That’s It  それだけ Dir: Gakuryu Ishii (2015)

That’s It   

Soredake That's It Film Poster
Soredake That’s It Film Poster

それだけ 「Sore dake」

Release Date: May 27th, 2015

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Gakuryu Ishii

Writer: Kiyotaka Inagaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Shota Sometani, Erina Mizuno, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Jun Murakami, Gou Ayano,

Website   IMDB

Gakuryu Ishii loves punk music and this film was inspired by the 1999 song “Sore dake” by Japanese rock band Bloodthirsty Butchers. The rest of the band’s music is also featured in the film which was released on May 27, 2015, two years to the day the Bloodthirsty Butchers’ lead singer Hideki Yoshimura died. With lyrics and chords adding to the energy of the proceedings, this is a shot of urban punk action with echoes of films from director Gakuryu’s earlier career.

Continue reading “That’s It  それだけ Dir: Gakuryu Ishii (2015)”

Japanese Films at Cannes Film Festival 2014: Still the Water Trailer and Details

Genki Cannes Film Festival 2014 Banner

The films playing at the Cannes Film Festival were announced earlier today and as expected Naomi Kawase’s latest feature is in Competition. She is competing against a field full of very strong directors like Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, David Cronenberg and Jean-Luc Godard. Kawase’s film looks the most intriguing to me, although Mike Leigh’s film about JMW Turner has me interested as well. Here are the details on Kawase’s film (alas, no trailer. I guess we’ll have to wait):

Continue reading “Japanese Films at Cannes Film Festival 2014: Still the Water Trailer and Details”

The Land of Hope 希望の国 (2012)

Genki The Land of Hope Review Banner

The Land of Hope                               The Land of Hope Movie Poster

Japanese: 希望 の 国

Romaji: Kibou no Kuni

Release Date: October 20th, 2012 (Japan)

UK Release Date: August 26th, 2013

UK Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 133 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono

Starring: Isao Natsuyagi, Naoko Otani, Jun Murakami, Megumi Kagurazaka, Yutaka Shimizu, Hikari Kajiwara, Denden, Mariko Tsutsui, Yusuke Iseya, Mitsuru Fukikoshi,

When Sion Sono’s last film Himizu came to its stunning open ending it was clear that he was far from finished addressing the issues surrounding the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tusnami. The Land of Hope is the powerful and important follow-up which is epic in scale and drama. For daring to take on such a taboo subject in Japan, Sono had to go to foreign investors but what has resulted is a film that is a key way of seeing the effects of a disaster. At two hours it captures all sorts of aspects about the disaster but remains incredibly humane as it centres on the travails of two families.

An old couple named Yasuhiko and Chieko Ono (Natsuyagi and Otani) live on a farm with their son Yoichi (Murakami) and his wife Izumi (Kagurazaka) near Ohara town in Nagashima prefecture.

 The Land of Hope Ono and Suzuki Families

It is a peaceful place whose only claim to fame is the nearby Nagashima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Yasuhiko’s days are spent farming land owned by his family for generations, taking care of Chieko who suffers dementia and talking with the neighbouring Suzuki family made up of father Ken (Denden), mother Meiko (Tsutsui), son Mitsuru (Shimizu) and his girlfriend Yoko (Kajiwara). 

Continue reading “The Land of Hope 希望の国 (2012)”

Isn’t Anyone Alive? 生きてるものはいないのか (2012)

Isn't Anyone Alive Review Header Image

Isn’t Anyone Alive?                                                         Isn't Anyone Alive DVD Case

Japanese Title: 生きてるものはいないのか

Romaji: Ikiterumono Inainoka

Japanese Release Date: 18th February, 2012

UK DVD Release Date: 22nd October, 2012 (Third Window Films)

Running Time: 113 mins.

Director: Gakuryu Ishii (aka Sogo Ishii)

Writer: Gakuryu Ishii (Screen Adaptation), Shiro Maeda(Original Story, Screenplay)

Starring: Shota Sometani, Rin Takanashi, Hakka Shiraishi, Asato Iida, Mai Takahashi, Yumika Tajima, Ami Ikenaga, Kota Fudauchi, Keisuke Hasebe, Hiroaki Morooka, Tatsuya Hasome, Eri Aoki, Konatsu Tanaka, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Shoshiro Tsuda, Tateto Serizawa, Chizuko Sugiura, Jun Murakami

Isn’t Anyone Alive? is the latest film from Gakuryu Ishii (formerly Sogo Ishii), a  director I have recently discovered after watching his talky serial killer thriller Angel Dust which I loved. This is his first film after taking a decade out to take up a teaching post at Kobe Design University. Ishii once again shows his skill as a director but instead of cult killers he is tackling the absurd.

Continue reading “Isn’t Anyone Alive? 生きてるものはいないのか (2012)”

A Road Stained Crimson, The End of Puberty, Bakarea High School, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

chungking-expressThis week will be memorable for me forever because I attended my first ever major film event in the shape of the BFI London Film Festival where I saw some God-tier films although things got dicey on my final day because I had to run part of the way to the BFI because I took a wrong turn at Horse Guards Parade (I got there just before the film started). Thankfully I had such a great time that my Olympic marathon could not dent my enthusiasm and the film I saw was, as I mentioned earlier, God-tier. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… the blog kept going because I posted information about Third Window Films and their forthcoming releases of the double set for Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, and Kotoko, which came out on Monday and Isn’t Anyone Alive? which comes out on the 22nd. I also posted a trailer for Park Chan-Wook’s English language debut film Stoker and a little piece about my trip to London for the 56th BFI London Film Festival.

What are the new entries in the Japanese movie box-office this week?

  1. Outrage Beyond
  2. Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope
  3. Tsunagu
  4. Resident Evil: Retribution
  5. The Mystical Law
  6. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
  7. Madoka Magica
  8. The Bourne Legacy
  9. I Have to Buy New Shoes
  10. Intouchables

All of last week’s releases are in the charts…? Really? Even The Mystical Law? Well Outrage Beyond is at the top spot, Tsunagu takes third, The Mystical Law takes fifth and I Have to Buy New Shoes is at nine despite the negative criticism from Alua and Goregirl 😉

What are the Japanese films getting a release today?

A Road Stained Crimson                      A Road Stained Crimson Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 赤い 季節

Romaji: Akai Kisetsu

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 111 mins.

Director: Tetsuhiko Nono

Writer: Tetsuhiko Nono

Starring: Hirofumi Arai, Jun Murakami, Jun Fubuki, Masatoshi Nagase, Taguchi Tomorowo

This trailer featured on Otherwhere last month because it was part of Raindance London. It looks absolutely brilliant, a feeling reinforced by the actors since it stars Hirofumi Arai (Outrage Beyond), Jun Fubuki (Séance, Pulse), Taguchi Tomorowo (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo: Body Hammer), and Jun Murakami (Land of Hope). It features music from Yusuke Chiba, former frontman of J-rock outfit Thee Michelle Gun Elephant.

Ken (Arai) was once a contract killer but has turned his back on violence and spends his time working in a motorcycle shop with his mother Yoko (Fubuki). The one thing that eats away at him is the identity of the man who killed his detective father. Until Akira (Murakami), another contract killer, shows up at the shop and tries to lure Ken back into the killing life. With Akira and the mystery surrounding his father playing on his mind, Ken is faced with destroying the peaceful life he has established with Yoko.

The End of Puberty                                                                       The End of Puberty Movie Poster    

Japanese Title: 恋 に 至る 病

Romaji: Koi ni Itaru Yamai

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Shoko Kimura

Writer: Shoko Kimura

Starring: Miwako Wagatsuma, Yoichiro Saito, Aimi Satsukawa, Shota Sometani

Shoko Kimura makes her directorial debut in a comedy that was seen at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. It sounds like an absolutely twisted story seen in the anime world but reviews plug it as something more considered. It stars. Miwako Wagatsuma (Sentimental Yasuko, Guilty of Romance), Aimi Satsukawa (Demon’s Elevator) and rising star Shota Sometani (Himizu, Isn’t Anyone Alive?, The Wolf Children Rain and Snow). I love the chip-tune music!

Madoka (Saito) is a biology teacher with no backbone. Therefore, he cannot control his class who misbehave. Tsubara (Wagatsuma) is the only person who takes any notice of him. She’s not interested in lessons as she is more interested in Madoka himself because she’s in love with him. Tsubara is quite a strange person herself as she only eats things with preservatives so that her body will not rot after death and she and be remembered. She also likes to draw manga of Madoka and herself having sex but with sexual organs reversed. When the two do have a real life encounter and their sexual organs are switched, they flee to the countryside. Tsubara’s best friend En (Satsukawa) and her amorous boyfriend Maru (Sometani) track them down and they have some erotic energy of their own that they want to work out.

Bakarea High School                                         Shiritsu Bakarea Koko Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 私立バカレア 高校

Romaji: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koko

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 111 mins.

Director: Takashi Kubota

Writer: Akimoto Yasushi, Yuko Matsuda

Starring: Shintaro Morimoto, Hokuto Matsumura, Taiga Kyomoto, Haruka Shimazaki, Mina Oba, Kaoru Mitsumune

Popular NTV show Shiritsu Bakaleya Koko gets the big screen treatment. It features a whole gamut of (ridiculously named) young idols from groups managed by Johnny’s Jr and teams from AKB48 (Haruka Shimazaki, Mina Oba). Just looking at the cast list, poster and the trailer I know I should be packing up my stuff and heading for the hills because this is not aimed at me. Actually parts of it look like a cheap and unmemorable Ai to Makoto.

When the the all-male high school of Baka merges with the all-female high school of Cattleya, the rich girls find themselves confronted with a bunch of troublemakers. Presumably hilarity and romance ensue. 

Space Battleship Yamato 2199                   Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Poster

Japanese Title: 宇宙 戦艦 ヤマト 2199

Romaji: Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199

Release Date: 13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Akihiro Enomoto, Yutaka Izubuchi

Writer: Ryusuke Hikawa

Starring: Daisuke Ono (Susumu Kodai), Houko Kuwashima (Yuki Mori), Kenichi Suzumura (Daisuke Shima), Takayuki Sugo (Captain Jūzō Okita), Aya Hisakawa (Lt. Kaoru Niimi), Rie Tanaka (Ensign Akira Yamamoto), Rina Satou (Makoto Harada)

In 1974 Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express 999, Captain Harlock) and Yoshinubu Mishizaki created Space Battleship Yamato which became a massive hit. Thirty-eight years later we see  the latest part of the anime movie adaptation released. The role of director is taken up by two men: Yutaka Izubuchi is a veteran designer in the anime industry having worked on anime like RahXephon and the brilliant anime Patlabor. He joined by Akihiro Enomoto who has worked on Fafner, Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Nobuteru Yuki (Escaflowne) acting as character designer and animation director.

There are a lot of veteran seiyuu involved with Daisuke Ono (Shizuo Heiwajima in Durarara!!), Kenichi Suzumura (Uta no Prince Sama), Aya Hisakawa (Yoko Yuzuki in Mōryō no Hako), Rina Satou (Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Magical Index), and Rie Tanaka (Sammy in Time of Eve). The animation is produced by Xebec (Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos) and AIC (Burn Up). 

 

In the year 2199, the human race has lost a war against alien invaders named Gamilos and have been driven underground due to the threat of radiation. Scientists give humanity a year before it is destroyed. When young officers Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima retrieve a capsule from a ship that crash landed on Mars they set off to Iscandar on the other side of the Magellan Galaxy which has the technology to smash the Gamilos and save Earth. The battleship Yamato is sent on a mission to get that technology.

 

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal                             Madoka Movie 2 Poster

Japanese Title: Maho Shojo Madoka Magika Eien no Monogatari

Romaji: Maho Shojo Madoka Magika Eien no Monogatari

Release Date:  13th October 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 109 mins.

Director: Akiyuki Shinbou

Writer: Gen Urobuchi

Starring: Aoi Yuuki (Madoka Kaname), Eri Kitamura (Sayaka Miki), Chiwa Saito (Homura Akemi), Emiri Kato (Kyuubey)

Following on from last week’s release of the first Madoka Magica movie, this is the second and it covers the last four episodes of the television series. The animation in the trailers and the look of the posters are incredible but I still cannot bring myself to watch the film. Cast and staff remain largely unchanged but it looks like the one character I might have rooted for didn’t make it…

 

Madoka Kanome (Yuuki) is a normal school girl with a caring family and good friends like Sayaka (Kitamura). She leads a calm life until she meets a new transfer student named Homura Akemi (Saito). What changes? She sees Homura attack a creature. When Madoka tries to stop Homura she finds herself transported to a strange world where scary creatures exist and it is only with the help of a girl called Mami Tomoe (Mizuhashi) that she manages to escape. She soon finds herself in a world of magic but soon finds it can be very deadly.

Third Window Films Release Isn’t Anyone Alive?

When I first saw a trailer for Sogo Ishii’s latest film Isn’t Anyone Alive? at the beginning of the year, I tagged it as looking “very interesting”. When I heard that Third Window Films had picked up for distribution I was overjoyed because I like this type of film. When I watched Angel Dust recently, I knew I had to see this film because Ishii’s skill behind the camera was spell-binding. I have finally watched it and can confirm that I bloody love it. Just how much I feel that way will be determined by a re-watch, but expect a review next week. For now, here are the details:

 Isn't Anyone Alive DVD Case

Isn’t Anyone Alive?

A film by Sogo Ishii (Gojoe, Burst City, Crazy Thunder Road)

Starring: Shota Somentani (Himizu, Sadako 3D, A Man with Style)

Murakami Jun (Yakuza Weapon, Himizu, Land of Hope)

Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death, Like Someone in Love)

Mai Takahashi (Strange Circus, The Great Yokai War)

Japan / 2011 / 113 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour / 35mm

Release Date: 22nd October 2012

Set in a university campus that is attached to a hospital, there is a escaped female patient, a strange man, students and a café worker in a love triangle, a mother looking for a lost child, a love-sick doctor and an unreceptive nurse and an urban legend which could be linked to the end of the world. When people talk about this bizarre urban myth connected to the University hospital, people start dying inexplicably one after another…

With the air of this ‘energy void’ throughout, the world of this absurd black comedy, based upon the theatre play of the same name, starts to take over the world.

With ‘Crazy Thunder Road’ (1980), ‘Burst City’ (1982), ‘The Crazy Family’ (1984), ‘Angel Dust’ (1994), ‘Electric Dragon 80,000V’ (2001) and more, Gakuryu Ishii (previously known as Sogo Ishii) has been amusing us with his talent of totally overstepping genre boundaries with striking images and music. In his latest feature film he has adapted the Shiro Maeda play ‘Isn’t Anyone Alive‘.

DVD Special Features:

Theatrical Trailer

Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope, Blazing Famiglia, Dreams for Sale Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office

This week I enjoyed seeing Doctor Who back in his new series and the Paralympic Games butHyoka Nichijou Pictures I did not watch too many films… I am watching the anime Le Chevalier D’Eon andI also have plans for a season dedicated to a Japanese director (more on that next week)… Indeed, the only Japanese film activity I have taken done this week is furiously posting about the Japanese Films at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, and furiously planning my trip to the BFI London Film Festival (post tomorrow – here is Alua’s post about the event at Otherwhere). I also posted about the cool anime Kyousogiga and Annoying Dragon interrogating me. Blogging style. It was fun! Enough about me.

What is happening with the Japanese movie box office?

  1. Rurouni Kenshin
  2. The Avengers
  3. Prometheus
  4. Dear
  5. Akko-chan: The Movie
  6. The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki
  7. Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts
  8. Intouchables
  9. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
  10. Ushijima the Loan Shark 

Akko-chan the movie, one of the Japanese films released last week enters the chart at number five. Rurouni Kenshin remains at the top spot. Indeed, the top three remain unchanged from last week. Umizaru and The Wolf Children are still raking in cash while another new entry, the French film Intouchables enters just above them.

There is an interesting selection of Japanese films released today.

Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope                      Bayside Shakedown The Final New Hope Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 踊る 大捜査線 新た なる 希望

Romaji: Odoru Daisosasen The Final Arata Naru Kibo

Release Date:  07th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 126 mins.

Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro

Writer: Ryoichi Kimizuka

Starring: Yuji Oda, Eri Fukatsu, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yusuke Santamaria, Shingo Kotori, Shun Oguri, Kotaro Koizumi, Yuki Uchida, Atsushi Ito

This latest entry in the Bayside Shakedown series was released yesterday. This is a popular franchise running since the 90’s – when I first visited Asia movie sites like Kung Fu Cult Cinema back in the early 2000’s, this was a familiar title. This latest one is apparently the final entry in the franchise and it stars Yuji Oda who has been in numerous entries franchise, Eri Fukatsu (Villain, Space Travellers), Yusuke Santamaria (Doppelganger), and Shun Oguri (Ghost Train, Space Brothers). The trailer looks like fun.

Shunsaku Aoshima (Oda) and the team have to unravel a case of kidnap/murder which takes place an International Environmental Summit which may involve a member of the police organisation.

 

Blazing Famiglia                          Blazing Famiglia Movie Trailer

Romaji: Bakugyaku Famiglia

Japanese Title: 莫逆家族 バグギャクファミーリア

Release Date: 08th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Kazuyoshi Kumakiri

Writer: Hiroshi Tanaka (manga)

Starring: Yoshimi Tokui, Kento Hayashi, Sadao Abe, Tetsuji Tamayama, Tatsuya Nakamura, Jun Murakami, Hirofumi Arai, Nao Omori, Arata, Kazuki Kitamura, Mitsuko Baisho

This film is an adaptation of Hiroshi Tanaka’s manga. It stars a whole bunch of popular actors who I keep writing about including Kento Hayashi (Ushijima the Loan Shark), Sadao Abe (Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Maiko haaaan!!!, After Life), Tetsuji Tamayama (Who’s Camus Anyway?, Elevator to the Gallows, Norwegian Wood), Hirofumi Arai (A Road Stained Crimson), Arata (The Millennial Rapture) and Jun Murakami (Himizu, The Land of Hope). I really need to review After Life and Who’s Camus Anyway?

Tetsu Hino (Tokui) once led a teenage motorcycle gang which struck fear in the Kanto area. He is now a father struggling to provide for his family including his teenage son Shuhei (Hayashi) who is now following a rebellious path. When Tetsu is contacted by his old biker gang it is because the daughter of one of them was assaulted by an old rival named Igarashi (Murakami). Tetsu finds himself drawn back into his old life-style.

 

Dreams for Sale                                   Dreams for Sale Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 夢 売る ふたり

Romaji: Yume Uru Futari

Release Date:  08th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 137 mins.

Director: Miwa Nishikawa

Writer: N/A

Starring: Takako Matsu, Sadao Abe, Lena Tanaka, Sawa Suzuki, Tamae Ando, Yuka Ebara,  Tsurube Shoufukutei, Tae Kimrua, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yusuke Iseya,

This film is at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival and from the review that the Japan Times gives it looks pretty good. The cast includes Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata), Takako Matsu (9 Souls, Confessions, April Story), Sadao Abe (Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, After Life), Sawa Suzuki (Loft), Tae Kimura (My House, Kaidan, Starfish Hotel, Infection), and Tamae Ando (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Phone Call to the Bar).

 

When Kanya (Abe) and Satoko (Matsu) celebrate the fifth anniversary of their restaurant they had no idea it would end with the place burning down. This disaster forces Satoko to take on a job at a noodle shop while Kanya gets depressed and does what most movie men do in such a situation: drink and gamble. Then, one night, he returns home with cash and claims he got it by spending time with a lonely woman.  Satoko is initially angry but then realises the full potential of the scame and so the two embark on a series of sham relationships to get money together to re-open their restaurant. Surely it wont go that smoothly?

Ihara and Yakusho in RetributionUnfortunately before I posted this my computer suffered a major software fault. Right now I am running on a slightly older back-up which means I have had to do a bit of tinkering to restore settings/programs. I was able to retrieve my files and get things back up and running but this does not leave me feeling terribly confident. I am going to have to get a new computer and another portable hard drive. If I go dark for a spell, you know why. Fingers crossed, this is just a hiccup.

Another, Our Homeland, Japan Lies, Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, Space is Here!, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Charts

Anime Character Guessing Game Entry - EriThis week I posted a review for The Suicide Manual, a trailer the latest PreCure movie (boy are there a lot of those!) and information of Terracotta’s release of the anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s Gyo (which has me very excited!).  I did have another film review on offer but I have been engrossed with the 2012 Olympics (which I love!) and the BBC’s spectacular coverage (second to none!). I have managed to talk to members of Team GB (okay, their support/physios) and I’ve also had the opportunity to test out my Japanese on visiting Japanese fans who have been unfailingly polite (much to my relief because they could have laughed at my pronunciation etc.). Speaking of Japanese people, I wonder…

What’s happening with the Japanese movie box-office chart this week?

  1. Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts
  2. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
  4. The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki
  5. Pokemon: Best Wishes 2012
  6. Eight Ranger
  7. Helter Skelter
  8. Brave
  9. The Amazing Spider-Man
  10. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd

Two of last week’s newest entries enter the charts in the form of the latest Naruto movie and Eight Rangers at three and six respectively. Uzimaru holds onto the top spot while, The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki drop from second to fourth and Helter Skelter drops from fourth to seventh in its third week. Thermae Romae falls from the top ten. After fourteen weeks and making a lot of money. What an achievement.

What’s released this week? A strong dramatic film, an interesting documentary and a live-action adaptation of a favourite anime of mine.

Another                                              Another (live-action movie) Poster

Japanese Title: Another

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Takeshi Furusawa

Writer: Sachiko Tanaka,Yukito Ayatsuji (Novel)

Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Kento Yamazaki, Ai Kato, Mika Akizuki, Hiroko Sato, Masaki Miura, Mana Kanno, Takashi Waki, Maya Okano

Yukito Ayatsuji’s supernatural-mystery novel Another has had an anime adaptation (which I liked a lot) and the live-action movie is released today. The director of the movie adaptation is Takeshi Furusawa who acted as assistant director to Kiyoshi Kurosawa on the classic J-horror film Pulse and director of the so-so Ghost Train. Kento Yamazaki (Wings of the Kirin) plays Kouichi while Mei Misaki is played by Ai Hashimoto (Confessions, Sadako 3D). Other cast members include Hiroko Sato (Atsuhimie No.1, Cursed), Masaki Miura (Cold Fish), and Maya Okano (Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). Two trailers, one featuring Sadako!

 

The story takes place back in the Spring of 1998 at Yomiyama Kita middle school where a transfer student named Kouichi Sakakibara arrives from Tokyo and finds himself in a class under a curse which causes unavoidable death. It seems to be linked to the death of a student in 1972 but a code of silence has developed amongst pupils and teachers past and present. When classmates begin to die Kouichi finds himself drawn into the deadly curse with only the silent and mysterious Mei Misaki seemingly able to give answers.

Our Homeland                             Kazoku no Kuni (Our Homeland) Poster

Romaji: Kazoku no Kuni

Japanese Title: かぞく の くに

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Yang Yong-Hi

Writer: Yang Yong-Hi

Starring: Sakura Ando, Arata, Yang Ik-June, Kotomi Kyono, Jun Murakami, Taro Suwa,

This movie was one of a strong contingent at this year’s Berlin Film Festival where itwas screened at the Forum section and won the CICAE prize. It is a partly autobiographical story that draws on the director’s life and tells the story of the emigration of over 90,000 Koreans from Japan to North Korea after being promised a better life. An early review shows that it is a strong dramatic film. It stars Sakura Ando (Love Exposure, Crime or Punishment?!?), Arata (After Life), Kotomi Kyono (Takeshi’), Jun Murakami (Himizu, The Land of Hope, Blazing Famiglia), Taro Suwa (Ju-On: The Curse, Reincarnation), Yoshiko Miyazaki (Villain).

 

From 1959 to 1979 the North Korean government implemented a policy to attract Korean living in Japan to the idea of immigrating to North Korea. One of those who went was Son-Ho (Arata) who left his younger sister Rie (Ando) behind in Japan. 25 years later the two meets again when Son-Ho returns to Japan for three months for an operation. The film looks at the clash of feelings and cultures.

 

Japan Lies: The Photojournalism of Kikujiro Fukushima, Age 90

Romaji: Nippon no Uso: Hodo Shashinka Fukushima Kikujiro 90-sai

Japanese Title: ニッポン の 嘘ー報道 写真家 福島 菊次郎 90-歳

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)Nippon no Uso Hodo Shashinka Fukushima Poster

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Saburo Hasegawa

Writer: Saburo Hasegawa

Starring: Ren Osugi

This documentary follows the work of photographer Kikujiro Fukushima, a man who served in the Japanese army and narrowly avoided the atomic bomb and with the end of the war became disillusioned with Japanese state and began documenting its darker aspects. Ren Osugi reads Extracts from Fukushima’s writings. This sounds like a fascinating watch for anybody interested in history and Japan.

Kikujiro Fukushima is a man who has documented controversial aspects/moments in Japanese society such as discrimination against people of Korean ancestry, violent protests against the Japan’s involvement with the Vietnam war and the Japan-U.S. security alliance, and portraits of radiation poisoning following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and his most recent work photographing the farming communities in Fukushima prefecture following the meltdown at the local plant following the March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami. Hasegawa’s documentary tells Fukushima’s story from his early days to now.

Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, Space is Here!Kamen Rider Space is Here

Romaji: Kamen Raida Foze Za Mubi, Minna de Uchuu Kita!

Japanese Title: 仮面 ライダー フォーゼ The Movie みんな で 宇宙 キターツ!

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 66 mins.

Director: Koichi Sakamoto

Writer: Kazuki Nakashima

Starring: Sota Fukushi, Ryuki Takahashi, Fumika Shimizu, Rikako Sakata, Ryo Yoshizawa, Shiho,

Tokusatsu and super sentai series are not my forte. I do not really watch them but I marvel at their long titles and the mix of Kanji, Katakana, and Hiragana.

 

The Kamen Rider club in Amanogawa High School are fighting a mysterious monster named Zodiatsu while Space Ironmen Gurandain and Sukaidain are putting the finishing touches to a satellite weapon which has enough power to destroy the world. The team clearly have their work cut out if they are going to stop all of that.

 

Code Geass: Akito the Exiled

Romaji: Ko-do Giasu: Boukoku no Akito

Japanese Title: コード ギアス 亡国 の アキト

Release Date: 04th August 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 66 mins.

Director: Kazuki Akane

Writer: Morita Shigeru

Starring: Maaya Sakamoto, Miyu Irino, Ai Kayano, Yuko Kaida, Asami Seto, Marya Seto, Kenta Miyake, Keiji Fujiwara, Masaya Matsukaze

 

Although the concept of Britain ruling the world through mecha is amusing I have yet to watch the anime Code Geass. This trailer is for the first episode of Sunrise studio’s forthcoming four episode spin-off from the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion TV series from 2006. It is called Code Geass: Akito the Exiled. It is directed by Kazuki Akane (Birdy the Mighty Decode, Vision of Escaflowne), the script has been written by Morita Shigeru (Space Brothers), and Kimura Takahiro (Dirty Pair Flash) is adapting Clamp’s character design and Yasuda Akira (Turn A Gundam) is in charge of mecha design.

Extras: Soundtrack for this post (Olympic Badminton and this video)

Kazoku no Kuni (Our Homeland) Poster 2

Mei Misaki - Another Poster

Himizu UK Theatrical Release

Third Window Films is releasing Himizu in selected cinemas across the UK today with screenings in London’s ICA, Prince Charles, Renoir and Riverside Studios cinemas. There will also be showings in Wales at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre from the 11th to the 13th of June, Ireland at the Irish Film Institute in Dublin from the 22nd of June until the 28th, and Scotland at the Eden Court Cinema in Inverness from the 31st of June to the 02nd of August. For a full list of sites and dates check the this page at Third Window Films.

Himizu        Himizu Poster

Release Date: 01st June (UK Theatrical Release), 14th January 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 129 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (script adaptation), Minoru Furuya (manga)

Starring: Shota Sometani, Fumi Nikaidō, Tetsu Watanabe, Denden, Jun Murakami, Makiko Watanabe, Ken Mitsuishi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Megumi Kagurazaka, Asuka Kurosawa, Taro Suwa, Yosuke Kubozuka Keisuke Horibe, Takahiro Nishijima

Junior high school kid Yuichi Sumida (Shota Sometani) wants a quiet life but his mother (Yukiko Watanabe) comes home with different men every night, and his drunken, hate-filled father (Ken Mitsuishi) only pays him visits when he needs money. Yuichi carries on running the family boat rental business and lives surrounded by homeless people who are victims of the tsunami. Meanwhile at school he is ignoring class-mate Keiko Chazawa(Fumi Nikaidō) who has a massive crush on him. Things get tough when his mother abandons him and Kaneko (Denden), a Yakuza loan-shark, shows up looking for Yuichi’s father and ¥6 million. Pushed to breaking point by his situation Yuichi finds himself unable to control his anger and a series of events leads him to the brink of madness.

Sion Sono (Cold Fish, Exte, Love Exposure) is a favourite director of mine so when Third Window Films announced that they were had acquired the rights to Himizu I was excited to say the least. Then I saw it and was blown away. This is one of the most powerful films to come out of Japan recently and so I urge anybody who has an interest in Japanese films or films in general to go and see it!

Land of Hope Trailer

The Land of Hope                                 The Land of Hope Poster

Japanese: Kibou no Kuni

Release Date: Autumn 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono

Starring: Isao Natsuyagi, Naoko Otani, Jun Murakami, Megumi Kagurazaka, Yutaka Shimizu, Hikari Kajiwara, Denden, Mariko Tsutsui, Yusuke Iseya, Mitsuru Fukikoshi,

There are a lot of documentaries that directly tackle the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tusnami (as the selection at the Berlin Film Festival revealed) and they far outweigh the number of fiction films. The biggest title to address the events of March 11th that I have seen has to be Sion Sono’s Himizu, a movie which went to great pains to weave elements of the disaster into its story which was made before the tragic events. Well Sono is back with another title that takes a look at the disaster and its effects on Japan and its people.

An old couple (Natsuyagi and Otani) live on a farm near a peaceful village with their son (Murakami) and his wife (Kagurazaka). When an earthquake strikes the nearby nuclear power plant explodes and the village’s residents are forced to evacuate. Things are different on the farm since only half of the farm is in the evacuation zone. The family are soon faced with a tough decision: evacuate with the rest of the village or stay on the land.

I first heard about this film when I attended a screening of Himizu organised by Third Window Films earlier this year. Judging by the content of Himizu Sono has a LOT to say and he will say it in his usual dramatic way. The cast includes many actors who crop up in Sono’s films including Denden, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Hikari Kajiwara and Sono’s own wife Megumi Kagurazaka who all starred in Cold Fish. Interestingly Third Window Films is co-producing this. Filming began earlier this year in January and concluded in April.

 

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