Japanese director Takashi Miike is among the most prolific directors working today, and has held that distinction for many years. With that prolific work habit comes a rather spotty track record, and for every great Miike film there are a couple middling efforts and often one really bad one.

So which one is Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai? The film is Miike’s second period samurai remake in recent years, following his truly excellent 13 Assassins. The latter movie is one of Miike’s best, so there were pretty heavy expectations on this remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 film Harakiri. But reviews out of the film’s first appearance on the festival circuit weren’t great. Was the chilly reception thanks to over-inflated expectations in the wake of 13 Assassins, or is Hara-Kiri just one of Miike’s middling efforts?

The movie was Miike’s first in 3D, and the trailer is rather nice-looking, especially in some of the duel sequences. Check it out below. Read More »

Takashi Miike is best known for his hyper-explicit button-pushing films like Ichi the Killer, Audition and Visitor Q, but he has dabbled in just about every possible film genre. Lately he’s been in ‘stately samurai’ mode. His film 13 Assassins has been available on iTunes for a few weeks and opens in some theaters today. (And is very, very good.)

His next, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is a 3D film, and will premiere at Cannes in just a couple weeks. The teaser trailer for that one is out now, and it looks just as good as 13 Assassins, if in a slightly different way. Read More »