Uzumaki (Spiral) うずまき (2000)

It Draws You In - Uzumaki Review BannerI hate Junji Ito’s horror manga. I say this not because his manga is bad but because it is bloody good and thus, bloody terrifying. His work has inspired such cosmic dread in me that whole summer days have been ruined and I have been left a shuddering wreck trying to convince myself that his horror can’t happen to me. Thankfully films based on his work are much more fun.

Everything starts with a girl named Kirie (Eriko Hatsune) staring at her town of Kurouzu from a nearby hillside. Something strange happened there. Cut to a few days earlier and Kirie is running through town on her way to meet her boyfriend Shuichi (Fhi Fan). She encounters Shuichi’s father Toshio (Ren Osugi) who is absorbed in filming a snail shell’s spiral. After meeting Shuichi she hears how bad Toshio’s obsession with spirals is. Shuichi has a bad feeling about the town which he believes is cursed by the shape of a spiral, something which becomes increasingly obvious as more and more people around town succumb to strange deaths involving spirals. It isn’t until Toshio dies that Kirie and Shuichi are spurred into action. With the help of Ichiro, a local journalist, they search the town history and find dark secrets linked to ancient mirrors retrieved from the nearby Dragonfly pond and a cult obsessed with spirals.

Uzumaki's Ground-Zero Town

Do you know where spirals are? Everywhere! Lollipops, cakes, snails. Just look at your fingerprints, hair. Try your ears. Even the insides of your ears have spirals…  Imagine having spirophobia and want to destroy spirals or being so obsessed with spirals that you allow them to take over your whole life. The potential physical and psychological destruction is huge and amusingly demonstrated in this film.

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Shikoku 死国 (1999)

Pulling Back the Curtains on the Supernatural in Shikoku Shikoku Basic InformationAfter watching so many J-hora films that shamelessly ape the Ringu’s ghosts and tech formula, Shikoku feel very old fashioned with its slow-moving plot and use of Shinto ceremonies and Japanese folk-lore over psychic powers and videotapes.

As a child Hinako lived in a small town named Yaku on the island of Shikoku and had two best friends, Fumiya, a boy Hinako had a crush on and Sayori, a spirit-medium who is destined to be the local shrine priestess. One day Hinako’s father gets a job in Tokyo and she is separated from her friends. Many years later she has returned in order to sell her parent’s house but she also encounters many memories and childhood friends who have moved on. Apart from Sayori who drowned during high school. Hinako is troubled by visions of Sayori but a romance blossoms between her and Fumiya. Bad things start to happen as people begin to get haunted and decide that Hinako’s return is to blame. 

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The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In Review HeaderI cannot claim to be a fan of Pedro Almodóvar. The subjects of his films rarely interest me. After reading a plot synopsis of The Skin I Live In I could not resist its lure or the chance to reappraise my views of him as a director.

Doctor Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a super plastic surgeon who, since the death of his wife who committed suicide after being burned in a car accident, has devoted his life to developing a synthetic skin – regardless of the ethics. Which means that the mysterious Vera (Elena Anaya) who is locked away in his house and subject to his experiments is his victim… Or is she? In any case, the house keeper (Marisa Paredes) is the only other person who knows but when her no-good crook son shows up (Roberto Álamo) things spiral out of control and a disturbing tale charting how they all came to be in the house is revealed. The Skin I Live In - Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) Unhinged

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Warped Forest, Ninjas, Nudity and Edgar Allan Poe. Trailer Round up.

Did you know that the Raindance Film festival is on in London? I totally forgot and they had a good selection of Japanese films which ends today with the closing night gala screening of Bonsai. I should have reported it but I have been busy with various things like going back to Japanese class – great fun. I’ll try and get some Japanese language posts up this month – I could cover the ―て form… or maybe not :/

The 24th Tokyo International Film Festival is at the end of this month and Zipangu Fest is next month so I will keep my ear to the ground and highlight any interesting titles.

In any case enough apologies and Japanese language lessons here are the film trailers!

Warped Forest

Release date:  N/A

Running time: 82 mins.

Director: Shunichiro Miki

Starring: Rinko Kikuchi, Fumi Nikaido, Boba, Kanji Tuda, Yoshiyuki Morishita

Look at that cast! More specifically look at Rinko Kikuchi (Norwegian Wood), fine actress that see is. Also in this film is Yoshiyuki Morishita from Survive Style 5+. Anyway this is the first trailer for The Warped Forest by Shunichiro Miki who directed  The First Contact segment of Funky Forest. What’s warped forest about?

A collection of weird characters in a weird world are put on display. This is a world where there is a giant shopgirl unable to fit into the store she works in, nymphs harass a heart-broken woman with suggestive fruit and bedroom’s have weird green pods in them.

Continue reading “Warped Forest, Ninjas, Nudity and Edgar Allan Poe. Trailer Round up.”

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) Review HeaderQuite possibly one of the best literary adaptations in recent years, the film has captured what I imagined when I read Charlotte Brontё’s classic novel. The film is so atmospheric and well-acted I have to call it one of the best films this year.

After fleeing Thornfield Hall, Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) is lost on the moors as the weather turns from brooding and foggy to full-on rainstorm. She stumbles to the door of a young clergyman named St John Rivers (Jamie Bell) who takes her in and with his sisters cares for Jane. While recovering Jane thinks back to the events that have lead her to St John’s house, her childhood with a cruel aunt (Sally Hawkins), her stay at a harsh school and her employment with the mysterious, cruel and cold Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender) which led to her current predicament.

Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) Takes a Turn in the Garden Continue reading “Jane Eyre”

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Review HeaderBased on John le Carré’s classic novel, the film is a glorious failure of an adaptation that manages to fit in a lot in its two-hour running time but sacrifices key details and, as a result, a lot of power. 

London, 1973, MI6 is in turmoil as its head, Control (John Hurt), is forced to resign after a botched operation to uncover a Soviet mole in the Circus, MI6’s headquarters in London. Also forced into retirement is Smiley (Gary Oldman) as a change in command begins to pursue a new vein of intelligence named “Witchcraft” which Control and Smiley felt too good to be true but the new men running the Circus, lead by Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) and Bill Haydon (Colin Firth) find priceless in buying American cooperation. Smiley is called back into action when Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy), an agent thought to have gone over to the Soviets contacts a government minister confirming Control’s suspicions that there is a double agent at the top of The Circus. With the help of Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley investigates his former colleagues and the events surrounding the operation.

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Drive

Ryan Gosling as Driver in the film DriveThis is the type of film that Quentin Tarantino might be making if he had followed the path of Foxy Brown. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, a man with a passion for crime films, and adapted by Hossein Amini from a short novel by James Sallis, this is a highly stylised neo-noir car film for smart people who dislike Fast & Furious.

By day, Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a Hollywood stunt-driver and mechanic working for Shannon (Bryan Cranston). By night, Driver is an excellent get-away driver for robbers, able to navigate night time LA with intelligence and skill. His life moves along without incident until he meets Irene (Carey Mulligan), a woman who lives with her son in the same building. The two become close and Driver allows Irene and her son into his life but things spiral into violence when Irene’s husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac) arrives home from prison and Driver agrees to help him in a heist to protect Irene.

Ryan Gosling as Driver in the film Drive Continue reading “Drive”