Yoshio Harada

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Azumi Review


Very Good
When underground director Ryuhei Kitamura announced that he'd be making Azumi, his first film inside the Japanese studio system after a successful run of independent films (Versus, Aragami), fans may have had just cause to fear. Not only was he joining the mainstream machine, but he was also directing -- for the first time -- a script in which he had no hand. As it turns out, there's no need for concern.

Azumi opens in war-torn feudal Japan. A clan of assassins, raised from youth by their master Gessai (Yoshio Harada, resembling no one so much as a Japanese Burt Reynolds), endeavor to wipe out three warlords bent on waging yet another bloody struggle to rule the country.

Continue reading: Azumi Review

Azumi Review


Very Good
When underground director Ryuhei Kitamura announced that he'd be making Azumi, his first film inside the Japanese studio system after a successful run of independent films (Versus, Aragami), fans may have had just cause to fear. Not only was he joining the mainstream machine, but he was also directing -- for the first time -- a script in which he had no hand. As it turns out, there's no need for concern.

Azumi opens in war-torn feudal Japan. A clan of assassins, raised from youth by their master Gessai (Yoshio Harada, resembling no one so much as a Japanese Burt Reynolds), endeavor to wipe out three warlords bent on waging yet another bloody struggle to rule the country.

Continue reading: Azumi Review

Another Heaven Review


OK
There are two kinds of Japanese thrillers: Those that don't translate very well to the Western world, and those that don't translate at all.

Another Heaven (from one of the producers of Ringu) is pretty squarely in the latter group, though that doesn't make it as complete a waste of time as it ought to be. It starts with promise: A group of cops investigate a murder scene: The victim is dead on the floor, his head sliced open and his brain cooking in a pot of stew on the stove. What follows gets confusing, and fast, as it turns out a bunch of brainless folks are on the loose, and they're all killing people before they die themselves.

Continue reading: Another Heaven Review

Yoshio Harada

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