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Seven Samurai (七人の侍) - 1954, Japan, dir. Akira Kurosawa

I watched Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai for the first time today. With a runtime of 3 hours 20 mins (without intermission), it came as a surprise to me that the pacing was very good and what was shown felt warranted. The journey from beginning to end was great and I loved the samurai cast as well as the battle scenes. I can definitely see why this film is considered a classic by many reviewers and the like.

My only issue is actually with the BFI Blu-ray release, because about 5-10% of the dialogue isn't actually translated which is a shame because it feels streamlined and so there's various parts throughout that I wish I knew what was being said. Some may argue it ain't necessary but I disagree, because I think it's just as important to know what some characters are saying even if its not part of the main script especially during fight scenes.

Rating: 5/5
This is probably heresy, but I find a lot of Kurosawa movies dull. They often have a loose, meandering structure that bores me (I'm looking at you, Redbeard). Seven Samurai isn't one of those though. Despite its length, it's more focused and tightly plotted than many of his shorter films, and is engaging from start to finish. Throne of Blood is my favourite of his films, but Seven Samurai is a close second.

BFI always leave a lot untranslated, which is a consistent annoyance. It's not too bad in something like Godzilla (1954) where they mostly just omit people saying each other's names, but in Throne of Blood they don't translate a prophetic song that's pivotal to the story. Their house style is far too rigid.
 
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Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Sorcerer (1977)

Cruelly ignored on its release due to coinciding with some or other film about wars in space, William Friedkin‘s terse, nihilistic thriller about four fugitives seeking escape from a hellish failed state in Latin America is an astonishing piece of cinema, famously following a nerve-shredding journey through the jungle as the characters drive a shipment of unstable nitro glycerin over the worst terrain imaginable. It hardly feels like its considerable running time, with nearly half the film going past before the trucks even turn a wheel, but barely a frame wasted as each character’s backstory plays out like a complete mini-movie in its own right. My only regret is not being able to see it during its cinema rerelease a few years ago - ironically, the nearest cinema showing it was just too far away travel to...
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
Even ignoring its pro-Confederate stance, racism and misogyny, Gone with the Wind is not a very good movie and thankfully critical opion turned against it over half a century ago. I last saw it a number of years ago when I was suffering from the worst hangover of my life and the film only made it a hundred times worse. It's a producer's film - David O. Selznick's to be exact - and it shows.

The very next film Selznick made was Rebecca with Hitchcock, so he reedemed himself.
Gone With The Wind was my mums favourite film - she saw it 10 times as it was released so many times over the years
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
Sorcerer (1977)

Cruelly ignored on its release due to coinciding with some or other film about wars in space, William Friedkin‘s terse, nihilistic thriller about four fugitives seeking escape from a hellish failed state in Latin America is an astonishing piece of cinema, famously following a nerve-shredding journey through the jungle as the characters drive a shipment of unstable nitro glycerin over the worst terrain imaginable. It hardly feels like its considerable running time, with nearly half the film going past before the trucks even turn a wheel, but barely a frame wasted as each character’s backstory plays out like a complete mini-movie in its own right. My only regret is not being able to see it during its cinema rerelease a few years ago - ironically, the nearest cinema showing it was just too far away travel to...
I agree about Sorcerer- it’s an excellent thriller from Friedkin - I’ve the UK blu ray but it’s a shame no commentary and Friedkin is interviewed by the overrated and annoying director Nicholas Winding Rehn
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad-the 2nd of Ray Harryhausen's stop motion forays into the world of Sinbad featuring John Phillip Law as Sinbad, Caroline Munro as Margiana the slave girl and Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor Who) hams it up as the evil Prince Koura. This has all of Harryhausen's trade mark stop motion creatures. It's a great matinee movie, gotta say I really enjoyed it.
I saw that on tv when. i was a kid and I didn’t know her name at the time but Caroline Munro 😃👍
 

jake scully

Brigade Leader
Even ignoring its pro-Confederate stance, racism and misogyny, Gone with the Wind is not a very good movie and thankfully critical opion turned against it over half a century ago. I last saw it a number of years ago when I was suffering from the worst hangover of my life and the film only made it a hundred times worse. It's a producer's film - David O. Selznick's to be exact - and it shows.

The very next film Selznick made was Rebecca with Hitchcock, so he reedemed himself.
I saw the film Rebecca on tv a while ago but never considered it to be one of his best even though Hitchcock was Oscar nominated - which can be mean nothing to be honest - but I prefer his later films especially Vertigo / one of my fave top ten of all time
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
The Gladiators (AKA Peace Game, 1969)

Peter Watkins's cold war satire posits the interesting idea of world leaders staving off the hunger for armed conflict by instead staging an international, live-fire combat game that coincidentally becomes a reality tv hit. Although pleasingly shot with the same documentary style immediacy that typifies much of the director's other work, the film is sadly somehow both laughably broad in its clownish depiction of world leaders and also weirdly obstuse about what it's actually trying to say, lacking the brutal shock immediacy of both The War Game and Punishment Park. It's fitfully amusing and did hold my attention (despite the dodgy copy I watched missing English subtitles for the many scenes in Swedish and French), but I think much of what might once have played as absurdist humour is now undermined by the fact that a corporate sponsored, reality tv war just doesn't seem that implausible anymore.

Cruising (1980)

Without trying to unpick the controversy surrounding William Friedkin's thriller about the hunt for a serial killer targeting gay men in NYC, I was a little struck by how ordinary the film actually feels now. The broodingly noirish cinematography is still great; even in the height of summer, everything about the city is stark, pale and washed out, but aside from the fleeting last glimpse of hedonistic pre-AIDS nightlife and some occasional unintended hilarity (if Al Pacino was on poppers, would we really know the difference?), it feels like a fairly rote murder mystery with little to distinguish it from the cycle of similarly voyeuristic slasher films released around the same time. There are hints of a far more interesting film happening on the sidelines (a cynical trans sex worker arguably steals the show, for example), but the main story plays out as much as you'd expect, and even the ambiguous ending just struck me as a bit lazy, by the time it rolled around
 
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