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While we’re lucky to live in a time where so many legendary filmmakers make their work and process accessible, there will always be a mystery behind some of the masters. Filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Ford, Frank Capra and many others passed away long before the age of video blogs, Twitter and behind the scenes DVD featurettes, leaving film fans with a precious few chances to study them in action.

Another man who makes that list is Akira Kurosawa, director of such iconic films as Seven Samurai, Rashomon, The Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo. Kurosawa passed away in 1998, which means some of his process was documented on his later films. That includes 1985′s Ran, a Japanese epic inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear. Now, a huge wealth of footage has come online – five hours of it – featuring the master filmmaker working behind the scenes on Ran. Check it out below. Read More »

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UPDATE: As expected, Zack Snyder’s representatives told The Hollywood Reporter the following information is untrue. The original story follows with the addendum. 

As Zack Snyder is busy finishing a film in the DC Universe, news has now been revealed he’ll move over to the Star Wars universe soon after. Though the director of 300 and Watchmen won’t be directing Star Wars Episode VII, Vulture reports he’s quietly developing a standalone Star Wars film inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. His film would featuring a group of Jedi warriors going on a mission. Read more after the jump. Read More »

This is a story I’d just like to ignore, in the hopes that pretending it isn’t happening will decrease the chances of any sale actually going down. But it is already all over the place, so might as well stare it right in the face. A new-ish company called Splendent Media is now repping the remake rights for dozens of Akira Kurosawa films. The company holds sixty-nine titles all told: 26 are films Kurosawa directed; 24 are films he wrote; and 19 are scripts he penned that were never produced.

That last point is somewhat tantalizing in the same way that unproduced Stanley Kubrick screenplays represent a vague sense of possibility. But who am I kidding? If we get… let’s be generous and say two films out of this that don’t suck, I think we’ll be beating the odds. Details below. Read More »

I’m not going to say that remaking a stone-cold classic like Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai is a fool’s errand. After all, some guy named Sergio Leone remade another Kurosawa classic, Yojimbo, and produced a classic of his own, A Fistful of Dollars, in doing so. Still, does it seem like a good idea? Not so much.  The Weinstein Company has been mulling over a Seven Samurai remake for some time, and now the company has set a director: Scott Mann, who last directed the action/fight film The Tournament. Read More »

VOTD: ‘Everything Is a Remix’

Thanks to DVD, compression software and services like YouTube and Vimeo, technology has changed the way we ingest visual content. But it hasn’t done as much as I’d like to the way we understand it.

Take the Everything is a Remix project, by editor Kirby Ferguson. The second installment was released this week, and it is a slick, well-written and edited piece of work that points out how much of the entertainment we consume is related to other entertainment. Specifically, it breaks down parts of Star Wars and Kill Bill into component elements, presenting scenes from those films alongside the original images re-purposed by George Lucas and Quentin Tarantino. But I’m left wanting more.

Watch both this film-centric second installment and a sidebar dissection of Kill Bill after the break, then hit the comments for a discussion of how the mechanism of influence from one film to another really affects storytelling. Read More »

Criterion To Release Akira Kurosawa’s Ran on Blu-Ray

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Criterion Collection has announced that they will be releasing Akira Kurosawa‘s Ran on Blu-Ray in May. The release will include:

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, with an uncompressed stereo soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Stephen Prince
  • An appreciation of the film by director Sidney Lumet
  • A.K., a 74-minute film by director Chris Marker
  • A 30-minute documentary on the making of Ran, from the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
  • Video interview with actor Tatsuya Nakadai
  • Theatrical trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Wilmington and an interview with Kurosawa

Expected to hit store shelves on May 12th 2009 with a MSRP of $39.99. Full details after the jump.

Read More »

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