Terracotta Release Return to Burma

2012 has seen Terracotta release a number of great titles like Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack, Desire to Kill and Petty Romance. Now they are set to release Return to Burma, a film from first time director Midi Z. It played earlier this year at the Terracotta Far East Film Festival. Reviews are generally mixed with critics praising the bravery of shooting a film while the regime is still enforcing draconian censorship laws and highlighting the strength of documentary nature while lamenting the lack of story structure missed chance of gaining an insight into the release of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. For anybody interested in gaining an insight into the country and in the human drama involved in cross-border crossings and returning to a place left behind, this is the ticket. Here are the details:

‘RETURN TO BURMA’

Return to Burma DVD Case


Starring: Wang Shin-hong, Yang Shu-lan, Chou Jung-kuo

Burma, Taiwan / 2010 / 84 mins / In Burmese, Mandarin with English subtitles
Release Date: 12th November 2012

Where should we go? Anywhere but home.

Synopsis
After decades, Burma finally holds its first presidential election. Many Burmese living abroad believe that prosperity will soon arrive. Xing-Hong, an immigrant labourer in Taiwan, is able to save enough money to return home. His return is bitter sweet, as he is carrying the remains of a friend that died in a work related accident.


When Xing-Hong arrives home, he finds that most of the young people want to work abroad, but Xing-Hong has always wanted to stay in his hometown to do business. He begins asking around for possible business opportunities. Through the protagonist’s eyes, we witness the true face of Burma and the angst of its youngsters.

DVD Special Features

  • Making of RETURN TO BURMA
  • Director’s Statement

Midi Z is an ethnic Chinese like the protagonist of the film, who had a similar journey moving from Burma to Taiwan when at the age of sixteen. Midi Z moved in order to study Film Directing and graduated with his first short movie, “Paloma Blanca”, in 2006. In 2009, he was selected as one of the most prominent directors by Taipei Golden Horse Film Academy. Produced by Hou Hsiao-Hsien (!!!), Midi Z made a short film called “Hua-Xing Incident”. Return to Burma is his first feature film.

Petty Romance

Genkina hito Petty Romance Review Header

Petty Romance                                                           Petty Romance DVD Case

Korean Release Date: 08th of August, 2010

UK DVD Release Date: 08th October 2012 (Terracotta)

Running Time: 91 mins.

Directors: Kim Jeong-Hoon

Writers: Kim Jeong-Hoon

Starring: Lee Sun-Kyun, Choi Gang-Hee, Ryoo Hyoun-Kyoung, Song Yoo-Ha, Oh Jung-Se, Baek Do-Bin, Lee Won-Jong, Jo Eun-Ji, Hwang Bo-Ra

Petty Romance is the directorial debut of Kim Jeong-Hoon and my first ever Korean romantic comedy. It combines a raunchy but primarily cute tale of lust and comic books in a smooth and amusing film which masks all of its familiar elements with imagination and two great performances.

Continue reading “Petty Romance”

Top Ten Films of the Year Revamp

Ihara and Yakusho Check out Genkinahitos Top Tens

After creating a page which contains an archive of my film reviews I have decided to revamp my Top Ten Films page. This is a much needed change because I used to place nothing but theatrical releases in there and miss out reviews of movies that I watched on DVD/streamed – as a result no films like Tokyo Sonata qualified. I would then break my own rules and sneak a few DVDs in. Now, I am sticking every film I have seen that has impressed me enough to make my top ten list. People do check out the page quite a lot and it has not been updated since I went to see Prometheus which was back in July.

The revamp will reflect what I have watched over the years and give a better indication as to how my taste operates… Actually scratch that last bit, my taste is so idiosyncratic and my viewing habits constantly hanging I doubt people will find any line of rhyme or reason.

Now I have updated my lists for the years the blog has been operating and I will compile a top ten Japanese films of all time. Expect to see a directory for Japanese directors some time soon.

As for now, check out my new and improved Top Ten Films

Summer Wars Computer

A Road Stained Crimson, The End of Puberty, Bakarea High School, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

chungking-expressThis week will be memorable for me forever because I attended my first ever major film event in the shape of the BFI London Film Festival where I saw some God-tier films although things got dicey on my final day because I had to run part of the way to the BFI because I took a wrong turn at Horse Guards Parade (I got there just before the film started). Thankfully I had such a great time that my Olympic marathon could not dent my enthusiasm and the film I saw was, as I mentioned earlier, God-tier. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… the blog kept going because I posted information about Third Window Films and their forthcoming releases of the double set for Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, and Kotoko, which came out on Monday and Isn’t Anyone Alive? which comes out on the 22nd. I also posted a trailer for Park Chan-Wook’s English language debut film Stoker and a little piece about my trip to London for the 56th BFI London Film Festival.

What are the new entries in the Japanese movie box-office this week?

  1. Outrage Beyond
  2. Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope
  3. Tsunagu
  4. Resident Evil: Retribution
  5. The Mystical Law
  6. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
  7. Madoka Magica
  8. The Bourne Legacy
  9. I Have to Buy New Shoes
  10. Intouchables

All of last week’s releases are in the charts…? Really? Even The Mystical Law? Well Outrage Beyond is at the top spot, Tsunagu takes third, The Mystical Law takes fifth and I Have to Buy New Shoes is at nine despite the negative criticism from Alua and Goregirl 😉

What are the Japanese films getting a release today?

A Road Stained Crimson                      A Road Stained Crimson Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 赤い 季節

Romaji: Akai Kisetsu

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 111 mins.

Director: Tetsuhiko Nono

Writer: Tetsuhiko Nono

Starring: Hirofumi Arai, Jun Murakami, Jun Fubuki, Masatoshi Nagase, Taguchi Tomorowo

This trailer featured on Otherwhere last month because it was part of Raindance London. It looks absolutely brilliant, a feeling reinforced by the actors since it stars Hirofumi Arai (Outrage Beyond), Jun Fubuki (Séance, Pulse), Taguchi Tomorowo (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo: Body Hammer), and Jun Murakami (Land of Hope). It features music from Yusuke Chiba, former frontman of J-rock outfit Thee Michelle Gun Elephant.

Ken (Arai) was once a contract killer but has turned his back on violence and spends his time working in a motorcycle shop with his mother Yoko (Fubuki). The one thing that eats away at him is the identity of the man who killed his detective father. Until Akira (Murakami), another contract killer, shows up at the shop and tries to lure Ken back into the killing life. With Akira and the mystery surrounding his father playing on his mind, Ken is faced with destroying the peaceful life he has established with Yoko.

The End of Puberty                                                                       The End of Puberty Movie Poster    

Japanese Title: 恋 に 至る 病

Romaji: Koi ni Itaru Yamai

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Shoko Kimura

Writer: Shoko Kimura

Starring: Miwako Wagatsuma, Yoichiro Saito, Aimi Satsukawa, Shota Sometani

Shoko Kimura makes her directorial debut in a comedy that was seen at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. It sounds like an absolutely twisted story seen in the anime world but reviews plug it as something more considered. It stars. Miwako Wagatsuma (Sentimental Yasuko, Guilty of Romance), Aimi Satsukawa (Demon’s Elevator) and rising star Shota Sometani (Himizu, Isn’t Anyone Alive?, The Wolf Children Rain and Snow). I love the chip-tune music!

Madoka (Saito) is a biology teacher with no backbone. Therefore, he cannot control his class who misbehave. Tsubara (Wagatsuma) is the only person who takes any notice of him. She’s not interested in lessons as she is more interested in Madoka himself because she’s in love with him. Tsubara is quite a strange person herself as she only eats things with preservatives so that her body will not rot after death and she and be remembered. She also likes to draw manga of Madoka and herself having sex but with sexual organs reversed. When the two do have a real life encounter and their sexual organs are switched, they flee to the countryside. Tsubara’s best friend En (Satsukawa) and her amorous boyfriend Maru (Sometani) track them down and they have some erotic energy of their own that they want to work out.

Bakarea High School                                         Shiritsu Bakarea Koko Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 私立バカレア 高校

Romaji: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koko

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 111 mins.

Director: Takashi Kubota

Writer: Akimoto Yasushi, Yuko Matsuda

Starring: Shintaro Morimoto, Hokuto Matsumura, Taiga Kyomoto, Haruka Shimazaki, Mina Oba, Kaoru Mitsumune

Popular NTV show Shiritsu Bakaleya Koko gets the big screen treatment. It features a whole gamut of (ridiculously named) young idols from groups managed by Johnny’s Jr and teams from AKB48 (Haruka Shimazaki, Mina Oba). Just looking at the cast list, poster and the trailer I know I should be packing up my stuff and heading for the hills because this is not aimed at me. Actually parts of it look like a cheap and unmemorable Ai to Makoto.

When the the all-male high school of Baka merges with the all-female high school of Cattleya, the rich girls find themselves confronted with a bunch of troublemakers. Presumably hilarity and romance ensue. 

Space Battleship Yamato 2199                   Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Poster

Japanese Title: 宇宙 戦艦 ヤマト 2199

Romaji: Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199

Release Date: 13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Akihiro Enomoto, Yutaka Izubuchi

Writer: Ryusuke Hikawa

Starring: Daisuke Ono (Susumu Kodai), Houko Kuwashima (Yuki Mori), Kenichi Suzumura (Daisuke Shima), Takayuki Sugo (Captain Jūzō Okita), Aya Hisakawa (Lt. Kaoru Niimi), Rie Tanaka (Ensign Akira Yamamoto), Rina Satou (Makoto Harada)

In 1974 Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express 999, Captain Harlock) and Yoshinubu Mishizaki created Space Battleship Yamato which became a massive hit. Thirty-eight years later we see  the latest part of the anime movie adaptation released. The role of director is taken up by two men: Yutaka Izubuchi is a veteran designer in the anime industry having worked on anime like RahXephon and the brilliant anime Patlabor. He joined by Akihiro Enomoto who has worked on Fafner, Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Nobuteru Yuki (Escaflowne) acting as character designer and animation director.

There are a lot of veteran seiyuu involved with Daisuke Ono (Shizuo Heiwajima in Durarara!!), Kenichi Suzumura (Uta no Prince Sama), Aya Hisakawa (Yoko Yuzuki in Mōryō no Hako), Rina Satou (Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Magical Index), and Rie Tanaka (Sammy in Time of Eve). The animation is produced by Xebec (Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos) and AIC (Burn Up). 

 

In the year 2199, the human race has lost a war against alien invaders named Gamilos and have been driven underground due to the threat of radiation. Scientists give humanity a year before it is destroyed. When young officers Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima retrieve a capsule from a ship that crash landed on Mars they set off to Iscandar on the other side of the Magellan Galaxy which has the technology to smash the Gamilos and save Earth. The battleship Yamato is sent on a mission to get that technology.

 

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal                             Madoka Movie 2 Poster

Japanese Title: Maho Shojo Madoka Magika Eien no Monogatari

Romaji: Maho Shojo Madoka Magika Eien no Monogatari

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 109 mins.

Director: Akiyuki Shinbou

Writer: Gen Urobuchi

Starring: Aoi Yuuki (Madoka Kaname), Eri Kitamura (Sayaka Miki), Chiwa Saito (Homura Akemi), Emiri Kato (Kyuubey)

Following on from last week’s release of the first Madoka Magica movie, this is the second and it covers the last four episodes of the television series. The animation in the trailers and the look of the posters are incredible but I still cannot bring myself to watch the film. Cast and staff remain largely unchanged but it looks like the one character I might have rooted for didn’t make it…

 

Madoka Kanome (Yuuki) is a normal school girl with a caring family and good friends like Sayaka (Kitamura). She leads a calm life until she meets a new transfer student named Homura Akemi (Saito). What changes? She sees Homura attack a creature. When Madoka tries to stop Homura she finds herself transported to a strange world where scary creatures exist and it is only with the help of a girl called Mami Tomoe (Mizuhashi) that she manages to escape. She soon finds herself in a world of magic but soon finds it can be very deadly.

Genkina hito at the 56th London Film Festival

Getting Any Genki Film Festival Banner

Yep, after months of reporting about international film festivals like Berlin, Cannes, Venice, and Toronto and complaining about not being able to be at them and watching Japanese films, I am finally attending one myself for this is the year I try and increase my coverage by taking part in The 56th London Film Festival. The festival takes place from the 10th until the 21st of October and I will be seeing The Wolf ChildrenKey of Life, and For Love’s Sake.

 

For Love’s Sake              Ai to Makoto Film Festival

Japanese Title: 愛 と 誠

Romaji: Ai to Makoto

Running Time: 134 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takayuki Takuma (script), Ikki Kajiwara (manga)

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei, Takumi Saito, Sakura Ando, Ito Ono, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kimiko Yo, Ken Maeda, Yo Hitoto

This will be the final film I see in the festival and I am expecting this to be highly entertaining because it is directed by Takashi Miike. I hate musicals but Miike made The Happiness of the Katakuris which I loved. Tony Rayns, a highly experienced Japanese film expert states, “you can only gasp in disbelief at Miike’s inventiveness: performances, design, choice of golden-oldie hits and fight choreography are all beyond ace.”  Sounds awesome! Anyway Miike reunite with Emi Takei and Takumi Saito (13 Assassins) two stars from his previous film, Ace Attorney. It also stars Satoshi Tsumabuki (Villain) and Sakura Ando (Love Exposure). Takashi Miike’s live-action film adaptation of Ai to Makoto is the fourth so far, the previous three being made in 1974, 75, and 76.

High school student Makoto Taiga (Tsumabuki) is an ultra-delinquent who has arrived in Tokyo to avenge an incident from his past. That will have to wait as he falls in love with the angelic Ai (Takei) who comes from a respectable family. Things will get complicated as Iwashimizu (Saito) is in love with Ai while Gamuko (Ando) has feelings for Makoto.

 

 

Key of Life                                                          Key of Life Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 鍵 泥棒 の メソッ

Romaji: Kagi Dorobou no Meoddo

Running Time: 128 mins.

Director: Kenji Uchida

Writer: Kenji Uchida

Starring: Masato Sakai, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ryoko Hirosue, YosiYosi Arakawa, Yoko Moriguchi

This film gets a glowing write up from Tony Rayns who describes it as “deliciously funny, not to mention brilliantly timed and acted with relish by the all-star cast.”  Some of that cast includes Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata), Masato Sakai (Sky High, The Samurai that Night), Ryoko Hirosue (Departures), YosiYosi Arakawa (Fine, Totally Fine, Quirky Guys & Girls), and Yoko Moriguchi (Casshern). I was sold on this from the cast and the trailer and so I will be watching this at the festival.

 

Sakurai (Kondo) is an aspiring but unsuccessful actor who has recently attempted suicide but is unsuccessful at that. He decides to head to a local bathhouse to ease his suffering and whilst there he witnesses a stranger in the neighbourhood named Kondo (Kagawa) who slips and knocks himself unconscious. Sakurai takes advantage of this and helps himself to Kondo’s locker key. He loots Kondo’s belongings and assumes his identity which is a pretty bad idea considering that Kondo is an assassin working for a yakuza. For his part Kondo wakes up in hospital minus his memory and so assumes Sakurai’s life as an actor but applies his dedicated nature to the craft while trying to recover his memory. 

 

The Wolf Children             The Wolf Children Poster

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda, Satoko Okudera

Starring: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Yukito Nishii, Haru Kuroki, Amon Kabe, Momoka Oona, Shota Sometani, Kumiko Aso, Mitsuki Tanimura,

This is the biggest draw of the festival for me. I have been posting about this film since the earliest trailers were released in Japan and it hit the Japanese movie box office charts. I am a major fan of Mamoru Hosoda’s first film, The Girl who Leapt Through Time, but Summer Wars left me cold despite the excellent animation and assured script. The Wolf Children could be the film that reaffirms my interest in him or kill it off. Just watching the trailer I figure I will get emotional at some point and get swept up in the story and there is every possibility that this will happen because Hosoda is aided with scripting duties by Satoko Okudera who has worked on major anime movies like Summer WarsMiyori’s ForestThe Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and The Princess and the Pilot and legendary character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, FLCL, Evangelion) is the character designer. The voice actors are familiar from the world of live action movies. Hana is voiced by the actress Aoi Miyazaki who starred in Shinji Aoyama’s 2000 film Eureka (which I received a couple of weeks ago), Ōkami is voiced by Takao Osawa (All About Lily Chou-Chou – a film that I dread watching because I was left emotionally drained), Yuki is voiced by Haru Kuroki, and Ame is voiced by Yukito Nishii (Confessions). Other notable names include Momoka Oona (Mitsuko Deliversa film that was blah) who plays an even younger version of Yuki, Amon Kabe who plays an even younger version of Ame, Shota Sometani (HimizuSadako 3DIsn’t Anyone live?), Mitsuki Tanimura (13 Assassins), and Kumiko Aso (Pulse – an awesome J-horror!).

A story of love between parents and children that takes place over thirteen starts when a university student named Hana falls in love with Ōkami who is a “wolf man”. The two marry and have children named after the weather on the day they were born – Yuki (snow) the older sister and Ame (rain) the younger brother. The four live quietly in a city concealing the true existence of their relationship until Ōkami dies and Hana decides to move to the country.

Check out Alua’s post for more information on other titles worth checking out. I bet nobody will be able to guess which film the image comes from!

Third Window Films Release Isn’t Anyone Alive?

When I first saw a trailer for Sogo Ishii’s latest film Isn’t Anyone Alive? at the beginning of the year, I tagged it as looking “very interesting”. When I heard that Third Window Films had picked up for distribution I was overjoyed because I like this type of film. When I watched Angel Dust recently, I knew I had to see this film because Ishii’s skill behind the camera was spell-binding. I have finally watched it and can confirm that I bloody love it. Just how much I feel that way will be determined by a re-watch, but expect a review next week. For now, here are the details:

 Isn't Anyone Alive DVD Case

Isn’t Anyone Alive?

A film by Sogo Ishii (Gojoe, Burst City, Crazy Thunder Road)

Starring: Shota Somentani (Himizu, Sadako 3D, A Man with Style)

Murakami Jun (Yakuza Weapon, Himizu, Land of Hope)

Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death, Like Someone in Love)

Mai Takahashi (Strange Circus, The Great Yokai War)

Japan / 2011 / 113 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour / 35mm

Release Date: 22nd October 2012

Set in a university campus that is attached to a hospital, there is a escaped female patient, a strange man, students and a café worker in a love triangle, a mother looking for a lost child, a love-sick doctor and an unreceptive nurse and an urban legend which could be linked to the end of the world. When people talk about this bizarre urban myth connected to the University hospital, people start dying inexplicably one after another…

With the air of this ‘energy void’ throughout, the world of this absurd black comedy, based upon the theatre play of the same name, starts to take over the world.

With ‘Crazy Thunder Road’ (1980), ‘Burst City’ (1982), ‘The Crazy Family’ (1984), ‘Angel Dust’ (1994), ‘Electric Dragon 80,000V’ (2001) and more, Gakuryu Ishii (previously known as Sogo Ishii) has been amusing us with his talent of totally overstepping genre boundaries with striking images and music. In his latest feature film he has adapted the Shiro Maeda play ‘Isn’t Anyone Alive‘.

DVD Special Features:

Theatrical Trailer

Stoker Trailer

Stoker                                                                       Stoker Poster

Release Date: 01st March 2013 (US)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Park Chan-Wook

Writer: Wentworth Miller, Erin Cressida Wilson

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Phyillis Sommerville

A few weeks ago I posted a trailer for The Last Stand, an upcoming American film being helmed by Kim Jee-Woon (A Bittersweet Life, The Quiet Family). He is one of a number of successful Korean directors working on Hollywood projects.  Now, thanks to the eagle eyes of Curiosity Kitty, I have seen a trailer for Park Chan-Wook’s English language debut, Stoker.

When India Stoker’s (Wasikowska) father dies, her mother Evelyn (Kidman) brings in a mysterious uncle named Charlie (Goode) who seems charming but has a dark side which draws India to him.

Park Chan-Wook has made two incredible films in Oldboy and J.S.A. and one excellent one in Thirst. While The Last Stand looks like good old-fashioned action fun, this looks like it is a psychological horror/family drama. Nothing supernatural. It stars such fine actresses like Nicole Kidman (The Hours) and Mia Wasikowska (The Kids are All Right, Jane Eyre) and the British actor Matthew Goode (The Lookout). The trailer looks visually stunning but I am unsure as to whether that is enough to persuade me to see the film. I’ll have to wait for reviews. It is written by Wentworth Miller who is famous for Resident Evil: Afterlife… Famous to me for that film at least. Apparently he was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt. I honestly thought that it was something to do with Bram Stoker and vampires but there you go.

Third Window Films Release Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer and Kotoko Tomorrow

The 08th of October 2012 will be a momentous day for Japanese film fans as Third Window Films are going to release three Shinya Tsukamoto films which played a pivotal role in my Shinya Tsukamoto Season.

The first two titles are Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer which stunned me as my reviews show. They are released as part of a 2-disc DVD/Blu-Ray set and this Blu-Ray will be the first time the Tetsuo films have graced the format anywhere in the world. More importantly, Shinya Tsukamoto has been heavily involved with the release which results in a phenomenal set of extras which impressed me so much I felt they merited review themselves. Here are the details:

TETSUO: THE IRON MAN
TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER

 Tetsuo DVDBluRay Cover

A film by Shinya Tsukamoto (Kotoko, Snake of June, Vital)

Two of the most talked-about Japanese cult films of all time makes their way onto a double-disc blu-ray set for the first time in the world with a brand new high definition transfer supervised by Shinya Tsukamoto!

 

TETSUO: THE IRON MAN

Tetsuo Metal FetishistA strange man known only as the “metal fetishist”, who seems to have an insane compulsion to stick scrap metal into his body, is hit and possibly killed by a Japanese “salaryman”, out for a drive with his girlfriend. The salaryman then notices that he is being slowly overtaken by some kind of disease that is turning his body into scrap metal, and that his nemesis is not in fact dead but is somehow masterminding and guiding his rage and frustration-fueled transformation.

TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER

Tetsuo 2More of a companion piece to Tetsuo: The Iron Man than a sequel, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer sees Tsukamoto’s disturbing vision of a world populated by man-machines explode into a stunning colour interpretation.

I gave both films 5/5 because I was left flabbergasted by the arresting images, disturbing soundscapes and inventive use of the medium of film. I ended my review for Tetsuo: The Iron Man with the sentence, “If you consider yourself a cinephile willing to push the boundaries of your experiences then buy this film.” I stand by this because the works are just that great and show the power of film and the inventiveness of Shinya Tsukamoto.

 

Here is the UK trailer:

This 2 disc blu-ray and DVD set includes a brand new exclusive interview with Shinya Tsukamoto that lasts for nearly twenty minutes and goes into detail about how he started making movies, the making of Tetsuo and what film and cyberpunk mean to him. Also included is 45 minute ‘The Adventures of Electric Rod Boy’, an early film Tsukamoto made just before Tetsuo: The Iron Man which is an absolute riot and full of joy and creativity. This is the first English-subtitled release and it has also been remastered.

The release features both a slipcase as well as a reversible sleeve so fans can choose whether they’d rather have an image from Tetsuo I or II on the front of their box.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man – Japan / 1989 / 67 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / B&W / 16mm

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer – Japan / 1992 / 83 minutes / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour / 16mm

DVD/BLU-RAY Special Features:

New High Definition Transfer supervised by Shinya Tsukamoto
Exclusive interview with Shinya Tsukamoto
‘The Adventures of Electric Rod Boy’ – Shinya Tsukamoto’s early film
New UK Trailer
Japanese Theatrical Trailers for both Tetsuo I & II

 

The third film released by Third Window Films is Kotoko which won the ‘Best Film’ award in the Orrizzonti at the Venice Film Festival last year, the only Japanese Film to ever win that award. When I watched it I was struck by the difference between Tsukamoto’s earliest films as seen in Tetsuo and the way he has changed his style but retained his visual literacy and kept his ability to use the medium of film to convey so many ideas. I described Kotoko as a harrowing film to watch but worth striving for because it is strong emotionally and visually and powered with a strong central performance from Cocco and I gave it 4.5/5.

Here are the details of the release: 

KOTOKO

 Kotoko DVD Case

A film by Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo, Snake of June, Vital)

Cocco as Kotoko Dancing

Kotoko (Cocco) is a young single mother who lives alone with her baby son. Suffering from an unknown illness that makes her see doubles of people and not knowing which version of the person is real, it severely impacts her day-to-day life, often leading to her lashing out violently. The only time she does not see double is when she is singing. As her situation worsens and she becomes a liability her son Daijiro is taken from her and put in the care of her sister. Kotoko is left alone with her own thoughts and is at a loss as to how to get Daijiro back. Then a man named Tanaka (Tsukamoto) enters her life when he hears her singing on a bus trip and finds something awoken inside himself. Tanaka is a novelist with a hit title called The Man Who Brightened the Moon in bookshops but he leads a lonely life. Despite initial rejections he persists but Kotoko’s mental state is not getting better.

Japan / 2011 / 91 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour / HD

DVD/BLU-RAY Special Features:

Exclusive interview with Shinya Tsukamoto
UK Trailer
Japanese Theatrical Trailer

Mystical Laws, Outrage Beyond, Chat Noir Lucy, I Need to Buy New Shoes, Tsunagu, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 1 Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Charts

This week I created a Film Review Archive (an excuse to use an image of Rin Takanashi) and trailers for the anime movies Gothicmade and Nerawareta Gakuen as well as the release details for Petty Romance. Reviews have been a bit light this week because I saw an uninspiring K-horror and I have been super busy with work helping set up a genuinely Blazblue Noel Kisaragiunnerving exhibition and trying to post at AUKN and other assorted projects – there are still two follow-up Tsukamoto posts to come. I am now coming into a period of calm and stability. In other words, blue skies are ahead and I can write a lot more. Blue skies the week after next week, to be more precise, because that is when I am going to attend some screenings at THE BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL.

What are the new entries in the Japanese box-office this week?

  1. Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope
  2. Resident Evil: Retribution
  3. The Bourne Legacy
  4. The Hunger Games
  5. Rurouni Kenshin
  6. Intouchables
  7. Insight into the Universe
  8. Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning
  9. Key of Life
  10. Hotel Transylvania

The major change from last week in the chart is the fact that there are three western films muscling their way in. As far as Japanese films go, Resident Evil and Bayside Shakedown switch places at the top. Rurouni Kenshin and Insight into the Universe and Key of Life remain in the top ten while Intouchables remains at six. The Wolf Children Rain and Snow hangs in at number thirteen.

What are the Japanese films released today in Japan?

Mystical Laws                                                         Mystical Laws Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 神秘 の 法

Romaji: Shinpi no Hou

Release Date:  05th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: N/A

Writer: N/A

Starring: Takehito Koyasu, Daisuke Hirakawa, Ayumi Fujimura, Ryoka Yuzuki, Shinichiro Miki, Miki Ito

The Happy Science religion (Kofuku no Kagaku) has released their latest film yesterday in both the US and Japan and it is a feature length anime named Shinpi no Hou – The Mystical Laws.

It is the year 201X… and the newly-formed Empire of Godom has been able to gain access to technology offered to them by Reika Chang (Fujimura), the president of a trading company. With this technology they plan to take over the world. Shou Shishimaru (Koyasu) is the only one who can stop them because he has access to mystical technology as well. The Empire know this and decide to hunt him down but thanks to the intervention of mysterious Indians, he evades capture and sets about trying to fulfil a prophecy about the second coming of a saviour.

Yeah… The religion of Happy Science was founded in Japan on the 6th of October, 1986 by Ryuho Okawa who, according to Wikipedia, “claims to channel the spirits of Muhammad, Christ, Buddha and Confucious and claims to be the incarnation of the supreme spiritual being called El Centre.” If this sounds like a cult to you then you are not alone because mainstream Japanese media regard the as such. Still, the movie does look rather… special. Seiyuu involved include some pretty well known ones like Daisuke Hirakawa (Franz d’Epinay in Gankutsuou), Ayumi Fujimura (Miwa in Bartender, Raimei in Nabai no Ou, Takashi Natsume in Natsume Yuujinchou) and Takehito Koyasu (the legend that is Il Palazo in Excel Saga).

Outrage Beyond                                                    Outrage Beyond Film Poster

Japanese Title: アウトレイジ ビヨンド

Romaji: Autoreiji Biyondo

Release Date: 06th October, 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Takeshi Kitano

Writer: Takeshi Kitano

Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Ryo Kase, Tomokazu Miura, Fumiyo Kohinata, Toshiyuki Nishida, Hirofumi Arai, Akira Nakao, Yutaka Matsushige, Kenta Kiritani, Sansei Shiomi, Hideo Nakano

Outrage Beyond recently had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in competition and then at the Toronto International Film Festival. I have half read a review for it and it seems like those who loved the first will find that there is much to enjoy in this as the politics way heavy in the first half and the violence and gangster thrills come clobbering in during the second. The stars are on the poster but if you need more names then take a gander at these: Takeshi Kitano (Kids ReturnBoiling Point), Ryo Kase (Like Someone in LoveSPEC: Heaven), Tomokazu Miura (Adrift in TokyoSurvive Style 5+), Hirofumi Arai (A Road Stained Crimson), Kenta Kiritani (Beck), Yutaka Matsushige (Ring) and Fumiyo Kohinata (Ring 2, Audition) who plays that wiley cop Kataoka who wasn’t as dumb as he looked.

When Tokyo’s anti-gang investigator is found dead the police crack down on the Yakuza. Corrupt cop Kataoka (Kohinata) is in charge of the investigation and he finds himself caught in the machinations of two rival families. Cue the release from prison of Ohtomo (Kitano) who finds himself part of a police plot to destroy his former Yakuza brothers. Not that he would object considering his shabby treatment at their hands.

Chat Noir Lucy                      

Kuro Neko Lucy

Japanese Title: くろ ねこ ルーシー

Romaji: Kuro Neko Rushi (literally Black Cat Lucy)

Release Date:  06th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Toru Kamei

Writer: Yuji Nagamori

Starring: Muga Tsukaji, Megumi Yasu

I a totally unfamiliar with the director and the actors’ Muga Tsukaji (Akko-chan: The Movie) and Megumi Yasu but the trailer is amusing. Both leads have acted alongside each other before in Honcho Azumi television series so I am assuming that fans of that are going to be drawn to this film.

Ken Kamoshida (Tsukaji) is a middle-aged fortune teller who is highly superstitious. Since splitting from his wife (Yasu), he has been beset by difficulties. One day, he encounters two black kittens which represent misfortune and they seem to be living up to the legend since he takes to caring for them but soon he uses them in his fortune telling and he sees what is really important to him.

 

I Have to Buy New Shoes                                                 I Have to Buy New Shoes Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 新しい 靴 を 買わなくちゃ

Romaji: Atarashii Kutsu wo Kawanakucha

Release Date:  06th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director: Eriko Kitagawa

Writer:  Eriko Kitagawa

Starring: Miho Nakayama, Osamu Mukai, Mirei Kiritani, Gou Ayano

I would probably avoid this based on the poster and title. I am not even a familiar with two of the actors – Miho Nakayama, Osamu Mukai (Beck, Girls for Keeps). I am familiar with Gou Ayano (The Samurai that Night, Helter Skelter, Tajomaru) and Mirei Kiritani who was Maya in Ace Attorney and Nino in Arakawa Under the Bridge. It is directed and written by Eriko Kitagawa and this is the third film directed by a Japanese woman I have written about this year. She was apparently inspired when she read about the actress Miho Nakayama and her life in France. It is produced by Shunji Iwai (All About Lily Chou-Chou, Vampire, April Story).

Aoi Teshigahara (Nakayama) is a freelance writer based in Paris. She meets Sen Yagami (Mukai) who is a photographer who has just arrived in the city of flowers to join his younger sister Suzume (Kiritani). When Aoi and Sen meet they fall in love over the next three days while Suzume and Kango (Ayano), the beau at the other long distance relationship, meet.

 

Tsunagu                                                               Tsunagu Movie Poster

Japanese Title: ツナグ

Romaji: Tsunagu

Release Date:  06th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 129 mins.

Director: Yuichiro Hirakawa

Writer:  Mizuki Tsujimura (Novel)

Starring: Tori Matsuzaka, Kirin Kiki, Ryuta Sato, Mirei Kiritani, Ai Hashimoto, Ito Ono, Tetsuya Bessho, Miyoko Asada, Kenichi Endo, Manami Honjou

This featured over at Otherwhere in a trailer weekly where I first saw it. It stars Tori Matsuzaka (The King and I, The Wings of the Kirin) and Kirin Kiki (Still Walking, Villain) in the leads with support from Ryuta Sato (Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts, Insight into the Universe) and Ai Hashimoto (Control Tower, Sadako 3D, Another, The Kirishima Thing).

Ayumi (Matsuzaka) is a high school student who is being trained by his grandmother (Kiki) as a tsunagu, an intermediary between the living and the dead.

 

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 1                   Madoka Movie 1 Poster

Japanese Title: 劇場版 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ [前編]始まりの物語

Romaji: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika Movie 1

Release Date:  06th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 130 mins.

Director: Akiyuki Shinbou

Writer: Gen Urobuchi

Starring: Aoi Yuuki (Madoka Kaname), Kaori Mizuhashi (Mami Tomoe), Eri Kitamura (Sayaka Miki), Chiwa Saito (Homura Akemi), Emiri Kato (Kyuubey)

I have no interest in magical girl anime. I watched a few episodes of Sailor Moon and that was enough for me. However, the Madoka Magica franchise is getting such positive buzz that I may have to check it out. It is looking like the Evangelion of magical girl anime what with its post-modern take on the genre and devastating psychological intrigues. Anyway, the first in the trilogy of movie adaptations is released today and it covers the first eight episodes of the television series. It has been directed by Akiyuki Shinbou who has been connected to some of the most important anime of the last five years like Arakawa Under the Bridge and Bakemonogatari.

 

Madoka Kanome (Yuuki) is a normal school girl with a caring family and good friends like Sayaka (Kitamura). She leads a calm life until she meets a new transfer student named Homura Akemi (Saito). What changes? She sees Homura attack a creature. When Madoka tries to stop Homura she finds herself transported to a strange world where scary creatures exist and it is only with the help of a girl called Mami Tomoe (Mizuhashi) that she manages to escape. She soon finds herself in a world of magic but soon finds it can be very deadly.

Nerawareta Gakuen (School in the Crosshairs) Full Trailer

Nerawareta Gakuen (School in the Crosshairs)      Nerawareta Gakuen Poster

Japanese Title: ねらわれた 学園

Romaji: Nerawareta Gakuen lit. Aimed School

Release Date:  19th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Ryousuke Nakamura

Writer: Taku Mayumura (Original Story), Yuko Naito, Ryosuke Nakamura (Screenplay)

Starring: Mayu Watanabe, Yuutaro Honjou, Kana Hanazawa, Daisuke Ono

A full trailer for the forthcoming anime movie adaptation of Taku Maymura’s popular 1973 sci-fi novel Nerawareta Gakuen (School in the Crosshairs) has been released by the production studio Sunrise (Cowboy Bebop, Colorful). It looks stunning. Just watch.

It is spring and another new school year and another school for 8th grade junior high school student Ryoichi Kyogoku (Ono) who has recently moved to Kamakura. Things might be boring but Kyogoku is a telepath and has been ordered by his father to use this ability to scan other people’s minds and take over the school.

Being good looking and charismatic, he wins major popularity at the school which allows him to initiate his plans. He secretly manipulates his followers and pushes aside anyone who gets in his way but there is one student who seems unaffected – Seki. Does Seki have what it takes to save everyone?

This is the first anime movie adaptation and it looks spectacular – a rich mix of colours seen in the likes of Makoto Shinkai’s works. It is being produced by Sunrise’s Studio 8 (Accel World) with Ryosuke Nakamura acting as director and scriptwriter. Nakamua earned my attention with his work on Mōryō no Hako. He has also worked on other favourite anime titles of mine like Monster and Occult Academy. The music production group supercell (familiar from the Bakemonogatari themes) providing the theme song which can be heard in the trailer. Music composer Shusei Murai, who also worked on Mōryō no Hako, is here. Character designer Mieko Hosoi has worked on an interesting catalogue of titles including The Tatami Galaxy and The House of Five Leaves. It stars the voices of Kana Hanazawa (Anri in Durarara!! and Kobato in the anime of the same name and, most importantly for me, Mayuri in Steins;Gate) and Daisuke Ono (Itsuki in the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise) while AKB48 member Mayu Watanabe takes another role.

This is not the first time that the book has been adapted into different formats multiple times with two live-action films made in 1981 and 1997 and four live-action television dramas. Interestingly, the 1981 film was directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi who made the wonderful and surreal horror film House. For those of us in the UK this October it can be seen at Scotland Loves Anime.