Featured

Haruneko はるねこ Dir:  Sora Hokimoto (2016)

Haruneko    

haruneko-film-poster
haruneko-film-poster

はるねこHaruneko

Running Time: 85 mins.

Release Date: December 16th, 2016

Director:  Sora Hokimoto

Writer: Sora Hokimoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Yohta Kawase, Lily, Min Tanaka, Lion kawai, Minako Akatsuka, Ryuto Iwata, Keisuke Yamamoto, Yo Takahashi,

Website IMDB

Produced by experienced writer/producer Takenori Sento and producer/director Shinji Aoyama (Eureka), this curious mash-up of a film is the distinctive debut of Sora Hokimoto and the type of thing that will most-likely only be seen at festivals and that’s a shame because it is strikingly beautiful and haunts the memory.

Essentially a supernatural musical, the movie takes place deep in a forest where there is a cosy and well-furnished café nestled in a grove of trees by a river. It is run by The Manager (Yamamoto), an earnest young man who makes pour-over coffee. He lives with an elderly woman (Lily) and a boy called Haru (Iwata). The café is an idyllic place and a refuge for anyone who wants to die. These people vary, good and bad but they all want to escape something.

Continue reading “Haruneko はるねこ Dir:  Sora Hokimoto (2016)”

Advertisements
Featured

Daguerrotype ダゲレオタイプの女  (2016) Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Daguerrotype   Daguerrotype Film Poster

ダゲレオタイプの女 Dagereotaipu no onna

Running Time: 131 mins.

Director:  Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Screenplay), Cattherine Paille (adaptation) Eleonore Mahmoudian,

Starring: Tahar Rahim, Constance Rousseau, Olivier Gourmet, Mathieu Amalric,

Website IMDB

Daguerreotype is the first film Kurosawa has shot outside Japan but the story fits easily into his horror oeuvre which consists of tales where supernatural beings impinge on the vistas of protagonists who we watch undergo crises, their minds unable to correlate events that, once pieced together, provide a shocking revelation for the viewer as we see the main characters are actually morally compromised. The French setting, cast, and crew ably deliver this type of tale in a chilling ghost story light on jump scares and heavy on melancholy and dread as an ordinary man finds himself sucked into a supernatural tale of love and betrayal.

Jean (Tahar Rahim) is a working-class guy with a vague interest in photography. Desperate for a job he applies for many each day and finally stumbles into one as a photographer’s assistant. He heads to a crumbling manor on the outskirts of Paris to work as the assistant for the reclusive photographer named Stephane (Gourmet).

Daguerrotype Film Image

Continue reading “Daguerrotype ダゲレオタイプの女  (2016) Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa”

Featured

Neko Atsume House  ねこあつめの家 (2017) Dir: Masatoshi Kurakata

Neko Atsume House  Neko Atsume House Film Poster

ねこあつめの家 「Neko Atsume Ie

Running Time: 92 mins

Release Date: April 08th, 2017

Director:  Masatoshi Kurakata

Writer: Yuji Nagamori (Screenplay)

Starring: Atsushi Ito, Shiori Kutsuna, Tomoro Taguchi, Tae Kimura, Kayoko Okubo, Masahiro Toda,

Film adaptations of video games are usually bad. Filmmakers face the choice of trying to faithfully transfer a source choked with awfully written lore like Assassins Creed or depart from the source entirely like Super Mario where the platform jumping turtle stomping plumber fights property developers in New York. What to make out of a casual mobile video game where there’s no real story and the sole aim of the experience is collecting cats and purchasing toys to keep them content?

Neko Atsume House, when translated into English, means Cat Collector’s House. As delightful as this sounds, the narrative eschews producing a Rent-a-neko (2012) style quirky protagonist and gives audiences an every-man struggling in a real situation and shows the help he derives from cats in a gentle comedy.

The character we follow is novelist Masaru Sakumoto (Atsushi Ito). He was once a celebrated hotshot in the literary world but a severe case of writer’s block means he is now forced to churn out a zombie-themed serial novel to earn money. Panicked by feelings of failure, he retreats to an old house in the countryside in a place called Tako town. It is here he aims to find inspiration and jump-start his creativity.

Continue reading “Neko Atsume House  ねこあつめの家 (2017) Dir: Masatoshi Kurakata”

Featured

Fullmetal Alchemist, Demekin, Akai tasuki tomioka seishijō monogatari, The Last Shot in the Bar, Touken Ranbu Hanamaru Intermission Flashback Record, Laughing Under the Clouds Gaiden – Parting The Oath of the Yamainu, Thunderbolt Fantasy Shōshi Ikken, Cocolors, Ashita ha docchi da, Terayama Shuji, Sugite ike, entai 10-dai, Yagate mizu ni kae (kae) ru, Nigeta sakana wa oyoi deru., Fuku Kaze wa Aki Japanese Film Trailers       

Happy Weekend People!

I hope everyone is doing well. After a couple of months of pretty decent output in terms of Japanese practice and film-watching and balancing my day-job, I hit a week where, due to emergencies and meeting friends, I didn’t get as much as I wanted done. Pushing on through that, I have got back on track and just in time to. I need to finish off a script quick-sharp and watch six more films before the year is out and re-watch two special ones. I can do it!

This week, I reviewed the films Tokyo Idols (2017) and Rage (2016). What films are released in Japan this weekend?

FEEL THE HYPE!

Tokyo Idols Rio

Continue reading “Fullmetal Alchemist, Demekin, Akai tasuki tomioka seishijō monogatari, The Last Shot in the Bar, Touken Ranbu Hanamaru Intermission Flashback Record, Laughing Under the Clouds Gaiden – Parting The Oath of the Yamainu, Thunderbolt Fantasy Shōshi Ikken, Cocolors, Ashita ha docchi da, Terayama Shuji, Sugite ike, entai 10-dai, Yagate mizu ni kae (kae) ru, Nigeta sakana wa oyoi deru., Fuku Kaze wa Aki Japanese Film Trailers       “

Featured

Rage 「怒り」 Dir: Sang-il Lee 2016

Rage Rage Film Poster

怒り 「Ikari

Running Time: 142 mins

Director:  Sang-il Lee

Writer: Sang-il Lee (Screenplay), Shuichi Yoshida (Novel),

Starring: Ken Watanabe, Aoi Miyazaki, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Gou Ayano, Suzu Hirose, Pierre Taki, Mirai Moriyama, Takahiro Miura, Chizuru Ikewaki, Kenichi Matsuyama,

Website IMDB

Rage is about the desperate need for human connections and the difficulties in maintaining trust when paranoia grips people. It takes place in four different communities in three separate regions of Japan following a grisly crime and the ambitious story allows a star-packed ensemble cast to go for glory in its bid for human drama but not everything resonates.

Continue reading “Rage 「怒り」 Dir: Sang-il Lee 2016”

Featured

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, Shashin Koshien Summer in 0.5 Seconds, The Stand-In Thief, Death Row Family, Tsumasaki no Uchuu, Itoshi no Nora: Shiawase no Meguriai, Cage, Chisana Hashi de, Koinowa: Konkatsu Cruising, Nagura Team ga kaisan suru hi, Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight AXIS, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower Japanese Film Trailers             

Happy weekend, people. I hope everyone is doing well! I have been a bit quiet this week, working away on a video game and practising Japanese. I managed to put out two posts, one about the London International Animation Festival and the other about the films BAMY and Tokyo Vampire Hotel getting screened at the Torino Film Festival in Italy. I’ll get back on track with film reviews next week. Expect one about a documentary soon.

What’s released in Japan this weekend?

Gokurosama Image 2

Continue reading “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, Shashin Koshien Summer in 0.5 Seconds, The Stand-In Thief, Death Row Family, Tsumasaki no Uchuu, Itoshi no Nora: Shiawase no Meguriai, Cage, Chisana Hashi de, Koinowa: Konkatsu Cruising, Nagura Team ga kaisan suru hi, Mobile Suit Gundam Twilight AXIS, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower Japanese Film Trailers             “

Featured

Dear Etranger 幼な子われらに生まれ (2017) Dir: Yukiko Mishima

Dear Etranger    Dear Etranger Film Poster

幼な子われらに生まれ 「Osanago Warera ni Umare

Running Time: 127 mins.

Release Date: August 26th, 2017

Director:  Yukiko Mishima

Writer: Haruhiko Arai (Screenplay), Kiyoshi Shigematsu (Original Novel)

Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Rena Tanaka, Kankuro Kudo, Shinobu Terajima, Sara Minami, Miu Arai, Raiju Kamata, Shingo Mizusawa, Narushi Ikeda,

Website IMDB

Dear Etranger is an intimate drama about one man trying to balance two families and be an ideal father at a time when others give him or are going through crises. Free from melodrama and idealism, it paints a believable picture of the stresses and strains of maintaining a loving family unit built from the scraps of past relationships.

The film is based on a novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu and tells the tale of 40-year-old Makoto Tanaka (Tadanobu Asano), an assistant manager at a company.

Continue reading “Dear Etranger 幼な子われらに生まれ (2017) Dir: Yukiko Mishima”

Featured

Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers – Miwa Nishikawa, Satoko Yokohama, Naoko Ogigami, and Mami Sunada films will be screened in London

Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers’, is a season of free film screenings co-organised by the Japan Information and Cultural Centre (JICC), Japan Foundation and National Film and Television School with the aim of celebrating the diverse and exceptional work by the new generation of female directors who have emerged from the Japanese archipelago in the last fifteen years. There are four female filmmakers on offer, three as part of the main season and one as a special screening at the Japanese embassy. Here is the information:

Archipelago Contemporary Japanese Female Filmmakers Banner

This special season dedicated to showcasing some of the works of female directors from the Japanese archipelago will take place in cinemas across London with a screening at the Japanese embassy. Naoko Ogigami (originally from Chiba) is the first to get shown off and that takes place at the embassy. The three other directors whose works will be shown on screen are Miwa Nishikawa from Hiroshima, Mami Sunada from Tokyo, and Satoko Yokohama from Aomori, hence the name of the season.

Nishikawa and Sunada have both worked with Hirokazu Kore-eda as assistant directors but while Nishikawa has gone on to write and direct feature-films in the realist mould, Sunada has concentrated on documentaries. Yokohama, meanwhile, has made films that combine reality and touches of fantasy. Cinephiles with an interest in Japanese films will probably know Nishikawa and Yokohama and Sunada since their films are getting more and more exposure. For those not well-versed with Japanese films, they will be in for a treat since their works are excellent. As the event organisers have written,

“This programme will offer a glimpse into the distinctive voices of these screenwriter-directors, whose work remains largely undiscovered outside their home country. Each with their particular style, these filmmakers have secured themselves a unique place in the Japanese film industry by occupying a narrative space that is neither mainstream nor fully arthouse, subverting genre boundaries, and rarely adhering to a solely female-centric vision.”

Here are the films on offer:

Continue reading “Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers – Miwa Nishikawa, Satoko Yokohama, Naoko Ogigami, and Mami Sunada films will be screened in London”

Featured

Snow Woman 雪女 (2017) Dir: Kiki Sugino

My yearly Halloween post is back! Last year, when I was in Tokyo, I reviewed Hideo Nakata’s mid-90s chiller, Don’t Look Up! (soon to be released in the US with a sparkly update thanks to Tidepoint Pictures). That very same week, I went to see Snow Woman at the Tokyo International Film Festival thanks to a friend. Here’s my review!

 

Continue reading “Snow Woman 雪女 (2017) Dir: Kiki Sugino”

Featured

Birds Without Names, My Teacher / Teacher! Is It Okay for Me to Love You?, Ayamachi Scramble, To Become a Woman, Hibaku ushi to ikiru, Linking Love, Dawn Wind in My Poncho, Free! -Take Your Marks-, Yama no Susume: Omoide Present, Kirakira☆Precure A La Mode Movie: Paritto! Omoide no Mille-Feuille! Japanese Film Trailers

Hello dear reader. I am bringing back my trailer weeklies as the film resurgence begins. Inspired by my stay in Japan, recent films I have watched, and seeing the works listed at the Tokyo International Film Festival, I’m super-excited about what the Japanese film industry is producing. I’ve also been inspired by my stint working at an anime film festival and writing recent reviews such as:The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Film Image 3

Mind Game

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl

Double Life

Close-Knit

Japanese Girls Never Die   Mind Game Film Image

Getting Any?

Zigeunerweisen

Yamato (California)

I also wrote about the Five Flavours Film Festival in Poland.

What is released this weekend in Japan?

Continue reading “Birds Without Names, My Teacher / Teacher! Is It Okay for Me to Love You?, Ayamachi Scramble, To Become a Woman, Hibaku ushi to ikiru, Linking Love, Dawn Wind in My Poncho, Free! -Take Your Marks-, Yama no Susume: Omoide Present, Kirakira☆Precure A La Mode Movie: Paritto! Omoide no Mille-Feuille! Japanese Film Trailers”