japanese tagged posts

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

Batman-v-Superman---Podcast-lead-image

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

The-Witch---family-gathering

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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Silence (2016)

silence-posterDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Martin Scorsese & Jay Cocks (screenplay); Shûsaku Endô (novel)

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Issei Ogata, Liam Neeson

Cert: 15

Running time: 161mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: Two Portuguese priests journey to 17th century Japan to discover the whereabouts of a colleague who has reportedly renounced his religion. The two priests also attempt to spread Catholicism, but find danger in the ruling class attempting to drive foreign beliefs from the land, often violently.

silence-andrew-garfield-adam-driver-shinya-tsukamotosilence-tadanobu-asano

What’s the verdict: Even ignoring The Last Temptation of Christ, religion and chiefly Catholicism have loomed large in Scorsese’s work...

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Blu-Ray Review: Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

akira-kurosawas-dreams-blu-ray-coverDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Writer: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Mieko Harada, Hisashi Igawa, Martin Scorsese

Cert: PG

Running time: 119mins

Year: 2016

 


Film:
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: Across eight vignettes, including fantastical tales of Japanese folklore and dark apocalyptic visions, director Akira Kurosawa reveals his dreams.

akira-kurosawas-dreams-rainbowakira-kurosawas-dreams-world-war-2-japanese-soldiers

What’s the verdict: Those who remember Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams release in 1990 but are only now catching up with the film itself are due for a pleasant surprise.

Originally met with a mixed response (it still holds a 55% Rotten Tomatoes rating), to modern eyes Dreams is a burst of sunshine through the current blizzard of smeary CGI pseudo-spectacle.

Split into eight separate stories, each introduced by a title and the legend “I had another dream…”, Kurosawa spir...

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Sadako vs Kayako

Sadako-vs-Kayako-posterDirector: Kôji Shiraishi

Writer: Kôji Suzuki, Takashi Shimizu (characters only)

Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa, Masahrio Kômoto, Masanobu Andô, Rina Endo, Elly Nanami

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 98mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: Two college girls unleash the dormant spirit of Ring’s Sadako when they discover the cursed video tape. In another part of Tokyo, a high school student dooms herself when entering the house haunted by The Grudge’s Kayako. Is pitching the two legendary evil spirits against each other the only way to survive?

Sadako-vs-Kayako---Aimi-SatsukawaSadako-vs-Kayako---Mizuki-Yamamoto

What’s the verdict: (Franchise) vs (Franchise) movies are typically a case of “nice idea, shame about the execution.” Alien vs Predator, Freddy vs Jason, Batman v Superman… underachievers all.

That Sadako vs Kayako...

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Miss Hokusai

Miss-Hokusai-posterDirector: Keiichi Hara

Writer: Miho Maruo, Hinako Suguira (comic)

Cast: Anne Watanabe, Yutaka Matsushige, Shion Shimizu, Kumiko Aso

Cert: 12

Running time: 93mins

Year: 2015



What’s the story: In 1814 Edo (now Tokyo) 50 year old artist Tetsuzo casually produces masterpieces, assisted by his daughter O-Ei. Using the vibrant city, its inhabitants, the seasons and superstitions they create works of art revered to this day.

Miss-Hokusai---O-Ei,-magic-hourMiss-Hokusai---O-Ei,-painting-society-woman

What’s the verdict: Don’t worry if you have never heard of Japanese artist Tetsuzo, or his most famous assumed name Katsushika Hokusai. You will be familiar with his wood block print The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. It’s that striking flat perspective view of a giant blue wave engulfing fishing boats that adorns everything from mugs to mouse pads to many a student bed...

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Bowie’s Big Screen Best

Merry-Christmas-Mr-Lawrence---David-Bowie,-Ryuichi-Sakamoto

Over twenty credited movie roles on his IMdb page testify to David Bowie’s impressive body of film appearances.

Not that he was an actor of extraordinary range. Although displaying a similar to aura to Jeremy Irons, it is difficult to imagine Dead Ringers or Die Hard With A Vengeance with the superstar in those roles.

Bowie’s big screen company was more along the lines of Brad Pitt or Keanu Reeves. Actors whose performance ability is relatively narrow, but can be electrifying on the big screen when used effectively.

His first credited big screen appearance was in The Man Who Fell To Earth. Ostensibly playing an alien, the kaleidoscopic film can be read as a pretty accurate reflection of experiences the coke and excess addled Bowie was then going through.

Later roles would include Jare...

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The Boy and the Beast

The-Boy-and-the-Beast-posterDirector: Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda

Cast: Kôji Yakusho, Shôta Sometani, Aoi Miyazaki, Kazuhiro Yamaji

Cert: TBC

Running time: 119mins

Year: 2015



The lowdown: Wolf Children and Summer Wars director Mamoru Hosoda delivers another beautifully told fable, blending Japanese folktales with cutting edge technology. Spirited Away with a male lead, The Boy and the Beast focusses on Kyuta, a young boy who flees to the magical animal realm of Jutengai when his mother dies. There he becomes apprentice to Kumatetsu, a bear-like creature looking to become lord of the land. But, does the young lad have a thing or two to teach? Fast-paced and funny, a family film to treasure.

The-Boy-and-the-Beast---Kyuta-and-Kumatetsu-arguingThe-Boy-and-the-Beast---Kyuta-training

The full verdict: Once courted by Studio Ghibli to direct Howl’s Moving Castle before being unceremoniously dumpe...

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