If you've never seen it, give it a shot. It's gorgeous and haunting and unlike most Shakespeare films grippingly compact at only 110 minutes.
Hit Me With Your Best Shot(s)
Throne of Blood (1957)
Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cinematographer: Asakazu Nakai
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Throne of Blood teaches us how to watch it.
-Antagony & Ecstasy
The minute we see Isuzu Yamada as Lady Asaji in this cold spare room, we know exactly where things will go...
-Scopophiliac at the Cinema
One of my
The words “From the visionary director of” are some of the most overused and well-worn featured on movie trailers, but few filmmakers working today have earned it as much as Guillermo del Toro.
His latest release, Crimson Peak, sees him return to the Gothic horror and dark fantasy stylings of earlier movies The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth – visually opulent ghost tales with an eye on the folklore of the past. Influenced by romantic paintings, Gothic Revival architecture and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s literary ghost writing, it represents something of a synthesis of ideas which have fascinated del Toro throughout his career.
Unsurprisingly, Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic influences reach far and wide throughout movie history, and a look at some of his favourite films of all time offers a fresh perspective on how his own work has been shaped over the years. It
"The Act of Killing"
What's It About? In director Joshua Oppenheimer's compelling, disturbing documentary, Indonesian gangsters like Anwar Congo recreate their crimes against humanity in the style of the movies they love. Besides the horrific actions they committed in the '60s as part of Indonesia's Pancasila Youth, what's particularly shocking is their crimes are completely open knowledge, and even celebrated in Indonesia.
Why We're In: "The Act of Killing" is short-listed for the Oscars, but it's definitely not for the squeamish.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"Throne of Blood (Criterion)"
What's It About? Kurosawa's take on "Macbeth" takes place in feudal Japan, and stars the legendary Toshiro Mifune as an ambitious warrior looking to take over Spider's Web Castle. Isuzu Yamada appears as his Lady Macbeth-style wife.
Why We're In: Like all Criterion releases, this is jam-packed with extras, like two
By Raymond Benson
Two of the superb releases recently issued by The Criterion Collection are classics from the 1950s international scene. One is arguably the best caper/heist movie ever made, and the other is perhaps the best Shakespearean adaptation ever produced.
First up—Rififi, released in 1955 and directed by American director Jules Dassin—who had exiled himself from America due to the blacklist. It’s a film noir made in France with French and Italian actors and a French crew. As the lyrics in a cabaret number, sung by Magali Noel in the film, reveal, rififi means “rough and tumble.” In other words, Rififi is about riff-raff, tough guys, and would-be gangsters. In this case, the protagonists are a quartet of jewel thieves who plan a big caper together—to break into the safe in a notable jewelry store in Paris. Led by Tony
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95
Toshiro Mifune gets the point at the climax of Throne of Blood.
A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, the 1957 action drama Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai), sets Shakespeare’s definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan.
As a tough warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo) gives a remarkable, animalistic performance, as does Isuzu Yamada (Black River) as his ruthless wife.
A classic of international cinema, Throne of Blood fuses classical Western tragedy with formal elements taken from Noh theater to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.
Presented in Japanese with English subtitles, Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo includes the following features:
• New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck
• Documentary on the making of Throne of Blood,
Likewise, it turned out that the Mizoguchi poster was also from a Japanese annual devoted to the director
Joaquin Phoenix is poised to take cinema by storm with roles in the latest works from Paul Thomas Anderson and James Gray. Via The Playlist, pictured above is Phoenix on the set of Spike Jonze's next, as of yet untitled, feature. We lost two great performers in the past few days: Ernest Borgnine and Isuzu Yamada, both of whom passed away at the age of 95. David Hudson has rounded up some words on both over at Keyframe Daily.
The 2012 Locarno Film Festival has announced its lineup. Included are new films by Soi Cheang, Quentin Dupieux, João Pedro Rodrigues, Jean-Claude Brisseau, Bertrand Bonello, Heinz Emigholz, Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Jean-Marie Straub, and the aforementioned Leviathan. Also incredibly exciting is the retrospective on Otto Preminger, presenting the director's entire filmography.
Isuzu Yamada, who has died aged 95, was among the greatest female stars of Japanese cinema. In a career that lasted more than half a century, she shone in both Jidai-geki (period films) and Gendai-geki (films with modern settings) and was renowned for her appearances in films by such leading directors as Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse and Akira Kurosawa.
Yamada's range was remarkable. She was fortunate to have emerged at the time that Mizoguchi, whose focus was always on persecuted women, was changing his attitude towards them from being destroyed victims of male society to characters vital enough to fight, often in vain, for survival against the social system.
She played fallen women in her first films for Mizoguchi. These included the title roles in The Downfall of Osen (1935), in which she played an ex-geisha who pays for the education of a
Let’s just get right to it then. Remember, all the links will be included with each listing. We make it as easy as possible for all of you. First up is a film that isn’t in the collection but I can easily see it being welcomed with open arms.
La Cérémonie (1995), a Claude Chabrol film, is about Catherine (Jacqueline Bisset) who hires a new maid by the name of Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire), an illiterate woman.
Time Out New York's David Fear offers a "quick primer" on Setsuko Hara ("The Girl Next Door"), Machiko Kyô ("The Chameleon"), Hideko Takamine ("The Icon"), Kinuyo Tanaka ("The Martyr") and Isuzu Yamada ("The Technician").
"Considered a bold feminist statement for 1936 Japan as well as a turning point in his own career, Kenji Mizoguchi's Sisters of the Gion is a perfect showcase for his early muse, Isuzu Yamada," finds Joe Bendel.
I love the Japanese posters of the 1950s with their crowded montages of faces (I can never be sure if they are photographs or hyper-realist illustrations) in which the actors are paramount, more because I love the
Marco Bellocchio's new drama about Benito Mussolini's first wife, Vincere, offers an extreme example of the things that can go wrong when a nice young girl gets involved with a wannabe dictator. Ida Dalser's marriage to Mussolini was entirely scrubbed from public records during the Italian fascist period, erasing the fact that she had supported him when he was an unemployable socialist agitator, and bankrolled his party newspaper. Her reward – after he returned from the war inflamed by a brand new passion called fascism, and encumbered by a brand new wife – was to be trailed, harassed, and then forced into a mental institution for the rest of her life.
Hey, it's an Italian story, so it's more melodramatic than most, but if you dig around in the private lives of your other totalitarians and their womenfolk,
“Since the time I was a young man I have always kept a notebook handy when I read a book,” stated filmmaker Akira Kurosawa who has a great appreciation for literature. “I write down my reactions and what particularly moves me. I have stacks and stacks of these college-style notebooks, and when I go off to write a script, these are what I read. Somewhere they always provide me with a point of breakthrough. Even for single lines of dialogue I have taken hints from these notebooks.” A novel which left a lasting impression on the director was one written by author Maxim Gorky, which served as the basis for Donzoko (The Lower Depths, 1957). “Gorky’s setting was Imperial Russia but I changed it to Japan, the Edo period,
Dead By Dawn, the Edinburgh horror film fest, comes once a year and I eagerly headed to the Filmhouse to meet Matthew Hope, director of apocolyptic zombie survival film The Vanguard. Matt was there with actors Ray Bullock Jnr and Farhan Kahn and director of photography David Byrne, all of whom I am happy to say are awesome guys with a lot of talent. Matthew agreed to field some questions from myself and other quietearthers about his first feature.
Matthew Hope - The Vanguard
I read that part of your inspiration for The Vanguard came from musing over how somebody from an urban environment might cope with survival in the wilderness, then added zombies. How did your cast and crew cope with life in the wild during production?
The cast and crew coped very well considering I made it clear from the start that we would be shooting come rain
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