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The JPFmovies staff and longtime contributor Tom V. discuss the current state of the American film industry.

The JPFmovies staff and longtime contributor Tom V. discuss the current state of the American film industry.

Hello again JPFmovie fans yeah, we know our staff needs to bring some more game to the table so here is a fresh start.  As anyone who has followed the JPFmovies posts over the years will tell you we have taken the position that Hollywood churns out nothing but crap.  However, after a recent discussion with long time contributor Tom V., we have refined our position, what follows is our discussion with Tom V:

JPFmovies:  It is nice to hear from you again.  During our last meeting about potential reviews you and the JPFmovies staff were considering when you brought up some excellent points.  You have a different take on why the state of the Hollywood film industry is what is it is today.

Tom V: Yes, I do on several fronts.  Look at the advertising/marketing budgets of films like “Fury” an excellent film in my opinion versus some Transformers movie for example.

JPFmovies:  Could you expand on that a little more.  I mean it sounds like you think that Hollywood has become nothing more than a giant spreadsheet and a bunch of focus groups.

Tom V: Yes, that is exactly it.  Hollywood no longer backing classics, they will reluctant will.  Movies like Mutiny on the Bounty, Casablanca, Good Fellas and Reservoir Dogs.  These films are either not made anymore or the studios simply don’t invest in these types of films the way they used.  They seem to have a sixth-grade focus mentality because that is what seems to sell because these films are costly babysitters.

JPFmovies: Well what has happened to the talent that made some of the best movies in history like Sir Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner, Blackhawk Down or Kill Bill?

Tom V.: Over the past couple of years you’ve seen the talent move to Netflix, Amazon Prime and other independent film outlets.  What Hollywood has been regulated too are comedies with singing animals and politically correct films, action films more about the more expensive special effects scenes and other formula driven rubbish.

 JPFmovies: OK so you see all of the talent migrating (both actors and writers) to the new business models like Netflix and Amazon—do this that Hollywood with adjust to these changing times?

Tom V.: It will never happen Hollywood seems to be stuck in a holding pattern of mediocrity.

JPFmovies:  Ok why don’t proven directors like Scott, Tarantino or David Lynch get the resources they deserve?

Tom V.: Because it doesn’t sell as many tickets as a formulaic Transformers movie despite the obvious merit of films like of Blade Runner 2 because their focus groups projected lower profits.  That film for instance should have been made by Netflix or Amazon because it would have been funded and promoted much better.

JPFmovies: So, you believe that the free market has allowed companies like Netflix, Amazon, AMC and others to think outside of the box and make great entertainment for far less money.

Tom V.: Yeah sure.  Amazon and Netflix are on the cutting edge but don’t have the resources to go toe to toe with a company like Paramount—yet.  For instance, the Netflix series Marco Polo was an amazing series had to be canceled because of the $100,000,000.00 price tag for another season—which for a company like Netflix or Amazon which could have probably handled the costs, but they wisely spread those resources to other programs.

JPFmovies:  What are your favorite series to date from Amazon and Netflix?

Tom V.:  Marco Polo for sure from Netflix and Man in the High Castle from Amazon.  And even these films sucked, at least I would have avoided robots beat the crap out of each other yet again.

JPFmovies:  Do you have any predictions for the upcoming Raspberry Awards?

Tom V.: Too early to call.

JPFmovies:  What can we expect your next review to be?

Tom V.: I think it will be Brad Pit’s 2014 film Fury—which cost $68,000,000.00 and took in approximately $211,000,000.00, so these good movies can in fact be profitable. This film defied the odds of the Transformer garbage.

JPFmovies:  Any closing remarks you want to tell the audience.

Tom V.:  The only way you can change the mediocrity of Hollywood is with your pocketbook.

JPFmovies:  Thank you for your time. And we look forward to your next review.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2019 in Movie Reviews

 

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A Cruel Story.

A Cruel Story.

This is a tale of the Shinsengumi, a band of samurais in Kyoto that are steeped in lore and the subject of many films.  They formed and became prominent as the Tokugawa period was swiftly decaying and their goal was to preserve the Tokugawa government and keep order in Kyoto at any cost.

The Shinsengumi’s have been portrayed across the full spectrum of images from slapstick chumps (some would say) as in the 2004 NHK series to a cruel & barbaric group of ruthless bloodthirsty samurai.  A Cruel Story depicts the group as uncivilized & dirty, some members have even gone insane.  This film is unlike many previous versions where directors try to make the group more palatable by sanitizing their image sometimes a little but mostly a lot.

The players include Kondo a man that assassinated the group’s founder Serizawa to become its leader and the extremely vicious homosexual Hijikata, who was the group’s chief assassin and summarily resolved internal disputes with his sword rather than with words.  One member had the audacity to question the group’s humanity that cost him a half-dozen sword cuts so he could bleed to an agonizing death.

The film follows Enami, who initially idolizes the band and wants to join their ranks so much that he attempts seppuku to prove his worthiness.  He is a hick from the sticks who dreams of becoming a true samurai, but is initially innocent of the barbaric ways the group uses to enforce its policies and carry out its mandate. 

Enami is mortified by his initial taste of the Shinsengumi’s punishing brutality and begins to vomit out of fear and disgust.  However, he is quickly seduced by the dark side and rapidly volunteers to behead a member showing us that one’s fall from grace can be fast and furious.  Nevertheless, there is more than the regression of man to primal violence, as we discover Enami is Serizawa’s nephew, Serizawa having been the past (and assassinated) leader of Shinsengumi.  He wants revenge against Kondo Isami, his uncle’s killer.

For the mid 1960’s this was one of the bloodiest black and white films of its time and is a powerful indictment of the brutality going on in Japan in the name of keeping the West out of the country.  A motion picture you should not miss.

 

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Movie Reviews

 

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