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Toshiro Mifune, Reisaburo Yamamoto in Akira Kurosawa's Drunken Angel Akira Kurosawa's Drunken Angel Review Part I As for the DVD package? Unfortunately this is one of the very lesser releases by The Criterion Collection. First, the video transfer, in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, is from a really poor source – Drunken Angel looks like a mediocre ten-year-old VHS tape, laden with lines, scratches, ghosts, blobs, and myriad other imperfections. Particularly bad is the ‘dream sequence.’ What is puzzling is how Criterion has boasted of not only restoring but enhancing the quality of its releases, e.g., the rereleases of Seven Samurai and Federico Fellini’s Amarcord. By contrast, this Drunken Angel release is quite substandard. Granted, the costs for such a task would be far more daunting than the tweaks given to the other films, but … isn't that the supposed reason Criterion exists? If all we were to get was a half-assed job, »
- Dan Schneider
Yoidore tenshi / Drunken Angel (1948) Direction: Akira Kurosawa Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa, Keinosuke Uekusa Cast: Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Reisaburo Yamamoto, Michiyo Kogure, Chieko Nakakita By Dan Schneider of Cosmoetica: Watching Akira Kurosawa’s 1948 black-and-white effort Yoidore Tenshi / Drunken Angel is an interesting experience, for he clearly had not mastered the art form, yet. Even so, there is so much that is good in Drunken Angel — touches that would become great in just a few years. It’s like looking at a fetus and seeing distinguishable characteristics of its parents, though none is fully formed. Additionally, the same could be said of the director’s budding partnership with leading man Toshiro Mifune, partly because Mifune is not the film's main character. After all, the 'drunken angel' is played by Takashi Shimura, one of the best actors in film history – just watch Ikiru – and Kurosawa’s leading male actor until Mifune asserted [...] »
- Dan Schneider
DVD Playhouse—November 2010
By Allen Gardner
Paths Of Glory (Criterion) Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 antiwar classic put him on the map as a major filmmaker. Kirk Douglas stars in a true story about a French officer in Ww I who locks horns with the military’s top brass after his men are court-martialed for failing to carry out an obvious suicide mission. A perfect film, across the board, with fine support from George Macready as one of the most despicable martinet’s ever captured on film, Ralph Meeker, and Adolphe Menjou, all oily charm as a conniving General. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Audio commentary by critic Gary Giddins; Excerpt from 1966 audio interview with Kubrick; 1979 interview with Douglas; New interviews with Jan Harlan, Christiane Kubrick, and producer James B. Harris; French television documentary on real-life case which inspired the film; Trailer. Widescreen. Dolby 1.0 mono.
Winter’S Bone (Lionsgate) After her deadbeat father disappears, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Three previously undiscovered screenplays by master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa have been uncovered in Japan. According to Sankei Sports (via The Playlist), Tokyo University Media Professor, Yasuki Hamano found the screenplays while researching for his upcoming book series Akira Kurosawa Archives in which the scripts will be collected. Two of the scripts–Kanokemaru no Hitobito (The People of Kanokemaru) and Ashita o Tsukuru Hitobito (The People Who Make Tomorrow)—are for feature films while the third–Yoki na Kojo (The Cheerful Factory)—was for a radio drama. Hit the jump for details on these projects.
For those who don’t know, Akira Kurosawa is one of the most legendary and influential filmmakers of all time. His body of work features numerous classics including Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Rashomon, and Ran. Kurosawa passed away in 1998 at the age of 88.
The People of Kanokemaru centers on “sailors on an old transport ship who overcome »
- Matt Goldberg
Chicago – If one looks at the spine of a Criterion Collection release, he will see a number that indicates the order in which films have been inducted into the most important DVD/Blu-ray series in history. With over 500 films in the collection (this week’s “Paths of Glory” is #538), one might wonder where it all began. “Grand Illusion,” which Criterion no longer has rights to, is #1 but their second inductee has recently been transferred to Blu-ray and the two-disc release for “Seven Samurai” is a beauty.
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
One of several films by Akira Kurosawa than can accurately be called “incredibly influential,” “Seven Samurai” inspired not just other films directly but is one of those movies that’s often cited by modern filmmakers as why they became involved in the movie industry in the first place. “Seven Samurai” is mesmerizing, a film that transports the viewer through Kurosawa’s amazing storytelling ability. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
For years now Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai has been ranked as one of the best movies ever made, and is usually considered one of the finest achievement in cinema. In the most recent Sight and Sound poll of the best films ever made, critics ranked it eleventh (its highest charting was in 1982 at #3) while filmmakers ranked it ninth. It’s ranked thirteenth on IMDb.com’s list of the greatest films of all time. Ain’t no denying that Kurosawa and his cast (including Toshiro Mifune) made a masterwork. And my review of The Criterion collection’s Seven Samurai after the jump.
A band of marauding Ronin spot a village and are about to raid it when their leader notes that the village’s crops won’t be ready for another couple of weeks. They ride off, but a villager hears their plans. After a discussion, the villagers decide »
- Andre Dellamorte
Akira Kurosawa, 1950
A woman is raped in a forest by a bandit, and her samurai husband murdered. In court, the victim and her attacker give contradictory accounts of what happened, while the dead man, communicating through a medium, offers another differing interpretation. Finally, a fourth account is given by a woodcutter who claims to have witnessed the attack. But whose version can be believed? Rashomon, which won the Grand Prix at Venice as well as the Oscar for best foreign language film, is an example not only of the great Kurosawa at the height of his powers – working with his regular collaborator, the imposing Toshiro Mifune – but of cinematic storytelling at its most daring. With its multiple contradictory flashbacks conspiring to present truth as an amorphous entity, Rashomon has been hugely influential on film structure and vocabulary in the 60 years since it was made.
But this formalist significance should not overshadow the picture's visual eloquence, »
- Ryan Gilbey
Legendary production designer Robert F. Boyle, who died last Aug. 2 at the age of 100, will be honored by the Art Directors Guild (Adg) Film Society and the American Cinematheque with a memorial screening of William Richert's Winter Kills (1979) on Sunday October 10, at 5:30 pm at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Winter Kills features Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Sterling Hayden, Dorothy Malone, and Toshiro Mifune. Earlier that day, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will conduct "an invitational tribute" to Boyle in the lobby of its Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Based on Richard Condon's novel, Winter Kills revolves around the encounter between the son of an assassinated U.S. president and a dying man who claims to be the killer. Sets were built at the MGM Studios, in addition to location shooting in Manhattan, various sections of Los Angeles County, and the »
- Andre Soares
Trevor Hogg profiles the career of legendary Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg in the second of a five part feature... read part one here.
In an effort to gain access to their son, Ila Fae Holiday and Robert Dent kidnapped a patrolman causing them to be pursued by a massive Texan police convoy; the 1969 incident was a media sensation and served as the inspiration for the theatrical debut of Steven Spielberg. “The Sugarland Express  is partly based on truth and partly on the wonderful cartoon imaginations of two genius writers, Hal Barwood [MacArthur] and Matthew Robbins [Mimic], with whom I collaborated,” stated the acclaimed American filmmaker. “In the true story, about 90 police cars from 11 counties, and God knows how many tank towns and four-way stops fell into this rag-tag formation. Our budget only allowed us 40 police cars, but I had to make it look like 100.” The story is reminiscent of a Hollywood classic by the legendary Billy Wilder. »
What I love about this time of year are all the movies getting ready to unspool for the first time. Over the next few weeks, the Toronto Film Festival, Telluride, the Venice Film Festival, and even Fantastic Fest will premiere tons of movies – with many of them under the radar (for now). That’s because every year plays out the same way…as a few movies will come out of nowhere to win some of the biggest Awards at each of the Festivals and then they’ll get released around the world. That’s why everyone gets so excited for this time of year, because over the next few weeks, the world’s leading film critics will get to see almost all the big releases for the rest of the year and everyone wants to be the first one predicting what will win an Oscar and what film was a huge disappointment. »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Note: for the purposes of this article, all Japanese names are presented in the Western fashion, with the given name followed by the family name.
There's a Kurt Vonnegut story called "Who Am I This Time?" about a quiet and formless small-town man named Harry Nash who comes to life only during productions at the local theater, in which he becomes entirely consumed by whatever character he's playing. A tabula rosa defined only by his current role, Nash is a complete mystery beyond his otherworldly talent. This story springs to mind almost every time I watch one of Takashi Shimura's rapturously immersive performances - he's perhaps the most accomplished actor in film history to have a mere stub for a Wikipedia page.
- David Ehrlich
London's Scala was once the king of repertory cinemas, showing everything from high art to the lowest trash. Stephen Woolley talks about its festival-based return
In June 1979, I was 22 years old, and I published my first programme for the Scala cinema in London. Having served a baptism of fire at the Screen on the Green in Islington, and at the political film collective The Other Cinema, I had fire in my belly and wanted to create an alternative Nft, where you could laugh at Buñuel, weep at Sirk and scream at George Romero. In that first month we showed all-night Judy Garland classics and a celebration of Gay Pride Week shoulder to shoulder with macho men such as Toshiro Mifune, Robert Mitchum and John Wayne.
We put on double bills, triple bills, all nighters on Friday and Saturday, and had a fully licensed bar with the best jukebox in London »
Warner Catalog! Christopher Nolan is now the most beloved director of the fanboy set for realizing a dark and realistic take on the Dark Knight. For the critical community he was already championed for having directed one of the masterpieces of the 21st century with Memento, and now it seems both parties are coming together to celebrate Inception. Insomnia was Nolan’s transition film into the big leagues to show that he could handle a larger budget and big names. It’s more important as a transitioning film, than as an actual piece of art. Al Pacino stars as Will Dormer, a Los Angeles detective flown to Alaska to help hunt a possible serial killer (Robin Williams), only to accidentally shoot his partner (or perhaps not)?
- Andre Dellamorte
I’ll live to see what becomes of a prostitute. I’ll see it for myself.
After a pair of columns over the past two weeks dedicated to the early and later films of Yasujiro Ozu, and an earlier review of Akira Kurosawa’s I Live in Fear, it seems only fitting that my attention should turn toward the last of classic Japanese cinema’s “Big Three” directors. As was the case last Monday with Early Spring, today’s selection happens to fit right into my on-going project of reviewing Criterion films in chronological order. It’s Street of Shame, from Eclipse Series 13: Kenji Mizoguchi’s Fallen Women, which also turns out to be the last film that Mizoguchi ever made (and the only film I’ve watched so far from this set, which I recently purchased during Barnes & Noble’s 50% off sale)
This set is somewhat unique in »
- David Blakeslee
Criterion has announced their October releases and they’ve lined up some great titles including Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 film House. Criterion has provided us with high resolution front and back cover art as well as details on each release. Hit the jump to take a look. All are being released on DVD and Blu-ray:
In The Darjeeling Limited, from director Wes Anderson (Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox), three estranged American brothers reunite for a meticulously planned, soul-searching train voyage across India, one year after the death of their father. For reasons involving over-the-counter painkillers, Indian cough syrup, and pepper spray, the brothers eventually find themselves stranded alone in the middle of the desert—where a new, unplanned chapter of their journey begins. Featuring a sensational cast, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Here we are again: another mid-month Criterion Collection new release announcement, with some incredible titles to talk about. Many of today’s announced titles have been teased at in one way or another, over the past few months.
First up we are finally going to see Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, Criterion Collection #2, Seven Samurai finally making its high definition debut in the states. This release was something that Criterion mentioned back in December, as the Ak 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa was released, and the Yojimbo / Sanjuro films were about to be announced on Blu-ray. In the post, Jonathan Turell mentioned that they wanted to have Seven Samurai ready on Blu-ray for Kurosawa’s birth month as well, but that it wouldn’t be ready until later in the year. The Seven Samurai Blu-ray was also teased at earlier this year when Amazon suddenly added a pre-order page for it, »
- Ryan Gallagher
I keep thinking about the H-bomb, but all I can do is think! …
It’s a living hell!
This week’s selection for the Journey Through the Eclipse Series is driven by a desire to maintain some continuity with my Criterion Reflections blog. On that site, I’ve been watching and writing about films released by the Criterion Collection in their original order of release (as films, not DVDs.) I Live in Fear, a 1955 film featured in Eclipse Series 4: Postwar Kurosawa, just happens to fall in line with my most recent review over there, Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog. So during the past few days, just like a small handful of movie watchers in late 1955, I’ve been contemplating those two great horrors of the World War II era: first, the Holocaust, and now the prospect of death by nuclear attack and radioactive fallout. Anyone got a Xanax they can spare? »
- David Blakeslee
Saturday 26 June
Richard Chamberlain Marathon
2pm, CBS Drama
In the 1980s, it was practically TV law that you had to have Richard Chamberlain looking pensive and tangled up in a complicated historical romance if you wanted to make a mini-series. Here, CBS Drama are dedicating a weekend to his work. It's The Thorn Birds today, all forbidden love in the Australian outback; then James Clavell's epic Shogun tomorrow, where he's a 17th-century adventurer in Japan opposite Toshirô Mifune (above) – star of many of Akira Kurosawa's classics.
To recap: Amy's bought a bullet, River's up the creek, and every school bully in the playground has ganged up on our anvil-headed hero and locked him in a cupboard at playtime. However this one resolves itself, it's going to be »
- Richard Vine, David Stubbs, Ali Catterall, John Robinson, Andrew Mueller, Martin Skegg
A beautiful restored print of Rashômon, the ultimate film about the unreliability of storytelling, spearheads an essential season of Akira Kurosawa films at BFI Southbank. Starring as a bandit on trial for kidnap and rape, the director's regular collaborator, Toshiro Mifune, gives perhaps his wildest and sexiest performance.
Akira KurosawaWorld cinemaCrimeJason Solomons
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- Jason Solomons
If any situation justifies the multi-angled Crash/Amores Perros-style treatment, it's modern-day Israel. Co-written and directed by an Israeli and a Palestinian, mostly using non-professional actors, this is more hip, streetwise and even-handed than we're used to. Set in a mixed neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, the plot skilfully juggles intertwined stories of feuds, families, drugs and violence involving characters from all faiths.
Trash Humpers (18)
Korine preserves his enfant terrible reputation with a scrappy, seedy home video following a group of masked delinquents around. It's a vaudeville of depravity (they literally hump dustbins) that manages to be grimy without being explicit.
Wild Grass (12A)
Veteran Resnais crafts a silky, genre-hopping middle-aged romance that's full of wonders and mysteries. »
- Steve Rose
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