Recent Features
Kurosawa 101: Day Six, 1955 - 1958

After creating two masterpieces in Ikiru and Seven Samurai, Kurosawa put his genius on display on three more brilliant films that were unlike anything he had previously done.

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Kurosawa 101: Day Five, ‘Seven Samurai’ (1954)

Today's Kurosawa 101 focuses exclusively on what is generally regarded as not only the greatest Japanese film ever made, but perhaps the greatest in world cinema.

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Wide-Screen, Big Ideas: The Wide-Screen Cinema of Akira Kurosawa

After eschewing innovations like color and wide-screen filmmaking, when Akira Kurosawa made the conversion to a wider screen, he did so by making six consecutive films in wide screen, with a degree of success that was as resounding as it was influential.

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Kurosawa 101: Day Four, 1950 - 1952

Today's Kurosawa 101 explores two of the greatest films in Kurosawa's catalog, Rashomon -- the film that made Kurosawa and Japanese cinema known throughout the world -- and Ikiru -- perhaps the greatest film ever made about impending death.

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West By East By West: The Influence of Kurosawa on the West and Vice Versa

Through his influences and achievements, Kurosawa became one of the first true international filmmakers, inspiring several generations of filmmakers who would explore notions of genre and identity in film.

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Kurosawa 101: Day Three (1949 - 1950)

Today's Kurosawa 101 films include the director's only effort at bringing a contemporary Japanese stage play to the screen (the rarely seen The Quiet Duel), a police procedural that was the finest Kurosawa film to date (Stray Dog), and a scree against tabloid journalism that resulted in one of the weakest films he would ever direct (Scandal).

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Kurosawa 101: Day Two, 1946 - 1948

Day Two of Kurosawa 101 examines three of the director's films that attempt to come to terms with the nature of life in Japan immediately following the end of WWII and the American Occupation.

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Textbook on Film: The Political As Personal in the Films of Kurosawa

Kurosawa's films often act as deliberate examinations of the period in which they took place, exploring not only the difficult realities that existed, but also the personal ordeals of the individuals that had to confront within them.

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A Giant Shadow: The Continuing Influence of Akira Kurosawa on World Cinema

Today it is impossible to imagine a world without the films of Akira Kurosawa. He is easily regarded as one of the very greatest directors in the history of film, having made a host of first tier masterpieces.

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10 Oct 2010 // 10:00 PM

Kurosawa 101: Day One, 1943-1945

Over the next two weeks we will provide a brief introduction to every one of the films that Akira Kurosawa directed, from the obscure to the most celebrated, from Scandal and The Most Beautiful to Seven Samurai and Ran.

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‘The Grapes of Wrath’: The Specter of Tom Joad Emerges From America’s Dark Past, Once Again

With the current economic climate -- increasing rates of foreclosure, evictions, unemployment, poverty and misery -- this classic story dangerously impinges upon the present to reveal the specter of Tom Joad emerging from the darkness, once again.

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Hollywood’s Silent Sister Act: A Tearjerking Tragedienne, a Sparkling Comedienne

Mary Pickford was the biggest female star at the beginning of the '20s and Greta Garbo was the biggest at the finish, but in between there were none bigger than Norma and Constance Talmadge.

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4 Oct 2010 // 10:00 PM

Less Than Zero’s Julian Problem

Cocaine-fueled despair, oversaturated sex in blues and purples, desolate teenagers dying in the dust -- this was the feel-bad movie of the '80s, an open sore on the era’s facade of flawlessness.

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Pacific Hell Amid Days of Heaven: Terrence Malick’s ‘The Thin Red Line’

PopMatters' Paul Maher speaks with cast and crew about what went into Terrence Malick's million-and-a-half feet of film (250 hours) that would become The Thin Red Line (re-released on DVD by Criterion, 28 September).

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All These Women: PopMatters Talks with Woody Allen and Cast

Woody Allen’s philosophy is to give filmgoers something to believe in; Gemma Jones, Freida Pinto, and Lucy Punch talk with PopMatters about their part in delivering that message in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

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Part Four: Gena Rowlands to Evan Rachel Wood

She speaks volumes using downward glances and a few nervous ticks; she's regal, and elegant but also tinged with sweetness and vulnerability; she's volcanic, ribald, and just a little maladroit; she's a vulgarian!; she makes character acting look like performance art...

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Part Three: Diane Keaton to Charlotte Rampling

Woody Allen's lead women serve as bridges between various forms of insanity, provide an air of sophistication and enigma to each role and in one instance, becomes the cold heart at the center of his coldest film: Diane Keaton, Elaine May, Radha Mitchell, Emily Mortimer, Samantha Morton, Geraldine Page and Charlotte Rampling.

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Part Two: Sally Hawkins to Julie Kavner

Woody Allen seems to have a preternatural instinct for discovering intuitively brilliant young actresses such as Sally Hawkins, Barbara Hershey, Mary Beth Hurt,Anjelica Huston, Scarlett Johannson and Julie Kavner.

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Part One: Kirstie Alley to Rebecca Hall

Actors of capable skill, depth and instinct; characters that are neurotic, bitter, and suffer from inner-doubt; the 'foxes' and 'hedgehogs' of Woody Allen's films are portrayed here by Kirstie Alley, Stockard Channing, Patricia Clarkson, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Rebecca Hall.

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Masters of the Universe: Oliver Stone’s ‘Wall Street’

In his desire to trump his upper crust "superiors", Gekko's personal ethic could be read as a perverted, ultimately hypocritical form of populist revolt.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Culture Belongs to the Alien in 'Spirits of Xanadu'

// Moving Pixels

"The symbols that the artifact in Spirits of Xanadu uses are esoteric -- at least for the average Western gamer. It is Chinese culture reflected back at us through the lens of alien understanding.

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