The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1947). Fluff … good fluff, wordy in that Joe Mankiewicz way, with a score by Bernard Herrmann, but fluff just the same. I’ve enjoyed most of the Joseph L. Mankiewicz films I’ve seen, but only one (All About Eve) really knocked me out. Thus, I watch something like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir hoping for another All About Eve, and when it doesn’t deliver, my disappointment may lead me to underrate the film. This movie is just fine, although it’s not a classic. Rather surprisingly, it’s #680 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the 1,000 greatest films. 7/10.
Sonatine (Takeski Kitano, 1993). This is a pretty interesting yakuza movie with an odd arc, in that it starts with action, and ends with action, but the majority of the film is taken up with a long section devoted to the lives of idle gangsters hiding out at a beach house. They take showers in the rain, devise all sorts of goofy games to pass the time, even trotting out a Frisbee at one point (first, they just play catch like any old hippie, but soon enough, they are using the Frisbee like a clay pigeon, trying to shoot it out of the sky). The violence, when it happens, is like in a Scorsese movie: it pops up, almost unexpected, and is over before you know it. The last big shootout is done in an artsy manner where we hear the sound of machine guns, but all we see is the flashing of the guns in the windows of the house where the shooting takes place. Sonatine is not an easy movie to categorize (I haven’t even said anything about the slapstick sand trap jokes), and I admit I have no idea what the title means. But this, my first Takeshi Kitano movie, is quite intriguing. #954 on the TSPDT list. 8/10.