The best Western I have ever seen, Seven Men from Now could easily be set in contemporary Anbar Province, Iraq. A former sherrif hunts down the seven men who killed his wife in a hold-up amidst a backdrop of tribal unrest, federal patrols, and general lawlessness. A favorite of French existentialists (according to the commentary), Seven Men from Now throws you into action and doesn’t let up. Unimaginably good.
A wildly misnamed drama, Story of a Prostitute is a Japanese version of Catch 22 set in Manchuko. Actually the story about a philosophical ex-officer who is proudly Japanese but disenchanted with the war effort, the film follows him from being a disrespected personal assistant, to KMT captive, to finally increasingly lost in CYA over his would-be-court-martial. So much is right with the movie that with time it becomes increasingly easy to overlook the overacting of the title character.
A sad parody of what it want was, Twin Peaks continues its march into oblivion with the fourh desk of season two. The Laura Palmer now solved and forgotten, elements and characters who once helped move the story forward now prance aimlessly to no purpose or effect. One wonders if the cast and crew was as uncomfortable with what the series had become as they filmed it as I am watching it.
Think of your favorite music video. Odds are it was directed by Spike Jonze. From the Christopher Walken epic “Weapon of Choice” to the 1970s send-up “Sabotage,” to “Praise You” (VH1’s Best Music Video Ever), each of these three-minute works deserves to be watched in full DVD quality. A pretty good 20 minute documentary about Houston bull riding teenages is also included, for reasons which are not entirely clear.
Memento Mori (previously reviewed) without anything that made it special, Wishing Stairs revisits the theme of supernatural-revenge-at-a-girls-school but opts for Japanese-style New Wave Horror instead of the complicated psychological/romantic plot of the previous film. The director’s previous film was a better psychological horror, and both Ringu and Ju-On are better new wave horrors. Not terrible, but not particularly worth watching.