December 2011

Tarkovsky’s Stalker

"I would have to say that Stalker is definitely one of the all-time classics of science fiction"

Anyone seeking a good, dystopian, science-fiction flick need go no further than Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979).  This film takes the viewer on a ride through a depressed and run-down Russian city in which an unknown event of some sort has altered a nearby landscape to contain what may or may-not be some form of alien or mystical intelligence.  The legend is that if one goes into the “Zone” there is a building there with a room in it which grants the wishes of any who enter.  But rather than playing off an adventurous and action-packed journey to the fabled room, Stalker spends its time exploring the philosophical viewpoints of its main characters.

Akira Kurosawa – A Legendary Legacy

Anyone who has an interest in Eastern cinema, or even foreign cinema in general, should be familiar with Akira Kurosawa.  He is the Japanese master of film that inspired so many of America’s own directors and writers.  His film The Hidden Fortress (1958) was the basis for Lucas’s first Star Wars film.  Yojimbo (1961) inspired the Clint Eastwood classic A Fistful of Dollars.  So many of his films have made their way to the West in one form or another that it is impossible to be a movie viewer of any sort and not have at least touched upon Kurosawa’s legacy.

Netflix is Dubbing My Films

I have long been an advocate for banning dubbed films completely.  It is my firm opinion that movies were meant to be watched in their original language and that dubbing over them for the convenience of those who are too lazy to read is akin to dying a poodle bright pink and carrying it around in a little purse.  In other words, it offends me.

Japan, Food and Sex: Tampopo (1985)

Tampopo, directed by Juzo Itami, is an often overlooked comedy that I had the pleasure of stumbling upon during one of my university’s cultural film presentations.  The movie, for the most part, revolves around a trucker by the name of Goro who rolls into town like a cowboy to help the lady in distress – Tampopo - revitalize her failing noodle restaurant.  He does battle with bad guys who seek to undermine Tampopo’s success and gets into more than one fist-fight (as every cowboy worth his salt should).  The story of Goro and Tampopo is just one of the many lines that run through this movie, however.