Tag Archive: Japanese movies

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: 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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A Month of Kurosawa: Scandal (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! Scandal (1950) In the years immediately following the end of World War II, Akira Kurosawa found himself increasingly frustrated with the sometimes salacious turn Japan’s newly free media had taken, with too many tabloids dishing out celebrity gossip and rumors. With Scandal, he decided to confront that issue head-on. Well, until Takashi Shimura’s character began to steal the spotlight, that is. Here,¬†an artist portrayed…
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A Month of Kurosawa: Stray Dog (1949)

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! Stray Dog (1949) “Masterpiece” is probably a word that gets thrown around a little too easily, especially when discussing movies, but it’s hard not to use the word when discussing 1949’s Stray Dog, a gritty crime noir by Akira Kurosawa that peels back the curtain on postwar Japan’s underground crime scene and presents some stark moral questions in the process. Stray Dog once again…
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A Month of Kurosawa: Drunken Angel (1948)

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! Drunken Angel (1948) Here’s a recipe for movie magic: Put Toshiro Mifune on screen. Pair him with Takashi Shimura. And have Akira Kurosawa direct them. Still a no-name actor, this was Mifune’s first of many roles for Kurosawa, and he came out of the gate strong. The always reliable Shimura was supposed to be the lead here, but Mifune steals so many scenes it…
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