Screaming Class, Figua na Anata, I’ve Done My Best, The Serialist, Far Away So Close, The Sango Ranger, School Girl – 1936, Naoko’s Room, BANK, Non-metallic Night, Japanese Film Trailers

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition PhotoThis week has been spent writing, writing, writing. I got back from London at the beginning of the week and since then I have been writing up review notes from the Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2013 and, if I’m honest, from two films from the Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Programme which I really need to get done. Writing up the Anime UK News Summer Anime Preview for 2013 and writing up this trailer post which took longer than expected. I caught up on the anime I missed and watched one film set in Japan – Dream Cruise.

Posts this week include a look at the East End Film Festival, a post about Terracotta and a production video from the set of the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service.  Expect anime and movies next week.

Here are the trailers for the films released this weekend.

Screaming Class                  Screaming Class Film Poster

Japanese Title: 絶叫学級

Romaji: Zekkyou Gakkyuu

Release Date: June 14th, 2013

Running Time: 77 mins.

Director: Tetsuya Sato

Writer: Emi Ishikawa (Original Manga),Uiko Miura (Screenplay),

Starring: Haruna Kawaguchi, Alice Hirose, Mayu Matsuoka, Louis Kurihara

Do you know what has been missing these last few weeks? A horror film. Here’s one. This mid-budget effort is based on a 2008 manga series of the same name by Emi Ishikawa which I looked up and it’s kind of alright… Really, no one does horror like Junji Ito but anyway… It stars a bunch of up and coming actresses like Alice Hirose (Soup), Mayu Matsuoka (Kioshita Keisuke Story, The Kirishima Thing, Love Exposure, Lesson of the Evil, Potechi), and Haruna Kawaguchi who has been in a haunted high school movie in P.O.V. – A Cursed Film. Ghosts in a girls school? It sounds a lot like the Whispering Corridors films (Memento Mori is the best in that sequence) but it looks like a lot of fun!

When high school student Kana (Kawaguchi) has her photograph selected for a magazine she becomes the victim of a bully named Rio (Hirose) who is a popular student. Kana hears rumours of a ghost of a former student who died in an accident which resides old school building. This ghost can grant wishes but at the cost of something important. Kana is desperate and decides to see if it exists. The next day she is part of Rio’s gang but Kana’s friend Erika (Matsuoka) ends up getting bullied. Things get even hairier than this.

Figua na Anata                                Figyua Anata Film Poster

Japanese Title: フィギュア あなた

Romaji: Figyua Anata

Release Date: June 08th, 2013

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Takashi Ishii

Writer: Takashi Ishii (Screenplay/Original Manga),

Starring: Emoto Tasuku, Sasaki Kokone, Naoto Takenaka, Rina Sakuragi, Yuki Mamiya, Rumi Kazama

Ah, Takashi Ishii, a manga artist, writer and movie dude who has written and directed quite a few films I know like Black Angel and Gonin. He is here this week with an adaptation of a manga of his which can be described as an erotic love fantasy. With nudity and otaku and a doll that comes to life it could also be described as male wish-fulfilment. It stars Tasuko Emoto, son of Akira Emoto (Starfish Hotel) and husband of Sakura Ando (Ai to Makoto), who has been in lots of quality films like Yellow Elephant but it is his work in Air Doll makes him particularly suited for the role of the lonely otaku at the heart of the story. His doll is the gravure idol Sasaki Kokone. The trailer makes this look better than the synopsis and details involved. Action, sexy girls, excellent visuals and some decent looking drama prove this isn’t T&A drivel. No, it’s sleazy but aims for something higher.

Kentaro Uchiyama (Emoto) is a lonely otaku who is fired from his job. Feeling sorry for himself he heads to a bar and drowns his sorrows but things turn bad when he is chased by group of thugs into an empty building. Things then turn strange when he s rescued by a girl wearing a sailor suit. He takes her home with him but in the morning she turns into a figure. The mysterious transforming girl and the Otaku live together but how will their relationship work?

I’ve Done My Best                                           I've Done My Best Film Poster

Japanese Title: 俺はまだ本気出してばいだけ

Romaji: Ore wa Mada Honki Dashite nai Dake

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 105 mins.

Director: Yuichi Fukuda

Writer: Yuichi Fukuda (Screenplay), Shunju Aono (Original Manga)

Starring: Shinichi Tsutsumi, Ai Hashimoto, Katsuhisa Namase, Takayuki Yamada, Gaku Hamada, Renji Ishibashi

Bakuman for adults? Shunju Aono’s manga about a normal guy striving to be a manga artist gets the movie adaptation treatment and the trailer for this comedy shows that it looks to be very funny. The bathetic image of the central loser who initially lacks the drive and ideas to actually do anything about his ambitions and would rather play videogames. It reminds me of Fine, Totally Fine with its cast of dreamers. It is directed by Yuichi Fukuda (HK: Hentai Kamen) and it stars a whole host of great actors like Shinichi Tsutsumi (One Missed Call, Monday, Space Brothers), Ai Hashimoto (Another, The Kirishima Thing), Takayuki Yamada (Thirteen Assassins), Gaku Hamada (Foreign Duck, See You Tomorrow, Everyone) and Renji Ishibashi (Ninja Kids!!!).

Middle-aged Daikoku (Tsutsumi) is a bit of a sad-sack father whose high school daughter Suzuku (Hashimoto) has given up on him. Living with his father Shiro (Ishibashi) he decides to follow the slogan “Find your true self!” and quits his job at a company to become a manga artist. Soon, all those around him become a part of his quest.

The Serialist                                                         The Serialist Film Poster

Japanese Title: 二流 小説家 シリアリスト

Romaji: Niryuu Shousetsuka Shiriarisuto

Release Date: June 15th, 2013

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director: Nobuaki Izaki

Writer: Nobuaki Izaki, Kenichi Onishi, Yoko Ito, Yukiko Mishima (Screenplay), David Gordon (Original Novel)

Starring: Takayama Kamikawa, Shinji Takeda, Nana Katase, Aya Hirayama, Rina Koike, Tomoka Kurotani, Denden, Keiko Toda, Hirotaro Honda

From David Gordon’s post-modern murder mystery novel of the same name comes a Japanese film running under the title Second-rate Author The Serialist (Niryuu Shousetsuka Shiriarisuto). The plot sounds interesting enough and the trailer looks almost exciting. The poster has a Saul Bass look to it as well. Actually its displays of research into the death of women and running around forests reminds me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Director Nobuaki Izaki has worked on television crime dramas like Aibou. There are some familiar faces in the cast like Hirotaro Honda (Zero Focus) and Shinji Takeda (Pulse).

Ippei Akabane (Kamikawa) is an unpopular second-rate novelist who gets an interesting offer from death row inmate Daigo Kurei (Takeda): let us have an interview and you can write my memoirs. Daigo is on death row for killing four women by decapitating them and sending pictures of the bodies with flower decorations to the police. Scenting a chance to break into the best-seller list Ippei takes Daigo up on his offer but when women start getting decapitated again he finds himself the main suspect and must work to clear his name!

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