Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kwaidan (1964)

...aka: Ghost Stories
...aka: Hoichi the Earless
...aka: Kaidin
...aka: Weird Tales

Directed by:
Masaki Kobayashi

Four part Japanese horror/supernatural stories, each set during a different season. It's beautifully made, the storylines are styled as old fashioned morality tales and the art direction and cinematography are both astonishing. The 125 minute version released many places is missing the second tale. The full version (available from Criterion) runs 164 minutes. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes film festival and was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar; one of the only times a genre picture has received either honor.


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