30 Kurosawa Film Reviews in 30 Days

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Day One

Seven Samurai (1954) Seven hired samurai battle a group of bandits to save a farm village. Widely considered one of cinema’s greatest classics, this is Kurosawa at his most masterful. Plus, I ate a total of three turkey sandwiches during the film. With cheese. A

Day Two

Sanshiro Sugata (1943) Even in his first film, Kurosawa’s striking visual style is on display, seeds of the hallmarks of his later films can be seen, and I texted this girl whose number I’d gotten at the bar the weekend before while I was watching. I ate some ice cream mid-way through the movie, but the girl didn’t text me back. B

Day Three

Sanshiro Sugata 2 (1945) This is the sequel to the one I watched yesterday, and it was basically more of the same. That girl still hasn’t texted me back, and I was watching my phone for the whole movie, so I would’ve seen it if she did. D-

Day Four

Dodesukaden (1970) A story of the lives of a community of people who live in a garbage dump. Pretty interesting film, and his first in colour. Like, look, even if you’re not interested, a text back is just common courtesy. D

Day Five

Stray Dog (1949) A rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen pistol, which is being used in a series of escalating crimes. Finished off that ice cream from the other day and didn’t leave the apartment. B+

Day Six

Dreams (1990) A visually stunning collection of vignettes inspired by recurring dreams from throughout Kurosawa’s life. I had a bunch of McDonald’s when I watched it because I got some coupons in the mail, and by the time the movie was done I could already feel the rumblings of some pretty horrific diarrhea ahead. C-

Day Seven

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945) Some guys are trying to sneak through the mountains dressed as monks for some reason? I don’t know, I fell asleep for a lot of this one. It was a great nap, though. B

Day Eight

The Bad Sleep Well (1960) A taut drama about a man seeking revenge on the high-powered bureaucrats who forced his father to commit suicide to cover up their embezzlement. I was sexting with an ex throughout most of this one, and then about two hours into its two and a half hour run I left to go hook up with her. A+

Day Nine

Scandal (1950) A damning portrayal of the invasive nature of the media. The ex I hooked up with last night said something about this mole on my arm looking bigger than it used to. Does it? I’ve been trying to figure it out the whole movie. C

Day Ten

Ran (1985) A sprawling epic about an aging patriarch and his three jerk sons who all won’t stop trying to kill each other. This is one of Kurosawa’s last films, and is his last period epic. The composition of each shot is incomparable, the colour is absolutely vibrant, and I had a burrito during it that was the size of a fucking newborn baby. A

Day Eleven

Drunken Angel (1948) An alcoholic doctor goes beyond the call of duty to try to save a young gangster from tuberculosis. Visually striking shots and powerful performances make this a gripping watch. All the stuff about doctors kept making me think about this mole, though. Is it bigger?? B

Day Twelve

The Lower Depths (1957) I texted an old nurse friend a pic of the mole. He said it’s nothing to worry about. Actually, what he said was to stop texting him, we’re not friends, in fact he wishes the mole was cancerous. It was a bit much. I mean, it’s been like six years since I slept with his girlfriend. Some people can really hold a grudge. My main takeaway, though, is that the mole isn’t a big deal. B+

Day Thirteen

The Most Beautiful (1944) I was feeling like kind of a fatso because I’d eaten a bunch of poutine earlier, so I decided to start working out while I’m watching these. I spent about 45 minutes on the elliptical, and by the end I felt like a 90-year-old on his death bed. D

Day Fourteen

Rhapsody In August (1991) A Nagasaki family discovers an estranged relative and his family in Hawaii. There is a lot of talk about the atomic bomb. Richard Gere speaking Japanese was way too disconcerting. D-

Day Fifteen

Yojimbo (1961) A wandering ronin plays two rival gangs against each other to save a town from their grip. Got me pumped up to work out again. I did two sets of twenty sit-ups and spent so much of the movie on the elliptical that I could hardly breathe. So, as a reward, I ate grilled cheese sandwiches until I passed out. B+

Day Sixteen

Sanjuro (1962) The sequel to Yojimbo. So tired and sore from all the sit-ups yesterday I could hardly move. Had to pause the movie several times to poop, because of all the grilled cheese sandwiches. C

Day Seventeen

One Wonderful Sunday (1947) A melodramatic tale of a young couple trying to make the best of their Sunday date, despite only having 35 yen. Still not really feeling up to doing any exercise again. Maybe tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. And no more grilled cheese sandwiches. Well, I mean, I’ve still got some cheese, I should finish that off. Then no more grilled cheese sandwiches after that. For real. B-

Day Eighteen

Throne of Blood (1957) A re-telling of Macbeth, set in feudal Japan. I got really drunk during this one. A

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Day Nineteen

The Quiet Duel (1949) So hung over. Is it me, or was this movie way too loud and bright? D-

Day Twenty

Dersu Uzala (1975) I saw a UFO! No, for real. It’s hard to describe, but it was this slowly brightening orb of light that got really intense and then slowly faded and was gone. The really weird thing, though, is that right where it had been in the sky, the clouds segmented into these perfectly symmetrical rectangles that were all geometrically sound and were equidistant from each other, like in a grid. It was weird, man. I’ve never seen anything like it before. B

Day Twenty-One

Madadayo (1993) None of the local newspapers would print anything about the UFO I saw. Like, I’m not expecting it to be front page news or anything, but you’d think they’d want to print a little something. It’s news, after all. It really happened. I did get a free tote bag and coffee mug, though, so it wasn’t a total loss. C

Day Twenty-Two

The Hidden Fortress (1958) Pretty sure Kurosawa just ripped most of this off from Star Wars? C-3PO+

Day Twenty-Three

No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) To be completely honest, I didn’t really understand most of this movie because I don’t understand Japanese. D-

Day Twenty-Four

Ikiru (1952) My cats were being so cute while I watched this, I started snapping a few pics of them and before I knew it I had over 50. It took me the whole rest of the movie to Instagram them all. Time to let the likes roll in. B+

Day Twenty-Five

I Live in Fear (1955) Got 12 likes!! B

Day Twenty-Six

Red Beard (1965) Seven more likes! A

Day Twenty-Seven

The Idiot (1951) It kind of hit me while I was watching this that I’ve been doing this every day for just about a month now, and I’m nearing the end. Can I be honest with you? For years now I’ve been adrift, my life all but meaningless, hardly having a reason to get up out of bed in the mornings, tilting listlessly from paycheque to paycheque and drink to drink. But watching these films has pulled my life into a direction. However trifling it may seem, it’s been a constant that I’ve desperately needed, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s over. No rating, what’s the point?

Day Twenty-Eight

High and Low (1963) Things got a bit real yesterday. I’m feeling better today, and I’m confident that things will turn around for me soon. You never know what tomorrow will bring. B

Day Twenty-Nine

Kagemusha (1980) I finally beat the level in Candy Crush that I’ve been stuck on for, like, two years! B+

Day Thirty

Rashomon (1950) Rashomon is considered to be not only one of Kurosawa’s greatest achievements, but one of the greatest in the history of film. Its innovative camera techniques and use of multiple perspectives of the same narrative changed filmmaking forever. It was the film which launched Japanese cinema into world consciousness, and cemented Kurosawa as one of the leading figures in the medium not just at the time, but of all time. I don’t know, though, I was distracted by this really itchy mosquito bite on my leg that I couldn’t stop scratching the whole time. C

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