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:
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?
- Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker
- SPEC: The Movie
- Crayon Shin-chan
- 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?
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.
Running time: 72 mins.
Director: Toshiaki Toyoda
Writer: Toshiaki Toyoda
Starring: Eita, Yôsuke Kubozuka, KenKen Mayuu Kusakari, Pyuupiru, Miyuki Matsuda,
Recently screened at this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival, and last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Toshiaki Toyoda’s Monsters Club is released in Japan. It stars Yosuke Eita (Hara Kiri: Death of a Samurai) who worked with Toyoda in the film 9 Souls. Also in the film is Yosuke Kubozuka who was in Himizu. Toyoda decided to make the film after reading some Ted Unabomber Kaczynski’s writing. It is a provocative and beautiful film that aims to agitate rather than reassure. Here’s the trailer.
A young man named Ryoichi Kakiuci (Eita) abandons modern life to live in a cabin in the snowy wilderness of Japan sends bombs to corporate CEOs and TV networks in the hopes of breaking the Japanese social system. He then decides to send a bob to the Prime Minster of Japan but he is confronted by a creature in the forest and his dead brother (Yosuke Kubozuka) appears at the cabin in order to take Ryoichi beyond reality in order to learn his family’s secrets.
Writer: Yoshimasa Akamatsu (screenplay), Yusuke Yamada (original novel)
Starring: Aika Ota, Natsumi Hirajima, Ryoichi Yuki, Mayumi Asaka, Kinya Kikuchi, Catherine Seto,
Horror novelist Yusuke Yamada (Oyayubi Sagashi) sees another one of his works adapted for the big screen in the form of X Game 2 which stars Aika Ota of the J-pop group AKB48.
Misuzu Saeki (Ota) is a student and one of a number of people including Yuko Hagiwara (Hirajima) who find themselves locked in a classroom by an unknown person. A monitor appears and they soon realise they are going to be forced to play a survival game called “Class” when they have to solve exam problems or risk physical punishment. Meanwhile, a reporter named Bito (Yuki) begins an investigation into an organisation enacting vengeance for victims of bullying.
We Were There: Part 2
Running Time: 121 mins.
Director: Takahiro Miki
Writer: Tomoko Yoshida (script), Yuki Obata (manga)
Starring: Toma Ikuta, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Sosuke Takaoka, Yuka Motokariya, Manami Higa, Risa Sudo, Yumi Asou
The second and final part of the movie adaptation of Yuki Obata’s popular romance novel. Like the first part I expect this to do well in the charts since it has got a big fan-base. This doesn’t interest me in the slightest.
Yano (Ikuta) is transferred from Kushiro to Tokyo and loses contact with Nanami (Yoshitaka) as she finds herself getting support from Yano’s friend Takeuchi (Takaoka). IS there more to Takeuchi feelings than he is letting on?
Running Time: 121 mins.
Director: Kei Horie
Writer: Kei Horie
Starring: Azusa Okamoto, Narushi Ikeda, Kenichi Takito, Masato Wada, Manpei Takagi, Miwako Wagatsua, Tadashi Sakata, Takashi Nishina Hajime Yamazaki
Kei Horie acted in Ju-On: The Grudge 2 and directed a Japanese Version of Veronika Decides to Die? Okay, he sounds interesting but what about his film?
Yasuko (Okamoto) is ain hospital after being strangled. The police chalk this up as attempted murder but have few leads to go from and decide to comb through Yasuko’s mobile phone contacts. The names of seven emerge and the police arrange for them to come to the hospital. Between them, each of the men will reveal a fragment of Yasuko’s past.