Mark Whelan Film Picks and Essays

The Room & Hana-Bi

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FilmReviews Mar16

Text only version below.

The Room (2003) [99m] * D: Tommy Wiseau. C: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette
Greg Sestero, Phillip Haldiman, Carolyn Minnott, Robyn Paris,
Mike Holmes
, Kyle Vogt, Greg Ellery.

A bizarre (putting it mildly) banker uncovers the infidelity of his true love
which initiates a downward spiral into a pool of ..well…your guess is as
good as ours.

Textbook case for filmmaking ineptness that somehow managed to
become a cult phenomenon. The exceedingly untalented actor
, director,
writer, and star (!) Wiseau (yes, we recognize the setting of your film is in
San Fransisco) peddled this piteous project as a
black comedyas if to
vindicate there being no better specification to categorize such drivel

The film’s creation is dramatized in James Francos “The Disaster Artist,
(2017) which is
, paradoxically, a good movie.

HanaBi (1997) [103m] ***1/2 D: Takeshi Kitano. C: “BeatTakeshi,
Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima, Tetsu Watanabe,
Hakuryu, Ken Ichi Yajima, Makoto Ashikawa, Yuko Daike.

With one of his partners in the ground, another crippled (Osugi, terrific),
and wife dying of leukemia, an embittered police officer is lent money
from the yakuza in hopes
to appreciate some air of contentment with her
last moments. Unfortunately
, this minor misdeed surges into violent
ramifications in
true (and unconventional) Kitano fashion.

Kitano’s signature exposition of moral decadence (replete with his sly
) is not for all tastes, but rewards are many for those willing to
partake. One of his finest hours as star
, director, writer, and editor.

The paintings sporadically entwined throughout the film are also his

Also known as Fireworks in countries outside of Japan.