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Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook
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Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves:
The Samurai Film Handbook

Book Review

The Samurai movie is as endemic to Japanese culture as the Western is to American culture. Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves is a fun read, written by a fan of Samurai movies *to* the fans of Samurai movies. Each review of the film picks are top notch, full-fledged gush-a-thons that really get you juiced up about seeing the film and enjoying it as much as the author.

Mifume Kicks Ass!Including such masterworks as the Oscar-winning Gate of Hell, Yojimbo (remade five times, including A Fistful of Dollars), the influential Lady Snowblood, and newly released hits like Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi, this book is packed with information as well as author opinions. Especially appreciated is lots of info on the Japanese film industry, names such as Kurosawa, Mifune, Nakadai, as well as on Japan's feudal era in general, where the Samurai's explosive history gave rise to a staple of Japanese film and TV drama.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, November 2005

Secrets of the Samurai
Secrets of the Samurai:
A Survey of the Martial Arts of Feudal Japan

Book Review

This thick (481 page) book contains everything you ever wanted to know and more about the Japanese Martial Arts, and the Samurai in particular. Loaded with illustrations and highly detailed descriptions, it covers the history, background, dress, style, philosophy, and even the different types of weapons.

If you practice Karate-do, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Iaido, Aikido, Kendo, or any other Martial Art, including western ones influenced by Japanese culture, this book is a must. Even if you are simply interested in Japanese warrior culture and are an armchair warrior yourself, this is *the* book on the subject.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, March 2003

Akira Kurosawa - 4 Samurai Classics - Criterion Collection
Akira Kurosawa - 4 Samurai Classics - Criterion Collection
Japanese Cinema DVD Review

All other Samurai classics bow down at the feet of this boxed set. Containing 4 of the most revered classics (Seven Samurai / The Hidden Fortress / Yojimbo / Sanjuro), nothing else even comes close. With a western flair that has influenced other westerns,

Samurai Classics!Kurosawa has built some of the finest movies ever made. Seven Samurai, one of the most powerful films of all time, voted in the 1979 Kinema Jumpo critics' poll as the Best Japanese Film ever, has Kurosawa's unbeaten blend of swords, spears, arrows, men, horse, rain, wind, mud, blazing tracking shots, giant close-ups, chiaroscuro lighting, telephoto lenses that put us underfoot as horses clash amid struggling men, and more, that bring life and three-dimensionality to the characters as the saga unfolds.

Kurosawa is often copied but never topped. These four films cover the Kurosawa/Mifune collaborations at their best. Don't even talk about film or Japanese Cinema without knowing, in detail, every frame of these magnificent classics.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2003

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