Categories
Animation Features Live Action Movies

Hundreds
of Beavers

Director – Mike Cheslik – 2022 – US – Cert. 12 – 108m

***1/2

A ruined drinks purveyor reduced to hunting beavers (played by actors in onesies) attempts to kill the amount required to buy a trader’s daughter’s hand in marriage – visually astonishing slapstick comedy is out in UK and Ireland cinemas on Tuesday, July 9th

Opening with what is essentially a music video extolling the bibulous virtues of the booming, farm home of Jean Kayak’s Acme Applejack, this shows a simplistic caricature of a prosperous nineteenth century business when the wooden supports of one of Kayak’s gigantic barrels of beverage is nibbled by a beaver causing it to roll down a hill on which it’s situated into his house at the bottom of the hill, causing it to burn down his hillside apple orchard.

Leaving aside such questions as, why store the huge barrel on top of a hill above your house? – the answer, so it can roll down a hill, catch fire and burn down your orchard to get the plot going, proving less than satisfactory – this leaves the ruined Jean Kayak (co-writer Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) homeless in midwinter and forced to survive by hunting animals.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Shadow of Fire
(Hokage,
ほかげ)

Director – Shinya Tsukamoto – 2023 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 95m

****

A woman has drifted into prostitution, while a small boy struggles to survive in post-war Tokyo – plays UK cinemas in the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2024 between Friday, 2nd February and Sunday, 31st March

An interior in the ruins of post-war Tokyo. A figure sleeps restlessly on a mat. A man hunts for a child who has broken in and is stealing food to survive. The man says to the waking woman (Shuri), “I approach the ones who look harmless – but who knows?” As he forces himself upon here, the image cuts away to decay on the walls. The woman’s hand, like a strange, disembodied limb, appears over a parapet fixture. The man goes out to solicit clients from the woman.

A soldier (Hiroki Kono) comes in, clearly in a bad way, drinks some Sake, pays the fee, then falls asleep. In the morning, she makes him breakfast. He asks to stay, promising to get work and pay his way, but after a day or so the young boy (Oga Tsukao), who she has taken under her wing, reports that he just sits in the same spot and does no work-hunting.… Read the rest