‘Godzilla’ Review: Living Underneath the Trauma of Post-WWII Japan

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Ishirô Honda’s Godzilla is the start of what would become a huge cinematic phenomenon, going far beyond the realms of Japanese cinema but remaining so hugely influential on monster films from its own time and far beyond. But even with the many films inside its huge franchise that have come forth and even the numerous imitators that have followed (including Roland Emmerich’s 1998 disaster), Honda’s film still reigns supreme atop all the rest. But Honda’s film doesn’t ever feel bogged down by the campiness of other monster films of the era for it can only ever get so far away from that and still remains every bit as terrifying as it is melancholic. Godzilla is not any other monster movie like you’ll ever see them, it’s one that still stands the test of time for remaining every bit as wonderful a cautionary tale as they get, but one whose warnings one would only wonder if they have gotten through to generations of viewers. For every bit as iconic as the series has grown to become, there’s something so beautifully resonant in the lurking terror of Godzilla’s presence and far beyond too – something that only Ishirô Honda had ever managed to capture so gracefully. It’s easy to see why the character has left such a huge impact on popular culture, but it never feels without good reason at that.

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A Star is Born – Review

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Essentially the catalyst for success stories being made within Hollywood about an industry, but to talk about George Cukor’s A Star is Born in this manner only understates what more it is on the inside. And coming to think of what was already expected from the Academy at the time, one of their biggest crimes was giving the Best Actress award to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl. For not only is Judy Garland’s performance one to define her own career as her very best, it also signifies one of the very highest points that Hollywood’s classic era has ever managed to reach. I’m not even sure how it was possible to make something like this back in the day come out as perfectly, even at the hands of excessive editing from studio executives – there’s a greater tragedy being reflected in A Star is Born that only solidifies it as a musical to define both the era and cinema as a whole.

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Seven Samurai – Review

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Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is one of those films that always feels like a breath of fresh air every time I watch it, a little over three hours long but it justifies all of that. In fact, it always feels like quite a breeze upon every viewing. Akira Kurosawa is a master at storytelling, it is continuously engaging and it has left an impact upon cinema like no other, but those are the very least of what Seven Samurai has mastered. It’s looked by some as art, but at a similar degree, it can also be seen as fun. Yet even then, there’s so much more to Seven Samurai that establishes everything it sets out for. Continue reading →

Sound of the Mountain – Review

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Although he has been left overshadowed by the masters of Japanese filmmaking at the time (Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi), Mikio Naruse is amongst the most fascinating of Japanese filmmakers from the period for his own forays into melodrama. There’s a beauty to the pessimism of Mikio Naruse’s films and in Sound of the Mountain, never has it felt all the more profound in here. From what little I have seen of Mikio Naruse so far, it would not surprise me if Sound of the Mountain remains the best of his films, for he exposes a sort of raw form of emotion from his own pessimism. Naruse never shows everything all at once, but there’s a specific power arising from his picture, it is because it is not about what takes place as opposed to being about the absences. Continue reading →

Sansho the Bailiff – Review

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It’s often known that Japan is the home to some of the most humanistic of world cinema. With the films of Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu coming into thought, it is no surprise but often cited as the greatest of the masters of Japanese cinema is Kenji Mizoguchi. Often cited as the first major feminist filmmaker, Mizoguchi’s films are often known for how they depict women and their struggles within Japanese society. Though of all the films that I’ve seen from such a wonderful filmmaker, the one that always stood out to me as the very best of the bunch is none other than the heartbreaking Sansho the Bailiff. This particularly is a rather difficult film to revisit on my end mostly because of how much emotion it can elicit from a viewing. But the manner in which it earns such strong reactions, however, is what I feel represents some of the best in cinema. Continue reading →