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'Godzilla' and two more Japanese gems: Kenneth Turan's DVD picks

February 29, 2012 |  6:02 pm

Three films from three different eras of Japanese cinematic history -- "United Red Army," "Three Outlaw Samurai" and "Godzilla" -- have been the beneficiaries of recent DVD releases.

The most recent, 2007's "United Red Army," is a dramatic film, directed by Koji Wakamatsu, but based on real events -- the activities of militant student activists in the 1960s.

The most entertaining of the bunch might be Hideo Gosha's 1964 "Three Outlaw Samurai," an unapologetic sword-fighting film that is an origin story inspired by a popular Japanese television series.

The most celebrated of the three is "Godzilla," the uber-monster film that called forth almost 30 sequels. The comprehensive Criterion release features both the original all-Japanese 1954 epic as well as the Americanized version with actor Raymond Burr added to the mix.


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-- Kenneth Turan