Japanese Journals - General

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Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby justindeimen » Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:37 pm

I just saw the American remake of "Shall We Dansu?". Just as I expected, overly explicating and doesn't contain the same bittersweet melancholy of the original. A fleshed out wife character courtesy of the always immaculate Sarandon gives the film an extra oomph that suits the tone of the American remake. An extra offspring didn't really bring much, but quite a decent enough replica in narrative and character mannerisms (except for that one bit with Chic).

About the overly explicating part, the end was stretched showing the stories of each of the character after the final dance with Paulina, including a very unnecessary prelude that I can only guess was to make clear to the audience that John did not harbour any feelings for Paulina.

I think I might have been too harsh anyway, if it slavishly followed the original, I'd have scoffed. And when it didn't, I sneer. I never thought I'd say this, but Jennifer Lopez was so underused.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby hengcs » Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:11 am

Utzu (aka Waters; aka Gigolo Wannabe) (2006)

Director: Ryo Nishimura
Cast: Shun Oguri, Toshinobu Matsuo, Takamasa Suga, Yusuke Kirishima, Hiroyuki Hirayama, Ryoji Morimoto, Shingo Katsurayama, Hitomi Manaka, Riko Narumi, Yoshio Harada

The official website

The story revolves around 7 guys who want to make big bucks working as male hosts in a bar by the sea (i.e., waters) ... What were their motivation? And will they succeed? ...

My thoughts:


Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:20 am


Arguably the best film maverick Japanese filmmaker Shinji Aoyama has made since his 2000 masterpiece Eureka, Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? represents an admirable amalgam of the genre-induced narratives of the directors early work and the more somber, melancholic approach he has often employed recently. Deriving its title from the Aramaic transcription of Christs final words on the cross, the film -- which is mostly situated around a remote seaside resort in the year 2015 -- stars the ubiquitous Tadanobu Asano, whose character of Mizui seems to have been composed from the various traits found in his roles in Electric Dragon 80.000 V (2001) and Caf Lumire (2003).

Ostensibly, Mizui and his dear friend, Asuhara (Masaya Nakahara), are masters of recording ambient sounds emitting from implausible sources. From a radio-broadcast in the resort the former musicians often visit, we determine that a suicidal disease, caused by a virus named "The Lemming Syndrome," is wrecking havoc around the world by feeding on human misery. When an aging plutocrat with an ailing granddaughter (Aoi Miyazaki, from Eureka) becomes aware of the news that the cure may lie in the experimental music of the aforementioned duo, he tracks them down with the help of a private detective, only to be told that the music, which might also in fact feed the virus, could only possibly facilitate the change if it originates from within the patients themselves.

A film such as Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? must be a dream job for every sound artist. From sound recording to editing, the film is emblematic of a great aural experience. (But this very quality might serve as a hindrance for certain viewers who might not appreciate or comprehend the underground, gonzo, din-like symphonies utilized here.) On the other hand, however, film-editing leaves something to be desired: on a couple of occasions Aoyama allows a scene to continue long after it has served its purpose. Though, in a minimalist effort like this, he deserves much credit for constantly exploring the films emotional and spiritual center through his softly radiant and precisely composed widescreen images. And, unlike his earlier films, the filmmaker is less interested in unraveling the narrative to satisfy genre fans, and is more geared towards (the means of) the metaphysical cure for the fragmented world of his. No, this isnt Eureka, but after a couple of disappointing efforts it's a step in the right direction for Aoyama.


*ELI, ELI, LEMA SABACHTHANI? premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard). In the U.S., it was selected to play in the "Film Comment Select" series earlier this year.

*Now available on Japanese DVD with English subtitles.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby A » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:21 pm

Well, well, still only seen Eureka, but I plan on watching his other movies, when I have more money to import some
Did you buy the DVD arsaib?

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:05 pm

Yup. Japanese DVDs are a truly a treat in terms of quality. But, as you probably know, they are often quite expensive.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby A » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:23 am

Yes, I know. I thought about importing the japanese Eureka two years ago (because the AE disc isn't comparable in terms of quality), but ah, the money the money. Same goes for some films by Mamoru Oshii.
But I won't be always a poor guy, eh?

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby trevor826 » Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:46 pm

Great news and sounds pretty interesting.

Tadanobu Asano, whose character of Mizui seems to have been composed from the various traits found in his roles in Electric Dragon 80.000 V (2001) and Caf Lumire (2003).


Cheers Trev.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:52 am

You've watched both of those films, right?

Anyway, I don't know how Asano gets away with without uttering a word practically in film after film, but more power to him. It is a pleasure to watch him perform.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby A » Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:47 am

Definitely. His performance in Pan-ek Ratanaruang's latest was again something special. Slapstick mixed with tragedy, and he pulls it of admiringly.
That reminds me that I have "Electric Dragon 80000V" on DVD.

Re: Japanese Journals - General

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:16 am

I can't wait to see Invisible Waves. Ratanaruang's previous effort, Last Life in the Universe, also featuring Asano incidentally, was one of the best films I saw in 2004.


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