James told me he wanted to see this this film at the theatre, so I joined him.

Like some other Christopher Nolan films there is a twisty plot that warps our current view of time and space, with this film concentrating more on warping time. It is confusing at times, and while it does start making sense by the end of the film, it was just a bit too much and is not really explained as well as it should have been.

Everything else is slickly acted, filmed, and edited, and there is plenty of action to break up the confusing parts.

But, I had quite a problem understanding the dialogue at times, and missed out on some plot points because of it. The background music or sound effects were sometimes too loud, and the actors were doing their Hollywood-mumble, so I couldn’t hear them. There were subtitles on the screen in Japanese for the audience, but I am not the best at reading Japanese.

In the final battle scene the sound was turned up beyond 11, and I had to put my fingers in my ears because I was worried about hearing damage (a metal gig I went to many years ago gave me slight tinnitus, so I have been very careful about loud sounds ever since). The theatre is of course partly to blame, but compared to the rest of the film this scene was much louder.

So this was a very mixed one. It was very nice to look at, and there were some good action sequences, but the confusing plot and over-exuberant sound effects made it a bit tiring.

As usual at a movie theatre in Japan there was absolutely no reaction from the audience at all. No gasps, laughs, oohs or ahhs, or shouts of “Kill him! Kill him!”, just silence. I went to a comedy film once and was amazed that after a funny line or gag almost no one was laughing, maybe a self-conscious giggle or titter, but no eruptions of laughter from the audience. I miss a real movie experience. Possibly in a big city like Tokyo it is different, but out here in the backwoods it is quite dull. The seats are very comfy though.

I will have to watch it again at home with subtitles on and my finger hovering over the volume button to really see what I make of this one.

Date watched: September 19th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2020: 45

The Irishman

I finally watched this after months of meaning to get around to it.

Despite being well over three hours long it didn’t for one minute lose my interest, it was just superb storytelling, acting, directing, cinematography, and other excellent-ness you would expect from a Martin Scorcese film. It was great to see Joe Pesci and Robery DeNiro again in a gangster flick, and joined by Al Pacino who was most excellent as well.

This is not quite as good as Goodfellas, no gangster film ever will be, but it is close.

Date watched: September 7th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2020: 44

Dead Man’s Shoes

This is a 2004 Shane Meadows film about revenge, the quite violent type.

The story is quite simple: a brother, who is a British Army paratrooper, is out for revenge on a gang of druggies and their ringleader for the way they treated his mentally-impaired younger brother.

What makes this film, apart from being a Shane Meadows film, is the superb acting by all involved, and the ending which caps off a very entertaining although somewhat grim film. It was quite gripping throughout and was well made. The chap playing the drug ringleader was played by Gary Stretch, a British champion in light middleweight boxing.

Like all Shane Meadows films (the ones I have seen at least), this is quite dark and depressing at times, but is absolute superbness. A Hollywood blockbuster this is not, but for me this is so much better.

Date watched: September 14th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2020: 43

Insidious: Chapter 2

After watching the first film in this series a few weeks back, I thought I would watch the rest of them. I went to the local DVD rental shop to save myself a lot of bother of finding them online (they are on more than one online-streaming platform, and cash as DVD rentals are only 50 yen each (Amazon Prime wants 300 yen to watch this film… robbery!).

The first film was just average, so I wasn’t expecting much from this one, and it lived down to expectations. The first film was chilling in places (mostly the first half), and had some good ideas. This one though had no chill, and relied on musical jump-scares a bit too much (someone bashing on as many piano keys as possible, and cranked up to 11).

The story was a continuation of the first, bringing back all of the original cast and adding new ones in of course, and a new evil ghost. Production was noticeably lower than the first, but the acting was the same (not good, but not bad).

I have two more films in the series to get through, so it will be interesting to see if things improve or not.

Date watched: September 7th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2020: 42