Seven Samurai

Kurosawa

It takes a big man to admit the fact that he hasn’t seen one single movie from a director as famous as Akira Kurosawa. It’s especially embarrassing if you’re a mildly successful movie blogger such as myself. But it was true. Was being the operative word, as I’ve chosen to dedicate this week’s For Science to the start of my Kurosawa journey. It begins with four films, from a range of time periods, all of which center on one particular historical period: feudal Japan.

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Seven Samurai

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they celebrate the magical ability of Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai to thrive despite giving birth to a plot cliche that refuses to die.  In the #17 (tied) movie on the list, poor townsfolk turn to a band of samurai to help protect them from brutal bandits. But why is it one of the best movies ever?

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Space Jam

In the game of bad movie coverage, we are poised on the same lofty levels of excellence as either the 1975 Washington Capitals or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back when they had those supposedly heterosexual tangerine uniforms with the smiling pirate on the helmets. Every week, Junkfood Cinema brings you the best of the worst of the best movies ever made; exposing their faults and cackling like insane toddlers at their dense layers of absurdity. We really do love these films, and that fact of remains despite the mockery, and despite our therapist taking the controversial tact of encouraging us to repress our feelings. To reward you, the unsuspecting reader, for eye-prancing all the way to the end of the article, we will top things off with a sinfully tasty snack themed to the movie. All that being said, today’s piece is different. It will not focus on a bad movie, but instead defend one improperly relegated as such. This article is fraught with anger, fraught I tell you! Today’s film is one most maligned by foolish plebes; those too bereft of wisdom to recognize its brilliance. This is a film that transcends the dubious confines of its genre and operates on a more didactic level vis-a-vis the human condition and societal mores. A film whose roots are embedded in the history of film itself and one that harkens back to some of cinema’s greatest achievements. I’m speaking of course of Space Jam.

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There’s no shortage of complaining about Hollywood’s over-reliance on remakes in the film blogging world, but that’s probably because there’s no shortage of new remakes being proposed either. And this latest one, it just feels like somebody’s messing with us. Variety reports that MGM is dipping into their back catalogue and pulling out The Magnificent Seven as a new starring vehicle for Tom Cruise. The Magnificent Seven was a 1960 cowboy film directed by John Sturges that starred names like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson, and the fact that it’s being remade by MGM is especially egregious for several reasons. The most obvious of which is that the original Magnificent Seven was already a remake of sorts, as it took the plot of Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 film Seven Samurai and transplanted it into a Western setting. But that’s not the real reason this plan is so insulting.

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Super 8 pays its respects to master filmmaker Steven Spielberg, but here are a few films that walk the fine line between tipping the hat and stealing!

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The decision-making process of The Weinstein Company within the past year has been exciting enough to watch with an oversize popcorn tub (with free refills!). After announcing they’d be cannibalizing their own library for remakes and sequels, they’re now announcing a new version of Akira Kurosawa’s iconic Seven Samurai. Sacrilege? Not exactly. The Magnificent Seven was a hell of a movie, and A Bug’s Life was probably the best possible way to adapt the story for children of all ages, so remaking a high concept tale of honor and protection isn’t all that terrifying even if touching the legacy of Kurosawa might seem that way. According to Cinema Blend, Scott Mann will be directing the movie. Here’s where the speculation comes in. Mann is a strong short film maker who has the awards to prove it, and his first feature film The Tournament is all action, all the time (with some Scott Adkins thrown in for good measure), so it’s unclear whether they’ll even attempt to bring nuance and calm character development to the story. Perhaps, the modernization of the setting will lend itself to non-stop beat downs. That would really be a shame. It would mean an In Name Only remake. This news isn’t really all that moving one way or another. Maybe that’s the cynicism of the movie world we live in now (especially the world of Weinstein) or maybe it’s the optimism that we might get a great movie out of it (or still have the original […]

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What is Movie News at Sunrise? Due to some site maintenance late last night, Movie News After Dark could not be completed before it was my bed time. So I’m up early to bring you its cousin, Movie News At Sunrise. This slightly less witty, marginally more tired column should serve as the perfect pinch-hitter just in time for your morning commute. Powered by a Chick-fil-a breakfast sandwich and a hope that spelling errors will be kept to a minimum at this ungodly hour, I am here to bring you the news. Director Sam Raimi has cast Rachel Weisz as an evil witch in Oz: The Great and Powerful. She will star opposite James Franco and alongside Mila Kunis. They will play Evanora and Theodora, respectively. Weisz’s Evanora, however, becomes the Wicked Witch of the East. Sadly, we all know how things work out for her. For Raimi, the remaining major character to be cast is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams, Kate Beckinsale, Keira Knightley and Rebecca Hall are said to be on the shortlist. Hall sounds like an awesome choice, to me.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Whether they are hitting shelves This Week in DVD or This Week in Blu-ray, chances are slim that a great home video release gets by either Rob Hunter or Neil Miller. Together, they provide some of the blogosphere’s most consistent (ok, mostly Rob, but you get the idea) coverage of the best take-homes from week to week. Whether you’re using them to help you fill your shopping cart or your Netflix queue, surveys have shown that you are using them. And with 2010 coming to a close, we thought it only fitting to give these two shut-ins a shot at listing their favorite home video releases of the year. From the fun to the feature-filled, there were plenty of great releases from which to choose. So prepare yourself, as you always do, to sacrifice the weight of your pocketbook in exchange for in-home cinematic bliss.

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray, my usual role as expert tour guide through the wild and wonderful world of Blu-ray takes a back seat. Emerging in its place is my new role: guy who points out the obvious. For instance, if I told you that Criterion successfully put out an impressive version of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, I wouldn’t exactly blow chunks of your brain out of your skull and all over your office walls. If I said that Universal took great care in presenting Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in glorious high definition on its 50th anniversary, it wouldn’t slice through the fabric of your reality, revealing for you a fresh, unique worldview. And if I told you Robert Rodriguez’ Predators was just ok… well, you get the idea. The time is now for me to tell you that which you probably already know. But I will certainly try to do so with style.

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It’ll also have Sean Bean, Dougray Scott, and sounds a lot more like a remake of Shaolin Soccer.

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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