So thanks to circumstances beyond my control (like oh, a big-time MMORPG addiction for example) I basically hadn’t watched a film or tv series for years. I’m miles behind. Not only do I have about five years of classic movies to catch up on (and 2006 by itself looks like an incredible year), I also suck and need to go back and revisit a bunch of previous work I had missed for whatever reason. So I’m writing this stupid huge list and working my way through it – with the selection so far I reckon I’ll be busy for the next couple years’ worth of weekends.

First up are a bunch of flicks from Japanese director Akira Kurasawa. This guy’s films inspired a bunch of Western movies like A Fistful of Dollars and The Magnificent Seven, all the way to the Star Wars series. Essential viewing
includes Rashōmon, Shichinin no samurai, Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress), Yōjinbō and Ran.

Hollywood is remaking Shichinin no samurai, which is apparently in pre-production at the moment, and will no doubt be a steaming pile of crap, but hopefully it inspires people to watch the original.

After working my way through the Lone Wolf and Cub series a few years ago it’s great to see the more sophisticated precursors to those hardcore gory samurai flicks. The impact these films have had on pop culture up to today is incredible – I wonder what Kurosawa would have thought if he heard GZA’s Liquid Swords album, which features extensive sampling of sound effects and vocals from Shogun Assassin (a mash-up of the first two films in the Lone Wolf and Cub series) in particular. Quentin Tarantino can try as hard as he likes but I don’t think he’ll ever touch them.

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