News

10 awesome martial arts fights in the snow

Craig Lines Dec 6, 2017

Christmas and martial arts movies? They rarely crossover. But amazing fights in the snow? Now we're in business...

I love martial arts movies and I love Christmas so I'm kinda sad that the two have never really come together (Kung Fu Panda Holiday doesn't count). I'd hoped to find at least one good example to write about, as we move into the festive period, but I guess since most martial arts films come from Buddhist countries and Christmas is a Christian holiday, I was destined for disappointment.

I did briefly consider making one up with the aid of Photoshop, but wasn't sure I could get away with it so, alas, The 25th Advent Chamber Of Shaolin is not to be. For what it's worth, I'd got as far as an apprentice monk named Ho, fighting his way through 25 'doors' of a giant temple designed to resemble an advent calendar.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Interview with Kurando Mitsutake: I believe the current trend for the market is nostalgic marketing

Kurando Mitsutake is originally from Tokyo, Japan. He graduated with an Mfa from California Institute of the Arts and is a member of the Directors Guild of Japan and Screen Actors Guild. Mitsutake made his feature film directorial debut with “Monsters Don’t Get to Cry” in 2004. In 2008, he produced, wrote, and directed his second feature film, “Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf”. The film screened at more than ten film festivals around the world and won multiple awards. “Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf” was distributed in over 15 countries including the United States. “Gun Woman” was Mitsutake’s third feature film and it was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 24th Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in Japan. It opened theatrically in Japan nationwide in July of 2014 and was distributed in the Us in 2015. His latest film is called “Karate Kill” and will will be available from 8 Films in May.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

All of the Films Joining Filmstruck’s Criterion Channel This April

Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This April will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.

To sign up for a free two-week trial here.

Monday, April 3 The Chaos of Cool: A Tribute to Seijun Suzuki

In February, cinema lost an icon of excess, Seijun Suzuki, the Japanese master who took the art of the B movie to sublime new heights with his deliriously inventive approach to narrative and visual style. This series showcases seven of the New Wave renegade’s works from his career breakthrough in the sixties: Take Aim at the Police Van (1960), an off-kilter whodunit; Youth of the Beast (1963), an explosive yakuza thriller; Gate of Flesh (1964), a pulpy social critique; Story of a Prostitute (1965), a tragic romance; Tokyo Drifter
See full article at CriterionCast »

Criterion Reflections – Kill! (1968) – #313

David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:

Kill! is an entertaining and unusual take on the samurai/swordplay genre that plays for laughs many of the conventional tropes and set-ups common in the classic films from that tradition. I was fascinated observing how many of the fighting techniques, interpersonal conflicts, man vs. world showdowns and dramatic battle scenes that impact viewers with awe-inspiring tension can become a showcase of hilarity with just a slight exaggeration of tone, body language or facial expression (or simply cranking the fans that stir up dust clouds an extra notch or two.) Barking dialog that would come across as solemn and severe in more straightforward, traditional chanbara epics conveys much of the same surface meaning in advancing the story along in Kill! but also ends up generating a nice side helping of mirth in the process. Though at least one review considers
See full article at CriterionCast »

Criterion Blu-ray Reviews: The Palm Beach Story, The Sword Of Doom, and Watership Down

The latest batch of Criterion films offers Preston Sturges screwball romp The Palm Beach Story, Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword of Doom, and Martin Rosen’s animated adaptation of Watership Down and it seems there’s little connective tissue between them. So let’s start with The Palm Beach Story. Preston Sturges was in the middle of his incredible run at Paramount when he made 1942’s The Palm Beach Story (a run that includes Christmas in July, The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels and The Miracle at Morgan’s Creek), but as the supplements note, it was the beginning of the end. The film didn’t do that well at the box office, and Sturges - one of the first writer/directors - was no longer in favor on the lot. None of that is reflected in the finished product as the film itself is great, but that said, Sturges
See full article at Collider.com »

‘Sword of Doom’ is an aggressively dour and violent samurai excursion

Sword of Doom

Written by Shinobu Hashimoto

Directed by Kihachi Okamoto

Japan, 1966

Teenager Omatsu (Yoko Naito) and her grandfather walk atop a hill in the Japanese countryside on a beautiful day. While Omatsu leaves for a few moments to fetch water, her grandfather is discovered and ruthlessly struck down by a renegade samurai named Ryunosuke (Tatsuya Nakadai). The latter’s actions are but a sampling of his psychotic streak which leaves his underserving victims in the dust. Ryunosuke is a madman, but one gifted with glorious samurai skills, thus making him a highly coveted tool despite his staunchly anti-social personality. His actions on the hilltop thrust into motion a series of events that will see Ryunosuke’s sanity put to the test. He will go on to kill the brother of a young but highly skilled swordsman named Hyoma Utsuki (Yuzo Kayama), the latter whom will fall in love with the beautiful Omatsu.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Epic War Movie ‘Japan’s Longest Day’ To Be Remade

Tokyo – Shochiku has announced the cast for its remake of the 1967 Kihachi Okamoto epic “Japan’s Longest Day.”

The film, which details the events leading up to Japan’s unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945 following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, stars Koji Yakusho as army minister Anami, a role originally played by Toshiro Mifune.

The director is Masato Harada, whose 2011 “Chronicle of My Mother,” which starred Yakusho as a best-selling writer with mother issues, won a slew of domestic and international prizes, including the jury prize at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Okamoto’s movie was based on a 1965 best-selling novel by Kazutoshi Hando about diehard militarists plotting a coup to stop the Emperor’s surrender announcement on August 15. Anami is caught between his loyalty to the Emperor, who wants to stop the killing, and his reluctance to admit defeat, even at the cost of more Japanese lives.

Harada’s
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Federico Fellini’s 'Satyricon,' Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' And More Coming To Criterion In February

Here’s a riddle for you: what do Michelangelo Antonioni, Terry Gilliam, Kihachi Okamoto, and Todd Haynes all have in common? Answer: each has at least one film among Criterion’s slate of upcoming releases due in the next few months. And they’re not the only ones, with the boutique label serving up batch of titles in February that should make cinephiles quite happy. A gloriously restored edition of Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" is on the way: the Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie starring classic will come packaged with three documentaries, including the brand new "Nicolas Roeg: The Enigma of Film,"which features insights from Danny Boyle and Steven Soderbergh. The film has been restored in 4K for maximum eyeball pleasure. Speaking of which, Federico Fellini's "Satyricon" will get deluxe treatment, with archival and vintage bonus material, an audio commentary, an essay and more. Also on the auteur front,
See full article at The Playlist »

What I Watched, What You Watched #269

Not a single trip to the theater this week. I was going to see Before I Go To Sleep on Wednesday night, but they cancelled the screening only a few hours before it was to take place. However, at home I was able to see a few things. First off there was Samurai Assassin (1965) from director Kihachi Okamoto who also directed The Sword of Doom, which I've already professed my love for, Kill! and Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo. Samurai Assassin, in this case, is second to Sword of Doom and boy is it dark and rather disturbing by the end with yet another great performance from Toshiro Mifune. I also watched the new Blu-ray for A Most Wanted Man, which I ended up reviewing right here, and I also watched the Blu-ray for George A. Romero's The Dark Half, which I reviewed here. Other than that, I watched the opening
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

'Sword of Doom' and 'My Winnipeg' Coming to Criterion January 2015

Perhaps Criterion has been paying attention to my Best Movies posts. Next week sees the release of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita on Blu-ray, which was the first installment in my Best Movies feature and a title I'll be reviewing later this week, and now my third installment, Kihachi Okamoto's The Sword of Doom will be arriving on January 6 with a new high-definition digital restoration. Unfortunately the Sword of Doom release won't come with any new features, though the film, Hiroshi Murai's cinematography, Masaru Sato's score and an audio commentary from Stephen Prince will do for me as that is a title that simply must be part of my collection. Also coming in January is Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant on January 13, Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg on January 20, Preston Sturges's 1942 comedy The Palm Beach Story starring Claudette Colbert
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Why Cinelicious Pics acquired Gangs of Wasseypur for North America

Why Cinelicious Pics acquired Gangs of Wasseypur for North America
Dennis Bartok

For many years I was the head of film programming for the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, a non-profit film group that currently runs the Egyptian and Aero Theatres. As part of my job I tried to keep my finger to the pulse of national cinemas from around the globe, both new and old, by combing through festival catalogues, talking to other programmers and watching as many movies as I could get my hands on (much of these in the old VHS days!)

In the 1990s and early 2000s I saw the rediscovery of some amazing bodies of world cinema such as Italian Horror and Giallo Cinema from the 1960s & 1970s by directors like Mario Bava and Dario Argento, and Japanese Outlaw Cinema from the same period by hard-hitting genre filmmakers like Kinji Fukasaku, Seijun Suzuki and Kihachi Okamoto. But one thing I didn’t see, in repertory film calendars,
See full article at DearCinema.com »

What I Watched, What You Watched #247

A good week of movie watching at home despite not a very good week watching movies in theaters. My two screenings this past week were A Million Ways to Die in the West and Maleficent and neither impressed, but at home I watched The Sword of Doom on Hulu (then added it to my Best Movies collection) as well as Kihachi Okamoto's Kill!. Then it was Criterion's new Blu-ray edition of Howard Hawks' Red River, which I'll have a review of this week. Last night I also started watching Men in Black 3 and it just got too late to finish it so I'll be finishing that later today. What I did see wasn't too bad, but not sure it's worth seeing or any extended commentary beyond acknowledging it exists. We'll see how it all ends before making that judgment though. Beyond that I did watch the second episode from "Hannibal's" second season,
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

'The Sword of Doom' (1966) - Best Movies #3

The list of great samurai films is long and it would probably consume a person's entire lifetime if they were to seek them all out in an attempt to satisfy any measure of a comprehensive list. Several of the known greats I have yet to see and most likely those that are new to the genre will start in the most obvious of places, that being the films of Akira Kurosawa, most specifically Seven Samurai and then probably Yojimbo, two films that will certainly be included on my Best Movies list before all is said and done along with several others, but as I said, the list is long. That said, I didn't want my first samurai entry on my Best Movies list to be an entirely obvious one, though fans of samurai films will no doubt be familiar with Kihachi Okamoto's The Sword of Doom. The first film
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Movie Poster of the Week: “The Human Bullet” and the Posters of the Art Theater Guild

  • MUBI
Above: Poster signed “coo” for Nikudan [The Human Bullet] (Kihachi Okamoto, Japan, 1968).

For the past two months, and concluding this weekend, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has been screening the films of Japan’s Art Theater Guild. Programmed in conjunction with the gallery exhibition Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde, the series Art Theater Guild and Japanese Underground Cinema 1960-1986 was “the most comprehensive U.S. retrospective ever devoted to...the independent film company that radically transformed Japanese cinema by producing and distributing experimental, transgressive, and genre-shattering films from the early 1960s until the mid-1980s.”

Posters for the Atg were harder to find than I expected, at least in good high-quality scans, so I have concentrated on a handful of masterful designs from the late 60s, all of which use a combination of photo montage and illustration (a couple of which I have featured in this column before.)

According
See full article at MUBI »

Kill Bill: The five manners of fighting in Tarantino’s kung fu opus

If Tarantino’s films of the 1990s announced the writer-director’s as a phenom for writing formidably snappy dialogue that enhanced characterization, his films of the 00s, while continuing to demonstrate the aforementioned writing prowess, suggest that he is equally adept at staging and filming wonderful action scenes, be they brawls, gun fights or contests of martial arts skills. Death Proof and Django Unchained have their share of impressive set pieces representing unique visions of what, in the case of the former, a cinematic car chase can be like, and, in the case of the latter, what a cinematic gun fight shoot out can be like. In essence, pretty darn sweet.

In both cases, even though Tarantino and his crack team definitely put their own spin on such action set pieces, the ingenuity that went into both was inspired by movies which made names for themselves in the annals of film history.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Blu-ray Review: Criterion's Outstanding Remastering of 'The Samurai Trilogy'

It was released almost two months ago, but I finally got around to savoring Criterion's Blu-ray restoration of Hiroshi Inagaki's The Samurai Trilogy over the last couple of weeks. I've made mention of it in a few posts here and there, but i wanted to make a special point to give it it's own space considering the massive upgrade we are talking about here over the previously released 2004 DVD editions. I can't remember how long ago it was that I bought the DVD editions, but I bought them blind without having seen any of the three films -- Musashi Miyamoto (winner of the 1955 Best Foreign Language Oscar), Duel at Ichijoji Temple and Duel at Ganryu Island -- but watching them those years ago I remember enjoying the films, but not at all moved by the imagery. The DVD presentations were hardly impressive and Criterion's packaging doesn't suggest they were remastered in any way.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Catherine Reviews Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword of Doom

We open on a mountaintop. An elderly man (Kamatami Fujiwara) and his granddaughter (Yoko Naito) emerge. He tells her the Buddhist origins of the lands surrounding them. They stop to rest and eat their lunch before beginning their downhill descent. The granddaughter, whose name is Omatsu, goes to find water. The elderly man prays for death so that his granddaughter will be happy and “no longer a pilgrim”. Suddenly, a deep voice calls out “old man”. He turns around and sees a man in black garb, his hat covering his face, smoke all around him. He approaches the elderly man and tells him to step forward and look to the west. The elderly man realizes what is about to happen, but before he can elicit a response; he is struck down with his wish cruelly fulfilled. The murderer is a samurai named Ryunosuke Tsukue (Tatsuya Nakadai), and he is The Sword of Doom’s protagonist.
See full article at CriterionCast »

What’s All The Hulu-baloo About? This Week In Criterion’s Hulu Channel

A little late this week, mainly because of my own random b.s. that one goes through when attempting to juggle too many things at once. Try not to do it kids, because it means a Hulu article gets sidetracked a bit. A ton of stuff was added since I last was here, but unlike last week’s where I focused on 10 specific films that weren’t in the Collection, this time it’s a bunch of familiar (and not so) faces, be it in their great Eclipse sets or in Criterion’s own pantheon.

A huge thanks to who have already used this link to enjoy their own Hulu Plus and in turn keeping this series of articles up and running. We can always use the help, so please sign up using that specific link. Every little bit does keep this nice and polished. But enough about that. You
See full article at CriterionCast »

Zen & Its Opposite: Essential (& Turbulent) Japanese Art House at Japan Society

NYC Japan Society's monthly film series Zen & Its Opposite: Essential (& Turbulent) Japanese Art House showcases some of the best classical films of Japanese cinema. Based on the Six Planes of Existence in Wheel of Life (Bhavacakra), the film series highlights five Planes, (excluding the Deva/God Realm, Blissful State) with five distinctive films representing each plane:

Ashura/Demigod Realm is represented by Kihachi Okamoto's bloody samurai epic Sword of Doom (1966). Ashura is filled with jealousy, struggle and combat stemming from being envious of Deva Realm. As Tatsuya Nakadai's merciless swordman hacks away in a violent purgatory, the film is a perfect match.

Masaki Kobayashi's stunning 1965 Cannes Palm d'Or winner Kwaidan is Manusya: the Human Realm plagued by passion, desire, doubt and pride.

Tiryag-yoni a.k.a. Animal Realm is reflected in Onibaba (1964, dir. Kaneto Shindo), a gritty tale of survival and animal lust in feudal era Japan.
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

NY Japan Society presents Zen & Its Opposite

The New York Japan Society has unveiled the program for their 2010-2011 Monthly Classics series - Zen & Its Opposite: Japanese Art House - and there’s a chance to see some true horror classics on the big screen, starting on October 15th with Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan. This new series peers into the dark side of 50s and 60s Japanese Cinema: from Kon Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain (1959), Kaneto Shindo’s Onibaba (1964) to Nobuo akagawa’s Hell (1960) and Kihachi Okamoto’s Sword of Doom (1966). More information on the Monthly Classics series can be found over at the Japan Societies website here.
See full article at 24FramesPerSecond »
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Credited With | External Sites