3 items from 2010
By Fred Burdsall
Back before the dinosaurs died off (sometime around 1968), a little film called Mad Monster Party made its way to my local theater, and like any kid…I had to see it. So, armed with some cash courtesy of my parents, I marched in and was handed a clip-on button that simply read “The Green Slime Are Coming.” I had no idea what that entailed, but if it’s slimy and green…I’m there. It took an agonizing four weeks but one day the marquee read “Saturday at noon..The Green Slime.” This was it, no turning back: Give me the worst chores you got, mom, cause I’m going to see The Green Slime, and I need money.
That being said, let me tell you all about it.
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The premise of Graveyard of Honor—the rise and fall of a mad-dog gangster—is a familiar one, traced as early as The Public Enemy in 1931, if not earlier. What makes it different from most of its forebears (including White Heat , both versions of Scarface [1932, 1983], and Kinji Fukasaku's own Graveyard of Honor ) is that Takashi Miike works to avoid any intimations of a narrative arc. Instead of setting up a pattern of hubris and comeuppance, Miike organizes the film as an accumulation of detail, with a special preoccupation with how things work: the way yakuza from different families forge alliances, how a prisoner can give himself salmonella to get into the infirmary, how the body reacts to heroin. For all the instructive, caught-in-the-moment observation, though, it is a frighteningly amoral film, less an object lesson in criminal psychopathology than an attempt to meet that psychopath on his level.
3 items from 2010
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