Friday November 27 – Thursday December 3

Featured Film:

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi at the Grand Illusion

Back on the big screen after a successful run two weeks ago at the Northwest Film Forum, the acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi has smuggled another film to the outside world in contravention of his government-imposed 20 year ban on filmmaking. Driving a taxi through the streets of Teheran, digital camera attached to the dashboard, Panahi talks with a variety of locals as he maneuvers around the city’s traffic tangles. Notable passengers include his precocious niece, a dealer in bootleg DVDs, and a pair of women in a hurry to transport some goldfish. Like much of his previous work, it melts the line between fiction and reality, while documenting the poignant struggle of a artist in exile.

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Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) Fri-Tues Our Review
The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985) Fri-Weds
Difret (Zeresenay Mehari) Weds Only

SIFF Cinema Egyptian:

Chi-Raq (Spike Lee) Opens Thurs

Century Federal Way:

Mukhtiar Chadha (Gifty) Fri-Thurs
Roman Holiday
 
(William Wyler, 1953) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Dangerous Men (John S. Rad, 2005) Fri & Sat Only Our Review
Experimenter (Michael Almereyda) Tues Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Taxi (Jafar Panahi) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Tamasha (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Tamasha (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

The Winding Stream (Beth Harrington) Fri-Mon
In the Basement (Ulrich Seidel) Fri-Thurs
2015 Sundance Film Festival Award Winning Shorts (Various) Tues Only
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963) Thurs Only Live Score

AMC Pacific Place:

Our Times (Frankie Chen) Fri-Thurs
Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953) Sun & Tues Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (Sooraj Barjatya) Fri-Thurs
Tamasha 
(Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video Screening Room:

Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977) Fri Only
The House of Yes (Mark Waters, 1997) Sat Only
The Caine Mutiny (Edward Dmytryk, 1954) Sun Only
Documentary Room: Pick A Winner Sun Only
Chris Marker Group Mon Only

Seattle Art Museum:

Underworld USA (Samuel Fuller, 1961) Thurs Only 35mm

SIFF Film Center:

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971) Fri-Sun Smell-o-Vision
The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987) Fri-Sun Quote-Along
Metropolitan (Whit Stillman, 1990) Mon Only Director Skype Q & A

Sundance Cinemas Seattle:

Asthma (Jake Hoffman) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson) Fri-Thurs
Class Divide (Mark Levin) Weds Only

Varsity Theatre:

A Ballerina’s Tale (Nelson George) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953) Sun & Tues Only

In Wide Release:

Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg) Our Review
The Martian (Ridley Scott) Our Review
Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro) Our Review
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve) Our Review
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Friday November 20 – Thursday November 26

Featured Film:

In Jackson Heights at the Northwest Film Forum

The latest release from the venerable and prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman is always a highlight of the film year. Following up last year’s look at London’s National Gallery art museum, Wiseman broadens his focus to an entire neighborhood of Queens. Expect long, carefully but not obviously composed images of people at work, everyday life captured seemingly on the fly, but within a minutely calibrated structure. Despite their appearance and lack of explicit narration (no interviews, no on-screen titles) Wiseman’s films are the opposite of the fly-on-the-wall cinema-verité ideal with which they’re often confused. There’s always an argument being made, there’s always a story he’s telling.
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Playing This Week:

 

Central Cinema:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (John Hughes, 1987) Fri-Tues
The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001) Fri-Tues

SIFF Cinema Egyptian:

By the Sea (Angelina Jolie-Pitt) Fri-Thurs

Century Federal Way:

Oklahoma! (Fred Zinnemann, 1955) Sun & Weds Only Our Review

Grand Cinema:

The Second Mother (Anna Muylaert) Fri-Thurs
The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987) Sat Morning Only
Brave Miss World (Cecilia Peck) Mon Only
Rosenwald (Aviva Kempner) Tues Only
Brooklyn (John Crowley) Starts Weds

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Moana with Sound (Robert Flaherty, 1926/Monica Flaherty, 1980) Fri-Thurs Our Review
VHS Uber Alles presents Action USA (John Stewart, 1989) Sat Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Brooklyn (John Crowley) Fri-Thurs
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo 
(Sooraj Barjatya) Fri-Thurs
Oklahoma! (Fred Zinnemann, 1955) Sun & Weds Only Our Review

Northwest Film Forum:

In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman) Fri-Thurs
Entertainment (Rick Alverson) Fri-Thurs Our Review
What is It? (Crispin Hellion Glover, 2005) Fri Only 35mm with Performance, Q & A, Slide Show, etc
Marlowe’s Cabinet of Curiosities (Various, 1942-2014) Sun Only 16mm + Video

AMC Pacific Place:

Brooklyn (John Crowley) Fri-Thurs
The Last Women Standing (Luo Luo) Fri-Thurs
A Journey through Time with Anthony (Janet Chun) Fri-Thurs
Our Times (Frankie Chen) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (Sooraj Barjatya) Fri-Thurs
Heneral Luna
 (Jerrold Tarog) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video Screening Room:

The Night Porter (Liliana Cavani, 1974) Fri Only
Skins (Chris Eyre, 2002) Sat Only
Reel Injun (Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge & Jeremiah Hayes, 2009) Sun Only
Dutch (Peter Faiman, 1991) Sun Only
Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1958) Mon Only
The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014) Tues Only
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (John Hughes, 1987) Weds Only

SIFF Film Center:

The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) Fri-Sun, Weds Our ReviewOur Other Review 
(T)error (David Felix Sutcliffe, Lyric R. Cabral) Fri-Sun, Weds
Criminal Activities (Jackie Earle Haley) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas Seattle:

Brooklyn (John Crowley) Fri-Thurs
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Lisa Immordino Vreeland) Fri-Thurs
Criminal Activities (Jacie Earle Haley) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson) Fri-Thurs
The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) Sun-Tues Our ReviewOur Other Review
(T)error (David Felix Sutcliffe, Lyric R. Cabral) Mon-Tues
Aferim! (Radu Jude) Fri & Sun Only
Romanian Film Festival Fri-Sun
Internet Cat Video Festival Mon-Weds

Varsity Theatre:

A Ballerina’s Tale (Nelson George) Fri-Tues Our Review

In Wide Release:

Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg) Our Review
The Martian (Ridley Scott) Our Review
Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro) Our Review
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve) Our Review

Two Documentaries: Moana with Sound (Robert Flaherty/Monica Flaherty, 1926/1980) and A Ballerina’s Tale (Nelson George, 2015)

 

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This is a big week for documentaries on Seattle Screens. The big name, of course is the new Frederick Wiseman film, In Jackson Heights which plays Friday through Thursday at the Northwest Film Forum. We’ll have a review of that sometime soon, once we’ve managed to see it. But two other non-fiction films of interest open this week as well. The Grand Illusion is presenting a 2014 restoration of a 1980 updating of a classic 1926 documentary, Moana, the second feature from Robert Flaherty, the man who more or less legitimated documentary filmmaking as an art form with his first feature, Nanook of the North in 1924, while at the same time muddying for all time the distinction between fiction and non-fiction film. A few blocks south on the Ave, the Varsity is playing director Nelson George’s glowing tribute to Misty Copeland, who just this summer became the first African-American principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre.

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Friday November 13 – Thursday November 19

Featured Film:

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi at the Northwest Film Forum

The acclaimed Iran director Jafar Panahi has smuggled another film to the outside world in contravention of his government-imposed 20 year ban on filmmaking. Driving a taxi through the streets of Teheran, digital camera attached to the dashboard, Panahi talks with a variety of locals as he maneuvers around the city’s traffic tangles. Notable are his precocious niece, a dealer in bootleg DVDs, and a pair of women in a hurry to transport some goldfish. Like much of his previous work, it melts the line between fiction and reality, while documenting the poignant struggle of a artist in exile.
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Playing This Week:

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

East Side Sushi (Anthony Lucero) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951) Fri-Weds
Throw Momma from the Train (Danny DeVito, 1987) Fri-Weds

SIFF Cinema Egyptian:

The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) Fri-Thurs Our ReviewOur Other Review 
Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance (Gregory Hatanaka) Fri Midnight

Century Federal Way:

Fantasia (Various, 1940) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

A Brilliant Young Mind (Morgan Matthews) Fri-Thurs
The Second Mother (Anna Muylaert) Fri-Thurs
Unbranded (Phillip Baribeau) Tues Only
Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Dangerous Men (John S. Rad, 2005) Fri-Thurs 35mm Our Review

Landmark Guild 45th:

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (Kazuya Nomura) Mon Only
Fantasia (Various, 1940) Sun & Weds Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Spotlight (Tom McCarthy) Fri-Thurs
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
(Sooraj Barjatya) Fri-Thurs
Akhil (Nithin) Fri-Thurs
Fantasia (Various, 1940) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Spotlight (Tom McCarthy) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Taxi (Jafar Panahi) Fri-Thurs
Homemakers (Colin Healey) Fri & Sat Only
The Devil’s Sword (Ratio Timoer, 1984) Fri Only
Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre) Sun Only Plus shorts and Panel Discussion
Bob Birdnow’s Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self (Eric Steele, 2013) Weds Only
It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE (Crispin Hellion Glover, 2007) Thurs Only with Performance, Q & A, Slide Show, etc

AMC Pacific Place:

Ex Files 2: The Backup Tsrikes Back (Tian Yusheng) Fri-Thurs
The Last Women Standing (Luo Luo) Fri-Thurs
The Witness (Ahn Sang-hoon) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (Sooraj Barjatya) Fri-Thurs
Heneral Luna
 (Jerrold Tarog) Fri-Thurs
Felix Manalo (Joel Lamangan) Fri-Thurs
Everyday I Love You (Mae Czarina Cruz) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video Screening Room:

Swamp Women (Roger Corman, 1956) Fri Only
Danger: Diabolik (Mario Bava, 1968) Sat Only
Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952) Sun Only
Animation Room: Pick A Winner Sun Only
Framing Pictures: A Floating Conversation About Film Mon Only
The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986) Tues Only
Pandora’s Box (GW Pabst, 1929) Weds Only
Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock, 1941) Thurs Only

Seattle Art Museum:

Nightfall (Jacques Tourneur, 1957) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

Goodnight Mommy (Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas Seattle:

East Side Sushi (Anthony Lucero) Fri-Thurs
All Things Must Pass (Colin Hanks) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Spartacus (Stanley Kubrick, 1960) Fri-Sun, Thurs
Cinema Italian Style Festival Fri-Thurs Only
Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950) Sat-Sun & Tues Only Our Podcast
Papillon (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1973) Sat & Weds Only
Exodus (Otto Preminger, 1960) Sun & Mon Only

In Wide Release:

Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg) Our Review
The Martian (Ridley Scott) Our Review
Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro) Our Review
Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle) Our Review
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve) Our Review

Dangerous Men (John S. Rad, 2005)

dangerous men bikers

If years-in-the-making is a means of quantifying quality, then Dangerous Men is twice as good as Boyhood. Production began at the dawn of the 1980s and yet the film was not completed until two and half decades had passed. And it’s not as if all of the footage was captured during Reagan’s presidency and put on the shelf. Some scenes are filled with late ’70s model cars and feathered hair, only to be interspersed with shots set at a makeshift police station with a calendar marking December 1995.

dangerous men cops

The film tells the story of a woman named Mina, who is out for revenge after her fiancé is killed by bikers. At least that’s the story for about half the running time until Mina ages out of the role and/or the production’s finances temporarily ran dry. At that point the story decides to follow Mina’s brother-in-law, a cop who is also tracking down some bikers but they don’t really have anything to do with one another. In fact the film’s final villain, the incongruously named Black Pepper, never actually does anything wrong, unless the extended belly dance he and his girlfriend watch as prelude to their lovemaking in his barely furnished apartment is somehow illegal.

Dangerous Men is inept. It is often inscrutable and more than a little insane. It spends a significant chunk of time following a thwarted rapist as he wanders through the California desert completely naked as a means of comic relief. He is also British for some reason. Later Mina picks up a prostitute but doesn’t tell the woman that she’s not interested in sex, she only wants to ask questions about her profession, until after they arrive at Mina’s apartment and the prostitute has gotten naked. A lot of people get naked. Most of them are not people you would want to see naked.

dangerous men lovers

The film is an auteurist’s dream come true as Iranian transplant John S. Rad (yes, Rad) lists himself as writer, director, editor, producer, and composer. His is literally the only name in the opening credits. As the film begins, it is his musical score that garners attention with funky synth soundscapes bleeding into tranquil acoustic ballads. But soon it becomes apparent that Rad just had five songs on autoplay which he simply layered throughout the full cut of the film, irrespective of whether the music belonged at any given moment. As happens often throughout Dangerous Men‘s 81 minute running time, one song ends in the middle of a scene and is immediately followed by a tonally different tune, which then plays on into the next scene, which is set in a different location and filmed at a different time with different characters.

Dangerous Men’s release comes courtesy of Drafthouse Films, in partnership with the American Genre Film Archive. And while the film contains elements of the previous Drafthouse treasure Ms. 45, Abel Ferrara’s provocative and powerful tale of feminist revenge, Dangerous Men is more in line with some of Drafthouse’s less  accomplished offerings, such as the newly minted midnight movie staple, Miami Connection. And there is nothing wrong with that. If you want cinema to show you something you’ve never seen before, then Dangerous Men is as worthy a film as any. I for one had never seen a woman hide a knife between her naked butt cheeks.

(Dangerous Men plays in 35mm 11/13 – 11/19 at the Grand Illusion Cinema.)

In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)

green dress mirrors

“I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
 Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet”
              ~John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale”

Time shifts and slips, and the past is a thing of soft veils and refracted reflections, three of you, two of me, then none, only the round white face of the clock and the sound of your voice, my voice. I can’t reach you there, at the edges of my mind; you slip from view.

But in the now, a sudden scent presses the bright deep color of your dress, the shape of your hip, a white clasp at the dip in your neck, into my vision, filling it. A green dress with bright yellow daffodils, impossibly vivid. Could you have been so beautiful?

The streets of the teeming city were empty then, only you and I were there, there in the rain, under the bulb, there in the passage on the stairs. Our shadows pass along those walls, where paper notices tatter, fade, and are smoothly absorbed into the place on which they were glued. The rain soaks us, pounds the pavement; water seeps down into the earth, the water stands in clear pools. It disappears, leaving blackness; it reflects, leaving shimmers of light.

I can feel the press in the hallway, packed with furniture, movers. Was it there I first felt the press of your arm? Or in the cab? Your fingers slip out of my grasp, leaving their warm fading print.

I wait for you. You wait for me. Memory, shrouded and alive, floats in red, graceful curtains in the long deserted passage.

I whisper this fleeting, lingering thing into the ancient ruins, where boldly soaring arches and disintegrating figures in stone relief, settle into the earth, growing into the grass and mud.

grass muc

Friday November 6 – Thursday November 12

Featured Film:

The Assassin at the SIFF Egyptian

The best film of the year so far, and one of the very best of the decade, opens this week at the Egyptian. Hou Hsiao-hsien’s long-awaited return, eight years after The Flight of the Red Balloon, follows on the heels of the career-long retrospective that played Seattle Screens earlier this year. His first foray into the martial arts genre, The Assassin is based on a Tang Dynasty story about a young woman assigned to kill the man she had been betrothed to a decade earlier. As she returns home to his provincial court, she observes all manner of intrigue and deception as she contemplates what her course of action should be. Meditative and gorgeous, it’s a film that defies expectations of both the wuxia genre and Hou’s career, while at the same time remaining consistent to the spirit of both. Sean’s review attempts to situate the film within generic and auteurist contexts, while Melissa’s tries to capture the emotional experience of the deeply immersive narrative. We also discussed the film on all three of our podcasts from the Vancouver International Film Festival.
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Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009) Fri-Tues
Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979) Fri-Tues

SIFF Cinema Egyptian:

The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) Fri-Tues, Thurs Our ReviewOur Other Review 
Yakuza Apocalypse (Takashi Miike) Fri & Sat Midnight Our Review

Century Federal Way:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

A Brilliant Young Mind (Morgan Matthews) Fri-Thurs
Sundance Shorts (Various) Sat & Sun, Tues & Weds
Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932) Mon Only
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (Kazuya Nomura) Tues & Weds Only
Of Men and War (Laurent Becue-Renard) Weds Only
The Last One (Laurent Becue-Renard) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Tab Hunter Confidential (Jeffrey Schwarz) Fri-Thurs
Polyester (John Waters, 1981) Fri, Sat & Thurs Only 35mm In Odorama

Landmark Guild 45th:

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (Kazuya Nomura) Tues Only
Oklahoma! (Fred Zinnemann, 1955) Weds Only Our Review

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Goodbye Mr. Loser (Yan Fei & Peng Damo) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Nasty Baby (Sebastián Silva) Fri-Thurs
Children of the Arctic (Nick Brandestini) Sat Only
Dreamcatcher (Kim Longinotto) Sun Only
Cinema Bomb Squad: Movies We Love to Hate Mon Only
Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life (Robert Levi, 2008) Weds Only

AMC Pacific Place:

Ex Files 2: The Backup Tsrikes Back (Tian Yusheng) Fri-Thurs
The Nightingale (Philippe Muyl) Fri-Thurs
The Witness (Ahn Sang-hoon) Fri-Thurs
Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Heneral Luna (Jerrold Tarog) Fri-Thurs
Felix Manalo (Joel Lamangan) Fri-Thurs
Everyday I Love You (Mae Czarina Cruz) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video Screening Room:

Heart of a Dog (Vladimir Bortko, 1988) Fri Only
The Golden Age of Seattle Public Access Sat Only Special Guests
The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino) Sun Only
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophuls, 1949) Mon Only
Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992) Tues Only
Head (Bob Rafelson, 1968) Weds Only
All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, 1979) Thurs Only

Seattle Art Museum:

The Bigamist (Ida Lupino, 1953) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

The Wonders (Alice Rohrwacher) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

Barista (Rock Baijnauth) Fri Only
Fantasia (Various, 1940) Tues Only

AMC Southcenter:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Sundance Cinemas Seattle:

Love in 3D (Gaspar Noé) Fri-Thurs
All Things Must Pass (Colin Hanks) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Victoria (Sebastian Schipper) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Fantasia (Various, 1940) Sun Only
Clueless (Amy Heckling, 1995) Mon Only Makeover Party
Trumbo (Jay Roach) Tues Only
The Cockettes (Bill Weber and David Weissman, 2002) Weds Only
My Mother (Nanni Moretti) Thurs Only

Varsity Theatre:

I Smile Back (Adam Salky) Fri-Thurs
Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

In Wide Release:

Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg) Our Review
The Martian (Ridley Scott) Our Review
Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro) Our Review
Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle) Our Review
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve) Our Review

Yakuza Apocalypse (Takashi Miike, 2015)

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Playing this Friday and Saturday at midnight only comes the latest from prolific Japanese lunatic Takashi Miike. The limited late night time slot gives a hint of what to expect, even if you’re unfamiliar with Miike’s work, much of which amounts to highly imaginative reworkings of familiar genres, pushing them to their extreme (and often extremely violent) conclusions. But while the Miike review that doesn’t contain the word “gonzo” is a rarity, he is no scattershot shock auteur, rather his films, unpredictable as they may be, are always guided by a clever intelligence. He’s not a director of chaos, but of logical absurdity. Of the more than 40 films he’s directed this century, I’ve only seen a handful, but Yakuza Apocalypse is firmly in the tradition of earlier films like Sukiyaki Western Django, 13 Assassins and his remake of the Maskai Kobayashi classic Harakiri in their critique of the psychotic masculinity that underlies the ideology of Japanese action narratives. Of course, critiquing the samurai code has been an essential part of the samurai/yakuza genres in cinema since at least the end of World War II. But Kobayashi, Kihachi Okamoto and Akira Kurosawa, as far as I know at least, never made a film about gangster vampires fighting demons in plushy cosplay frog outfits.

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