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Author Topic: AM2 Convention Presents Stylish Take on Puppet Theatre: Bunraku  (Read 3360 times)

Offline tenkei

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On July 3rd, fledgling anime convention Anime, Music and Manga, otherwise known as AM2, was able to give their attendees quite a treat. The convention, in conjuction with JRock Revolution, put on a screening of ARC Entertainment's Spaghetti-Samurai flick Bunraku, starring Josh Hartnett and Vampiric J-Rock god Gackt.

Named for the traditional Japanese theatre style involving wooden puppets, Bunraku is a supremely stylish stranger-with-no-name revenge film along the lines of spaghetti westerns ala Sergio Leone with that touch of Samurai drama akin to Kurosawa that inspired them. Western and martial arts enthusiast Guy Moshe directs big names such as Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman, Demi Moore, and Kevin McKidd against a slick, eye popping backdrop created with a mix of CGI and practical sets. The film reminded me visually of a mash-up between Tim Burton and Zack Snyder, with dialog trying very hard to be written by Tarantino.

The film follows Hartnett as the mythical Stranger-With-No-Name as he blows into town to take on and take down Perlman, the most powerful man east of the Atlantic. Through his schemes and attempts on Perlman's life, the stranger picks up a samurai robed Gackt and bartending Harrelson for support. You can pretty much guess where it goes from there.

While a treat for the eyes, Bunraku does fall short elsewhere. The plot is seemingly original at first, but after 20 minutes any movie fan can call out the rest of the big points. That is not to say that the film isn't entertaining, it does have it's well choreographed moments of action and well placed spots of comedy, but many of the main actors seem to be overshadowed by the film's stuning visuals. Josh Hartnett just seems squinty and out of place, almost like he's lost and blinded by the CGI sun. Ron Perlman can play a convincing small town villain in his sleep, which might be exactly what he did here. Demi Moore seems tacked on as the Hollywood big named heroine of the group, and only made me aware that I haven't seen her on screen in quite some time. On the other hand, Harrelson did quietly well as the smooth talking bartender sidekick to Hartnett and Gackt, the latter of whom also did well with the position he was given. For me, though, the show was stolen by McKidd who I believed for every second.

Bunraku is a generally well put together movie and can be enjoyed at home in your underwear with a nice bowl of popcorn. The couch critics (such as myself) will enjoy the style of it, until they realize that it is starting to drown out the rest of the movie. Casual fans may appreciate the film for its quirks, but I wouldn't run out to line up for the movie just yet.

Bunraku is slated for theatrical release on September 30th, 2011.

2 of 4 stars.

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Offline Rei-chan

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Re: AM2 Convention Presents Stylish Take on Puppet Theatre: Bunraku
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 06:22:02 AM »
What a treat for the AM2 attendees! I've been waiting to see this movie for a long time due to the Gacktness, so I'm glad to hear that it was enjoyable. Makes me look more forward to it  :D

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Offline daigong

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Re: AM2 Convention Presents Stylish Take on Puppet Theatre: Bunraku
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 06:49:51 AM »
^ INDEED. SHIT Gackt with Woody Harrelson, this better not be straight to video lol

Mad props to Chase Wang for da hook ups. Dope ass review ten.

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