• The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    Honestly I have no idea how anybody likes this movie. The first film was decent, kinda bloated, but this was poorly directed and atrociously acted (with a few exceptions).

  • Inuyasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass

    Inuyasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass

    ★½

    The non-canon filler movie. Not very good, often quite boring, almost insulting how lazy the story was written. Characters exist just to help the protagonists (whom they've never met) and then quietly die with a smile on their face. Kikyo aids the villains for no reason, but then she shows up to help Inuyasha one time, then just quits the movie because she says he can do the rest on his own. The main villain could kill anyone whenever she…

  • Inuyasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time

    Inuyasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time

    ★★★

    Really cool opening credits sequence, great theme song (Affections Touching Across Time), then about an hour of kitchen sink storytelling before the movie finally gets good. Probably hard to get into unless you've watched the anime series, because the character introductions were not set up well-- for instance, Kagome tells the audience that Kikyo's story is "better off left for another time", and Sesshomaru's fight served no purpose except fan service and unnecessary exposition. Critical moments at the beginning of…

  • Dragnet Girl

    Dragnet Girl

    ★★★★

    Exquisite parody or at least somewhat self-conscious noir. Excepting for some uneconomical scenes with Kazuko and her brother, if you don't take the film too seriously it's really a blast.

    Kinuyo Tanaka was brilliant, and her character Tokiko's psychotic nature are really the key to unlocking the film.

  • Woman of Tokyo

    Woman of Tokyo

    Supposedly formally accomplished, but I remember very little visually about this film. Yoshiko Okada was great, there's a nice little scene of her in front of a mirror after she's just been assaulted by her brother.

    Other than that, I found Kinuyo Tanaka's performance average and the Ureo Egawa just as unlikeable as in Where Now Are The Dreams of Youth? To be fair to him, his character here was written so terribly and isn't fleshed out.

  • Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?

    Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?

    Love Ozu but I hated this film. The lead character starts out as an unlikeable frat boy and ends up even more unlikeable, repeatedly hitting his friend-turned-employee in the face.

    But there's no anti-hero here. Let's all hold hands and walk off happily ever after at the end.

  • I Was Born, But...

    I Was Born, But...

    ★★★★½

    Genuinely funny and memorable film. The child actors, Hideo Sugawara and Tokkankozô, are absolute deadpans and nail their parts. This was also Tatsuo Saito's best role.

    The little mock death and resurrection ritual makes me smile or laugh every time.

    Probably the one thing I should talk about most is the emergence of Ozu's spacial style and patterning with this film. There's but a glimmer of it present in Tokyo Chorus, but here the patterning really emerges in full form.…

  • Tokyo Chorus

    Tokyo Chorus

    ★★★★

    Great silent film from Yasujiro Ozu, pretty much the first "Ozu pic".

    The director and actors perfectly capture family domestic life in both comedic and dramatic ways. The father-son relationship with Tokihiko Okada and Hideo Sugawara previews some elements of Ozu's subsequent masterpiece, I Was Born, But ...

    Without question, Okada was a better dramatic actor than Ozu's other leading man, Tatsuo Saito, but you can see how Okada was a perfect fit for this film, while Saito was better…

  • The Lady and the Beard

    The Lady and the Beard

    ★★

    Probably more funny to contemporary Japanese audiences. Upon further research I can see how much of the comedy can be lost on modern viewers, and reminds me how practically all comedy fades over time.

    That said, I thought the genre blending was a horrible misfire, compared to the same successful approach Ozu applied in Walk Cheerfully.

    The film just gets too busy at the end.

  • That Night's Wife

    That Night's Wife

    ★★★

    Good silent film with influences from German expressionism, until the ending at least. The ending just repeated over and over again. Ozu didn't know how to finish it. He dragged out the emotions several times. Each time you see the ending get repeated, you're tempted to roll your eyes.

    (see what I did there?)

    Emiko Yagumo really delivered a great performance. She was the star of the film.

  • I Flunked, But...

    I Flunked, But...

    ★★

    Some of the visual cheating gags were pretty good, but otherwise this felt more like a bland sitcom and was boring to watch.

  • Walk Cheerfully

    Walk Cheerfully

    ★★★★

    One of my favorite early Ozu films, with its kindhearted, stylish, genre blending approach.

    Yes it's nominally a crime film, but there are no real gangsters here. It's just cinematic pastiche, a small-time gang of hoodlums whose leader has a crisis of conscience. Kenji falls for the good girl Yasue. You get the feeling that Ozu finds the flashy Westernized characterizations attractive, but he's really an old-fashioned sentimentalist at heart. The final clothesline shots are as Ozu as they come.