Seven Samurai ★★★★★

It's become something of a tradition for me to start the year with a long "comfort food" movie. Last year it was 2001: A Space Odyssey, for instance, and I think the year before it was Lord of the Rings. Next year it might be Heat, or Spartacus. You get the idea. This year it was Seven Samurai.

Seven Samurai is one of those rare films which, upon its conclusion, I often feel compelled to sit right back down and watch it again. The fact that it's almost three and a half hours long makes that fact even more remarkable. The pacing and editing are exquisite, and the two main performances -- from Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune -- are both devastatingly powerful, all the more so thanks to their extreme contrast to one another.