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This week, Dave Chen, Devindra, and Adam chat about the virtues of Downton Abbey, debate the merits of Another Earth, and discuss their most anticipated films of 2012. Special guest Alison Willmore joins us from Movieline.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us at Slashfilm’s Live page on Sunday (1/22) as we discuss Haywire.

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Briefly: It’s taken some time, but American audiences will finally get their chance to see Tran Anh Hung‘s nostalgic romance Norwegian Wood. We first wrote about the project way back in 2009, and the finished film hit the festival circuit to positive reviews in fall 2010. But for whatever reason, the movie never quite made it to our shores.

Thompson on Hollywood now writes that Soda Pictures and Red Flag Releasing will team up to give the film a U.S. release at long last, with a theatrical run planned for January 2012. A VOD release will then follow in the spring, with DVDs planned to hit stores in mid-2012.

Based on an extremely popular 1987 novel by Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood unfolds against the backdrop of the student protests in late ’60s Tokyo. College student Toru (Kenichi Matsuyama, Death Note) first falls in love with the beautiful, fragile Naoko (Kikuchi), then meets the lively Midori (Kiko Mizuhara). Hung’s film also boasts a soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood, who previously scored There Will Be Blood.

Check out the trailer, which we first posted back in February, after the jump.

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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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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rinko_kikuchi

norwegian woodI’m not sure how I missed the news that Haruki Murakami’s tremendous novel Norwegian Wood was being adapted to film, or that one of my favorite little-known directors, Tran Anh Hung (Cyclo, The Scent of Green Papaya), was helming the project. If so, my mind would have been slightly more prepared to absorb the casting news we’ve received today.

Kenichi Matsuyama, best known as L in the live action Death Note films, has been cast as Toru Watanabe, the main character in the film. More interesting to me (and I assume all of you) is the addition of Rinko Kikuchi, who has made her mark with Babel and The Brother’s Bloom, has been cast as Naoko, the emotionally trouble love interest who causes all sorts of heartache for Toru. The book is essentially a tale of Toru’s love life in his younger days, but as with everything Murakami it’s also so much more.

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