Kiyoshi Kurosawa is my favourite director and for much of his career he has focussed on horror movies. Post Tokyo Sonata (2009) Kurosawa has become more conventional and mainstream as he slides into making dramas and adaptations of novels so it is great to revisit one of his horror films for Halloween 2015!
I have gone and published this trailer post early because Halloween falls on a Saturday this year and I traditionally post a film review on Halloween so this Saturday is reserved for a review of a film I think is pretty special and scary on a soulful level and just right for Halloween. So far this week I have spent more time watching television shows like The Walking Dead, Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider, and lots of time practicing Japanese –passive form, transitive/intransitive.
Earlier this week, I posted an announcement about the release of Makeup Room. Expect a film review on Saturday.
This indie comes from director Kei Morikawa who draws from his experiences as a former adult-video director for this comedy which stars some real life AV actresses. The comedy revolves around the egos and chaos involved in a porn shoot and the antics that happen in the makeup room. It looks like a similar deal toBe My Babyin the sense that it’s effectively a stage play with a limited set, shot on a shoestring budget and features actors doing lots of acting rather than porn.
I suppose I should say don’t go in expecting a flesh parade. It’s actually a funny and intelligent peek behind the pink curtain that covers the Japanese porn industry and while it avoids the uglier side of the trade it delves into taboos and problematic areas that the performers encounter in real life.
The Tokyo International Film Festival launched this week and there are quite a few good-looking films. I should cover it but around this time of the year I am super busy. I’m also spending less time writing about films these days. I need to practice Japanese more so something has to get cut, not that I’m happy about it especially since I’m seeing anime and films I think are brilliant. For example, Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider has me hooked so I bought the book.
With that written, I posted on film review this week and it was for Happy Hour (2015) which I saw at the London Film Festival. It gets its release in Japan this December.
I went to see Sicario (2015) in a cinema yesterday and it was a well-crafted and tense film full of great performances. I am tempted to review it.
Happy Hour is a film unlikely to get licensed in the West. With a five hour seventeen minute running time dedicated to showing the lives of four middle-aged women, distributors might think that the film is likely to test the patience of many and for some in the audience I was with when I saw it at the London Film Festival that proved to be true. For viewers with patience this is less the endurance test it sounds like and more an example of a character-driven story rich in small incidents and details that build up to show lives of three-dimensional characters whose stories are quietly compelling. While slow it paints a fascinating picture of contemporary Japan with a little social commentary added.
I may not be watching as many films at the London Film Festival this year as I have in others but I am still kept in the loop about events thanks to friends who tell me that Hirokazu Koreeda’s Our Little Sister (2015) is a brilliant film. Industry contacts have sent me news about the London East Asian Film Festival which launches at the end of next week so I’ll be posting about that next week. I finally watched The Martian (2015) as well and enjoyed it a lot. As for the new anime I am watching Subete ga F ni naru: The Perfect Insider and One Punch Man are two of the shows I’m picking up.
Starring: Shuji Kshiwabara, Mika Hijii, Ben Hiura, Masanori Mimoto, Donpei Tsuchihira,
The title says it all really. Aliens fighting ninjas. Two of the most iconic draws in cult movie history duke it out in a battle that should be cinematic gold but in the hands of director Seiji Chiba it is boring.
The rumble takes place in Sengoku era Japan where the Iga Ninja clan are spying on feudal lords and debating whether to throw their lot in with Oda Nobunaga or Tokugawa Ieyasu. Yamata, a young and impetuous ninja who revels in the thrill of the fight, is less interested in the politics so when a meteorite crashes into a village and unleashes a trio of aliens he finds himself facing his ultimate test as he fights katana against claw, shuriken against snakelike tail, and fist against fang.
Well, I am back from my short trip to London and the BFI London Film Festival where I met a friend and did some touristy things. I only watched one film this year and it was Happy Hour, a five hour drama about four women in Kobe and the shockwaves from a divorce that jolt the friends from their dull relationships. I must admit that there were times during the film when I wished I were watching Yakuza Apocalypse or Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen but Happy Hour proved to be a worthwhile watch.
Only one review this week and it was for Helldriver (2010).
Splatter film director Yoshihiro Nishimura has one setting: extreme. His creatures designs are extreme. His action scenes are extreme. His use of special effects and blood splashed around on screen is extreme. If you thought that Tokyo Gore Police(2008) andVampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl (2009) were extreme, you have seen nothing. Helldriver (2011) is a bone-crunching, head-splitting, and grotesque attempt at a zombie apocalypse epic on a shoestring budget and it is extreme action for its entire near two hour running time for better and for worse.
After a movie drought lasting nearly a month (I think the last film I watched was Kiki’s Delivery Service in the middle of August) I spent last weekend gorging myself on films. On Friday I attended the Raindance film festival with two friends and watched Slum-polis (2015) and Fires on the Plain (2014). I also met the director Shinya Tsukamoto and had a picture taken with him. Then on Saturday I went to the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival with a friend and watched A Letter to Momo (2012), Short Peace (2014), and one of my most favourite anime of all time, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (1987). On Sunday I went and watched Kazoku Game (198). It was an incredible series of films so expect reviews.