Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.
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Unread post by HungFist » 04 Jan 2009, 15:32

Yawarakai seikatsu (2005)

Ryuichi Hiroki has been one of the most interesting Japanese directors for years, although many of his films have been flawed. But he seems to be developing constantly. Vibrator was like a follow up to Tokyo gomi onna. Yawarakai seikatsu is a fully mature, superior version of Vibrator. Hiroki’s razor sharp eye (the cinematography) is still here, but now also soundtrack and characters are perfectly subtle. The film’s opening is so amazingly good that there’s a risk of the actual film not being able to live up to it, but it does, almost fully. Shinobu Terajima, who was already very good in Vibrator, gives an amazingly good performance in the lead role. Very few actresses dare to be this real in front of the camera.

R2J extras include Behind the scenes 1 (22 min), Behind the scenes 2 (2 min), Ryuichi Hiroki interview (5 min), Haruhiko Arai interview (4 min), Premiere (5 min), Press Conference 1 (5 min), Press Conference 2 (3 min), Festival Footage (2 min), biographies, trailer and tv spot. Artwork Cards (3) and a booklet (16 pages) are also included. But maybe the most positively surprising thing is the cover art itself (more about it later).

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The DVD cover may seem boring, but it’s actually just a paper sleeve on top...
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... revealing a real beauty underneath
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Unread post by HungFist » 05 Feb 2009, 20:53


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Unread post by diceman » 06 Feb 2009, 01:17

No subs for "Girl Sparks", that sucks. :?
Thankfully I've already watched it on a festival (best movie of 2008!), still I'm longing for a comprehensible release.

And please look out for Eiji Uchida's "Sisterhood". No DVD in sight yet, though, but it's absolutely great.

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Unread post by grim_tales » 06 Feb 2009, 16:10

Ayaka Komatsu is very pretty. Beauty :)

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Unread post by HungFist » 18 Feb 2009, 13:28

See trailer update

Master of Cinema gets the cover art right. I shall buy it.

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25 May 2009. BD also

Update: here's a UK trailer for Tokyo Sonata. Very good trailer that capture's film's essence (appart from the humour), uses the film's music, and unlike the Japanese trailer, doesn't spoil too much:

http://twitchfilm.net/site/view/uk-trai ... yo-sonata/
diceman wrote: And please look out for Eiji Uchida's "Sisterhood". No DVD in sight yet, though, but it's absolutely great.
2009/05/21

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Unread post by HungFist » 21 Feb 2009, 00:38

I don't know if anyone was looking forward to this but Happy Flight is coming to dvd and bd on 2009/05/22. These product descriptions and titles made me laugh. Standard Class Edition, Fist Class edition... and, "Frank Sinatra sings theme of the film".

http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/search.html?ty ... ppy+flight
http://www.happyflight.jp/index.html

Kodomo no kodomo 2009/05/26

http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=BCBJ-3397
http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%82%B3%E3%83%89%E3%...
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ ... 919a2.html

EDIT:
Kimi no yubisaki added to the Ishikawa thread:

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http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... php?t=4908
Last edited by HungFist on 06 Mar 2009, 18:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by HungFist » 06 Mar 2009, 18:15

HungFist wrote:UK's Third Window Films will be releasing Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers in February 2009. I've heard good things about this film and was actually considering a R2J (or R3K) purhase. But if the Brits manage a native PAL transfer (or should I throw all hope out of the window already?) maybe I'll get this one instead.
NTSC to PAL, forget it
http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content/id/70 ... mmers.html

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Unread post by HungFist » 10 Mar 2009, 21:54

Finally cover art for Kimi no tomodachi at amazon

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Unread post by diceman » 26 Apr 2009, 22:11

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TURTLES ARE SURPRISINGLY FAST SWIMMERS (Japan, 2005)
Suzume is a young housewife living an utterly boring and ordinary life, in fact it's that boring and ordinary that she's afraid of becoming invisible. Then one day she stumbles upon a hidden ad offering work as a spy. Curiously she calls . . . gets accepted and passes the test. Her first task: to act as ordinary and inconspicuously as possible.

Just saw it and really liked it. The movie lives from that certain kind of casual low-key humor only the Japanese do so well; "Turtles" won't make you laugh out loud, but you'll have a constant smile on your face and I certainly felt better afterwards. It's no satire either, no sexual innuendos or cynism either, just a pure, honest-to-god comedy with an always warm and upbeat atmosphere. There's a lot of talking about seemingly irrelevant things, but in an always amusing way and full of offbeat punchlines, and most of the stuff that's being inconspicuosly planted gets some sort of surprising pay-off later. Last but not least Juri Ueno is really cute and has an overwhelmingly charming personality, and that quirky voice-over of hers is fun as well. A couple of scenes have a strangely bizarre and surreal feel to it, though. Some of them serve as a kind of metaphor about stuff people think about, some of them represent reality in a slightly offbeat and stylized manner. Otherwise "Turtles" is great unflustered filmmaking, moves along fast and smoothly enough, and the credits start to roll long before you can even think about checking your watch.

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Unread post by grim_tales » 27 Apr 2009, 15:34

Does Kimi no tomodachi just mean Kimi's (?) friend?

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Unread post by HungFist » 27 Apr 2009, 16:05

grim_tales wrote:Does Kimi no tomodachi just mean Kimi's (?) friend?
The title means "Your friends".

Thanks Dice, need to see that.

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Unread post by diceman » 27 Apr 2009, 19:13

HungFist, please be sure to have a look out for "The Two in Tracksuits", another sort of brilliant Japanese movie which I saw on the Nippon Connection. If subs should become available, please do yourself a favour and buy the DVD. Once more this is casual and relaxed filmmaking at its best, about a father and a son who take a break from a heat-wave in Tokio and hang out in a small hut in the woods, wearing tracksuits all day, and basically do nothing while still having lots of fun. The characters do have some personal background, but the drama is still very toned down and doesn't get in the way of the relaxed, off-hand atmosphere of the movie; it's actually all about staying cool, wondering about oddball neighbours, buying lots of tomatoes, playing oldschool videogames and worrying whether the videotape(!) they've rented is Beta-Digital. :D

Homepage: http://www.ja-zi2.jp/ (You'll find two trailers behind the 5th Link from the left)

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Unread post by diceman » 29 Apr 2009, 17:48

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- TRAILER
A failed actress named Sumika (Eriko Sato) returns home from Tokyo for the funeral of her parents, but really just wants to soak her brother for more money to support her big city lifestyle. She still holds a grudge against her talented younger sister Kiyomi (Aimi Satsukawa) for exposing her secrets through a manga she created years earlier, and takes every opportunity to abuse and berate her. Meanwhile, their miserable brother Shinji (Masatoshi Nagase) tries to keep the peace between his siblings while completely ignoring his lonely-but-bubbly wife (Hiromi Nagasaku), who he never really cared for. As utter dysfunction permeates through their house, each family member spirals toward their individual fates in ways that are bizarre, sad, and amusing all at once.
- Quelle: www.NipponCinema.com
Looks like fun (plus Eriko Sato is quite a hottie :D). Actually I find myself very likely to pick this one up sooner or later.

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Unread post by HungFist » 29 Apr 2009, 18:28

If I were you'd pick the HK disc. Panorama has sometimes done R2J ports. UK distributor Third Window Films ain't got a clue what they're doing, I'm afraid.

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Unread post by diceman » 29 Apr 2009, 18:39

I found their "Turtles"-Release quite good, actually. :) After all it's nothing epic or groundbreaking; just a wee little funny flick to enjoy in between.
And at least I'm sure to get quality-subtitles:

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Unread post by HungFist » 21 Jun 2009, 11:54

Yubisaki kara sekai wo (2006)

Isao Yukisada is a an uneven director with some pleasant films (A Day on the Planet) as well as some cheap tosh (Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World) in his filmography. Yubisaki kara sekai wo is a surprising and very nice effort from Yukisada. The 63 minute film follows four high school girls who all have problems in their life, and have decided to commit a suicide together. Despite this, Yubisaki kara sekai wo is not a dark film (appart from a heavy dose of scenes taking place night time) but rather the opposite. You could even say there’s a bit of Makoto Shinkai or Hiroshi Ishikawa is Yukisada’s directing here. The piano music, great theme song and magnificent cinematography create beautiful scenes and especially the ending is wonderful. Although there are a couple of weaker scenes the sentimentality that the director has been found guilty of a few times is missing from this film. Mitsuki Tanimura stars as one of the girls.

Very nice looking although interlaced transfer. Unfortunately there are no chapter stops. Extras feature making of (31 min), band interview (29 min), another band interview (6 min), music video (4 min), and a 4 page booklet.

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Making of
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Last edited by HungFist on 18 Jan 2010, 10:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by HungFist » 15 Jul 2009, 19:41

Custom Made 10.30 (2005)

What started as a concert document evolved into a feature film. The fictional story follows two sisters (pop star Kaela Kimura and Erika Saimon) who dream of playing in a band. The storyline ultimately takes them to the Hiroshima Stadium, not as performing artists, but to witness rock legend Tamio Okuda’s epic concert. Custom Made 10.30 divides into two uneven parts. The first 80 minutes is miserable, full of dull visual tricks and appalling supporting characters. Susumu Terajima and Shingo Yanagisawa’s performances are nerve wrecking experiences. The beautiful Hiroshima landscapes is the only redeeming factor. However, the final 40 minutes is terrific. Most of it consist of Okuda performing several songs live. This footage is not only musically impressive but also visually first grade. Whether it makes the first 2/3 of the film worth enduring is a different story.

2 Disc and 1 Disc R2J releases exists. I own the 1 Disc release which comes with trailers, tv spots, music videos and interviews (18 min). Three artwork cards are also included. The 2 Disc Premium edition comes with additional extras and t-shirt.

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Read more about Tamio Okuda:
http://www.furinkan.com/tomobiki/wagaku ... /tamio.htm

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Re:

Unread post by HungFist » 05 Aug 2009, 19:31

HungFist wrote:Trailer for Ichikawa's last
http://www.tiff-jp.net/en/lineup/works.php?id=144
DVD in December
http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=706515

I will have English subtitles.

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Re: Re:

Unread post by Shingster » 05 Aug 2009, 23:45

HungFist wrote:
HungFist wrote:Trailer for Ichikawa's last
http://www.tiff-jp.net/en/lineup/works.php?id=144
DVD in December
http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=706515

I will have English subtitles. Muwahahaha!!
Quoted for dramatic effect! :D

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 09 Oct 2009, 15:20

Sion Sono's Be Sure to Share R2J 18.12. No subs listed.

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http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=BIBJ-7698

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 11 Oct 2009, 14:02

Kimi no tomodachi (2008)

Ryuichi Hiroki’s career is certainly not one without development. In the 1980’s one could find his name attached to sadistic pink films, sometimes made under the alias Go Ijuin (also used by Genji Nakamura and Hitoshi Ishikawa). Fast forward two decades and Hiroki has become a pioneer in digital filmmaking in Japan. His masterful 2005 film It's Only Talk is one of the best Japanese movies from the past 10 years. Now Hiroki has made a beautiful movie about friendship between kids. Kimi no tomodachi follows two girls who become friends at the age of 10. The main part of the film takes place 5 years later, the present day being yet another five years later. Both girls are sick or injured; Yuka (Ayu Kitaura) has a kidney disease, and Emi’s (Anna Ishibashi) leg was permanently damaged in a car accident.

While Yuka and Emi are the core of the film, the storyline almost unnoticeably introduces new characters and smaller branches. It’s not obvious from the beginning, but just like these shorter stories that aren’t always brought to a conclusion, the entire film is more about friendship than telling any specific storyline. This structure is one of the aspects that Hiroki handles well in a film that is relatively conventional, but greatly benefits from the director’s touch. Hiroki doesn’t turn the film into a sad sickness story, or the most typical kind of ”memories of the good old days” offering that Japan is so keen on producing nowadays. There are some unsuccessful parts - such as bullying scenes that play out like All About Lily Chou Chou – but the numerous long takes and beautiful digital cinematography create several terrific scenes. In many ways Kimi no tomodachi is reminiscent of Hiroki’s earlier but inferior film Love on Sunday, which also was a very mainstream oriented screenplay seen though Hiroki’s sharp lens. Kimi no tomodachi is a greatly enjoyable film, even if not as good as the director's best efforts.

Some edge enhancement aside the R2J looks good. Extras only feature trailer and 9 minute promotional making off (almost zero information value). No English subtitles, but the recent Korean dvd apparently has them.

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Re: Re:

Unread post by HungFist » 13 Oct 2009, 16:49

Shingster wrote:
HungFist wrote:
HungFist wrote:Trailer for Ichikawa's last
http://www.tiff-jp.net/en/lineup/works.php?id=144
DVD in December
http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=706515

I will have English subtitles. Muwahahaha!!
Quoted for dramatic effect! :D
Now I will also have a beautiful cover art!

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by diceman » 20 Oct 2009, 12:06

Thanks for the Review. "Kimi no Tomodachi" looks like a movie I might enjoy; after all I missed it on last year's
Viennale-Festival. By the way, if you're still interested, there are now fan-subs available for "Two in Tracksuits".

Or are you fluent in Japanese yet? :D

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 20 Oct 2009, 14:45

diceman wrote:Thanks for the Review. "Kimi no Tomodachi" looks like a movie I might enjoy; after all I missed it on last year's
Viennale-Festival. By the way, if you're still interested, there are now fan-subs available for "Two in Tracksuits".

Or are you fluent in Japanese yet? :D
subs are still very useful

It's more about convincing me to buy the film, though. So much cool stuff in the stores, so little money available. And time, too. I haven't watched more than 4 movies during the last 3½ weeks. In the other thread I'm posting archive reviews... stuff I watched a month ago but never had time to write about...

And I need to save money for the upcoming Remembering Jun Ichikawa box set (I've been meaning to post these news for the last 2 months, but my memory has been making fun of me)

Limited to 2000 copies. The films included are Bu su, Kaisha monogatari: Memories of You, Tsugumi, Tokyo Lullaby, and Buy a Suit. The set also includes a 48 page booklet and bonus disc containing a documentary and tons of TV CM’s directed by Ichikawa. The release date is Oct 28, but the films will also be available separately from Dec 23.

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Bu su (1987)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0204926/
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Kaisha monogatari: Memories of You (1988)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203608/
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Tsugumi (1990)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100820/
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Tokyo Lullaby (1997)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120346/
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Buy a Suit (2008)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1313102/
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Also to be released (Oct. 28) by another company is Tokiwa: The Manga Apartment (1996)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117933/
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and Hyo ryu ki (漂流姫) (1987) (Oct. 21). Unfortunately I’m not quite sure what Hyo ryu ki is, but what I do know is it stars Yuki Saito, it’s 45 minutes long, and shot in 1.33:1, and made for video market. And there’s a photo book with the same name, released in 1986) so I’m guessing it’s some sort idol product. If my memory serves me correctly the Horikita Maki – Kuroki Meisa short movie Kimi no yubisaki was also a project where a movie was made to support a photobook, or vice versa. I’m not sure Hyo ryu ki is the same, that was just a guess.

Here’s a picture of the VHS release from 1987.
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and a few pics of the photobook which you can bid at yahoo
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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 06 Mar 2010, 07:02

Girlfriend - Someone Please Stop the World (2004)

Girlfriend is Ryuichi Hiroki's contribution to the Love Collection – a series of digitally shot films, similar to the early 2000's Love Cinema series that also featured a film by Hiroki (Tokyo Trash Baby, 2000). Being one of the pioneers of digital cinematography is Japan, Hiroki knows how to capture beautifully grainy images that give his indie dramas an additional touch of intimate realism. Girlfriend is not a standout effort, but it’s a pleasing little movie. Hiroki follows a promising young female photographer (Kinuwo Yamada) who finds a model from a troubled hairdresser (Aoba Kawai). The two go through a brief friendship, perhaps an affair, too. Hiroki takes a non-chronological and sentimentalism free approach that keeps big emotions and epic romances out of the pic. It’s also worth noting the irony; the director started his career by directing pink film in the 80's when censorship set its limitations on display of bare skin. In Girlfriend full frontal nudity is featured, but it's played purely for characterization purposes, rather than for the viewer's arousal.

Pony Canyon's R2J is non-anamorphic and interlaced. No subtitles. Extras feature brief cast and crew bios, and trailers for all 6 Love Collection films.

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