Gone With the Wind (1939)

Let’s face it.  We live in an era where the mainstream is something to be feared, and to like the blockbuster is to admit to being the very same “non-person” we all fear becoming.  It’s important to look smart and cultured, and so we can’t admit to anything that makes us look too sheltered or nationalistic.  We embrace uniqueness or obscurity because it makes us feel like modern day Columbuses…no, strike that.  Columbus is too politically incorrect.  Continue reading

Harakiri (1962)

Image result for harakiri film

If you are a fan of action films, you may get tired of all the elitists that spew hate at you for your tastes.  Maybe, you can’t stand dramas because they bore you, or because you don’t like watching things that make you sad or uncomfortable.  You may just want all the movie critics like me to stop bugging you about what movies we like—unless, of course, we want to talk more about the movies that you like (so long as we aren’t mean about it).  I understand.  But what if a movie critic such as I decided to recommend a film that I thought that maybe you’d like?  Would you watch it?  Would you trust me? Continue reading

Rashomon (1950)

Seven Samurai and The Samurai Trilogy catapulted the rest of the world into the newest craze in international cinema in 1954.  But, before they were winning Academy Awards in the United States and filling up art house theaters in New York and London, a movie called Rashomon had lifted the veil off the eyes of the world and onto Japanese cinema.  At no point in history had a film from Japan sent such waves worldwide, asking pertinent questions that bridged cultures and borders while simultaneously embracing elements of cinema that touched all who watched.  If there ever was movie, other than Citizen Kane, that demanded study, it was Rashomon. Continue reading

Seven Samurai (1954)

I plan on writing four different reviews on famous chanbara (or “samurai”) films.  Initially, I wanted to save the best for last, but, after writing my review on Hiroshi Inagaki’s The Samurai TrilogyI learned that I just couldn’t wait anymore.  Were I to keep waiting, I would have to keep mentioning Seven Samurai every other line in the other reviews, and you would not have the foundational benefit of having read a review on Seven Samurai.  So, I’m going to go ahead and save the best for second. Continue reading

The Samurai Trilogy (1954-1956)

In an unprecedented move, I am going to review three films at once.  So, while I will technically only write four reviews on samurai film to accompany my recent essay on that genre, I will actually be reviewing six movies.  The three movies that I will be reviewing today make up the masterful trilogy from director Hiroshi Inagaki and actor Toshiro Mifune called, simply, The Samurai Trilogy.  This trilogy is made up of three films, Musashi Miyamoto (1954), The Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955), and The Duel at Ganryu Island (1956).  The release of these films marks an important moment in the development of the samurai film and its role as not only the predominant genre of Japan, but as Japan’s most exported film-type in world cinema. Continue reading