Bunraku

Ron Perlman has been a force in television and film for three decades. He’s no stranger to fans, especially those he won as Hellboy and as Clay Morrow on Sons of Anarchy, and he’s appeared in a handful of movies every year since 1993 (with 1996 and 1999 being the only years he appeared in only one). You know him. You love him. Now, we’re ready to pronounce 2011 The Year of The Perlman because while he’s worked steadily in movies small and big alike for a long time, this was the year that he really ate his spinach and showed his face in an almost absurd amount of flicks. What’s more, his performances spanned the quality spectrum enough to earn him the Shyamalan Award For Bizarrely Up and Down Work. It’s important to note that his acting was rock steady throughout, but even with (and with the addition of his talents), he was in some terrible (and some amazing) movies. From prestige films, to independent action, to summer epics, to that one thing with Nic Cage, Ron Perlman was everywhere doing everything.

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This Week in DVD

Another week, another pretty solid group of DVD titles released for your viewing pleasure. Our wallets and bank accounts will be a lot happier this week too as compared to last Tuesday when the number of DVDs worth buying numbered eight. Eight! That’s more than most DVD columns feature in their entirety! But like I said, this week is filled with rentals (and one title worth buying) including Crazy Stupid Love, Cars 2, Bunraku, Trespass and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Adventures of Mark Twain (UK) “Naked people have little to no influence in this society.” So says the always wise and wonderful Mark Twain as captured in clay in this funny and whimsical claymation adventure. The film mixes bits and pieces of several of Twain’s works, short and long, into an adventure that sees Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher join Mr Samuel Clemens himself on a steam powered airship across the sky. Twain is hoping to find Halley’s Comet so he can end his life in its flames, but the children attempt to convince him that he still has much to offer mankind and that mankind has much to offer him. Fanciful visuals and eminently quotable observations from Twain’s writing make this a fun film that speaks to kids as well as adults. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**

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The world has descended into chaos. An artsy, color coordinated chaos to be sure, but still, society has taken a turn for the worse. To combat it the world’s government bans all firearms in an effort to quell the escalating violence. The result is a fusion of the Old West and the Far East as disagreements and feuds are handled solely through fisticuffs, swordplay, and a strict code of honor. Two strangers ride into town, not on a horse, but on a train. The Drifter (Josh Hartnett) is looking for a card game and Yoshi (Gackt) is here at his dead father’s request, but both men also have a secret purpose involving the town’s big boss, Nicola the Woodcutter (Ron Perlman). Their dueling quests will bring them in contact with each other, but it also finds them crossing paths with The Bartender (Woody Harrelson), Yoshi’s hot cousin Momoko (Emily Kaiho), the mysterious Alexandra (Demi Moore), and Nicola’s red-suited army led by Killer #2 (Kevin McKidd). What follows is a storybook tale with an arresting visual style that brings comic book pages to life on a stage-like setting. It’s theater for a new age that works as often as it doesn’t depending on who and/or what is onscreen, but even when it fails as an engaging narrative it often manages to delight the senses with a barrage of imagery both broad and specific. It’s a genre movie in cotton candy trappings, and while it runs a bit too long it’s a […]

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we speak with legendary actor Ron Perlman about his white dreadlocks in Bunraku, we’ll chat with The Dark Knight Rises executive producer Michael Uslan about his incredible journey to bringing Batman to the screen, and we’ll talk with Brian Salisbury and Luke Mullen about favorite films from Fantastic Fests past to get excited for the debauchery of this week. Plus, Screenrant editors/Screenrant Underground Podcast hosts Ben Kendrick and Rob Keyes fight to the pain in our Movie News Pop Quiz. Is it any wonder we end up talking about Qwikster? Download This Episode

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Guy Moshe‘s live-action cartoon, Bunraku, lives or dies by its cast. The poppy world Moshe created calls for a specific type of acting, and not an easy one. The film requires a sense of unrealistic cool. Josh Hartnett plays a silent, but suave cowboy, and he has to spout out some dialog you would never hear a normal human being say. With Lucky Number Slevin, The Black Dahlia, and his brief scene in Sin City, Hartnett’s done that style of acting before. Here, he went about it differently. Instead of worrying about finding a grounding, as Hartnett says below, he wanted to embrace the odder tonal aspects. It bridges on cheesiness. But when one’s acting against Woody Harrelson cracking jokes or Ron Perlman looking the way he does in the film, it’s understandable that Hartnett would want to fit in with that scenery-chewing gang.

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Bunraku premiered almost a year ago at the Toronto Film festival, and since then, nothing but mixed things have been said about it. Based on this trailer, the love it or hate it reaction the film has received up to now makes even more sense. What director Guy Moshe seems to have done is taken a sizable budget with a respectable cast, and make a film that will appeal to, at best, five people. Count me in as one of those people.

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I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film so in love with it’s perception of how cool it thinks it is. Bunraku really thinks it’s cool. It’s the hot high school kid in the leather jacket who lights his cigarettes under a dark shade, but when it comes to talking to girls all that comes out is, “…….I’ve got jock itch…..” Only when Bunraku says it it isn’t funny. It’s tragic.

Josh Hartnett plays a drifter (that cool kid in the leather jacket, except not wearing that. He has cigarettes though) in search of a man named Nicola (Ron Perlman), a ruthless killer who employs nine decreasingly less ruthless killers to do his bidding. His Killer number 2 (named Killer #2) is played by Kevin McKidd who may be the most fun character in the piece if not for Woody Harrelson as the bartender who isn’t written nearly as fun as a Woody Harrelson bartender should be, especially considering we know how hilarious a Woody Harrelson bartender can be. Rounding out the cast is Japanese actor Gackt (yes, real name) also on the trail of a man with a specific medallion. I won’t spoil who that is.

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With the exception of Gentlemen Broncos, we were spot on with our Must See Films of Fantastic Fest 2009 list last year. While we’d love to take the credit for it, the truth is that it’s Fantastic Fest that came through with a large slate of winners from the weird world of genre. Fantastic Fest is the movie festival for movie lovers, and as the FSR Death Squad assembles yet again, we’re gearing up to attack the event with a renewed fervor by shining the spotlight on the films we’re anticipating the most. We’re pleased to have Adam Charles, Robert Fure, Brian Salisbury, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius (led by the slightly inebriated and deep fried Neil Miller) comprise the Squad this go ’round. As for the Must See movies, this year, we’re enlisted four members of the Squad to choose 5 films each, and the result is a list full of blood, Hong Kong action, gritty Santa Claus stories, geriatric Kung Fu, Dystopian societies, ninjas from Norway, slasher follow-ups, mental trips, creepy clowns, and little girl vampires. A truly sprawling feast for the eyes and ears. Hopefully you’ll be sitting next to us, but if not, we aim to make you feel that way with our coverage. It’s time to get excited. Here are the 20 films that have got us running to the famous Alamo Drafthouse for Fantastic Fest 2010.

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