Film Talk – Ran, by Akira Kurosawa

Obviously you can’t really talked about Ran, one of Akira Kurosawa’s grandest and most  spectacular films, without talking about King Lear, or Shakespeare himself. Ran is a re-telling of King Lear, with aspects of a couple other well known tragedies from the Great Bard, but with a Tokugawa-era spin that transforms a well-known story into…

Film Analysis – Ikiru, by Akira Kurosawa

As I watched Ikiru, Akira Kurosawa’s acclaimed 1952 masterpiece, it became apparent how much this film has influenced the entire history of film-making, at least past its release. I recognized methods of storytelling, character arcs, and cinematography that I’ve been seeing in films for my entire life. I even recognized the plot arc of the…

Film Review – A Letter to Momo, by Hiroyuki Okiura

A Letter to Momo is a touching film designed to evoke emotion in anyone who has loved a parent or lost one (which is most of us). It accomplishes this with humor, good character development, and genuine feeling. It mimics the work of Hayao Miyazaki in an obvious and reverential way. It’s beautifully animated, if traditional,…

Film Review – The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, by Takeshi Kitano

Finally, we come to my first and only samurai flick of this curriculum. Oddly enough, I mistakenly added Zatoichi to my list thinking it was a different film. I had planned on watching The Twilight Samurai, which is much different, but mistakenly substituted ‘blind’ for ‘twilight’ in my Google search and came upon Zatoichi. I…

Film Review – The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, by Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata is fairly well known for his 1988 animated feature, Grave of the Fireflies, which is a heart-wrenching look at two orphaned children struggling to survive in World War II Japan. That film was hailed by many as a masterpiece of storytelling, and a touching look into the minutiae of war. Others found it…

Film Review – Tokyo Story

During the few times this past summer when I’d visit White Yarrow Farm, Farmer Dale and I would wax poetic about all things Japanese. We would most often talk while harvesting potatoes, sometimes having hours-long conversations about film, literature, pop culture, and of course, food. More than once Dale would talk whimsically of his favorite…

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I was nervous, that night in the early summer of 1999. I was done with high school, had been through a weird senior year, and didn’t really know where my life was headed (still don’t). While those things all made me existentially anxious, I was nervous because my costume wasn’t coming together very well, and…

The Cowspiracy Effect

I recently watched a documentary called Cowspiracy. It’s serious vegan propaganda, from the presentation to the statistics. The ultimate goal of the film is to make people aware of how badly large scale meat consumption is destroying the planet. It’s an outlandish film, full of left-wing conspiracy nuts and clearly dubious facts. On a completely…

A New Blog, A New Doctor

The newest season of Doctor Who aired this past Sunday on the BBC. I was excited, despite the show falling off my radar in the past many months. It was the debut of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, an unexpected choice in many corners, controversial but potentially great. He’s older, has more of an…