Jiro Dreams of Sushi; Documentary (2011)

We’ll never be as perfect as Jiro Ono. None of us. There is no hope of reaching this man’s level of excellence in whatever field it is we have chosen to call a career. Jiro is both an inspiration and menace. Inspiring us to work harder, menacing us with the reality that we will never be able to work this hard. He’s 85 and still working 14 hour days at his 3 Michelin star sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, in Japan. It should also be noted that this 10 seat sushi bar is located in a Tokyo subway, where the average meal costs $300 and takes all of 15 minutes to sit, eat and leave. This makes it the most expense restaurant per minute, in the world.

Second time director, David Gleb, originally set out to simply make a documentary about Tokyo’s finest sushi chefs. The plan got complicated once he encountered Jiro. Instead he made a documentary simply about one, the one, the best sushi chef in the world. Gleb kept things simple with a delicate finesse as well as a refined tone with his shots, use of slow motion and what has now become a cliched Phillip Glass score for these type of docs. While watching Jiro, one can’t help become both hungry and aware that the film technique is mimicking Jiro’s graceful and elegant methods.


Posted by on August 20th, 2012
File under Reviews

A Sex Talk Over Cuttlefish (2012)

A Sex Talk over Cuttlefish from Anderson Cowan on Vimeo.

Posted by on August 13th, 2012
File under Featured Movies, Movies

First Person: The Complete Series (2000)

 Usually it’s movies that I come here to write about, but this series (17 episodes, about 30 minutes each) needs at least a mention. I’ve been a fan of Errol Morris’ documentaries ever since I saw The Thin Blue Line  back in the 80s. It was different than any documentary I had seen before. It was as if the subjects being interviewed were talking directly to me. Years later I’d learn that this was the result of an invention created by Morris, aptly named by his wife; The Interrotron. It’s an ingenious system that uses two way mirrors to project Morris’ face where a lens would usually be. This gives the subject a human face to speak with and evidently makes them forget that they are on camera after awhile.

Morris has built a pretty nice career as one of the most respected documentarians of our time, despite the fact that he openly admits that he’d rather make narrative features, but suffers from writers block and the subjects in documentaries do most of the writing. It should be noted that the upcoming Freezing People is Easy  (due out in 2013) starring Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson and Christopher Walken will be directed by Morris and I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s not a doc. This will be his first non doc and it’s got me pretty curious.


Posted by on August 9th, 2012
File under Reviews

The Watch (2012)

Can’t recommend. At best it’s a background movie as in something that could work in the background of something entertaining. Like having  a few friends over, catching up with some drinks and maybe The Watch could be on at a low level. No need to follow the storyline that we’ve all seen before, or hang on the dialogue that we’ve all heard before. Every now and again, between sips, you and your friends might look up and see something slightly amusing, or hear a fun one liner. This movie could’ve worked better as a series of vignettes rather than a feature length narrative.

It’s been a few days since I’ve seen it and I’ve been struggling to figure out exactly what it was that didn’t work. I like all 4 of the lead actors, especially Vince Vaughn. The 3 writers include guys who have helped write Pineapple Express, The Simpsons, Bolt and Goon and one of them is named Seth Rogen.Director Akiva Schaffer is one of the 3 Lonely Island boys who I absolutely adore.He also directed my dearly beloved Hot Rod and is behind many of the SNL Digital Shorts that make SNL worth while most weeks. What I’m saying is that this looked good on paper, but just didn’t work. Had this been released 10 years ago I think I might be singing a different tune, but it’s too late for a movie like this. We’ve seen this zane before. If Attack the Block , The Hangover and a handful of other male bonding movies hadn’t come to us over the last decade then I might just love The Watch, but they have and I don’t. It would be like Ford coming out with a hybrid car that gets 28 miles to the gallon. There are much better options that have already been released.


Posted by on August 3rd, 2012
File under Reviews