What? No comments on the pictures Annie posted?
First, some more costume pictures from TLS. View them here
And another positive TLS review
I was among the lucky people who were treated to an advanced screening of The Last Samurai at the Harvard Square movie theatre. The director was there to introduce the first screening in America and to answer a couple of questions. But anyway, onto the review.
Let’s start by saying that this was one of the best films I have seen in a long time. There has been a dry spell as far as quality movies that have come out of Hollywood but in my opinion, The Last Samurai ends that spell with a very compelling, very powerful, well-paced, excellent combination of action and drama.
The trailers did not do it justice because they made it seem like Dances With Wolves in Japan. It’s true that there are some elements which resemble it, but The Last Samurai is much more engaging and captivating. The cinematography is beautiful although some of the action sequences are so fast and have so much going on that you find yourself not blinking because you do not want to miss anything. The fight sequences are nowhere near as violent as Kill Bill’s were. The fighting is very well choreographed and is truly beautiful. Like in Minority Report, Tom Cruise is not the sole focus of the movie. There are many well-defined characters that you truly care for and who are very human, not idealized, and this makes it a lot easier to relate even when they are in very unique and overwhelming situations.
One problem with these types of movies (one culture trying to protect itself form a more “modern and civilized” culture) is that they tend to demonize one culture. In this case, it is of course America and the modern side of Japan. Of course the film is partial to the Samurai culture and the more traditional values that they embody that the movie believes every other culture should have, but does not. But The Last Samurai does not completely turn Americans into devils… and it also looks at some of the practices of the Samurai which are not well-understood and can seem irrational at times. So in a sense, the film questions values of both cultures and shows that ignorance about our own and others’ cultures is often what leads to a lot of sorrow.
The film also goes within this greater situation to the personal stories of two men and their own personal battles. I mentioned humor. There are a few jokes sprinkled throughout the film, focusing around Cruise and his inadequacies while living with the Samurai, and they are very well-done, not corny or cheesy, and this helps to lighten up the mood throughout the film.
The movie is roughly two and a half hours long but it does not feel that long. The movie feels about one and a half to two hours, unlike other movies of its type. The humor, the action, and the story are all well-paced. The actors did an excellent job relating to one another and making the parts very believable and with depth.
The story is not as predictable as the trailers make it out to be. There are some very interesting twists throughout the film that change your perspective on certain things. I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil it. I would consider The Last Samurai to be one of Tom Cruise’s best roles and by far one of the best movies to come out in a long time. I wholeheartedly recommend this film. 5 stars.
The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine which is dated November, 14th 2003 has a small pic of Tom on the cover and it says as well that an on the set report is featured inside. You can see the cover below. I will get this issue in 3-4 weeks, so if anyone has the scans and/or article earlier, then feel free to send them to us.
After writing the Bruce Willis action vehicle Hart’s War, Ray was fortunate enough to hook up with Cruise/Wagner Productions, the company Tom Cruise runs with his former CAA agent Paula Wagner. Impressed by his rewrite of their 2004 serial killer drama Suspect Zero, Cruise/Wagner extricated the Stephen Glass project from HBO on Ray’s behalf and helped set it up as a feature at Lions Gate Films, with first-time director Ray at the helm.
I think a lot of the cast for Shattered Glass comes from having Cruise/Wagner on the title page of the script,” explains Ray during a recent interview in Los Angeles. “When Tom Cruise is one of your executive producers, it just makes the movie sexier. These actors certainly weren’t coming on board because of my wealth of directorial experience. I didn’t have any.”
By the time Ray set about making the film in Montreal, he found himself at the low end of the Cruise/Wagner production slate both in terms of budget and project profile. Executive producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner were busy in New Zealand making The Last Samurai, while the film that had brought Ray to their Paramount-based production entity, Suspect Zero, was underway in New Mexico with Aaron Eckhart, Carrie-Anne Moss and Ben Kingsley.
Nevertheless, Cruise and Wagner, who had articulated some strong feelings about the Shattered Glass script beforehand, took receipt of couriered DVD dailies all through production. Once they returned from Down Under, they became even more involved in the film’s post-production process.
“Cruise/Wagner were extremely hands on during post [production],” recalls Ray. “They saw cut after cut after cut of the movie and they were very, very interested in the music selections I was making. They were there for the [soundtrack] mix.
Warner Brother created a FYC website for the Last Samurai.
Also, here’s more for ya on Mission Impossible 3 release date
And, a phone chat with Ngilia Dickonson, the costume designer for TLS. View it here. Also, an interesting article on Ken Watanabe from NY times, you can check that out over here. And last but not least, a huge thanks to Kendra, for scanning the Marie Claire articles. You can look at them here. Larger scans will be coming soon.
Chantal (thank you!) has sent me a couple of links..:
And Chris has sent me this from om:
- “Despite the loss of a firm shooting date, Cruise/Wagner Productions continues to search for additional crewmembers to join Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his Impossible Mission Forces in their next certain to be amazing encounter with the bad guys.”