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Made in Abyss Movie 2: Wandering Twilight, Chiwawa, His Lost Name, Masquerade Hotel, Mentai Piriri, Touken Ranbu: The Movie, Divine Justice, Yuri!!! on ICE TV Series Kyo gekijō jōei, Gekijonan DARWIN Ga Kita! Africa Shindensetsu, Kazokuwari, Documentary Film Taro Okamoto’s Okinawa – What He Found, A Step Forward, The Fox Dancing in the Dusk, SAVE THE DAY SILENT POETS SPECIAL DUB BAND LIVE SHOW the MOVIE Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

i am a hero film image yo oizumi masami nagasawa and kasumi arimura

I hope you are all well.

Proofing for that otome game script I was working on has now been completed. I did it in the space of twelve days or so. I’m going through it again to tighten things up. I have a month and a bit left before the deadline.

Not much done in terms of movie-watching but I did get a review done for a big title from last year.

I posted reviews for two Shinsuke Sato films, the first being I Am a Hero (2016) and the second Inuyashiki (2018). I really enjoyed these two films and highly recommend them. Please watch them if you get the chance because they are fun and have thrilling fights, super special effects and awesome acting.

I need to be a hero soon so I’ll be studying Japanese intensely.

What films are released this weekend?

Continue reading “Made in Abyss Movie 2: Wandering Twilight, Chiwawa, His Lost Name, Masquerade Hotel, Mentai Piriri, Touken Ranbu: The Movie, Divine Justice, Yuri!!! on ICE TV Series Kyo gekijō jōei, Gekijonan DARWIN Ga Kita! Africa Shindensetsu, Kazokuwari, Documentary Film Taro Okamoto’s Okinawa – What He Found, A Step Forward, The Fox Dancing in the Dusk, SAVE THE DAY SILENT POETS SPECIAL DUB BAND LIVE SHOW the MOVIE Japanese Film Trailers”

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Inuyashiki いぬやしき Dir: Shinsuke Sato (2018)

Inuyashiki         Inuyashiki Film Poster

いぬやしき Inuyashiki

Running Time: 127 mins.

Release Date: April 20th, 2018

Director: Shinsuke Sato

Writer: Hiroshi Hashimoto (Screenplay), Hiroya Oku (Original Manga)

Starring: Noritake Kinashi, Takeru Satoh, Kanata Hongo, Fumi Nikaido, Yuki Saito, Yusuke Iseya, Mari Hamada, Ayaka Miyoshi, Nayuta Fukuzaki,

Website IMDB

Ever since his debut The Princess Blade (2001), director Shinsuke Sato has helmed action-packed films with a particular focus on live-action adaptations of manga. Titles in his filmography include Death Note: Light Up the New World, Library Wars, and I Am a Hero. He also sat in the directors chair for the two adaptations of Hiroya Oku’s manga Gantz which were released in the early 00s. Most are slick and solid and his style is improving all the time with Inuyashiki, which is based on another of Oku’s works, being his best yet. This is like a coherent, sanitised, high-budget take on Tetsuo The Iron Man.

Continue reading “Inuyashiki いぬやしき Dir: Shinsuke Sato (2018)”

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I Am a Hero アイアムアヒーロー Dir: Shinsuke Sato (2016)

I Am a Hero   

I am a Hero FIlm Poster
I am a Hero FIlm Poster

アイアムアヒーロー「Ai amu a hi-ro-

Release Date: April 23rd, 2016

Running Time: 126 mins.

Director: Shinsuke Sato

Writer: Akiko Nogi (Screenplay), Kengo Hanazawa (Original Manga)

Starring: Yo Oizumi, Masami Nagasawa, Kasumi Arimura, Miho Suzuki, Yu Tokui, Yoshinari Okada, Nana Katase,

Website    IMDB

I Am a Hero is the best zombie film to have come out in a long, long time or at least since 28 Days Later (2002) when Danny Boyle sent fast-running infected across the streets of London. Much like the aforementioned title, I Am a Hero has zed-heads that tear across the screen and they are very scary to behold and much like the classic titles of the zombie genre such as George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978) it features some social commentary. Also, unlike tongue-in-cheek J-horror zom-comedies like Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies (2008) and Big Tits Zombie (2010), I Am a Hero is serious and rooted in our world and gleefully slaps it sideways in a gory horror film that does justice to its source.

Continue reading “I Am a Hero アイアムアヒーロー Dir: Shinsuke Sato (2016)”

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Hikari no Uta, Listen to Light, Konomichi, Kinkyuu Kenshou! The Movie Nessie vs Nostradamus vs Uri Geller, The Saddest Audition in the World, Gekijouban Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel II. lost butterfly, Kimi kara me ga hanasenai Eyes on You, Cinema Kabuki Hototogisu Kojou Rakugetsu, Cinema Kabuki Yang Qin Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Kuon Mayo Walking Along a Street

Hope you are all well.

I am currently nearing the end of a big proofreading job and it’s a month and a half ahead of the deadline and that was by doing it before work, on my commute to work, in work and after work. I intend to move on to really intensive Japanese practice so that will be after I wake up in the morning, during the day, and during the evening. I also intend to keep the reviews going by watching a couple of titles a week and exercise. Cannot forget about exercise. I’m packing as much in as possible.

In terms of reviews, I posted about Train to Busan and Seoul Station a week after my review of One Cut of the Dead. I will keep it up with the zombie movies with what I consider to be the best I have seen in a long, long time. Speaking as someone who watched Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead on VHS and then DVD multiple times, I was pleased to see how this particular movie shaped up. Okay. That’s enough disjointed hype.

What films are released this weekend?

Continue reading “Hikari no Uta, Listen to Light, Konomichi, Kinkyuu Kenshou! The Movie Nessie vs Nostradamus vs Uri Geller, The Saddest Audition in the World, Gekijouban Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel II. lost butterfly, Kimi kara me ga hanasenai Eyes on You, Cinema Kabuki Hototogisu Kojou Rakugetsu, Cinema Kabuki Yang Qin Japanese Film Trailers”

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Seoul Station 서울역 Dir: Yeon Sang-Ho (2016)

Seoul Station   

서울역 Seoulyeok

Running Time: 92 mins.

Release Date: August 18th, 2016

Director:  Yeon Sang-Ho

Writer: Yeon Sang-Ho (Screenplay),

Starring: Shim Eun-Kyung, Ryoo Seung-Ryong, Lee Joon, Jang Hyuk-Hin, Lee Sang-Hee, Hwang Suk-Jung, Kim Nam-Jin,

IMDB

Seoul Station is the animated prequel to Train to Busan (TtB). Both made in 2016, the animation was released a couple of months before its more famous live-action sibling according to IMDB. It features similar themes to TtB in its criticism of an unjust society but it does not have a drop of sentimentality. This is a bleak look at life at the bottom in Seoul as the city stands on the cusp of a zombie apocalypse.

Continue reading “Seoul Station 서울역 Dir: Yeon Sang-Ho (2016)”

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Train to Busan 부산행 Dir: Yeon Sang-Ho (2016)

Train to Busan   Train to Busan Film Poster

부산행 Busanhaeng

Running Time: 118 mins.

Release Date: July 20th, 2016

Director:  Yeon Sang-Ho

Writer: Yeon Sang-Ho, Park Joo-Suk (Screenplay),

Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-Mi, Ma Dong-Seok, Kim Soo-Ahn, Kim Eui-Sung, Choi Woo-Sik, Ahn So-Hee, Shim Eun-Kyung,

IMDB

Train to Busan was something of a global success for the Korean film industry in 2016 when it played to rave reviews at sold-out screenings in a variety of festivals. Familiarity with director Yeon Sang-Ho’s previous works which are animated dramas The King of Pigs and The Fake (both released in the UK under Terracotta) won’t prepare you for this film which is a non-stop thriller light on horror but never sidelines character development.

The action follows Seok-Woo (Gong Yoo), a handsome fund manager who lives with his daughter Soo-An (Kim Soo-Ahn) and mother in a fancy apartment in Seoul. The demands of his job meant his wife disembarked from the marriage and it is now affecting his relationship with his daughter who he doesn’t spend time with. Indeed, this is shown in how he misses a school recital and tasks a subordinate to get the cute girl a Nintendo Wii for her birthday little realising that he had bought one a few months earlier. Soo-An, feeling neglected, insists on staying with her mother in Busan for her birthday. A heartbreaking, “I won’t waste your time. I can go alone by myself.” uttered by Soo-An gets across the distance between the two.

Seok-Woo feels the gap and the guilt but he has no other choice but to take her on a train to Busan.

Continue reading “Train to Busan 부산행 Dir: Yeon Sang-Ho (2016)”

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Night of the Dead Geisha, Okechimyaku, A movie theater said to be the best in the world, Tetsuya Kumagawa K Ballet Company “Romeo and Juliet” in Cinema, Anime joshi gaiden ai no tsubasa karetsu, Astral Abnormal Suzuki-san, Made in Abyss: Tabidachi no Yoake, Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow, Trains on Parade 2019 Kids Passion, Trains on Parade Major Private Railway Collection Kanto Edition, Trains on Parade Major Private Railway Collection Kansai Edition, YUKIGUNI Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Gatchaman Ep 12 Heroes All

Also, Happy New Year!

Welcome to my first trailer post of 2019. I trust that everyone is well and enjoyed their holiday period. After a nice break the fight is back on. I find myself facing some big otome game scripts to work on as well as wanting to write about films for fun and so it’s a case of working all hours I can get. I’m confident I can deliver the game on time and do the film work as well.

In terms of posts here, the beginning of the week was spent saying goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019 and also a review of One Cut of the Dead which I watched a couple of weeks ago for the first time. I also posted my Top Ten Films of 2018, a list made up of films that provide a transcendent experience.

What is released this weekend? A LOT!

Some great indies including one starring Nagiko Tsuji who is becoming one of my new favourite actors!

Continue reading “Night of the Dead Geisha, Okechimyaku, A movie theater said to be the best in the world, Tetsuya Kumagawa K Ballet Company “Romeo and Juliet” in Cinema, Anime joshi gaiden ai no tsubasa karetsu, Astral Abnormal Suzuki-san, Made in Abyss: Tabidachi no Yoake, Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow, Trains on Parade 2019 Kids Passion, Trains on Parade Major Private Railway Collection Kanto Edition, Trains on Parade Major Private Railway Collection Kansai Edition, YUKIGUNI Japanese Film Trailers”

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One Cut of the Dead  カメラを止めるな! Dir: Shinichiro Ueda (2017)

One Cut of the Dead    One Cut of the Dead Film Poster

カメラを止めるな! Kamera wo tomeru na!

Running Time: 96 mins.

Release Date: November 04th, 2017

Director:  Shinichiro Ueda

Writer: Shinichiro Ueda (Screenplay),

Starring: Takayuki Hamatsu, MAO, Harumi Syuhama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Manabu Hosoi, Tomokazu Yamaguchi,

IMDB        Website

One Cut of the Dead was created by the ENBU Seminar guys, an outfit who do indie films on a shoestring budget with somewhat experienced crews working with newbie actors. Originally released in November 2017, it disappeared before being picked up by film distribution house Third Window Films and soon it was touring international festivals racking up awards and buzz throughout 2018. It won runner-up in the audience vote in the Udine Far East Festival while taking audience awards at a variety of fests like Yubari in Japan, Camera Japan in Holland, Reel Asian in Canada, and more. In 2019 it is unleashed across the UK as Third Window Films gives it a theatrical and then home release.

With so many awards and nothing but praise from fans and critics, film-makers and publicists, the hype is big for this film so I went into it with some trepidation, that I might be out of step with nearly the rest of the world and not feel anything. Thankfully I was charmed and enjoyed it a lot. Before I go further, part of my enjoyment was not knowing what happens in the story and so I make this request to those who have not watched it: avoid trailers and reviews and just watch the film however you can.

Continue reading “One Cut of the Dead  カメラを止めるな! Dir: Shinichiro Ueda (2017)”

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Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2018 and Hello to 2019 – New Year’s Resolutions – Follow Your Dreams [Black Label Remix]

Welcome to my last post of 2018.

I hope everyone is well and has had a good year.

2018 has been fantastic for me and even if I haven’t been able to respond to everything, I’ve still had fun and made friends. I wrote a piece for V-Cinema about my cinematic highlights and I’ve adapted parts of my entry for this post.

Continue reading “Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2018 and Hello to 2019 – New Year’s Resolutions – Follow Your Dreams [Black Label Remix]”

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Genkinahito’s Top 10 Films of 2018

Columbus Film Image 2

2018 was the year of “I haven’t achieved my dream yet but I do what I want”. I travelled back to Japan for a second time and spent a month in the country, visiting places from Kawagoe to Onomichi and some things in between and I worked at the Osaka Asian Film Festival again. I’ve become involved in more than just Kotatsu, I have become part of other festivals in Europe and America which is so much fun and such an honour because I love films. I have also continued to contribute to V-Cinema and Anime UK News, typically highlighting indie gems, many of which form my top ten titles of the year.

To summarise what I have experienced in terms of cinema, I have contributed to V-Cinema’s end of year post which will be out soon. 

Now here is my Top Ten Films of 2018, starting with number one…

Continue reading “Genkinahito’s Top 10 Films of 2018”

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A Banana? At This Time of Night? Japanese Film Trailer

Hello everyone, welcome to the last trailer post of 2018!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday period or are about to have one!

My Christmas was okay. Quiet. I didn’t watch many films but I did practice a lot of Japanese and mastered some difficult kanji which I can write from memory!

We are coming up to the new year and so people in Japan are preparing for Hatsumode and people in the west, well, we’re preparing for parties. Now is a time for reflection, a time to put negative things away and to make the promise to do better. Life is a learning experience and the important thing to remember is to keep trying to be better. In my case, braver and kinder and more organised so I can learn and understand much more.

In terms of film posts, just one this week: Love and Peace (2015) which is the ultimate Christmas movie. Expect more to come before the year is out.

What is released this weekend in Japan? Just one film but next weekend has a lot more! What is the film???

Continue reading “A Banana? At This Time of Night? Japanese Film Trailer”

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Love & Peace ラブ&ピース Dir: Sion Sono (2015)

Love & Peace      

Love and Peace Film Poster
Love and Peace Film Poster

ラブ&ピース Rabu & Pisu

Release Date: June 27th, 2015

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring:  Hiroki Hasegawa, Kumiko Aso, Tohiyuki Nishida, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Eita Okuno, Makita Sports, Erina Mano, Megumi Kagurazaka, Miyuki Matsuda

Website IMDB

Christmas movies range far and wide in terms of content from Heavenly interventions seen in Frank Capra’s classic It’s A Wonderful Life to the monstrous antics of the little green Gremlins seen in Joe Dante’s same-named film but these appear normal compared to Sion Sono‘s 2015 film Love & Peace takes the seasonal setting and goes down a radically different path as he makes genre mash-up of a Christmas movie with a kaiju/rock opera epic with a little help from Santa

Ryoichi Suzuki (Hiroki Hasegawa) once dreamed of becoming a punk rock star but he gave up on his dreams and became a salaryman at a musical instrument parts company in Tokyo. Life is miserable because he is bullied by his colleagues and he has no friends but he has feelings for a timid office lady named Yuko Terashima (Kumiko Aso) whose bravery and kindness keeps him from going insane. Alas, he can’t express himself to her but fate soon strikes!

Continue reading “Love & Peace ラブ&ピース Dir: Sion Sono (2015)”

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Nisekoi: False Love, Futatsu no Kino to Boku no Mirai, Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER, Karappo, Kuma Elohim, Watashi ha Watashi over the rainbow, Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix 2, Planet of Amoebas, Shounen Hollywood “HOLLY STAGE FOR YOU” Complete Edition Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

I hope you are all well!

I’ve been pushed for time this week because Christmas is approaching and parties have been happening. I’ve also had to do a lot of shopping. I had planned to spend December practising my Japanese, French and English and maybe playing a game (90s JRPGs I’ve had on the backburner) but the month has slipped by. At least I got lots of Christmas cards and saw lots of smiles. I’ll practise the languages some other time and run some sets on Capcom vs SNK tonight.

This week was me on a holding pattern as I published news on the next Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme and also information on Third Window Films’ theatrical and home release of One Cut of the Dead (2017).

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Nisekoi: False Love, Futatsu no Kino to Boku no Mirai, Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER, Karappo, Kuma Elohim, Watashi ha Watashi over the rainbow, Voice Actor Bowling Grand Prix 2, Planet of Amoebas, Shounen Hollywood “HOLLY STAGE FOR YOU” Complete Edition Japanese Film Trailers”

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Third Window Films Unleash “One Cut of the Dead” into UK Cinemas and Homes

The biggest surprise hit of 2018 is a low-budget zombie movie which has become one of the biggest box-office hits in Japan. International film outfit Third Window Films are bringing this “one-in-a-million success” to UK cinemas and homes early next year!

This is a workshop film with non-professional actors made with a budget of just $27,000 which has grossed $30 MILLION domestically despite opening on just 2 screens and with an advertising budget of $0! Since then it has toured the world and won lots of awards and has earned 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Every day on Film Twitter sees more news of its popularity and success so everyone should be getting hyped for this one as it comes to cinemas from Scotland to Wales and England. Here are the details:

Continue reading “Third Window Films Unleash “One Cut of the Dead” into UK Cinemas and Homes”

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018 Preview – People Still Call It Love – Passion, Affection and Destruction in Japanese Cinema

The Japan Foundation have announced the details of their next Touring Film Programme and it is full of fantastic films! The tour lasts from February 02nd to March 28th and the theme that connects them all is “love”. The stories address that emotion in a variety of ways through a broad variety of relationships. Love can be found in all shapes and sizes and it can also be an absence. What cannot be denied is that it is a powerful emotion and there are many powerful films that display this.

Amidst the works are stories of couples struggling to relate to each other, a father and his children overcoming differences, brothers and sisters who barely get along, a wife struggling with a husband that has no affection for her, a gay couple who run a law firm who support those on the margins of society and more.

Expect to understand the complexities of Japan, from Tokyo to Osaka and Aguni (an island off Okinawa) and further afield. I’m definitely going to see some of these before I jet off to Japan again.

Here are the films:

Continue reading “Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018 Preview – People Still Call It Love – Passion, Affection and Destruction in Japanese Cinema”

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Keita Never Die, Waiting for Spring, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Eiga Youkai Watch: Forever Friends, FOR REAL FAR Climax, Yume koso ha anata no ikiru mirai, Dream is the future you live in, Ogawa dorama ryuma ga kuru, Smoking Aliens, Hop Step Jump!, Hop Step Jump! 2, Red Blade, Wachigaya Itosato kyojo-tachi no bakumatsu Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Thicker than Water Film Image

We made it to another one and we are half-way to Christmas (YAY!)

I’ve finished another 12-day work week and I’m feeling dandy. I’ve started my Christmas shopping and card writing late but it is under control and I’m looking forward to having time off work to relax and eat and play games. I hope everyone is going to be doing something fun as well.

I managed to post reviews for two documentaries, the first being The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987) and the second was The Oyster Factory (2016).

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Keita Never Die, Waiting for Spring, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Eiga Youkai Watch: Forever Friends, FOR REAL FAR Climax, Yume koso ha anata no ikiru mirai, Dream is the future you live in, Ogawa dorama ryuma ga kuru, Smoking Aliens, Hop Step Jump!, Hop Step Jump! 2, Red Blade, Wachigaya Itosato kyojo-tachi no bakumatsu Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Oyster Factory 牡蠣工場 Dir: Kazuhiro Soda (2016)

Oyster Factory  

Oyster Factory Film Poster
Oyster Factory Film Poster

牡蠣工場  「Kaki kouba

Release Date: February 20th, 2016

Duration: 145 mins

Director: Kazuhiro Soda

Starring: Shinsuke Hirano, Koichi Watanabe, Yukiko Watanabe

Website  IMDB

Earlier in 2018 I had the chance to see three of Kazuhiro Soda’s early films which he made as a student at New York’s School of Visual Arts in the 90s and was surprised to discover he started out making a comedy and dramatic short films with well-contained stories and acting. He is still based in New York but is now renowned for observational documentaries having produced works of the cinema vérité variety that look at communities in Japan starting with Democracy (2007). The Oyster Factory was one I first encountered in the 2015 run of the Vancouver International Film Festival. This 145 minute film looks at life inside an oyster factory and as Soda explores this environment he discovers wider issues about the generational divide through the lack of young people entering the industry and Chinese-Japanese relations as Chinese workers are brought in to help keep two oyster factories running.

Continue reading “The Oyster Factory 牡蠣工場 Dir: Kazuhiro Soda (2016)”

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The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On ゆきゆきて、神軍 Dir: Kazuo Hara (1987)

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On   The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On DVD Cover

ゆきゆきて、神軍  「Yuki yukite, shingun

Running Time: 122 mins.

Release Date: August 01st, 1987

Director:  Kazuo Hara

Writer: N/A

Starring: Kenzo Okuzaki, Shizumi Okuzaki,

IMDB

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On is regarded as one of the finest documentaries ever made. It derives its power from its subject, a World War II veteran and political agitator named Kenzo Okuzaki who is on a quest to expose a possible war crime as well as the irresponsible actions of Emperor Hirohito, the military, and post-war governments who carelessly tossed away the lives of their people and have imposed a sort of nation-wide amnesia over the wrongs committed during the war including the killing of their own soldiers.

Continue reading “The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On ゆきゆきて、神軍 Dir: Kazuo Hara (1987)”

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It Comes, Ao no Kaerimichi, Shukatsu 3, From All Corners, Koi no Hana Theatre, Play Room, Isshougai Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Top Knot Detective Film Image

I hope everyone is feeling good.

I’ve had a busy week but it has been good busy with work progressing well, getting

I posted a review of Wasted Eggs (2018) on Monday, a week after it was first posted on V-Cinema. I then posted a review of Snake Beneath the Flower Petals (2016) from Rina Tanaka who I interviewed along with some of her cast and crew at the Osaka Asian Film Festival after a screening of Filled With Steam (2017).

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “It Comes, Ao no Kaerimichi, Shukatsu 3, From All Corners, Koi no Hana Theatre, Play Room, Isshougai Japanese Film Trailers”

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Snake Beneath the Flower Petals 湖底の蛇 Dir: Rina Tanaka (2016)

Snake Beneath the Flower Petals   Snake Beneath the Flower Petals Film Poster

湖底の蛇 Kotei no ja

Release date: 2016

Running Time: 59 mins.

Director: Rina Tanaka

Writers: Rina Tanaka (Screenplay)

Starring: Mika Kuroiwa, Midori Kimura, Hikari Shinoda, Ryuki Nishimoto, Seiji Okabe, Kensaku Tamura, Hono Miyabe, Yasumi Yajima,

Website Website 2

Rina Tanaka is a directing talent to watch out for based on the short Filled With Steam (2017) which I saw at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018. It was a film that had breathtaking moments of painful loneliness that were skilfully shot that I still remember clearly even as the year draws to an end. Snake Beneath the Flower Petals was at Nippon Connection 2017 and is one of the works she made in order to complete the master’s degree course at Tokyo University of the Arts’ Graduate School of Film and New Media where she studied under Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Nobuhiro Suwa and here she captures the isolation of people in a film which displays a superb sensitivity for translating emotions onto the screen

Continue reading “Snake Beneath the Flower Petals 湖底の蛇 Dir: Rina Tanaka (2016)”

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Wasted Eggs Dir: Ryo Kawasaki (2018)

Wasted Eggs

Running Time: 70 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director: Ryo Kawasaki

Writer: Ryo Kawasaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Mitsue Terasaka, Sora Kawai, Chieko Misaka, Chise Niitsu, Supika Yufune,

Website

On the surface, Japan is hyper-modern but underneath the shiny shell is a society sticking steadfastly to certain aspects of tradition. Nowhere is this more evident than with gender roles. This is what Ryo Kawasaki’s debut feature examines through a light and witty drama surrounding little-explored issues and indignities suffered by women who don’t adhere to society’s demand to have children at a young age.

The film takes place around Christmas. The religious aspect of the season is irrelevant for most people in the country who consider it a time for lovers to be romantic. Rather, the New Year period is the biggest celebration in the winter when people return home and pay a visit to a shrine. That said, various aspects of Christmas are impossible to escape such as decorations, chicken dinners at KFC and Christmas cake. In the past, this seemingly innocuous confection proved to be a powerful metaphor for wealth and, derisively for women who are unmarried after the age of 25, someone who is past their prime. For some of the characters in the film, the season is a sad reminder that they are nearing their romantic expiration date.

Continue reading “Wasted Eggs Dir: Ryo Kawasaki (2018)”

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Jam, A Crimson Star, Swaying Mariko, Shinjuku Punch, The Rice Granary of One Hundred Years, K SEVEN STORIES Episode 6 「Circle Vision Nameless Song」, Our Departures, Neko Kafe, Senkyo ni detai, Mobile Suit Gundam NT Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!!!

Ordinary Everyday Film Image

I hope you guys are all doing well!

This week has been good for me. I’ve had to take charge of a VR lounge where I work and that was okay. I’m arranging a trip to see Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film Shoplifters (2018) with friends from work and a trip to see Tampopo (1988) with my mother and sister. There’s also a night at a Japanese restaurant with friends from work at the end of December.

In between all of that, I’m continuing to study Japanese, watch and review films and exercise. I watched a couple of titles from the early 2000s called… I posted reviews for Looking for my lost sunflowers (2014) and Girl, Wavering (2015), both from Noriko Yuasa, the director of Ordinary Everyday (2017) which wowed me at this years Osaka Asian Film Festival. My review for Wasted Eggs (2018), a drama examining the social pressures that affect Japanese women – specifically the expectation that they get married young and have kids – was posted on V-Cinema on Monday.

What films are released this weekend?

Continue reading “Jam, A Crimson Star, Swaying Mariko, Shinjuku Punch, The Rice Granary of One Hundred Years, K SEVEN STORIES Episode 6 「Circle Vision Nameless Song」, Our Departures, Neko Kafe, Senkyo ni detai, Mobile Suit Gundam NT Japanese Film Trailers”

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Girl, Wavering 空っぽの渦 Dir: Noriko Yuasa (2015)

Girl, Wavering

空っぽの渦 Karappo no uzu

Running Time: 20 mins.

Release Date: May 2015

Director:  Noriko Yuasa,

Writer: Noriko Yuasa, Takato Nishi (Screenplay),

Starring: Kaho Ishido, Honoka Murakami, Tomomi Furusato, Kazuki Fukiage, Rie Mashiko, Hiroaki Ookawa, Bunki Sugiura, Lehman F. Kondo,

Website IMDB

Noriko Yuasa followed her directorial debut Looking for my lost sunflowers with this film, a more ambitious tale both stylistically and storywise as she explodes a teenage girl’s life on screen and touches on extremes of emotions.

Continue reading “Girl, Wavering 空っぽの渦 Dir: Noriko Yuasa (2015)”

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Looking for my lost sunflowers あの、ヒマワリを探しに Dir: Noriko Yuasa (2014)

Looking for my lost sunflowers

あの、ヒマワリを探しに Ano, himawari wo sagashi ni

Running Time: 25 mins.

Release Date: June 2014

Director:  Noriko Yuasa

Writer: Noriko Yuasa, Kotaro Ishido (Screenplay),

Starring: Bunki Sugiura, Koudai Yamaguchi, Cocoro Ikeda, Eiko Kutsuma, Hioruki Shigeta

Website IMDB

Noriko Yuasa wowed me earlier this year at the Osaka Asian Film Festival with her short film Ordinary Everyday (2017) which was a showcased her fantastic mastery of aural and visual techniques in the creation of a highly atmospheric psycho-thriller. Her earlier films show the same control of texture and form as well as story. With Looking for my lost sunflowers, Yuasa dives into one man’s nostalgia as an office drone tries to touch distant memories.

The man whose nostalgia we embrace is Murakami (Bunki Sugiura), a thirty-something who works as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company in Tokyo. As you can imagine his daily routine is work and then drinks after work. We meet him amidst a whirl of activity around what seems to be Shimbashi Station. The visuals are composed by Yuasa into a clamorous and chaotic impressionistic swirl through slow-motion and blurred images of yokocho and main streets full of revellers and office staff who have spilled out of the workplace after office hours.

Continue reading “Looking for my lost sunflowers あの、ヒマワリを探しに Dir: Noriko Yuasa (2014)”

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Hardcore, Gangoose, Lady in White, NEET NEET NEET, THE COLLECTORS Saraba Seishun no Shinjuku Jam, Kazoku no Hanashi, Zan, Killing, souvenir the movie Mariya Takeuchi Theater Live, ONLY SILVER FISH WATER TANK OF MARY’S ROOM, Kaijuu Girls (Black): Ultra Kaijuu Gijinka Keikaku, The Reality Behind What We See ~The Poet, Yoshimasu Gozo, in Kyoto~ Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Radiance Film Image 2

I hope everyone is feeling awesome!

This week I posted about the 2018 edition of the London International Animation Festival with the many wonderful animated films from Japan. I also posted a review for Vision (2018) which I wrote for V-Cinema earlier this month. I have watched a zombie film from Japan called I Am a Hero (2016). You may have read my manga review which I posted two or three years ago as part of my Summer of Splatter. I also started watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind.

I hope everyone managed to watch something great!

What is released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Hardcore, Gangoose, Lady in White, NEET NEET NEET, THE COLLECTORS Saraba Seishun no Shinjuku Jam, Kazoku no Hanashi, Zan, Killing, souvenir the movie Mariya Takeuchi Theater Live, ONLY SILVER FISH WATER TANK OF MARY’S ROOM, Kaijuu Girls (Black): Ultra Kaijuu Gijinka Keikaku, The Reality Behind What We See ~The Poet, Yoshimasu Gozo, in Kyoto~ Japanese Film Trailers”

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Vision ビジョン Dir: Naomi Kawase (2018)

Vision    Vision Film Poster

ビジョン Bijon

Running Time: 110 mins.

Release Date: June 08th, 2018

Director:  Naomi Kawase

Writer: Naomi Kawase (Screenplay),

Starring: Juliette Binoche, Masatoshi Nagase, Min Tanaka, Mari Natsuki, Mirai Moriyama, Minami,

Website    IMDB

Naomi Kawase is a director who translates new age ideas to the screen with ease. Her work evidences an eye for the beauty of the natural world and a knack for getting good performances from her actors. Kawase delivers beautiful paeans to the power of life itself as exemplified here in a story of a French woman who heads to an ancient forest in Japan as she seeks a mysterious herb that can heal many things including, she hopes, an aching pain in her heart.

Continue reading “Vision ビジョン Dir: Naomi Kawase (2018)”

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Japanese Animation at the London International Animation Festival 2018

The 15th London International Animation Festival (LIAF 18) returns to the Barbican for a run between November 30th and December 09th. There will be ten days of talks, forums, workshops and over 200 animated shorts and features from around the world. For a second year in a row there is a focus on the on-screen and off-screen representation of women in animation with the section Female Figures which will showcase works by female animation talent that explore female desire, physicality, and more. In the centenary since the end of WWI, there is a section called Aftermath which is dedicated to animation inspired or rooted in that conflict. There is also a lot of British talent getting the chance to show their works and there will be lots of independent animation to revel in. Heck, there’s even a film featuring Conan O’Brien! (trailer)

As the organisers have written on their press release,

The Festival promises to inspire, delight and challenge the notion that animation is merely for the 3D blockbuster genre, or cute cartoons. Independent animation is an art form that continues to thrive and develop as a breathtaking medley of styles, materials, techniques and production – from hand drawn, paint on glass, collage, sculpture, to some of the more interesting developments in CGI – all of which can be seen at this year’s LIAF.

I’m interested in everything Japanese so here’s what’s on offer:

dwarf studio-mogu-and-perol

Continue reading “Japanese Animation at the London International Animation Festival 2018”

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The House Where The Mermaid Sleeps, The Suzuki’s Family Lie, No Matter How Much My Mom Hates Me, Samurai Teacher, The Gun, Out and Out, TAKE ME TO THE OH!ITA Kishou Taniyama’s Rocky Holiday, PEACE MAKER Kurogane Friend, MAKI, Mesaia Maboroshi Yoruno Koku Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

I hope everyone is feeling great!

I have instituted a new sort of learning and writing regime whereby all of the film stuff is done at the start of the week and the end of the week is dedicated to learning languages. This week I posted some news articles about the release of SABU’s 1996 film Dangan Runner and the a series of free events in London dedicated to the actor Kinuyo Tanaka. I watched Triple 9 (2016), Train to Busan (2016) and Inuyashiki (2018) this week and I’m planning on watching something tonight but the list of titles is pretty large so I don’t know what yet. The image above is from Haruneko… I want to watch Seoul Station…   

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “The House Where The Mermaid Sleeps, The Suzuki’s Family Lie, No Matter How Much My Mom Hates Me, Samurai Teacher, The Gun, Out and Out, TAKE ME TO THE OH!ITA Kishou Taniyama’s Rocky Holiday, PEACE MAKER Kurogane Friend, MAKI, Mesaia Maboroshi Yoruno Koku Japanese Film Trailers”

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Third Window Films Release “DANGAN RUNNER” on November 12th on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD

Third Window Films are back again with the release of a 90s classic Dangan Runner by the director SABU (Mr. Long, Happiness, Miss Zombie). It is his directorial debut and is the world’s first Blu-ray and remastered DVD release and it contains a treasure trove of extras including an interview with the director. It gets released on November 12th on Blu-ray and DVD. Here are the details.

Special Features:

Dual format DVD & BLURAY

First 1000 copies come with collectable slipcase

Interview with director SABU

VCinema: A Video Essay by Tom Mes

Audio Commentary by Jasper Sharp

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release “DANGAN RUNNER” on November 12th on DUAL FORMAT Blu-ray/DVD”

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Lovers on Borders, Nunuko no Hijirisen HARAJUKU STORY, Asia Three-Fold Mirror 2018 Journey, My Retirement My Life, We Love, GODZILLA The Planet Eater, Zoku Owarimonogatari, Love Revolution, Anemone: Eureka Seven: Hi – Evolution, Umi ni noseta gazu no yume, SOUNDS LIKE SHIT the story of Hi-STANDARD, Jizo Libido, Tsugaru no Kamari Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

poetry-angel-film-image-8

I hope you are all doing fine!

Life has been a bit of a trudge recently. I’m in the middle of a 12-day work week with early starts in the morning. I’ve just started doing film festival feedback forms. The weather is getting darker and colder. I managed to get a good dose of sleep last night and keep up my exercise routine so I’m feeling good. I need to get some dynamism back. Anyways, I posted reviews for Vampire Clay (2017) and Re:born (2017) and my review for Naomi Kawase’s film Vision (2018) went live on v-cinema. I hope you guys have managed to watch some great films.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “Lovers on Borders, Nunuko no Hijirisen HARAJUKU STORY, Asia Three-Fold Mirror 2018 Journey, My Retirement My Life, We Love, GODZILLA The Planet Eater, Zoku Owarimonogatari, Love Revolution, Anemone: Eureka Seven: Hi – Evolution, Umi ni noseta gazu no yume, SOUNDS LIKE SHIT the story of Hi-STANDARD, Jizo Libido, Tsugaru no Kamari Japanese Film Trailers”

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RE:BORN リボーン Dir: Yuji Shimomura (2017)

Re: Born   Re Born Film Poster

RE:BORN リボーン 「RE:BORN Ribo-n

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director:  Yuji Shimomura

Writer: Benio Saeki (Screenplay),

Starring: Tak Sakaguchi, Orson Mochizuki, Yura Kondo, Issei Ishida, Mariko Shinoda, Takumi Saitoh, Hiroko Yashiki, Hitomi Hasebe, Masaya Kato, Akio Otsuka, Makoto Sakaguchi, Kenta, Rina Takeda (voice),

IMDB Website

Re:Born stars Tak Sakaguchi, a fighter, action-director, director and actor. Since his debut in Ryuhei Kitamura’s 2000 zombie action film Versus, he has been a staple of the cult cinema scene. Even if the films he acts in are comedic gore-fests from the likes of Yudai Yamaguchi (Deadball) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) he tends to make an impact because he has the charisma and martial arts skills needed by a good action hero. He can act and has shown this in works that stretch across genres with Osaka Snake Road: Snake of Violence, Alive, Shinobi: Heart Under Blade and Meatball Machine: Kodoku. His best role was as a failed-actor given one more shot in Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? which, if you had to watch one performance, is the one I’d recommend. Re:Born gives him the stage he deserves to show his martial-arts skills. 

Continue reading “RE:BORN リボーン Dir: Yuji Shimomura (2017)”

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Vampire Clay 血を吸う粘土 Dir: Soichi Umezawa (2017)

Vampire Clay   Vampire Clay Film Poster

血を吸う粘土Chi wo su nendo

Running Time: 81 mins.

Release Date: August 19th, 2017

Director:  Soichi Umezawa

Writer: Soichi Umezawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Asuka Kurosawa, Kanji Tsuda, Ena Fujita, Ryo Shinoda, Kyoka Takeda, Yuyu Makihara, Momoka Sugimoto,

Website IMDB

Vampire Clay is the feature-length film debut of writer/director Soichi Umezawa, a man who has had a long career as a special effects and make-up artist on many doramas and films like those of the Tomie franchise, low-budget sci-fi action flick like Alien vs Ninja, the chilling ghost story Dead Waves and the rather excellent Kiyoshi Kurosawa film Bright Future. That one’s not a horror but it features jellyfish which some may find horrific if stung by one. Vampire Clay is more in line with Umezawa’s horror films and the special effects are pretty good in a goofy way – gooey and creepy dolls made from clay that stalk a rural art school and bump off students one by one a la John Carpenter’s The Thing

Continue reading “Vampire Clay 血を吸う粘土 Dir: Soichi Umezawa (2017)”

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10 Years Japan, Biblia Used Bookstore Casebook, Sumaho o Otoshita dake, Run! T High School Basketball Club, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi Chapter 6 “Kaisei-hen”, No Where, Now Here, Nekkyo Sengen, K SEVEN STORIES Episode 5 「Memory of Red BURN」, Simple gift haimari no utagoe, Tetsuya Kumagawa K Ballet Company “Coppelia” in Cinema, The Darkness of Pure White, Bokemasukara, yoroshiku onegaishimasu, Boku ha boku, kujira ha kujira de, oyoide iru Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

The Snow Woman 1968

I hope you are well!

Interesting week at work insofar as a new exhibition has opened and I’ve had a nice time introducing art to people whilst doing my regular job. I also met a progressive young artist who I think I had good chemistry with which inspires hope and I had a bunch of great conversations with trusted workmates. Still, I’ve got to do something more with my time…

I watched a whole grip of Japanese films although the horror film I chose for Halloween was a Japanese found footage film that sent me to sleep. I posted reviews for Snow Woman (1968) and Sore dake (2015). 

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “10 Years Japan, Biblia Used Bookstore Casebook, Sumaho o Otoshita dake, Run! T High School Basketball Club, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi Chapter 6 “Kaisei-hen”, No Where, Now Here, Nekkyo Sengen, K SEVEN STORIES Episode 5 「Memory of Red BURN」, Simple gift haimari no utagoe, Tetsuya Kumagawa K Ballet Company “Coppelia” in Cinema, The Darkness of Pure White, Bokemasukara, yoroshiku onegaishimasu, Boku ha boku, kujira ha kujira de, oyoide iru Japanese Film Trailers”

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The Snow Woman 怪談雪女郎 Tokuzo Tanaka (1968)

The traditional Halloween movie review is back and there’s a continuation from last year as we look at another film incarnation of the legendary Yuki Onna, only this time it’s from an older interpretation of the film.

The Snow Woman   Yuki Onna 1968 Film Poster

怪談雪女郎 「Kaidan yukijorô

Running Time: 79 mins.

Release Date: April 20th, 1968

Director:  Tokuzo Tanaka

Writer: Fuji Yahiro (Screenplay), Lafcadio Hearn (Novel)

Starring: Shiho Fujimura, Akira Ishihama, Machiko Hasegawa, Tatsuo Hanabu, Sen Hara, Yoshiro Kitahara,

IMDB

Yuki Onna has been a famous legend around Japan for centuries and has become a part of Japanese popular culture thanks to seminal works such as Lafcadio Hearn’s collection of folk-tales, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904), a book which went on to inspire Masaki Kobayashi’s omnibus horror film Kwaidan (1965).  Yuki Onna has had many film incarnations, some of which focus on her monstrousness while others look at her humanity and relation to nature like Kiki Sugino’s 2016 film of the same name. Here we get the mysterious and somewhat scary take as well as a rumination on the supernatural world and its relation on the world of people.

Long ago, on the border between Mino and Hida, where there is much snow, there circulated among the people who lived there, the legend of Yuki Onna…”

Continue reading “The Snow Woman 怪談雪女郎 Tokuzo Tanaka (1968)”

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That’s It  それだけ Dir: Gakuryu Ishii (2015)

That’s It   

Soredake That's It Film Poster
Soredake That’s It Film Poster

それだけ 「Sore dake」

Release Date: May 27th, 2015

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Gakuryu Ishii

Writer: Kiyotaka Inagaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Shota Sometani, Erina Mizuno, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Jun Murakami, Gou Ayano,

Website   IMDB

Gakuryu Ishii loves punk music and this film was inspired by the 1999 song “Sore dake” by Japanese rock band Bloodthirsty Butchers. The rest of the band’s music is also featured in the film which was released on May 27, 2015, two years to the day the Bloodthirsty Butchers’ lead singer Hideki Yoshimura died. With lyrics and chords adding to the energy of the proceedings, this is a shot of urban punk action with echoes of films from director Gakuryu’s earlier career.

Continue reading “That’s It  それだけ Dir: Gakuryu Ishii (2015)”

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles, Black Dahlia, Oz Land, Bookmark, Under One Umbrella, Dreaming Novelist, A Cherry Boy’s Love, Yaru Onna: She’s a Killer, Eiga HUGtto! Pretty Cure Futari wa Pretty Cure: All Stars Memories, Exorcism of Mary Lamb, No Mark Bakuhaito, Stay with Me Till the Dawn Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

After the Storm Ryota and Yoshiko

I hope everyone is well!

I’ve had a decent week what with work at the day job and getting film reviews done. I also managed to finish a book my sister bought for me which is cool. To be honest it was the first fiction book that I’ve finished in quite a while and so I feel good. Inspired. I posted reviews for After the Storm (2016) and Sweet Bean (2015) to highlight two great performances from Kirin Kiki. Halloween next week so stay tuned for a spooky film I’m going to review!

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “The Travelling Cat Chronicles, Black Dahlia, Oz Land, Bookmark, Under One Umbrella, Dreaming Novelist, A Cherry Boy’s Love, Yaru Onna: She’s a Killer, Eiga HUGtto! Pretty Cure Futari wa Pretty Cure: All Stars Memories, Exorcism of Mary Lamb, No Mark Bakuhaito, Stay with Me Till the Dawn Japanese Film Trailers”

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Sweet Bean あん Dir: Naomi Kawase (2015)

Sweet Bean

An Sweet Red Bean Paste Film Poster
An Sweet Red Bean Paste Film Poster

あん 「An」

Release Date: May 30th, 2015

Running Time: 113 mins.

Director: Naomi Kawase,

Writer: Naomi Kawase (Screenplay), Tetsuya Akikawa (Original Novel),

Starring:  Masatoshi Nagase, Kirin Kiki, Kyara Uchida, Etsuko Ichihara, Miki Mizuno, Taiga, Wakato Kanematsu, Miyoko Asada.

Website   IMDB

Travelling through Japan is an amazing culinary experience because of the sheer amount of restaurants, stores and street food available in shotengai, yokocho and main streets. Everything from big chains to small stores selling a variety of things from tasteless but healthy jelly-like konyaku to the pastry-like manju (the greatest delicacy!!!) all cooked up and served by a variety of people. The most memorable encounters I had were usually old ladies with crooked backs bent from a lifetime of hard work. While they were cooking they would impart some of their experiences and what the food means and these experiences and informed how they cooked and made the food seem more meaningful and tasty than store-bought goods. It is this sort of thing that Naomi Kawase channels in her drama Sweet Bean which is based on a novel by Durian Sukegawa. It tells the tale of a melancholy cake shop owner who rediscovers his joie de vivre after meeting an exceptional person. It marries Kawase’s visual lyricism and penchant for making connections between humans and nature to a simple tale and works well.

Sweet beans, known as an in Japanese, is a wonderfully sweet-tasting thick substance made from adzuki beans and is a filling usually found in confections from doughnuts to the dorayaki as seen in this film. Dorayaki are like pancakes where the batter is poured onto a metal griddle and flipped with a spatula before the sweet bean filling is added.

Continue reading “Sweet Bean あん Dir: Naomi Kawase (2015)”

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After the Storm 海よりもまだ深く Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda (2016)

After the Storm   

After the Storm Film Poster
After the Storm Film Poster

海よりもまだ深く 「Umi yori mo mada fukaku」

Release Date: May 21st, 2016

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Original Story, Screenplay)

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki, Lily Franky, Sosuke Ikematsu, Yoko Maki, Satomi Kobayashi, Isao Hashizume, Taiyo Yoshizawa

IMDB   Website

After the Storm is a story of everyday human failings and the constant hope for a better tomorrow that motivates us. Kore-eda cast a cadre of familiar actors who he had worked with in previous films including Kirin Kiki and Hiroshi Abe, both of whom were in Still Walking (2008) as mother and son Toshiko and Ryota. This family drama could be a sort of sequel to Still Walking due to similarities – Kiki’s character Toshiko (とし子) turns into Yoshiko (淑子) here while Abe’s character is named Ryota (良多) in both films – and callbacks likethe butterfly motif and it features a deceptive simpleness in its approach, a story of a family gathering made complex by tangled emotions tinged with bitter history.

Continue reading “After the Storm 海よりもまだ深く Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda (2016)”

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It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up, Hanalei Bay, Million Dollar Man, Love’s Water Drop, Gokko, Usuke Boys, Their Nuclear Power Plant, Karera no Genpatsu, Idol SKE48, Obo no Koe, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Detonation, Haikara-san ga Tooru Movie 2: Hana no Tokyo Dai Roman, Workers Arise in Disaster Areas, Last Wedding Dress, Take 8, Neapolitan, Tamae no supa harawata, Mimikaki Randebu, Bunbuku chagama Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Still Walking Film Image 2

I hope you are all well!

It is time for another weekend trailer post and it has come after a somewhat productive week film-wise. I watched a couple of Japanese films from the 1960s and continued my role as social media/writer guy for a film festival and I managed to write three reviews. I’ve set aside time to watch three classic Japanese films tomorrow after exercise and Japanese practice. I published an article about Kiki Kirin who passed away last month and a review for Still Walking (2008) this week. At least I’m not overworking myself in my day job.

I hope all of you are managing to be productive.

What is released this weekend?

Continue reading “It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up, Hanalei Bay, Million Dollar Man, Love’s Water Drop, Gokko, Usuke Boys, Their Nuclear Power Plant, Karera no Genpatsu, Idol SKE48, Obo no Koe, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Detonation, Haikara-san ga Tooru Movie 2: Hana no Tokyo Dai Roman, Workers Arise in Disaster Areas, Last Wedding Dress, Take 8, Neapolitan, Tamae no supa harawata, Mimikaki Randebu, Bunbuku chagama Japanese Film Trailers”

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Still Walking 歩いても 歩いても Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2008)

Still Walking   Still Walking Film Poster

歩いても 歩いても Aruitemo Aruitemo

Running Time: 114 mins.

Release Date: June 28th, 2008

Director:  Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Screenplay/Original Story),

Starring: Kiki Kirin, Hiroshi Abe, You, Yui Natsukawa, Kazuya Takahashi, Yoshio Harada, Shohei Tanaka, Haruko Kato, Susumu Terajima,

IMDB

Quite possibly Kore-eda’s best film this is a snapshot of a family over 24 hours that, through deft storytelling reveals richly complicated and interwoven lives from different generations.

The seasons are about to change from summer to autumn and preparations are underway at the Yokoyama household for the annual commemoration of the eldest son Junpei who drowned in an accident 15 years ago. The spacious, comfortable and old-fashioned house run by Toshiko (Kirin Kiki) will welcome her middle-aged children and their young families who will be arriving soon. Meanwhile, curmudgeon father Kyohei (Yoshio Harada), a former physician, walks around their quiet neighbourhood to the beach where the tragic accident happened when not hiding in the clinic attached to their home. The daughter, Chinami (YOU), will bring her good-natured husband Nobuo (Kazuya Takahashi) and their cheerful kids Satsuki (Hotaru Nomoto) and Mutsu (Ryoga Hayashi) who will invade the house and fill it with laughter and tales from school but there is an edge to the atmosphere as they await second son Ryota (Hiroshi Abe).

Continue reading “Still Walking 歩いても 歩いても Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2008)”

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Kirin Kiki (January 15, 1943 – September 15, 2018)

It has been over a month since veteran actor Kirin Kiki passed away. Fans of Asian cinema are still mourning her passing and I’d just like to add a couple of thoughts.

Kirin Kiki 1960s

Kirin Kiki was born in Tokyo in 1943 and started her acting career fresh from graduating from high school in the early 1960s. Her first steps were to become a member of the Bungakuza theatre troupe using the stage name Chiho Yuki and taking on two early screen roles, the first being a TBS drama Seven Grandchildren (Shichinin no mago 七人の孫) in 1964 and then two film roles, the drama Gentlemen Beware (Tonogata Goyoujin 殿方御用心), released in June 1966 and the comedy Drunken Doctor Continues (Zoku Yoidore hakase 続・酔いどれ博士), written by Kaneto Shindo and released in September of the same year. She continued working throughout the years and showed her versatility when she collaborated with the likes of Seijun Suzuki on Zigeunerweisen (1980) and Pistol Opera (2001) and Nobuhiko Obayashi on Sabishinbo (1985), continuing on to titles like Villain and Arrietty (both from 2010) where she played grandmother types. She had a diverse range but I, and many Japanese film fans, would come into contact with her due to her work with Hirokazu Kore’eda.

Koreeda and Kirin Together

An interesting life and deep experience in the world of acting gave her a quality of wisdom and endurance and also brusqueness, something she called upon when working with Kore-eda. Usually playing a grandmother or an old friend of a family with a flinty personality, she became a reassuring and welcome presence who was like a steady hand at the tiller when all around her were adrift *even if you disagreed with her) whenever she was on the screen in titles such as Kiseki (2011), Like Father, Like Son (2013), and Our Little Sister (2015), and After the Storm (2016) but her most iconic role will be Still Walking (2008).

In it, lead actor Hiroshi Abe plays Ryota Yokoyama, the unpopular second son and an art restorer who returns to his parent’s home to commemorate the death of the beloved eldest son. Everyone is struggling with barely suppressed emotions as we find that the Yokoyama family are riven by the death and the healing process is glacial. Audiences will wonder if it will ever occur as comments and actions are full of personal slights and resentment that show a lifetime of hurt. Kirin’s character probably has the sharpest moments where her harshness is well-hidden by the jollity she brings to her performance. 

That mother and son double-act she formed with Abe was brought back with After the Storm as the two worked together perfectly to showcase another quietly dysfunctional family but with less of a sharper and darker edge as Abe’s character tries to deal with his separation from his wife. Hope springs eternal for these characters but they eventually have to let go of the past. Kirin steals the show in a tear-inducing scene where she tries to revive her son’s happy family. A nice thematic link between the two is the butterfly...

After the Storm Koreeda Kirin Abe

Perhaps her best performance in recent years is to be found in the Naomi Kawase film Sweet Bean (2015) where she starred alongside granddaughter Kyara Uchida and she finds another perfect acting partner in the superb Masatoshi Nagase. While he is all stoicism and bitterness, she is the hopeful and delightful ray of light that balances him and helps the film make a point about people needing to understand the world around us. 

Kirin’s death was not unexpected. She had been diagnosed with cancer back in 2004 and had undergone operations for it. In an interview with reporter Mai Yoshikawa for The Japan Times earlier this year she commented,

My cancer has spread throughout my entire body and there’s nothing the doctors can do,” Kiki added. “There’s no point in comparing myself now to my old healthy self and feeling miserable. . . . Rather than fighting reality, I choose to accept what’s in front of me and go with the flow.”

To think that she went through cancer treatment and still put in these great performances! 2018 was the year of Kirin as she starred in Kore-eda’s latest film, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and she was feted at his year’s Japan Cuts where she won the CUT ABOVE award for her services to the Japanese film industry.

This isn’t the last we have heard of her as audiences in Japan can see her in a Tatushi Omori film in October called Nichinichi Kore Kojitsu (2018).

Every Day A Good Day   Every Day A Good Day Film Poster

日日是好日 Nichinichi Kore Kojitsu

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: October 13th, 2018

Director: Tatsushi Ohmori

Writer: Tatsushi Ohmori (Screenplay), Noriko Morishita (essay)

Starring: Haru Kruoki, Mikako Tabe, Kirin Kiki, Shingo Tsurumi, Mayu Tsuruta, Mayu Harada, Saya Kawamura, Chihiro Okamoto,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Noriko (Haru Kuroki) is a 20-year-old university student who has lost her way in life. Noriko’s mother suggests that she attends a Japanese tea ceremony near her house with her cousin Michiko (Mikako Tabe). Michiko is enthusiastic about it but Noriko doesn’t seem so certain. However, once there, Noriko learns from the teacher, Takeda (Kirin Kiki) and experiences a whole new world. It stays with Noriko throughout her life, during frustrations while job hunting, moments when she suffers a broken heart, and during the death of someone important. The tea ceremony always offers her something to return to…

Kiki Kirin’s final screen appearance in a drama. Here is a clip from her performance, Erika 38, which is released next year:

My words don’t really do her justice but through her films, family, friends, and fans, she will live on.

Kirin Kiki, Rest in Peace.

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Louder!: Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’, Wimp!, Every Day a Good Day, Dare to Stop Us, The Laws of the Universe: Part 1, Asia Sanmenkyo 2016 Reflections, Saint Young Men, Lock-On Love, BD Akechi tantei jimusho, Blood-Club Dolls 1, Please Be My Slave Chapter 3 Depending On You., Mutafukaz Japanese Film Trailers

Happy Weekend, people!

LOUDER I CAN'T HEAR WHAT YOU ARE SINGING

I hope you are all well!

I’ve had a busy week of constant travelling between cities and trying to get back into reading books. I reviewed two Edmund Yeo films, River of Exploding Durians and Aqerat. I watched some Italian horror movies and posted reviews for the documentary Towards A Common Tenderness and the Nobuhiko Obayashi drama Hanagatami. Also, the lead picture is awesome.

I hope you had a good week.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Louder!: Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’, Wimp!, Every Day a Good Day, Dare to Stop Us, The Laws of the Universe: Part 1, Asia Sanmenkyo 2016 Reflections, Saint Young Men, Lock-On Love, BD Akechi tantei jimusho, Blood-Club Dolls 1, Please Be My Slave Chapter 3 Depending On You., Mutafukaz Japanese Film Trailers”

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Hanagatami 花筐 Dir: Nobuhiko Obayashi (2017)

Hanagatami    Hanagatami Film Poster

花筐 「Hanagatami

Running Time: 169 mins.

Release Date: December 16th, 2017

Director:  Nobuhiko Obayashi

Writer: Nobuhiko Obayashi, Chiho Katsura(Screenplay), Kazuo Dan (Original Novel)

Starring: Shunsuke Kubozuka, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Keishi Nagatsuka, Tokio Emoto, Mugi Kadowaki, Tetsuya Takeda, Takako Tokiwa, Hirona Yamazaki,

IMDB Website

Is there subject-matter that film as a medium is better than others at capturing? Perhaps it is emotions. Or maybe memories. Filmmakers can examine them in many expressive ways and with an incredible arsenal of technical tools open to the cast and crew, imagination really is the limit. Enter the adventurous Nobuhiko Obayashi, a man not shy of being creative as proven in his career which stretches back to the 1950s and features a long filmography that trades in fantasy, experimentalism, and surrealism. He is best known for the haunted-house musical House (1977) but nothing will prepare those familiar solely with that fun film for Hanagatami! Obayashi’s limiters are off in this deep-dive into the precious memories of a man who lived through an age of emotional turbulence as Japan hurtled headlong into the chaos of World War II.

Hanagatami Image 4

It is the summer of 1941 in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture. 17-year-old Toshihiko Sakakiyama (Shunsuke Kubozuka) has just travelled from his parents’ home in Amsterdam to stay with his wealthy aunt Keiko Ema (Takako Tokiwa) in her large manor. He will share it with his sickly cousin Mina (Honoka Yahagi) who suffers from tuberculosis. While there, he is attending a school where falls under the influence of the grim and philosophical Kira (Keishi Nagatsuka) who is physically infirm, and Ukai (Shinnosuke Mitsushima), a boy both strong in body and mind and with a pure soul that attracts Toshihiko. There are girls his age, too. Kira’s cousin, the melancholy Chitose (Mugi Kadowaki) who carries a camera she loves to use to capture people’s existence and the more playful and positive Akine (Hirona Yamazaki) whose mischievous grin and compassion for others lights up all occasions.

Continue reading “Hanagatami 花筐 Dir: Nobuhiko Obayashi (2017)”

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Toward a Common Tenderness あの優しさへ Dir: Kaori Oda (2017)

Toward a Common Tenderness

あの優しさへ Ano Yasashi-sa e

Running Time: 63 mins.

Release Date: N/A

Director:  Kaori Oda

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

Director Kaori Oda uses her film Towards A Common Tenderness to explore the way that cinema can be used to depict the space and feelings between people, how the camera has the power to understand and destroy what is recorded, the ethics of film-making, and her own personal journey as a film-maker.

Originally from Osaka, Oda moved to Virginia where she studied film at Hollins University. She made her debut with the short Thus a Noise Speaks (2010), a self-documentary about her coming out as gay to her family which won the Audience Award at the Nara International Film Festival. Following this came a period where she faced a creative and personal impasse which resulted in her travelling to Sarajevo to study at Béla Tarr’s film.factory film workshop from 2013 to 2016. Whilst studying she made a few shorts and then created her first feature-length film Aragane (2015) which depicted work inside a coal mine. It made waves at documentary festivals around the world due to its impressionistic form which Oda created by focussing on using the senses to convey the space in the mine rather than approaching the subject solely through more conventional means such as an analysis of class. Her time in Bosnia proved to be beneficial as a way of overcoming personal and professional questions over using her family as the subject of her debut film. With a wealth of experience and footage to root through, Oda dives into this issue, sinuously and seamlessly pulling together many threads to create a smooth stream of images and sounds in an exploration of her own character and creative urges as she makes herself the subject.

Continue reading “Toward a Common Tenderness あの優しさへ Dir: Kaori Oda (2017)”

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Anoko no Toriko, Perfect World, You Are the Apple of My Eye, Kyoukaishi, Morgen, Ashita, Monster Strike The Movie: Sora no Kanata, Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Memory Snow, Usuzumizakura -Garo-, K SEVEN STORIES Episode3, Heartbeat, Single Mom Yasashii Kazoku。 a sweet family, Charlotte-Susabi Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

I hope you are well!

I’ve got past the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival work, I’m between otome games, and I’m not doing as much overtime in my regular job at the minute but I still don’t have much time to watch films or do much else. I’m trying to jam in as much writing, English/Japanese/French practice and films as possible and I’m also looking to try and sneak in some video games – Tactics Ogre in Japanese? One of the Persona games?

I am currently working on a review for a Malaysian film at the moment and considering purchasing some Thai cinema classics from the mid-00s since I’ve only got one or two.

This week, I posted reviews for Amiko and Born Bone Born which I reviewed a couple of months ago.

What is released this weekend in Japanese cinemas?

Continue reading “Anoko no Toriko, Perfect World, You Are the Apple of My Eye, Kyoukaishi, Morgen, Ashita, Monster Strike The Movie: Sora no Kanata, Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Memory Snow, Usuzumizakura -Garo-, K SEVEN STORIES Episode3, Heartbeat, Single Mom Yasashii Kazoku。 a sweet family, Charlotte-Susabi Japanese Film Trailers”

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Amiko  あみこ Dir: Yoko Yamanaka (2017)

Amiko     Amiko Film Poster

あみこ Amiko

Running Time: 66 mins.

Release Date: September 14th, 2018

Director: Yoko Yamanaka

Writer: Yoko Yamanaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Ai Sunohara, Hiroshi Oshita, Mineo Maiko,

Amiko is the directorial debut from Yoko Yamanaka, a twenty-year-old from Nagano whose indie film won the Audience Award and Hikari TV Award at the Pia Film Festival 2017 for it’s originality and entertainment and was featured at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival, Fantasia and Japan Cuts, which is how I saw it. Its tale of a girl’s experience in love is a universal one but unique because of its central character, a firecracker of a person who is effortlessly entertaining.

Continue reading “Amiko  あみこ Dir: Yoko Yamanaka (2017)”

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Born Bone Born 洗骨 (2018) Dir: Toshiyuki Teruya

Born Bone Born   Born Bone Born Film Poster

洗骨 Senkotsu

Running Time: 111 mins.

Release Date: 2018

Director:  Toshiyuki Teruya

Writer: Toshiyuki Teruya (Screenplay),

Starring: Ayame Misaki, Eiji Okuda, Michitaka Tsutsui, Yoko Oshima, Akira Sakamoto, Kyutaro Suzuki, Mariko Tsutsui,

There is diversity to Japan that would surprise people but when one considers it is an archipelago which consists of over 6000 islands, of which 430 are inhabited with a diverse mix of people, most famously the Ainu in Hokkaido and the Ryukyu of Okinawa, it makes sense. Each region in Japan has its own unique custom, culinary dish, and colloquialisms and some places can be so cut-off from the mainland or under-explored that they have traditions that are unheard of even to Japanese which is what this film uses to give new life to the dysfunctional family reunion narrative.

Continue reading “Born Bone Born 洗骨 (2018) Dir: Toshiyuki Teruya”

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Samurai’s Promise, Gekijouban Linked Horizon Live Tour “Shingeki no Kiseki” Souin Shuuketsu Gaisen Kouen, DTC Yukemuri Junjo Hen from HiGH & LOW, Fooly Cooly Progressive, Girls Und Panzer 63rd National High School Sensha-dō Tournament Compilation, Natsume Yujin-cho the Movie: Ephemeral Bond, Please Be My Slave Chapter 2 Please Call Me Master., At the Children’s Restaurant, Tarinae, Tower of the Sun, Ai to, sakaba to, ongaku to (Love and a Bar and Music), Seven Girls Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, people!

Lu Over the Wall Film Image

I hope you are well!

This trailer post is a rush job because I have been working this weekend at an anime film festival. The 2018 Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival seemed to go well. Everyone was happy. Everyone had fun. I spoke to the two Japanese animators, Tsuneo Goda and Hirokazu Minegishi, almost entirely in Japanese. We all watched great films. In truth, the work went on for most of the year. I posted info about two film festivals this week, Japannual in Austria and the London East Asian Film Festival.

What are the films on display this weekend?

Continue reading “Samurai’s Promise, Gekijouban Linked Horizon Live Tour “Shingeki no Kiseki” Souin Shuuketsu Gaisen Kouen, DTC Yukemuri Junjo Hen from HiGH & LOW, Fooly Cooly Progressive, Girls Und Panzer 63rd National High School Sensha-dō Tournament Compilation, Natsume Yujin-cho the Movie: Ephemeral Bond, Please Be My Slave Chapter 2 Please Call Me Master., At the Children’s Restaurant, Tarinae, Tower of the Sun, Ai to, sakaba to, ongaku to (Love and a Bar and Music), Seven Girls Japanese Film Trailers”

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Japanese Films at the London East Asian Film Festival 2018

London East Asian Film Festival Banner 2018

Film fans who love Japanese cinema are spoiled for choice over the next month as Raindance will launch today and we have the BFI London Film Festival with a smattering of Japanese titles and then we have the London East Asian Film Festival.

The organisers announced their programme last week and there will be a lot of films to see from October 25th to November 04th and they have assembled an impressive line-up of titles from over 12 countries including Singapore, South Korea, and more. There are familiar titles from the international festival circuit plus a surprise collaboration with the Nara International Film Festival providing some indies. On a side note, I’ve seen a couple of the non-Japanese films and have even reviewed The Thieves (2012). There is a lot to watch!

Here is the festival’s trailer:

Here are the details:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the London East Asian Film Festival 2018”

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Highlights of Japannual Japanese Film Festival Vienna 2018 (October 01st – 07th)

Japannual Banner

This is the year when I try and give a little boost to smaller film festivals and the Japannual Japanese Film Festival in Vienna deserves one. The Austrian-Japanese Society is trying to bring some great films to the nation’s capital.

This could turn into a laborious cut-and-paste job from previous festival’s I’ve covered because I have information on all but four films but I’ll spare you by giving the highlights.

The program has a mix of classic titles restored to new and shiny life, to contemporary films still being talked about in film groups. Some of these have been on the festival circuit for a while there are others that pop up rarely. There are indies that need a push and anime that are too good to miss. I’m going to highlight independent cinema and hard to see classics as well as an anime that is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Continue reading “Highlights of Japannual Japanese Film Festival Vienna 2018 (October 01st – 07th)”