3 Seijun Suzuki films head to Blu-ray

French home video distributor Elephant Films revealed on its Facebook page it will release three of famed Japanese director Seijun Suzuki’s films to the high definition format as part of its Cinema Master Class collection. Of the three, only Branded to Kill already got a release (from the Criterion Collection in 2011), while the two others, Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell, Bastards! and Youth of the Beast will be new to the format.

Unfortunately, the Cinema Master Class’ previous releases indicate that it is unlikely these discs will hold English subtitles, but this is definitely good news for anyone who masters Japanese or French and a potential sign that other distributors around the world may get these films out there as Elephant Films indicates the copies are “pristine”.

Not as widely known as other Japanese masters, the 91 year-old Suzuki (who retired in 2006) is nevertheless an important and influential figure of the medium, particularly celebrated for his surreal gangster films, whose work has been championed by filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers), Takeshi Kitano (Zatoichi), Wong Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love) and Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction).

The films will hit French (and online) stores on November 4th. Check out the subtitled trailer for Youth of the Beast after the jump and sound off in the comments. Continue reading

Movie announcements galore

Mike Nichols (Charlie Wilson’s War) will helm a remake of High And Low/The Ransom (trailer above), a detective film by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, the film that inspired The Magnificent Seven). David Mamet (Redbelt) wrote the adaptation, which is loosly based on the Evan Hunter novel King’s Ransom. Source.

Mike Sobel, a former criminal lawyer, is writing Skyscraper for Universal Pictures and producer Neal H. Moritz (Made Of Honor). It will be a disaster film in the vein of The Towering Inferno, where construction on a mile-high building in Chicago will take an unexpected and dangerous turn. Source.

Barry Sonnenfeld (RV) is in talks to helm Bronwyn And Clyde, a romantic comedy written by Tom Vaughan and Kristy Dobkin. Source.

Acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Paranoid Park) will direct The Electric Kool-Aid Test, based on a non-fiction book by Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff). The story recounts Wolfe’s experiences with fellow author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and people called the Merry Pranksters driving around in a school bus and taking LSD. Dustin Lance Black (The Journey Of Jared Price) is writing the script. Source.

Author Neil Gaiman (Beowulf) has confirmed an adaptation of his bestselling The Graveyard Book is in the works. The story tells of a boy raised by ghosts. Source.

Prolific music video director Marc Webb will write and direct the sci-fi flick Age Of Rage, which is described as Children Of Men meets Lord Of The Flies. Source.

Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) is adapting the Outlander series of fantasy novels into a potential franchise.

[Diana] Gabaldon’s series of six novels center on an 18th century Scottish Highlander and his time-traveling wife.

From what I hear, the story is more romance than action, but then again, Randall Wallace is writing…Oh wait, he wrote Pearl Harbor, I take that back. Source.

Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) will portray the villain Sho’nuff in a remake of the 1985 martial art cult film The Last Dragon (trailer below).

The updated plot will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess the Glow, making them the greatest fighter alive.

Dallas Jackson (Uncle P) is writing the adaptation, and producing it. Source.

Ninja Scroll goes live-action

The acclaimed 1993 Japanese animated film Ninja Scroll, original title 獣兵衛忍風帖 is getting an American live-action remake courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Scroll,” set in feudal Japan, revolves around ninja for hire is forced to fight an old enemy who will stop at nothing to overthrow the government.

Alex Tse (Sucker Free City) is adapting the script by original writer/director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (The Animatrix segment Program). Leonardo DiCaprio (Body Of Lies) will produce but not star in the film.

Fun Fact: A Japanese sequel is also in production.

Source

Movie Of The Day: Touch (2005)

In 1981, mangaka Mitsuru Adachi (Cross Game) started writing and drawing what would soon become one of the most popular Japanese comic books of all time, the award-winning Touch (aka タッチ, pronounced Tatchi). The manga lasted 26 issues, ending in 1986, and was quickly adapted into an animated 101 episode TV show in 1985. In addition, five animated movies were produced, three for cinemas, two for television, as was a live-action TV mini-series . Finally, in 2005, Touch was made into a live-action movie for cinemas, adapted by Yukiko Yamamuro (A Long Walk) and directed by Isshin Inudou (Josee, The Tiger And The Fish). The film stars twin brothers Shota and Keita Saito (Kids War 4) and the charming Masami Nagasawa (Godzilla: Final Wars) among others.

Roughly adapting the manga’s first 8 issues, aka slightly less than 1500 pages of material, Touch loosely retells the source’s first, and best-known story arc. Identical twin brothers Tatsuya and Kazuya, and their next-door neighbor Minami have known each other since birth, sharing joys and pains, likes and dislikes. Now in their mid-to-late teens, they are still as close as ever, but other feelings are thrown into the mix as Minami’s blossomed into quite a lovely young girl. As for the twins, Kazuya is loved by all, studious, and the star pitcher of the high school’s baseball team whereas Tatsuya is more of a slacker and generally regarded as the inferior brother. Whoever eventually wins Minami’s affections, they all dream of seeing Kazuya and his team make it to the Kōshien, the finals of the National High School Baseball Championship. Exclusive subtitled trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading

Movie Of The Day: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

In early August 1945, the USA dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending the Second World War. A little more than a decade later, fresh off his acclaimed Concentration Camp documentary short Night And Fog (original title Nuit Et Brouillard), French filmmaker Alain Resnais (Last Year At/In Marienbad) was asked to direct another short documentary, about the atomic bomb. Unconvinced, Resnais ended making not only his first feature-length film, but his first work of fiction as well, Hiroshima Mon Amour (literal translation Hiroshima My Love).

Written by celebrated author Marguerite Duras (The Lover), the film tells of the love story between a French actress shooting a film in Hiroshima and a Japanese man she spent the night with, during her last day in town before returning to Paris. The unexpected emotions stir up some old painful feelings from the actress’ past, and serve as a metaphor to Hiroshima’s tragedy. It stars Emmanuelle Riva (Three Colors: Blue) in her first film role, Eiji Okada (Woman In The Dunes) who had to learn his dialogue phonetically, and Bernard Fresson (Brotherhood Of The Wolf) among others. Trailer and first five minutes of the film’s infamous fourteen minute long opening sequence after the jump. Continue reading

WTF? Japanese classic Rashomon goes American in 2010

Run for the hills! The 1950 samurai crime flick Rashōmon, one of writer/director Akira Kurosawa’s (Seven Samurai aka the inspiration for The Magnificent Seven) many masterpieces is being remade into a contemporary American trial film for the 100th anniversary of the man’s death. That’s your gift, making him roll over in his grave?

Held by many as one of the best films of all time, Rashōmon tells of a woman’s rape and her husband’s murder through the contradictory accounts of four witnesses through flashbacks. Its influence has been felt in such a wide variety of films as the 2005 animated laughfest Hoodwinked! and this year’s Vantage Point.

From the sounds of the remake’s “improvement”, it will be a hundred times more conventional and less interesting. In more positive Kurosawa news, the company producing the remake, Harbor Light, will also produce one of the master’s never-filmed scripts, The Masque Of Black Death, which Kurosawa had written for animation legend Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) before his death in 1998.

Source