Flashback Memories 3D, Dead Sushi, Tokyo Family, Gokaija Kaizoku Sentai Tokumei Vs Go Busters The Movie, Caracalla Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office Chart

Shinobu Saturday SnowThis week was marked with the tragic news that Nagisa Oshima has passed away. You can be sure I’ll post an obituary about him tomorrow. I watched a few films – Alien, Cello, Oranges and Sunshine and posted about the releases for The King of Pigs, The Woodsman & the Rain and the Japanese Films screening at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. The last post was the most fun as the films screening are exciting and it sparked interesting conversations with fellow cinephiles. My lack of film activity can be pinned to trying to complete a Japanese essay and preparing for a blizzard at the end of the week which would Snow Covered Royal Mail Post Boxdisrupt my commute to work. Said snow materialised on Friday morning. Snow covered everything and yet my train was on time (yay). I was not the only one on time as most of my colleagues managed to get in. The morning was spent shuttling around doing important tasks in preparation for the possibility that we might close early and talking to others about the weather and then I got to finish work early. I spent the rest of the day enjoying the snow and taking pictures (I had packed my camera in my backpack the night before), listening to classic スーパーカー and writing my Japanese essay which is just happens to be about Ghibli films.

What does the Japanese Movie Box Office (January 12-13) look like this week?

  1. Gekijouban Hunter x Hunter
  2. Les Miserables
  3. One Piece Film Z
  4. Looper
  5. Taken 2
  6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  7. Skyfall
  8. Love for Beginners
  9. Humanoid Monster Bem
  10. Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

And at number one is… Huh? One Piece has dropped to number 3? What’s number 1? Hunter x Hunter? I didn’t see that one coming but then I don’t know how popular the show actually is. Anyway it is the only Japanese film released last week to break into the top 10.

What is released in Japan today?

Flashback Memories 3D                                                   Flashback 3D Film Poster

Japanese Title: フラッシュ バック メモリーズ 3D

Romaji: Furasshu Bakku Memori-zu 3D

Release Date: January 19th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 72 mins.

Director: Tetsuaki Matsue

Writer: N/A

Starring: GOMA, Kosuke Tsuji, Kenta Tajika, Kyoichi Shiino

Director Tetsuaki Matsue has made a number of documentaries including the award winning Tokyo Drifter (2009). For 2013 he has two film released this very month. The first is about the didgeridoo musician GOMA who  was involved in a car accident which resulted in mild traumatic brain injury. Mild traumatic? Nothing sounds mild about trauma when it can lead to lasting psychological damage and apparently it has resulted in memory loss for GOMA. In this music documentary we hear his account of the car accident, his near-death experience, see the damage done to the brain through prismatic 3D recreations and his subsequent recovery and how he copes with the loss of a fully functioning memory and his new take on life. We are also allowed to listen to his music and view past performances dating back to the 1990’s. I probably made it sound much more boring than it actually is. The trailer looks really good.

Dead Sushi                                             Dead Sushi Film Poster

Japanese Title: デッド 寿司

Romaji: Deddo Sushi

Release Date: January 19th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 92 mins.

Director: Noboru Iguchi

Writer: Noboru Iguchi, Makiko Iguchi, Jun Tsugita

Starring: Rina Takeda, Matsuzaki Shigeru, Takashi Nishina, Asami

Noboru Iguchi is a name known to cult film fans for his work on splatter titles like Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead and The Machine Girl. He has also adapted Junji Ito’s Tomie manga onto the big screen with the gruesome Tomie Unlimited. Well he is back in the cinemas of Japan with a film which looks downright silly and funny. Dead Sushi. When I first saw the trailer last year I thought it was awful but he specialises in the fun type of awful and not the normal awful awful… Anyway it stars the beautiful and deadly Rina Takeda of High Kick Girl! And Karate Girl fame. One of her more recent titles, The Kunoichi was recently released in the UK.

Keiko (Takeda) dreams of following in her father’s footsteps and becoming a master sushi chef (She’ll need cold hands!) but when she applies for a role at a countryside hot-spa restaurant (onsen ryokan) she is only offered the role of waitress with only the friendship of sushi chef Sawada (Matsuzaki) on offer. Then, one day, a suspicious man visits the inn and injects drugs into sushi turning the food item into bloodthirsty monsters that attack the diners!

Tokyo Family                                       Tokyo Family Film Poster

Japanese Title: 東京 家族

Romaji: Tokyo Kazoku

Release Date: January 19th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 146 mins.

Director: Yoji Yamada

Writer: Yoji Yamada, Emiko Hiramatsu

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Yu Aoi, Jun Fubuki, Masahiko Nishimura, Isao Hashizume, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Nenji Kobayashi, Yui Natsukawa, Shozo Hayashiya, Chika Arakawa, Ryuichiro Shibata

Western cinephiles interested in Japanese cinema hold Yasujiro Ozu’s works in high regard and rightly so because his films are brilliant. At least every film I have seen has been excellent. So you may forgive me for my almost Pavlovian response to seeing the title Tokyo Family and immediately thinking of Ozu’s 1953 drama Tokyo Story… That’s a lie. I immediately thought Tokyo Sonata and then had a look at the smiling faces on the poster and thought they looked too happy to be in a Kurosawa film and going with Tokyo Story. Anyway, Tokyo Family is based on Ozu’s classic title and looks to be one of those films august directors come out with. Said respected director is Yoji Yamada who is a very familiar name having helmed The Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade and Love and Honour. The film clocks in at over two hours and is packed with a variety of names like Yu Aoi (All About Lily Chou-Chou, Mushishi, Hula Girls), Jun Fubuki (Séance, A Road Stained Crimson), Yui Natsukawa (Shikoku, Still Walking), Satoshi Tsumabuki (For Love’s Sake, Villain) and Chika Arakawa (Apartment 1303)… always listen to her.

Shukichi Hirayama (Hashizume) and Tomiko (Yoshiyuki)are an old married couple who live on a small island in the Inland Sea. When they visit their children in Tokyo they see the successful lives the have built for themselves. Eldest son Koichi (Nishimura) runs a hospital, Shigeko (Nakajima) runs a beauty salon and Shuji (Tsumabuki) works in the theatre and plans to marry Noriko (Aoi). The parents find that life in Tokyo is not for them and want to go home but a medical emergency strikes when Tomiko collapses.

 

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters VS Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger THE MOVIE   Go vs Busters the Movie Film Poster

Japanese Title: 特命戦隊ゴーバスターズVS海賊戦隊ゴーカイジャー THE MOVIE

Romaji: Gokaija Kaizoku Sentai Tokumei Vs Go Busters The Movie

Release Date: January 19th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 62 mins.

Director: Takayuki Shibasaki

Writer: Kento Shimoyama (Screenplay)

Starring: Arisa Komiya, Hiroya Matsumoto, Ryota Ozawa

Another super sentai show with a huge and unwieldy title. I don’t know if I can translate this. It is directed by Takayuki Shibasaki who has worked on various Masked Rider films since 2002 so he has more passion for the genre than I do.

The Zangyakku Empire have arrived on earth with the Gokaija Kaizoku team at the forefront of their search for a Ranger Key. Which is strange because they should be defending the earth from the Zangyakku Empire. Still, they are searching and they will have to fight the Go Busters.

 

Caracalla Karakara Film Poster

Japanese Title: カラカラ

Romaji: Karakara

Release Date: January 19th 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 104 mins.

Director: Claude Gagnon

Writer: Kento Shimoyama (Screenplay)

Starring: Alkane Gabriel, Youki Kudoh, Satoshi Shomi, Megumi Tomita

A Japanese film directed by a westerner? There are more than a few precedents, the most recent that springs to mind is Starfish Hotel which is directed by a Briton and Like Someone in Love which is directed by an Iranian. This one is Caracalla and is directed by Canadian Claude Gagnon (he won the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award in 1979 for a film called Keiko, his debut that his wife helped him make). He has other films involving Japanese like The Pianist and Kamataki. It looks to be a road movie involving two very different people finding friendship and possibly more. The trailer certainly looks intriguing and I would choose this as my movie of the week. Anyway, it stars Y0uki Kuoh who has starred in a real mix of movies like Memoirs of a Geisha, Rush Hour 3, L: Change the World, Zatoichi: The Last, Snow Falling on Cedars and The Limits of Control. She was also the voice of Saya in Blood: The Last Vampire.The film won 2 awards at the Montreal World Film Festival.


Pierre (Gabriel) is a former University professor who takes a long desired trip to Okinawa. Junko (Kudoh) is a woman escaping a violent husband. The two journey together and a strange friendship builds. Will it lead to anything more?

6 thoughts on “Flashback Memories 3D, Dead Sushi, Tokyo Family, Gokaija Kaizoku Sentai Tokumei Vs Go Busters The Movie, Caracalla Trailers and the Japanese Film Box Office Chart

  1. Ahhh, finally a trailer for Tokyo Family. And you listed Tsumabuki first in the credits. 🙂 This one is definitely going on a Trailer Weekly soon.

    The terms “west” and “east” are problematic to start with, but listing Kiarostami as an example of a western director making a film in Japan?

    1. Ah, a moment of laziness. Please forgive me. I am more than aware that Kiarostami is Iranian (and I know little about films from that country) it’s just the last I read about him he is based in France and I simply wanted a recent example of an outsider working in Japan with Japanese actors and ideas.

      Tokyo Family looks okay. I would not prioritise it over anything even if it does have a great cast like Tsumabuki et al.

  2. Tired Paul

    Youki Kudoh is great in Mystery Train! Also I heard (somewhere) it practically made Masatoshi Nagase popular in Japan apparently!

    1. I was very surprised to see Youki Kudoh’s filmography had all of those western titles. I vaguely remember Pumpkin in Memoirs of a Geisha but I had to think long and hard about seeing her in the others… Rush Hour 3 had a number of Japanese in it.

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