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Ran Review


Extraordinary
The average movie enthusiast has probably heard the name Akira Kurosawa mentioned with reverence in pretentious film-snob circles or in almost any film school, but chances are the average movie enthusiast probably hasn't bothered to ever really watch any of Kurosawa's films, which is a real shame. For in these films lies the expression of unbelievable talent - a poetry of motion and color - created and painted by a true master of the art of modern cinema. Now in theatrical reissue, casual moviegoers once again have the chance to see Ran, Kurosawa's masterpiece, on the big screen.

Kurosawa's closest colleagues addressed him as "sensei," a respectful and affectionate term meaning "teacher" or "master," and for good reason: He is without question, the master of Japanese cinema and an artist whose film legacy spanned 50 years of moviemaking. He influenced filmmakers such as Lucas, Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese and countless others. For example, the movie A Fistful of Dollars was really nothing more than Western remake of the Kurosawa film Yojimbo, and The Magnificent Seven was a remake of Seven Samurai. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Kurosawa four times in his career, and Ran has won countless awards, including Best Film from the esteemed National Society of Film Critics. The film was Kurosawa's obsession for more than 10 years and he feared that the movie would never be made. When it finally did get financing, it became Japan's most expensive film ever made at the time.

Continue reading: Ran Review

Ran Review


Extraordinary
The average movie enthusiast has probably heard the name Akira Kurosawa mentioned with reverence in pretentious film-snob circles or in almost any film school, but chances are the average movie enthusiast probably hasn't bothered to ever really watch any of Kurosawa's films, which is a real shame. For in these films lies the expression of unbelievable talent - a poetry of motion and color - created and painted by a true master of the art of modern cinema. Now in theatrical reissue, casual moviegoers once again have the chance to see Ran, Kurosawa's masterpiece, on the big screen.

Kurosawa's closest colleagues addressed him as "sensei," a respectful and affectionate term meaning "teacher" or "master," and for good reason: He is without question, the master of Japanese cinema and an artist whose film legacy spanned 50 years of moviemaking. He influenced filmmakers such as Lucas, Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese and countless others. For example, the movie A Fistful of Dollars was really nothing more than Western remake of the Kurosawa film Yojimbo, and The Magnificent Seven was a remake of The Seven Samurai. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Kurosawa four times in his career, and Ran has won countless awards, including Best Film from the esteemed National Society of Film Critics. The film was Kurosawa's obsession for more than 10 years and he feared that the movie would never be made. When it finally did get financing, it became Japan's most expensive film ever made at the time.

Continue reading: Ran Review

Madadayo Review


Very Good
It seems only fitting that Akira Kurosawa's last film (which he wrote and directed) be an homage to teaching. After all, he inspired many of today's respected directors and is taught in film schools internationally. Madadayo is a sweetly overlong portrayal of an interconnected community whose center is a beloved professor.

Madadayo opens with a Professor (Tatsuo Matsumura) announcing to his class that after 30 years of teaching, he is now choosing to write in retirement. The young sing his praises and previous alumni move the Professor and his wife into a new home. The pair is as hospitable to everyone as if they were children returning from college.

Continue reading: Madadayo Review

Casshern Review


Good
Exhausting, this remake of a '70s anime film was produced at the same time as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, using the same device of all-CGI backdrops combined with real actors. Well, mostly CGI backdrops, and mostly real actors. Too bad the one-note plot -- mutant race attacks the world and only a mythical superhero can save it -- is tired and dull, and can't even begin to carry its 140-minute length. It really wears you down.

Akira Kurosawa's Dreams Review


Bad
At the risk of sounding disrespectful to one of filmmaking's masters, Akira Kurosawa couldn't dream his way out of a paper bag.

Based on Akira Kurosawa's Dreams -- a film consisting of, you guessed it, a bunch of his dreams put on film and strung together one after another -- Kurosawa didn't have dreams any more interesting than you or me. George Bush's dreams -- that I'd like to see. Saddam Hussein's dreams -- that'd be a hoot! But a creative filmmaker naturally has kooky, inspirational dreams. And of course they're complete nonsense.

Continue reading: Akira Kurosawa's Dreams Review

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Madadayo Movie Review

Madadayo Movie Review

It seems only fitting that Akira Kurosawa's last film (which he wrote and directed) be...

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