Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks!


It is the weekly series I recently joined which you can view at Wandering Through The Shelves. This week it is East-Asian non horror films. OK...so I am not an expert on this at all but I have seen 3 of them (should see more). There is another one coming up that is South-East Asian films....I have not seen any so I know I will be skipping that week. Anyhoo, On with the show!

The Seven Samurai-1954



Now you know I would pick this one because it is one of the most popular films ever for a foreign film plus it was remade as The Magnificent Seven which I also love. There is a village with peasants who are fed up with a bandit and his un-merry men. They find Samurais to help them stand up to these nasty buggers. Some die and some do not, but this tale  is rich in characters, imagery and honour. It is consistently listed as one of the top films ever made. It is a tribute to Akira Kurosawa's greatness as a director and makes Toshiro Mifune an international star. It is a great film.

Shall We Dance -1996


Yes, I have spoken of this film before but I do love it and find it much superior to the American remake. There is so much more subtlety and just a loveliness to the film that the American film fails to grasp. It is a secret in more ways than one since ballroom dancing is considered an embarrassment to some Japanese re: their culture. I find the acting so much better overall and it is just a beautiful and fun film.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon- 2000


I love this film! This is a mystical fairy tale with some great kick ass fighting scenes including one in the trees where the actors were actually in the trees (on wires mind you)! It  stars Michelle Yeoh  who is not only beautiful but likes to do her own stunts. She is the first kick ass beauty in James Bond films not Halle Berry.  Ok back to this film-the fighting is great and almost poetic. One sees young love and passion but we also see wise love that is deep and profound. As much as there is fighting in this film, I feel it is also a film about love and loyalty. A Must see!

88 comments:

  1. I love, love, love Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Someone once explained much of the symbolism in it to me. I don't remember what I was told, but it was fascinating. Ang Lee is a great filmmaker.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Oh I would love to learn more about the symbolism. I need this on DVD:) I want to listen to the commentary.

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    2. I've never heard the commentary. I don't know if it includes information on the symbolism.

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  2. I should send this post link to my son who adores all Asian films, maybe because he spent 2 years in Japan and speaks Japanese. But then again, he's probably already seen these!

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    1. He probably has and more than I have seen! Wow! Kudos to him speaking Japanese.

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  3. I really enjoyed Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, exceptional cinematography.

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    1. Oh gosh I agree with you there. Amazing work

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  4. I thought Kurosawa, Miyazaki, and Wong Kar Wai would be a hit in this theme. So far only two Kurosawa's film have made it.

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    1. I have noticed that. I thought for sure I would see more of him and Ang Lee

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  5. Crouching Tiger is such a beautiful movie, and so perfectly entertaining. Love the relationship between Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat. Shall We Dance makes me grin from ear to ear I love it so much (I already picked it for Dance Movies week). Seven Samurai is on my Blind Spot list for this year - hopefully I actually get around to it!

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    1. I love Michelle and Chow's scenes together-so mature and done with such subtlety. Glad you enjoy Shall We Dance as much as me. I think you will like The Seven Samurai

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  6. They are making a sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on netflix I think. They sure did a lot of stunts in that one indeed.

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    1. A sequel?? Wow..I am a little sad because this movie is just right the way it is.

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  7. I agree, I did like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and usually those types of movies are not my "cup of tea" but it was very well done!

    betty

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    1. I am not into all the kung fu stuff but this was an enchanting film but done with maturity and a certain grit

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  8. I've only seen Crouching Tiger and sorry to say I didn't connect with it. I admired the artistry and I love most Ang Lee films but this one just didn't do it for me. I know I'm in the minority, however the friend I saw it with in the theatre didn't care for it either so I know I'm not alone. The Seven Samurai is my major blind spot for 1954 so I really must close that gap. It's probably terrible to say but I've seen the American remake of Shall We Dance and really liked it, even Jennifer Lopez didn't bother me and usually I'm allergic to her, but have little desire to see the original. I more than probably will some day though.

    My familiarity with this particular theme is appallingly thin so I've no choices this week, it will be the same when we get to Asian horror a subgenre I have even less interest in.

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    1. I wanted to watch it with my hubby but he could not get into it either. I think if you give Shall We Dance a chance, you will truly enjoy it. Now I did not hate the American version-I quite enjoyed it especially Stanley Tucci and Richard Jenkins. I am not a J-Lo hater either despite her need to show her body off and do fish lips every time the camera is on her but when I compare it to the original film, the original wins hands down. I am also very thin with this genre and I know I will be skipping the Horror one (maybe my campy self might just do something) and I will be skipping the Southeast Asian one because I have no clue.

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  9. OMG. I've actually seen all of these. And enjoyed them all especially CT,HD. I've seen it twice. Then again, I love foreign films even if I do have to read sub-titles.

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    1. Yeah for you! I prefer subtitles but hate it when they move too fast or place white lettering over something white-that is just plain stupid.

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  10. Great picks!!! I really need to see Shall We Dance. I hear so many lovely things about it.

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    1. I love that film and hope you see it.

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  11. ooh I have seen 2 out of the three...only shall we dance to see Birgit....added to my list! xxxx

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    1. This is a film to place a smile on your face.

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  12. I have seen 0/3 of these. But- I want to see Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Shall We Dance. Great to hear your thoughts. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. They are both really great films and hope you can see them

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  13. Seen all three and LOVE LOVE LOVE them all. I agree the original Shall We Dance is magnificent...something was certainly lost in translation in the Gere-Lopez version. The cinematography of Crouching Tiger is outstanding. Great choice of movies, Birgit.
    hugs, Asha

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    1. Thanks Asha! Glad you have seen all of these. I love the gentleness of Shall We Dance. I agree about the cinematography on CTHD and the fight scenes are like ballet.

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  14. Have seen the first and last of these movies. Enjoyed both. Being into t'ai chi it was almost a must for me.

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    1. Oh I have done Tai Chi! It is calming and there is so much discipline to it.

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  15. Those ate some cool movies. Great choices.

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  16. Haven't seen Shall We Dance. I keep hearing how great it is, so maybe someday. The other two are fantastic films. Great job!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to see that one because it is so intelligent, sweet and fun.

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  17. Toshiro Mifune, aaaaaaaaaah. Was he ever handsome? And, a great actor. Even his grunts were magnificent. Ask me if I remember any of his movies. Nope. Not a one, and I saw quite a lot of them. I even went to a Toshiro Mifune triple feature. I recall seeing 7 Samurai and I liked it better than its American equivalent, which I saw first. Almost wouldn't go see 7 Samurai until a friend mention that Toshior Mifune was in it.

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    1. He is such a great actor and I had a crush on him when I was a kid

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  18. I'm striking out on this one, Birgit! I haven't seen any of those recently, but I have seen 2 of the 3.

    We're watching "When Harry Met Sally" tonight. Can't find anything good? We go straight to classics.

    Have a great weekend, girlfriend!

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    1. I agree! If I can't find anything on TV, I stick in a classic DVD and feel much better

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  19. I loved Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, haven't seen the other two. I really should watch more movies!

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    1. I love that film! The other 2 are just great as well & maybe you may get the chance:)

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  20. I loved Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, haven't seen the other two. I really should watch more movies!

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  21. I loved Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, haven't seen the other two. I really should watch more movies!

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  22. Another Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece! Love to see it here.
    Classics!

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    1. Yes! It is and I am surprised nobody picked Ran

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  23. I've seen 'THE SEVEN SAMURAI' and (as much as I could stand of...) 'CROUCHING TIGER...'.

    The truth of the matter is (in my strong opinion) NO ONE made better movies than the Americans did. That, of course, is back when Americans made great movies. Today, most American movies are just a bunch of crap that I wouldn't even subject my enemies to.

    But once upon a time... America made GREAT movies, and when they did, NO COUNTRY ever did it better.

    It would take me a week to think up ten "foreign" films I really dig... never mind being so specific as to mention "East-Asian Non-Horror".

    One of my very favorite movie TITLES, however, is 'LITTLE MAD GUY', some ridiculous Japanese martial arts movie. I couldn't make it through that movie either, but I loved the title and nicknamed my brother "Little Mad Guy".

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Yes, In time of yore before they just made 5,000 sequels or remakes or ripped off from other countries, the states made great films. There are some great foreign films from the past like La Belle Et La Bette or The Grande Illusion. Oh be still my faint heart that you could not sit through CTHD. Oh well...:) Kung Fu movies are fun to watch especially when they are just bad.

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  24. Oh, man -- I love Kurosawa! Seven Samurai is indeed a glorious film. I've never seen the remake, though; if you like it, I'll have to look it up and check it out. And you've got me curious about Shall We Dance -- never heard of it, but it sounds fascinating. (Don't think I've seen that remake, either -- apparently a good thing ;) ) Thanks for these insights!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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    1. The remake is excellent in my opinion and the American version of Shall We Dance is not horrible by any means. It is a nice movie but just doesn't compare to the original.

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  25. I think I saw the American version of Shall We Dance...was that the one with Jennifer Lopez? I didn't really care for it, but it sounds like I need to give the original a try!

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    1. Yup-you have the right one. I don't mind it but it is just a feel good movie that you watch and forget but the original stays with you...at least it stayed with me.

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  26. I remember when Shall We Dance came out. Never got around to seeing it, but only heard good things about it. I did eventually see the American version (on TV).

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    1. Yes the American one is good but nothing huge but the original is worth seeing.

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  27. I love all three. A few recommendations:

    Tampopo (I think I've mentioned this one before. Seriously, you must see it.)
    After Life
    Anything by Studio Ghibli. My Neighbor Totoro is my favorite.
    Also by Kurosawa:
    Throne of Blood (followed by Macbeth)
    Hidden Fortress (followed by Star Wars: A New Hope)
    Yojimbo (followed by Fistful of Dollars)

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    1. I have to mark these down and I just think anything by Kurosawa is something to see. I have heard of these films by him.

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    2. I feel like I'm missing an obvious one but I can't think what. Someday, I'd love to be as well acquainted with Chinese and Korean film. The Iranian industry is well worth exploring, too. Plus, of course, India.

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  28. Cool selection of films. Seven Samurai is a classic.

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  29. Would like to see Seven Samurai. Good to know it's a classic. Crouching Tiger looks good too. Thanks!

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    1. Seven Samurai is a great film and considered one of the best films ever. CTHD is like a fairy tale and so well done.

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  30. I need to finally watch Seven Samurai. It has to be done. And Crouching Tiger...such a beautiful film.

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    1. Yes there are some films on my "must finally see" list also.

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  31. I think it's fascinating when they do their own action scenes instead of having stunt men/women.

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  32. You've picked some gems today! I was fascinated by Crouching Tiger, and I fell in love with Shall We Dance--the Japanese version's the best.

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  33. I may have to rent Crouching Tiger.
    Have you re-cooperated from the weekend? grin

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    1. Yes rent it.....Saturday was a slow moving day:) I am back on track-heehee

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  34. I'm a huge fan of Asian films and of Asian literature. What I like about it is that they don't sugar coat the truth like we in Western culture do. They're not big on "happily ever after" endings as life is rarely like that.

    There are two films I would recommend. "Dreams" by Kurosawa is in my top five favourite films of all time. It's in colour and is breathtakingly beautiful. The other is "Raise the Red Lantern" by Zhang Yimou. It's a heartbreaking story but also visually appealing.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and giving me the link to your blog. I can add it to my blogroll now and begin to work out what your posting schedule is. Once I learn when someone posts, I tend to be pretty good about checking in on them.

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    1. Oh thanks for the suggestions. I forgot about Dreams and that would be great to see.

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  35. Based on what you wrote, I'd be interested in seeing the original "Shall We Dance?" I didn't know that some Japanese are embarrassed by ballroom dancing. I bet that movie is much more meaningful than the American version. Why must Hollywood always mess with a good thing?

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    1. I know what you mean. I did dislike the American version but it is just a nice film with not much depth but the Japanese version has much more. I didn't know that either but they are or at least were.

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  36. The only one out of those that I've seen is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Have you see House of Flying Daggers? It's with Ziyi Zhang the same girl on Crouching and it's really good.

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    1. I have heard of that film and some others from this challenge picked that movie. It's on my list

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  37. Theres something gratifying about watching a real movie with fight scenes no ordinary person could pull off. Its like "Yeah I could do that move" and then you realise theres no way on earth my dumbass is doing that. This is why these actors, stuntmen and stuntwomen deserve our complete respect unlike movies of today designed to WOW with all that CGI speedy gonzales baloney. Sometimes its impossible to see let alone follow the new movies because they're so computerised but at least with these classic you get the real deal.

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    1. That's right! I am kind of sick of all the CGI because , in some cases, you can tell. Stuntmen deserve major respect.

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  38. for some reason I never got into the flying around kicking up swords stuff. I am sure they were good movies, but I never could understand so much screaming and all.

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  39. for some reason I never got into the flying around kicking up swords stuff. I am sure they were good movies, but I never could understand so much screaming and all.

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    1. I know what you mean but in this film, I don't recall all that grunting etc... Actually the fighting almost seems like a dance. It is different

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  40. I did not know the Magnificent Seven was based on Seven Samurai.Interesting!

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    1. It is! I love that movie too.

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    2. Oh yeah. It was a good movie. I'm looking forward to the remake.

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  41. I watched Shall We Dance many years ago. I am wondering how younger Japanese people still feel about ball room dancing today, since there have been a lot of cultural shifts, with young people deferring marriage, and the popularity of dressing like anime characters. I would actually like to visit Japan, but I never seem to have the money.

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    1. I am wondering this as well because with the popularity of Dancing With The Stars I can see that stigma leave...especially since they dress like their anime characters

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  42. I've seen Crouching Tiger in the movies if I'm not mistaken. Classic Chinese movie. :)

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    1. I did as well-very beautiful film on the big screen

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  43. Oh I haven't seen Shall We Dance and I definitely like to check it out. I do know there's the American remake but Jennifer Lopez starring movies never appeals to me.

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  44. Good reviews and synopses of these movies. I've only seen bits and pieces of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but would like to see the whole film. I'm going to see The Gift tomorrow afternoon at my favorite movie-house, the Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin. You can have lunch and a few drinks while watching the movie which is always fun. I've been looking forward to seeing this movie for some time now. I'll have to do a review after I've seen it. Have you seen it yet?
    Michele at Angels Bark

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  45. I'm not sure I've seen either version of Dance.

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