Japanese Journals - General

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Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Fri Jul 01, 2005 10:46 pm

Electric Dragon 80.000 V (2001)

Directed by Sogo Ishii

Starring Tadanobu Asano, Masatoshi Nagase

A very low budget, madcap film with two of Japans biggest young stars.

At less than an hour long, the editing is frenetic and the storyline is merely an excuse to allow Tadanobu Asano to go wild with an electric guitar. Youre taken on a nonsensical ride in a style and pace slightly reminiscent of Tetsuo, sharp black & white photography, loud rock music but the whole film has a disposable feel to it.

This film wont change your world but if youre in the mood for something completely different, this could well fill that gap, crank the sound up and enjoy this (soon to be) cult classic..

I like it but I dont watch it in the sense of a film, its more like an excercise or experiment.

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated none but certainly fine for 12 and above

Available on R2 & R3 DVD ntsc from various outlets.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:22 am

From now on, no more reviews of films seen on cable.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 6:25 am

Man I thought I had a bad sense of humour but that was shocking!

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 2:40 pm

Eureka (2000)

Directed by Shinji Aoyama

Starring Kji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Masaru Miyazaki, Yoichiro Saito

Beautifully filmed in sepia tones Eureka is a slow moving drama with a running time of over three and a half hours. This could have easily been the snooze of the century, it isnt! Eureka is engaging, thought-provoking and captivating, it is one of the best modern Japanese films and destined to become a classic.

The film starts with a bus hijacking, the driver and two schoolchildren, brother and sister are the only survivors left after a violent shoot-out with the police. Two years down the line, the driver returns home after disappearing, we learn that the childrens mother walked out on them for another man and their father has since died. The driver tries to fit back into some sort of normality but finds it almost impossible, especially with rumours that he may be responsible for a spate of local serial killings.

Eventually he ends up at the house where the children still live, if he thought his life was irrepairable, nothing could have prepared him for the state of theirs. Their lives are so far beyond repair that he decides to try and help them back to reality. With the help and often hindrence of the childrens cousin who is staying in the house for a month the survivors try to claw their way back from the abyss, the final stage being a road trip in a small converted coach.

They may have survived the hijacking but they are still victims, the driver carries a heavy burden of guilt because he wasnt killed along with the majority of the passengers. The children also have the weight of the disintegration of their family to add to the memories of the hijacking. The acting never turns to melodrama, it's quietly understated and effective, very good performances all round.

Highly recommended if you have the time to spare and if you haven't, then make the time.

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated 15

Available on R2 Pal DVD from Artificial Eye, also available on R2 ntsc.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 9:34 pm


Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby A » Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:47 pm

Thanks for your review of Eureka. I love it, and can only urge everyone to go see it!
-end of promotional campaign-

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jul 14, 2005 5:06 pm

Dog Star (2002)

Directed by Takahisa Zeze

Starring Etsushi Toyokawa, Haruka Igawa

Only in Japan could they come up with a romantic comedy drama with a plot like this. Shiro is a Seeing Eye dog, his last owner is dead and having trouble getting into heaven; in order to get in he has to do a good deed and decides to grant Shiro a wish for all his years of good service.

Shiros wish is to take human form and visit his first owner, a young girl with whom he spent his formative years and from where he had his happiest memories. The wish is granted and he eventually finds the girl (by sniffing her out) who is now a grown woman and teaching at a school.

Of course the obvious happens, she falls for him despite his somewhat odd behavior and he slowly falls for her but knows because he is in all actuality still a dog, that they can never be together as lovers.

Thats the basics, any more information would contain spoilers so Ill just finish by saying its a quirky romantic drama which thankfully just scrapes through the obvious traps it could have so easily fallen into.

Definitely not essential cinema but an easily accessable slice of the bizarre side of Japans film industry.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC not rated, suitable certainly for 12 and above.

Region 3 ntsc DVD available from several retailers.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby A » Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:11 pm

The Naked Island (1960 / Kaneto Shindo)

Review has been moved to the Classic Film Board.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Fri Jul 15, 2005 9:41 pm

Good thoughtful review A, I haven't seen the film myself but will definitely look out for it.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:01 pm

Shall We Dansu? (1996) Shall We Dance?

Directed by Masayuki Suo

Starring Kji Yakusho, Tamiyo Kusakari

Who would have thought?

Who would have thought that a slight romcom set in the world of ballroom dancing could be so entertaining? Not me for sure but Shall We Dansu? proved me wrong, despite all the clichs in the book albeit subdued as only the Japanese seem to know how this a pleasure to watch.

Shohei Sugiyama is an office manager, married with a teenage daughter and mortgaged to the hilt, normally he goes straight from work to home by train but one evening he is bewitched by the vision of a dance instructor whom he espies from the train window. Encouraged by his wife to get out and enjoy himself and with Mai (the instructor) on his mind he enrolls for lessons in ballroom dancing. A couple of other men join at the same time, one because he wants to surprise his wife who is already a more than capable dancer and one who is very overweight and is taking up dancing on his doctors orders to get more exercise, needless to say Sugiyama is told by Mai in no uncertain terms that if the reason he enrolled was to try it on with her then he may as well pack up now, to her surprise (and his) he continues and actually starts enjoying the dancing.

Meanwhile his wife is so worried that hes gone so often that she hires private detectives to start following him hoping that hes not having an affair, needless to say shes more than a little surprised to learn of his addiction to dancing, as its something theyve never done together.

The story then carries on to a dancing competition where things take a few unexpected twists with the conclusion that certain people realise their dreams, and Mai decides to get back into competition dancing, all in all a happy end for everyone.

The film is at most times incredibly subtle and unfortunately Ill now have to force myself to watch the US remake just to see how different it is.

An unexpected pleasure and as such, recommended viewing.

For another opinion please read justindeimen's review .

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated PG.


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