Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015

Toronto International Film Festival 2015 Banner Logo

If you are in Canada you have three film festivals with Japanese films playing a significant part. Montreal (which I am not covering) has around twenty Japanese titles while Toronto has nine programmed and Vancouver has yet to announce any. I’ll be sticking to Toronto for the most part in this post.

I think the first thing I want to say is that the website is wonderfully designed and looks stylish. The information is easy to access unlike some other festival websites which are cluttered and hard to navigate and the use of images and white space is great.

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Japanese Films at the 2015 Raindance Film Festival

Raindance 2015 Logo Image

The Raindance Film Festival has announced the feature films that will be screened and it contains a lot.

I like to think I do a decent job shining a light on a lot of the Japanese films released every year, compiling information on the actors and filmmakers and trying to translate plot synopses and link to IMDB pages and websites. This is a bit of a hobby but it also helps when I write about film festivals because I have all the information on hand, the only difficulty I face is in how I present it. With specialist festivals like Japan Cuts and Nippon Connection I highlight films but with UK festivals where the programme isn’t as loaded I can show everything and so with Raindance 2015 I can preview all of these titles for you.

Asleep, Rolling, Fires on the Plain, That’s It, Slum-opolis, Out of My Hand, The Birth of Sake.

It’s a respectable list and that doesn’t include the short films. My own highlights (as in, the ones I hope to watch) are Rolling, Fires on the Plain, and Asleep. They come from great filmmakers like Shinya Tsukamoto and have great actors like Sakura Ando, and they have stories that grab my imagination like in the case of Rolling. Here are the trailers and information on the films:

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Round Trip Heart, S: The Last Policeman: Recovery of Our Future, Yowamushi Pedal, Tamayura: Graduation Photo Part 2 – Hibiki, TERROR OF HOUSE,D-BOYS 11th “Ku-ru no Tanjou” Birth of the Cool and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, readers!

The Joys of Man's Desire Film Image

The UK film festival season approaching and the imminent financial meltdown many Asian film fans will face when they want to attend Raindance, the London Film Festival and more (plus a screening of Hausu) is intimidating to think about. I’ll be busy over the next couple of months on trips to see some the films screening.

I wanted to finish off this splatter season in October and go back to reviewing dramas but there are plenty of films reviewed and still to be reviewed. I had hoped to get more horror manga reviews completed but I’m still standing at three with lots of films to cover so I guess they will be interspersed throughout the year. I did post one horror film this week and that was Puzzle (2014), a great little title from last year that seems to have gone unnoticed despite some fantastic directing and an intriguing story and characters.

What’s released this weekend?

Continue reading “Round Trip Heart, S: The Last Policeman: Recovery of Our Future, Yowamushi Pedal, Tamayura: Graduation Photo Part 2 – Hibiki, TERROR OF HOUSE,D-BOYS 11th “Ku-ru no Tanjou” Birth of the Cool and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

Puzzle パズル (2014)

Puzzle      

Puzzle Film Poster
Puzzle Film Poster

Japanese: パズル

Romaji: Pazuru

Running Time: 85 mins.

Release Date: March 08th, 2014 (Japan)

Director: Eisuke Naito

Writer: Eisuke Naito, Makoto Sasaki (Screenplay), Yusuke Yamada (Original Novel),

Starring: Kaho, Shuhei Nomura, Kazuya Takahashi, Saori Yagi, Kokone Sasaki, Ryuzo Tanaka

Puzzle is based on a book by Yusuke Yamada, a popular writer of teen horror stories who has had many novels adapted into films. Despite this he is relatively unknown in the West but I think that Puzzle is a good introduction to his work with its twisting and twisted narrative that sucks teens into a vicious vortex of violence.

Puzzle Cute Torture Device 2

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Tokyo PR Woman, at Home, Gekijouban Date A Live: Mayuri Judgment, Aikatsu! Music Award: Minna de Shou o Moraima SHOW!, Joshi no jiken wa taitei, toire de okorunoda. Zenpen hairu? (Part 1 & 2), Yaru Otoko, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, readers!

The Gift Gordo (Edgerton) and Robyn (Hall) Get Along

There is plenty of anime released this weekend and some minor drama releases. The D-Boys are still getting their retrospective screenings. Nothing really grabs my interest but when researching at the different titles I stumbled across the website Tokyo Girls Update which contains lots of idol news so I’ll keep visiting that for updates on films.

I have been blogging for quite a while now and the next post is my 1000th so I have what I consider to be a well-written review for a horror film that is one of the better titles I have watched as part of my splatter season. Stay tuned for that on Monday.

I have watched plenty of films this summer with the Indiana Jones films Studio Ghibli being a highlight amidst all of the splatter silliness. I must have watched Spirited Away for the 50th time. Other than that, its nothing but zombies and mutants…

Spirited Away Ending

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its full line-up and after a few rounds of updates a pretty healthy line-up of Japanese films are going to be screening there.

This week I posted about the upcoming Blu-ray release of A Snake of June and I posted a review of the psycho-thriller The Gift (2015)

What’s released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Tokyo PR Woman, at Home, Gekijouban Date A Live: Mayuri Judgment, Aikatsu! Music Award: Minna de Shou o Moraima SHOW!, Joshi no jiken wa taitei, toire de okorunoda. Zenpen hairu? (Part 1 & 2), Yaru Otoko, Japanese Film Trailers”

The Gift (2015)

The Gift   The Gift Film Poster

UK Release Date: August 07th, 2015

Running Time: 108 mins.

Directors: Joel Edgerton

Writer: Joel Edgerton (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Wendell Pierce, Nash Edgerton,

When you meet the person of your dreams, the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, would you tell them about the less flattering moments in your history, the bad bits that make you ashamed? Or would you leave them out and make a future with them? I think we would all like to craft a new reality and leave out the bad bits even if it isn’t being totally honest.

The Gift is all about the differences between perception and reality. Through the way we speak, the way we cultivate our appearance, a few spoken sentences and the content we put into and omit from those sentences, we can create ideas of who we are and influence people’s perception of us. The characters all project their best selves to the world but when the past comes back to haunt one of them they find what they considered their reality shifting.

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Third Window Films Release A Snake of June on September 28th

Third Window Films continues to do justice to the back-catalogue of director Shinya Tsukamoto by picking up and releasing one of his most critically acclaimed and internationally known works, A Snake of June.

This film is a psycho-sexual thriller that continues his experimentation with subject and method and daringness in shooting style by placing the rather excellent and underused actor Asuka Kurosawa in the middle of a visceral tale of sexual repression and release. With its monochromatic colours and humid rainy season atmosphere it becomes rather steamy but retains a rather dread-inducing atmosphere thanks to Tsukamoto’s editing and shot composition which becomes rather surreal.

It’s emotionally stirring stuff with complex performances to match the complex script and direction. You can read more of what I thought in a review of a version released by Tartan that I wrote back in 2012 as part of my Shinya Tsukamoto season. You can check out the director review archives for reviews from other directors who are contemporaries of Tsukamoto.

Here are the details of the newer and updated DVD release coming from Third Window Films:

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Dressing Up, The Killing Curriculum, D-Boys D Stage 14th Twelfth Night, Children’s Tears Searching for Japanese Father, Dear Grandfather, I am in England and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

A White Night Film Image

It’s a slow weekend in terms of films released. There are plenty of documentaries about World War II just in time for the events surrounding Japan’s surrender to Allied forces. The most interesting one out of all these is not the documentary about the fighter pilots but Children’s Tears: Searching for a Japanese Father which is about the mixed-race children fathered by Japanese soldiers in Indonesia and left behind. In terms of drama there’s Dressing Up which looks like business as usual when you read the plot looks different because the trailer provides sound and images that are off-kilter.

In the process of writing this I mined the usual sites like Cinema Café and IMDB and also found this site, Eiga Kawaraban, which comes from a Japanese critic which lists the latest film news (all in Japanese). I also found this streaming/download site named Load Show which looks like a pretty legitimate way to watch indie films legally, thus paying for them and giving money directly to the filmmakers. I’ll do a little more digging into this one because I like the look of it.

Forma Film Image

In terms of what is going on with my site I uploaded more images for the header and continued my Summer of Splatter by posting a review of the horror manga Litchi Hikari Club and then a preview of the live-action film of the same name. Expect a return to Sushi Typhoon next week!

 

What’s released in Japan this weekend?

Continue reading “Dressing Up, The Killing Curriculum, D-Boys D Stage 14th Twelfth Night, Children’s Tears Searching for Japanese Father, Dear Grandfather, I am in England and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

Live-Action Litchi Hikari Club ライチ☆光クラブ Film Preview

I reviewed the manga Lychee Light Club/Litchi Hikari Club at the beginning of the week and in the post I mentioned that there would be a live-action adaptation of the manga created by Usamaru Furuya in 2005. He was inspired to create it when he was a stage adaptation in 1985 that was put on by Tokyo Grand Guignol Theatre. Here are the details:

Litchi Hikari Club Film Image

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Lychee Light Club ライチ☆光クラブ Manga Review

Title: Lychee Light Club ライチ☆光クラブ, RaichiHikari Kurabu Lychee Light Club Manga Cover

Author: Usamaru Furuya

Launched in 2005, 1 volume and completed

Lychee Hikari Club is a one-volume manga whose origins can be found in a stage play that was performed at the Tokyo Grand Guignol Theatre in 1985. Usamaru Furuya takes the story and crafts a disturbing tale with a potent atmosphere given gory life by great artwork, a strong setting, ero-guro (erotic grotesque) and the excesses of yaoi all of which made me shudder and shocked me at points.

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