13 Assassins (Takashi Miike, 2010). Lives up to its hype. I think this is the first Takaski Miike film I’ve ever seen, and it’s funny … I really liked this one and thought the direction was exemplary, but I don’t feel like rushing out and watching others of his movies. The structure of 13 Assassins works primarily because Miike knows what he is doing. The first 2/3 establishes the characters of the various assassins (along with the villain, and holy moly, is he a villain). It’s a slower, even reflective beginning to an action film, but by letting us know the characters as separate entities, Miike allows for a more emotional finale. That finale, a 40+ minute battle scene, is as good as it gets. You always know what is happening (it’s not just a bunch of camera movement and explosions), you care about what is happening (because of the first 80 minutes), and the entire affair is choreographed with detailed excellence. 13 Assassins is also one of the more gory movies you’ll see, if that bothers you (you don’t always see everything, but you know it’s happening, which can be just as bad). Reminiscent of The Seven Samurai, of course, but also of The Wild Bunch, another movie about outsiders watching the world change. 9/10.
A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, 1951). #9 on my Facebook Fave Fifty list. #394 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 10/10.
The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969). #8 on my Facebook list. #48 on the TSPDT list. 10/10.