10 on the 10th – January 2016

The last 10 films I’ve watched have all been worthwhile.  His Kind of Woman succeeds despite some very odd mixing of tones.  Inside Out deserves its accolades, including the rumour that it passed on being in competition at Cannes out of fear of winning the Palme d’Or and hurting its American box office.  The Force Awakens was lots of fun, even if it hits many of the same beats as New Hope.  And I’m always entertained by how much my non-academic wife loves listening to Slavoj Zizek talk about film and ideology.

I also feel like I need to address the Donphan in the room – Jellyfish Eyes (perhaps even write a more elaborate defence of the film in a separate post).  While Murakami’s film is something of a poor cousin to Takashi Miike’s explorations in children’s cinema, such as MMC! favourites Zebraman (2004) and Yatterman (2009), it’s hardly as poor a film as many claim it to be.  If anything, the general response to Jellyfish Eyes seems like yet another example of the Collection being punished for attempting to approach contemporary cinema and daring to include something that fails to resemble classical Hollywood or international art house cinema.  While not the example I would have chosen, I greatly admire Criterion for including Murakami’s film and offering a more expansive view of world cinema.

  1. UtopiaJellyfish Eyes (Takashi Murakami, 2013)
  2. Hellzapoppin’ (H. C. Potter, 1941)
  3. Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo (Toshiya Fujita, 1970)
  4. His Kind of Woman (John Farrow, 1951)
  5. Odd Obsession (Kon Ichikawa, 1959)
  6. 3 Dev Adam (T. Fikret Uçak, 1973)
  7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams, 2015)
  8. Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, 2015)
  9. The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (Sophie Fiennes, 2012)
  10. Spring (Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead, 2014)

Lastly, a shout out to Dennis Kelly’s British conspiracy-thriller, Utopia (2013-2014).  I finally got around to bingeing the 6-episode second season and it was a welcome follow-up to first series’ complex and unsettling run.  With no third season forthcoming from Channel 4 and HBO’s American adaptation apparently cancelled, it looks like I’ll have to go somewhere else for hard moral choices, stomach-churning violence, and saturated colour palettes.  It might also be a good time to consider a more involved discussion of the series here at MMC!

4 thoughts on “10 on the 10th – January 2016

  1. aaronwest January 10, 2016 / 3:35 am

    I look forward to reading your defense. I went into Jellyfish Eyes with an open mind and was disappointed, but it was not what I had hoped it would be. We are covering it soon and I’ll revisit, so again will open my eyes.

    Did you like Stray Cat Rock? I thought it was enjoyable for what it was.

    • spinenumbered January 10, 2016 / 4:03 am

      I’ll really look forward to your discussion on Jellyfish Eyes too. I listened to your comments on the CriterionCast podcast and thought you were very even-handed despite not enjoying it. The movie does put me in mind of certain Miike films, as well as CJ7 (a film I liked even less), revisionist tokusatsu movies like Karate Robo Zaborgar, and even the Gantz films.

      I’ve seen 3 of the 5 Stray Cat Rock films so far. They’re a little hippy-dippy and kinda slight with the fake movie counter-culture, but enjoyable enough. Like Jellyfish Eyes, I would probably prefer other films in the same vein over them.

      • aaronwest January 10, 2016 / 4:09 am

        I really do try to be fair and at least reasonable, but Jellyfish was something I really wanted to like. We are inviting an Anime/Manga and Criterion fan to our discussion so I think it’ll be a good one.

      • spinenumbered January 10, 2016 / 4:20 am

        I’ll definitely listen to that!

        To be fair, I really wanted to like Jellyfish Eyes too and ended up disappointed as well (maybe not as much as you or others). That said, I do want to see the sequel, and have no issue with it (or the sequel) bearing a spine number.

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