Shady かしこい狗は、吠えずに笑う (2013)

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Shady                                   Shady Film Poster                                         

Japanese Title: かしこい狗は、吠えずに笑う

Romaji: Kashikoi Inu wa, Hoezu ni Warau

Release Date: June 22nd, 2013

UK Release Date: March 24th, 2014

Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 94 mins.

Director: Ryohei Watanabe

Writer: Ryohei Watanabe (Screenplay)

Starring: mimpi * β, Izumi Okamura, Isao Nakazawa, Gota Ishida, Ayumi Seko

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Japanese film industry has resorted to producing nothing more than big-budget adaptations of novels, books, and anime and retreads of tried and tested formulas. Original ideas are still alive and kicking, particularly in the indie scene, but sometimes hard to track amidst all of the noise that the bigger releases produce. When an original indie film does make a splash, word spreads quickly over the internet. “Shady” is a prime example.

The first post fellow blogger Alua made for 2013 contained the trailer for this film and I commented on it stating that I liked it. I kept an eye on it and finally got to see it at last year’s Raindance Film Festival and let me tell you what a surprise it was.

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Why Don’t You Play in Hell? 地獄でなぜ悪い (2013)

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?           

Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄でなぜ悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Release Date: September 28th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

This has been a long time coming. I saw Why Don’t You Play in Hell? at last year’s BFI London Film Festival and I had huge expectations. In the months leading up to the screening I had posted trailers and made posts full of Gifs. It was my final festival film of the year and walking into the cinema I was tingling with excitement. Why? Because Sono is one of my two favourite Japanese directors and this looked awesome. I can confirm that it was God-tier awesome. 

The film opens on a teenage director named Hirata who, along with his amateur film crew The F*ck Bombers, is busy shooting a gang fight between some Yankees. The main ambition of The F*ck Bombers is to make the most miraculous movie ever with realistic action! These guys will come into play later as the film switches to Muto (Kunimura), a yakuza crime boss who is the top target of a rival gang.

 Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Jun-Kunimura

A hit-squad from the rival gang head to Muto’s home. Except he’s not there. His wife Shizue (Tomochika) is. What results is a bloodbath as Shizue defends her home from the gangsters… 

Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Muto's-Wife-Tomochika

Meanwhile, as mother dearest is chasing one of the few survivors of her rage, Muto’s daughter, the angelic child actress Mitsuko, arrives home to find herself wading in a sea of blood. Lying on the kitchen floor and bleeding out is lone survivor Ikegami (Tsutsumi) who is charmed by Mitsuko so much that he develops a bit of an obsession. He stumbles out of the crime scene where he runs into Hirata and The F*ck Bombers who realise he is an honest to God blood-covered yakuza and begin to film him.

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Best Anime of 2013

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One of my new year’s resolutions for 2013 was to review more anime and I have done that. By combining my writing for Anime UK News with my blog and by carving out 30 minutes a day for viewing titles I have upped my anime output. As a result of these efforts I have lot of titles to choose from for my Best Anime of 2013. I’ll split this into the two categories of film and TV simply because I have seen some great films and TV. When I originally wrote this Spirited Away was on Film4 so it continues!

My top ten anime of 2013 is below followed by my final choices for my favourites of the year.

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Genkina hito’s Best Game of 2013 – The Cave

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I played a lot of games in 2013 but there have been few that have impressed me or The Cave Video Gamemoved me enough to write about them (unlike The Walking Dead  ;_;). A lot of them felt like chores to do (a feeling I increasingly get as I get older and have little time to indulge such things) but this one didn’t. My game of the year is the puzzle-platformer/adventure “The Cave” which was released digitally on all of the major platforms back in January. While it didn’t get excellent reviews I still enjoyed it tremendously.

The Cave is an adventure where the player gets to take control of three (or four if you take The Twins) characters from a cast of seven people who are lured by a sentient talking cave (who acts as the narrator of the game) into exploring its dark depths in search of what they desire most.

The Cave Characters

What these characters don’t know is that while spelunking they will encounter an environment which draws upon the darkest aspects of their characters, their greed and jealousy and murderousness. The Cave acts like a surreal dream-like set of tunnels which channel the character’s rotten souls’ and psyches as they replay their worst moment.

It is like a form of hell where the character re-enact their sins over and over.

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Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2013 and Hello to 2014 – New Year’s Resolutions

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Welcome to my last post of the year.

As 2013 draws to an end I see that I have made major steps in my personal and public life. I have had promotions at work, improved my Japanese language skills and met lots of Japanese people and attended lots of film festivals and watched lots of films and even achieved most of my resolutions.

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