15 items from 2016
Not for nothing is Toshiro Mifune one of the most renowned actors of world cinema. Known mostly for his many collaborations with Akira Kurosawa — including such classics as “Rashomon,” “Seven Samurai” and the “Yojimbo” cycle — as well as Hiroshi Inagaki’s “Samurai Trilogy,” the Japanese thespian appeared in nearly 170 films before his death in 1997. Steven Okazaki directed the new documentary “Mifune: The Last Samurai,” which just released its first trailer.
Narrated by Keanu Reeves and featuring interviews with the likes of Martin Scorsese (who offers that “Mifune’s performance is layered, complex. He studied the movement of lions. He’s like a caged animal”) and Steven Spielberg, the trailer touches on Kurosawa and Mifune’s joint influence on American cinema as well as the actor’s two main vices: alcohol and cars.
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- Michael Nordine
"A lot of people try to imitate Mifune, but nobody can." Stop and watch this now! The first official trailer has debuted online for a fantastic documentary called Mifune: The Last Samurai, profiling the life and work of Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. If you're a cinephile you're already very familiar with Mifune - he starred in numerous Akira Kurosawa films including The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo and Rashomon, as well as tons of other classic Japanese films. This doc examines his life work with old footage and photographs and tells his story from the early beginnings of his career, to his falling out with Kurosawa and final roles. Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are two of the filmmakers who talk about how incredible Mifune was, with more special guests. I caught this film at the Telluride Film Festival and loved it - highly recommended. Here's the first trailer for Steven Okazaki »
- Alex Billington
“Mifune’s performance is layered, complex. He studied the movement of lions. He’s like a caged animal,” says Martin Scorsese in the (above) trailer for Mifune: The Last Samurai, the new documentary about Toshiro Mifune, the greatest actor from the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema. Directed by Academy Award-nominated director Steve Okazaki and narrated by Keanu Reeves, Mifune: The Last Samurai features rare archival footage and interviews with Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Koji Yakusho as well as Mifune co-stars Kyoto Kagawa, Haruo Nakajima and Yoshio Tsuchiya. Mifune appeared in nearly 170 films, including Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Red Bear. The film […] »
- Paula Bernstein
The film screened at the Venice and Telluride and is narrated by Keanu Reeves with interviews including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Koji Yakusho as well as Mifune co-stars Kyoto Kagawa, Haruo Nakajima and Yoshio Tsuchiya.
Mifune was the greatest actor from the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema who appeared in nearly 170 films.
Some of his most memorable works were in his collaborations with director Akira Kurosawa during the 1950s and 1960s and the documentary focuses on his work on Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne Of Blood andRed Beard. »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Ryan Lambie Sep 9, 2016
For over a decade, Oregon-based studio Laika has honed its own unique kind of animation. Mixing traditional stop motion techniques with 3D printing and CGI, Laika has produced such captivating movies as Coraline, Paranorman and this year’s Kubo And The Two Strings. The indescribably busy studio co-founder, lead animator, producer and now director Travis Knight describes Laika’s hybrid approach as “Cavemen side by side with astronauts”; whether a scene is brought to life with puppets, CGI or a hybrid of both, his films have a foot in both the past and the future.
Kubo And The Two Strings, Laika’s most ambitious film to date, also has one foot in the far east. Set in Heian-era Japan, it’s Knight’s love »
Some actors and directors go together like spaghetti and meatballs. They just gel together in a rare way that makes their collaborations special. Here is a list of the seven best parings of director and actor in film history.
Of all the parings on this list, these two make the oddest films. (In a good way.) Tim Burton is one of the most visually imaginative filmmakers of his generation and Johnny Depp was once the polymorphous master of playing a wide variety of eccentric characters. They were a natural combo. Depp made most of his best films with Burton, before his current ‘Jack Sparrow’ period began. The duo had the knack for telling stories about misfits and freaks, yet making them seem sympathetic and likable. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
After a few delays, Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange follow-up, Blond, has now arrived and, with it, not only an additional visual album, but Boys Don’t Cry, a magazine that only a select few were able to get their hands on. (Although, if you believe the artist’s mom, we can expect a wider release soon.) In between a personal statement about his new work and a Kanye West poem about McDonalds, Ocean also listed his favorite films of all-time and we have the full list today.
Clocking at 207.23 hours, as Ocean notes, his list includes classics from Andrei Tarkovsky, David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jean Cocteau, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, Fritz Lang, Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, Ridley Scott, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergei Eisenstein, F. W. Murnau, Luis Buñuel, and more.
As for some more recent titles, it looks like The Royal Tenenbaums »
- Jordan Raup
For this week's episode of our cinematography series Hit Me With Your Best Shot we wanted a slight curveball as a way to celebrate the release of the Costume Design documentary Women He's Undressed. It's now available to rent on iTunes or purchase on other digital platforms. (Jose's interview with the director here). The film is about the legendary Orry-Kelly, who designed a truckload of classic Hollywood features and stars, and won three Oscars in the 1950s for An American in Paris, Les Girls and Some Like It Hot. So those playing "Best Shot" this week could choose any of those three. I watched Les Girls since it gets the least attention and they even use its image for the documentary's poster (left).
Les Girls (George Cukor, 1957) is not well remembered today but curiously it reminds us yet again that mainstream Hollywood in the 50s and 60s paid a lot »
- NATHANIEL R
Most people like to see resolution in films but not every filmmaker gives us that. Sometimes, they just leave us wondering. While there are times this can be just a symptom of bad writing or editing, it can also be an excellent way to get people to leave the theater thinking. In the hands of a clever and talented filmmaker, this technique can make a good film even more interesting. Here are seven good movies that don’t give us the answers we expect.
Rashomon (1950) The Plot: In feudal Japan, a priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a bad rainstorm in the ruins of an old army gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are discussing the trial of a bandit accused of the murder of a samurai whose body was found by the woodcutter in a forest grove. Both men have been called to testify. »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
Dailies is a round-up of essential film writing, news bits, videos, and other highlights from across the Internet. If you’d like to submit a piece for consideration, get in touch with us in the comments below or on Twitter at @TheFilmStage.
Francis Ford Coppola has relaunched Zoetrope.com as a virtual studio for the writing community and a showcase for short films.
Cinephilia and Beyond have posted an appreciation of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, including the full script and more:
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a contemplative, slow-paced, superbly acted piece of contemporary filmmaking which has to be considered an important player in the 21st century revival of the Western genre, an artistically accomplished, technically brilliant exploration of one of the founding myths of American identity, and a movie whose stature is bound to rise in the decades to come. »
- Jordan Raup
With editors and cinematographers chiming in on the best examples of their craft in cinema history, it’s now time for directors to have a say. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America, they’ve conducted a poll for their members when it comes to the 80 greatest directorial achievements in feature films since the organization’s founding in 1936. With 2,189 members participating, the top pick went to Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather, one of three films from the director making the top 10.
Even with films from nonmembers being eligible, the male-dominated, America-centric choices are a bit shameful (Kathryn Bigelow is the only female director on the list, and the first foreign film doesn’t show up until number 26), but not necessarily surprising when one looks at the make-up of its membership. As with any list, there’s bound to be disagreements (Birdman besting The Bicycle Thief, »
- Jordan Raup
The Asian Cinema 100 list was released last year at the Biff (Busan International Film Festival), which marked its 20th anniversary with a poll of prominent Asian filmmakers and international critics of Asian film, who were all asked for their top ten of all time.
Japan accounted for 26 films on the list, followed by Iran (19) and Korea (15).
The top 5 Japanese films are listed below in rank order.
1. Tokyo Story (1953), #1
It opens with the putt-putt sound of a boat and the wisps of smoke rising from the chimneys of »
- Lady Jane
Asghar Farhadi‘s films don’t strike me as having much of a cinematic precedent, which is not at all to suggest they aren’t “cinematic.” Consider, rather, the fact that his master’s thesis concerned world-class dramatist Harold Pinter, and think of his screenplays’ dramatic properties — an incident, an involved party, the people around him or her, and further incidents that will then gradually, inevitably emerge. Perhaps I consider him a great, great writer first and a very great visual strategist second, or simply take those roles as 1a and 1b, respectively.
In short: it’s little surprise that his Sight & Sound list is filled with movies about families and their calamitous issues (sometimes “just” emotional), or at least movies heavily concerned with the reverberations of actions. It’s also a fine collection of cinema as is, save for Sun Yu‘s The Road, which I’m only excluding »
- Nick Newman
The first successes of Asian films in the Oscars occured during the 50’s, when the award for Foreign-Language Film was not yet introduced and the Academy presented Special/Honorary awards to the best foreign language films released in the United States. Three Japanese productions received these awards during this decade.
1951. Rashomon, by Akira Kurosawa. A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred.
Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
Animator Yoram Gross, the closest Australian cinema has come to a Walt Disney, pilfers from classic children’s tales in a film constantly hopscotching between divergent plot lines
The concept of an unreliable narrator has twisted films in all sorts of interesting directions since the early years of cinema. Germany blew audience’s minds with the expressionist head trip The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, the entire 1920 film revealed to be a nightmare cooked up by a straitjacket-clad madman.
The Japanese master Akira Kurosawa famously relayed conflicting accounts of the same event from three different people in Rashomon. Hollywood’s form in this field probably peaked during its noir years, when men on the wrong side of the law – typically dying or about to be caught, such as in Double Indemnity and Detour – reflected in highly subjective detail about everything that went wrong.
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- Luke Buckmaster
15 items from 2016
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