Slay's Reviews

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Okay, I'm making this thread because some of my reviews have been buried because nobody watches some of the movies I review, or, they hate the review. Since I wrote them, I don't desire their loss. Because of that, I'm creating this thread to hold them all. Any new reviews I do from now on will go in here.
"Today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."

Elizabeth ****

After seeing the ad I’ve mentioned before for cheap DVD’s, I was lucky enough to find a personal favorite of mine, so of course, I swept it up. I searched for a thread dedicated to this movie and found none, so here goes.

Elizabeth (1998) is a sweeping tale about how Queen Elizabeth I came to power during the 16th century. It stars Cate Blancett in the title role, Geoffrey Rush as her second, and most trusted advisor and personal security guard Sir Francis Walsingham, Joseph Fiennes as her lover Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Christopher Eccleston as the villainous Duke of Norfolk, and Sir Richard Attenborrough as her first advisor Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley. The acting, costume design, art design, and cinematography are all exceptional, and am blown away by the music done by David Hirschfelder.

I’ve always been a big fan of Blanchett’s and I believe that this is her defining role. I remember when Fellowship of the Ring came out and everybody fawned over Liv Tyler and her amazing beauty, I found Blanchett so much more appealing. I still do.

The movie begins the story showing Princess Elizabeth as a Protestant whereas her half-sister, Queen Mary Tudor as Catholic. The Vatican is desperate to keep Catholicism the principle, and only reigning, religion in England, and sets to undermine the chances that Elizabeth ever wears the crown. Among their allies is the Duke of Norfolk, and from the beginning, we are to understand that he is her most dangerous enemy. Elizabeth is already in love with Robert Dudley before she ever becomes Queen, and afterwards shows that a Queens love can be a poisonous thing wrought with its own danger. After she becomes Queen, Sir William Cecil becomes her advisor by default and insists that she becomes wed for the good of the people, England, and to secure her throne from dissenters.

I really could sympathize with Elizabeth. She was a woman who was thrust into power before she was ready, and came to find out that England was without a standing army, any trustworthy allies, or anything left in the treasury. Everywhere she turned she was confronted with enemies who didn’t want a Protestant heretic on the throne. Until the day when Sir Francis Walsingham became her new advisor, she was at risk. When he gains her ear, you could tell that the worm was about to turn, and I personally, had a rush as he took charge and delivered her from her enemies by smiting them in one fell swoop. Afterwards, she became the Queen of England that is to this day the most beloved Queen of all; The Virgin Queen.

Elizabeth is a powerful story full of powerful performances, and is close to being my favorite Rush performance ever, though that is so hard to define, because even when he’s in a movie that isn’t that great, he still is.

Kate & Leopold **½

I’m almost embarrassed to write my opinion on this matter. I searched the forum for a previous thread about Kate & Leopold, not only did I not find a thread about said movie, I couldn’t even find a single post on the subject either. My only conclusion is that this movie didn’t warrant any opinions at all, though that confuses me because I found that I really enjoyed it. I’ve never really considered myself a slacker when it comes to my tastes in movies, but now I’m wondering. Have I lost my senses? My goodness, next I’ll think 2 Fast, 2 Furious is one of the greatest movies ever made! Maybe I should just calm down and write what I feel and let doG figure out the rest.

Kate & Leopold is another Meg Ryan romantic comedy vehicle with Hugh Jackman, yet it switches gears a little bit and doesn’t make her a sweetheart to beat all sweethearts. It’s also a time travel movie of sorts, though that’s really only a backdrop compared to the romance. I read roger Eberts review before starting to write this and I liked what he said about this, “The movie is not really about time travel anyway, but about elegant British manners vs. American slobbiness.” That hits the nail on the head I think.

The movie is funny, though not often in the laugh out loud way, and its romance is sweet and classy. It’s not about lust, or even animal magnetism, but about a woman being treated in a chivalrous manner that today’s society says they don’t need, or want, though often suspected that most really do. It reminds me about the rides on the train that I often take, and how there are only %5 of the men that will still give their seats to women who are left standing, and of that %5, many will only do it for a pretty one. I am on of the men that still do, and still feel that all men should.

I really enjoyed seeing Jackman in this role and has given me more respect for his acting abilities. Not that it is an Oscar caliber performance, but it certainly isn’t an action role either. I haven’t really seen him in anything besides X-Men, and his smaller roles in movies like Swordfish. I have found that I really like him as a leading man and am looking forward to further stretches from Wolverine. I also am a fan of the two supporting actors in the film, Live Schreiber and Breckin Meyer. Both of these guys are great, and I hope only excellent things for them. On a side note, I hope Meg doesn’t keep up with her lip ballooning. I hate fakeness, and am worried that she’ll turn into a plastic hag like Melanie Griffith has.

I would highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys Romance/comedies.

Pumpkin ***

Pumpkin is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, though it certainly pretends to.

Carolyn McDuffy (Christina Ricci) has a perfect life. She’s the favorite at her sorority, she has the most wanted man on campus as her boyfriend, she’s rich, and very popular. She also doesn’t have a clue about life. That is, until she meets Pumpkin Romanoff (Hank Harris). Her sorority decides that their charity of the season will be a Special Olympics knock-off where they will help the special athletes’ train. Pumpkin is a wheel chair bound young man, who is apparently retarded, though that is never clearly defined. When Carolyn first meets him on the field, she is obviously out of her element. She acts like she has just been paired with a very big and very creepy spider. At one point she begins to scream, because he keeps trying to communicate with her, and she has no idea what he’s really trying to do.

This is the point when the movie becomes absolutely painful to watch. This is not a politically correct movie in any sense of the word at all. Carolyn herself is completely self-absorbed and unfeeling about anything other than her own feelings. She is selfish, immature, and stupid, even though she scored 1400 on her SATs. Slowly Pumpkin starts to change her. She believes that he is the only person who understands her, and sees that she is actually a good and often misunderstood. Pumpkin is the only character in the movie that stays on track with who he is. The other members of the cast constantly change from villainous to compassionate, and I was never really sure how I felt about the characters. For example, Carolyn’s boyfriend Kent (Samuel Ball), starts out more sensitive than Carolyn does. When Carolyn wants to set Pumpkin up on a date, she decides on her other handicapped friend, who is actually over-weight and not really handicapped at all. When her friend begins to cry, Carolyn gets angry and Kent is there to sympathize with the friend and gets angry at Carolyn’s insensitivity. Later however, Kent is the one who is oblivious to other people’s sensitivities, and Carolyn is there to get angry about it.

Pumpkin makes fun of movies that go over the top with “special” people as characters, and it is often hard to define if it is humor or plain meanness behind the plot. I don’t want to give anything away about what happens to the characters, because that is really what is so good about this movie. It is so unconventional, that it is extremely hard to really know what is coming up next, and how the different characters are going to behave from one scene to the next. Sometimes they’re compassionate, sometimes they’re cruel, and almost always they’re fun to watch.

I personally love the twist ending, and would be greatly interested what others think about this movie. I really enjoyed it, painful or not.

Rain ****

Rain is an independent film from New Zealand inspired from a book of the same title by Kirsty Gunn, and directed by Christine Jeffs. It is a coming of age movie about a 13-year-old girl named Janey (Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki) who is on summer vacation at a cottage built by her father (Alistair Browning) along side a pleasant seaside location. This is not a comedy looking at the lighter side of life from a young girl’s perspective, but rather a somewhat sad commentary of a child who lives in a household that forces her to desire to grow up too quickly.

During the day she and her little brother, Jim (Aaron Murphy), spend their time fishing and swimming in the ocean. At night she serves cocktails to her parents friends as they hold their nightly parties. There, she watches her mother (Sarah Peirse) flirt with a local photographer (Marton Csokas) and begins to wonder whether her parents are in love with each other anymore.

Janey is bright and pretty and loyal to the well being of little Jimmy. Her parents sleep in late every morning and wake up to fresh drinks with lime. Janey is already the caretaker in a lot of ways and she seems to not resent in too terribly unless her mother starts to act motherly. In one scene, her mother asks her to sit by her and give her some snuggles to which Janey replies, “I hate that!” Her mother replies that she always used to like to snuggle, but Janey retorts that it’s the drinking that she meant. Statements and attitudes like this don’t slow down her parents at all however. It’s obvious that her parents love the children, but it’s equally obvious that they still put themselves first.

When Janey spies her mother and the handsome photographer going further than the harmless flirtations, she starts to become aware of her own sexual power. A young boy who is a son of one of the party goers is enamored of young Janey, but instead of her responding to his feelings with her own, she practices her power over men on him, resorting him to do nothing other than flee in various states of panic. All the while, little Jim watches from the background, idolizing his older sister, but not understanding why she is acting differently.

Eventually, Janey decides that the handsome photographer might be the ticket to her adulthood. At different points in the movie, he offers her sips of his drinks and spots cigarettes to her. He is the only person who treats her like she is a woman, which is what she craves. Even though she despises the way her mother is seemingly betraying her father, she still has a desire to emulate her. In time, Janey proposes to the photographer to take her picture, and he can see that she might just have something else in mind. At this point, many other films might vilify the man for even considering spending a moment alone with a pretty 13-year-old girl, but instead, it is more honest than that. He falls under the spell that Janey has perfected by watching her mother and practicing on the young boy. He seems unwilling, yet powerless to resist her temptations, even though he may believe she’s over her head. Sexual desire is a powerful thing and it is responsible for many a downfall, which unfortunately, this movie provides.

Rain is a sad story throughout, but it’s also absolutely beautiful in its brutal honesty of unhappiness not being cured with sexual gratification. None of the characters involved are bad people. They are only human with their own faults which most of us can recognize within ourselves. Christine Jeffs direction is exceptional using very little music and a lot of dialogue that is right on key with what you would expect in a modestly dysfunctional family. It is also a gorgeous film using the weather to match the temperament of the characters. It uses brown as its primary color to everything, which to me, can be a bit depressing, but it fits in with the style and mood of the film. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to anyone who has also grown tired of the usual Hollywood fare.

Tadpole ***½

I absolutely adore this picture! Tadpole is a smart, funny, and hypnotic, coming of age film that uses a higher form of speech than most other films of this type. Oscar is a brilliant young man that falls in love the only way he knows how: obsessively. I too thought that the entire cast did wonderfully in capturing the people they were supposed to portray, and was enthralled with the witticisms that each of the characters purged from themselves in a never-ending fashion.

The restaurant scene was almost too painful to watch, but watch I did. I wound up being overjoyed the way Gary Winick, the director, handled the material. Even though it is more acceptable in our hypocritical society for a young man to seduce, or be seduced by, an older woman compared to its opposite, it can still be dangerous ground to tread. Tadpole handles this with wit and respect. It all seems a little unrealistic the way the characters behave, but you never know. There are billions of us sharing this rock, so who is to say in what way everyone else would behave. Not only is this movie funny and intelligent, it is also very erotic in nature. Whenever there are scenes where Oscar gets close to a woman, it looks real. So real in fact, that it almost seems like voyeurism.

One thing I noticed when I picked up the DVD is that the back cover completely misrepresents the film. It portrays it as a romp where Oscar is fighting off both women, and showing a picture proving that. Another thing is the way the front cover is airbrushed making the women look younger and wrinkle free, whereas the movie shows them as 40 something year old women, wrinkled and beautiful anyway. It actually angers me that the studio decides to do that to capture people’s attention. What’s wrong with the truth? What’s wrong with showing Sigourney Weaver and Bebe Neuwirth as they really are? They’re lovely without the subterfuge. Oh well.

Igby Goes Down ***½

Igby Goes Down is a wonderful film that honors JD Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, the anti-hero from the classic book, Catcher in the Rye perfectly.

Kieran Culkin stars as Igby, a 17-year-old rich kid who is sick to death of the phoniness of everybody around him. His father (Bill Pullman) is a schizophrenic who has been in an asylum for the last six years and who also haunts his dreams. Igby sees his father as a heroic figure and proves that a child’s memory can embellish reality and skewer facts. His mother (perfectly played by Susan Sarandon) is a domineering fussbudget who constantly berates Igby for not being as perfect as her other son (Ryan Phillippe) who Igby sees as a fascist pig. Igby is constantly dropping out of schools, smoking pot, and letting everyone know around him that he feels nothing but contempt and hatred for them. When his mother finally gets tired of all his problems, she sends him to military school. Igby, home on vacation, runs away to spend time in New York city, much like Holden did in Catcher in the Rye. That is when he sees life for what it is. Utter crap.

He hides from his family in a studio that is owned by his money hungry and always fashionable Godfather (Jeff Goldblum) who lets his mistress (The always lovely Amanda Peet) live there for sexual favors. Igby is invited to his godfather’s home for the weekend where there is a party for the social elite. There he meets the first girl he will ever fall in love with (Claire Danes) as she is a hostess for the caterer hired for the party.

Meanwhile, his mother finds out that she has breast cancer and it is too late for any hope. Igby’s reply when he finds out is “Good!” Throughout his time in New York, Igby learns about betrayal, pain, and irony, in many inventive and interesting ways. He learns also, that a person can only rely on ones self and trust should not be lightly given.

Igby Goes Down sometimes seems like it is unsure what type of movie it is supposed to be. At times it is a comedy of a type that resembles Airplane, and sometimes it is more of a Greek tragedy. It is full of exceptional performances and witty dialogue that comes at you with a pace not unlike a Nascar race. Culkin proves that he has the ability to act well and though the film is full of A-list stars, it is he who steals the show. I saw in another thread where a member thrashed Phillippe for not doing his role justice. I disagree with that assessment. His character has gone through as much trauma as Igby, but he deals with it differently. He is unfeeling and stoic. I utterly believed him.

Igby Goes Down is directed by Burr Steers who you might recognize as the second guy on the couch during the first shoot-out in Pulp Fiction. This is a stellar first attempt for a new director.

Monsoon Wedding ****

Monsoon Wedding centers on a large Indian family during the final days of preparation for the arranged marriage of Aditi Verma (Vasundhara Das) and Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas). The father of the bride is Lalit Verma (Naseeruddin Shah), who is struggling with patience with the wedding planner, P.K. Dube (Vijay Raaz), and is terrified that he made an unwise choice in P.K. and that he will be embarrassed in front of his soon-to-be In-laws. In short order we meet other central players within both families including Adita’s beautiful (I’m quite smitten with all three lovely ladies) cousins Ayesha (Neha Dubey), and Ria (Shefali Shetty). Ayesha makes it plain that she has an overwhelming attraction for a family friends son named Rahul (Randeep Hooda) who shows up early from Australia to help the father prepare, even though Lalit can only call him and idiot most of the time. Ria, who was damaged as a child by another family friend who happens also to be a benefactor towards the family, struggles with the past while she sees the same man showing attraction to her 11-year old cousin. Meanwhile, P.K. falls for the family maid, Alice (Tilotama Shome), a pretty young woman who stands quietly in the background and spends her time trying on her masters jewelry. This is, to me, is the most heartwarming segment of the entire movie.

As the guests arrive we have to figure out who’s who on our own, but it really isn’t all that hard. It reminds me of another excellent film I saw recently, Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. In both movies, we are introduced to a large montage of players and are invited to just sit and listen while they go about their own preparations and introductions. As they meet each other, we do as well. As they start their own sub-plots, we are drawn into their world and become attached. By the end of the movie, I felt compassion for all the central characters and wished nothing but wonderful things for them.

Mira Nair directed Monsoon Wedding from an original screenplay written by Sabrina Dhawan. It gives us foreigners an in-depth look at current Indian culture, which most of us may be naïve about. Declan Quinn’s cinematography is astounding in the way she uses color to captivate our senses in a way that the usual Hollywood film doesn’t.

Monsoon Wedding gave me a reason to smile for two hours, and also made me feel sorrow, regret, and pride. Almost all of the characters I would feel privileged to know, and now I want to marry a beautiful Indian woman like the ones in this charming and lovely film. I recommend this movie to anyone out there that wants to see a movie that cares about the people of a wonderful family and dazzles the senses unlike most Hollywood fare.

Italian For Beginners ***

Six wounded souls get together for a beginner’s course in the beautiful Italian language. The first is a Pastor named Andreas (Anders W. Berthelsen), who is sent to a small town church in Denmark to take over another Pastor’s position after he loses his faith. Andreas had lost his wife six months earlier due to illness and doesn’t plan on staying long or getting to know anyone. The next person we meet is Jørgen (Peter Gantzler) a man with no mission other than being depressed and wondering why he is impotent whenever he gets a chance to bed a woman. His friend Hal-Finn (Lars Kaalund) is the third; he is a grown orphan with a short fuse and a large chip on his shoulder. Jørgen is supposed to fire Hal-Finn, his best friend, from the restaurant he manages because he cannot stop from yelling at the customers. At that same restaurant is Giulia (Sara Indrio Jensen), a beautiful Italian girl who prays to god every day for a man to marry. Then there’s Karen (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen), a lovely hairdresser who is battling through watching her alcoholic mother during her last days. Rounding it off is Olympia (Anette Støvelbæk) a clumsy baker who has a cruel hearted father at home that makes her life a living hell. These six people have suffered and lived with loss, and each of them are utterly alone in the world. That is, until they start their beginner’s course in Italian.

Italian For Beginners was written and directed by Lone Scherfig, a Danish woman with few writing and directing credits to her name, but she completely hits the mark with this charming movie. The movie is shot with what looks like a camera used in soap operas and infomercials, which at first threw me off a bit, but only because I’m not used to it. Yet, it works just fine. There’s also no music involved, it completely relies on realistic dialogue, and the depth of each of the characters. All the actors involved do a wonderful job of not making this movie a standard romance, but more of a voyeuristic view into complex and sad lives. At times I really felt sorry for the people in the film, and at times I almost felt like cheering that they could finally find some measure of happiness. It is truly a warm-hearted movie that draws you in and makes you genuinely care for the people involved. I recommend this film with much love, which is easy, because after watching it…I was in the mood for love.

Glad you decided to consolidate these. I think we have alot of similar tastes, although I must admit to not seeing neither Rain nor Italian for Begineers. I will definitely make an effort to see them soon due to your reviews, I am sure I will enjoy them. How about a review on a movie you did not like, just for balance?
“The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

Mother! Oh, God! Mother! Blood!
This is great, Brian! I'm looking forward to reading through these (I don't have time right now, but I will).
NEW (as of 1/24/05): Quick Reviews #10

Love your reviews

Cate Blanchett is one of my favourite's also, I loved her in "Bandits" that movie reminded me of my life, oh should I have said that!

Rain was very interesting, I also felt like the characters were realistic.

What can I say about "Monsoon Wedding"

I have put the other movies on my must see list.

Now waiting for more reviews, really enjoyed them, keep it up.
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

My "to see" list is getting longer and longer...
Great job Bri…
You never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough.
~William Blake ~

AiSv Nv wa do hi ya do...
(Walk in Peace)

Madadayo ***

I must admit that I am a filthy American pig who has not seen many “foreign” films, not counting British or Australian films, which I’ve seen a larger number. However, after the disappointing influx of crappy American big budget films, I’ve deemed that perhaps I’ve been missing out. Especially when there are so many respected members on this forum who swear by them. Now I’m making a point to watch as many “foreign” films as possible, starting with one of the most respected director’s that ever existed. The reason I chose Madadayo first is because it was the only Kurosawa film available to me at this time.

Madadayo is a film about a professor near the end of WWII who after retiring, finds that all his pupils adore him. Actually, worship might be a better word. Its time frame spans the next two decades of the professors (Tatsuo Matsumura) life after retirement and the dedication of his pupils within his life. Every year they have a birthday celebration in his honor where they ask him in unison, “Mahda-kai? (Are you ready?)”, and after he gulps down a huge glass of beer in one breath answers, “Madadayo!” (Not yet!).”

This is an extremely sentimental film, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. Not that I’m bashing it, because the movie is actually quite effective of moving me and forcing a grin onto my face. Where it seems to be silly sometimes is whenever the professor speaks, every single member of the class laughs uproariously, and when he loses his cat and becomes extremely depressed, the movie spends close to thirty minutes investing itself to this one particular development. Yet, when the conclusion to that segment comes to a close it is done very sweetly, and the pessimistic part of myself, which quailed during this whole segment, was completely moved. Not in a way where I felt like shedding tears, but in a way that just made me feel glad for the professor. I was able to internalize it and relate rather well.

This is Akira Kurosawa’s last film. According to many American critics’, it is a fine conclusion to a stellar career. Even though I have not yet seen any of his other films, I can believe it. I liked this movie better than all the other theater releases I have seen since the beginning of last summer, so if it isn’t his greatest, some of his other’s must be phenomenal. I already know that the next couple of his films that I’ll see are Rashomon and The Seven Samurai. If anyone can recommend others, I would greatly appreciate it.


A vision of a white tiger battling Samurai, and winning. Eyes open and we meet one of the two principal characters of The Last Samurai, Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), the leader of a fugitive Samurai army. The other, a survivor of numerous battles, Cpt. Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is considered to be a great American warrior. He is also a soldier that is haunted by war and the brutal truth of how senseless it can be.

Cpt. Algren is hired to train the new western style Japanese Army, who will be responsible to crush the rebellious Samurai’s. Algren, who is hardened by numerous battles and numbed by many bottles, agrees to kill whomever anyone wants, as long as he is commanded to, and paid for it. Thus begins the sweeping saga of a man who has lost his honor and the path that he follows to reclaim it.

The Last Samurai wants to mean something. It wants to give us a message that cannot be mistaken, but I couldn’t tell what that message was. At times, it seemed that it wanted to prove that western idealism is the root cause behind the death of a nation’s heredity. Sometimes it seemed that its point was that technological warfare made war less honorable. Yet, there also seemed to be a message that to die for tradition is to die honorably, regardless whether the tradition is right or wrong.

The Last Samurai is Dances With Wolves without the greatness. Exchange native Americans with Samurai, add evil American pigs with one valiant American dissenter, throw in a man who is the enemy and then becomes the best friend, and a pinch of love interest between the ex-pig and a lovely native, and you’ve got the recipe right. I couldn’t see any real originality that made it its own movie. I was distracted with how obvious their similarities are and that took much of the enjoyment away for me.

There are also many implausibilities within the story. How a man could train to become a Samurai in such a short amount of time is remarkable, the battle sequences, although beautifully choreographed, are ridiculous in their presentations, and the ending is so egotistical it is pathetic. Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe both do well with their characters yet neither are particularly noteworthy. I’ve always liked Cruise just fine, but I really don’t consider him to be one of the greats. His so-called powerful performances have never effected me, but they have seemed believable enough.

I can easily see this movie being a heavyweight when it comes to Oscar time, though that has never really impressed me either. I stood outside the theater after the movie was over and I listened to what everybody was saying about what they just saw. The popular consensus was that it was a brilliant movie that was one of the best of its kind ever made. I just can’t see it. I’d rather watch my Dances With Wolves DVD. After all, it is the same story.

Good review, and I agree about the message being vague. I think they got confused whether or not they actually wanted to make a point and just let it go thinking "Oh, they'll get what we mean."
What did you mean about the staging of the battles being ridiculous though?
Make it happen!

Originally Posted by projectMayhem
What did you mean about the staging of the battles being ridiculous though?
WARNING: "The Last Samurai" spoilers below
With the plausibility of how much a person can stand and still be able to fight. There is a scene where a central character is gut shot, but continues to fight for quite awhile longer. There is also another scene where a gattling gun tears through everyone but two, and of them, one is only slightly wounded. They were unbelievable.

there's a frog in my snake oil
Lord S, Kurosawa is a great place to start. I often think we're actually deprived coz we speak English, seeing as how so few foreign films make it to our screens. In other countries the dubbing industries are so advanced (and/or the tv/theatre budgets more limited in some places perhaps ) that a wide range of movies are more accesible and available. (something that pleased me greatly recently is that a long-term friend, who balked even at "el Mariachi" when we hired it - despite it being his type of film, is now in love with foreign movies coz of City of God [alright, admitadly still his type of film, but it's a start ]).

I have to recommend...

Yojinbo: (made into a fistful of dollars - and to be honest i prefer the original) - enigmatic performance from the lead, samurai code explored in a classic way, and classy (even silly) edgy wooden-block japanese music throughout. You can clearly see the influence in westerns.

Ran: Re-working of King Lear, meshing perfectly with Samurai/feudal-japanese culture again. It's long re-inactments of the battle-scenes i didn't think were totally necessary, but they're well made and well shot. But the main attraction is the acting from the central characters. The King gone mad and the fool at his side worked perfectly. And the honour holds up the swaying human flesh like a stout rod. Great recreation.

Kagemusha is another one that seems ok, but i've watched it twice and never got to the end. Plenty of space and politics like the others. If i got to the end i don't remember it tho - so perhaps not this one eh?
Virtual Reality chatter on a movie site? Got endless amounts of it here. Reviews over here

I've seen The Hidden Fortress and Madadayo, I've got holds on Yojimbo, Ran, Rashamon, Ikiru, and The Seven Samurai. I'm looking forward to all of them.

I am having a nervous breakdance
Nice reviews, Slay!

I'm curious. Reading Brian's review on Madadayo, which I haven't seen, and the episode with the cat, it reminded me of the Vittorio De Sica film Umberto D, which I haven't seen either. I know that in Umberto D the main character is looking for his dog at one point in the movie. Is this cat episode in Madadayo being Kurosawa's way of paying homage to De Sica or the entire Italian neo-realist movement?

[edit] I just discovered your review on Monsoon Wedding, Bri, and since I don't want to double post....

Yes, this film is a gem. I don't know if it is simply because I have watched close to none Indian films before, but this one was really refreshing and something new (to me).

Even though this family isn't representative of the Indian people as a whole, I thought the film succeeded brilliantly in creating a bond between the characters and me, as a member of a western world audience. Despite the differences in cultures or perhaps because of the similarities in cultures.

I also liked the music very much. And the women.
The novelist does not long to see the lion eat grass. He realizes that one and the same God created the wolf and the lamb, then smiled, "seeing that his work was good".


They had temporarily escaped the factories, the warehouses, the slaughterhouses, the car washes - they'd be back in captivity the next day but
now they were out - they were wild with freedom. They weren't thinking about the slavery of poverty. Or the slavery of welfare and food stamps. The rest of us would be all right until the poor learned how to make atom bombs in their basements.