maybe it was more than just an assignment, and maybe he wasn't bored, I can't be quoted on that, it's just an unusual film in his American canon (though he did have a few comedic films in his early British run).
Following "Rashomon" and "Ugetsu", Mori and Kyo are paired again, this time for Mikio Naruse, directing a sensitive drama about a close family torn apart by old fashioned ideas, and jealousy, when the middle sister comes home single, pregnant, and disgraced. Well acted all around; another emotionally poignant beauty from Naruse's greatest period.
A testament to how good 2012 has been, even the routine man-against-nature thriller is exceptional. Carnahan's best film since "Narc", and as scary as it's obvious frozen predecessor, John Carpenter's "The Thing".
This remains my favorite Soderbergh film, it's a pure delight, funny and moving, with a great '30's period detail.
John Ford's last film of the 50's, and of his myriad of films about the Cavalry, this is the only one to actually take place during the Civil War, recounting a daring Union mission behind enemy lines that turns the tide of Vicksburg. Entertaining, with Wayne and Holden in fine form, and lots of the usual goofy Fordian humor that permeats the masterpieces as well as the lessers, which this is of the latter.
This is light fare indeed for Hitchcock, following the dark, studio bound terror of "Rear Window", but Grant and Kelly spark fireworks, in the most literal use of the term ever.
130 minutes of abject misery and ten minutes of savior, well made and moving, but grueling.
Takamine, Nakadai, and Sada are all great in this decades spanning Kinoshita weeper, a love triangle filled with bitterness, hate, regret, and maybe, forgiveness. Par for the course for Kinoshita, master Shochiku cameraman Hiroyuki Kusuda's fluid camera movements.
I couldn't find the two hour British version, but the 90 minute version is available on a region two DVD, and it's a curio for Ford scholars and completists only.
This is deeply disturbing and affecting, a slow, pointed descent into chaos, of the mind and physical, that leaves you shaken. Michael Shannon is beyond great.
Kinoshita wasn't known for lavish war epics, rather intimate politically tinged family tragedies, but you get it all here, a strange samurai jidai-geki in black and white colored with shocking bursts of symbolic painted lenses. A unique, haunting film.
1927, the greatest year of the silent era, with this bittersweet Lubitsch masterpiece representative of MGM classicism and aesthetic might.
A toss up with "Rules of the Game" for the greatest French film of all time, which essentially announces Renoir at an artistic peak few directors ever achieve. By the time we leave Von Stroheim for dear Dita Parlo the movie overwhelms us with compassion. Studio Canal's new restoration is as spotless and crisp a restoration of a masterpiece as you'll ever see.
Mizoguchi's penultimate film, shot in color a year before his death, is a sweeping, over-the-top 12th century saga of family loyalty and class discrimination. Impressively mounted.
Like most of Godard except a very few this is both fascinating and wildly overrated.
Jean Harlow in a hilarious, sexy, cunning, catty performance as a man-eater climbing her way through society, one married boss at a time. Also hilarious, Una Merkel as her perpetually shocked and appalled best friend.
Well polished Warner Brothers fare, A list all the way, with a moving James Cagney as a boxer with a heart of gold. Top melodrama from the height of the studio system.
Tavernier's masterpiece, one of the most moving, beautiful films I've ever seen.
Kore-eda dealt with the meaning of life in "Afterlife", and in a different manner he does it again here, replacing his film studio heaven with a sex doll who comes to life, wanders about aloof and curious, experiences love, pain, heartbreak, and essentially, loneliness, as does most of everybody else around her. A lovely, sad film from a master.
No more egregious than some of the flag wavers of England and America during the war, Shochiku's high profile propaganda piece is earnest and moving, especially in the stern face of Chishu Ryu and the sad, forgiving face of Kinuyo Tanaka, but in light of what was happening to the Japanese people, and worse to come, it's hard to watch. Kinoshita, already sensitive, directs for patriotism and pathos.
How cute was Carole Lombard? She died so young she was only in a handful of good films, this is one of them, though there isn't much to suggest it was anything other than an assignment for a bored Hitchcock.