The East Winds Film Festival is one the UK’s major cinematic events that allows audience members to enjoy a selection of the latest East Asian cinema, and also be is possibly one of the best events found outside of London for viewing films from the region. The festival takes place in Coventry over three days between October 31st and November 02nd and it has a great line-up of films from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Thailand and a strong Japanese horror film contingent.
Back from the BFI London Film Festival and two more films go on my huge backlog of reviews to write… Wednesday was all about The World of Kanako and The Furthest End Awaits, two massively different films and both awesome. I got to meet Tetsuya Nakashima and have my picture taken with him as well as ask some questions! On top of those two films, I also watched Black Butler on Friday and enjoyed a lot – Ayame Gouriki and Hiro Mizushima were both fantastic in bringing the characters to life. Next week I have to watch Annabelle and the week after I watch Ghostbusters. Is this review list going to ever be whittled down?
I’ll get to it. I hope to have The World of Kanako, Fuku-chan the The Light Only Shines There done and posted in the next two weeks.
Anyway, not much else this week except television like Shingeki no Bahamut, Parasyte (WHAT AN AWESOME SECOND EPISODE!), Gugure! Kokkuri-san (still very funny), and The Walking Dead which had an awesome episode to open up series five with.
This week I posted a review of the film How Selfish I Am! Which I saw at the Raindance Film Festival.
What’s released in Japan this weekend?
Romaji: Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo
Running Time: 106 mins.
Release Date: October 26th, 2013
Director: Daigo Matsui
Writer: Daigo Matsui (Screenplay), Sekaikan Ozaki (Original Work)
Starring: Maho Yamada, Sei Ando, Shunsuke Daito, Mei Kurokawa, Sekaikan Ozaki, Sosuke Ikematsu, Kaonashi Hasegawa, Taku Koizumu, Yukiji Ogawa,
How Selfish I Am is an episodic musical drama exploring the loves and travails of a group of people in Tokyo, all of whom are connected together by the music of the rock group CreepHyp. A glib comparison might be Short Cuts by Raymond Carver/Robert Altman on a smaller scale with a post-rock soundtrack but just as much darkness and more visual and aural dazzle.
The film is the culmination of a long collaboration between filmmaker Daigo Matsui and the band CreepHyp, this is the final result of a series music videos made over the last few years¹ based on a story originally conceived by CreepHyp’s frontman, Sekaikan Ozaki. The episodic nature of the original music videos is carried over to a feature film format and expanded upon as it draws everything together into a final product which acts a musical showcase for the band, a creative director, and a strong ensemble cast.
We start off with Kumiko (Ando), a lonely girl working at a cosplay bar/brothel who pines after her ex-boyfriend (Onoue).
Kumiko is followed by Mie (Yamada), a mousy, introverted and put-upon office lady who adores CreeHyp, and has a Twitter addiction (@mieephyp0819 – yes, I write down Twitter handles in films) and a ticket to CreepHyp’s concert which she may miss because of problems at work.
The final, and longest sequence, involves a young homeless man named Rikuo (Ikematsu) who lives in two vans with a young woman (Kurokawa) who, due to a trauma in her past that has damaged her, refuses to speak.
The four stories weave together to create a sometimes funny but mostly tragic tales demonstrating the bleaker side of the Tokyo dream, all loneliness, frustration and desperation.
Hello, dear audience. I hope you are all well. The autumn anime season is in full swing and I have watched a lot of premieres for a lot of shows. I was very impressed with Parasyte, fun a blackly comic body horror, and Gugure! Kokuri-san a comedy that made me laugh more than I hoped for. It also had a really, really dark tone surrounding the loneliness of the characters. Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis was as action-packed as hoped. The biggest disappointment was Amagi Brilliant Park which didn’t make me laugh at all, plus a needless nude shot.
In terms of films, I had unexpected fun at work when I struck up a conversation with a lady from Hong Kong and we talked Wong Kar-Wai for quite a while. Moments like that make life fun. On the blog, I posted about the Korean action-thriller A Company Man and the UK release of Black Butler.
Next week, I’ll be back in London for the BFI London Film Festival. The following day, I’ll be watching Black Butler!
What is released this weekend?
Warner Bros. UK are gearing up to bring over a selection of films that are adaptations of popular manga over the next couple of months with Black Butler leading the charge. It is due to arrive in cinemas across the UK on October 17th . The details of where and when Black Butler will be screened have been revealed and I have them to report about as well as the UK trailer which is below and the UK poster which is just underneath this opening paragraph.
Running Time: 119 mins.
Release Date: January 18th, 2014
Director: Kentaro Otani, Keiichi Sato
Writer: Tsutomu Kuroiwa (Screenplay), Yana Toboso (Original Manga)
Starring: Ayame Gouriki, Hiro Mizushima, Mizuki Yamamoto, Takuro Ohno, Yuka, Ken Yasuda
In the year 2020 in an Asian city where Eastern and Western cultures mix, a young woman named Shiori (Gouriki) finds herself plunged into a world of mystery and danger.
Release Date: October 11th, 2012
Running Time: 96 mins.
Director: Lim Sang-Yoon
Writer: Lim Sang-Yoon (Screenplay)
Starring: So Ji-Sub, Lee Mi-Yeon, Kwak Do-Won, Kim Dong-Joon, Jeon Kuk-Hwan, Lee Kyoung-Young, Jang Eun-Ah,
At 96 minutes, A Company Man is a relatively lean and mean film which efficiently works its way through its narrative but the actual experience of watching it is less than engaging because it is highly derivative of other titles. It felt soulless despite the few good bits, an example of a film pillaging from other titles and adhering to standard tropes to make a passable title.
The handsome Hyeong-Do (So Ji-Sub) is the titular company man. He is a dedicated worker and a rising star at his metal trading company. Except that metal trading is a front for the organisation. What Heyong-Do’s company provides is assassins. The men and women who work in the office are highly trained killers and Heyong-Do is being groomed by the chief to be a manager.
I’m back from London and the Raindance Film Festival and I am in the process of writing lots of reviews for the blog and other websites like Anime UK News and so there is a lot for me to write about like Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats, How Selfish I Am!, The Light Shines Only There, and… the final film I saw at Raindance, And the Mud Ship Sails Away. I talked to the director of that film and also got to interview the director Yosuke Fujita, the genius behind Fuku-chan, a segment in Quirky Guys and Gals, and Fine, Totally Fine, one of my favourite comedies of the last few years and tell him how much I liked it!
Whilst in London, I went to the Courtauld Gallery to see their collection and to see my favourite Impressionist painting, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere. I also went the Japan Centre (something that has become a routine).
But I had to go to work the next day so all of those reviews are on the back-burner for now. The only thing I posted about this week was Final Fantasy XIII, a post that is long overdue and I have written lots of notes for months ago.
What’s released this weekend in Japan?
Final Fantasy XV was shown at the recent Tokyo Game Show and I think it looks great buuuut… it has been in development for nearly TEN YEARS in which time is has had a reboot and new director in the shape of Hajime Tabata (director of the excellent Crisis Core). These delays and makes me think of the troubled development and reception of Final Fantasy XIII.
What I remember about the launch of Final Fantasy XIII back in February 2011 was the critical reception of the game with websites and publications such as Edge magazine giving it 5 out of 10. This for a major entry in the main franchise! Could the poor scores have been justified? I was curious and bought the game.
The Raindance Film Festival has launched and I’ll be heading there next week – commitments at work mean that I cannot take a holiday sooner (not that I’m complaining because I’m thankful that I have a job!) and I’ll miss out on some of the Japanese films that are screening between now and when I get to London. I’ll be able to see the titles I miss when I get my signed copy of the New Directors From Japan DVD! Enough bragging.
I didn’t watch any films this week – I’m still trying to review about a dozen or more… I have watched lots of anime. Zankyou no Terror, Space Dandy, Barakamon, Shirogane no Ishi Argovellon. Great stuff. The only thing I posted about this week is the anime I’ll be watching in the autumn season.
What is released in Japan this weekend?
Autumn is here! New anime!
We are almost at the end of the year and 2014 has had a summer season to die for what with awesome titles like Space Dandy, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, and Barakamon providing an excellent stream of entertainment, humour and great animation. Tokyo Ghoul was another standout as it compressed the manga to create an excellent action title. Expect series reviews for those titles!
With the help of Anime News Network and My Anime List, I got my autumn anime season previews published by Anime UK News at the beginning of the month (part one and two are up) and I found the experience to be an interesting mixture of comfort derived from doing something familiar and relief that the season doesn’t look too bad.
At first glance, the autumn season doesn’t look too stellar but I prefer to try avoid being negative because there are a few shows that have the right combination of staff and source material to make things work. There’s a strong fantasy element in this season and I’m willing to take a chance on quite a few titles.