Spellbinding Songs

During the month of October I’ll be sharing Halloween inspired music mixes that you can stream online at 8tracks. My first offering was called “Frankenstein-A-Go-Go” and this time I’m sharing a 12 song mix called “Spellbinding Songs” featuring songs recorded between 1955-1968 about witches and that old black magic that they weave so well. Enjoy! Track Listing: Eartha Kitt – I’d Rather Be Burned As … Continue reading Spellbinding Songs

Frankenstein-A-Go-Go

I recently joined 8track, which allows members to create their own internet radio or mixed tape so during the month of October I’ll be sharing Halloween inspired music mixes that you can stream online. My first offering is called “Frankenstein-A-Go-Go” featuring 12 songs recorded by a variety of artists between 1958-1973 about the good doctor and his monster. Track Listing: Carlos Casal, Jr. w/The Chipmunks … Continue reading Frankenstein-A-Go-Go

A Joan Blondell Blogathon

The funny & fabulous Joan Blondell From my latest post at the Movie Morlocks: “During the month of August TCM highlights the work of a select group of talented performers as part of their annual Summer Under the Stars festival. The Movie Morlocks were asked to select one overlooked star from the Summer Under the Stars line-up to spotlight during a weeklong celebration of their … Continue reading A Joan Blondell Blogathon

‘Tis the Season

Happy Holidays from Cinebeats & Julie Christie! ‘Tis the season. I’ve been preoccupied with home renovations, work and holiday plans lately so I haven’t had a lot of free time to watch movies or blog and I don’t think I’ll be updating much in December. In an effort to keep things interesting here at Cinebeats I thought I’d compile a bunch of brief updates into … Continue reading ‘Tis the Season

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Frankenstenia is celebrating the life and career of one of my favorite actors with The Boris Karloff Blogathon taking place Nov. 23-29th. I didn’t sign-up to participate because I couldn’t commit to anything. My current blogging schedule is sporadic and a bit crazy because at the moment most of my attention is focused on trying to buy my first home. But I did mange to … Continue reading Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Remembering Yasuharu Hasebe (1932-2009)

btk01Akira Kobayashi in Yasuharu Hasebe’s Black Tight Killers (1966)

While I was trying to compile a post for the Japanese Cinema Blogathon currently happening at Wildgrounds I read the sad news that one of my favorite Japanese directors, Yasuharu Hasebe, has died after he contracted pneumonia on June 14th. Hasebe was 77 years old, but he was still an active director and his last project was the police drama The Case Files of Mamoru Yonezawa (Kanshiki: Yonezawa Mamoru no Jikenbo; 2009).

After learning about Yasuharu Hasebe death I immediately decided to put aside my previous plans to write about one of my favorite Japanese actors (Akira Kobayashi) and focus on writing a bit about Hasebe’s work instead. In a sad coincidence, Akira Kobayashi also appeared in some of Hasebe’s best films.

Only a handful of the movies that Yasuharu Hasebe made are currently available on DVD in the US but they showcase the work of an incredibly talented director who injected his action-packed dramas and violent pink films with pertinent social messages and bucket loads of style. Although he’s not as revered as many of his contemporaries, Yasuharu Hasebe was able to masterfully navigate through the Japanese studio system while carving out his own distinct creative path. The director wrote or co-wrote many of his best films, which often touched on similar themes including female oppression and exploitation, as well as race relations and the American occupation of Japan. Yasuharu Hasebe’s films are frequently sited for their orchestrated action and extreme violence but I think that many of them have maintained their power because of the director’s socially conscious scripts and keen sense of mise-en-scène.

Yasuharu Hasebe seemed to enjoy placing his camera in unexpected places and shooting his films in an intimate manner that is often surprisingly innovative. Although I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere else, I firmly believe that the recurring visual motifs and framing techniques seen throughout many of Hasebe films mark his work with an individual flair that is undeniably his own. I wouldn’t hesitate to call Yasuharu Hasebe an “auteur” but I know that I’m in the minority. It’s important to point out (as I’ve often done before) that western film criticism of Japanese cinema is still in its infancy and I suspect that Yasuharu Hasebe’s films will receive much more critical attention and acclaim in the future as more critics and film scholars are exposed to his work.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of my favorite Yasuharu Hasebe films and television productions that are currently available on DVD in the US . . .

Continue reading “Remembering Yasuharu Hasebe (1932-2009)”

Summer Blogathons

The long hot lazy days of summer are upon us and the film blogosphere is turning up the heat with an interesting batch of blogathons. I really like the community spirit behind blogathons and they often encourage some great writing as well as an interesting exchange of ideas. If you enjoy writing about film and have your own blog please consider participating in some of these upcoming events.

The Japanese film blog Wildgrounds is hosting a Japanese Cinema Blogathon June 15-21. This is a wide reaching international event that encourages participation from film bloggers all over the world no matter what their native language happens to be. The idea behind the Japanese Cinema Blogathon is to unite Japanese film fans in an effort to “promote Japanese cinema” and “help readers discover films” that have often been overlooked. This is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart and I’m glad that Michael has made an effort to put this blogathon together. For more information please visit the link below:

Japanese Cinema Blogathon June 15-21

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