Sadako 3D Trailer

Sadako 3D

Release Date: 12th May 2012 (Japan)Sadako 3D Poster

Running Time: N/A

Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa

Writer: Koji Suzuki, Tsutomu  Hanabusa

Starring: Satomi Ishihara, Koji Seto, Tsutomu Takahashi, Shota Sometani, Yusuke Yamamoto, Hikari Takara, Ryosei Tayama

My last post in April 2012! This film is based on Koji Suzuki’s upcoming horror novel named ‘S’. Although I quite like the idea of Sadako reaching out for me in 3D seeing the trailer left me sceptical about ths being scary. The plot seems to regurgitate some elements from Kiyoshi Kuosawa’s J-horror classic Pulse and none of the titles in the director’s history leaves me convinced he can make anything substantial in horror terms but then the original novels weren’t straight horror either. The actors are mostly teen friendly but there is Shota Sometani (Himizu) in this. This might be better than I expect it to be.

High school teacher Akane Aikawa (Ishihara) has heard rumours of a video making the rounds on the internet. The video shows someone committing suicide. It is said to be cursed and viewers soon die after watching it. Then one of Akane’s students, Noriko, kills herself in mysterious circumstances. Hers isn’t the only death and although the police call the deaths as suicide Aikawa recognises that the reason people are killing themselves is because of that cursed video. Meanwhile Detective Koiso (Tayama) is on the hunt for Seiji (Yamamoto), a man who seems to be involved. He’s involved alright and he’s got an evil plan to bring someone out of retirement.

Continue reading “Sadako 3D Trailer”

Advertisements

BFI Anime Season in June

The British Film Institute (BFI) is holding a special showcase for recent anime (including the chance to rediscover Akira) from the 8th to the 10th of June. The line-up is excellent and contains some of the best theatrical titles to come out of Japan with titles from Studio Ghibli, Production I.G., and Madhouse. Of all the titles on display none intrigue me as much as A Letter to Momo which got a theatrical release in Japan last week and has had excellent reviews. Here’s the line-up:

Akira

Date: 10 Jun 20:40 NFT1Akira End

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo, Starring: Mami Koyaa, Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Running time: 125 mins.

This is a stone-cold classic. Like Ridley Scott’s movies Alien and Blade Runner it’s aesthetics have influenced the look of a lot of animation and film. I have seen it on multiple occasions and I highly recommend it.

The year is 2019 and thirty-one years have passed since World War III. Neo-Tokyo is wracked with riots and clashes between the authorities and extreme political opponents. A child from a top secret government project interested in psychic powers is spirited away by one of these political extremists but gets caught up in a clash between young delinquent motorcycle gangs. This gang finds itself suddenly catching the interest of the authorities when one of the gang-members, Tetsuo, exhibits psychic powers. He is taken by the army to be experimented on but his mind might be more powerful than anybody could have guessed.

Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below

Date: 9 Jun 18:30 NFT1Children Who Choice Lost Voices

Director: Makoto Shinkai, Starring: Miyu Irino, Kazuhiko, Hisako Kanemoto Running time: 116 mins.

Makoto Shinkai’s films are stunning to watch and feature such beautiful and melancholy stories full of more humanism than most Hollywood output. As the numerous OS wallpapers on my computer attest I am a fan (he answered two questions I put to him in a recent interview!). This is his latest film which looks stunning.

Asuna is a girl who spends her days listening to mysterious music coming from the crystal radio, a memento she received from her father. She embarks on a journey in the underground realm of Agartha which some believe has the properties of bringing people back from the dead. With a brave young man named Shun, Asuna will see the cruelty and beauty of the world as she evades dangerous beasts and a ruthless group of soldiers from her world.

Continue reading “BFI Anime Season in June”

Thermae Romae, Chronicle of My Mother, Home: Itoshi no Zashiki Warashi Trailers

I ended last week with a review for The Cabin in the Woods and kicked off this week with news about the Japanese films screening at Cannes. Although the selection of films is small it is still interesting. I’ll probably have more to say on the selection next week. I released news on the UK release of Hara Kiri and the forthcoming Japanese theatrical release in Blood-C: The Last Dark.

What’s happening with the Japanese box-office charts?

  1.  Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Super Hero Taisen
  2.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker
  3.  We Were Here: Part 2
  4.  SPEC: The Movie
  5.  Battleship

There’s an alarming abundance of bad Hollywood movies in the top ten but it is pleasing to see A Letter to Momo break into the top ten. What are some of the titles released today?


Thermae Romae

Release Date:  28th April 2012 (Japan)テルマエ&スパワールド

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hideki Takeuchi

Writer: Mari Yamazaki (manga), Shogo Muto

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Aya Ueto, Masachika Ichimura, Kai Shishido, Kazuki Kitamura

The live-action adaptation of Mari Yamazaki’s manga of the same name has time travel, culture clash comedy. It was partly filmed in Cinecitta in Rome but features Japanese actors who don’t look too Japanese playing principal Romans characters. This looks like a lot of fun and the recent anime wasn’t too bad. I’m also a fan of Hiroshi Abe so I’d definitely like to give this a go.

Roman bath house architect Lucius (Hiroshi Abe) is a perfectionist and traditionalist who gets fired from his architectural practice. In order to cheer him up, a friend takes him to a bathhouse but Lucius slips through a time portal and ends up in modern day Japan. Although initially bewildered Lucius takes inspiration from modern day Japanese baths and implements the designs in his Roman bathhouses. This sees him become favoured by Emperor Hadrian (Ichimura) but clash with emperor-in-waiting Antoninus (Kazuki Kitamura). Lucius soon finds himself caught up in political intrigue in between his time travel adventures but it is not all bad as he has met a beautiful aspiring manga artist named Mami (Ueto) who loves to sketch him.

Continue reading “Thermae Romae, Chronicle of My Mother, Home: Itoshi no Zashiki Warashi Trailers”

Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Part 1

I recently took part in a readalong for Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and enjoyed it so much I wanted to read the sequel Red Seas Under Red Skies which has a great title and pirates. To get more info on the readalong, head on over to Little Red Reviewer’s blog – she’s the lynchmob leader! This week’s questions come from My Awful Reviews and here they are.

(For an added sense of piratical action listen to this music whilst reading!)

1. The Sinspire. It looks like our heroes (can they really be called that?) find themselves in search of a way into an unbeatable vault. Do you think they have what it takes to make it happen?

Of course.  The thing that drives these guys is big heists. It’s like an addiction, their religion, so they’ll be dedicated to carrying out this audacious robbery. As we’ve seen in The Lies of Locke Lamora, even when the odds start to count against them they are confident and skilful enough to up their game. From what I’ve read so far it looks like the criminal underworld of Tal Varrar isn’t as organised or competitive as Camorr so Locke and Jean have a bit more freedom. Until some outside forces intervene.

2.  Anyone want to guess how they’re going to make it happen?

They are great at planning their jobs so they’ll have nearly all of the angles worked out and a detailed knowledge of the major players. If they don’t have the lock-picking skills then they’ll charm a solution out of someone – maybe even Requin himself. Locke is a master conman and it wouldn’t be impossible for him to do that. They are running a long con similar to the one in the first book so it will be interesting to see the variations.

Continue reading “Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Part 1”

Blood-C: The Last Dark Web Trailer

Film distributor Shochiku began streaming a web trailer for the forthcoming big screen title Blood-C: The Last Dark, the movie that aims to build on the groundwork laid down by my least favourite TV anime of last year Blood-C.

Synopsis

Fumito Nanahara is an influential politician who rules Tokyo with an iron fist. He has introduced the Youth Ordinance Bill which enforces curfews for the young and regulates the internet. Despite this a group of young people have formed a group named SIRRUT and pan on attacking Fumito. In the course of their research they discover “Tower”, a secret organisation that is backing Fumito and conducts human experimentation. When Sirrut attempt to expose “Tower” in the Tokyo subway mysterious creatures appear. So too does Saya, a young girl who survived the horrific incident in Ukishima Province with a sword that can defeat the Old Ones.

While the story does not leave me too enthused the trailer is packed with blood, gore, and monster slaying and looks more like the Blood franchise than the TV series did.

Continue reading “Blood-C: The Last Dark Web Trailer”

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai UK Release Details

I have some great news for anybody interested in Japanese films and the work of Takashi Miike (Audition, 13 Assassins): Revolver Entertainment is releasing Miike’s version of Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai in cinemas on the 4th of May and on DVD and Blu-ray on the 7th of May.

Hara Kiri DVD Cover

This is a remake of the cult classic made by Masaki Kobayashi in 1962. Miike’s version got its premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival where it competed for the Palme d’Or. Reviews largely dismissed the 3D but praised the story and action.Hara Kiri Action Scene 4

  Continue reading “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai UK Release Details”

Japanese Films at Cannes Film Festival 2012

65th Cannes Film Festival Banner

Cannes-chanThe 65th Cannes Film Festival takes place from the 16th to the 27th of May so Cannes-chan (left) is going to be following the festival. Every time you see her expect some news on the Japanese films competing. Major news came out at the end of last week when the organisers released the line-up of films that will screen at the glamorous event. There are some interesting titles taking part at this year’s festival with the likes of David Cronenberg and Brandon Cronenberg bringing projects. America has some great entries and there is a strong European presence with Ken Loach and Michael Haneke (if you want a proper run-down of the contenders then read Bonjour Tristesse’s blog). There is also a strong Asian selection but there are only four major Japanese films so here they are:

11.25 The Day He Chose His Own Fate

Release Date: 2nd June 2012 (Japan), Premieres atCannes11.25 Mishima Drama Poster

Running Time: N/A

Director: Koji Wakamatsu

Writer: Masayuki Kakegawa

Starring: Arata, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Tasuku Nagaoka, Takatsugu Iwama

Prolific veteran director Koji Wakamatsu tackled the violent and tough story of an extreme far left group during the turmoil of 1960’s Japan in the award winning United Red Army and now he is tackling a controversial figure on the right in the shape of Yukio Mishima. Taking the lead role is Arata who was in United Red Army and also appeared in Kore-eda’s wonderful film After Life.

Taking place in 1960’s Japan at a time when economic growth sky-rocketed but the nation was wracked by political turmoil and social changes from sexual liberation to student riots over individual’s rights and the US military presence in Japan, author and intellectual Yukio Mishima was a major voice, a nationalist who espoused traditional values based on the Bushido code while having a controversial private life. He and his militia will attempt a coup d’Etat by taking a military commander hostage.

 

Like Someone in Love

Release Date: Premieres atCannes

Running Time: N/A

Director: Abbas Kiarostami

Writer: Abbas Kiarostami

Starring: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, Denden, Ryo Kase

Like Someone in Love is Abbas Kiarostami’s follow-up to Certified Copy. A French/Japanese co-production and it is the only Japanese language film In Competition it stars Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death), Denden (Cold Fish, Himizu) and Ryo Kase who starred in the recent box-office smash SPEC: The Movie. Kiarostami has form in Cannes having previously won the Palme d’Or for Taste of Cherry in 1997.

A young female student named Akiko (Rin Takanashi) works as a prostitute to pay off her university fees. One of her clients is an elderly academic (Tadashi Okuno) who is fond of her. Soon a relationship develops between the two.

  Continue reading “Japanese Films at Cannes Film Festival 2012”

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods Review

A very clever meta horror comedy on the classic horror in the woods formula. This film is so unpredictable and clever you should stop reading this review, avoid the trailer, and watch the film.

Five university kids head off in an RV to go to a cabin in the woods for the weekend. Leading them is handsome football player Curt (Hemsworth) and his girlfriend Jules (Hutchison). Jules’s best fried Dana (Connolly) is nursing heartache and has been set up with another football player named Holden. Also in on the action is Marty (Kranz), a stoner philosopher. The cabin they head to is so remote it does not show up on GPS and the only person around is a sinister garage owner who issues a stark warning about the history of the place. What the five do not know is that there is more to this cabin than they could have ever imagined.

The Cabin in the Woods - Connolly, Hemsworth, Williams, Hutchison, Kranz Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard certainly have the talent to overturn an entire genre. They have created or worked on some of television’s biggest hits including Lost, Alias, Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly. In movie terms Goddard wrote Cloverfield while Whedon helped write Toy Story and derailed the Alien franchise with Alien Resurrection. Here they give a post-modern twist to the horror genre and it is so brilliantly inventive, funny, clever, and unexpected.

Continue reading “The Cabin in the Woods”

A Letter to Momo, Monsters Club, X Game 2, We Were There Part 2, Sentimental Yasuko Trailers

This week started off with a review of the rather amusing X-Cross followed by a trailer for Mamoru Hosoda’s next movie The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki. Then I followed that up with a review of Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night. After posting that review I went to the cinema to see the awesome film The Cabin in the Woods. Check out Curiosity Kitty’s review of the film on 360 Degree Review to see what she made of it. I’ll have my review out tomorrow. In other news the 65th Cannes Film Festival will soon be getting underway and as part of my commitment to covering film festivals I’ll chart the Japanese films at the event and how they are received by critics. As part of this coverage I asked fellow blogger, Dandelion Head over at The Strange Dreamer to create Cannes-chan:Cannes-tan Reading Preview

I was inspired by the OS-tans and decided to do something similar. Unfortunately I’m not that great at drawing so I asked Dandelion Head to step in and she has done an awesome job and this is a pretty awesome illustration which will now be accompanying my forthcoming articles covering Japanese films at the 65th Cannes Film Festival.

What’s happening with the Japanese box-office charts?

  1.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker
  2.  SPEC: The Movie
  3.  Battleship
  4.  Crayon Shin-chan
  5.  John Carter

Oh dear, two terrible Hollywood films are in the top five with last week’s new release Crayon Shin-chan entering at number 4. SPEC: The Movie drops down to 2 after accruing $13 million. The new number one? The venerable Detective Conan.

Well I reported on Detective Conan for Anime UK News but it slipped under my radar. What gets released today?

A Letter to Momo
Release date: Early  2012 (Japan)A Letter to Momo Poster
Running time: 120 mins.
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura

Writer: Hiroyuki Okiura
Starring: Karen Miyama, Cho, Toshiyuki Nishida, Takeo Ogawa

Production I.G.’s film A Letter to Momo has major production talent with Hiroyuki Okiura acting as director and this is his first movie since the magnificent Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. The animation and background has been handled by Ghibli chaps Masashi Ando (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) and Hiroshi Ono (Kiki’s Delivery Service) respectively and the project has animators from a myriad of other high-profile titles like Evangelion, The Sky Crawlers, Tokyo Godfathers and Summer Wars.

13-year-old Momo is a young girl who grew up in Tokyo but following the premature loss of her father, she has to move with her mother to the old family house on a remote island named Steouchi. Here, time seems to have stopped: old wooden buildings, holy shrines surrounded by trees, fields painstakingly carved out from steep hills… and no shopping mall. Momo has more troubling matters as she has an unfinished letter left by her father. A letter that contained only two words: “Dear Momo…” What was her father going to say? One day, exploring the attic of her new big house, Momo finds a dusty and worn out book and this is the start of an adventure.

  Continue reading “A Letter to Momo, Monsters Club, X Game 2, We Were There Part 2, Sentimental Yasuko Trailers”

Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night パラノーマル・アクティビティ 第2章/TOKYO NIGHT (2010)

Haruka (Aoyama) in Paranormal Activity Tokyo Night Review BannerParanormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night is an independent remake/sequel to the 2007 American supernatural horror film Paranormal Activity directed by Oren Peli where not a lot happens while it is recorded like a fake documentary.

Haruka Yamano (Aoyama) is in Tokyo after a trip to San Diego, America ends with a car crash that leaves Haruka with two broken legs. Her younger brother Koichi (Nakamura) is wandering around with a video camera instead of studying for university entrance exams. While their father is away on a business trip Koichi has to take care of Haruka who will be in a wheelchair for another six months. Soon strange things happen around the house like Haruka’s wheelchair being moved from the side of the bed into another room and salt placed on the floor to expel evil spirits is scattered on the floor. Koichi records these events but things start getting weirder with noises at night, psychic friends scared away and the spirit is getting increasingly threatening.

Haruka (Aoyama) and Koichi (Nakamura) in Paranormal Activity Tokyo Night

Continue reading “Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night パラノーマル・アクティビティ 第2章/TOKYO NIGHT (2010)”