The Quiet Duel (1949)

A very affecting, emotional film revolving around a doctor (played by Toshiro Mifune) infected by syphilis from a patient during an accident, who then has to grapple with being contaminated with a near-incurable disease of the time. I found the film utterly captivating. Frequent Kurosawa collaborates Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura deliver great performances, especially Mifune,…

And Seven Times Never Kill Man! (1975) by George R. R. Martin

Another dark, fascinating story in George R. R. Martin’s “The Thousands Worlds” setting. It’s interesting reading the story in 2016 because there are two aspects of it that are quite fun to see retrospectively; the first appearance of the term “winter is coming” in Martin’s writing, and the inspiration for the wookie (Chewbacca’s race) in Star Wars. As…

Nerve (2016)

A competently-made teen thriller. I was lured by the neon aesthetic of the poster, but the actual visuals of the film were, sadly, less vibrant. Still, there was a fair bit of creativity with the portrayal of digital and social media in the film. The film would have worked better tonally if it had played…

Drunken Angel (1948)

Drunken Angel, like One Wonderful Sunday, is set in a glum, occupied Tokyo. Unlike One Wonderful Sunday, the two main characters of this film aren’t young lovers, but instead an alcoholic physician and a tuberculosis-stricken gangster. Their relationship, dynamic, and conflict drive most of the movie, and the great performances ensure the movie never feels too lean for…

One Wonderful Sunday (1947)

This is another early Kurosawa film, this one a sort of romance comedy-drama set in post-war Tokyo. It follows a couple taking the train into Tokyo (at the time of occupation) and spending the day there, with just thirty-five yen between them. The film alternates between sweet couple-y  scenes, scenes that intermix youthful angst and…

No Regrets for Our Youth (1946)

This certainly was a departure from the earlier propaganda films Kurosawa made. The political content here ties in nicely with the characters and themes of the story; there’s no clunky government-mandated message at odds with the story Kurosawa is trying to tell. An interesting take on idealism and how time, aging, and certain circumstances can…