17 items from 2009
In 1992, Abel Ferrara made a very dark, very depressing movie called Bad Lieutenant. In it, Harvey Keitel played a morally bankrupt police officer who seeks redemption by investigating the rape of a nun who refuses to bring charges against her assailant, turning the Bad Lieutenant into the Mad Lieutenant. The film did nothing at the box office, and is remembered mostly because it is the motion picture in which Keitel shows off his penis. There was at the time no great demand for Keitel – a fine actor, but never a matinee idol – to show off his penis, even though it was a very splendid penis indeed, nor has there been any grassroots groundswell of support for this sort of thing afterwards.
Not so long ago, »
- Joe Queenan
MGM Home Video has offered up thirteen different star-centered CD packs, all conveniently priced at $24.95 but savvy shoppers can find them for as little as $14.95. Each box set features four films from the studio’s vast library and neatly packages them together.
What you pay for in convenience, though, you lose in the rich DVD experience that many aficionados want from their home video. The films come with commentary and maybe the trailer but little else. So, if your recipient is a major fan of the films and/or stars, be warned.
Having said that, two that were sent for review, are pretty nice. The Clint Eastwood Star Collection offers up A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and Hang ‘Em High. That’s 721 minutes of Clint in his spaghetti western days and the birth of a film icon. Oddly, A Fistful of Dollars »
- Robert Greenberger
For years, the Criterion Collection has been around to provide one of the best film educations a casual viewer can receive. Just by checking out any chunk of the now-massive collection, you'll be exposed to an incredible array of films that cover every spectrum of entertaining and artistic filmmaking. And now it just got a whole lot more accessible, as Criterion has added thirty-five more films to stream via the Netflix 'Watch Instantly' service. Now you have no excuse to miss some of the best films ever made. Quite a few films from the Criterion Collection had hit the Netflix streaming service already, and in the last month the offerings have come fast and furious. With the 35 titles added today, you can multiply your cinematic knowledge a hundredfold, just by queuing up all these titles over the holiday break. There's a great deal of classic, unmissable work by Akira Kurosawa: Yojimbo, »
- Russ Fischer
2010 is quickly approaching, and the timing seems right to begin a new endeavor: The Criterion Column. At least once a month, this column will provide information about upcoming releases from The Criterion Collection and highlight titles that may be of interest to Twitch readers. This column will also be complimented by timely reviews of upcoming Criterion and Eclipse releases as well as discussions of gems in the company's back catalog.
This first volume of this column is dedicated to a list of all announced releases for January, February and March of 2010. The data fields are in the following order: Director, Title, Format(s), Street Date, and Regional Availability. Each title is linked to the relevant entry at The Criterion Collection website. This list will be updated as new titles are announced.
Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas, DVD & Bd, »
The Criterion Collection team announced to celebrate the 100th birthday of Japanese mastermind director Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray-style! According to their news update, they will release Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Sanjuro, both starring the wonderful Toshiro Mifune, for the first time on Blu-ray Disc (probably locked to Region A) with English subtitles on March 23, 2010. Both films are already available on Bd in Japan in the Akira Kurosawa Masterworks Collections, but Toho did not include English subtitles on these releases.
Originally Cc also planned to release Seven Samurai in March, but due to additional restoration processes the film will come later in 2010.
[via Blu-ray.com] »
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Ak 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa (Criterion Collection) Sure, there are some of 2009's bigger film releases hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week, but this set from Criterion is undoubtedly the release of the week. This set offers 25 of Akira Kurosawa's films, four of which had never been released on DVD, and an illustrated book featuring an introduction and notes on each of the films by Stephen Prince (The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa) and a remembrance by Donald Richie (The Films of Akira Kurosawa).
I was not sent a copy for review, but DVD Beaver has an extensive three page look at the set right here. If you are interested, it is selling for $284.99 at Amazon as of the posting of this round-up. A list of the films included is directly below followed by a »
- Brad Brevet
A quick heads-up for Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood fans. All three of their "Man with No Name" westerns are now up on Hulu for free viewing. Hulu is only going to have these movies up until the end of November, so don't waste time, pilgrim. You can watch all three films right here.
A Fistful of Dollars originally followed the trend of remaking Akira Kurosawa's samurai films as westerns. I say trend, but really there was only, what, The Magnificent Seven? Fistful uses the plot of Kurosawa's Yojimbo as its premise, then reshapes it into Leone's own signature style. Then came the pseudo-sequel, For a Few Dollars More. Leone never meant for the three films to be a trilogy, but it just turned out that way due to Eastwood's same look and acting style in all three. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is a prequel of sorts, »
- Arya Ponto
Su-ta is going through a particularly bad patch in his career. He may be a popular film star, but his press has being going sour for a while. He is hiding his current relationship from the paparazzi by reducing it to sexual trysts in a van down by the river, and the new girlfriend is getting pretty annoyed. His personal assistant is letting him know his spending and lifestyle are maxing out his current income. And to top it off, his director, Bong, (enthusiast and obsequious fanboy, a name play on the director of The Host, perhaps?) is obsessed with more realistic fighting in his movie. This resulting experimentation has had a few landed blows because of Su-ta’s propensity to lose his temper under the stress. With no actors willing to act opposite him in the fight scenes, the movie is in jeopardy and the director has started to »
- Kurt Halfyard
Chicago – Now that he is widely recognized as one of the best filmmakers of all time, it’s almost hard to believe that there was a period in the career of Akira Kurosawa when he couldn’t get financing to make a film. Kurosawa went through a very dark time in the ’70s, punctuated by his disastrous experience with “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” and needed the weight of Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas to help with his comeback, “Kagemusha,” now available in a beautiful Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release.
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0 I adore stories like the one behind the making of “Kagemusha” because they reflect the ripple throughout the ages that comes with amazing creativity. In the excellent special feature, “Lucas, Coppola, and Kurosawa,” the interviews draw a definitive line from John Ford (whose “The Searchers” influenced Kurosawa) to Kurosawa’s work to “The Godfather” to “Star Wars” to “Kagemusha,” which itself inspired countless filmmakers. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
When Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha was announced for Criterion Blu-ray I had seen the film for the first time only a couple months earlier and enjoyed it greatly. While it's not the director's greatest film, it is a visual feast that takes full advantage of a high-definition Blu-ray transfer, which I can only assume is the reason it's the first of Kurosawa's films Criterion decided to bring to the new format after their plans to deliver Ran were capsized due to rights issues. Kagemusha is Kurosawa's return to the samurai story and this time in color following his Oscar-winning Dersu Uzala five years earlier. The setting is the warring states of feudal Japan as the powerful warlord Shingen Takeda is fatally wounded, but before dying instructs his closest men to carry on his legacy, while not letting on he has passed away. In an effort to carry out the ruse »
- Brad Brevet
The next few month could become pretty expensive for hardcore fans of Akira Kurosawa. After Toho already announced the first Masterworks Blu-ray Disc Collections with seven films from Japans most well known director back in June, the studio will offer seconds in Dezember. Akira Kurosawa: The Masterworks Blu-ray Disc Collection II will be released on December 18th and will include Yojimbo, Ikiru, Stray Dog (Nora inu), I Live in Fear (Ikimono no kiroku), The Hidden Fortress, The Lower Depths (Donzoko) and Most Beautifully (Ichiban utsukushiku). Like with the first collections, the titles will most probably be available outside the box set as well.
Oh, and just in case you are wondering…of course Toho won’t include English subtitles. »
Sergio Corbucci's Django revolutionised the Spaghetti Western genre in many ways. The low-budget retelling of Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars – itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo – ramped up the violence, the amorality, the bloodletting and the insanity factor to an unprecedented scale, spawning a glut of rip-offs, cash-ins and unofficial sequels of varying degrees of quality. It also, quite unintentionally, began a trend for titular heroes whose names ended in the letter 'o' and when said quickly enough could possibly be mistaken for Django.
There was Anthony Steffen - the Spaghetti Western standard-bearer, himself no stranger to playing Django - starring as the main man in both Garringo and Shango. 'Sword and Sandal' star Brad Harris as the fast gun in Durango is Coming, Pay or Die. Montgomery Clark (Dante Posani) as the gambling gunslinger in Djurado and Ivan Rassimov in this, 1967's Cjamango. »
So I’m a little late with this, mostly to do with me being in Berlin when these two items hit and some of it because I forgot. Nakatomi recently released its second print in the Godfather inspired series of posters. Tim Doyle is the man behind these and the new one is called “Full Of Grace” and depicts the scene where Fredo goes fishing for the last time. The bad news is that Nakatomi itself have sold out of the paper edition but the good news is that you can get them soon over at PandorasPrints.com when they open up for business. You can still get the limited edition wood print at Nakatomi Plaza if you have a 100 bucks burning a hole in your pocket. This print measures 12x36, is 4 colors, signed and numbered by the artist.
The second print they have is by none other than comic »
A scene from Kagemusha
Photo: Criterion Collection Back at the end of March it was sadly announced Akira Kurosawa's Ran would not be able to be release on Criterion Blu-ray due to some sort of a rights issue. This meant Criterion's only May Blu-ray release would be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which -- if you read my review -- was fine with me, but I am more interested in old classics rather than the new ones from Criterion and it now appears a Kurosawa gem is taking the place of Ran, with a much better selection if you ask me. A scene from Kagemusha
Photo: Criterion Collection While I am sure most people would rather see Yojimbo, Rashomon, Ikiru or Seven Samurai as the first Criterion Blu-ray, the just announced August 18 release of Kagemusha is fine by me. A scene from Kagemusha
Photo: Criterion Collection Just look »
- Brad Brevet
Good news for Jonathan Liebesman - his next project titled Odysseus will be a Warner Brothers feature. The studio won a bidding war over Paramount for the film, which features a script written by Liebesman's collaborator Ann Peacock. Odysseus is another retelling of the classic story about the legendary hero Odysseus, who returns to his island after 20 years of fighting the Trojan Wars, only to find his kingdom under the brutal occupation of an invading force. Odysseus single-handedly defeats every last man and takes back his wife, his son and his kingdom. 300 producer Gianni Nunnari is developing via Hollywood Gang. We were the first to reveal details on this back in January. At the time, Liebesman described it as a "small taut kintetic action film" in the same vein as a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western or Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. THR says that the intent is to make "not a »
- Alex Billington
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0 Chicago – I’m not sure, but I think there are more Akira Kurosawa titles available in the Criterion Collection than any other filmmaker. His classic films like “Ran,” “Rashomon,” “Seven Samurai,” and “Yojimbo” have been critically acclaimed releases for the influential series of DVDs. His 24th title in the Criterion Collection is last week’s “Dodes’da Ken,” one of the greatest directors of all time’s first film in color.
1970’s “Dodes’da Ken” came five years after the great “Red Beard” and five years before “Dersu Uzala” and a decade before “Kagemusha”. The film was made at a tumultuous time in Kurosawa’s personal life and was critically panned in his home country despite being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.
Dodes’da Ken was released on DVD on March 17th, 2009.
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection
According to some sources, the »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
When it comes to Akira Kurosawa I have either seen or own all of his name titles including Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Ikiru, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, Sanjuro and Ran. I have Kagemusha sitting on my coffee table ready to be viewed for the first time and outside of a few noticeable omissions I am finally ready to venture into his lesser known titles and with Criterion's latest release of Dodes'ka-den I can't think of a better place to start. This isn't to say Dodes'ka-den is any kind of masterpiece, because it's not, but the instances surrounding Dodes'ka-den and how it came to be are utterly fascinating and opened up a side of Kurosawa I had never known. Serving as Kurosawa's first attempt at a color film, Dodes'ka-den also marked his first feature in five years following Red Beard in 1965. In those five years Kurosawa would put in work on »
- Brad Brevet
17 items from 2009
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