Blog Archives

Tokyo Family (2013)

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When Gus Van Sant remade Alfred Hitchcock’s slasher masterpiece Psycho in 1998, I have to admit to a certain level of bemusement. Why, when the original film was perfect in both pitch and execution, would anyone anywhere feel the need to remake it almost shot for shot? It seemed like an exercise in redundancy and in the end I walked away from that film with the only opinion that made sense to me — Van Sant was such a Hitchcock … (read more)

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Love and Honor (2006)

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There’s something inherently warm – possibly even nostalgic – about the third and final film in Youji Yamada’s informal Samurai period trilogy. While The Hidden Blade seemed predominantly cool and blue, and The Twilight Samurai appeared raw with Spring and all it’s free colour, it’s the burnt hues of autumn, of summer at its hottest, that seem to leave the most lasting impression in Love and Honor, making the film look simple, bare, pared down to it’s most essential … (read more)

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The Hidden Blade (2005)

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Yohji Yamada’s second film is soft with the same rural beauty that made Twilight Samurai such a remarkably refreshing period piece. It is a personal story, unconventional perhaps because its subject matter seems so very conventional, and Yamada is becoming something of a thematic auteur with his quiet, realistic portrayals of the samurai way of life, his harmless non-heroes, his uncomplicated humour and his slow sense of inevitable conclusion.

Munezo Katagiri (Masatoshi Nagase) is an unmarried samurai indentured to a … (read more)

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The Twilight Samurai (2002)

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Twilight Samurai is a small, understated film that will likely confound the (generic) expectations of most of its audience, so unless you get a kick out of paying ten bucks to sit in a dark room and feel alienated for two hours, listen up: this film’s primary strengths are dramatic, and it is, in fact, a melodrama.

This is a great thing, as it allows Twilight Samurai to address an imbalance that typifies just about every popular representation of samurai … (read more)

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