Here’s a brief look at footage from Unforgiven (Yurusarezaru mono), aka the Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1992 western, here with Ken Watanabe in the lead role. We’re given quick glimpses of the scenery, as well as what appears to be the town to which Watanabe’s swordsman, newly out of retirement, heads to collect a bounty. We also see quick views of the major characters, and those who know the original film even in passing will likely be able to ID who’s who pretty fast. Read More »

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Conan the Barbarian isn’t the only guy getting the Unforgiven treatment. The 1991 Clint Eastwood western has become a genre landmark, essentially nailing shut the concept of the anti-hero created when the spaghetti western subgenre flowered with A Fistful of Dollars in 1964.

Now Ken Watanabe is playing the Eastwood role in a Japanese-produced remake of Unforgiven, which is set in Japan in 1880. Lee Sang-il directs, with part of the film oriented around Japan’s transition out of very secluded tradition to a more modern society able to come to terms with outside influence. That conflict has been played out in Japanese cinema many times before, especially as many samurai films were essentially rebranded westerns. So this remake seems like nearly an inevitability.

See some shots from the film below, along with a few other news items:

  • Simon West will direct a remake of the Burt Reynolds film Heat,
  • the new Mortal Kombat film has a rough budget,
  • Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and a bizarre stranger caught in Oldboy set pics,
  • and an Oldboy cast member talks about Brolin’s physical transformations for the film.

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The relationship between samurai films and westerns goes back many years, thanks in large part to remakes of Akria Kurosawa films; his 1954 film Seven Samurai was remade as the western The Magnificent Seven in 1960, and the defining Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood movie A Fistful of Dollars remade Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, without explicit credit given to Kurosawa.

Now there is a major western-to-samurai remake in development, and it is even another one that involves a now-classic Clint Eastwood production. Warner Japan plans to remake Clint Eastwood’s 1992 opus Unforgiven as a samurai period drama, with Ken Watanabe in a version of the central role played by Eastwood. Read More »

Say what you will about Jaume Collet-Serra‘s live-action Akira, but the casting folks have been making some pretty intriguing choices so far. Okay, so Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart haven’t exactly gone over great with the fans. But the first two actors we heard of getting offers were Helena Bonham Carter and Gary Oldman, with Keira Knightley being “approached” at some point and the likes of Michael Pitt and Paul Dano testing for the part of Tetsuo.

Now the bad news is that Warner Bros. has been unable to close its deal with Oldman — but on the plus side, they’ve given the offer to Ken Watanabe to replace him. More details after the jump.

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ken-watanabe-1

Ken Watanabe has worked as an actor in Japan for over twenty years, and since his breakout western role in The Last Samurai, he’s become a fan-favorite character actor. Now, as Watanabe is about to be seen in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, there is word that the actor is in talks to make the leap to director. Appropriately enough, the man who played a major role in Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima looks like he’ll use the story of the Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment as the basis for his directorial debut. Read More »

Movie Trailer: Shanghai

Shanghai

You’d think an epic WWII espionage thriller set in Shanghai, starring John Cusack and directed by Mikael1408Håfström would be an easy sell. But maybe not, if it’s really just a trip to dullsville. Shanghai was pushed around on the Weinstein Company schedule for a while last year before being pushed off indefinitely. We’ve seen stills for the film, but now there’s an international trailer. If this clips is anything to judge the film by, no wonder TWC didn’t want to spend money to advertise and release it. Read More »

Christopher Nolan Talks Inception

inception_teaser_2

The shroud of mystery around Christopher Nolan‘s new film Inception is beginning to dissolve. That was inevitable. As the film gets closer to release, the previously well-concealed plot has to be revealed. So now we know for certain — confirming many rumored explanations of the film’s story — that Leonardo DiCaprio is “a specialist in the new branch of corporate espionage — he’s a dream thief who plucks secrets from the minds of tycoons after pumping them full of drugs and hooking them up to a mysterious contraption. The problem, though, is the land of nod can be volatile — as can DiCaprio’s character, Dom Cobb”

Want to know more? Read on, though if you don’t want to be spoiled at all, I’d just wait for the next trailer. Read More »

Christopher Nolan's Inception

When the trailer for Christopher Nolan‘s new film Inception began to screen attached to early press screenings of Sherlock Holmes, movie bloggers around the internet (including our own David Chen) attempted, from memory, to recall the imagery from the new teaser. It wasn’t an easy task considering all the craziness that happens in the new trailer, which yes, was released online earlier this week (see it here). Warner Bros has finally released an unwatermarked high definition version of the trailer. And since it is a slow news week (blame the holidays), I thought it might be good to create high resolution captures of some of the moments from the trailer. Check them out now, after the jump.

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