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|74 reviews in total|
My first foray into Bergman territory and still one of his best and probably my favorite even. Utterly believable, memorable, realistic, subtle performances from Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann. They portray a violinist married couple isolated on an island. When a civil war breaks out to their remote farm from the mainland we see first hand the harshness of war and the powerful affect it has on these two characters. Unsettling and eye opening, by the end I was physically exhausted as well as mentally. One of the best films of the sixties.
I have made the joking remark that the scene with Kim Griest in the
with the hanger looks like she is giving herself an abortion. Certaintly
of the most visually ugly looking films in cinema history.
One has to ask these questions
1) Why does John Goodman appear in this?
2) Daniel Stern, John Heard and Christopher Curry!!
3) What is with the music score?
4) I can't wait for Chud III: Chuds From the Deep
Seven Samuarai was ahead of it's time in many ways. The narrative structure, editing techniques, cinematography and Kurosawa's manipulation of time and space to create tension remains very innovative and new despite his techniques being lifted, copied and refined over and over again by other film makers over the last fifty years. Along with The Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo it remains the model for contemporary action films that have been influenced by ( and what movie hasn't). The performances, especially by Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura are unforgettably. The film is longish and weights down a little toward the end but is redeemed by the stunning climatic battle under harsh weather conditions that few films have equaled with the exception of maybe THE WILD BUNCH. A classic all the way.
It's obvious of the debt George Lucas, among practically every other
contemporary film maker owes to Akira Kurosawa. While you can see obvious
parallels, in all fairness both Star Wars and this film are entirely
different for the most part and can be enjoyed on each of their merits
although for my money I will take the Hidden Fortress anyday.
An important note, this was the first film by Kurosawa to be shot in Cinemascope and the widescreen photography is breathtaking, especially when seen on a large screen. This also contains some of the best stunt work that Toshiro Mifune ever did in a Kurosawa film, especially the fight scene on a horse ( Mifune really was a crazy b***ard). I think what makes the film unique as well is the whimsical nature of the characters and it's infectious humor, with Mifune giving a wonderful, deadpan performance that ranks with his best. Overall a terrific action/adventure that still retains it's originality with a refreshing since of humor that is very contemporary.
Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune were certaintly at their peak when they made this film. A model for the deconstruction of the "Western" genre and the prototype for Leone's A Fistful of Dollars among other films. Even Mifunes' performance has been lifted by Eastwood for his own persona in his laconic, "supremely cool" anti hero roles. Beautifully filmed in black & white Kurosawa manages to achieve an almost lyrical, poetic quality of film making. The action is hypnotic with a perfectly blend of humor and pathos. Stunning on all accounts. I got to see a new print of this film along with several others at a Kurosawa/ Mifune retrospective recently which only enhances the quality of these films by seeming them on a large screen.
As much of an admirer I am of Kurosawa's film's I don't regard his "color"
output as much as his black & white works. Ran is aesthetically beautiful
with ravishing colors but lacks the depth or substance of the King Lear
story. Some of the performances border on melodramatic and the ending is
somewhat abrupt. It's pretty to look at but somewhat superficial. There are
two dreamlike, hypnotic battle sequences and the opening shot is stunning
but I feel that Kurosawa was getting on in age and he had become too
obsessive and too much of a perfectionist on these latter efforts that he
forgot to tell a great story at the expense of his visuals when Kurosawa's
genius was in the marriage of these important elements. Also the lack of the
presence of Toshiro Mifune is sorely missed.
There is much I can find to admire in this movie, but only at a distance. I personally wouldn't rank it with his best. On the other hand I have recently changed my opinion of his previous effort Kagemusha which I think is his best effort out of his "color" movies.
I have only seen the edited American dubbed version of Luchino Viscontini's
gorgeous, evocative period piece made in the early 1960's and I hope 20th
Century Fox will find it wise to open their wallets and call for a full
restoration of this classic on DVD as a reissue.
Visconti splendily captures the mood and time of 19th century Italy after the reunification. Burt Lancaster gives one of his most dignified and humble performances as the aristocrat who is from another period in time that has slowly started to vanish in place of the modern era. Beautiful Nino Rota score, gorgeous set pieces, excellent supporting cast including Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon make this a film feast for any Italian cinema fan or movie lover in general.
Art as Life, moviemaking as an artfrom, Life is art. Fellini knew this all
to well. Perhaps never has a film been so vital or influential in showing us
the essence of film as art immitating life. Fellini's movie delves into the
infinite possibilities and tries to explain what we all grapple with in the
creative process and the hidden dreams and fantasies that exist within our
Okay, ready now, Action!
An interesting, experimental and largely successful adaptation of Herman
Hesse's multilayered and psychologically complex novel. Max Von Sydow is
perfect as Herman Hesse's character/ alter ego Harry Haller. Haller plays a
disillusioned man going through a mid life crisis who plans on commiting
suicide by the time he turns fifty. Instead he goes on a spiritual journey
and regains his humanity again. The first half covers the novel well while
the second half and denoument seem like one self indulgent "acid" trip
replete with cartoon animation during some scenes. The animation setup at
the begining even reminds me of Terry Gilliam's Monty Python
Definetly recommended to those who have read the novel and want to see the only film version attempted yet.
A successful adaptation of a great novel. Yates unpretentious and minimalistic direction is effective and the Boston settings appropriately gloomy with wonderful washed out cinematography. Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle give superb performances. One of the unsung films of the seventies.
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