November 29, 2008

I Live in Fear (1955 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Fumio Hayasaka, Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni.

In what is considered the last of his films to explore the immediate after effects of WWII and the US occupation in Japan, Kurosawa took another lift in censorship to explore one of the boldest topics of the time:

The Bomb.

Seven Samurai (1954 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni.

In 16th century Japan, a farming village learns the upcoming harvest will bring with it a bandit raid, so they set out to hire a pack of samurai to protect them. Though the setup is simple, this film, Kurosawa's deserving masterpiece, most certainly isn't.

My Own Worst Enemy #5 "The Night Train to Moscow" (2008 episode)

Directed by David Semel. Written by Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc. Created by Jason Smilovic.

One of the reasons Edward signed up for this program was the understanding he wouldn't have any more serious relationships, wouldn't have to endanger his missions because of thoughts of someone waiting back home, wouldn't have to fall in love. When a presidential candidate in Kazakhstan is kidnapped by the KGB, Edward is paired up with the man's wife (Isabella Hofmann), a Russian operative who fell for the politician she was meant to spy on, and all of the lines between real relationships and cover start to crumble.

November 22, 2008

Ikiru (1952 script/film)

The Script
Undated published draft translated by Donald Richie. Written by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni.

What would you do, how would you react, if you discovered you had less than a year left to live? These are the questions posed to Kanji Watanabe, chief of a department in City Hall. Every day for the last thirty years have been a thankless routine of stamping papers he doesn't read and sending desperate citizens on an endless romp from division to division, none of which want to take any responsibility. Outside the office, he is a widower who gave up his own dream early to support a thankless son.

My Own Worst Enemy #4 "This is Not My Son" (2008 episode)

Directed by Fred Keller. Written by Kim Clements and Courtney Kemp Agboh. Created by Jason Smilovic.

I've been wondering since the first episode how the producers managed to sign an actress of Saffron Burrows's caliber to play a largely thankless role like that of Dr. Norah Skinner, the company analyst who acts as little more than a wall for Henry to bounce his frustrations off of. But now I see there's a deeper plan for the character, a broader thread which elevates her to a much higher degree of importance.

November 18, 2008

The Idiot (1951 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Eijiro Hisaita and Akira Kurosawa. Based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Ever since he was a young man, Akira Kuroswa was an absolute fanatic when it came to the writings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. So it's no surprise that, from the moment he started work as a director in the film industry, his ambition was to put a faithful, loving adaptation of a Dostoyevsky classic up on the big screen. Sadly, it was not to be. At least, in part.

The Idiot (1868 novel)

Written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Aside from the handful of backlogged reviews I posted last Wednesday, I'm sure all of you (there has to be at least one semi-regular reader out there) have noticed the site has been a little dead the last couple of weeks. The reason is that my current trek through the works of Akira Kurosawa has led me down a road I've never before traveled: 19th century Russian literature. Scoff if you will but, while I have occasionally dabbled in bits of reading considered above the average, my high-school educated, film novelization accustomed mind nonetheless filled with doubts as I looked upon the 700-page, tiny text monstrosity that lay before me. I figured I'd give the first few chapters a read and see how it went from there. Suffice it to say, I got through with surprising ease, even if it did take much longer than expected.

My Own Worst Enemy #3 "Hello, Henry" (2008 episode)

Directed by Bryan Spicer. Written by Tyler Mitchell. Created by Jason Smilovic.

I'll be honest, I feared this was a concept that would quickly get stale as the producers/writers settled things into a formulaic procedural which would play out their kooky scenario over and over and over again. But I must applaud them. They've found some really clever ways to build developing plot threads which look to carry this season into a sturdy arc. Kudos.

November 12, 2008

My Own Worst Enemy #2 "The Hummingbird" (2008 episode)

Directed by Felix Enriquez Alcala. Written by Jason Smilovic. Created by Jason Smilovic

Trumbull (James Cromwell), the enigmatic leader of the government organization, is concerned with the erratic behavior Edward has started to display on his missions, so he decides to personally supervise the interrogation of a recently recovered prisoner. The problem? Edward isn't Edward at the moment. He's meek, everyday Henry.