Seven Samurai (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Brand: CRITERION COLLECTIONS
Color: black & white
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, SEVEN SAMURAI (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Yojimbo, Ran)—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune (Stray Dog, Yojimbo) and Takashi Shimura (Ikiru, The Hidden Fortress)—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope. Unanimously hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of the motion picture, Seven Samurai has inspired countless films modeled after its basic premise. But Akira Kurosawa's classic 1954 action drama has never been surpassed in terms of sheer power of emotion, kinetic energy, and dynamic character development. The story is set in the 1600s, when the residents of a small Japanese village are seeking protection against repeated attacks by a band of marauding thieves. Offering mere handfuls of rice as payment, they hire seven unemployed "ronin" (masterless samurai), including a boastful swordsman (Toshiro Mifune) who is actually a farmer's son desperately seeking glory and acceptance. The samurai get acquainted with but remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove to be fatal. The climactic battle with the raiding thieves remains one of the most breathtaking sequences ever filmed. It's poetry in hyperactive motion and one of Kurosawa's crowning cinematic achievements. This is not a film that can be well served by any synopsis; it must be seen to be appreciated (accept nothing less than its complete 203-minute version) and belongs on the short list of any definitive home-video library. --Jeff Shannon
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Called dramatic, accurate and harrowing by the San Francisco Chronicle and nominated for the Oscar(r)for Best Foreign Film, Downfall takes you into Hitler's bunker during the brutal and harrowing last days of the Third Reich. Seen through the eyes of Hitler's infamous secretary Traudl Junge, optimism crumbles into grim realization and terror as it becomes clear that Germany's defeat is inevitable. As the Russian army circles the city, the dimly lit halls of the underground refuge become an execution chamber for the Fuhrer and his closest advisors.
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
This critically-acclaimed, Oscar(r)-winning film (Best Foreign Language Film, 2006) is the erotic, emotionally-charged experience Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) calls "a nail-biter of a thriller!" Before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, East Germany's population was closely monitored by the State Secret Police (Stasi). Only a few citizens above suspicion, like renowned pro-Socialist playwright Georg Dreyman, were permitted to lead private lives. But when a corrupt government official falls for Georg's stunning actress-girlfriend, Christa, an ambitious Stasi policeman is ordered to bug the writer's apartment to gain incriminating evidence against the rival. Now, what the officer discovers is about to dramatically change their lives - as well as his - in this seductive political thriller Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) proclaims is "the best kind of movie: one you can't get out of your head."
Manufacturer: Weinstein Company
A famous film director returns home to a Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years. He reminisces about his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso here Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. He is also reminded of his lost teenage love, Elena, ho he had to leave before he left for Rome. Cinema Paradiso is one of the most beloved Foreign films of all time! Winner of the 1990 Oscar for Best Foreign Film! Cinema Paradiso's complex, interwoven tales of wartime Italy, a boy's coming of age, and the history of cinema can be viewed in their entirety on the Director's Cut included in this Deluxe Edition. Director Giuseppe Tornatore's additional 50 minutes of footage provides closure for the saga's detailing Alfredo's death, and Salvatore Di Vita's lost relationship with his teenage love, Elena. Most of the 50 minutes serves as a continuation of the story, rather than as previously deleted scenes. The original, already celebrated Cinema Paradiso follows Toto (Jacques Perrin), a Sicilian boy who persuades the town projectionist, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), to teach him how to show films. Spanning nearly 50 years, the film craftily draws parallels between Toto's life and those lives he sees on screen. As Toto matures into Salvatore, a successful Italian filmmaker, the Cinema Paradiso ages as well. Salvatore's return home for Alfredo's funeral is also a goodbye to his Paradiso, demolished to become a parking lot. The film's heightened sense of nostalgia subtly mirrors our humanistic love of movies, making it a tribute to cinema as an artistic genre. The Director's Cut can be fulfilling if one felt unsatisfied by the more ambiguous ending of the theatrical release, but it also feels slightly overwrought. Two documentaries in this package feature fans and critics praising Cinema Paradiso, proving its endurance as a classic. However, as Salvatore discovers over the course of the film, there is no need to improve a masterpiece. --Trinie Dalton
A cult classic from the glory days of anime blazes to life on the big screen in this feature-length sci-fi epic starring Takuya Kimura (Redline, Howl’s Moving Castle)!The year is 2199. Mankind teeters on the brink of extinction as the Gamilas, a heinous race of alien invaders, wage an endless war for the right to inhabit the Earth. The last hope for humanity lies on the distant planet of Iskander, and the only battleship capable of attempting the journey is the legendary Yamato. Armed with the devastatingly-powerful Wave Motion Cannon, grizzled Captain Okita and the Yamato’s crew venture boldly into the darkest depths of space. The Gamilas attack at every turn, but fallen hero Susumu Kodai and ace pilot Yuki Mori fight side-by-side for the future of their world. Together, these young lovers unlock the secrets of Iskander – only to face a harrowing voyage home that will change their world forever!