujiro Ozu Stars: Tomio Aoki, Hideo Sugawara, Tatsuo Saito, Takeshi Sakamoto, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Teruyo Hayami, Seiichi Kato, Shoichi Kofujita Two brothers (Tomio Aoki and Hideo Sugawara)  learn something about the pecking order of society as they deal with bullies in their new neighborhood and observe how their father (Tatsuo Saito) interacts with his boss (Takeshi Sakamoto).  Director Yasujiro Ozu excels at quiet, closely observed dramas that illuminate key truths about his characters’ lives.   Here, the brothers struggle for respect from the neighborhood boys, but a friendly evening of home movies at the boss’s house seems to reveal that their own father receives little respect among the adults.   Just what this really means and how the family copes with it provides the payoff for this quiet little drama.  Lots of humor and deft characterization keep things interesting, since Ozu

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Directors / Writers: Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi Stars: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Jackie van Beek This mockumentary follows the afterlives of a group  of vampires (Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, and Jonathan Brugh) who share a flat in Wellington, just trying to get by and have a little fun.  It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.  By grounding these vampires in the real world and really drilling down on the absurdities that arise when a den of bloodsuckers tries to lead quiet lives in a modern city, the filmmakers create a situation rife with comedic possibilities.  It is infinitely rewatchable.   My son and I loved it so much that we were watching scenes on YouTube for weeks afterward.  Very highly recommended.

Hel on Earth! (The Mighty Thor #487) (1995)

  Random Marvels Project Dipping my net into the ocean of Marvel and seeing what comes up. Writer: Roy Thomas  Penciler: MC Wyman  Inker: Mike DeCarlo  Another Roy Thomas cover-to-cover battle issue. Thor and Sif battle a passel of dead monsters from Hel under the command of Kurse, who is still under the influence of the deceased Enchantress to perceive Thor as his hated enemy Malekith.  Over the course of the battle more protagonists pile on as first the High Evolutionary’s Godpack shows up… …then Thor’s friends the Warriors Three, Balder the Brave, and Beta Ray Bill.  I’m not a big fan of Wyman’s art, but his action panels are pretty powerful. Did the Godpack catch on? I’m not feeling it.

Thor (2011)

Director: Kenneth Branaugh Writers: Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne, from a story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich, from the comic book by Stan Lee & Larry Leiber & Jack Kirby Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg The God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) is banished  to Earth to live as a powerless human in payment for his arrogance, where he befriends mortals (Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kat Dennings) and comes to the notice of SHIELD, unaware of the cataclysmic political situation playing out back on his home world of Asgard.   This is a rousing adventure and a very successful adaptation of the comic book.   Hemsworth has the size, the arrogance, and the charm that his role requires.   Anthony Hopkins is imposing as Odin and Tom Hiddleston makes a surprisingly sympathetic Loki.  The complex relationship between the father and his two sons is one of the film'

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) (2014)

by Becky Chambers Rosemary, a native Martian with a past she wants  to hide, becomes a ship’s clerk aboard the Wayfarer, a ship that builds hyper-space tunnels.  They have a contract to connect the Galactic Commons with a dangerous species, and the year-long process of fulfilling that mission provides time for Rosemary (and the reader) to bond with the crew.   Some reviewers have, with justification, dinged this novel for its pacing, noting its episodic structure and the fact that there is not much plot development for much of its length.   Becky Chambers However, I think this can also be seen as a strength.   "The Space of One Year" (French) This book plays out like the first season of a really good TV show: each character gets their turn in the spotlight, all within the context of an overarching loose structure that comes to a head at the end.   "The Long Road to a Small Angry Planet" (German) By this time, we have come to know these characters so well that the co