What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched: Installment #86

Just one killer samurai feature this week

With the NCAA Tournament going on right now it' a bit harder to find the time to watch movies outside of my normal schedule at the moment. However, I did see one film I loved and hope Criterion will re-release it on Blu-ray and perhaps add some special features, though I am currently tempted to buy the DVD as is.

The Sword of Doom (1966)
QUICK THOUGHTS: I really, really liked this movie. Tatsuya Nakadai, whom I most associate with his role as the gunfighter in Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo among several other Kurosawa features including Seven Samurai, Ran, High and Low, Sanjuro and Kagemusha, but of those his Yojimbo role is damn near iconic. The Sword of Doom, though, is the first non-Kurosawa film he's been in that I've seen and now all I want to do is see more.

Nakadai stars as Ryunosuke, a merciless samurai whose life consists of violence and his own unique morals. Confident, he never turns down a match and often spits in the face of authority up to the day he's hunted by the brother of one of his victims. Blood is shed and the ending is an all out massacre any fan of classic samurai features is sure to love.

While there isn't an official trailer available online I think the fanmade version below should suffice. Either way, if you have any love for samurai flicks this is a must watch. I've also rushed to my Netflix queue and added Goyokin and Harakiri as well as Samurai Rebellion, which is available on Netflix Instant.

Buy It Now

Now it's your turn. Anyone check out Sucker Punch this weekend?

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  • Sloan

    Glad to see someone loving Sword of Doom. Hara-Kiri is top notch as well. Nakadai is one of my favorite Japanese actors. He does more with his eyes than most do with their bodies. For me, anyway. If you want to see him in an excellent non-samurai film and have ten or so hours to spare, he's outstanding in The Human Condition. But again, that's a rather lengthy one, so you might need to plan ahead if you ever plan to watch it. In the meantime, enjoy Hara-Kiri. Rebellion is kinda more of the same film but with Nakadai as a villain. If you're looking for a good spaghetti western-styled samurai flick with Nakadai, give Kill! a look. Quite fun, if you're into that sort of thing.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Yeah, the only reason I didn't have Criterion send me The Human Condition for review was due to its length and I wasn't sure how I would find the time to watch it and review it, but it's one I've been meaning to catch on my own time.

  • Winchester

    Not a heavy week for me after the last couple. I was meant to be going to the cinema to see 'Unknown' and a rewatch of 'The Adjustment Bureau' but it got called off.

    At home -

    Forbidden Planet (1956): Blu-Ray - rewatch. I've mentioned this a lot but I threw it in as a rewatch one night because I enjoy it so much.

    The Crazies (2009): DVD - First watch. This was a one-watch flick for me but I found it enjoyable enough. Never seen the original so can't do a comp of them. Olyphant and Radha worked well as the central couple but a lot of the scares and moves were pretty standard. It had one too many endings as they were escaping though (the diner sequence followed right away by the garage one which are basically repetition) and it was about 15 mins too long I found. As I said, enjoyed it but a single watch type flick.

    Julie & Julia (2009): DVD - First watch. I enjoyed this quite a bit. I'm not a foodie much but thanks to some nice performances by Adams and Streep. I did prefer the 40s/50s period Streep oriented part of the film more than the 2002 part with Adams however. That was beautifully shot and done all round. Again, not sure I would ever rush to watch it again but I certainly enjoyed it when watching it.

    That's all this week.

    • Winchester

      Although, I'm never quite sure if we can cover TV here as well. I know it sometimes comes up here (like Mildred Pierce)...........anyway, I also watched season 1 of Mad Men for the first time this week. I was expecting something really awesome after all the years of it being around but I was a little non-plussed overall. It took me a few episodes before I realised it was more just a very (very) impeccable and glossily made soap opera (based on it's plotting and situations so far) that's certainly in terms of quality ahead of a few other shows, and it looks stunningly production designed. But it's not quite as knockout as I had thought it would be. Once I settled down and realised that though, I was able to enjoy it a lot more.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

        Nothing is off limits here, discuss whatever you like from movies to TV to books, etc.

  • m1

    I have two titles to share. I'm late to the game on both, but no matter:

    The Secret in Their Eyes-This was a pretty good film. The story moved forward at the right pace and featured great performances. I'm only giving it an 8 because it was too melodramatic at times and has a couple of holes in it. Other than that, wonderful film. I also think the film would make an interesting remake and I hope that turns out well as well. 8/10

    Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief-Far inferior to the novel, but still I still had a fun time. There were a couple of holes in this as well, but I enjoyed Logan Lerman's performance and I hope the sequel is better. Too much unnecessary comic relief really brought the film down. 6/10

  • maja

    Things We Lost in the Fire - In terms of acting this was top notch from Del Toro and Halle Berry. However the movie was just too melodramatic and probably the weakest Bier movie i have seen to date. B-

    A Bittersweet Life - This movie was incredibly entertaining and is well worth a watch. B+

    The Station Agent - Didn't enjoy this one at all. Just seemed overly slow with nothing happening much at all in it. C

    Frailty - This is a really solid thriller, but i'm not sure how well it will hold up on repeat viewings because the surprise element counts for alot in this one. B

    Brothers (original) - Around 20mins in i realised that the US remake is essentially a scene for scene remake, so i'll give this one the same grade i gave the remake. B

    Eskiya - Excellent Turkish drama, highly enjoyable. B+

    Limitless - Well, i really hated this movie. The pacing and the editing were both pretty poor and the whole movie could have been predicted from the trailer. D+

    I Saw the Devil - Incredibly entertaining movie despite the fact that there are some ridiculous things going on in this. B+

  • adu

    Sucker Punch: With all the poor rating I went to watch this purely on instinct, and the movie delivers exactly what it promises in the trailer...great CGI and brilliantly choreographed action sequences. Very entertaining.

    Star Trek: I rented this one, it was my second watch since I saw it in the theaters (still waiting for its blu ray price to drop. I never really followed Star Trek, but this one certainly made me a fan and I'm looking forward to see its sequels.

  • hp

    The Adjustment Bureau- I was asked to go see this with a group of friends, I decided to go, even though the movie previews didn't look appealing to me. It turned out a lot better than expected. I really liked the pacing of this movie, I wasn't ever bored. I was glad it wasn't overly stretched out, as the 100 minute or so running time seemed perfect for this film. The thoughts this movie provokes are pretty interesting too. 8/10

  • MajorFilmFan

    Tranistorized!- This is a revealing documentary that unfolds like some of the greatest films: a story of great teamwork, deception, power, greed, and money. Pretty much the Original "Social Network" A

    To Kill A Mockingbird- Having just read the book for my langauge arts class, I must say that this movie is a pretty adquate adaptation of the source material. It's not PERFECT, but overall, I DID enjoy it, especially Greggory Peck's perfomance as Atticus Finch. B+

    Once- I enjoy musicals, but they aren't my FAVORITE genre. But, John Carney's indie musical won me over completely with it's charm, humor, heart, and especially the music. If anyone hasn't seen it, DEFFINATLY seak this one out!!! A+

    Up in the Air (Rewatch)- I was completely blown away by this film when I first saw it last summer, and my feeling hasn't changes. Jason Reitman's adaptation of Walter Kirn's novel works because it has so many layers of emotions. It is darkly funny, heartbreaking painful, but it is ALWAYS humanly real. And, while Ryan Bingham isn't the type of character you'd normally root for, George Clooney gives this heartless and soulless man a heart and soul. But the real show stealer here is Anna Kendrick. She is AMAZING, and she has one hell of a career ahead of her! A+

  • m1

    Also: I'm more than halfway through Water for Elephants, and I'm loving it. I can't wait to see the movie!

  • Justin Casey

    At home:
    Due Date: This was a really funny film and i love robert downey jr. because he's an awesome actor and zach gallifinakis (hope i spelled that right) but i knew this has been said before but it was a little too much like planes, trains, and automobiles one of my favorite comedies of all time but it was still hilarious and enjoyable 8/10
    Burlesque: one word, horrible, i usually enjoy musicals but this was absolute garbage 2/10
    How do you know: started out hopeful but towards the end it started to fall apart ended up being really disappointed 6/10
    Buried: phenominal, very original different from anything i've ever seen before, at the end i really got into it and wanted the guys to get paul out and then the dvd started screwing up but not too bad still really enjoyed even though the ending pissed me off 9/10

  • m1

    Also, here's how I would rank all of the films I've seen from 2010:
    http://www.imdb.com/list/gpgm4vzhdKU/

    Feel free to comment!

  • Mason Williamson

    Don't have time to give descriptions, so:

    Sucker Punch: 0.5/10
    Lorenzo's Oil: 4.5/10
    Se7en (rewatch): 10/10
    Y tu mamá también: 9.5/10
    The Night of the Hunter: 9/10
    Magnolia (rewatch): 11/10

  • Drew

    - Sucker Punch (2.5/4) It was overtaken by pointless and repetitive action
    - The Tourist (2/4) Not logical enough to be a satisfying thriller, and not enough chemistry between the two leads to be a nice romance.
    - How Do You Know? (2.5/4) A nice light-hearted romantic comedy
    - Skyline (.5/4) What was the point of making this movie?
    - The Parking Lot Movie (3/4) Who knew that a movie about parking lot attendants could be so amusing
    - A Perfect World (2.5/4)
    - Diner (3.5/4)
    - Mad Dog and Glory (3.5/4)

  • al3xrob

    The Adjustment Bureau - 3.5/5 - Great chemistry between the leads. An enjoyable and intelligent thriller. Glad I caught it at the cinema.

    Limitless - 3/5 - Although entertaining, I thought that Cooper and even De Niro (phoning it in) actually elevated this above how it could have turned out with other actors. Some good ideas but some equally weak areas.

    Faster - 2.5/5 - If it had just been about The Rock going around getting his revenge it might have been ok. But the continual backstory of the character 'the killer', added to Jackson-Cohen seeming to do an impression of Jude Law in the role, near enough ruined it for me.

  • Travis

    The Adjustment Bureau (2011)The leads have great chemistry as everyone points out. The ideas of the film could have been tackled in a much more serious way, but as is it is a fun, smart thriller with romance and free will at its center so I can't complain.A-

    Carlos (2010)Finally saw it in the full 5 1/2 hour version, loved it. Edgar Ramirez is very good. I've only seen this and Summer Hours from Assayas, but he has shown me enough to have me highly anticipating whatever he tackles next.A

    The Trotsky (2009)Solid little Canadian comedy starring Jay Baruchel as a high school student who believes he is the reincarnation of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. As you may expect it has a little Easy A feeling to it.B-

    Ballets Russes (2005)One of those documentaries where even if you're not overly interested in the subject, it is very well researched, and made, the history lesson is interesting. It uses many of the key players in the different Ballet Russe ballet companies from the early 20th century through their end in I think around the 60's.B

    Ned Kelly (2003)I sticks mainly to the facts (I assume), but does little else. Heath Ledger is the main reason to watch as he is very good as Kelly, but the film itself isn't very interesting other than to give you a possible reason to look further into Kelly's story.C

  • Jimmy B

    Sucker Punch-I knew this wouldn't be much more than a guilty pleasure, but my God, was this a stunningly bad movie. How can 2 hours of hot girls, guns, and explosions be this boring and unpleasant? And so much for that "female empowerment" theme: the message seems to be "If you're abused or tortured, just IMAGINE you're fighting back and everything will be all right." Some nice visuals, but that's about it. 2/10

    The Adjustment Bureau-Best movie I've seen so far this year. The story is wrapped up a little too neatly, but I loved the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and the sci-fi angle adds a nice twist to the romance. 8.5/10

  • VMarsFTW

    Sucker Punch- I wanted to like this film so much, but it was really disappointing. There were a lot of good ideas here, but it was all just assembled into one big mess. Snyder really needed to tighten up the screenplay for this one. The action scenes were all OK, but got progressively worse, and while the film was visually stunning that can only distract you from the film's problems for so long. I do think critics are being too harsh on this film, it's much better then Battle: LA, but it's still not a very good film. A few good things though: Emily Browning, Jena Malone, and Abbie Cornish all gave good performances. I loved the film's soundtrack and thought the opening scene and final ten minutes were entertaining.

    The Last Picture Show- I LOVED it. The characters were all so complex, the script was terrific, it was so well directed and just had so much to say without ever offering easy answers or connecting the dots for the audience. All the performances were terrific, and I just loved every minute of it.

    The Fighter (re-watch)- This was my sixth favorite film of the year and I thought it really held up on a re-watch. The performances is really what makes this movie, especially Melissa Leo and Christian Bale.

    Also, it's not a movie, but I caught up on the last few episodes of Justified and I really think it's probably the best show on TV right now. I don't know if anyone else on here watches it, but I strongly recommend it.

  • C138

    Sansho the Bailiff - One of the most depressing movies of all time, but still a great one. 5/5

    Born on the Fourth of July - My favorite Oliver Stone film. I think it has aged better than Platoon, and Tom Cruise is really great in the role. 5/5

    127 Hours - Pretty good movie. I liked it more than Slumdog Millionaire, and Franco gave a good performance. I didn't find the amputation scene to be quite as bad as people were making it out to be. 4/5

    Hereafter - Good film. Better than I expected, in fact. I really liked both Matt Damon and Cecile De France. 4/5

    Love and Other Drugs - Another film that ended up better than I expected it to be. It may not be one of Edward Zwick's strongest films, but Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway both gave good performances that kept my attention throughout. I couldn't stand the whole subplot with the brother, though. He was pretty unlikable. 3.5/5

    Legends of the Fall - A very beautiful film to look at, with a great score by James Horner. There were some moments in the film that seemed a little over the top and silly, but I liked the old fashioned Hollywood approach the filmmakers took to making it. 4/5

    Flags of Our Fathers - Good movie, but not on the same level as Letters from Iwo Jima. 3.5/5

    The Last Samurai - Another visually stunning film to look at, in more ways than one. The cinematography and art direction are pretty astounding. Ken Watanabe steals the show, and Tom Cruise did a solid job as well. It tells a familiar story to be sure (I was reminded of Dances With Wolves at times), but still very well done and entertaining. 4.5/5

    A River Runs Through It - Good film with nice cinematography and one of Brad Pitt's best performances. 3.5/5

    Courage Under Fire - Intriguing story told in a style similar to Rashomon. Well acted all around, but Denzel Washington was especially excellent here. 4.5/5

    Starman - A very sweet and pleasant sci-fi romance with a great performances by Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen. 4/5

    Open Range - An old fashioned western that moves at a deliberate pace, and goes on about 20 minutes too long. Not quite on the same level as Dances With Wolves, but it's still a good movie with one of my favorite Robert Duvall performances. 3.5/5