Samurai Spy (1965) - News Poster



Criterion Reflections – Kill! (1968) – #313

David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:

Kill! is an entertaining and unusual take on the samurai/swordplay genre that plays for laughs many of the conventional tropes and set-ups common in the classic films from that tradition. I was fascinated observing how many of the fighting techniques, interpersonal conflicts, man vs. world showdowns and dramatic battle scenes that impact viewers with awe-inspiring tension can become a showcase of hilarity with just a slight exaggeration of tone, body language or facial expression (or simply cranking the fans that stir up dust clouds an extra notch or two.) Barking dialog that would come across as solemn and severe in more straightforward, traditional chanbara epics conveys much of the same surface meaning in advancing the story along in Kill! but also ends up generating a nice side helping of mirth in the process. Though at least one review considers
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Blu-Ray Review: Subtle Beauty of Somber ‘Pale Flower’

Chicago – I’ve been lucky enough to cover a number of fantastic Criterion Collection releases for films that I already counted among my favorites including Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion,” Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory,” Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire,” and David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome.” While that’s an undeniable joy, it’s almost more fun when a Criterion title arrives for a film that I’ve never seen — a lost classic. Such was the case with this month’s “Pale Flower,” a somber gem about sad people in a changing world.

Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Masahiro Shinoda’s “Pale Flower” opens with an interesting narration from lead Muraki (Ryo Ikebe), a hardcore Yakuza who has just been released from prison for murder. He misanthrophically comments on the “beasts” around him and the changing world he sees. Why should anyone be put in jail for putting just a pathetic creature out of
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Blogging Through The Collection: This Week In Criterion Blogs

A couple weeks back, I decided to round up all of the Criterion Collection related blogs that I read on a regular basis, to share with all of you. For one reason or another, I missed last week (mostly because not all of the blogs had updated last week), but I’m back with a whole lot of links to posts that you definitely should add to your Instapaper, RSS Reader, or bookmarks. I want this column to serve as a jumping off point for everyone, to help keep this Criterion community strong.

First up, over at David Blakeslee’s Criterion Reflections blog, he has begun reviewing the epic Monsters and Madmen box set. This week he covered The First Man Into Space (from 1959). This has to be one of my most favorite Criterion covers of all time by Darwyn Cooke (he designed all of the covers in the set
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Kei Satô Passes Away At 81

Sad news everyone. Last Sunday, May 2nd, the acclaimed Japanese actor, Kei Sato, star of many a Criterion release, passed away from complications with pneumonia. A big thanks to the folks over at Toronto J-Film Pow-wow for alerting us to his passing.

Next Tuesday, May 18th, Criterion will be releasing their next Eclipse Box Set, of Nagisa Oshima’s “Outlaw Sixties.” Sato will be featured in two of the titles in the box set, Violence at Noon and Japanese Summer: Double Suicide.

I’ve listed several of the other Criterion titles that Sato starred in, including the incredible Sword of Doom from Kihachi Okamoto. You can hear our discussion of the film from January, when we were joined by Devindra Hardawar of Slashfilm and The Symbiotek Podcast.

I’m linking the cover art to the various Netflix pages for each title, and linking the film’s titles with their respective Criterion Collection pages.
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See also

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