Monday, May 07, 2018

In passing

The Return of Mr. Moto, Ernest Morris, 1965

To shoot 1965, in the age of Bond, a bare-bones, 70 minutes, black and white Mr. Moto film is obviously a rather crazy idea, especially with a main actor who is almost the polar opposite of Peter Lorre both physically and in terms of flexibility. Still, for the first ten minutes, consisting mostly of a minimalist, almost abstract chase scene, manic closeups lost in empty studio space, I thought this might be an accidental masterpiece. When the plot mechanics kick in, the limitations of the everyone involved (and especially of the budget) become obvious, but the film never quite loses its strange, somnambulic charme.

The Other Sister, Garry Marshall, 1999

Whatever obscenity there might be in Lewis and Ribisi playing disabled characters is completely diminished by the objective obscenity of the uber-waspy upperclass setting. Not to speak of the obscenity of Marshall's musical cues.
This is (not unlike the other rather few Marshall's I've seen) a completely shameless film. But also an interesting one, with a lot of quirky ideas. The close-ups of isolated flying objects during the first wedding, the sex cutaway to the fish bowl (and brass music!), those friendly weirdos Ribisi meets during his getaway.
You probably need to be in tune with a certain kind of perversity to enjoy mainstream monstrosities like this. But well, I certainly am.

Kung Fu Angels, Herman Yau, 2014

The whole film and especially Karena Ng's performance display a lanky awkwardness which made me somewhat enjoy this, at least during the non-fight scenes. Still, this feels as phoned in as it gets. The relationships between the students are a little bit more nuanced than strictly necessary, but otherwise there's no indication Yau cared one bit about making this. What saddened me about this is the representation of school life, the complete absence of even the possibility of unruliness. In this regard, Hong Kong cinema really has come a long way since 1997.
-Why did you bring me cow dung?
-That's me. You're the flower. It's beneath you to be with someone like me. But if you're willing to give this cow dung a chance, i'll provide unlimited nutritients.

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