japanese tagged posts

Napping Princess

Director: Kenji Kamiyama

Writer: Kenji Kamiyama

Cast: Mitsuki Takahata, Yosuke Eguchi

Cert: PG

Running time: 110 mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: A high school girl bound for university relies on her dreams to make sense of the real world when her father is arrested.

What’s the verdict: Ambitiously running two parallel plotlines, one in the real world, one in dreamland, Kenji Kamiyama’s Napping Princess could be considered tween-Inception.

In 2020, days before the Tokyo Olympics, Kokone (Takahata), a plucky high-schooler, dreams herself as Ancien. Ancien is the princess of a largely mechanised fantasy realm, threatened by a Godzilla type monster emerging from the nearby sea.

When Kokone’s father (Eguchi) is arrested by a huge corporation ruled by Kokone’s maternal grandfather, s...

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Shin Godzilla

Directors: Hideaki Anno, Shinji Higuchi

Writer: Hideaki Anno

Cast: Hiroki Hasegawa, Satomi Ishihara, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Jun Kunimura

Cert: 12

Running time: 120 mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: When a giant lizard emerges from Tokyo Bay and wreaks havoc in the city, the Japanese government debates how to handle the crisis.

What’s the verdict: A running gag throughout the blackly comic Shin Godzilla is, whenever the King of Monsters embarks on another round of Tokyo stomping mayhem, there is a governmental reshuffle.

This administrative pinball is conveyed through rapid fire subtitles announcing which position key characters now hold. Don’t try reading them on a first watch. You’ll get nowhere and it’s not needed to follow the plot.

Best known before viewing is that Shin God...

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Genocidal Organ

Director: Shûkô Murase

Writer: Shûkô Murase (screenplay), Project Itoh (novel)

Cast: Yûichi Nakamura, Takahiro Sakurai, Sanae Kobayashi

Cert: 15

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2017




What’s the story: In 2022, five years after terrorists detonated a nuclear device in Sarajevo, civil war has become widespread. Clavis Shepherd (Nakamura), member of US Special Forces, discovers a reason for this violence may lie with the elusive American John Paul (Sakurai) and the hunt is on.

What’s the verdict: Brutal and bleak, Shûkô Murase’s Genocidal Organ is a chillingly believable view of future warfare.

Ambitious sci-fi, its source novel comes from the late Satoshi Itoh, who wrote this, Harmony and The Empire of Corpses under the pseudonym Project Itoh before dying aged 34...

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Blu-Ray Review: Tampopo

Director: Jûzô Itami

Writer: Jûzô Itami

Cast: Tsutomo Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Ken Watanabe, Kôji Yakusho, Kinzô Sakura, Rikiya Yasuoka, Yoshi Katô

Cert: 15

Running time: 114 minutes

Year: 1985


Film:
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: Timid Tokyo ramen shop owner Tampopo (Miyamoto) begins a journey of culinary and self discovery when the gruff Goro (Yamazaki) teaches her how to make the perfect bowl of noodles.

What’s the verdict: Oh, what torture reviewing one of cinema’s greatest food movies. How tasty look those clichés. The urge to call it “flavourful”, “a feast for the eyes” or “a banquet for the cinematic palate, presented with Michelin-star worthy élan”.

We quite like that last one…

Ah, shame be flambéed...

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Blu-ray Review: The Life of Oharu

Welcome to Cinematic Greens

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Kenji Mizoguchi, Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Saikaku Ihara (novel)

Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, Toshiro Mifune

Cert: PG

Running time: 137 mins

Year: 1952


Accolades:
1952 Venice Film Festival
International Award

Electric Shadows rating: medium_5
Criterion Extras: medium_3


What’s the story: In 17th century Japan, noblewoman Oharu is exiled from Kyoto for the crime of loving someone belonging to a lower caste, beginning a lifelong struggle against misfortune.

What’s the verdict: Winner of the International Award at 1952’s Venice Film Festival, The Life of Oharu proved Japanese cinema did not start and stop with Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, grand prize winner at Venice a year before.

Where Rashomon was kinetic and visceral, The Life of Oharu was c...

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Shell-Praiser: A Defense of Ghost in the Shell

SPIRITED REIMAGINING

(Spoiler warning: key plot points from Ghost in the Shell 2017 revealed in this feature)

Mired in whitewashing accusations since 2015 when Scarlett Johansson was announced in the lead. Subject of sustained online fan fury. Mediocre US box office Paramount Studios acknowledged was partly due to this controversy.

Is now a good time to admit I’m a fan of this incarnation of Ghost in the Shell? A reason for this being because of how it addresses its own casting and the surrounding debate? Please give me time to outline the case for the defence.

From Masamune Shirow’s 1989 manga, to Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime, its 2004 sequel Innocence, the Solid State Society and Arise spin-offs, Ghost in the Shell is constantly evolving and reworking its themes.

Themes of identity flu...

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Blu-Ray Review: Lone Wolf and Cub Box Set

Director: Kenji Misumi (films 1-3 & 5), Buichi Saito (film 4), Yoshiyuki Kuroda (film 6)

Writer: Kazuo Koike (screenplay), Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima (manga)

Cast: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Tokio Oki, Minoru Ôki, Tatsuo Endo, Go Kato, Isao Kimura, Yuko Hamada, Michi Azuma, Tomomi Sato, Akihiro Tomikawa

Cert: 18

Running time: 506 minutes (6 films)

Year: 1972-1974

  • Sword of Vengeance (1972)
  • Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)
  • Baby Cart to Hades (1972)
  • Baby Cart in Peril (1972)
  • Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)
  • White Heaven in Hell (1974)

Films: medium_5
Extras:


What’s the story: A ronin, a masterless samurai, pushes his three-year-old son around Japan in a wooden baby cart, seeking vengeance on those who killed his wife and clan.

What’s the verdict: We’re talking six films here (and spi...

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A Silent Voice

Director: Naoko Yamada

Writer: Reiko Yoshida (screenplay), Yoshitoki Oima (manga)

Cast: Mayu Matsuoka, Saori Hayami

Cert: 12

Running time: 129mins

Year: 2016 



What’s the story: Deaf schoolgirl Shōko moves to a new elementary school, but the bullying she receives, particularly from class delinquent Shōya, causes her to transfer. Years later in high school, Shōya vows to make amends with Shōko.

What’s the verdict: A smash hit in Japan, A Silent Voice may have a harder time winning over us cynical Brits. But stick with it and you’ll be charmed long before the luxurious 129-minute running time has elapsed.

For those who balk at excessive displays of sentiment, the opening twenty minutes will be toughest to traverse...

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2016 – Rewind And Re-View

2016. We’ll not dwell on what an awful year it was. Suffice to say there was a lot happening in the movie world, some of it bad, some of it rather wonderful. Here is Electric Shadows’ take on the year in film.

As is customary, we’ll begin with…


WORST FILM OF THE YEAR – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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OfAllTheFilmSites.com editor Rob Wallis and myself begun The Electric Shadows’ podcast this year. For said podcast we have spent approximately 12 hours watching or discussing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “Visionary” director Zack Snyder’s superhero magnus stinkus is mean-spirited, miserable, ugly, incoherent and fundamentally misunderstands its two titular heroes...

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The Best Films of 2016

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Oh 2016, you terrible year. What general miserableness was foisted upon us these past 12 months. Providing a light in the gloom were movies released this year; a great selection from which it was difficult to draw a top 10. But, we managed it and proudly present what we regard as the year’s best releases.

Before we get to that list, firstly a shout-out to those films that skirted the Top 10 but which didn’t make it in.  Ironically, we couldn’t find room for Room, Green Room, or The Keeping RoomCaptain America: Civil War was the only summer blockbuster worth bothering with, but again didn’t make the grade. Elvis & Nixon, The Nice Guys, Bone Tomahawk, The Hateful Eight, Creed. We salute you, but there were still 10 movies we placed above them.

Here they are – in reverse order as is cus...

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