Judge! ジャッジ!(2014)

Judge! (2014)   Judge 2014 Film Poster

Japanese Title: ジャッジ!

Romaji: Jajji!

Running Time: 105 mins.

Release Date: January 11th, 2014

Director: Akira Nagai

Writer: Yoshimitsu Sawamoto (Screenplay)

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Keiko Kitagawa, Lily Franky,
KyokaSuzuki, YosiYosi Arakawa, Yoji Tanaka, Denden, Ryo Kase, Etsushi Toyokawa, Iyo Matsumoto,

What I am about to say is very important…

The final film I saw at the Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 was the international premiere of Judge! and it was a fantastic way to finish the event. Akira Nagai flew in to introduce the film and even took the time to talk to me.

Taking a break from an award-winning career in a Tokyo-based advertising company, director Akira Nagai makes his feature film debut with the 2014 comedy Judge! Both Akira Nagai and writer Yoshimitsu Sawamoto have careers in advertising which they both draw on to make a sleek, light-hearted, and hilarious satire on the international ad industry which made me roar with laughter.

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Our Sunhi

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Our Sunhi  Our Sunhi Film Poster

Release Date: September, 12th 2013 (South Korea)

Seen at the BFI London Film Festival

Running Time: 88 mins.

Director: Hong Sang-Soo

Writer: Hong Sang-Soo (Screenplay)

Starring: Jung Yu-Mi, Lee Sun-Kyun, Jung Jae-Young, Kim Sang-Joong, Ye Ji-Won, Lee Min-Woo

Meet Sunhi:

 Our Sunhi Reading Her Reference

She is in her mid-twenties and is studying film. Apparently she went into hiding for one year. She just disappears off the map from time to time, seemingly on the verge of dropping out of her course…

But now she’s back because she needs a reference letter from her lecturer Professor Choi so she can study at a graduate school in the US. He agrees to write something truthful about her but she is unhappy with his description of her and asks for a rewrite. While she is waiting for it she encounters her mopey ex-boyfriend Kim Moonsoo who still harbours feelings for her. She also falls in with her introverted college senior Jaehak who has already made his debut as a filmmaker and is living apart from his wife. As the three men bump into each other and Sunhi, they all give each other advice about their lives and careers and the men cannot stop thinking about her.

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Petty Romance Release Details

Terracotta will release the movie Petty Romance on DVD next week on the 8th of October. Apparently it is one of South Korea’s biggest box office smashes in 2010 where it sold nearly 500,000 tickets. It is Petty Romance and it comes from first-time director Kim Joung-Hoon’s. It is described as being “a movie where a sex columnist and a comic book artist team up to create the ultimate female action manhwa hero.”

Sounds awesome! While the director is unfamiliar to me, some of the actors I do recognise from K-horror movies like Into the Glass, R-Point, Whispering Corridors and more.

Here are the details:

Petty Romance DVD Case

PETTY ROMANCE

 A film by Kim Joung-hoon

 Starring: Lee Sun-kyun (Oki’s Movie, Paju, Night and Day, Coffee Prince), Choi Kang-hee (My Scary Girl, Whispering Corridors), Oh Jung-se, Ryu Hyun-kyung

 

Korea / 2010 / 118 Mins / In Korean with English subtitles / Certificate 15

Release Date: 8th October 2012

Spectacular action and sizzling love scenes from the couple’s imagination were given life through the hand of award winning illustrator Seok Jeong-hyeon. The movie captures the process of adult animation production and director Kim Jeong-hoon uses a great technique of mixing feature film and adult Manwha (Korean comic books) for erotic & fighting segments when the couple’s inner thoughts come alive into action.

Petty Romance Illustration

Synopsis

An adult cartoon contest is announced offering a $100,000 prize. Talented cartoonist Jung-bae (Lee Sun-Kyun) is constantly turned down by publishing companies because of his poor story lines. To raise his chances of winning, he hires a sex advice columnist, Da-rim (Choi Kang-hee), a self-claimed expert on relationship and love-making with big imagination and zero experience. For the cartoon competition, Da-rim comes up with the idea of a female assassin, Ma Mi-so, who keeps her male victims captive for erotic kicks.

The two, who seemed perfectly matched, team up for the lucrative prize, bringing out their respective wildest fantasies. Trouble is set to brew: will they be able to complete the task and win the competition?

Jung-Bae (Lee Sun-Kyun) and Da-Rim (Choi Gang-Hee) in Petty Romance

Live action interspersed with erotic and action manga scenes.

DVD Special Features

  • Making of
  • Interview of lead actor and actress
  • Korean Teaser Trailer
  • Stills Gallery

Mitsuko Delivers ハラがコレなんで (2012)

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Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese: ハラがコレなんでMitsuko Delivers Poster

Romaji: Hara Ga Kore Nande

UK Theatrical Release Date:   11th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

After watching Yuya Ishii’s 2010 film Sawako Decides I was struck by how his sharp script led to humorous and truthful observations of human nature while his naturalistic direction gave the actors ample room to bring out great comic performances so it was something of a surprise when I found Mitsuko Delivers a shallow experience.

Mitsuko (Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She hops in a taxi follows a cloud back to the ramshackle and destitute working-class alley where she grew up and finds her arrival and her get-up-and-go attitude soon compel the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory. Soon, old sweet-heart Yoichi (Nakamura) and his uncle Jiro (Ishibashi) find their restaurant reinvigorated and old landlady, Kiyo (Inagawa) remembers that Mitsuko was always absent-minded.

Mitsuko is not as saccharine sweet as most “home dramas”, its gentle surrealism gives it an edge but it does not imbue it with a vivid identity of its own. Although we get themes such as the importance of family and a championing of back to basics communitarianism of the past, it is put through Ishii’s filter of quirky, satirical humour. The tenement Mitsuko returns to is an old fashioned place (the only place that survived an air raid during World War II). It is an environment engineered to evoke nostalgia but there is an unexploded bomb lurking to keep things interesting. While the characters’ exist in the reality of a country undergoing economic hardship and wallowing in the past they are stylised, aimed at selling the message that “now more than ever we have to help each other and face the future.”

“Clouds drift so aimlessly, just like people.”

Riisa Naka as Mitsuko in Yuya Ishii's 2011 Film, Mitsuko Delivers

Adding to the slyly rebellious feel is our protagonist Mitsuko who isn’t your stereotypical good Japanese girl – forceful and adventurous, she doesn’t have much common sense but overflows with confidence. She radiates a good nature, living with the belief that she has to “be cool” and help those in need even if they don’t want help or it hurts her. She allows herself to become an object to help others – maid, life-coach – and finds herself aiding life’s losers. That someone in a situation like hers forcefully brings comfort to people who would look down on her provides most of the comedy and life of the film.

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Quirky Guys and Gals サビ男サビ女 (2011)

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Quirky Guys and Gals Basic InformationQuirky Guys and Gals is a production from New Cinema Workshop where students learning to be producers handle making movies. With this production they give four directors a story outline to work with which results in four entirely different comic vignettes peeking at dark topics and celebrating the overcoming of accepted social boundaries through the unlocking of a quirky side. It could have been painfully unfunny but succeeds at being very amusing and original in most sections.

Quirky Guys and Gals (Sabi Otoko, Sabi Onna) ties together four stories of people searching for a spark in their lives. Yosuke Fujita (Fine, Totally Fine) leads off with “Cheer Girls,” an entertaining tale of a woman (Nanami Sakuraba) whose passion is to lead cheers—though not for sports teams. Rather, she finds common people and creates anthems to encourage them in everyday life. Tomoko Matsunashi’s “Boy? Meets Girl,” is a Tootsie remake in a high-school setting. Mipo O’s “Claim Night” sees the 30-something Mayuko (Tomochika) return home to find the electricity in her apartment turned off, yet when she finally gets a repairman to come over, their over-the-top confrontation gives rise to a wildly comedic situation. Lastly, Gen Sekiguchi (Survive Style 5+) offers up “The House Full of ‘Abandoned’ Businessmen” a quaint tale of a housewife who collects out-of-work salarymen to try and give them a fresh start.

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Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Maid

I hate moe. So if, say last month, you told me that I would be enjoying anime involving moe and maids, I probably would have punched you for insinuating that I enjoy all manner of near-pervy images that moe and maids conjure up in a Google search.

Yet here I am about to sing the praises of:

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru.

I wish my maid was as cool as her.

Soredemo is a gorgeously animated, adventurous slice of life anime replete with relentless upbeat humour and a lead character and supporting cast I really liked.

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Monty Python’s Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy)

This was a performance celebrating 40 years of Monty Python that was captured by digital cameras and screened in cinemas. The group come together (minus Cleese) in the Royal Albert Hall for an oratorio based on the legendary film, Life of Brian. Accompanying the Pythons were four opera singers, and the magnificent BBC symphony orchestra and chorus.

He's Not the Messiah Poster
Poster

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