Trailer and Link Round-Up April 30th

So as I await the release of Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins (UK release date is May 5th) I spot the trailer for his latest opus plus two other trailers which have piqued my interest.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 3D

I briefly mentioned news of Takashi Miike’s latest remake of a classic film in a previous trailer round-up (complete with trailer for original film) and now here is the trailer for the modern version.

Starring Ebizo Ichikawa (Kabuki actor), the story is about a poor samurai named Hanshiro Tsugumo who goes to the manor of a feudal lord in order to commit ritual suicide, or hara kiri. The feudal lord suspects this is to gain money from him because he has shown beneficence in to other samurai. However, this is part of an elaborate plan to gain vengeance. This is a remake of a film made in 1962 and gets its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it is competing for the Palme d’Or.

Julia’s Eyes

When I say, “this is a Spanish horror film with the words Produced by Guillermo Del Toro”, that’s two reasons to go see a film because;

1. Spain have been producing brilliant atmospheric horror in recent years and

2. Guillermo Del Toro is involved, need I say more?


Julia (Belén Rueda) is a woman suffering from degenerative eye disease which means she is long her sight. When she finds out that her twin sister who is already blind Sara has committed suicide in the basement of her house, she is suspicious and begins to investigate. Pretty soon, she is under attack from a shadowy presence.

The film is due for release on the 20th of May by Optimum, so it should feature in most cinemas nationwide.

The Perfect Host

Frasier has to be one of THE best television comedies every created. Every performance in every episode is brilliant. Who would have thought a show about an arrogant psychiatrist and his family would be so good?  David Hyde Pierce as Niles was simply divine and it’s nice to see him play fully on his lunatic side in this film.



Warwick Wilson is the consummate host. He carefully prepares for a dinner party, the table impeccably set and the duck perfectly timed for 8:30 p.m. John Taylor is a career criminal. He’s just robbed a bank and needs to get off the streets. He finds himself on Warwick’s doorstep posing as a friend of a friend, new to Los Angeles, who’s been mugged and lost his luggage. As the wine flows and the evening progresses, we become deeply intertwined in the lives of these two men and discover just how deceiving appearances can be.

Here’s a link to Roger Ebert’s blog. He’s one of the few North American critics I follow and his wealth of experience creates great articles.

Kanji Gold

A shot of Kanji Gold in action

This downloadable 2MB freeware flash card program written by Dr. Denton Hewgill features a comprehensive and flexible testing system. There are a large amount of Kanji and testing options to stretch the user with different grades.

After a title page, it launches into a multiple-choice test with a list of possible answers (in grey) and a list of compounds (in blue) of the Kanji in use, are at the bottom to provide clues. Button between the answers and the examples can turn on or off hiragana, compounds and switch the examples from English to Japanese.

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Doctor Who Series 5 Press Launch

Doctor Who usually appears in people’s lives by chance, and so it was with me as on Thursday 18th March 2010, I met the 11th Doctor and his assistant.

I had gone to the cinema on a Thursday instead of a Friday as originally planned. I had just seen Alice in Wonderland in 3D (review to come). As I was leaving the cinema, I chanced to notice people putting up posters with the BBC logo, Doctor Who logo, Doctor and Assistant. Why would a cinema be screening the new Doctor Who?

My interest was piqued.  Continue reading “Doctor Who Series 5 Press Launch”

Another Useful Link – Kanji Site

The Kanji Site was launched in 1999 as a way for its author, Chris Jennings to “practice Kanji in preparation for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test”. The web site has “1,000 kanji, namely the entire official syllabus for Levels 4,3 and 2 of the [Japanese Language Proficiency Test] of the exam.” 

This site allows the user to view and practice identifying Kanji. The user may choose from a selection of symbols that appear on the left-hand side of the screen (and then in the centre). They may also click the symbol to bring up the Rōmaji interpretation.

A screenshot of Kanji Site
The main Kanji Test Area

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Kiki’s Kanji Dictionary

This web site is a huge repository of Kanji and their meanings. Essentially the user can browse through pages, just like flipping through an expensive paper dictionary, learn about related words and their meanings, rather than searching for a single Kanji and viewing it out of context. Quick description in two words: Comfortable – Useful.

Kiki's Kanji Dictionary Screenshot
A Snapshot of Kiki's Kanji Dictionary

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Another Useful Link – Jim Breen’s Kanji Dictionary

Jim Breen’s Site is an extensive online Kanji dictionary, with many other features. The user can search for a character by entering its pronunciation, English keyword, or radical number; by cutting and pasting the kanji itself; or looking up Kanji Radicals.

A snap-shot of Jim Breen's website
A snap-shot of Jim Breen's website

Continue reading “Another Useful Link – Jim Breen’s Kanji Dictionary”