The Thursday List, Episode 3

"Bunraku" (2010)

To put it simply, this is a visually striking, highly stylized live-action semi-noir four-color comic Samurai/Old West Good-versus-Evil fable. A lot of time, money, and talent on several levels went into making this film, and truth be told, you see every last bit of it. Some have claimed it was too long-winded and convoluted. I found it quite easy to follow and highly entertaining. I rented it on a whim because it was 99 cents, and now I'm going to buy it on Blu-Ray for my collection. Highly recommended.

"The Grand" (2007)

"The Grand" pokes fun at the colorful personalities of professional poker players and their tournament world. It's a very laid back, funny, good-natured film, which comes a good deal from the choices of actors, all of whom are quite good at guided improvisation, which is a euphemism for "not much in the way of a script". There are a few lags here and there, but its generally even. Woody Harrelson, Werner Herzog, Gabe Kaplan, and Dennis Farina kind of steal the show, but not by too much. It's a fun film that you don't have to think about but just relax and enjoy the laughs. Recommended.

"Night of the Demon" (1957)
Note to U.S. readers: "Night of the Demon" is an original U.K. production renamed "Curse of the Demon" by its American distributor for its stateside release.

"Curse of the Demon" (1958)

When I recommend a movie, that's one thing. When Martin Scorsese recommends a movie, it's another, much more impressive thing. He does. So it is. "Curse of the Demon" is a very effective horror film because it has a tight, lean script brought to life well by a talented cast and because it is absolutely dripping with atmosphere. The technical direction and cinematography are top-notch. Its production was more than a bit rocky, which makes it a bit more impressive that it all came together so well. It's a solid, effective, reasonably family-friendly horror film. Highly recommended.


  1. Watched Curse just before Halloween - absolutely agreed in your recommendation. I heard the demon "puppet" was added afterwards, by producers, but it's such a fun beast it's hard to complain.

  2. I agree about the demon. It wasn't really necessary, but it did put a bit of extra umph to the ending. I liked it, and even most of those that don't don't say it detracted really from the rest of the picture. So it works out, I'd say.