Girls for Keeps, Kotsutsubo, My House, Still Human Beings Trailers and Japanese box-office Charts

The Cannes film festival is winding down and critical responses have been mixed for Japanese films. Abbas Kiarostami’s latest film, Like Someone in Love, has had prLike Someone in Love Posteraise for the performances of the actors (particularly the gorgeous Rin Takanashi) but the story with its ambiguous ending has upset many. Thankfully Takashi Miike rescued proceedings with Ai to Makoto. Also flying the flag for Japan was Koji Wakamatsu with his Mishima biopic which has garnered a good review (more on that tomorrow).  I also had the pleasure of seeing the Olympic Flame pass by and managed to get a picture of the young lady carrying it. And all of the sponsors. And the Metropolitan Police Escort.

What is dominating the Japanese movie box-office charts?

  1.  Dark Shadows
  2.  Thermae Romae
  3.  Sadako 3D
  4.  Space Brothers
  5.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker

Tim Burton storms to the top of the charts of the charts as the newest entry at number one while familiar franchise entries make up the rest of the top ten. Thermae Romae is doing excellent business as it remains in the top three  for the fourth week in a row. Enough of that… what Japanese films get released today?

Girls for Keeps                                             Girls for Keeps Movie Poster

Japanese Title: ガールGaru

Release Date: 26th May 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 124 mins.

Director: Yoshihiro Fukagawa

Writer: Hideo Okuda (Novel)  

Starring: Kumiko Aso, Karina, Yuka Itaya, Rei Dan, Rosa Kato, Michiko Kichise, Osamu Mukai, Yusuke Kamiji, Jun Kaname, Kento Hayashi, Eriko Hatsune, Mei Kurokawa, Kenichi Yajima

Based on the 2006 anthology novel Girl, the movie adapts a number of short stories that follow women in their romantic lives and so on. Obviously I’m not the target audience but I recognise a lot of the names involved: Kumiko Aso (Pulse), Yuka Itaya (Suvive Style 5+, Apartment 1303). Eriko Hatsune (Norwegian Wood, Spiral) head the list of beautiful ladies while the handsome men include Kento Hayashi (Arakawa Under the Bridge), Jun Kaname (Casshern), and Kenichi Yajia (Sonatine, Kamikaze Taxi).


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Apartment 1303 1303号室 (2007)

Apartment 1303 Review HeaderFrom the director of numerous adaptations of Junji Ito’s manga Tomie comes Apartment 1303, a horror film that makes me go “meh”.

Apartment 1303 in the Blue Palace Hiroaka has cheap rent. Why? The building is famous for being haunted by ghosts. Not really. The reason the rent is cheap is because it is far away from the train station. At least that is the story given by the Maple Housing real estate agent to Sayaka Imōto who is moving to her first apartment away from older sister Mariko (Noriko Nakagoshi) and their mother (Naoko Otani). All seems well Sayaka’s house-warming party until she leaps off her thirteenth floor balcony. Sayaka’s mother is devastated by the death and in an effort to prevent her from sliding into madness Mariko decides to investigate. She soon uncovers a history of suicides connected to the apartment stretching back to a tragic relationship which exerts a supernatural influence. Does a creepy little girl know more than she is letting on.

Apartment 1303 - When Chika Arakawa Tells You to Look, Look!

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Uzumaki (Spiral) うずまき (2000)

It Draws You In - Uzumaki Review BannerI hate Junji Ito’s horror manga. I say this not because his manga is bad but because it is bloody good and thus, bloody terrifying. His work has inspired such cosmic dread in me that whole summer days have been ruined and I have been left a shuddering wreck trying to convince myself that his horror can’t happen to me. Thankfully films based on his work are much more fun.

Everything starts with a girl named Kirie (Eriko Hatsune) staring at her town of Kurouzu from a nearby hillside. Something strange happened there. Cut to a few days earlier and Kirie is running through town on her way to meet her boyfriend Shuichi (Fhi Fan). She encounters Shuichi’s father Toshio (Ren Osugi) who is absorbed in filming a snail shell’s spiral. After meeting Shuichi she hears how bad Toshio’s obsession with spirals is. Shuichi has a bad feeling about the town which he believes is cursed by the shape of a spiral, something which becomes increasingly obvious as more and more people around town succumb to strange deaths involving spirals. It isn’t until Toshio dies that Kirie and Shuichi are spurred into action. With the help of Ichiro, a local journalist, they search the town history and find dark secrets linked to ancient mirrors retrieved from the nearby Dragonfly pond and a cult obsessed with spirals.

Uzumaki's Ground-Zero Town

Do you know where spirals are? Everywhere! Lollipops, cakes, snails. Just look at your fingerprints, hair. Try your ears. Even the insides of your ears have spirals…  Imagine having spirophobia and want to destroy spirals or being so obsessed with spirals that you allow them to take over your whole life. The potential physical and psychological destruction is huge and amusingly demonstrated in this film.

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