SANJURO (1962) is Akira Kurosawa’s riff on his previous film Yojimbo. Once again, Toshiro Mifune plays a ronin who stumbles into a power struggles, in this case between the wise leader of the local samurai clan and scheming underlings plotting to take over. This time, though, the disgruntled, constantly crabbing Sanjuro sides with the good guys on the principle that the idealistic samurai supporting their lord will get themselves killed otherwise. A good film, with a great performance by Mifune, who steals every scene he’s in.“I dislike saying this after you so kindly rescued us, but killing is a bad habit.”
Despite some admiring reviews BLUE VALENTINE (2014) was too much an aimless slice of life to work for me — as Leonard Maltin put it, the scenes are good, but the film is less than the sum of its parts. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a dysfunctional couple who married in starry-eyed haste and in the present are repenting at leisure; both leads give great performances but that didn’t keep me watching. “In your dream where I’m doing what I really like, what would that be?”
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