I Am a Hero アイアムアヒーロー Dir: Shinsuke Sato (2016)

I Am a Hero   

I am a Hero FIlm Poster
I am a Hero FIlm Poster

アイアムアヒーロー「Ai amu a hi-ro-

Release Date: April 23rd, 2016

Running Time: 126 mins.

Director: Shinsuke Sato

Writer: Akiko Nogi (Screenplay), Kengo Hanazawa (Original Manga)

Starring: Yo Oizumi, Masami Nagasawa, Kasumi Arimura, Miho Suzuki, Yu Tokui, Yoshinari Okada, Nana Katase,

Website    IMDB

I Am a Hero is the best zombie film to have come out in a long, long time or at least since 28 Days Later (2002) when Danny Boyle sent fast-running infected across the streets of London. Much like the aforementioned title, I Am a Hero has zed-heads that tear across the screen and they are very scary to behold and much like the classic titles of the zombie genre such as George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978) it features some social commentary. Also, unlike tongue-in-cheek J-horror zom-comedies like Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies (2008) and Big Tits Zombie (2010), I Am a Hero is serious and rooted in our world and gleefully slaps it sideways in a gory horror film that does justice to its source.

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Before We Vanish 散歩する侵略者 Dir:  Kiyoshi Kurosawa (2017)

Before We Vanish (English Title) / Strolling Invader (Literal Title)  Before We Vanish Film Poster

 散歩する侵略者 Sanpo suru Shinryakusha

Running Time: 129 mins.

Release Date: September 09th , 2017

Director:  Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Screenplay), Tomohiro Maekawa (Original Stageplay),

Starring: Ryuhei Matsuda, Masami Nagasawa, Mahiro Takasugi, Yuri Tsunematsu, Hiroki Hasegawa,

Website IMDB

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is often pigeon-holed as a horror director with ghosts lurking in the darkness but his latest title, Before We Vanish is his first alien invasion movie and features the threat in broad daylight. Based on a stageplay by Tomohiro Maekawa which was first performed in 2005, this film appeared at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and has had a dorama spin-off. A glib comparison might be Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as aliens travel to Earth and take human hosts but in this chat-pocalypse the tension is dialled down for a surprisingly effective examination of what it means to be human with surprising results that may or may not stop the end of humanity.

Somewhere in Shizuoka, freelance designer Narumi (Masami Nagasawa) and her salaryman husband Shinji Kase (Ryuhei Matsuda) are having problems of the marital sort. He is suspected of cheating and has recently disappeared so when Narumi is summoned to a hospital to pick him up she is furious. However, the man facing her in the doctor’s office seems like a totally different person, a blank slate with vague memories of his life and a problem knowing how to navigate social situations and even use his body properly. Things learned over time have been shorn away from him including the basic meaning behind various ideas such as possession, family, and love. He wants to learn these things and so he asks Narumi to be his guide. When she isn’t around, he likes to go for a walk and talk to random people and get their understanding of a situation or word. What happens next reveals his alien nature as he engages in a game of word association. He gently questions people until he actually sees the ideas visually forming in their head and, once that happens, he touches the person’s forehead and plucks the idea away, learning a new concept while erasing it from the speaker. Sinec he’s an alien, it is how he learns what makes humans work.

Before We Vanish Film Image

After so many relationship problems, Narumi is surprised by her kinder and gentler man who tries to understand her more. What she doesn’t know is that she has the easier alien to deal with.

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Our Little Sister 海街 Diary (2015) Hirokazu Koreeda

Our Little Sister   

Umimachi Diary Film Poster
Umimachi Diary Film Poster

海街 Diary 「Umimachi Diary

Japanese Release Date: June 13th, 2015

UK Cinema Release Date: April 15th, 2016

UK Home Video Release Date: June 13th, 2016

Running Time: 126 mins.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer: Shin Adachi (Screenplay), Akimi Yoshida (Original Manga)

Starring: Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho, Suzu Hirose, Shinobu Otake, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Ryo Kase, Jun Fubuki, Ryohei Suzuki, Oshiro Maeda, Lily Franky, Kirin Kiki

Website   IMDB

Hirokazu Koreeda has become the director of choice for film fans worldwide who Umimachi Diary Manga Filmare eager to get an intimate slice of normal Japanese life and Our Little Sister is his latest in a career mostly (but not always) spent making films focussing on families. The story is adapted from a manga called Umimachi Diary (Seaside Town Diary) created by Akimi Yoshida and Koreeda uses cinema to showcase her tales of a female-led family facing different emotional hurdles and ultimately knitting together. Prepare to become part of a family, a community, and a way of life.

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I Am a Hero Live-Action Trailer

As a fan of the manga I Am a Hero I had been cautious in getting my hopes up for this one since the horror genre has been in the doldrums in Japan with a mixture of dumb low-budget, badly-made schlock and funny but low-budget badly-made schlock dominating the output (as I have been discovering over a long summer/autumn/winter of splatter films). When there is something other than monsters and zombies its pretty idol girls getting chased around by ghosts or psychos.

Zombie films in particular are pretty bad. The list of good Japanese zombie is a pretty short one as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps it’s a good thing that this is based on a best-selling manga and the approach to the film is to turn it into A-grade survival panic horror” movie as Anime News Network reports.
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I Wish (Kiseki) 奇跡 (2011)

Kiseki Film Review Header

I Wish                                       Kiseki FIlm Poster

Japanese Title: 奇跡

Romaji: Kiseki

Running Time: 128 mins.

Release Date: June 11th, 2011

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Screenplay)

Starring: Koki Maeda, Ohshiro Maeda, Joe Odagiri, Nene Ohtsuka, Isao Hashizume, Kiki Kirin, Ryoga Hayashi, Kara Uchida, Kanna Hashimoto, Hoshinosuke Nagayosi, Rento Isobe, Hiroshi Abe, Masami Nagasawa, Yoshio Harada, Yui Natsukawa

Pre-teen brothers Koichi and Ryunosuke have been separated from each other following their parents’ divorce. Thoughtful elder-brother Koichi has followed his mother Nozomi (Otsuka) to his maternal grandparents place in sleepy Kagoshima. Lively Ryunosuke lives with his indie musician father Kenji (Odagiri) in the more vibrant Fukuoka. Both places are at opposite ends of Kyushu and their only contact is by telephone. Despite putting on a brave face Koichi longs for his family to be reunited while Ryunosuke is more accepting of their situation and too busy doing other things like growing vegetables and taking care of his lackadaisical father.

One day in school Koichi hears that when two bullet-trains pass each other the resulting energy is strong enough to grant the wish of anyone seeing it occur so he devises a scheme that will see himself and his friends skip school, evade their parents, journey across the island and meet Ryunosuke and his friends at a point where newly built lines connecting Fukuoka and Kagoshima meet so they can make a wish. What does Koichi want? For his family to get back together again. Are things that simple?

Kiseki I Wish Kenji (Odagiri) Ryunosuke (Ohshiro Maeda) Koichi (Koki Maeda) and Nozomi (Ohtsuka)

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