Genkina hito’s Top 25 Films of the Decade

My WordPress blog birthday was December 20th and it has been a decade since I first started writing reviews and news articles here about what interests me.

Cure Yakusho Stares at City

It started with book reviews like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Apocalypse and big screen Hollywood fare such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. It shifted to American indies like Stake Land and 2 Days in New York with some European and central/South American films like Submarine, Certified Copy, I Am Love and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before I transitioned quickly into Asian cinema, long a passion of mine from childhood, and I took to covering the latest UK releases and festival news for Asian movies and writing about my favourite filmmakers like Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Shinya Tsukamoto. My taste has changed from horror and action to more contemplative and experimental works but my passion for cinema burns bright and for good reason.

Through ten years of writing on this blog I have made friends and watched lots of great films. Indeed, I’ve covered a quite a range of titles and, as the years progressed, actually got involved with film culture through writing for magazines and other websites, doing festival press work at the likes of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival and the Osaka Asian Film Festival as well as doing plenty of writing like interviews at UK festivals like Raindance, Terracotta and the London Film Festival. It has almost always been fun and I’ve even had the chance to live and travel in Japan. I can honestly say this blog has been amazing for me by helping me make friends and find my voice in this world.

So, thanks to film and writing about it, I’ve had a fun time. Indeed, sometimes the process of writing about films has been just as much fun as the viewing experience and now I want to highlight my fifteen favourite films to watch and also write about.

Strap yourself in and turn on some music for the ramblings of a film fan:

Continue reading “Genkina hito’s Top 25 Films of the Decade”

Japan Cuts 2014 Preview

Japan Cuts Logo

New York, New York, what a wonderful town. I have never wanted to live in New York as much as I did after reading the line-up for Japan Cuts 2014.

The Japan Society will host a series of awesome Japanese films from July 10th to July 29th with titles like Sion Sono’s ultra-violent black comedy Why Don’t You Play in Hell? coupled with crime thriller The Devil’s Path and recent (controversial) World War II blockbuster The Eternal Zero. These are just some of the headline titles, there are even more listed, many of which were released in the last few weeks and some of which are crazy and bizarre and speak to the sharp and unique sense of cinema that the curators have – respect has to be paid for the programming of the documentaries on this list. There’s definitely something for everyone! Here’s a trailer:

I am blown away by the titles and the guests that have been announced with many actors coming over for Q&As (FUMI NIKAIDO!!!). For a fan of cinema in general and Japanese cinema in particular, this is a festival rich with great films and events!

Here’s a list of the films and trailers with comments from me. Click on the title for more info such as times and buying tickets. Tickets are already on sale!

 

Thursday July 10th, Opening Night

 

6 P.M.

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji   The Mole Song Film Poster

Japanese Title: 土竜の唄 潜入捜査官 REIJI

Romaji: Mogura no Uta Sennuu Sosakan REIJI

Running Time: 130 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Kudo Kankuro (Screenplay), Noboru Takahashi (Original Manga)

Starring: Toma Ikuta, Ren Osugi, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Riisa Naka, Takayuki Yamada, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

This is based on a comedy manga by Noboru Takahashi and directed by Takashi Miike (For Love’s Sake). The film has a great cast of characters like Shinichi Tsutsumi (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?), Ren Osugi (Exte) and Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish). It seems like a great way to open the film festival since it looks absolutely funny.

Reiji Kikukawa (Ikuta) has a strong sense of justice but graduates at the bottom of his class from the police academy. He is so useless his superiors send him on what should be a suicide mission. First the police chief fires him for disciplinary issues and then sets him up as a mole in the Sukiyaki gang, the largest crime group in the Kanto area. His target is Shuho Todoroki, the boss, and so Reiji goes through hell to get his man!

 

8:30 P.M.

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?

Running Time: 126 mins

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

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

Sion Sono blew my mind with this one. After a short run of issue films like the critically lauded Himizu and The Land of Hope, he made this hilarious and blood-thirsty film which was both entertainment and a love letter to cult films and yakuza classics. I found it absolutely hilarious and one of the best films of last year.

Muto (Kunimura) and Ikegami (Tsutsumi) are rival gangsters who despise each other especially since Muto’s wife Shizue (Tomochika) butchered a boss in Ikegami’s gang. She gets sent to prison which jeopardises her daughter’s acting career. Ten years later and days before Shizue is due to be released, Muto is desperate to make his daughter a big-screen star as a reward for Shizue’s loyalty and kidnaps Koji (Hoshino), a timid passer-by who is mistaken for being a film director.

When dealing with gangsters you don’t mess about so Koji recruits the help of a mad-cinephile Hirata (Hasegawa) who dreams of being a movie director and has a ragtag film crew named The Fuck Bombers. Hirata seizes his chance and loses his mind as he casts Mitsuko in a fictional gang war but it soon goes wrong when it turns real.

Introduction and Q&A with actress Fumi Nikaido (I so want to be in her presence!!!)

Followed by the LET’S PLAY IN HELL Opening Night Party!

Continue reading “Japan Cuts 2014 Preview”

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Line-Up Preview

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Logo

The full line-up for this year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival was revealed last week ahead of its run at The Institute of Contemporary Art and The Prince Charles Cinema in London between May 23rd and June 01st. I then wrote a preview for it at Anime UK News and now I’ve put together another, expanded view on the festival.

This will be the sixth Terracotta Far East Film Festival and it still remains the best place to see a wide variety of releases from East Asian cinema. There are a number of different strands to the festival such as Current Asian Cinema where the latest titles from territories like Japan and Hong Kong are played. The Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter makes a welcome return with some great looking titles mixing ghosts and serial killers. The Spotlight On section uncovers the hottest titles that remain undiscovered. Last year’s festival saw Indonesia as the focus, this year the Philippines takes centre stage with six films released within the last year getting screened. The festival is made opens on May 23rd at The Institute of Contemporary Arts with the Spotlight On: Philippines. The festival will then move to The Prince Charles Cinema from May 28th to June 01st where the festival will screen films from The Current Asian Cinema and Terror Cotta Horror All-Nighter sections.

Enough of the intro, the next part has the films, dates and times. Click on the title to get taken to the festival page.

Continue reading “Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2014 Line-Up Preview”

The Snow White Murder Case, Team Batista Final Kerberos’s Portrait, Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai, Negative Happy Marriage Parts 1 & 2, Geki × cine “ZIPANG PUNK Goemon Rock III,” Dream Doctor of Cattle, Tsu mu gu orijin wa kaze no michi o yuku Japanese Film Trailers

Nozomi Sasaki Juon ImageThe Winter 2013 anime season is approaching its end as shows enter their 11th and 12th episodes. I have a series of posts lined up about it including one about the most exciting shows in the Spring 2014 season based on some articles I wrote for Anime UK News. I’m approaching a Japanese exam so expect fewer posts from me as I spend less time writing about films and more time actually practicing Japanese. I’m in the middle of my long week at work so time is rather scarce and I need to focus. Remaining on the topic of work, I met a girl there who is utterly charming and a fellow fan of film critic Mark Kermode and we chatter endlessly about films which makes the day easier. Another member of staff is trying to get me to watch Italian films but I’m hesitant because the title he selected is six-hours long. I wish I had six hours to do stuff! It certainly wouldn’t be anything related to Italy!

In blogging terms, I posted information about a Yoshitaro Nomura season – I’ll be watching some of these films – and a trailer for a new “Ju-On.” In film and television terms I watched “I’ll Give it My All Tomorrow” last Saturday and further episodes of “Watashi no Kirai Tantei”. Enough about me, here are the trailers.

The Snow White Murder Case  The Snow White Murder Case Fim Poster

Japanese: 白ゆき姫殺人事件

Romaji: Shira Yuki Hime Satsujin Jiken

Running Time: 126 mins.

Release Date: March 29th, 2014 (Japan)

Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura

Writer:Tamio Hayashi (Screenplay), Kanae Minato (Original Novel)

Starring: Mao Inoue, Gou Ayano, Misako Renbutsu, Nanao, Shihori Kanjiya, Nobuaki Kaneko, Erena Ono, Mitsuki Tanimura, Shota Sometani, Katsuhisa Namase, Dankan,

I have reviewed two Yoshihiro Nakamura movies here like The Foreign Duck, and See You Tomorrow, Everyone. I loved the former and hated the later. His latest project looks absolutely deliciously dark. He teams up with his usual writer Tamio Hayashi (See You Tomorrow, Everyone, Shield of Straw) for a murder tale full of hot young actors.

The Show White Murder Case sees victim Noriko Miki (Nanao), the best looking girl at a cosmetics company, murdered and her co-worker Miki (Inoue) coming under suspicion. The media frenzy begins as television shows interview Miki’s friends, family and anybody even vaguely associated with her. Soon rumours of her being a wicked woman emerge. Are they true?

Website

 

Continue reading “The Snow White Murder Case, Team Batista Final Kerberos’s Portrait, Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai, Negative Happy Marriage Parts 1 & 2, Geki × cine “ZIPANG PUNK Goemon Rock III,” Dream Doctor of Cattle, Tsu mu gu orijin wa kaze no michi o yuku Japanese Film Trailers”