Helter Skelter, Drudgery Train, Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts, Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd, Pokemon Best Wishes! The Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box-Office Charts

This week I posted a review for 2 Days in New York and trailers for the forthcoming big screen anime adaptation of Asura and the latest Naruto movie.

What’s does the Japanese movie box-office chart look like this week?

  1.  The Amazing Spider-Man
  2.  Snow White and the Huntsman
  3.  Rinjo
  4.  Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima
  5.  Man on a Ledge
  6.  Hotaru: It’s Only a Little Light in my Life
  7. Guskou Budori no Denki
  8. Thermae Romae
  9. Men in Black III
  10.  Go, Masao!

The Amazing Spider-Man, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Rinjo remain in the top three – Snow White is actually pretty decent even if I found the Princess Mononoke section awful.  Two of last week’s releases, Soreike! Anpanman Yomigaere Bananajima and Guskou Budori enter at four and seven respectively. Thermae Romae spends yet another week in the top ten. It must be seriously funny!

What Japanese films are released today (and yesterday)?  Well it’s pretty busy but we see Erika Sawajiri back on the big screen!

Helter Skelter                                                            Helter Skelter Poster

Japanese Title: Heruta Sukeruta

Release Date: 14th November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Mika Nanigawa

Writer: Arisa Kaneko (Script), Kyoko Okazaki (manga)  

Starring: Erika Sawajiri, Nao Omori, Shinobu Terajima, Gou Ayano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Mieko Harada, Sho Aikawa, Junki Tozuka, Anne Suzuki, Hirofumi Arai

Lead actress Erika Sawajiri (Ghost Train) makes her movie comeback with Helter Skelter a stunning looking movie with a great cast. The director is Mika Ninagawa, an art/fashion photographer who made her directorial debut with Sakuran. The film adapts Kyoko Okazaki’s psychological manga which was originally released in 2003.

 

Ririko (Sawajiri) is a vision of perfect beauty. What the public does not know is that her beauty is derived from multiple cosmetic surgeries and a lot of medication. To maintain her beauty and position she needs to keep taking medication and getting surgery but when the clinic that performs her surgery comes under investigation for medical ethics from authorities led by Prosecutor Asada (Omori) Ririko finds her career on the brink of calamity. With pressure mounting, Ririko’s body begins to suffer and her emotions and career, and sanity begin to fall apart.

Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts                                Brave Hearts Umizaru

Romaji: Brave Hearts Umizaru

Japanese Title: Brave Hearts  海猿

Release Date: 13th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hasumi Eiichiro

Writer: N/A

Starring: Hideaki ito, Ai Kato, Riisa Naka, Ryuta Sato, Shohei Miura, Hiroyuki Hirayama, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Saburo Tokito

Another big-screen adaptation of a popular television series only this one focusses on the Japanese Coast Guard. Taking to the high seas are an interesting cast list including Hideaki Ito (Sukiyaki Western Django) and Riisa Naka (Mitsuko Delivers), Ai Kato (Another), and Tsuyoshi Ihara (13 Assassins, Retribution).

When a plane due to land at Haneda Airport begins to suffer engine failure, Sea Marshal Daisuke  Senzaki (Hideaki Ito) is on the case. He better hurry because one of the flight attendants is Riisa Naka!

 

Drudgery Train                                             Drudgery Train Movie Poster

Romaji: Kueki Ressha

Japanese Title: 苦役 列車

Release Date: 14th July 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita

Writer: Kenta Nishimura (Novel)

Starring: Mirai Moriyama, Kengo Kora, Atsuko Maeda

Drudgery Train comes from Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda, Linda, Linda), and is based on Kenta Nishimura’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Kueki Ressha. This character-study stars Mirai Moriyama (Fish on Land, Fish Story), Kengo Kora (The Woodsman and the Rain, Norwegian Wood), and Atsuko Maeda (The Suicide Song), a member of Team A in AKB48 and has got some great reviews. This has to be my favourite trailer from today.

Kitamichi (Moriyama) is a 19-year-old junior high drop out with alcohol problems. He works as a labourer in a warehouse and he has no friends and wastes his days doing very little apart from reading mystery novels. Then he meets Kusakabe (Kora), a new hire at the warehouse. The two become friends and Kusakabe brings Kitamichi into his circle of friends which includes Yasuko (Maeda) who works in a book store. Kitamichi falls for her. The problem is that Kusakabe is also in love with Yasuko and Kitamichi gets jealous. Can his new-found friendships last?

  Continue reading “Helter Skelter, Drudgery Train, Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts, Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd, Pokemon Best Wishes! The Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box-Office Charts”

Third Window Films Releases Mitsuko Delivers on DVD

Third Window Films is releasing Yuya Ishii’s “Mitsuko Delivers” on the 9th of July.

Mitsuko Delivers DVD Case

Mitsuko Delivers                                                      Mitsuko Delivers Poster

Romaji: Hara Ga Kore Nande

Japanese Title: ハラ が コレ なんで

Release Date: 05th November 2011 (Japan)

UK DVD Release Date:   09th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

 

Mitsuko (Naka) is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents (serial failed entrepeneurs) think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment. Despite all of this she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to hop into a taxi she cannot pay for and follows a cloud back to the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. This place is a relic from the past and it has had the life sucked out o it with the departure of many of its residents, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the remaining locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory.  Mitsuko has so much to do and so little time before her baby arrives but she will find a new assertiveness and help those floundering around her.

DVD Special Features:

Making Of, Theatrical Trailer

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka), Jiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura) in Mitsuko Delivers

Continue reading “Third Window Films Releases Mitsuko Delivers on DVD”

Mitsuko Delivers ハラがコレなんで (2012)

Mitsuko Delivers Review Banner 2

Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese: ハラがコレなんでMitsuko Delivers Poster

Romaji: Hara Ga Kore Nande

UK Theatrical Release Date:   11th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

After watching Yuya Ishii’s 2010 film Sawako Decides I was struck by how his sharp script led to humorous and truthful observations of human nature while his naturalistic direction gave the actors ample room to bring out great comic performances so it was something of a surprise when I found Mitsuko Delivers a shallow experience.

Mitsuko (Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She hops in a taxi follows a cloud back to the ramshackle and destitute working-class alley where she grew up and finds her arrival and her get-up-and-go attitude soon compel the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory. Soon, old sweet-heart Yoichi (Nakamura) and his uncle Jiro (Ishibashi) find their restaurant reinvigorated and old landlady, Kiyo (Inagawa) remembers that Mitsuko was always absent-minded.

Mitsuko is not as saccharine sweet as most “home dramas”, its gentle surrealism gives it an edge but it does not imbue it with a vivid identity of its own. Although we get themes such as the importance of family and a championing of back to basics communitarianism of the past, it is put through Ishii’s filter of quirky, satirical humour. The tenement Mitsuko returns to is an old fashioned place (the only place that survived an air raid during World War II). It is an environment engineered to evoke nostalgia but there is an unexploded bomb lurking to keep things interesting. While the characters’ exist in the reality of a country undergoing economic hardship and wallowing in the past they are stylised, aimed at selling the message that “now more than ever we have to help each other and face the future.”

“Clouds drift so aimlessly, just like people.”

Riisa Naka as Mitsuko in Yuya Ishii's 2011 Film, Mitsuko Delivers

Adding to the slyly rebellious feel is our protagonist Mitsuko who isn’t your stereotypical good Japanese girl – forceful and adventurous, she doesn’t have much common sense but overflows with confidence. She radiates a good nature, living with the belief that she has to “be cool” and help those in need even if they don’t want help or it hurts her. She allows herself to become an object to help others – maid, life-coach – and finds herself aiding life’s losers. That someone in a situation like hers forcefully brings comfort to people who would look down on her provides most of the comedy and life of the film.

Continue reading “Mitsuko Delivers ハラがコレなんで (2012)”

Mitsuko Delivers Get UK Theatrical Release

Third Window Films is giving Yuya Ishii’s “Mitsuko Delivers” a UK theatrical release. It opens at selected regional cinemas and the Institute of Contemporary Arts where it will play through until May 24th. For tickets and show times at the ICA visit their site.

The Poster for Yuya Ishii's Mitsuko Delivers

Mitsuko Delivers

UK Theatrical Release Date:   11th May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

 

Mitsuko (Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents (serial failed entrepeneurs) think that she’s in America with the baby’s GI father but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to hop into a taxi she cannot pay for, and follows a cloud back to the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. The place reeks of destitution and bone idleness, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory.  Mitsuko has so much to do and so little time before her baby arrives but she will find a new assertiveness and help those floundering around her.

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka), Jiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura) in Mitsuko Delivers

Continue reading “Mitsuko Delivers Get UK Theatrical Release”

Third Window Films Acquires Himizu and Mitsuko Delivers and Latest Trailers

Third Window Films delivered a devastatingly brilliant one-two of news with the announcement that they have acquired Sion Sono’s Himizu and Yuya Ishii’s Mitsuko Delivers. I have been following Himizu for a while now and I am a recent convert to the school of Yuya Ishii’s humanistic comedies after watching Sawako Decides a witty and charming satire of modern Japanese society so let me put out what is known about the films so far.

Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese Theatrical Release: 5th November, 2o11

UK DVD Release Date:   May 2012

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

I only heard about this when I did a little coverage of the BFI London Film Festival where the film was playing. It stars Ryo Ishibashi, a familiar face from many Miike Takashi works including Audition, as well as Takeshi Kitano films like the brilliant Kids Return and Brother. I’m familiar with the lead actress through her work in the anime Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time  Aoi Nakamura was one of the actors in the Third Window Films release  Quirky Guys and Gals.

 

Mitsuko (Riisa Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents think that she’s in America with her boyfriend but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to revisit her past including a boy who had a crush on her (Aoi Nakamura).

  Continue reading “Third Window Films Acquires Himizu and Mitsuko Delivers and Latest Trailers”