Sunday, March 11, 2007

March 11th Log

2006, Clark Johnson, United States

1st Viewing, DVD

The Sentinel is an average if typical secret service thriller. The film begins with some nice setup and introduction sequences as we see Michael Douglas, an agent that saved Ronald Reagan from being assassinated. We soon learn that he is having an affair with the first lady and this eventually leads to him being setup for a plot to assassinate the current President. Kiefer Sutherland plays the detective in charge of the investigation and he has a past friendship with Douglas that has since been destroyed. Eva Longoria plays Sutherland’s partner and she also has a friendship with Douglas. Of course we know he is being setup and if you’ve seen enough thrillers, you will probably know pretty quickly who it is. The film losses some of the intelligence it began with during the climatic final act. However, Sutherland and Douglas provide strong performances and Television veteran director Clark Johnson has experience working with this type of material to keep the film from falling apart. The kind of film that is entertaining and involving, but quickly forgettable.

1953, Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan

Repeat Viewing, DVD

Of the films I've been fortunate enough to seen, I'd say Ugetsu (alongside alongside The Life of Oharu) is Japanese master filmaker Kenji Mizoguchi's greatest masterpiece. From what I've seen, this appears to be the quintessential postwar Mizoguchi film in style and themes. A period film that centers around four characters (two married couples) who each travel separate paths. Mizoguchi's films always seem to be leading the characters on journeys. They are also deeply compassionate for the females and Ugetsu is no exception as the men follow a selfish path of greed, power, and lust leaving their wives suffering. Mizoguchi's other themetic trademark is the connection of art and nature and this is captured throughout the film and even as early as the opening titles which display as paintings overtop images of nature. Mizoguchi masterfully controls the haunting atmosphere with a gracefully flowing camera. The camera is static but always moving in a way that feels as though it is floating through the air. Mizoguchi style is one of elegant mastery and it beautifully blends with his absorbing narrative flow. Mizoguchi is one of the great masters of postwar Japanese cinema (a class that includes Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse, and Akira Kurosawa) and Ugetsu is one of his finest filmmaking achievements.

>>> Here is a scene from Ugetsu. This is one of the most outstanding moments of the film, as Genjuro returns home from his journey:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home