Fukasaku proves to be a master of the micro-story, the combinations of tiny joys and creeping terrors into one huge, fleeting, emotional whole. After decades of cultural regression, he evokes Japanese cinema’s desperate, horrific roar. It has a primal beauty, of the kind that will always be repressed, misunderstood.
Hello, Dolly! can’t get passed Streisand. It’s a solo concert trying to be a movie. Character is more a windfall than a result of the plot, which concerns Dolly pulling so many strings to get what she wants that it’s not even clever – it’s so decadently convenient that she seems to have the writers on her side.
This moral naysaying is shockingly against type for a film bursting with Copacabana headliners. Remember that these are the guys hired explicitly to hold a mic in one hand, a drink in the other, and to generate a fantasy of wealth and well-meaningness that makes thousands of less charming people mistake clubbing for having fun. Robin and the 7 Hoods is drastically less endearing than any of its hoods.
This early studio work for Mutual Films, of which One A.M. stands apart if not in medium then in conviction, is less decipherable now, as though it comes from an era when music was rhythm without tone. Mutual is Chaplin’s most uninhibited work however, the work with the least distance to travel from his brain to the screen.
Martin Campbell, who mined James Bond for the repressed roar of all his debonair instincts in Casino Royale, seems to have no mission briefing on Quan. The Foreigner is so disinterested in its lead that it seems to be made by a computer, which would not be able to tell who is more interesting except by how handsome they are.
I struggle to think of one moment in which this film feels like it has a director. Alice Through the Looking Glass is flat in every crisp, artificial image, every gorgeously boring background and weightless character model. Bobin strains to capture even Burton’s hedonistic interpretation of Carroll’s world.