Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we get hooked up for an annual plan of domination, grab some corned beef, wonder at a tiger taking down a horse, watch who we kiss in Russia, and see if we can get an early check out at the Marigold Hotel.

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Even as news breaks that the strange pseudo-documentary sendup of Japanese kaiju movies and TV shows, Big Man Japan (aka Dai Nipponjin) is getting an uncalled-for US remake, writer/director/star Hitoshi Matsumoto has a new film opening in Japan. This week sees the bow of Saya Zamurai, aka Scabbard Samurai, a very strange-looking comedy set in feudal Japan. There is a trailer (sans English) available now, and you can see it below. Read More »

If you liked the down on his luck superhero elements of the Will Smith film Hancock, but weren’t as much into the ‘gods and love’ story that dominated the second half, you should give some attention to Big Man Japan. That is Hitoshi Matsumoto‘s 2007 Japanese mock documentary about a guy who can grow to gigantic size and fight monsters, but has to deal with a sagging public image. (It was released in Japan as Dainipponjin.)

Big Man Japan is weird fun, full of goofy CGI, and has one of the most batshit crazy endings I’ve seen in some time. (The end really plays with the film’s intentional similarity to Ultraman, and given that the rest of the film has things like a giant monster with an eye-tipped penis tentacle, the fact that the end stands out as really crazy should tell you something.) So, naturally, an American studio is going to try to produce a remake. Read More »

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The latest trailers for Symbol (or Shinboru) hint at an odd film that mixes the claustrophobia of Cube, the asylum-like paranoia of Jim Henson’s The Cube, and the random, colorful Japanese itemization of a Turbo Grafx 16 game import. Needless to say, I’m interested, and buzz on the latest film from Hitoshi Matsumoto, the Japanese star and writer/director of cult-fave Big Man Japan, has it delivering on the promising, pristine imagery below. Nice pajamas, guy.

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