March 12, 2010

12 Mar

8 am

2 S’mores Pop Tarts

1 cup of coffee

1 pm

Lunch

1 cranberry and walnut salad

1 iced tea

Lunch is a lunch spot in Culver City. As it’s name suggests, it’s pretty basic, too the point, and it’s primary function is to serve… lunch. There’s salads, sandwiches, nothing’s exciting, but it’s all OK. I really have nothing noteworthy to say other than it’s a decent place to get a bite around noon (I can’t use that word anymore). I didn’t even take pictures, but the plates are pretty nice. The proprieter who greets you at the entrance is very nice too. That’s about all I have to say, I guess.

6 pm

instant curry

rice

1 glass of water

Instant Japanese curry is sort of a fitting meal before I watched one of my favorite movies of all time, Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran,” which was recently remastered and showing in limited screenings around the nation (it was at the Nuart in West LA last week). If you get a chance to see this movie on the big screen, take it. This is a film meant for the big screen. It’s gorgeous, full of bright colors, sweeping vistas and huge battle scenes with 5,000 extras and an actual uncontrolled fire in a real castle. Since I graduated from USC with a degree in journalism and film studies, I want to try and justify the $250,000 I spent on my two degrees and talk about “Ran.”

Released in 1985, this was the last of Kurosawa’s masterpiece and took 12 years of planning and raising money to make. While his other period epic, “Seven Samurai,” was buoyant and filled with likeable, colorful characters trying to be heroic, “Ran” is nihilistic, where people are doomed by hubris and good intentions fall to the worst of human nature. Hidetora, the patriarch of the powerful Ichimonji clans, decides to step aside and divide his kingdom between his three sons. Saduro, the youngest (and the stand-in for Cordelia), objects and is promptly banished. The other two sons gain half their father’s kingdoms. Eventually, they both decide to make a powerplay for the entire kingdom, going so far as to try and kill their own father as well as each other, and this inevitably leads to the fall of the tragic fall of the Ichimonji clan. Kurosawa takes King Lear and blows it up in scale to cover the Japanese countrysides and majestic castles. Primary colors are assigned to each army and they pop off the screen. The costumes and sets are immaculate, and like most Kurosawa films, shots are impeccably framed and edited. Battle scenes are huge and epic, but also bloody. Steven Spielberg took a few shots of dead and dismembered soldiers for “Saving Private Ryan” from this film, and they both don’t shy away from the brutal carnage of war. For such a depressing film, this is one of the best-looking movies in history. And this is a sad film. For every moment of levity that comes up in “Ran,” Kurosawa brutally crushes it later on. His films usually had a bemused outlook on human nature and weakness. In “Seven Samurai” and “Ikiru,” he even loved his flawed characters. But “Ran” sees people and feels sorry for them.

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