Green Jail, Ogawa Dorama Tokugawa ☆ Ieyasu, Searching for the Wolf, Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai, Hitsuji to Mikan to Nichiyoubi, Lost Fist Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, again.

The Day of Destruction Film Image 2

I hope that you are all well this Saturday!

This is the second part of my weekend trailer post. You can find the first part here.

What else was released this weekend?

Continue reading “Green Jail, Ogawa Dorama Tokugawa ☆ Ieyasu, Searching for the Wolf, Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai, Hitsuji to Mikan to Nichiyoubi, Lost Fist Japanese Film Trailers”

Junk Head, The Blue Danube, Kiba: The Fangs of Fiction, Girlz und Panzer das Finale Part 3, K4 Company THE MOVIE Cardboard of the Day, SHORT TRIAL PROJECT 2020, Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone.

Pop Rina Ono

I hope everyone is doing fine.

This is the first of a two-part trailer post (six trailers today, six tomorrow) and it comes almost a week after recording a podcast about the Shohei Imamura film The Eel. I spent most of last week watching Imamura films.

This week just flew by and I haven’t consumed as much, just the anime for Blade of the ImmortalI Think We’re Alone Now, and Leaving DC, which are on Amazon Prime, and POP! which was at the Osaka Asian Film Festival. Here’s my review for POP!. I also posted a news item about a double-bill of Toshiaki Toyoda films playing in Chicago’s Music Box cinema and a new project by the director.

What are some of the first films of the weekend?

Continue reading “Junk Head, The Blue Danube, Kiba: The Fangs of Fiction, Girlz und Panzer das Finale Part 3, K4 Company THE MOVIE Cardboard of the Day, SHORT TRIAL PROJECT 2020, Japanese Film Trailers”

POP! Director: Masashi Komura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

POP!    Pop Film Poster

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 86 mins.

Director: Masashi Komura

Writer: Masashi Komura (Script), 

Starring: Rina Ono, Yugo Mikawa, Katsuya Kobayashi, Masumi Nomura, Kenta Kiguchi,

Website

POP! is part of the line-up of MOOSIC LAB 2020-2021. Like entries in the film festival’s previous editions, it pairs together up-and-coming movie and music talents so that they can create a film where music plays a large part in the proceedings, whether through being performed on screen or through a soundtrack that is a very prominent part of the film. In practice, while the fest may feature a slate of films that share similar themes or story set-ups, since each work is coming from different combinations of creatives, the results tend to be unique and a good showcase of the strengths of all involved.

While many of the last round of MOOSIC LAB releases pondered mortality, they each did it in a completely different way, from a laugh-out-loud supernatural mockumentary to a hip-hop infused family comedy, a heart-breaking time-slip movie done through cassette tapes to a gentle post-rock Lynchian adventure. Some are simply music videos stretched out to 30 minutes. A glance at MOOSIC LAB 2020-2021 shows that it is no different as each film looks tonally different with dramas and comedies, some pushing into the experimental and surreal, words which could be used for POP!.

Making his debut feature with this POP! is Masashi Komura, a relatively new filmmaker who has worked on a number of projects including co-writing the screenplay for The Man Who Was Eaten, which was featured at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2016, writing and directing the 2017 film LEO, and appearing in Ken Ninomiya’s The Matsumoto Tribe (2017). His script and direction for POP! create a quirky coming-of-age tale of a young woman experiencing existential drift as she stands on the cusp of adulthood. The final result is a mixed bag of ideas and one that requires patience but it certainly has an atmosphere.

Continue reading “POP! Director: Masashi Komura (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Toshiaki Toyoda’s Uprising 2021 in Chicago and A New Toyoda Film

“Only those rescued by movies will save movies” – Dir: Toshiaki Toyoda

Source: https://www.kodo.or.jp/cms/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Profile_toshiaki-toyoda_credit_Keisuke-Nagoshi.jpg

That’s a pretty cool mantra and one I can believe in and I hope that you do, too. You wouldn’t be reading this post if it were otherwise. Anyway, earlier this month I saw information on an event called The Toshiaki Toyoda’s Uprising 2021 in Chicago. This is a physical screening of Wolf’s Calling (2019) and The Day of Destruction (2020) on Friday, April 09th, at 19:00 at Chicago’s MUSIC BOX THEATRE – THEATRE1.

Seeing these two films on the big screen would be an incredible experience as they present blisteringly unique and challenging visions of cinema thanks to director Toshiaki Toyoda who is one of Japan’s most challenging voices. He brought together top-line actors to grace the screens and rock groups to bring bone-shaking sounds to blow out speakers in a couple of short films that shook the world.

Here is information on the films:

Continue reading “Toshiaki Toyoda’s Uprising 2021 in Chicago and A New Toyoda Film”

Kontora, Caution, Hazardous Wife: The Movie, You’re Not Normal, Either, Left of Chopin, Ikiro Shimada Akira Senchuu Saigo no Okinawa Kenchiji, Me and the Cult Leader, Eiga Healin’ Good ♥ Precure Yume no Machi de Kyun! tto GoGo!, and Other Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

Itomichi Film Ren Komai and Mei Kurokawa

I hope that you are all doing well.

This week I covered a couple of Osaka Asian Film Festival posts with my interview with Oudai Kojima going live as well as my review of the Satoko Yokohama film Ito. For now, I’ll be watching some Shohei Imamura films.

What is scheduled for Japanese cinemas this weekend?

Continue reading “Kontora, Caution, Hazardous Wife: The Movie, You’re Not Normal, Either, Left of Chopin, Ikiro Shimada Akira Senchuu Saigo no Okinawa Kenchiji, Me and the Cult Leader, Eiga Healin’ Good ♥ Precure Yume no Machi de Kyun! tto GoGo!, and Other Japanese Film Trailers”

Ito いとみち Director: Satoko Yokohama (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Ito    Itomichi Film Poster

いとみち Itomichi

Release Date: June 25th, 2021

Duration: 92 mins.

Director: Satoko Yokohama

Writer: Satoko Yokohama (Script), Osamu Koshigaya (Original Novel)

Starring: Ren Komai, Etsushi Toyokawa, Mei Kurokawa, Yoko Nishikawa, Mayuu Yokota, Ayumu Nakajima, Daimaou Kosaka, Shohei Uno,

Website IMDB OAFF

Winner of the Grand Prix and Audience Award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021, Ito is the first solo feature film from director Satoko Yokohama since her 2015 drama The Actor. Her cinematic return, following a stint in TV, is an adaptation of the first of Osamu Koshigaya’s series of three youth novels that were serialised and published between 2011 to 2016. His novels find their setting in Aomori Prefecture, the birthplace of Yokohama and also of the film’s lead actress Ren Komai.

There must have been an attraction to working on a project that is so close to home and it feels as if their intimate knowledge of Aomori’s way of life helps make more unique and meaningful its heart-warming comedy drama about a teenage girl who finds her voice through maid cafes and shamisen.

Itomichi Film Ren Komai and Mei Kurokawa

Continue reading “Ito いとみち Director: Satoko Yokohama (2021) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

An E-mail Interview with Oudai Kojima, Director of JOINT [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

“No idea’s original, there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s never what you do, but how it’s done,” Nas from the album Best of Nas

While every country around the world has its organised crime gangs, few hold the level of mystique and infamy that Japan’s Yakuza does. Their style, codes, hierarchies, history, and their full-body tattoos have long been the subject of books, video games, news articles, and films to the point that they have become part of global popular culture. In Japan, many directors have either worked in the genre of used elements of it in their own films. Consequently, unless a director has a strong story, style, or philosophy, films based on the nefarious activities of Japan’s criminal underworld have a have a feel of deadened familiarity. This familiarity was not what I felt when watching JOINT.

JOINT tells the story of a guy trying to get clear of the criminal underworld but getting caught up in a gang war. While its story has many plot points familiar from other films, the realistic way it is shot, the details in the narrative and the performances of its cast created an atmosphere that was unlike many other contemporary Japanese crime films and so it felt different. More importantly, the atmosphere was so strong it made the film gripping and I felt that I was taken into a different world, one better reflective of Japanese criminal gangs operating today. It’s pretty remarkable considering that JOINT is the debut feature of director Oudai Kojima.

Born in Kobe in 1994, Oudai Kojima is a director, cinematographer, and editor who makes music videos, commercials, and, now, fiction films. He was raised in New York from the age of 3 to 13. After returning to Japan he studied architecture at the University of Tokyo. His entry into the film world began by studying under filmmaker Tomokazu Yamada for a year and a half before he began production on JOINT, his debut feature. I saw it when it was played at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021. He kindly took part in an email interview where he answered questions about his background, the work put in to JOINT to create its realistic atmosphere, and how he got such convincing performances from his cast.

My questions were translated into Japanese by Takako Pocklington while director Kojima answered in both English and Japanese.

The Japanese transcript is first and it is followed by English. Click on a link below to be taken to one or the other.

Japanese English

Joint film Poster 2

Continue reading “An E-mail Interview with Oudai Kojima, Director of JOINT [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, Love, Life and Goldfish, Banzai! Here is Lover Road, Brave: Gunjyo Senki, Grave of Love, Shimajirou to Sora Tobu Fune Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend, everyone!

 

I hope that you are all well.

In normal times, as a member of the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF), I’d be over in Japan watching films and meeting people. AND EATING OKONOMIYAKI! Instead, Covid-19 struck and it has been a year of keeping safe and rebuilding. I’ve been going into work occasionally but spent more time at home and this has been my situation for this year’s edition of OAFF. I’ve been helping out on various things whilst still writing reviews and conducting interviews (via e-mail) and so I’ve put up a bunch here already.

Keep Rolling – Thanks to this documentary, I now know everything there is to know about Ann Hui!

Three Sisters – You have to laugh otherwise you’d cry in this South Korean drama

The Slug – OHMYGOD,IWANTTOCRYINTHISSUBTLEANDHEARTBREAKINGFILMFROMSOUTHKOREA

JOINT – well-shot and gripping crime film charting Japan’s underworld!

yes, yes, yes – powerful drama that will make you love your family more!

An interview with the director of yes, yes, yes – find out the background to one of the best films of OAFF2021

Goto-san – Haha, a rom-com set in an internet cafe oH nO, we’ve turned a corner and now it’s a ride through the capitalist hellscape!

I hope that we all stay safe and overcome Covid-19. I know I’ll return to Osaka when that happens.

What was released this week?

Continue reading “Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, Love, Life and Goldfish, Banzai! Here is Lover Road, Brave: Gunjyo Senki, Grave of Love, Shimajirou to Sora Tobu Fune Japanese Film Trailers”

An Email Interview with Akihiko Yano, Director of “yes,yes,yes” [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

I wish I were better at writing about acting because every now and then I watch a film where there are astonishing performance that I am spellbound and profoundly moved. In those situations, I want to wax lyrical to do justice to what I have seen. Of course, every other aspect of the film counts, too. When I watched the drama yes,yes,yes I was not quite prepared for the actors who are, raw vulnerable, surprising, realistic, and honest.

Director Akihkro Yano worked with his cast closely and stripped away most movie artifice to get phenomenal performances to convey the emotionally intense situation in his script. The story concerns a family reacting to the news that the matriarch Sayuri (Nahoko Kawasumi) may die. This sets off emotional chain reactions that cause conflict, particularly with teenage son Takeaki (Kazuma Uesugi), before there is eventually, healing. It is a heartfelt story and it felt real. Indeed, it made me cry multiple times and gave a feeling of catharsis as I took in its lesson of learning to appreciate and love those around and thought deeply about people in my own life.

Continue reading “An Email Interview with Akihiko Yano, Director of “yes,yes,yes” [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”

Gotō-san ゴトーさん Dir: Hiroshi Gokan (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

Gotō-san

ゴトーさん Gotō-san

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 77 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Gokan

Writer: Hiroshi Gokan (Script), 

Starring: Hirofumi Suzuki, Tomomi Fukikoshi, Seiichi Kohinata, Manaka Kinoshita, Sun Chi,

OAFF

Mild spoilers in this review

Don’t be fooled by the cute tone, Gotō-san is both dark and refreshingly substantive in its politics which it masks with off-beat characters and meet-cutes in a less-than-ordinary setting. To wit, director Hiroshi Gokan provides a deconstruction of our current capitalist climate wherein, due to factors such as economic liberalisation, cuts to welfare systems, casualisation of work, and certain so-called “efficiencies” such as My Number Cards added for control of identification, society can be quite inhospitable for those who fall off the employment treadmill. Indeed, a person can “disappear” and life can turn into a nightmare as the lead character, the titular Gotō-san finds out.

As travellers and the generally cash-strapped know, 24-hour internet cafes can be cheap and convenient places to stay. The best of them provide showers, a laundry service, a manga library, spacy-enough private booths with computers and the anonymity to live undisturbed for the price of a few thousand yen a day. This is where our titular character Gotō-san works as an assistant and also where he lives.

Continue reading “Gotō-san ゴトーさん Dir: Hiroshi Gokan (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]”