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No One Asked for Monday Movies’ Opinion, So We Don’t Have to Offer It

Monday Movies just got back from a family dinner with distant cousins-in-law who can safely be called the one percent. This consisted mostly of repeating to ourselves over and over, “until they ask for your opinion, you don’t have to give it.” We may not have performed this principle uncorruptedly. There came a point, shortly following the statement that “if you take too many predators out of an ecosystem, the prey go out of control” and having something to do with how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shouldn’t vaccinate quite so many African babies because the real problem is that they’re having so many of them in the first place, that Monday Movies asked, just for clarification purposes, if our interlocutor, an AIPAC lobbyist and former NYC Assistant DA, was in fact maintaining a policy preference for more infant African deaths. She hedged, but her son (“there needs to be a political party for me — socially liberal, but hawkish on Israel and taxes”), bless his heart, said, “no, be fair, mom, that is what you’re saying.”

Monday Movies tenders this anecdote by way of admitting that we haven’t seen any movies this week, most of which was spent in more congenial company, mixing Hanky-Pankys and pumping fat beats on the stereo while supporting our sister in the construction of various ice creams and pies. But you did. What was it? What did you think? I’m asking your opinion, so you have to give it.

November 28, 2011 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. Okay, fine.

    11/15/11 – The Actress and the Poet – Naruse 1935 6/10
    11/16/11 – Stray Dog – Kurosawa 1949 10/10
    11/17/11 – Stray Dog – Prince audio commentary
    11/18/11 – Miyamoto Musashi I – Uchida 1961 5/10
    11/19/11 – Poem – Jissoji 1972 5/10
    Act of Violence – Fred Zinneman 1948 6/10
    11/20/11 – A Chinese Ghost Story – Tsui Hark 1987 9/10
    11/22/11 – Labyrinth of Dreams – Sogo Ishii 1997 8/10
    11/23/11 – The Trio’s Engagements – Shimazu 1937 5/10
    11/24/11 – I Hate But Love – Kurahara 1962 6/10
    11/25/11 – Dekigokoro – Ozu 1933 8/10
    11/26/11 – Lola Montes – Ophuls 1955 10/10
    11/27/11 – Five Men of Edo – Ito Daisuke 1951 7/10

    With three masterpieces it was a good two weeks

    The one I will talk about is the Ishii Labyrinth of Dreams, A simple story, trite and silly really, about a 17-yr-old repressed bus conductress who has a romance with her driver, who she thinks is a serial killer of bus conductresses. B & W, in a very accomplished film noir style and tense soundtrack, this is played totally straight and entirely from her point of view. So you are essentially inside of a young girl’s thrilling but immature fantasy world. As I said, there is no overt irony or distancing effects, and you almost have to identify with her, she is in every shot. So the “meta” is somehow provided by the subject matter itself, which can’t be taken seriously yet if you get into the narrative must be taken seriously. The result is something like ending up terrified of the imagination of “innocent” young girls. Reminds me of “Turn of the Screw” (Innocents) or maybe “High Wind in Jamaica.” Fascinating achievement in ambiguity. Oh yeah, usual terrific cinematography, acting etc.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | November 28, 2011

  2. I watched the original Dial “M” for Murder with my wife over the weekend. Some of the acting in those old movies still makes me laugh – the big flourishes mostly – but I enjoyed the story.

    I also watched Saw (without my wife). I’ve heard of those movies being called violence porn. But with porn, I assume most people enjoy envisioning themselves as a participant in the action. That would not seem to be the case here. One of the most excruciating things about the movie is imagining being forced to do such vile things to yourself. Suffice it to say, though, I’ll never need to see any of the follow-ups to this first in the “franchise”.

    Comment by mattintoledo | November 28, 2011

  3. We watched “Battle: Los Angeles” and then “SWAT” was on TV when we were done: a Michelle Rodriguez double-header! I commented on the “Battle: Los Angeles” at my own site. We also saw a horribly mangled version of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” on TV. Apparently it is inappropriate to say (on Canadian television) “a well-timed blow job is in order” (that would be Gaius Baltar), but it is quite alright for the shopping channel host to call Bridget’s mother a “cunt.”

    Comment by Craig McFarlane | November 28, 2011

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