Sanjuro (1962) - News Poster

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Film Review: Sabu (2002) by Takashi Miike

It is a rare occasion when Takashi Miike directs an almost completely tame film, while it borders on surprise when you have Tatsuya Fujiwara, one of the most hyperbolic actors in Japanese cinema, exercising the same kind of restraint. For that only, “Sabu” is a unique entry in Miike’s filmography. Let us see, however, how it fares as a movie.

Made as a TV film to mark the 40th anniversary of Nagoya TV, “Sabu” is based on a novel by Shugoro Yamamoto, whose works also served as basis for “Red Beard” and “Sanjuro”. One of the harshest “themes” of Edo period, parents sending away their kids because they were not able to feed them, serves as the basis, as the titular character has suffered this fate in the hands of a papermaker. While still a kid, he meets Eiji, who has become an apprentice after being orphaned at a young age,
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Movie Poster of the Week: Kurosawa Abroad

Above: a 1959 West German poster for Rashomon (1950) by Hans Hillmann and a 1960 Polish poster for Drunken Angel (1948) by Wladyslaw Janiszewski.If you are lucky enough to be in Tokyo this summer you have a treat in store at the newly renamed National Film Archive of Japan (formerly the National Film Center at the National Museum of Modern Art). Kurosawa Travels around the World: The Masterworks in Posters from the Collection of Toshifumi Makita is an exhibition of 84 posters from 30 different countries for 25 different films and is a glorious testament to the global appeal of the films of Akira Kurosawa. As the exhibition foreward says, “Kurosawa often said that ‘film is a kind of international plaza,’ where people from every country—beyond Europe and North America—can come together. We hope you enjoy these dynamic and audacious interpretations of his films by designers and painters from each country focusing on the
See full article at MUBI »

‘Ghosts of Tsushima’ Mixes History, Fiction, and Open World Action

  • Variety
The opening segment of Sucker Punch’s new adventure “Ghost of Tsushima” shows Jin Sakai, the games protagonist, slowly walking up a hill as a Mongol invasion drives the small Japanese island into disarray. But before we had any time to dissect the magnitude of the situation Jin reaches the top of the hill and is greeted with a view of the horizon that’s both beautiful and unsettling. The gorgeous landscape is marred by fires, destruction, and the sounds of war.

“We built this entire segment around this view,” Sucker Punch’s Nate Fox tells Variety. “It’s meant to illustrate how huge this world we’re creating is, we want players to got lost in our version of feudal Japan. People will be able to explore the island of Tsushima through their own volition.”

“Ghost of Tsushima,” revealed at last years Paris Games Week, is another open world,
See full article at Variety »

10 Westerns Inspired by Samurai Movies, from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ to ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ (Photos)

  • The Wrap
10 Westerns Inspired by Samurai Movies, from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ to ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ (Photos)
We finally got a glimpse of “Shogun World” in the latest episode of “Westworld,” and the idea to mash up the two universes isn’t just a coincidence. There’s a long history of Westerns borrowing from samurai cinema and the other way around, with Akira Kurosawa studying the work of John Ford, which in turn led to many of Kurosawa’s movies to be remade as Spaghetti Westerns. The cowboy and the samurai are each lone wanderers in a lawless world, so it makes sense that the themes would crossover. Here are 10 instances in which the West met the East.

The Magnificent Seven” (1960) and “Seven Samurai” (1954)

Akira Kurosawa’s landmark film “Seven Samurai” was highly influential on modern action cinema, but its most direct descendant was John Sturges’s “The Magnificent Seven,” starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and Eli Wallach. The film is a remake but represents
See full article at The Wrap »

Blu-ray Review – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 50th Anniversary Special Edition (1966)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 50th Anniversary Special Edition, 1966.

Directed by Sergio Leone.

Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach.

Synopsis:

Okay, it’s been 51 years since The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was released, but who’s counting? This new 50th Anniversary Special Edition from Kino Lorber pulls out all the stops with a 4K remastered image, theatrical and extended versions of the film on separate discs, and a big helping of bonus features, including three commentary tracks, deleted scenes, and a bunch of documentary materials.

Some film fans revere Sergio Leone the way others revere Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, and other directors with more recognizable names. I’ll admit to having arrived at Leone a bit later in life. Sure, I recognized A Fistful of Dollars in Back to the Future Part II, I knew about the longer version of Once Upon a Time in America,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Deathstroke Returns, Akira Kurosawa, Zatoichi, And The Man With No Name -- The Lrm Weekend

By David Kozlowski | 28 July 2017

Welcome to Issue #6 of The Lrm Weekend, a weekly column highlighting cool and unique videos about film, TV, comics, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, animation, and anime. We also want to hear from you, our awesome Lrm community! Share your favorite videos to: @LRM_Weekend and we'll post your Tweets below!

Previous Issues: 7.21.17 | 7.14.17 | 7.7.17 | 6.30.17 | 6.23.17

Hey Lrm Weekenders, we survived San Diego Comic-Con 2017 -- did you have a favorite moment? Thor: Ragnarok's latest trailer was a big hit at Lrm (Hulk speaks!). As July comes to a close, we're ramping up for the big movies and TV shows of the late summer through the holiday season.

This week our emphasis is on Akira Kurosawa, the legendary Japanese filmmaker who's works have inspired generations of directors, screenwriters, and actors. Kurosawa's films have been adpapted and remade dozens of times, and we hope that this week's column gives you
See full article at LRM Online »

All of the Films Joining Filmstruck’s Criterion Channel This April

Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This April will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.

To sign up for a free two-week trial here.

Monday, April 3 The Chaos of Cool: A Tribute to Seijun Suzuki

In February, cinema lost an icon of excess, Seijun Suzuki, the Japanese master who took the art of the B movie to sublime new heights with his deliriously inventive approach to narrative and visual style. This series showcases seven of the New Wave renegade’s works from his career breakthrough in the sixties: Take Aim at the Police Van (1960), an off-kilter whodunit; Youth of the Beast (1963), an explosive yakuza thriller; Gate of Flesh (1964), a pulpy social critique; Story of a Prostitute (1965), a tragic romance; Tokyo Drifter
See full article at CriterionCast »

The 12 Best Movie Sequels Ever

  • Cinelinx
Movie sequels are big business for Hollywood. Many fans are getting burnt-out on sequels, especially since so many of them are unnecessary. Still, let’s not forget that when they’re done right, sequels can be great. Here are a dozen of the greatest sequels ever made.

12. Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan (1982): Still the best of all the Star Trek films, this excellent sequel corrected everything that went wrong with its disappointing predecessor, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The action, the humor and the character interactions were all excellent. The comparisons to Moby Dick gave it a literary flavor, and Ricardo Montalban was fantastic as the villain, Khan Noonien Singh. The death of Spock was a surprise to long-time fans, even if it didn’t last. This film made the Trek film franchise fun and set the standard for the future films.

11. The Color Of Money
See full article at Cinelinx »

The Seven Greatest Director/Actor Combos

  • Cinelinx
Some actors and directors go together like spaghetti and meatballs. They just gel together in a rare way that makes their collaborations special. Here is a list of the seven best parings of director and actor in film history.

7: Tim Burton & Johnny Depp:

Edward Scissorhands; Ed Wood; Sleepy Hollow; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Corpse Bride; Sweeney Todd; Alice in Wonderland; Dark Shadows

Of all the parings on this list, these two make the oddest films. (In a good way.) Tim Burton is one of the most visually imaginative filmmakers of his generation and Johnny Depp was once the polymorphous master of playing a wide variety of eccentric characters. They were a natural combo. Depp made most of his best films with Burton, before his current ‘Jack Sparrow’ period began. The duo had the knack for telling stories about misfits and freaks, yet making them seem sympathetic and likable.
See full article at Cinelinx »

Criterion Reflections – Kill! (1968) – #313

David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:

Kill! is an entertaining and unusual take on the samurai/swordplay genre that plays for laughs many of the conventional tropes and set-ups common in the classic films from that tradition. I was fascinated observing how many of the fighting techniques, interpersonal conflicts, man vs. world showdowns and dramatic battle scenes that impact viewers with awe-inspiring tension can become a showcase of hilarity with just a slight exaggeration of tone, body language or facial expression (or simply cranking the fans that stir up dust clouds an extra notch or two.) Barking dialog that would come across as solemn and severe in more straightforward, traditional chanbara epics conveys much of the same surface meaning in advancing the story along in Kill! but also ends up generating a nice side helping of mirth in the process. Though at least one review considers
See full article at CriterionCast »

100 Essential Action Scenes: Swordfights

Sound on Sight undertook a massive project, compiling ranked lists of the most influential, unforgettable, and exciting action scenes in all of cinema. There were hundreds of nominees spread across ten different categories and a multi-week voting process from 11 of our writers. The results: 100 essential set pieces, sequences, and scenes from blockbusters to cult classics to arthouse obscurities.

Sword fights, like one-on-one fights, target the emotion and power of each individual fighter, but are amplified by the extension of their weapon. Whereas one-on-one fights test the might and bronze of our competitors, sword fights add an extra element of intelligence and skill. A fighter can scrape by through luck in a brawl of fists, but a sword (and knife) fight exposes the true strengths and weaknesses of its opponents.

10. Rob Roy (1995) – No quarter asked, no quarter given

Roger Ebert called the final duel between Rob Roy (Liam Neeson, in a
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Barnes & Noble 50% Off Criterion Sale 2014! Top Titles to Buy!

It's that time of year again and it's time to update the list for the second half of 2014 as Barnes & Noble has just kicked off their 50% off Criterion sale and as impossible a task as it is to cut things down to just a few titles, I have done my best to break Criterion's titles down into a few categories. Hopefully those looking for box sets, specific directors or what I think are absolute musts will find this makes things a little bit easier. Let's get to it... First Picks I was given the Zatoichi collection for Christmas last year and being a collection that holds 25 films and another disc full of supplementary material it is the absolute definition of a must buy when it comes to the Criterion Collection. It is, once again, on sale for $112.49, half off the Msrp of $224.99, and worth every penny. I spent the entire year going through it.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Best Criterion Titles to Buy During Barnes & Noble's 50% Off Sale

Barnes & Noble has just kicked off their 50% off Criterion sale and while it's impossible to suggest titles that will suit everyone looking to beef up their collection at this perfect time of year, I will do my best to offer some suggestions. Let's get to it... My Absolute First Pick I am almost done going through this collection and it was a collection I got for Christmas under these exact circumstances. Typically priced at $224.99, you can now get this amazing set of 25 Zatoichi films for only $112. Box sets, in my opinion, are what sales like this were made for. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Next Ten Recommendations It isn't easy so this is a collection of just some of my favorite films (of all-time and within the collection) and a little variety, though pretty much my standard, go to Criterion first picks, especially if you are just starting out. Persona Breathless
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

‘Sanjuro’ deftly exposes a different side to the very gruff titular anti-hero

Sanjuro

Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Japan, 1962

A small band of nine samurai convene in an isolated shrine in the woods to discuss a most pressing mater: the corruption that has reportedly seeped its way into the workings of their clan’s highest ranking officials. Unbeknownst to them a ronin, Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) has been eavesdropping on their deliberations and, in his usual gruff manner, offers his help to eventually expose and squash the ne’re do wells. The nine warriors are initially suspicious of Sanjuro’s unorthodox approach but quickly realize he is an powerful asset in their quest to right wrongs once the ronin dispatches a series of foes with forcefulness and efficiency before their very eyes. Perhaps even more intriguing is the fact that Sanjuro’s violent act of self-defense convinces the clan’s top enforcer, Hanbei Muroto (Tatsuya Nakadai), to offer him a job.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Yojimbo’ is supreme entertainment under the guidance of the sensei Kurosawa

Yojimbo

Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Japan, 1961

It is the mid 19th century in Japan as a wandering ronin (the term designated to samurai who no longer have a master to follow), Kuwabatake Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune), roams the windy, autumnal countryside, unsure as to the direction he should head next in search for food and money. Gambling on one particular route takes him to a small town awash in corruption and gamesmanship between two warring factions, one commandeered by Seibi (Seizaburo Kawazu) and the other by Ushitora (Kyu Sazanka). Each has associated themselves with one of the two major industries the sullen town calls its own, a sake brewery run by Tokuemon (Takashi Shimura) and a silk factory owned by Tazaemon (Katamari Fujirawa). Despite the consternation and warnings of a local tavern owner, Goji (Eijiro Tono), the ronin sees a window of glorious opportunity
See full article at SoundOnSight »

New on Video: ‘The Hidden Fortress’

The Hidden Fortress

Written by Ryûzô Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Akira Kurosawa

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Japan, 1958

By the time Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress was released in 1958, it was more or less settled that the Japanese filmmaker — the only Japanese filmmaker most average moviegoers had heard of at that point — was among the world’s best. This was after Rashomon, after Ikiru, and after The Seven Samurai. Kurosawa’s talent was beyond question, and his global cinematic prominence was growing. However, his last three films, while positively received by critics, did not do so well with audiences. He needed something that would combine quality with commercial success. “A truly good movie is really enjoyable, too,” he once said. “There’s nothing complicated about it.” He would meet this condition with The Hidden Fortress, out now on a new Criterion Collection Blu-ray/DVD combo. While not containing the narrative innovation,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

'Throne of Blood' (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review

I first watched Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957) six years ago. It was only the third film from Kurosawa I'd seen and I actually wrote a piece (which was really nothing more than an extended synopsis) after my first viewing right here, which is a rather interesting read six years removed. I remember not entirely enjoying Throne of Blood, when I first watched it and reading the piece linked above I see I found it largely interesting due to the fact it's an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" while I also take issue with the length of some scenes, a complaint I read now and realize how much my taste has changed since writing that post. If you were to ask what I remembered of Throne of Blood before rewatching Criterion's newest Blu-ray upgrade, I'd say it would be 1.) the ghostly white spirits in Spiders' Web forest; 2.) the smoke-filled visuals
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

From Taylor to Tarantino, from Flapper Moore to Docu-Maker Moore: Something for Everyone at Library of Congress' Packard Screenings

Judgment at Nuremberg,’ Martin Luther King Day documentaries, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’: Library of Congress’ Packard Theater January 2014 movies (photo: Maximilian Schell in ‘Judgment at Nuremberg’) Judgment at Nuremberg, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Roger & Me, Pulp Fiction, and Ella Cinders, five National Film Registry 2013 additions will be screened at the LoC’s Packard Campus Theater in January 2014. Directed by the invariably well-intentioned — at times heavy-handedly so — Stanley Kramer, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) is a surprisingly effective dramatization of the Nazi War Trials. The generally first-rate cast includes Best Actor Academy Award winner Maximilian Schell, Best Actor nominee Spencer Tracy, Best Supporting Actor nominee Montgomery Clift (who reportedly worked for no fee), Best Supporting Actress nominee Judy Garland, Richard Widmark, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, and a pre-Star Trek William Shatner. Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) earned Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis Oscars, in
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Director & Actor Teams: The Overlooked & Underrated (Part 1 of 2)

Cinema is a kind of uber-art form that’s made up of a multitude of other forms of art including writing, directing, acting, drawing, design, photography and fashion. As such, film is, as all cinema aficionados know, a highly collaborative venture.

One of the most consistently fascinating collaborations in cinema is that of the director and actor.

This article will examine some of the great director & actor teams. It’s important to note that this piece is not intended as a film history survey detailing all the generally revered collaborations.

There is a wealth of information and study available on such duos as John Ford & John Wayne, Howard Hawks & John Wayne, Elia Kazan & Marlon Brando, Akira Kurosawa & Toshiro Mifune, Alfred Hitchcock & James Stewart, Ingmar Bergman & Max Von Sydow, Federico Fellini & Giulietta Masina/Marcello Mastroianni, Billy Wilder & Jack Lemmon, Francis Ford Coppola & Al Pacino, Woody Allen & Diane Keaton, Martin Scorsese & Robert DeNiro
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Seven Films To Watch and Celebrate Akira Kurosawa's Birthday On Hulu

Tomorrow, March 23, is Akira Kurosawa's birthday. The iconic and influential director would have been 103-years-old had he lived long enough to see it, but that isn't to say he hasn't left a lasting legacy keeping him alive in the hearts of cinephiles. To celebrate the occasion, Criterion and Hulu have made available 24 of Kurosawa's films on Hulu free of charge to nonsubscribers (with commercial interruptions, and only in the U.S.) through midnight Sunday, March 24 and it includes all the hits and then some. Now I haven't seen all of Kurosawa's films, but I would like to at least offer up some suggestions for those of you looking for a starting point, or just a diversion from all this Ncaa Basketball. 1.) Seven Samurai - The obvious starting point is Seven Samurai. It's the film most everyone immediately associates with Kurosawa even if it isn't necessarily one they consider his best or their favorite.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »
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