Ah, Yojimbo. Forgive me for feeling little nostalgic, but once upon a time I discovered a couple of old black & white VHS tapes in the local library that became my entrance to Akira Kurosawa and then through his movies, eventually, belatedly, to the wondrous dimension of Asian cinema. Yojimbo was shorter than the other tape (Seven Samurai) so I watched it first. Ah, Yojimbo … it’s been a while, but thanks for a rather superb introduction.… (read more)
Ishiro Honda’s Gojira, known to those outside Japan as Godzilla, is a masterpiece. The scaly star of the film has so far appeared in 26 films, and is one of the enduring icons of Japanese cinema. Godzilla bootstrapped the kaiju (giant monster) genre in Japan, and there’s now a huge pantheon of enormous supernatural monsters littering the landscape, be they armoured, flying, metal, three-headed, alien, or some combination of several of these.
The film was made in 1954 … (read more)
I’ve been a huge fan of Akira Kurosawa’s work for a while now, since devouring his samurai films (The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro and others), then moving on to his later work — in particular, the stunning Ran and Kagemusha. Every one has been an excellent film, on all counts: cinematography, writing, acting and direction. Throne of Blood, as well, has some of the most wonderful black and white cinematography I’ve ever seen. So, I … (read more)
Considered by many to be the master’s first great work, Stray Dog is a superb film noir from the Kurosawa/Mifune team. An entry into that subgenre about an eccentric character on a single obsessive quest about something seemingly not so significant, the movie is pregnant with insight into male psychology, right and wrong, and of course the overarching churn of social change in post-war Japan. Just the very adoption of such an American genre as film noir speaks volumes about … (read more)
Seven Samurai is quite possibly the most overrated film ever. That’s a shame, because it’s a fine film — one of the finest, in fact — but there is a tendency among certain groups of people (who should know better) to refer to it as THE GREATEST ACTION FILM EVER MADE. Now, this really is stupidity, not only because everybody knows that The Killer is the greatest action film ever made, but also because, frankly, Seven Samurai isn’t an action … (read more)