Tag Archive: films

A Month of Kurosawa: Yojimbo (1961)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! Yojimbo (1961) In 1957, Miles Davis released the album Birth of the Cool (though it was actually recorded in 1949 and 1950). It was a landmark record that helped change the face of jazz to come. Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 samurai classic Yojimbo could also have been called Birth of the Cool, given that it spawned an entire genre of badasses in western flicks, led…
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A Month of Kurosawa: I Live in Fear (1955)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! I Live in Fear (1955) aka Record of a Living Being How do you follow one of the greatest epics of all time, Seven Samurai? You don’t. Or rather, you try something completely different. Following the gigantic undertaking that was Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa aimed for something a little smaller: a meditation on fear of the atomic bomb. Starring Toshiro Mifune as an old…
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A Month of Kurosawa: Ikiru (1952)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! Ikiru (1952) If there is a film that made me want to write Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, it might be Ikiru. When I first saw the movie about 15 years ago, it was damn near a life-changing experience. It’s also the reason why Takashi Shimura is my favorite of Kurosawa’s regular players — yes, even above the beloved Toshiro Mifune. Ikiru, roughly translating…
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A Month of Kurosawa: The Idiot (1951)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! The Idiot (1951) Following Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa tackled something quite different: a faithful adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. Much like the book, it’s a sprawling, sometimes glacial affair focused on a complex web of interpersonal relationships. His initial cut came in at an imposing four and a half hours. At the behest of the studio he cut it down to three hours, then a…
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A Month of Kurosawa: Rashomon (1950)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! Rashomon (1950) Reams upon reams have been written about Rashomon. It’s likely to be among the two or three Kurosawa films even casual film viewers have seen, or at least heard of, so for this capsule review series I won’t talk about it at length. I do in the book — it’s among the longest chapters — but when it comes to giving a…
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