Criterion: The Hidden Fortress (****) Gold in the wood

This is a good film, with some wonderful elements. Even if it is a bit too indulgent with wackiness, the story and Kurosawa's eloquent use of wide screen are worth repeated viewings.

Criterion: The Idiot (**) – Pure soul / faithless world / messy film

There is no known full version of this film. If there were, it might take me a year to finish. It would likely be a lot better, though.

Criterion: Rashomon (*****) weak by nature

Rashomon stands as a gateway to our existence. It is one of the greatest films ever made, and should be viewed by anyone seeking insight through true artistic achievement. It should be used as a template for those wishing to begin to understand the ever contrasting nature of humanity.

Criterion: Snow Trail (****) – Mifune’s debut has another star

It's Shimura who steals this story, though. His performance connects the viewer to the humanity of some of the fiercest combatants of the Western world in a format we all can relate to, no matter the barrier.

The Magnificent Seven (****) is star power at its best

Even if you are not a fan of the recent spate of pale remakes that come along with every generation, this update is worth your time. It will take a spot in my collection, to be sure. Right after Kurosawa.