Close Encounters of the Third Kind gas masks

When there’s a new remake out in theaters, the most obvious instruction I can have for you is to watch the original. Unless it’s a remake of something bad, I guess, but even then I think it’s necessary to go back and see the previous effort, for historical sake. With Godzilla, there are tons of predecessors. There’s another list to be written — and I think a few sites already have done so — recommending which past movies starring the King of the Monsters are worth seeing. I’ve actually only seen the first one from 1954, so I couldn’t be the authority on that anyway. As far as I know, there might even be something worthwhile in the 1998 remake that everyone hates. I never saw it (though I did see a bit being filmed when I lived near one of the locations) so I can’t argue for or against it. Instead, this week’s recommendations consist of other movies that clearly influenced the newest version (and some, the original), as well as some necessary earlier films of talent involved in the remake, plus a few titles that I was reminded of while watching that I think are relevant. And to make it easy on you, to ensure that you catch up with all of these titles  I’ve chosen, I note the easiest way for you to check out these films right now, thanks to the website Can I Stream.it?. As always, this list contains spoilers for the movie in focus, so only read […]


trailer unforgiven japanese

Like The Wind Rises, which recently had its trailer updated with English subtitles, Sang-il Lee‘s remake of Unforgiven has just been give the same treatment. Even better, this updated trailer (the Japanese-only version first made waves last month) comes paired with three new clips. Thankfully all the clips come standard with English subs. If you’ve seen Clint Eastwood’s original, than the subtitles aren’t really necessary anyway- this adaptation looks faithful enough that those with an understanding of the film should be able to glean the context of any scene through the visuals alone. Check out the English-subbed trailer below along with the three clips.


Unforgiven 2013 Ken Watanabe

This trailer for Sang-il Lee’s Unforgiven doesn’t have subtitles, but it doesn’t really need them. Especially if you’ve seen the Clint Eastwood-starring version that Lee is remaking. For some reason, I can’t think about that title without picturing Billy Crystal singing “Unforgiven/That’s what you are/You killed everyone/’Cause you’re the star” at Eastwood during the 1993 Oscars. It sums up the movie quite nicely. With this new take (called Yurusarezaru Mono locally) we get Ken Watanabe as a sworn blade of the shogun retiring to a non-violent existence as a rancher before, as always, they pull him back in Pacino-style. It feels appropriately somber and hints at more than enough bloodshed. Check it out for yourself (and if you speak Japanese, please feel free to help us out in the comments section with some subtitles):


Boiling Point

The 84th Academy Awards have come and gone: let the bitching begin! As someone who is more of a genre fan than anything, I’ve never really cared too much about the Oscars, but that sure as hell doesn’t prevent me from complaining about them. Granted, over the years, some great films have won. I’m a big fan of Unforgiven and I dug Shakespeare In Love. I just think far too many good films are ignored in favor of “Oscar movies.” I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with any of the films nominated this year, but there were a few categories were I feel like the little golden man statue when to the wrong film. Luckily, the internet exists and I can complain about it!


Culture Warrior

Warning: This post contains spoilers about J. Edgar. For the past few years, I haven’t been much of a fan of Clint Eastwood’s work. While he no doubt possesses storytelling skills as a director and certainly maintains an incredible presence as a movie star, I’ve found that critics who constantly praise his work often overlook its general lack of finesse, tired and sometimes visionless formal approach, and habitual ham-fistedness. When watching Eastwood’s work, I get the impression, supported by stories of his uniquely economic method of filmmaking, that he thinks of himself as something of a Woody Allen for the prestige studio drama, able to get difficult stories right in one take. The end product, for me, says otherwise. While I was a fan of the strong but still imperfect Mystic River (2003) and Letters From Iwo Jima (2006), the moment that I stopped trusting Eastwood came around the time the song “Colorblind” appeared in Invictus two years ago, throwing any prospect of nuance and panache out the window. Eastwood, despite having helmed several notable cinematic successes, has recently been coasting on a reputation that doesn’t match the work. He is, in short, proof of the auteur problem: that we as critics forgive from him transgressions that would never be deemed acceptable with a “lesser” director. As you can likely tell, my expectations were to the ground in seeking out the critically-divided J. Edgar. I was prepared, in entering the theater to watch Eastwood’s newest, to write an article about […]

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published: 01.31.2015
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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015

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