You Only Live Twice (1967 US/UK)

As I watched “You Only Live Twice,” I developed a nostalgia for many scenes that made the older Bond films work so well. One of the great things about “You Only Live Twice” is that it has the confidence to be quiet. Take Bond’s conversation with Henderson (Charles Gray). Bond walks into Henderson’s home, he asks his contact a few questions, an interesting conversation between the men ensues and then Henderson freezes. Someone threw a knife into his back. “North by Northwest,” also has a man unable to reveal a crucial piece of info because he is suddenly killed. And you know what? Between you, me and the gate post, these scenes never get tired/worn. They are what separates the old world of film from the new. [Read more…]

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Across The Nightingale Floor (Lian Hearn)

acrossthenightingalefloorWhen I finished Lian Hearn’s first Tale of the Otori series (I won’t be going any further), I felt as though I’d been eating Hershey’s chocolate when I expected at least Lindt. Waiter, take this away and bring me some real food! Reading shouldn’t be hard work. Just skimming I struggled to stop my eyes from glazing over in utter boredom. The narrators each sound exactly the same. This is so lazy, research-wise too. Inserting Christianity into this mock up Japan was not wise either. Nor were the random earthquakes every ten pages or so. [Read more…]

Black Rain (1989 USA)

black-rain-3Made for 30 million bucks back when that sum would get you a seat at the top table. A place where the big machers compare the size of their mother’s mikvahs. This urban noir, photographed by Jan De Bont (director of “Speed”) makes Osaka look like the futuristic city in Ridley Scott’s other film, “Blade Runner.”  Same traffic and congestion of heavily populated streets, steam and people. Through De Bont’s lens the city is dark even during the day. Michael Douglas even dresses like another actor did in “Blade Runner.” [Read more…]

The War Of The Gargantuas (1966 Japan)

japanese-horror-fantasyLosing the Second World War must have turned the Japanese insane. Imagine what type of films they would have churned out if they had won. Plot: From the remains of a Frankenstein monster spawns a hairy brown gargantua named Sanda. Though raised by kind scientists in captivity, he escapes one day and a part of his flesh was snagged off a rock and made its way into the sea, spawning a green gargantua called Gaira. Gaira goes on a rampage through Japan killing countless civilians, but soon finds himself overwhelmed by man’s great weapons. Before the military could finish off the beast, Sanda arrives to help his brother. [Read more…]

Yojimbo (1961 Japan)

kurosawa 1Toshiro Mifune, one of the world’s most charismatic actors, is perfection as a tough loner of a samurai who takes it upon himself to clean up a town corrupted by two gambling clans. Swirling through and around him is a story that is both technically flawless and profoundly moving. And yes, the Italians borrowed it for A Fistful Of Dollars. But Mifune’s samurai is the original Man With No Name although he does have a name – Sanjuro. [Read more…]

Shogun (James Clavell)

book_cover_shogunSet in the 1600’s of medieval Japan, immerse yourselves in this tale of the invincible Japanese warlord Toranaga, the bold English pilot Blackthorne, the beautiful Mariko torn between two ways of life, two ways of love, and a host of many other unforgettable, stirring characters. Shogun is a 1000+ page turner which captures any reader’s imagination. [Read more…]

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989 USA)

bronson 1I’m quaking in my boots. Don’t laugh. Talk about kinky…there are scenes here that might just make you’re nose bleed. After Death Wish 6: The Final Solution finished off that elegant series with a body count only Ted Bundy could have dreamed of, Charlie Bronson jetted off to Tokyo. Maybe the Japanese wouldn’t notice old stone face looked 103. Give or take a year. [Read more…]

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (audio book read by Jim Dale)


LISTENINGLIBRARYAroundTheWorldInEightyDays500
A great audio book: Jim Dale is a fabulous narrator, giving each character a distinct voice which lends even more colour to this already colourful story. It is amazing how the use of special effect sounds and the right music can conjure up the scenes in my mind. What a versatile voice! There is no dull monotone here, no character/accent beyond his vocal range. [Read more…]

RASHOMON (1950 Japan)

rashomon-criterion-hdrimg-v2More than a film, Rashomon is more of a meditation on the dishonest nature of man. As we listen to four different testimonies of the same heinous crime, we see that people will lie to save themselves, no matter what the circumstances. [Read more…]

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