Month: December 2016

Bit Review: Rogue One (2016)

Where do I begin with Rogue One? It’s not like any Star Wars film I have ever seen. It is very disjointed at the start, as they try and meddle too many stories into one and it gets a little confusing. However, I found myself invested in the characters despite there being many to follow. 

The main character, so to speak, is Jyn, Felicity Jones, a daughter of an imperial scientist whose family, are quickly broken up by the empire. Her father, Galen played by Mads Mikkelsen, sacrifices himself and surrenders so that she may live. She is adopted and mentored by Saw Gerrera, Forest Whitaker, who teaches her how to fight but leaves her when it becomes too dangerous.

Turning to a life of crime, she is soon captured and then ultimately saved by the rebellion. They give her an ultimatum whether to save herself by luring her old mentor, or go back to prison. She chooses to help the rebellion, but reluctantly. She meets Cassian Andor, Diego Luna, a rebellion fighter who is determined to stop the empire at any cost, and an ex-imperial robot K-2SO who’s charm and wit excels the film. 

The film itself is a darker film than many of the other Star Wars films. The end of the film begins where A New Hope Begins, in a dark place. What can I say without spoiling the film too much? It’s an interesting watch, a must-do for Star Wars and Sci-Fi fans? If you’re not a fan of Star Wars, then Rogue One should be on your watch film because it’s a beautifully shot film with incredibly actors. Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen and Donnie Yen are a few who knock it out of the park but Alan Tudyk is just the real star of the film. If you’re debating what to watch this weekend? Make it Rogue One. It may not be The Force Awakens, but it’s a good film with an excellent cast that’ll tide us over until Episode VIII comes out next year. 

Classic Bit Review: Drunken Angel (1948)

Drunken Angel, aka 酔いどれ天使 Yoidore tenshi, is a drama film directed by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The film stars his two favourite actors Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune. Drunken Angel is the first film collaboration between Mifune and Kurosawa, but most definitely not the last.

The films Kurosawa made prior to this were often not reflecting his style of filmmaking. Despite being an Occupation film, where the US occupied Japan from 1945 to 1952, it features many of Kurosawa’s traits such as using weather as a part of the story, and the master and disciple relationship between the leads. 

The film follows a doctor, Sanada played by Shimura, who is an excellent curer of Tuberculosis, but he is a drunk. His life takes a drastic turn as he treats a small time gangster, Matsunaga played by Mifune, for a gun wound but soon sees symptoms of T.B. Matsunaga is too proud of first to see the doctor again until his situation worsens. Sanada gives him an ultimatum that he should give up booze and women or die, so he almost successfully does so until his big boss returns to town. Once everyone finds out he has T.B. he is essentially downgraded and degraded by the people of the town, so in a drastic turn to confront his former boss who steals his girl as well, he ends in a knife fight which ultimately takes his life. The only people who grieves for him are his former doctor who formed a bond with him, and a girl from a local tavern who proclaimed her love for him almost tempting him to run away with her. 

The film is beautifully shot and the music is brilliant in providing a contrast to the mood of the scene. The cuts are quick but exciting. The film has almost a more America in the 1920s feel to it due to the costumes and the dancehall. The film is arguably the first Yakuza in Japanese cinema, and provides a strong inspiration for other films of this genre.

Drunken Angel, referring the drunken doctor who helps people and the good hearted Yakuza who’s drinking led to his demise. This wasn’t my first Kurosawa film but it’s definitely my favourite. whilst Stray Dog and Rashomon are two of my other favourites, Drunken Angel is my favourite as I think we finally see Kurosawa as the master that he is. Definitely a recommended watch for Japanese Cinema fans and overall movie buffs.