Zatôichi, the hero of 26 feature films and a long-running television series in his native Japan, was a wandering masseur, gambler, and warrior (played by Shintaro Katsu from 1962 to 1989) who fought for the rights of the downtrodden working-class man against villainous crime lords and land barons. In this reinterpretation of the Japanese icon, director Kitano plays Zatôichi with blond hair and a red cane (which houses his ferocious blade), and reimagines the friendly samurai as a dour, remote hero prone to isolate himself in meditative silences. While Kitano retains the character's impish chuckle and sympathy for the countryside's maligned outcasts, his Zatôichi substitutes Katsu's balletic gracefulness with a swift physicality. This new Zatôichi is a viper coiled to strike with tornado-like ferocity at any moment, and in his silent-but-deadly manner, the character more than slightly resembles the gun-toting yakuza madmen of Kitano's Sonatine and Brother.
Continue reading: Zatôichi Review
The master Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano made his reputation in the United States with his violent, whisper-to-a-scream gangster films like "Sonatine," "Fireworks" and "Brother." His most dedicated fans also know about his softer side, shown in warm, almost sentimental works such as "A Scene at the Sea," "Kids Return," "Kikujiro" and the extraordinary "Dolls," which has yet to secure a distributor here.
None of this prepares us for "The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi." Even if you've seen some of the classic 1960s-era Japanese films (many of which are available on DVD) about a blind masseuse and accomplished swordsman, you're at a disadvantage.
Based loosely on the novels by Kan Shimozawa as well as the original films, "The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi" begins normally enough. The rock-steady, stoic actor Kitano (known in an acting capacity as "Beat" Takeshi) appears as the bleach-blond title character, eyes glued shut, head cocked to one side as if to listen to the world. He's taunted by a band of would-be robbers and he vanquishes them with very little effort, barely registering a hint of an expression.
Continue reading: THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI Review
Anima Animus is the third album from Siouxsie Sioux's The Creatures, released exactly 20 years ago today.
Peter Doherty once again highlighted his talent as a musician, lyricist and performer during a very entertaining evening.
The eleven tracks that make up Feels' latest release combine a raw garage band authenticity with a self-assured swagger.
Edinburgh four-piece Gypsy Circus talk about their inspirations and their music in exclusive interview.
It doesn't take long to appreciate you are in the presence of rock music royalty when you are offered an audience with Paul McGuinness.
Doillon's latest release is self-assured, positive and empowered; it is not trying to be something it's not.
With her new album 'Head Above Water' out this February, Avril Lavigne teams up with Nicki Minaj for a new song entitled 'Dumb Blonde'.
'Won't Let Go' is the first single of the year for London-based folk-rock musician Jamie N Commons, and it's quite the departure from his early sound.