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Member's Reviews

Kumonosu j (Throne of Blood), a review by Antares

Kumonosu j

Year: 1957
Film Studio: Toho
Genre: War, Drama
Length: 109 Min.

Akira Kurosawa (1910)

Shinobu Hashimoto (1918)...Writer
Ryz Kikushima...Writer
Akira Kurosawa (1910)...Writer
Hideo Oguni (1904)...Writer

Akira Kurosawa (1910)
Sjir Motoki

Asakazu Nakai (1901)

Masaru Sat (1928)...Composer

Toshir Mifune (1920) as Taketori Washizu
Isuzu Yamada (1917) as Lady Asaji Washizu
Takashi Shimura (1905) as Noriyasu Odagura
Akira Kubo (1936) as Yoshiteru Miki
Hiroshi Tachikawa as Kunimaru Tsuzuki
Minoru Chiaki (1917) as Yoshiaki Miki
Takamaru Sasaki (1898) as Kuniharu Tsuzuki
Kokuten Kd (1887) as Military Commander

       Taketori Washizu (Toshir Mifune) and Yoshiaki Miki (Minoru Chiaki) are loyal military commanders who have just defeated a traitorous general and are on their way back to their clan to receive the accolades and adulation of their clan leader. Their homeward journey takes them through the Cobweb Forest, a place known to harbor mystical and deadly spirits. In the midst of the forest and lost in an engulfing fog, they come across a spirit who prophesizes that Washizu will become leader of the clan and that Mikis son will one day ascend to the same position. When Washizu recounts this story to his wife, Lady Asaji (Isuzu Yamada), she warns him that if the clan leader catches wind of this prophecy, then Washizus life would be in peril. When the clan leader arrives unexpectedly for a visit, she instructs him to assassinate the leader. When Washizu decides to heed his wifes advice, he sets in motion a series of events that will fulfill the last part of the spirits prediction.

       Based on the Shakespeare play Macbeth, this would be the first of two adaptations of Shakespeare plays that Akira Kurosawa would direct in his long and incredibly creative career. The fifties would be Kurosawas most productive period and would see the release of four critically acclaimed works, Rashmon, Ikiru, Shichinin no samurai, and finally Kumonosu j. At no other time in film history has any other director crafted such an impressive list of films in such a short period of time.

       Tackling the weighty wordplay of anything written by William Shakespeare is no easy task, but by shifting the location to medieval Japan, Kurosawa was able to strip away most of the lengthy dialogue associated with the Bards plays. By instructing his cast to perform their roles in the Noh theater style of acting, he would create a more visual narrative that would allow the viewer to sit back and relax, and not worry about getting lost in the endless oratory of the performers. His most visual statement is made in the final moments of the film when the Cobweb Forest seemingly rises up to attack Washizu, unleashing a wave of anarchy amongst his army, who now turn upon their leader to appease the spirit of the forest.

       In a scene that could never be duplicated today, Kurosawa has Mifune run frantically around the ramparts of the castle as waves of arrows are shot in his direction. The fear on Mifunes face is genuine, as Kurosawa employed a small group of skilled archers to fire the arrows at Mifune. Kurosawa painted small marks on the walls adjacent to the spots where he wanted Mifune to be stopped by each successive wave of arrows. If Mifune would have tripped or had proceeded just a foot too far, the human pincushion that he appeared to be at the end of the film would have become reality.
       Those looking for an introduction to the work of Akira Kurosawa should not start with this film, its too gloomy and dark, and does not lend itself to easy viewing. That said, after acclimating yourself to the more famous of his films which I mentioned earlier, do come around and give this a try. Its one of the most glorious adaptations of any Shakespearean play that has been brought to the silver screen.

Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 Stars - An entertaining film thats fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars A good film thats worth a Netflix venture.
2 Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 Stars Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

(From Kumonosu j (Throne of Blood) (1957) on January 18th, 2010)

Member's Reviews

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, a review by DJ Doena

The last time I watched such an awful movie in the theatre, was Beowulf. And even then I didn't have that many facepalms as this time.

Basically everything was abysmal: The script itself, the dialogues and sometimes even the special effects. What does it say about a movie when a TV production like Xena: Warrior Princess does a better job at portraying a giant speaking to a normal-sized person? Not once did they manage to get the line of sight right, the giants always spoke to the shoulder or someone (who wasn't there) behind the actual person.

The dialogues! "I go into Hades!" - "Do you know where it is?" - "Uh, you are right, I totally did not think about that!"
"Your father built this house for you." (non-dialogue: "Until an hour ago it was never planned for you to ever come here but the viewer certainly won't notice that...").
"The stench of your stepfather hid your own scent from the Gods."

And don't get me started about this entire training camp and the Capture-the-Flag game...

When they were in Vegas they ate some Lotus blossoms which had a narcotic affect on them - I believe that is the only thing that would get me through this movie a second time. That or loads of alcohol.

Even the end credits joke was predictable and incredibly lame.

The dubbing was equally bad but I honestly don't think it made the movie worse than it already is.

(From Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief on February 23rd, 2010)

Member's TV Reviews

Pete's Pilots, a review by addicted2dvd

Batman Beyond
Terry McGinnis was just an ordinary teenager...until his father was mysteriously murdered. Suspecting foul play at his father's company Wayne/Powers Corporation, Terry meets Bruce Wayne and learns a secret identity hidden for decades. Now too old to battle injustice, Wayne is a bitter shell of his former self and refuses to help. So Terry does what any brash young kid would do: steal the Batsuit and take matters into his own hands! Vowing to avenge his father's death, Terry dons the high-tech suit - tricked out with jetpacks for flying, a supersensitive microphone for eavesdropping and even camouflage capabilities - in search of his father's assassin. Get in on the action from the explosive beginning of a new partnership between an ex-crimefighter and his apprentice in these first 13 thrilling episodes from the animated series!

Rebirth (Parts 1 & 2)
Part 1:
Bruce Wayne, the original Batman, retires due to failing health. 20 years later, Terrence "Terry" McGinnis discovers the Batman's identity after the aging Bruce Wayne helps him fight off a gang of Jokerz. After Terry's father is murdered, Terry seeks Bruce's help to avenge him.

Part 2:
Terry steals the Batsuit to pursue his father's killer, a professional bodyguard whose employer, the current CEO of Wayne-Powers, is secretly using the company's resources to develop a biological weapon.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoy the new futuristic imaging of Batman. The 2-part pilot episode was very entertaining... I found myself not wanting to stop. I could have watched a few more episodes easily. I think this series is definitely worth giving a shot.

My Rating:

(From Pete's Pilots on November 2nd, 2009)
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