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About FilmSnob

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  1. They announced a three-tier service. 1: Basic movie package 2: Premium content 3: Classic So you will have to buy Warner's all-inclusive streaming service at full price, and then pay additional for access to their vault.
  2. Mr. Thank You (Hiroshi Shimizu, 1936) Starring: Ken Uehara, Michiko Kuwano If you like Ozu, check out Hiroshi Shimizu's beautiful road flick Mr. Thank You (1936). The entire story is about a rickety bus trip through rural, seaside and mountainous Japan; the veritable kindness of the bus driver, so-named because of the many "arigato!" exclamations he shouts at pedestrians who make way for his bus on the narrow roads, and the brief interactions and encounters of his various passengers. There is a 17 year old girl whose mother accompanies her to be sold into prostitution in Tokyo, a bold modern woman who points out hypocrisies, cracks jokes, smokes and drinks, but mostly is just longing for love, a rude businessman with a fake mustache who is the constant target for the modern woman's comedy, laborers who are just happy to drink and sing on their way to work, schoolboys hitching illegal rides on the back bumper, wedding guests and others just going their way. Above all, there are the beautiful shots of the Japanese countryside and its people during the worst of the Great Depression, and Mr. Arigato-san himself-- the man who offers many acts of kindness to his passengers and the local villagers he meets along the road. Clearly he has earned affection and devotion from a loyal fanbase, and perhaps the most remarkable moment in the film comes when the bus stops for a break. Although not explicitly stated, a woman who is not an actress, but a forced Korean laborer walks up to Mr. Thank You and asks him for a favor after she and her family have shed their blood and tears constructing the very road he uses every day. The director Hiroshi Shimizu apparently saw this woman walking down the road by chance, and spontaneously felt compelled to include her and her story in his film. Like Ozu, Shimizu was a great humanist of the highest order. And every mile that passes by, the girl and her mother get closer to their destination. What will happen to them? Or any of the passengers for that matter? It's a film where people share a few hours with each other and then move on with their lives, with darker sociopolitical undercurrents, but one that never ceases to be funny, endearing, cheerful, and optimistic. Highly recommended little-known film if you are into these kinds of movies. I will be sad when Filmstruck goes away at the end of this month and films like this become more difficult if not impossible to find.
  3. The danger is that Warner's new streaming service will have a classics section that consists of stuff like the 1989 Batman and Lord of the Rings, with the occasional Bogart title thrown in. Even when there are classics on most streaming services, such as Netflix, they are not located in the classics section and are hard to find. I think it's very unlikely that 90%+ of the non-Criterion films on Filmstruck will ever be streamed again. Of course, many of those are the same ones that are not available on physical media either. Extras like commentary or interviews will be gone as well.
  4. I'm sorry, but EricJ you sound like you are suffering from old man screaming on facebook syndrome. Many (I repeat, many) of the films and extras that can be found on Filmstruck are NOT available anywhere else. Period. When the service goes offline in a few weeks, you may wait a long time to ever have the chance to see any of them again, if at all.
  5. Sorry, but I will be stopping this thread and boycotting Turner and Time Warner AT&T in the future, as they have announced they will discontinue Filmstruck on November 29.
  6. Very disappointed by this decision. As a subscriber, I will be boycotting Turner and Time Warner AT&T in the future. Sorry it has to be this way.
  7. A Mother Should Be Loved (Ozu, 1934) -- partially lost film Starring: Den Obinata, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Kôji Mitsui Written by: Kôgo Noda and Tadao Ikeda Cinematography by: Isamu Aoki Silent, Black and White, 1 hour 14 minutes. Drama Review: The first and last reels of A Mother Should Be Loved have been lost. It's speculated that because the film operated at a loss, it would have been common practice at the time for distributors to omit these sections in prints, which mostly contained the credits. Probably a benshi just narrated the beginning and ending to the audience. Before the first scenes, Sadao and Kosaku, two brothers, are taken to school by their father. Later, he dies. The surviving film starts there. When Sadao grows up and goes to college, he learns that his mother died when he was very young, and it was actually his stepmother who raised him. He suddenly resents the fact that she has always favored him over Kosaku, her actual son, and he vows to never return to the family. There are fights with his brother, and general melodrama ensues. (Mitsuko Yoshikawa in A Mother Should Be Loved) Generally speaking, I thought this film has been over-criticized. Some critics have rightfully pointed out that it's too melodramatic and almost monotonously lachrymose-- there's no letup in sad scenes. Ozu's father died while he was making this movie, so that was probably a significant contributing factor. Still, I found myself continuously pulled back into the story. For the first time in this series, I felt that slow Ozu burn. Final Grade: Marred by mixed acting and some ridiculously melodramatic fight scenes, this nevertheless feels like it marked a transition in Ozu's career to more serious films. Next up, that would lead to one of Ozu's real classics: A Story of Floating Weeds.
  8. Speaking of A Story of Floating Weeds, it will be airing on TCM this Sunday night. So will the remake. Be sure to watch!
  9. They were used a lot in the Star Wars movies. It's acceptable in fantasy films with their soft lenses, but breaking the fourth wall felt badly out of place in neorealism. In every other respect, however, Bicycle Thieves was a very fine film.
  10. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Schedule for Week #8: Movie of the Week: A Story of Floating Weeds (Ozu, 1934) Also: A Mother Should Be Loved (Ozu, 1934) -- partially lost film -------------------------------------------------------------------- If you've seen Ozu's classic 1959 color remake, then A Story of Floating Weeds is the original upon which it was based. Some people prefer this film. It won best picture in Japan in 1934. Several scholars also cite this as the first 'masterwork' of Ozu's career, and it's appropriately the first Ozu film to receive a running commentary on the Criterion collection. Looking forward to it!
  11. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948) The huge number of wipe transitions annoyed the heck out of me, but otherwise a really good film. Totally unexpected but authentic ending. The bike plot stopped there, but makes you wonder about the untold psychological aspects of the rest of the story. Watched it on Filmstruck.
  12. Movie of the Week #7: Passing Fancy (Ozu, 1933) *** WINNER KINEMA JUNPO AWARD BEST FILM 1933 *** Starring: Takeshi Sakamoto, Nobuko Fushimi, Den Obinata, and Tokkankozô Written by: Tadao Ikeda Cinematography by: Shôjirô Sugimoto Silent, Black and White, 1 hour 40 minutes. Comedy, Drama Review: The first of many Ozu films starring Takeshi Sakamoto as the endearingly affable but comically stupid Kihachi. Passing Fancy is actually two movies. In the first half, Kihachi-- a 35 year-old single father working what must be a minimum wage job in some Tokyo slum-- becomes infatuated with young Harue, attractive but destitute 18 year-old homeless girl who is looking for work and a place to live. Most or all men reach a point in their lives where they can relate to Kihachi's situation, and his hopeless preening works to great comedic effect. He will buy the teenage girl a gift, he will compliment her beauty, he will dress up with his nicest outfit, he will shave his mustache, and more. But will he ever get to consummate his desire or manage to snag himself a beautiful young wife? "Go back to work, old man". That's what his strapping young friend, Jiro (Den Obinata) tells him over and over again. (Takeshi Sakamoto in Passing Fancy) For her part, Harue is played by Nobuko Fushimi, in the role of a traditional Japanese girl. More than once her position is compared to that of a prostitute or geisha. When Kihachi first meets her, Jiro tells him "don't fall for that old trick". Later, there is a provocative scene where Jiro stands in front of a kneeling Harue, his hands holding his belt and pants up, as if he could drop them any time. This is a family comedy though, so for the most part everyone is really nice to her. Nobuko Fushimi's performance was passable, that's about all, but she did strike me as probably the most lithe of Ozu's young actresses so far. (Nobuko Fushimi in Passing Fancy) About halfway through the film, the story starts to shift gears and focuses on the father-son relationship. Kihachi has been skipping work to flirt with this girl and drink at the pub. His son Tomio gets laughed at by the other boys because his father is so pathetic-- he's stupid, can't read, doesn't work, etc. Tomio finally loses it and goes home and throws a fit. He tears apart Kihachi's precious flower plant, one petal at a time. Most of their relationship gets characterized by comedy, such as when Kihachi scolds Tomio that he can't put the flower back together (Kihachi tries anyway, stupid enough to believe it might work). And there is an earlier scene where Kihachi doesn't wake Tomio up for school and dress him, but it's the other way around. (Tomio Aoki a.k.a. Tokkankozô in Passing Fancy) But the best and most dramatic scene of the movie comes at the end of the flower pot fight. Kihachi gets mad and spanks his kid. Tokkankozô musters up the courage to walk back over and hit his father repeatedly in the face. Kihachi and the audience understand the boy's frustration, having to grow up smarter and more mature than his own father. Kihachi acknowledges his shortcomings and apologizes, then they hug it out. More from Ozu: I'm not sure how universal this scene was, or the whole film for that matter, but anyone who has ever grown up in a run-down, working class family, can probably relate. There was something real and tangible about the subsistence level poverty, the disappointment in life, the clutter, the bad parenting. But despite those embarrassments, there is still the love between a father and son. Kihachi may be all the negative things he tearfully acknowledges about himself, but his kid loves him anyway. Final Grade: I don't know why this film didn't resonate with me more. I found it funny and touching at times, but perhaps too loosely structured and not cinematic. In that way, Passing Fancy reminded me more of I Flunked, But ... Maybe I'm tired of seeing another scene with a kid getting sick and the parent struggling to pay the doctor bill. That's the third time in an Ozu movie, so far. Probably the major weakness though was that the film didn't build towards anything. The major plotline gets resolved in the middle, then comes the most dramatic scene. Half the movie remained. If you want to watch an early Ozu family dramedy, I would still recommend Tokyo Chorus. It was a better film.
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