Hey look! The new blog made it to two posts! Very exciting stuff! In this one we see my comments on Buster Keaton films and Zatoichi. I have been slowly going through both Keaton’s filmography, and received the Criterion collection set of Zatoichi films in 2013, so a lot of those films were previously discussed in 2013s list, that isn’t featured in this blog. If there is demand I can repost the odd bit from last year, but at this point I’m going to skip it and keep playing catch up. At any rate, as can be seen here, the post silent era of Keaton had been mostly miss for me by this point.
That’s about it for this recap. Yay movies! Enjoy! Feel free to discuss films in detail in the comments!
005 01-04 The Passionate Plumber (1932) 1.5/5
Another one of Busters talkies from MGM. None of them have been particularly good, and this one really suffers since Buster seems handcuffed in the dialog and gets no chance to do the pantomime that made him famous. Typically, Jimmy Durante steals the show in these, but even he falls flat. Thankfully, this is the last of the MGM pictures that I own and I don’t plan to seek out anymore so I can move on with my Buster Keaton watching.
006 01-04 The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) 2.5/5
I was expecting this one to be a typical crime drama, and was surprised it’s actually a generational family drama with a crime background. Basically it’s about fathers and sons and how one affects the other. Frankly it tries too hard and ends up being a bit of a mess by the end despite being full of good performances.
007 01-04 The Gold Ghost (1934) 3/5
By 1934 Buster Keaton had hit the booze fueled skids at MGM, who dumped his contract after bleeding his career dry by reusing his classic gags in films by Red Skelton and the Marx Brothers. Keaton found himself without a career, and joined up with skid row movie producers “Educational Films” to restart his career by doing the short comedies that made him famous in the first place, only now with sound. This is the first one, and it’s pretty solid. Keaton seems to be in control, and the gag of a rich socialite running away to a ghost town only to get bombarded by a new gold rush is a lot of fun. On par with his silent work at any rate.
008 01-05 Hated: GG Allin & The Murder Junkies (1993) 3.5/5
Stumbled upon this one on YouTube of all places and since I always meant to watch it, I did! Absolutely fascinating look at Allin. Forget Marilyn Manson, GG was truly dangerous, his shows being literal criminal assaults on the paying audience. I’m not going to pretend that he was some amazing talent. His music is pretty much the most base, shitty hardcore going. His absolute fearlessness though is, well, truly fascinating and strangely admiral in light of the horrid phoniness of all things mainstream that seems to be trying to reach new heights these days. He absolutely lived the life he preached, and it of course ended up killing him. It had too, and this documentary is a must see.
009 01-05 Allez Oop (1934) 2/5
The second of Keaton’s shorts for Educational, and it’s a bit of a step down. A pretty basic romance plot that has it’s moments. Sadly, most of the moments are gags he did better in previous movies.
010 01-06 Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword (1964) 4.5/5
Holy shit was this one good! A woman is killed after her litter is mistaken by Ronin to be that of Zatoichi’s, leaving an orphan baby. Zatoichi vows to return the little guy to his father and in typical fashion, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Really good action with genuinely heartwarming interactions with the baby, balanced by a gloomy sadness and desperation for redemption, this movie has everything.