our geis: film box sets
chris. | 19 February 2011 | 12:35 pm | (culture) consuming, favorite things | Comments closed
This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series '25 Films by Akira Kurosawa'
This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series 'Essential Art House'

Andy and i are suckers for DVD series.  Mention “complete box set!” and we are there.

Zatoichi: When our beloved local new/used CD/DVD store in the next block was having their closing sale (RIP, Cellophane Square1), we came across a nearly-complete set of the “Zatoichi” movies2USED.

Without really even discussing or debating it, i simply slid my hands on either side of the DVDs, grabbed the entire 1/2-shelf, and strode up to the counter.  The clerk was impressed:  “I was convinced we’d sell these things piecemeal, that no customer would simply buy the entire set.  WOW.  I’m giving you an extra 10% off for going all out!”  What can i say?  We love samurai movies.

Akira Kurosawa: So it should come as no surprise that Andy and i also were suckered into buying Criterion’s “AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa” box set when it came out the other year.  It was totally a nefarious plot by Scarecrow Video, who offered an extra discount on top of their already-discounted price if we ordered it in advance.  And when you buy a brand new DVD from Scarecrow, you get a free rental credit — buying the Kurosawa box set gave us 10 credits, i believe.  We are swimming in free rentals now.

Janus Films: This past september the Grand Illusion Cinema had a “Casablanca” gala fundraiser.  The best item by far at the silent auction was Criterion’s “Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films” 50-DVD box set.  We knew it was going to be a fight between us and our friend Hubie.  We waited to see if any of our actual customers put their names down for it.  After awhile, Andy decided he had to put his name down to encourage other bidders.  After awhile, Hubie casually sauntered over and put his name down.  Still, no one else came by.  Toward the end of the 1st showing of “Casablanca,” someone wandered by and left a completely illegible scrawl on the sheet before exiting the premises completely and going back out into the U-District.  Odd.  So i put down my name and gave Andy strict instructions to keep an eye on things as the silent auction drew to a close.  I don’t know where Hubie got to, but the next thing i knew i was being presented the box set as the winner of the auction.  Total price for us?  About 1/3rd the retail price.  Score.

So  i guess what i’m saying is:  Come to our house and watch some movies with us!

Also:  If Criterion ever comes out with a DVD box set of “Zatoichi,” we are doomed.

series of 'Zatoichi' DVDs

almost-complete series of 'Zatoichi' DVDs (@ Flickr, by wrdnrd)

  1. I take bitter satisfaction that their retail space has not had a single steady tenant in the 18 months since the landlord refused to renew Cellophane Square’s lease.  HA! []
  2. You can watch the “Zatoichi” movies via Hulu thanks to Criterion []
‘Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail’ (Kurosawa, Akira. 1945.)
chris. | 21 March 2010 | 9:37 pm | (consuming) 2010 | Comments closed
This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series '25 Films by Akira Kurosawa'

We wanted to watch a Kurosawa, but i didn’t want one of his evening-eating epics.   Hence “The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail,” which clocks in at a brisk 58 minutes.

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‘Stray Dog’ (Kurosawa, Akira. 1949.)
chris. | 11 September 2010 | 11:25 pm | (consuming) 2010 | Comments closed
This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series '25 Films by Akira Kurosawa'

“Stray Dog” is about manpain.  Also, there’s a lot of walking (to deal with the manpain).  And there’s a detailed examination of police work (fueled by manpain).

Mifune knows how to wear a linen suit.

Mifune knows how to wear a linen suit.

Also, there’s Toshiro Mifune wearing the hell out of a linen suit.

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‘Drunken Angel’ (Kurosawa, Akira. 1948.)
chris. | 12 February 2011 | 11:23 pm | (consuming) 2011, (deconstructing) class(ism) | 4 Comments
This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series '25 Films by Akira Kurosawa'

Not the 1st Kurosawa film i’ve seen that involves a gruff, cranky mentor-type physician character: Dr. Shimura in “Drunken Angel” and Dr. Niide in “Red Beard.” Maybe i’ll persuade Andy to re-watch “Red Beard” next (we saw it years and years ago) out of our Kurosawa box set so i can better compare.  Are doctors always grumpy in Kurosawa?  If so, why?

Anyway.  I’m not going to talk about the depiction of doctors in Kurosawa in this “Drunken Angel” write-up.  I’m going to write about class issues.

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‘High and Low’ (Kurosawa, Akira. 1963.)
chris. | 19 February 2011 | 9:09 pm | (consuming) 2011 | Comments closed
This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series '25 Films by Akira Kurosawa'

Before we started watching this, Andy commented that this movie was more like 2 movies.

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