Movie Diary 9/6/2010

Sanshiro Sugata and Sanshiro Sugata Part Two (Akira Kurosawa, 1943/45). Kurosawa was already Kurosawa with his first film, a martial-arts movie with clean lines and the director’s stylistic traits firmly in place. The follow-up movie must wade through some obligatory anti-American propaganda crap, but it comes around for some good business with two revenge-minded brothers confronting the hero.

The Most Beautiful (Kurosawa, 1944). Strange propaganda project about young women working at an optics factory, and the wartime quotas that push them to the brink. Can’t help but get a queasy feeling watching it, even if Kurosawa brings off some finely-tuned directing moments.

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (Kurosawa, 1945). Studio-bound expansion of a traditional play, which takes away Kurosawa’s feel for nature and weather. You can see why the central situation had proved popular on stage, however. And it’s one of the great titles.

Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2009). Missed it last year. It had to have been better in a theater with a lot of people – on TV it’s not the same sort of gotcha.

The Monolith Monsters (John Sherwood, 1957). Rocks from space, growing to killer form when water is added. A movie about people talking about ways of solving problems.