Day 227 & Day 228 – Seven Samurai & Animal House

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Movie Title: Seven Samurai

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 3 hr. 27 min.

Rated: UR

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Seven Samurai is a Japanese treasure. It would be important to understand some differences in Japanese movies compared to western movies before seeing it in order to really appreciate the movie. Traditional Japanese movies are an extension of theater, so the acting may seem over the top, but it is meant to. There is less focus on realism. The action sequences also have an exaggerated effect to them. If you can accept them for what they are it is an excellent movie. Seven Samurai inspired many American and spaghetti westerns including one of my all-time favorite movies The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

The plot is very simple. A village that has been perpetually raided by bandits is on the brink of starvation or so they claim. They send representatives to a nearby village looking for samurai to help them in their cause to fight the bandits. There are forty bandits and no one in the village has military experience. In the village they win the sympathies of Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) who proceeds to recruit the titular seven samurai. They are an interesting lot with the most interesting being Kikuchiyo. Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) is an exceptional character. He is boisterous and boastful. He is a drunk and a braggart. But, he sincerely cares about the village and his friends.

The characters are nuanced despite there tendency to shout every line of dialogue. The character dramas that develop during the preparation for battle and the climactic final battle are well done. The choreography of the battles are beautiful and well executed considering the large number of moving parts. The camera is always in the right place at the right time. There are also many themes that add layers to the movie. The samurai are being surpassed by modern technology. There are also themes of manipulation, futility, glory earned, and glory lost. The language was also ahead of its time. You wouldn’t hear characters use words like this in American films for years.

Verdict:

Seven Samurai is a beautiful film that was ahead of its time. It influenced entire genres of movies. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Animal House (1978)

 

Movie Title: Animal House

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Animal House may be the greatest sketch comedy of all-time. It is loosely strung together as a conflict between the Delta Tau Chi fraternity and Dean Vernon Wormer who wants the fraternity shutdown. It has some truly iconic moments in comedy. It has the absolute best of John Belushi and a great cast otherwise including Karen Allen and Donald Sutherland.

Verdict:

It is one of the greatest comedies ever made. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Ghost Stories (2017)

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