Opening

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Coming Soon

—— The Purge: Anarchy Jul 18
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The Last Samurai Reviews

Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
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It's easy to stand back and wax ironic about The Last Samurai. But it's not all that difficult to succumb to its full-spirited romanticism either.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

August 25, 2008
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
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Competently mounted in its studiedly immersive, elongated way, Zwick's earnest costume epic dresses a knee-jerk, reactionary sensibility in exotic garb.

Full Review Source: Time Out

June 24, 2006
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
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The Last Samurai is an idyll in which the savageries of existence are transcended by spiritual devotion. That's a beautiful dream, and it gives the film a deep pleasingness, but the fullness of life and its blackest ambiguities are sacrificed.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

August 7, 2004
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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Disappointingly content to recycle familiar attitudes about the nobility of ancient cultures, Western despoilment of them, liberal historical guilt, the unrestrainable greed of capitalists and the irreducible primacy of Hollywood movie stars.

Full Review Source: Variety

December 23, 2003
David Ansen
Newsweek
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There are pleasures to be had in the handsome, heroic The Last Samurai. But they're all on the surface.

December 16, 2003
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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The script lays on hokey narration and bombastic dialogue.

| Original Score: 2/4

December 12, 2003
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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Even though The Last Samurai is brutal, exhausting and so not my kind of movie, it is extremely well-made and undeniably engrossing.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

December 10, 2003
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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A benumbed epic with an action figure for a hero.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 6, 2003
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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Despite its intelligent agenda, swollen heart and fabulously epic surface, amounts to a didactic banality: a white guy's politically correct lesson abroad.

December 5, 2003
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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It's wannabe-ism on a multimillion-dollar scale, with an icon of Japanese culture somehow crudely penetrated by an interloper and turned inside out.

December 5, 2003
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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It looks great in a costume spectacle way, and it has some truly terrific action sequences.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/5

December 5, 2003
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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As movie-star vehicles go, Last Samurai is a fine, well-crafted example.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

December 5, 2003
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Cruise's undeniable star voltage makes it all palatable, and the film is gorgeous to behold and even to listen to.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

December 5, 2003
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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Grand and undersized, truncated and overlong, The Last Samurai reminds us just enough of what epics used to be to disappoint.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 3/5

December 5, 2003
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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It's not a great or even particularly provocative drama, but it is well made, and one that adult adventure fans can go to without embarrassment.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger

December 5, 2003
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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Cruise isn't horribly miscast, a la Tony Curtis in The Son of Ali Baba or John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, but he doesn't miss by far.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 5, 2003
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
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Too much surface and not enough depth.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2/4

December 5, 2003
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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Despite the slow-moving and overly reverential parts, Algren's passage from bitter, self-loathing alcoholic to a man renewed and committed is emotionally satisfying in a way many bloated recent Hollywood productions can't accomplish.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: C+

December 5, 2003
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Grandly overblown and deeply cornball, The Last Samurai is a visually detailed historical recreation of 19th-century Japan that's as thin as rice paper in ideas.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 5, 2003
Tom Long
Detroit News
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This is one of those films that decries war while reveling in it, that praises the purity of the noble savage and then slays him, exulting in the blood while worrying over the act.

| Original Score: D

December 5, 2003
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Nearly all of The Last Samurai's deficiencies spring from the screenplay... As respectful as it is about the similarities of different cultures, it also doesn't quite elude an aura of noble otherness.

Full Review Source: Denver Post

December 5, 2003

Boston Globe
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Big and square and rousing, Edward Zwick's epic drama has been brought to the screen with all the muscle and splendor Hollywood can call up.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

December 5, 2003

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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December 5, 2003
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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A pandering epic that's as phony as it is condescending.

| Original Score: 2/4

December 5, 2003
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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The movie's worth seeing for scenery, costumes, exoticism and a final battle sequence that more than delivers the goods.

| Original Score: B-

December 5, 2003
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Beautifully designed, intelligently written, acted with conviction, it's an uncommonly thoughtful epic.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 5, 2003
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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Mostly it just reminds us anew how difficult it is to make convincing entertainment on a grandiose scale, especially when all involved are taking themselves so terribly seriously.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 2/4

December 4, 2003
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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Cruise's performance is all smartly pressed, shiny surfaces, spotless even when they should be stained by the blood and tears of dramatic transformation.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

December 4, 2003
Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
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Taken on the level of spectacle rather than of sense, The Last Samurai affords the sort of fizzy enjoyment that can come with epic movie endeavors.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

December 4, 2003
Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
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The uneven Samurai is a can-do movie that's far more effective at communicating emotion in bigger scenes than in more intimate ones.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3/5

December 4, 2003
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
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It has the flourish and even the delicacy of those whose life it celebrates.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B+

December 4, 2003
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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A splendid, robust historical drama.

| Original Score: 4.5/5

December 4, 2003

USA Today
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It's all so stolid and humorless, even the scenes in San Francisco, without compensating epic sweep.

Full Review Source: USA Today

December 4, 2003
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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It's not just Hollywood convention that gets in the way of the story, it's the lack of depth, heft and heart at its core.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

December 4, 2003
Jan Stuart
Newsday
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Through it all, Tom Cruise stares soulfully past the camera, on toward a catering truck where sushi rolls and ham sandwiches dwell side by side in harmony.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 4, 2003
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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As the story evolves into a drama with as much heart as muscle, Cruise adapts with it.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 4, 2003
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
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The only history that bears a real influence on The Last Samurai is the history of Hollywood moviemaking, and the unfortunate way it has of turning extraordinary stories into hopelessly ordinary ones.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

December 4, 2003
Paul Clinton (CNN.com)
CNN.com
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A spectacular epic adventure, and Cruise is stunning as Captain Nathan Algren.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

December 4, 2003
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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A stunning spectacle of cultural violence and a loving tribute to the great Japanese samurai movies.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

December 4, 2003
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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A handsome, well-crafted production with strong work by the magnetic Watanabe and by Cruise, who continues to make riskier choices than he needs to.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B

December 4, 2003
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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The Last Samurai earns every minute of its near two-and-one-half hour running length. There's no fat to trim, and no sense that scenes have been included to pad the ego of the director and/or his star.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 2, 2003
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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The least one can say for this costume action flick is that it hits bottom immediately.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 2, 2003
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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A movie that successfully merges a Western with a samurai movie.

December 1, 2003
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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A handsome epic.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B

November 26, 2003
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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An intelligent action film.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

November 24, 2003
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