For those of you who haven't been to the Rex in Berkhamsted, it is a stunning Art Deco cinema, lovingly restored and reopened in 2004 with a huge local effort.
Even if you are not sure about the film, the cinema is worth the visit on its own.
Most films sell out here so you will need to be quick.
There are caberet seats at the front of the cinema with tables and a bar serving coffee, alcohol and snacks. Tickets for the caberet area at the front and we have 8 reserved.
Charge is £12.50 (£10.00 for the ticket and £2.50 towards admin, paypal fees, queuing in the rain for an hour, coffee and snacks)
If demand is high, please put yourself on the waiting list and I will see if we can get some more tickets nearer the time.
We can go to Gatsbys for a drink afterwards.
Due to the number restrictions you will need to pay via Paypal when you RSVP.
So here’s a version of that which mixes in dragons, demons, witches and 12A-level heroic bloodshed. It’s easy to see why purists might be offended, especially with not-exactly-Asian Keanu Reeves in the lead as a new-made magic character. It’s as if Zulu were remade with vampires, aliens and Robin Williams as Michael Caine’s robot best friend. Well aware of this, commercials director Carl Rinsch – working from a screenplay co-written by Chris Morgan of the Fast and Furious sequels and Hossein Amini of The Wings of the Dove and Drive – plays it almost too solemn. Reeves doesn’t even crack a grin when debating with a human-parrot hybrid (these Japanese myth-figures, tengu, are even made to look scarier than silly) and is dourly devoted, long-suffering, chaste, noble and willing to disembowel himself for the Shogun at any moment.
Hiroyuki Sanada shoulders the Japanese hero role as the charismatic chief of the loyal band, while Tadanobi Asano is suitably nasty as the evil Kira – though the most outrageous performance comes from Rinko Kikuchi as a wall-eyed lesbian witch werefox with living hair who turns into an even bigger monster for the finale. Every Japanese character actor alive is here, including Clyde Kusatsu and Gedde Watanabe from all those 80s comedies and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as an imposing, hissable, almost Mikado-esque Shogun. Its Harryhausen-cum-Kurosawa fantasy scenes play better than the bloodless swordplay, and there are problems fitting a Japanese tragic epic of self-sacrifice onto the template of a Hollywood action-adventure.
Perhaps a folly and – Kikuchi aside - too deadpan to be a romp, this is still a decent, colourful samurai spectacle with a classical look (lots of symmetrical compositions) and a story which stands up under multiple retellings.