Tag: protagonist

June 7, 2010 / / Main Slate

By William Benker

Lady From Shanghai – 1947 – dir. Orson Welles

Orson Welles’ Lady From Shanghai bridges the cinematic landscape from drama to adventure and mystery.  Led by its director (and protagonist) himself, alongside heroine Rosalie Bannister (Rita Hayworth), each character reveals layer after layer of insecurities, deception and greed throughout the story.  However, the fascination lies within the depth that Welles is able to explore.  Both tough guy and damsel reveal their true colors gradually, methodically, touching upon the most intimate conundrums of life, reflecting a harrowing character piece that shows the demons within oneself.  The magic lies in Welles’ delivery, exposing the depths and revealing their own façade to be but a mere image they have create to shelter their true selves.

April 23, 2010 / / Main Slate

William Benker

Yojimbo – 1961 – dir. Akira Kurosawa

It’s common Kurosawa knowledge that Japan’s greatest director was a huge fan of American westerns.  The wandering warrior often casually walks into a village at war.  What Kurosawa delivers in Yojimbo is a western all its own.  Complete with stand offs, hostages and a local brewery, the film encompasses a variety of talents at work.  Along with the usual duo of Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune, Yojimbo exemplifies the valiant efforts that go on behind scenes, raising the film above most western/gangster stories to an experience so entertaining, it illustrates the significance it plays in later American cinema.

January 29, 2010 / / Main Slate

By William Benker

Why Adaptations Still Work (When Done Properly).

Fantastic Mr. Fox – 2009 – dir. Wes Anderson

Adaptations of nearly forgotten children’s stories are a complicated process.  It requires certain tools, one could say, in order to “re-invent” the story in an appropriate way.  It must be done carefully, not daring too far from the original heart of the book, yet driving the narrative towards a more theatrical climax, properly combined to invigorate not only the audience, but the depth of the story.  While many other adaptations and remakes have both succeeded and failed to do this in the past decade, the stop-motion genre has invariably avoided such defeats.  Unlike recent hits Coraline & Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (both directed by Henry Selick,) Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox looks gritty, perhaps even haphazard, if fans weren’t aware of the director’s impeccable career (The style more closely resembles 1988 Czech film Alice by Jan Svankmajor). The Fantastic Mr. Fox goes beyond exploring the classic tale through a more contemporary perspective. Through the expansion of the original narrative, Anderson amalgamates the story into modern thought, meticulously transfusing both Roald Dahl’s original message and his own artistic vision, proving once again that the auteur is still at the top of his game.