Straw Dogs – Directed by Sam Peckinpah – 4.5 – Straw Dogs is a fairly difficult film for me to watch. Really it should be difficult for anyone to watch as the centerpiece of the movie is a brutal rape scene that should turn anyone away from the screen. The overall story is pretty weak as we watch Dustin Hoffman, a mathematician with a short fuse, moves with his wife, Susan George, to England while he is on a furlough to write a book. Once there they are terrorized by locals leading up to a climactic battle scene is intense violence.
I struggle to recommend this movie to anyone though I must say it is well shot and well made, themes aside.
Diamonds are Forever – Directed by Guy Hamilton – 4.9 – It’s a Bond film and with it comes some racism and sexism, and in an odd twist, god-awful visual effects. So far this is the lowest scoring Bond film via my recent viewings of the Blu-ray set. Blofeld steals diamonds and affixes them to a satellite to create a laser weapon and Sean Connery reprises his role.
Live and Let Die – Directed by Guy Hamilton – 5.1 – See above for racism and sexism. Live and Let Die is the first Bond film to star Roger Moore and starts to bring in some of the gadgets that had come to personify Bond films in my memory. The performance of Yaphet Kotto is one of the stronger parts of the film which scores an almost perfect average score.
Boyhood – Directed by Richard Linklater – 5.7 – Before I say anything disparaging I feel that I have to start saying that Boyhood is, by far, one of the most important film experiences ever made. The idea that someone cleared Linklater to make a movie over the course of twelve years is a testament to their trust in the director. I cannot fault the overall vision and uniqueness of this picture and it is hard to fault the film for the flaws that I felt while watching.
Aside from the parents played by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette the acting is really dreadful; it’s almost painful at times. Again, it would be nearly impossible to cast Mason Jr at age 6 and have any expectations that he would blossom into an actor, but as the main character it really makes the movie a touch difficult during his scenes.
Also, did I sound so pompous when I was his age?
Hard-Boiled – Directed by John Woo – 6.0 – Hard-Boiled is Die Hard’s only real competitor as far as 80’s action flicks go. When characterization is less interesting and less important as the action (there are other great action flicks but they are in a different weight class). There is not much that be said for Hard-Boiled, it is good fun (for all the over-the-top violence what sets it apart from the violence of the aforementioned Straw Dogs is the level of drama that bookends Dogs with the possibility that it can actually happen).
The Spirit of the Beehive – Directed by Victor Erice – 6.4 – I am still digesting The Spirit of the Beehive as there are a lot of abstract ideas that spin up during and after the viewing. It is a gorgeous Spanish film that tells a sweeping story about two sisters near the end of the Spanish civil war. While hard to explain it is well worth at least a single viewing. I am excited to revisit this in the future.
Throne of Blood – Directed by Akira Kurasawa – 6.7 – Shakespeare, now with added samurai. I am not sure that I should have to say much more. Throne of Blood is Akira Kurasawa’s vision of Macbeth starring the always remarkable Toshiro Mifune. Rashomon and Seven Samurai are always touted as Kurasawa’s best films but leaving Throne of Blood out of that list seems criminal.
Upcoming…Gearing up for Spectre and The Force Awakens I am working through the 007 box set and the Star Wars universe and I have about ninety some other films on my to watch list but I am feeling some upcoming Bergman and Cocteau, we will have to see.