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Old March 3rd 08, 02:40   #111
hypatia
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Re: What are you watching now?

Wasn't there a movie made recently by Hollywood with a similar theme? As in a man thought to be crazy possibly being not-of-this-earth somehow?

When I have more energy and concentration, I will watch a movie Turner Classic Movies showed recently (last night, I think). A Kurosawa film I'd never heard of, called "High and Low". I gather it's about a businessman who must choose between saving a company (or buying it?) that he's wanted/planned to buy for some time, and paying ransom to kidnappers for his son. Who doesn't turn out to be his son, there was a mix-up on the part of the kidnappers, who accidentally took his chauffer's son.

That's the description they had in "information" on my cable channel, so I'm pretty sure it contained no real "spoilers".

Kurosawa is one of the few directors I can watch and enjoy even if he's made a film primarily about fighting (like the Seven Samuri... which is the only reason I ever saw the Magnificent Seven). I've seen another two of Kurowawa's movies. One was an interpretation of MacBeth (with Lady MacBeth's part watered down drastically... I gather he doesn't like directing women very much) and the other was his more famous movie about the rape, seen and described from different perspectives. Rashoman.

For a director who is primarily focussed on male stories with few female characters ever, I enjoy his work very much. I just accept that is how he prefers to make his films. (Like the Tolkein of the Japanese movie world? )
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Old March 3rd 08, 04:30   #112
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Re: What are you watching now?

Are you thinking of K PAX?
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Old March 3rd 08, 04:45   #113
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Re: What are you watching now?

Yep, I'd bet she's thinking of KPAX. I kind of liked KPAX, but Man Facing Southeast is way, way better.

Hypatia, High and Low is an excellent film. I like all of Korosawa's stuff, but for you I would recommend Sanjuro. Yes, it is a samurai film, but it is also humorous, has some women characters, and Toshiro Mifune is almost 'motherly' to the students he is helping. It is my favorite Kurosawa film. Another I would recommend is Red Beard. Toshiro plays a doctor who treats the poor, including prostitutes, whose 'owners' want them back to work, regardless of their health. But, he is no pacifist in his defense of the women.

For a Japanese film with great women characters, I highly recommend Ugetsu. It has four female leads and two male leads. I think it is one of the best films ever made. The director is Kenji Misoguchi, who I would describe as a feminist, long before the term was invented. Many of his films are about women.

Here is his filmography:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0003226/
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Old March 3rd 08, 06:26   #114
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Re: What are you watching now?

Yes, I was thinking about KPAX. I haven't seen it, but it sounds like I'd go for the Argentina film instead. If Netflix has it.

And thanks, JJ, for the recommendations. I shall look them up. If you watch your Netflix fare quickly, it's remarkably cheap. And even where I live, the turn around time in the mail is 2 days, almost always. As in if I mail it, not even from the post office, but from my mailbox which delivers and picks up much later, if I send something back on Monday I have a new one by Wednesday. Even out here in the boonies.
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Old March 3rd 08, 20:54   #115
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Re: What are you watching now?

I f'n HATE that K-Pax movie.
I mean, look, I know I can rant 'n' rave and say I hate this and that a lot and exaggerate a bit, but I don't really hate movies, even if I poke fun at them. But I HATE K-Pax and Pay It Forward and pretty much everything that smug Kevin Spacey is involved with.

3 most hated movies of all time for me are, off the top of my head, K-Pax, Pay it Forward and that Robin Williams movie where he uses cancer children to guilt you into feeling fake emotion. My god do I want to strangle him for that.


High and Low is probably my least favorite of the classic Kirusawa period. It's easiest to assume that's because it's one of the few that isn't sent in oldy times, but Ikiru isn't either and I adore that movie (hyp, I think you would love it as well. A truly beautiful film.) High and Low hit me out of left field because it feels like it turns into a completely different, less interesting film half-way through.

Speaking of Throne of Blood (his awesome remake of Macbeth), I saw Patrick Stewart doing Macbeth on stage in Bklyn yesterday. I know, this thread is about movies, but I figured I make y'all jealous.

I bought Raging Bull on DVD today, so I'll prob watch that tonight. Besides it being a favorite all time film, I've started taking an interest in boxing again- haven't followed since Lennox Lewis. ESPN Classic shows lots of old stuff, so that's cool.
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Old March 4th 08, 01:00   #116
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Re: What are you watching now?

I figured GKE would have to rant against KPAX.

I second his recommendation of Ikiru, it is wonderful. But, I still think High and Low is a fine film. It just seems so american compared to his other films, but it isn't really, because it wouldn't work without the Japanese sense of honor, and saving face.

Another Kurosawa favorite of mine is Dersu Uzala. GKE, if you haven't seen it, you really should. It is sort of the ultimate male bonding film.

Sadly, Man Facing Southeast isn't available on DVD yet, but there is an Amazon entry, which asks you to vote for its release, and says you will be notified if it is. I did such for another title, but they never notified me when if became available.
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Old March 4th 08, 01:59   #117
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Re: What are you watching now?

Oh, I hate you, old Mighty. *cries* I didn't even know Patrick Stewart was in the states at the moment. Hope he was good. I've heard only from his die-hard fans, who all say he is brilliant in everything.

Yea, the High and Low did get a bit slow when all the policework kicked in. Still, a worthy film, and I did like it. And spoilers, I guess, folks, about the ending here...

SPOILERS FOR "HIGH AND LOW" by Kurowawa
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And I did like how it ended well enough-ish, but not all happy fluffy bunnies and all. He was, in the end, screwed for doing the "right thing". And it really showed the work spirit of the Japanese culture. (How no one assumed he'd necessarily feel honor-bound to save a kid that was not his own.)

All in all, I'm very glad I taped it. My bad on the station, though: it was on Ovation, not TCM.

I shall check out (netflix) Ikiru and some, if not all, of the others. I have friends who would love to see more of his work too, and they are getting good about returning the dvd's promptly. So three of us or so can enjoy some Kurosawa for some time to come.

Thanks for the recommendations, guys. Seriously, being off work on work leave and in pain when I walk too much, I "need" good t.v. My Netflix list is getting to be rather long and quite varied.

Just as I like it.
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Old March 4th 08, 04:23   #118
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Re: What are you watching now?

Just be sure you add Ugetsu to your list, also called Ugetsu Monogatari. It is sort of an antiwar ghost story, set in 16th century Japan. Many critics place it in the top 10 films ever made. For a few years after I first saw it, it was my #1. It's still in my top 10. And, as I said before, 4 female leads.
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Old March 4th 08, 04:54   #119
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Re: What are you watching now?

I saw that Yojimbo is the "prequel" to Sanjuro, so I will rent both. And now I guess I have to add "Ugetsu" now too, not to mention bump it from the bottom of the list up to the top ten.

I never saw "A Fistfull of Dollars" so I will be surprised with Yojimbo, I am sure. Other than the summary kind of gave the ending away. It sounds interesting. A Kurosawa dark humor film. That should prove interesting.

He does (Kurosawa) love using the same actors, doesn't he? I think he uses Toshirô Mifune in every film he makes. No complaint here: he is an excellent actor.

I think he played the women's Japanese prison camp leader in a miniseries called "Tenko". It's the story of a ship that was shot at and grounded, with everyone on board becoming a prisoner of war, including the women and children. A chick flick Kurosawa-type film, I guess. but it's hardly "pretty" or light in any way.

I'm almost sure that's what it was called, I saw it on the history channel once. too bad it wasn't more popular, I can't find it anywhere, now.

My Xena keeps getting pushed back in my queue. when I run out of Torchwood for comic relief, I'll have to boot it back up in between all of these serious movies.
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Old March 4th 08, 08:40   #120
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Re: What are you watching now?

Yojimbo is a great film, but it is a LOT darker than Sanjuro, which is why I recommended Sanjuro for you, but by all means, see them both!
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