Japanese Journals - General

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Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Sat Sep 24, 2005 1:50 pm

Re: Mike Yokohama, apparently there are a series of these films all expanded from a TV series, each was done by a different director and what surprised me the most is that the final one was directed by Alex Cox (Repo Man).

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 


Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:05 pm

That's correct. Aoyama's version is just of many. I haven't seen the one by Alex Cox but I'm sure it was interesting to say the least.

This is off-topic but I've recently gotten hold of a box-set of Alan Clarke films. Are you familiar with him?
arsaib4
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:36 pm

This is off-topic but I've recently gotten hold of a box-set of Alan Clarke films. Are you familiar with him?

Yes, I've seen a few of his films, out of interest (and with my Brad Pitt impersonation) what's in the box?

Cheers Trev
trevor826
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 6:44 am

It carries Scum, Made in Britain, The Firm, and Elephant.
arsaib4
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:38 pm

I'll be interested to read your opinions on them, Scum and Elephant are shown quite regularly on filmfour, they always tie Elephant in to follow screenings of Van Sant's film of the same name. I've seen The Firm but not Made in Britain, at least not that I can remember.

I thought the set may have included Rita, Sue & Bob Too which is a quirky British working class relationship drama.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Tue Nov 15, 2005 2:08 pm

Umoregi (2005) The Buried Forest

Directed by Khei Oguri

Starring Tadanobu Asano (Zatoichi, Vital)

Beautiful cinematography, gorgeous lighting and scenery but shallow, vapid and totally nonsensical.

Three girls in a small village in Japan start telling each other stories and gradually the stories take lives of their own, the premise is interesting covering everything from the fantastical to Japanese traditions but the way its constructed makes it alll seem indigestible and flatulent.

After watching the film I felt as though someone had strung together a collection of deleted scenes, nothing meant anything or went anywhere. This is the sort of film that could put someone off Japanese cinema because unfortunately its just a waste.

One of the most disappointing Japanese films Ive seen, not the worst but one with great potential let down by the lack of any sort of character development or structure. I really wanted to like it, Im a sucker for artistic lighting, beautiful scenery, slow storylines and loose plot frameworks and Japanese cinema in general but this did nothing for me.

What a shame.

Cheers Trev.

Seen at the Cardiff Screen Festival, a UK Premiere.
trevor826
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:51 pm

Tengoku no honya - koibi (2004) Heaven's Bookstore

Directed by Tetsuo Shinohara

Starring Yuko Takeuchi, Tetsuji Tamayama

A romantic drama that reaches beyond our plane of existence.

A pianist, Kenta gets sacked then totally drunk, the next day he wakes up in a strange room and finds out hes in Heaven. Not the Heaven of Christian interpretation, this is more of a Buddhist Heaven, a place to live out the hundred years everyone is allotted before being reborn into a new life. If you die at the age of thirty-five, youll stay in Heaven for sixty-five years and then be reborn without any memory of your previous life or your time in heaven.

After accepting the fact that hes in Heaven (and still alive) hes given a job in Heavens Bookstore, what he doesnt know is that he has another job to do that will help someone else and make him a better person. The other person "Shoko" was a composer and pianist on earth, since dying she hasnt felt able to continue either playing or composing.

Meanwhile on Earth, a young woman Kanako is trying to organise a firework display but has heard about a particular type of firework called Wabi which used to be made by a local man "Takimoto". He stopped making them after his fiance was deafened in one ear after an accident with the fireworks, they split up soon after and several years later she died. The feeling of guilt for the accident has never left him.

Two separate story lines but closely connected, "Shoko" in Heaven and Kanako are related (both roles are played by Yuko Takeuchi) and both stories bring about a change for the better in the central characters.

The film shouldnt work but it does, everything falls into place (in a somewhat predictable manner) and for a few brief moments, Heaven and Earth are connected, a bit of a tearjerker but in a positive way. Entertaining, good music, good dual roles from Yuko Takeuchi, and an interesting interpretation of Heaven.

Nice light entertainment, well made, decent acting, good for a relaxing evening with your partner.

Cheers Trev

No BBFC rating but certainly no more than a PG.

Region 2 ntsc dvd available from Shichoku, probably available on Region 3 ntsc as well.
trevor826
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:21 am

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse.
arsaib4
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:35 pm

Thanks arsaib4, despite the fact that I've only seen it on vcd Pulse is an outstanding film, I can't wait till it gets a decent dvd release next year.

If possible, try and catch it in the cinema because it is well worth the effort, I only wish I could.

Cheers Trev.

Update due to the dvd release from Optimum Asia. The video transfer is adequate, not outstanding unfortunately. Thankfully a good sound mix is provided, this does make a big difference to the atmosphere. Burnt on subtitles, I'm not happy about that especially when they're hard to read against a light background.

Extras - the trailer and a 40+ minute making of doc, not the greatest of quality but interesting.

Personally I would like to have seen Pulse get a better treatment but at least it's finally been released in the UK.
trevor826
 

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:25 pm

Godzilla (1954) Gojira

Directed by Ishir Honda

Starring Takashi Shimura (Ikiru, Seven Samurai), Momoko Kchi, Akira Takarada

Restored and uncut, this is the one true Godzilla film that was bastardised for release in the US with clips of Raymond Burr interspersed throughout the film and renamed Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

Ships start disappearing off the coast of Japan, other ships investigate and they also vanish. On Odu Island, rumours spread about the return of a legendary monster, Godzilla. The natives tell of how they used to send a female sacrifice out to sea in order to appease him, of course none of the investigators believe these rumours until they themselves are faced by the beast.

After attempting and failing to destroy the monster, Godzilla heads towards Tokyo leaving a swathe of destruction in its path.

As well as the main story, there is also a minor underplayed love triangle involving three of the central characters, this is resolved with the death of one of the protagonists towards the end of the film.

This film is more than just a rampaging monster movie, more than a Japanese King Kong; its a warning to the World against the nuclear bomb tests taking place during that period especially in the Pacific.

You only have to see the results of Godzillas attacks, a blinding flash, virtual disintegration and furious fires, the same as the effects of the bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Godzilla himself is radioactive as a result of the tests; he spits out a deadly atomic mist that destroys everything in his path. Godzilla is allegorical of the threat of nuclear war and this gives the film a sense of melancholy albeit with some ironic humour, the broadcaster on the Tokyo tower telling the audience he has no chance of escaping before signing off with a somewhat cheery Sayonara!

The effects range from pretty amateur to absolutely stunning, the first sighting of the monster on Odu Island is laughably bad but during the destruction of Tokyo, the effects are incredible. As for the sound, well that truly is something else, awesome enough to send chills down your spine, it also shows where Mr Spielberg got some of his aural ideas for Jurassic Park.

So is it worth seeing? Damn right it is, this doesnt have the cheese factor of its sequels, this film carries a serious message and for its time, it was excellent. A hearty recommendation, especially if you can catch it in the cinema.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG.

To be released on R2 Pal dvd by the BFI.
trevor826
 

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