Tag Archive: movie

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…
Read more

Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country is a surprising but fitting ending for the original crew

There is something compelling about the idea of a franchise that has always been about exploring new frontiers ending its run by exploring a truly undiscovered frontier: peace in our time. It would have been easy (and obvious) to end things with a grand space adventure, with a galactic war or massive alien threat that puts Vygr to shame or with the Enterprise in some far-flung corner of the universe seeing sights we’ve never seen before. Instead, The Undiscovered Country centers around diplomatic missions, peace talks, and political negotiations. When talks go astray, it becomes equal parts prison story and police procedural, with a heaping helping of Hitchcockian spy-movie intrigue to keep the audience guessing until the big climax. This being Star Trek, that sounds…
Read more

Star Trek: The Search For Spock (aka the Search for a Good Movie)

On the surface, it may seem like a bad idea to devote a feature-length film to a slightly convoluted, comic booky story about bringing a popular character back from the dead, but the truth is … Who am I kidding? It IS a bad idea. The stakes have gotten more personal with each consecutive Star Trek movie, first with a threat that could destroy Earth and potentially endanger the entire galaxy, then a tale of personal revenge that also includes a device that could destroy a planet, and finally this story about a man’s sacrifice for a dear friend. That shouldn’t be a bad thing. People love Star Trek for the characters, after all, so a movie exploring the more intimate side of this crew’s…
Read more