Japanese

Fantastic Fest: Cold Steel

Editor’s note: This film was originally featured as part of our Fantasia Fest 2012 coverage, but it’s also playing Fantastic Fest, so we’re bringing it back. Mu, a young hunter with a staggering talent behind the eyepiece of a sniper rifle, saves an American pilot shot down by the Japanese in WWII-era China. When he returns to his village with his wounded new friend, he finds a trio of Chinese soldiers stirring up trouble in the local tea house and insulting the lovely widowed owner; something he cannot abide. His intervening actions land him on a prisoner transport, but when that transport is attacked by Japanese snipers, Mu demonstrates his lethal abilities to get them out of their dangerous predicament. He is immediately given a choice: enlist or be shot. Assigned to an elite sharpshooting corps, Mu becomes a local hero for his valor and the success rate of his team’s missions. This however also lands him in the crosshairs of a ruthless Japanese sniper. Cold Steel, in a rifle shell, is an affable wartime actioner reminiscent of, but certainly not beholden to, Enemy at the Gates. It was directed by long-time editor/John Woo collaborator David Wu, whose similarity in sensibilities hits you right between the eyes…particularly in the action department.

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In 1950, Akira Kurosawa released a film based on two stories, told from four perspectives. Rashomon is a gorgeous exercise in minimalism with courageous acting from Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyo and Takashi Shimura. This iconic movie tells the tale of the rape of a woman and the murder of a man, but the details and actions change depending on who’s telling the story. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s high time they did. For those that have, they know how infinitely rewatchable it is. It is, without hyperbole, one of the best movies ever made, which is why we’re honored to be hosting a very special online screening of this masterpiece on Wednesday, March 28th at 7pm Central. It’s our first, powered by our new partnership with Constellation, and the perks are undeniable: The site works like a box office, but the movie comes to you. Which means you don’t have to leave the house or put on pants to enjoy the movie. There’s an interactive chat room during the screening where we’ll be tossing out trivia and conducting viewer polls… …but you can turn it off if you just want to see the movie purely. Plus, we’ll be hosting a Q and A after the movie with Kurosawa fan/expert Landon Palmer. Tickets to the event are as low as $3.99 and you can get discounts for sharing the event on Facebook and inviting friends. Plus, we have 10 free tickets to give away, so if you […]

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Sion Sono is the genius who made two hours seem like weeks in Suicide Club but managed to make four hours fly by in Love Exposure. A couple of years ago, Noriko’s Dinner Table probably stood as his finest work, but Cold Fish far surpassed it with its testicular exploration of violence, family and loss of humanity. Plus, his latest work, Himizu – which focuses on two teenagers who take to fighting crime in a world post-tsunami – is getting high acclaim as well thanks to the Venice Film Festival. According to The Hollywood Reporter, his next move is to make a movie born out of the tragic Japanese earthquake of 2011 and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear fallout that came after, although the events will be fictionalized. Land of Hope will focus on a pregnant couple (Jun Murakami and Megumi Kagurazaka) who have to escape their farm because of an earthquake and nuclear plant accident. A few months after the earthquake in 2011, Japanese filmmaking icon Takashi Miike stated that, “I’m sure we will see, for example the kids that have grown up in this situation, the sort of wounds they have from the situation, we’ll definitely have to see it to some effect in our movies.” Sion Sono may not be a kid, but he’s a stellar force for telling this kind of story. In fact,there are few directors as tuned into stories that alter and challenge interpersonal relationships. Any news of a new film from him is celebratory […]

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. I take no responsibility for this. Rob Hunter sent it to me and threatened to expose my horrible secret if I didn’t post it up. Fortunately, if you have the W, T, and F keys on your keyboard close at hand you’ll be able to adequately respond to what you’re seeing. This isn’t at all the weirdest trailer for a Japanese flick out there. Far, far from it. However, when Western culture attempts to make an English-language trailer of a strange Japanese movie, things get even weirder. I love how sweet the narrator’s voice is when he finally says the title. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. What the hell is happening in this trailer? It’s unclear. A grown man acting like a chicken in front of his family, a woman spitting streams of fire, and another with detachable arms made for fighting. And, of course, Vinnie Jones cursing as loud as possible. It’s a Japanese movie unlike any other, and that’s saying a lot. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Hideo Nakata is going to shove ten people into a bunker and make them murder each other. Get excited.

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In 2012, with a meteor going to destroy Earth, three men spend the afternoon inside a record store listening to an obscure band. As the band’s story is told, it shows how their song might save the planet from the oncoming apocalypse.

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Akira Abe foolishly joins a strange club in order to get closer to the beautiful Kyoko. They go rafting, throw parties, and have the ability to see and control Oni (the tiny demon trolls of Japanese lore) in epic battles. Apparently, Kyoto University doesn’t have a football team.

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Some trailers are of the “Must-See” variety, some are of the “Officially Cool” variety and then some are in a category all their own.

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