Movies I Saw in September

lady-snowblood

Pete’s Dragon (2016) A left over from the summer movie season and one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. I don’t think I ever saw the original “Pete’s Dragon” so I don’t know how much this movie takes from that. What I do know is that this movie is a wonderful quiet children’s fable about a young boy who gets lost in the woods after his parents are killed in a car accident, and he is cared for by a dragon who finds him in the woods. Years later he is found, but the bond he has with his dragon is hard to break. This is a great family film in the tradition of “E.T.”, and it has dazzling use of open spaces, and spectacle that never loses the human element. Great nuanced performances particularily by Bryce Dallas Howard who has never been better, and the great Robert Redford who is always great to see. 3 and a half stars out of 4

Lady Snowblood (1973) Classic japanese film based on a graphic novel about a young woman out to seek vengeance on the people who were responsible for killing her family. This film is mostly now known for being the main inspiration for Trantino’s “Kill Bill” movies, and the influences are there. This film is dazzling, with wonderfully highly stylized fight scenes that overflow with beautiful blood and carnage. Meiko Kaji is a force of nature as the lead. 3 and a half stars out of 4

Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance (1974) Direct sequel to “Lady Snowblood” finds our cold blooded heroine trying to give up the vengeance business until she is recruited by a man who wants her to kill a revolutionary. The sequel is probably even more far out with its violence than the original “Lady Snowblood” and at times feels like a fever dream. Again the film balances violence and beauty wonderfully, this is essential viewing for any fans of action revenge tales. 3 and a half stars out of 4

The Witch (2016) One of the best films of the year, “The Witch” is a supernatural tale depicting a small turn of the century religious family and what happens when their baby goes missing which seems to hint at some super natural forces. Pretty soon a bunch of strange things start to happen which leads the family to blame their eldest daughter for being a witch. The film is a slow burn and unsettling, it’s silent, far out at weird, also it’s one of the best shot films of the year. Any horror fan should check this out. 4 stars out of 4

The Invitation (2016) An indie horror film about a group of friends who come together to welcome back a mutual friend who was gone for two years. I don’t really want to reveal anything about this film if you haven’t seen it. Needless to say it’s great genre film full of real tension and a climax that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. The final shot of this film is a doozy. 3 and a half stars out of 4

Sully (2016) A stripped down retelling of the “Miracle on the Hudson” where famed pilot Captain Sully Sullenberger lands a plane full of passengers after its engines are hit by a flock of birds. This film is right up the alley of director Clint Eastwood’s wheel house, as it’s a story about no-nonsense professionals who do their job. Eastwood himself seems like a plainspoken down to business director, so it’s no wonder he admired a man like Sully, a man who never craved for the spotlight given to him, even though the real Sully shows up with the surviving castmembers which seems too unnecessary when it concerns a man who never wanted to be a star. Tom Hanks is pretty great here as Sully as he usually is, the the different perspectives of the plan crash are all interesting and riveting. 3 stars out of 4

 

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