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'Rurouni Kenshin' Will Arrive In UK Cinemas This Week [Trailer]


Yu Aoi Teruyuki Kagawa

Kenshin Himura is a name known to manga fans from across the globe, and the one-time assassin turned keeper of the peace has at last made the leap to the big screen in Rurouni Kenshin. From director Keishi Ohtomo, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kiyomi Fujii, have started from Kenshin's beginnings to tell the story of the man once known as Battosai the Killer in full, and after finding success back in Japan already, there are hopes it will have a similar success overseas.

Watch the trailer for Rurouni Kenshin

Back when he was Battosai the Killer, Kenshin (played by Takeru Satô) was one of the most feared assassins in the land, but whilst still young and at the prime of his game he grows weary of a life of killing, and decides to use his skills for good. Hanging up his sword and becoming a wanderer, helping passers by during his travels, Kenshin tries to find peace within himself. Eventually he stumbles upon a rundown martial arts school led by the temperamental, albeit loveable Kaoru Kamiya (Emi Takei), where he feels at one and makes it his home. At first, discovering what his past was like, Kamiya attacks and tries to shoo Kenshin from the dojo, but upon learning of his newfound identity, the two grow closer and Kaoru helps him find peace and encourages him to continue with his vow against killing. This new life becomes increasingly difficult once the bloodthirsty Kanryuu Takeda takes it upon himself to find the missing Kenshin, leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake. Takeda will stop at nothing to make the former assassin revoke his vow and return to the profession he was once so revered in, and before long, Kenshin will have to break his vow no matter what.

Continue reading: 'Rurouni Kenshin' Will Arrive In UK Cinemas This Week [Trailer]

Rurouni Kenshin Trailer


Kenshin Himura was once a feared assassin known as Battosai the Killer. But, still only young, he has grown tired of taking lives and hangs up his sword in favour of peace, vowing to protect people as a wanderer and not a murderer. He winds up finding a home at a rundown martial arts school led by the feisty but lovable Kaoru Kamiya, who attacks him on his arrival on discovering who he once was. She soon begins to realise that being a killer is not his true self and grows close to Kenshin, helping him find peace and encouraging him to live the rest of his life without killing. However, this becomes more challenging than expected when another ruthless killer named Kanryuu Takeda leaves a trail of bodies behind him in his search for Kenshin, and will stop at nothing to force Kenshin to break his vow.

Continue: Rurouni Kenshin Trailer

Tokyo Sonata Review


Extraordinary
Starting out like a gentle family melodrama, this gorgeously made Japanese film morphs into something much darker as it progresses. And in both its economic premise and family observations, it couldn't be any timelier.

Ryuhei (Kagawa) manages a busy office and is so stunned when he's made redundant that he doesn't tell his wife Megumi (Koizumi). He pretends to go to work every day, hanging out near a homeless centre with an unemployed friend (Tsuda). Meanwhile, Megumi is battling her own inner demons, wishing her life wasn't so dull. And their sons have problems too: teen Takashi (Koyanagi) decides to join the US military in Iraq, while preteen Kenji (Inowaki) spends his lunch money on piano lessons, discovering that he's a prodigy.

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Tokyo Sonata Review


Good
The differential separating Kiyoshi Kurosawa's bizarre Tokyo Sonata from his oeuvre of uneasy art-thrillers is that its eerie atmosphere isn't brought on by signs of the paranormal. Though built on a variation on Laurent Cantet's dire Time Out, Sonata is not haunted by the ghosts of technology and history, nor does it thematically concern itself with the threat of contagion. Well, at least not directly.

Entering the office one day, Ryuhei (Teruyuki Kagawa), husband and father of two, finds his job thrown to a younger man and his new place at the back of the unemployment line. He goes home and acts as if nothing happened, even helping a fellow severed salaryman with his own charade. Meanwhile, his eldest son (Yu Koyanagi) thinks his best place is in the U.S. Army, serving the Iraq Occupation. On the other hand, his youngest son (Kai Inowaki) takes his lunch money and begins taking piano lessons. Ryuhei approves of neither.

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Man Walking on Snow Review


Excellent
Welcome to the end of the world. Mashike, Japan is a forlorn fishing village on the Western coast of Hokkaido where, as in Sarah Palin's Alaska, you can see Russia from your porch. When winter slams into the town, life pretty much stops, and the people turn inwards, finding plenty of time to stew over resentments going back decades.

That's how life is for 65-year-old widower Honma (Ken Ogata), a semi-retired sake maker who lives in a humble house with his younger son Yasuo (Yasufumi Hirashi). Father and son pretty much despise each other and make great sport of hurling insults back and forth, but since Dad needs help with the daily chores of life and the aimless Yasuo needs a place to stay, the two are stuck with each other.

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Tokyo! Review


OK
Tokyo! is a curious conundrum. The movie is a triptych of short films about the titular metropolis made by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Joon-ho Bong, three non-Japanese filmmakers. Each tries to offer up personalized impressions of the Japanese capital, and that alone would suggest a worthwhile cinematic experience. But the films themselves lack the intimacy with Tokyo's cultural nuances that we crave from a piece like this, trafficking instead in stereotypes and platitudes.

For its easy charm and humor, Michel Gondry's "Interior Design" comes off best. Gondry's story follows a young couple -- Hiroko and Akira (Ayako Fujitani and Ryo Kase) -- who have just moved to Tokyo, struggling to find an apartment, jobs, and generally to start their new lives. Akira's an aspiring filmmaker-artist, hence a bit of a space case, while his girlfriend Hiroko is smart but directionless. While getting started in Tokyo, they bunk up with a friend in her absurdly tiny apartment. Gradually, Hiroko pulls away from Akira and, in a Gondry-esque bit of transmogrification, she suddenly has the ability to shift from human to chair form and back. As a chair, she becomes part of the furnishings in a stranger's home, and feels herself an object of value, something she lacked as a human being. Gondry pokes fun at Tokyo's housing crisis: The living spaces are hilariously cramped, hardly more than glorified closets. With the low-key bantering of its characters, the quotidian details of Tokyo street life, its movie-within-a-movie device, the human-chair magic trick, and the overall theme of life-as-reverie, this is a Gondry project through and through. And, though not illuminating on the subject of its city, it's still a cute, clever take on Tokyo to keep us amused.

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Sukiyaki Western Django Review


Good
Takeshi Miike's spaghetti western mash-up, Sukiyaki Western Django, is a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. This Ramen on the Range is Miike's first American feature, perversely cast with Japanese actors in 99 percent of the roles and instructed to speak in contorted English, rendering most of the dialogue indecipherable; it takes some getting used to to hear line readings like "It's dah end da da road for youi." The other 1 percent of the cast is the rabid American film geek director Quentin Tarantino, clearly having the time of his life like a ticket to Disneyland. Tarantino is Ringo, a lonesome roads gunslinger, who sets the stage for the tale and speaks in an equally indecipherable western dialect that becomes even more obscure during a long spiel concerning Gion Shoja temple bells, with Tarantino inexplicably lapsing into a thick, flannel-tongued Toshiro Mifune accent halfway through his oration.

Ringo engages in some mighty fancy gunplay concerning a rattlesnake and an egg in front of a blatantly false campfire set that looks like it came out of the old kids' show Riders in the Sky. He then commences to tell the tale of a pale rider (Hideaki Ito) with a garish gun who appears through a howling Kurosawa haze in a western town lorded over by two rival clans -- the red-garbed Heike clan, led by the psychotic Kiyomori (Koicho Sato), who insists that everyone call him Henry, and the white-garbed Gengi clan, led by the cool, sleek, walking-manga illustration Yoshitsune (Yusuke Iseya). Before this cryptic Man With No Name can utter, "You going to come at me or whistle Dixie?" he commences to play one clan against the other, and soon bullets, bodies, and blood fly through the air like an in-progress Jackson Pollock painting. As the schizophrenic town sheriff sings at one point as the cast reloads, "I die. You die. She dies. He dies. We all die."

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