What I Watched, What You Watched: Installment #6

Outside of seeing three films in theaters this week I also took in nine titles at home including films from Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Claude Lelouch and two from Chan-wook Park. It’s a mixed bag going from a movie about a girl with a machine gun arm to a film from the French New Wave.

As always, remember you can keep tabs on my personal Netflix queue right here. Now, here’s the recap of my week in movies…

The Machine Girl (2008)
QUICK THOUGHTS: I can’t remember which one of the Netflix friends I have had this in their queue, but I saw it and noticed it was on Instant Play and just had to give it a watch. I mean, at 96 minutes who wouldn’t want to give a movie about a girl with a machine gun on her arm a chance? Well, I gave it a chance and must say, it was a blast and after spending five minutes discussing it with someone else who had already seen it I began to realize just how much fun it was. There is no real way of discussing the madness in short form without just saying if you enjoy insanely graphic (yet extremely fake) violence combined with intentionally ridiculous plot then you simply must check this film out, and preferably with a large group of friends willing to have the same kind of fun.

Check out the graphically violent opening to the film directly below, and make your decision.

Ran (1985)
QUICK THOUGHTS: The first time I saw Kurosawa’s Ran it was a Netflix rental and it was a terrible non-anamorphic version with giant yellow subtitles. The image looked like a thumbnail in the middle of my television screen and suffice to say it was not the proper way to watch the film and resulted in me not coming away with a very good opinion of the film. Following the announcement Criterion’s plans to bring the film to Blu-ray had been squashed I went out and bought the previously released Criterion version and finally got around to watching it again, and I can’t tell you how much better the experience was. I recently reviewed Kurosawa’s Kagemusha, which Criterion released on Blu-ray recently, and I used to think that film was the better between the two. I was wrong. I still haven’t seen Kurosawa’s Red Beard or Dersu Uzala, but of the rest of his color films this one definitely stands out as the best.

A Man and a Woman (1966)
QUICK THOUGHTS: Winner of two Oscars (Foreign Language and Original Screenplay) in 1967, this was the first time I had seen Claude Lelouch’s romance and it wasn’t all that bad, but it didn’t really move me all that much. Although, I did like the film’s main theme, which firmly roots this film as part of the French New Wave and also reminded me a lot of a Fellini-esque sound. On top of that, it never hurts to watch a film starring Anouk Aimée, what a gorgeous woman.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
QUICK THOUGHTS: A few months back I watched Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy again and also caught Thirst, but wasn’t even moved enough by that film to write a review just yet. However, there remains something intriguing about Park’s films and I wanted to finish watching his revenge trilogy of vengeance. I thought I hadn’t seen Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance before, but shortly after starting the film I realized I had, so this was another rewatch for me. It’s not as interesting as Oldboy, but as with any Park film it deserves a watch.

Lady Vengeance (2005)
QUICK THOUGHTS: Now Lady Vengeance I hadn’t seen before, but like Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy it brings its own unique take to the revenge genre.


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