Japanese Journals - General

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Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Tue Jun 14, 2005 5:15 pm

Japanese Journals

Because of the large number of films they will be split into several sections.

Click on the name to be taken straight to the thread.

1. General

2. Kurosawa, Ozu & Mizoguchi - The Classics

3. Kitano, Tsukamoto & Miike - The Modern Cult Directors

4. Anime

5. Horror & Ghost Stories

6. Jidaigeki (Chambara)

There may need to be further splits but theyll be announced when necessary.


All types of films, many different directors, classic and modern, if they dont fit in any other category theyll fit in here.

Please feel free to add your own comments, reviews, criticisms to this thread.

INDEX in alphabetical order.

After Life Essay on film and director by A.

All About Lily Chou-Chou - 2001 comments by arsaib4

The Anti-Extortion Woman - 1992 Thread started by justindeimen

April Story - 1998 Thread started by nate

Battle Royale - 2000 review by Howard Schumann.

Be With You - 2004 comments by hengcs.

Blood and Bones - 2005 review by hengcs

Bright Future - 2003 comments by arsaib4.

The Buried Forest - 2005

Crazed Fruit - 1956 comments by wpqx

Crying Out Love in the Center of the World - 2004

Death by Hanging - 1968 comments by wpqx

Demon - 1985

Distance - 2001

Dog Star - 2002

Doppelganger - 2003 comments by arsaib4

The Duel Project. 2LDK - Aragami - 2002/03

The Eel - 1997

Electric Dragon 80.000 V - 2001

Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? - 2005 comments by arsaib4

Eureka - 2000

Gate of Flesh - 1964

Godzilla - 1954

Heaven's Bookstore - 2004

Inugami - 2001

Laundry - 2002

Maborosi - 1995

Mike Yokohama: A forest with no name - 2002 comments by arsaib4

The Naked Island - 1960Thread started by A.

Night and Fog in Japan - 1960 comments by wpqx

Peep "TV" Show - 2004 comments by arsaib4

Ping Pong - 2002

Princess Raccoon - 2005

Pulse (Kairo) - 2001 comments by arsaib4

Shall we Dansu - 1996

Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl - 1998

Space Travelers - 2000

Survive Style 5 - 2004

Tony Takitani - 2004 Thread started by Howard Schumann

Train Man - 2005 comments by hengcs.

Underworld Beauty - 1958 comments by wpqx

Vibrator - 2003

Village of Doom - 1983

Writhing Tongue - 1980

Still to come list

Cheers Trev.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Tue Jun 14, 2005 5:17 pm

Laundry (2002)

Directed by Junichi Mori

Starring Ysuke Kubozuka, Koyuki

An oddball romance, not the storyline which is quite slowpaced and heart warming but the actual characters, Teru is a young guy whos a bit slow following an accident as a child. Mizue has become unstable since the break up of a relationship, at times she shoplifts but doesnt seem able to control herself.

Terus job involves him ensuring nobody steals anything from his Grandmothers laundry, although this is obviously just to keep him active and out of trouble, he meets Mizue when she leaves some clothing in the tumble drier and he returns it to her. The film is full of lucky coincidences and fairly nice people and apart from the odd moments of unhappiness and bad luck, this oddball pair manage to keep things together.

You will probably recognise Koyuki as the woman who provided the romantic interest to Tom Cruise in Last Samurai, distinctive and beautiful..

A genuinly nice entertaining romance, recommended for a romantic evening.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rating none at present though 12 at the most.

Region 3 ntsc DVD available from several retailers.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:59 pm

Sekai no chshin de, ai wo sakebu (2004) Crying Out Love in the Center of the World

Directed by Isao Yukisada

Starring Takao Osawa, Kou Shibasaki, Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Moriyama

Sentimental , melodramatic, romance tinged with guilt, loss, and painful memories. The story flits between the present and the past connected by the weather, a typhoon brings back memories of lost love painfully stolen by a tragic untimely death caused by leukemia or atom bomb disease as its known in Japan.

This is a very well constructed film, with the time flips and little clues it comes across like a whodunit, it reflects on the joys and the silly mistakes we all make especially when we are young and still trying to work out who we are. The story is redemptive, one person is able to unburden their guilt while another can move on with their life, not forgetting but not living on past regrets.

A tear jerker that has a running time of over two hours, normally this would instantly turn me off but I have to admit, it worked, the story hooked me and Ill even admit to having a tear in my eye. It was the most successful non-animated film released in Japan in 2004.

Highly recommended for the story, the editing and the scenery.

Cheers Trev

No BBFC rating yet but 12 at the most.

Region 3 ntsc DVD available from several retailers.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:06 pm

My somewhat conflicted comments on All About Lily Chou-Chou

An oblique coming-of-age film from Japanese director Shunji Iwai, All About Lily Chou-Chou tracks its quiet young protagonist named Yuichi (Hayato Ichihara) over a 3-year span. His life changes quite a bit during that time but nothing takes away from his love of Lily, a pop-star through whom Yuichi seems to find his own voice. Lily is never seen in the film but her presence is prevalent throughout in a message board which constantly updates at the bottom of the screen and it becomes apparent that all the participants wake-up and go-to-sleep with Lily on their minds. Yuichi's best friend, Hoshino (Shugo Oshinari), also grows up alongside Yuichi but from a shy young boy he ends up becoming a violent pimp. Many of their activities shown have the brutality of a Larry Clark film but none of its paranoia. No doubt that the film is a visceral experience but it only engages your mind intermittently. Awai is a commercial filmmaker with a background in music-videos and he certainly doesn't mind showing off his skills, but one wishes that he wouldve paid more attention to the subject matter at hand. Awai's showcasing of the pop-culture phenomenon which has invaded Japan is certainly honorable. Japan continues to have one of the highest suicide rate among teens and theres an honest enough attempt here to capture the alienation and the residual affects of modernization but it remains a modish effort; however, Awais use of DV is one of the best I've ever seen.

edited by admin

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:21 am

The Duel Project.

After the completion of their sections for Jam Films, a compilation of short films by some of Japans newer directors, Shinya Kawai the producer, challenged Yukihiko Tsutsumi and Ryuhei Kitamura, to each create a feature length movie with only two actors, one location and filmed entirely in one week.

The Duel Project, as it became known turned into a competition with audiences in Japan voting for their favourite. The films, 2LDK by Yukihiko Tsutsumi and Aragami from Ryuhei Kitamura were the result.

2LDK (2002)

Directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi

Starring Maho Nonami, Eiko Koike

A black comedy about two aspiring actresses sharing a flat, the 2LDK of the title, 2Bedrooms, Living room, Dining room and Kitchen. Both have been told that they are up for the lead role in a film, obviously they both see this as their big break, the last thing either want is to be rejected in favour of their flatmate.

After a slow build up of increasingly bitchy remarks all hell breaks loose, cleaning products, food in-fact anything available to hand becomes a weapon, even a chainsaw. Fanciful but humorous and entertaining, in my mind the better of the two films and the actresses performances were terrific, they really threw themselves into the roles.

If you like black comedy you will really enjoy this.

BBFC rating none yet, maybe 15 but probably 18

Aragami (2003)

Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

Starring Takao Osawa, Masaya Kato

Although in form it could be classed as a Jidaigeki, this is listed here because it is part of a project. Aragami is a mountain dwelling demon with a human form, waiting for the warrior that will end its existence and take its place.

Two badly wounded Samurai enter its lair, two days later only one of them is alive and has recovered well from his injuries, his saviour who unknown to him is the Aragami challenges him to a duel slowly revealing who or what he is.

The rest of the film is basically one long fight but it is directed with style, flair and imagination, blades spark against each other in the darkness interspersed with sometimes witty often meaningless dialogue, if you enjoyed Azumi and Versus you will definitely enjoy this.

I found this the weaker of the two films, more style than substance, it actually came top in the voting in Japan but that could be because the films were shown at sci-fi and manga conventions.

BBFC rating none yet, probably 15

Cheers Trev

Available on Region 1 & 3 DVD, soon available on Region 2 from Tartan video.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:17 pm

Supsutoraberzu (2000) Space Travelers

Directed by Katsuyuki Motohiro

Starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Ken Watanabe, Eri Fukatsu

Not a sci-fi film as the title might suggest, this is a film about an attempted bank robbery by three friends who have known each other since they met in an orphanage. Things do not proceed as planned and the robbers hole up in the bank with some of the staff and a few customers while the police surround it with a blockade believing that one of their men has been killed.

Sounds pretty heavy, but for the most part it isnt, after a while you get swept along with the story, the robbers and their captive audience treat the occasion almost as a game, adopting character names from an anime series (the Space Travelers of the title) and behaving as if they were them.

Emotionally its a great ride and quite a comical (though not comedy) story that suddenly stops you dead in your tracks but any more information would spoil the film!

The end of the siege is highly reminiscent of a certain well known western, Im sure you wont need to be told which one!

Ignore the daft name, look at the superb cast list, this is a highly recommended entertaining film, one Im sure most people would enjoy if they gave it a chance.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rating none yet but would probably be 15.

Region 3 ntsc DVD available from several retailers.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jun 23, 2005 6:34 pm

Unagi (1997) The Eel

Directed by Shohei Imamura

Starring Kji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu

Wonderful drama from one of Japans unsung great directors. Golden Palm winner at Cannes in 1997, the film starts off with a fairly brutal crime of passion leading to Takuro spending 8 years in jail. On release hes given two years probation, moves to a small town and sets up a barber shop.

What follows is his struggle to fit back into society, meeting with a woman whose life he saves when she tries to kill herself, she looks similar to the wife he murdered and this creates a huge gap that he finds hard to bridge.

The Eel is a representation and symbol of his repressed guilt, he talks to the eel and for a while its his only outlet for his feelings, he is burdened, crippled indeed by the self loathing and guilt he feels for what he did in the name of love.

A definite recommendation but not if you like to be spoonfed.

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated 18.

Region 1 & 3 ntsc DVD's available.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:01 pm

Yasha (1985) Demon

Directed by Yasuo Furuhata

Starring Ken Takakura, Takeshi Kitano, Yko Tanaka

Shuji is a fisherman, hes lived in the village for 15 years after moving from Osaka. But Shuji is hiding a secret, in Osaka he was a feared yakusa (gangster) which he escaped from after his sisters death. He has married and has children and fits in well within the fishing village.

Trouble arrives with the opening of the Hataru bar, the hostess is from Osaka and upsets the local wives who see her as a flirt and a threat but Keiko (the hostess) is not the problem, that comes in the shape of Yajima (Takeshi Kitano) her drug pushing lowlife boyfriend, in a scuffle with Shuji he rips the back of his shirt revealing the long hidden tattoo that marks him aa a gangster, a beautiful yet hideous Yasha (female demon).

Straight away the villagers assume the worst and do their best to avoid him and his family despite the fact that hes been helpful and friends with everyone, problems build up including advances from Keiko and more unwanted trouble from Yajima until Shuji has to revisit his old haunts in Osaka to try and sort things out.

While the film is revolved around the village and the fishing it is enjoyable, its only once it heads into typical gangster territory that it drags, shame because otherwise its a fine film.

Recommended for the first hour and a half, after that it drags into predictability that doesnt really sit well with the rest of the film. Fine performances from all involved.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15

Available on Region 2 ntsc and Pal DVD's.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:48 pm

Furueru shita (1980) Writhing Tongue

Directed by Yoshitaro Nomura

Starring Tsunehiko Watase, Yukiyo Toake, Mayuko Wakamori

Masako, a five-year-old girl starts acting strangely, she wont open her mouth, then one day has a spasm and bites her tongue. Her parents take her to a hospital to be fobbed off with reasons like she has a cold or its probably psychological. After taking her to another hospital and undergoing numerous tests, they find out she has Tetanus caused by the infection getting into a tiny scratch on her finger.

Her parents stay with her in the hospital as the staff do their best to save Masakos life, the pressure builds moment to moment, day by day as it looks like she could die. You breathe in the anxiety, the suffering of the child is traumatic to say the least and yet the tension keeps building.

Absolutely marvelous acting, incredibly realistic in every way. Im sure any parent who has been in a similar situation will feel sympathetic/empathetic towards the parents, the child and the hospital staff. This could have slipped so easily into melodramatics but thankfully it doesnt. If this film does bring a tear to your eye itll be for all the right reasons.

IMDB have this listed as a horror, the horror in this film is all too real and Tetanus continues to kill many each year.

Not the sort of film many would pick for a nights entertainment but if you want to see quality acting and a well made film (as well as one that will guarantee that you ensure your tetanus injection is up to date) you cant go wrong with this. It certainly gets my recommendation.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating but at least a 15.

Region 3 ntsc DVD available from several retailers.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jun 30, 2005 8:43 pm

Ushimitsu no mura (1983) Village of Doom

Directed by Noboru Tanaka

Starring Masato Furuoya, Misako Tanaka

I would never have believed this came from the same director as "A Woman Called Abe Sada", one of the classics of what has become known as Romanporno (romantic porno) or pink eiga. This film is sadly lacking all along the line, we cant blame the probably low budget, Japanese directors are known for creating excellent films with very small budgets. No, this sad lacklustre exploitative flick is badly acted, poorly edited and pretty much a shambles.

As to the story, the village genius (strange because most of the time he acts like the village idiot) is not happy with his lot in life, unlike the other villagers he cannot bravely march away and die gloriously in the war (with China) no, because he has TB he has to stay with his granny and spend most evenings getting off with the wives of the villagers who have gone to war. Hey lifes tough isnt it!

He then finds out his childhood sweetheart is getting married (arranged of course), now with a couple of other irritations and annoyances bugging him, he shows his intellect, he buys a pump action shotgun, a Samurai sword and some knives and rampages through his home village killing men, women and even children before he kills himself.

The only time the camerawork is even remotely interesting is during this final section, handheld chasing around after our heroic psychopath, you at least feel slightly involved (as if you would want to be!) the rest of the time, just as with the acting, editing, script etc etc its totally uninteresting which is a shame in a way because the landscape looks beautiful.

Recommended, not a hope in hell.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 18.

Available on R2 DVD from Artsmagic.


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