Tedious tomfoolery won't bring much Glory to the Filmmaker

Glory to the Filmmaker!

on September 07, 2007 by Susan Green
If only Takeshi Kitano had stuck with the delightful premise that carries the first third of Glory to the Filmmaker! The Japanese director, claiming to regret the violent yakuza gangster pictures that have brought him success, spoofs his own mid-life career crisis by speculating on the different genres he might use to create a kinder, gentler and much-desired worldwide hit. As new ideas are explored through brief scenarios, each sillier than the last, his narration provides hilarious commentary. He tries a weepy love story, a horror flick, a somber period piece, a ninja swordplay epic and a slow-paced social drama like those by auteur Yasujiru Ozu in the 1940s and '50s.

The various snippets feature Kitano as his deadpan alter-ego, “Beat” Takeshi, in the central roles—some of which have him toting around a large, vaguely look-alike and equally expressionless dummy. He's a sad-sack comedian in the mold of Chaplin or Keaton, so much of the humor stems from maintaining a flat affect as wild activities take place all around him. But the make-believe movies in Kitano's imagination start to get longer and more preposterous. When he settles on science fiction, Glory devolves into a slapstick farce that's as repetitious as it is unfunny.

This plot focuses on a range of idiotic characters interacting with ubiquitous mother-daughter grifters (Kayoko Kishimoto and Anne Suzuki), both dressed in kitschy schoolgirl outfits that evoke Japan's Hello Kitty craze. They hope to steal or marry into money. Corrupt businessmen, evil scientists, a martial arts class, monstrous machines and an asteroid hurtling toward Earth all figure in the process. It's a yawn, though hardly an inexpensive one. A big cast, many costumes, numerous sets and no small number of special effects must have driven up the budget in an indulgent example of how to turn out tedious nonsense. 

For complete coverage of the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, search boxoffice.com using keyword “TIFF 2007.”

Distributor: TBD
Cast: Takeshi Kitano, Tohru Emori, Kayoko Kishimoto, Anne Suzuki and Kazuko Yoshiyuki
Director/Screenwriter: Takeshi Kitano
Producers: Masayuki Mori and Takio Yoshida
Genre: Comedy/Fantasy
Rating: Not yet rated
Running time: 106 min.
Release date: TBD

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