Takeshi Kitano ghost in the shell

Ghost in the Shell stepped in a giant pile of crap the moment it announced that Scarlett Johansson would star in the upcoming American adaptation of the beloved Japanese manga. After all, Hollywood whitewashing is alive and well and still incredibly ugly, so the reaction to the very Caucasian Johansson taking on a character named Motoko Kusanagi in the source material was rightfully (and righteously) brutal.

I don’t want to say that the casting of the great Japanese actor and filmmaker Takeshi Kitano is a direct response to this controversy (although it certainly feels like it), but I will say that Kitano is powerhouse performer and any movie is immeasurably improved by his presence.

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‘Beyond Outrage’ Red-Band Trailer


Takeshi Kitano follows his 2011 film Outrage with a sequel Yakuza film, Beyond Outrage (originally called Outrage Beyond), and a new red-band trailer for the US release has come online.

This is red-band because Takeshi’s films tend toward extreme bursts of violence perpetrated by stoic men, with Takeshi himself typically the most prone to the worst action. In this case there’s a lot of gunplay, and a drill, and a pretty mean use of an automatic baseball pitching machine. The story concerns multiple crime families who are set against one another, with Takeshi as an instigator (or pawn?) in the middle. Seems a bit like Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, with yakuza. Read More »

It’s only about twelve years late, but here’s a US trailer for the Japanese film Battle Royale, in which a class full of kids is forced to fight each other to the death on a remote island. The movie was released in 2000, and directed by renowned Japanese filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku based on the novel of the same name by Koushun Takami.

Though it seems that nearly everyone who wants to has seen the film through various legitimate and less legitimate DVD releases, Battle Royale has never been officially available in the US. That changes in March, when Anchor Bay releases the movie on Blu-ray — just in time for the theatrical release of The Hunger Games, which bears a striking plot similarity to Battle Royale.

See a trailer for the DVD release below. Read More »

Lovers of film are likely lovers of Takeshi Kitano. Sometimes billed as Beat Takeshi, he’s not only the evil star of Battle Royale, he’s the talented director of films like The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi and Fireworks. In 2010, he directed and starred in Outrage, a twisting, turning crime drama in the vein of Martin Scorsese. It played several festivals, spawned a few trailers and was successful enough that a sequel, Outrage 2, is on the way. However, most fans haven’t had a chance to see the original because its U.S. release date was way off. Finally, Outrage is schedule to hit U.S. screens on December 2 and on-demand next week, October 28. There’s a brand new red band trailer for the film after the jump. Read More »

‘Outrage’ English-Subtitled Trailer

Earlier this year we saw Japanese trailers for Takeshi Kitano‘s latest film Outrage, which marks his return to gangster pictures. (He previously made one of the best Japanese gangster films, Sonatine, as well as other movies about the Yakuza.)

Now we’ve got a US trailer via Magnet, and if you wanted a clearer look at the film than those Japanese clips provided, this should do the trick. Read More »

We’ve got a handful of release dates to share, with the biggest possibly being Guillermo del Toro‘s upcoming Pacific Rim, which, if things go well, will begin shooting late this summer or in early fall. Warner Bros. will distribute the Legendary Pictures production, and has just set July 12, 2013 as the release date. Pacific Rim is scripted by Travis Beacham and already boasts Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba and Charlie Day in the cast. The story is “set in a future where giant malevolent creatures threaten to destroy the earth, and the planet must band together and use advanced weapons technology to eradicate the growing threat.” [THR]

After the break, a new date for Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and dates for the Stephenie Meyer adaptation The Host, as well as for Roman Polanski’s Carnage, Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In, and Tucker & Dale Vs Evil. Read More »

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As we get closer to the announcement of the Cannes lineup for this year (that hits tomorrow) there aren’t a huge number of films I’m already excited to see. But a few already stand out. Hell, a new film from Takeshi Kitano is always going to stand out. And when it is his return to gangster pictures — the genre he so eloquently reworked in films like Sonatine — I’m ready for the premiere now.

So until Outrage shows up in Cannes (a near certainty) and we hopefully hear about a US distribution deal, here’s a new Japanese trailer for the film. Read More »


Subtitle this one ’12 Angry Gangsters’. Back in December I was excited to report that Japanese writer/actor/director Takeshi Kitano was already well into post-production on his new film Outrage. This is his return to gangster pictures after a string of films that saw him step away from the genre that brought him international acclaim. Branching out is fantastic, but his recent trilogy of films, which explored various facets of Kitano as an artist, wasn’t entirely successful. Taskeshis was intriguing and Achilles and the Tortoise actually quite good, but Glory to the Filmmaker! was a bit of a trial.

So I’m curious about Outrage. Is this Kitano going back to gangsters because it is an easy step to make audiences happy, or will be doing something more than just ‘going back to gangsters’? His best films in the genre (such as Sonatine) are hardly standard Yakuza fare. Regardless, we’ve now got a teaser trailer for Outrage. Because it is in Japanese it may be difficult to get too much out of it, but the footage looks great and it’s wonderful to see new Kitano footage, whatever it is. Read More »


Here’s some great news about a film that, just by virtue of existence, is now high on my ‘to watch’ list for 2010. I knew that Takeshi Kitano had been shooting a new film (mentioned it in passing here, while talking about Ryo Kase working with Gus Van Sant) but we haven’t had any details about it. And while he’s talked about going back to gangster pictures, we didn’t know for certain that’s what this new film would be.

Now the details are out: the film is called Outrage and it is indeed a film about Japanese criminals. Will it stack up against Sonatine? If it even comes close, I’ll be happy. Read More »