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Rage (2016) by Lee Sang-il

Lee Sang-il has always had a different, unique approach in his films, as the fact that he is Zainichi Korean allows him to combine elements from both Japanese and Korean cinema. This trait became obvious in “Villain”, but it is in “Rage” that it finds its apogee.

“Rage” was part of the program of the New York Asian Film Festival,

The intricate story is based on the homonymous novel by Shuchi Yoshida, (who also wrote the book that “Villain” was based upon), and uses a gruesome murder, that receives much publicity as it is investigated by the police, as its base, before it splits into three different settings.

The first one takes place in Chiba where Yohei Maki rescues his daughter Aiko, from a life as a sex worker. As both of them try to heal from the wounds of the past and to face public prejudice, Aiko starts having
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Death Note: Light Up the New World (2016) by Shinsuke Sato

The Japanese branch of Warner Bros has been investing for quite some time in the mainstream Japanese movie industry, mainly through the distribution of Takashi Miike’s and action films based on manga. In that fashion, the “Death Note” franchise was an obvious choice, as one of the most commercial of the last decades.

The film is available for pre-order from Madman Entertainment

“Light Up the New World” takes place ten years after the events of “Death Note 2” and follows “Death Note: New Generation” in terms of theme. King Shinigami seems to consider the mayhem spread by Yagami Light delightful, and has scattered six new notebooks around the world. Unavoidably, the bodies start piling up again, and the Death Note Task Force is resurrected once more. As new Shinigamis appear along the new owners of the notebooks, chaos is being spread in even worse terms than before, particularly after a
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Film Review: ‘Death Note: Light Up the New World’

Film Review: ‘Death Note: Light Up the New World’
Too many Grim Reapers spoil the wake in “Death Note: Light Up the New World” — an over-plotted, action-heavy reboot of the groundbreaking Japanese vigilante fantasy that makes murder as easy as jotting down someone’s name. Picking up 10 years after Shusuke Kaneto’s two-part Asian hit, the new installment helmed by Shinsuke Sato tries to multiply the fun by unleashing three shinigami (“Gods of Death”) and six Death Notes on the world. Lacking the scintillating mind games that made the original so watchable, the film is at best a broad action-thriller. Despite good pre-sales in Asia, the movie has yet to bow Stateside but may serve as a warm-up to Adam Wingard’s remake of Kaneto’s superior version.

A 2003 manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takashi Obata, “Death Note” centers on Light Yagami, alias Kira, who decides to “cleanse the world of crime” after receiving a
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tran Anh Hung's "Norwegian Wood"

  • MUBI
"With his intuitive penchant for lingering, privileged sensations, Tran Anh Hung would seem to be an inspired choice to film Haruki Murakami's languid-erotic 1987 bestseller Norwegian Wood, where the eponymous Beatles anthem can have the effect of Proust's madeleine," writes Fernando F Croce in Slant. "When it does come, sung softly in English in a cottage in the pastoral outskirts of Tokyo, the tune quickly brings tears to the eyes of Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), whose private anguish is momentarily alleviated and then unsettled by the pop song's wistful evocation of ephemeral affairs: 'And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown…' With its gentle camera movements and wizardly cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin's amber light, the moment glows and shivers. It also illustrates, unfortunately, how Tran's adaptation works most effectively in such impressionistic glances and instants than as an emotional whole, where the swoony aesthetic comes to
See full article at MUBI »

Box Office: Crushed Cars, Ascendant Woody and Global Hits

We won't waste too much time on the American box office today as it's the usual stories: an animated film tops the charts (don't make me say the name), Bridesmaid barely dipped and Midnight in Paris is zooming up the "all time Woody Allen lists". On this last bit I wish we had "adjusted for inflation" charts at the ready. Those inevitable stories about it passing Hannah and Her Sisters at the box office are going to be annoying because $40 million in 1986 is a helluva lot more ticket-buying action than $41 million in 2011, you know? I'm guessing that Annie Hall, which really captured mainstream attention, would reign supreme if you adjusted for inflation. [updated: yep, Annie Hall is #1]

And yes I normally do a new drawing for the box office but I hate drawing cars and the only picture I'd like to conjure in that realm is Cars 2's "Mater" squished flat in a compactor.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Full Trailer For Sabu's Usagi Drop

[Previous post updated with full trailer.]Though it's been a little while since Sabu - surely one of Japan's most distinctive film talents - has had the chance to direct from one of his own scripts the man keeps working and finding ways of putting his own unique spin on whatever material he is handed.Up next from the director of Monday and Unlucky Monkey is Usagi Drop. Adapted from the manga by Yumi Unita the film stars Kenichi Matsuyama as a young man who decides to take in his grandfather's illegitimate daughter - a girl nobody knew existed until she turns up at his funeral - and raise her as his own despite having no prior experience with young children.A full trailer has just joined...
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

'Norwegian Wood' In Select Canadian Theatres On July 15

  • The Cultural Post
After its release in Japan in December, Tran Anh Hung's Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no mori) will come out in select Canadian theatres on July 15 according to Cinemamontreal.com.

The film is based on a novel written by Haruki Murakami.

The story takes place in Tokyo in 1969. Kizuki (Kengo Kôra) and Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) are both best friends.

After Kizuki's suicide, Watanabe gets closer to Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), Kizuki's girlfriend. As both Watanabe and Naoko tries to get over their bereavement, Watanabe bonds with Midori (Kiko Mizuhara), a girl who goes with him to the same university in Tokyo.

The film will be distributed by Mongrel Media in Canada.
See full article at The Cultural Post »

'Norwegian Wood' In Theatres In France On May 4

  • The Cultural Post
After its release in Japan, Tran Anh Hung's Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no mori) will come out in France on May 4.

The film is based on a novel written by Haruki Murakami.

The story takes place in Tokyo in 1969. Kizuki (Kengo Kôra) and Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) are both best friends.

After Kizuki's suicide, Watanabe gets closer to Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), Kizuki's girlfriend. As both Watanabe and Naoko tries to get over their bereavement, Watanabe bonds with Midori (Kiko Mizuhara), a girl who goes with him to the same university in Tokyo.

The film will be distributed by Mongrel Media in Canada. However, no Canadian release date has been confirmed. Moreover, the organizers of Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival haven't confirmed the presence of Norwegian Wood in its line-up.
See full article at The Cultural Post »

This week's new films

Norwegian Wood (15)

(Tran Anh Hung, 2010, Japan) Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara, Tetsuji Tamayama, Kengo Kôra. 133 mins

Between its daunting cult status and its decidedly un-romcom themes, it's amazing Haruki Murakami's proto-emo Japanese teen tale ever got made. Coming of age here is a languid, melancholy journey across tragedy, mental illness, sexual frustration and other sorrows, but the tone is beautifully maintained, visually and aurally, and it captures something most youth movies never even attempt to find.

Fair Game (12A)

(Doug Liman, 2010, Us) Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Ty Burrell. 108 mins

What Hollywood liberal bias? This dramatisation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame over her husband's non-cooperation with Bush's Iraq plans dares to name names and point fingers. True-life political and personal tensions are brought back to the boil.

Battle: Los Angeles (12A)

(Jonathan Liebesman, 2011, Us) Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan. 116 mins

This massive-scale action epic launches
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Norwegian Wood – review

This Japanese adaptation of Haruki Murakami's bestseller is gorgeous and sensual, says Peter Bradshaw

Forbidden love is the sexiest kind, and love of death the most forbidden kind, in this emoish erotic tragedy from Franco-Vietnamese film-maker Tran Anh Hung, based on the bestselling 1987 novel by Haruki Murakami.

It is set in Tokyo in the late 1960s – a world of student dorms, going for walks, getting letters from your girlfriend, sitting in your student room looking at LP sleeves while the record is playing; it's a world of sexual and romantic excitement that is a cousin to widespread political unrest. Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) is a student who begins a relationship with Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), a beautiful, delicate young woman whom he knew a year before, in high school. But while Watanabe works towards his degree, Naoko is in a remote psychological facility, suffering from a breakdown, able to receive Watanabe only infrequently as a visitor.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Trailer(s) released for Shinsuke Sato's Gantz: Perfect Answer

The official website for Shinsuke Sato’s Gantz: Perfect Answer has been relaunched with a new teaser and full trailer.

This is the finale of the 2-part live-action film adaptation of Hiroya Oku’s popular manga about a mysterious sphere called Gantz that grants the recently-deceased super powers and a second shot at life in exchange for a seemingly never-ending string of alien assassination missions.

The two main characters, Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya) and Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama), were childhood friends who died in a train accident and were subsequently recruited by Gantz to assassination various “seijin” (aliens). Kurono chooses to fight and do whatever it takes to survive, while Kato rejects violence. Trapped in an endless cycle of war, both men are eventually faced with an important choice…

Toho will be releasing Gantz: Perfect in Japan on April 23, 2011.

Watch »
See full article at Nippon Cinema »

Gantz: Part II: Perfect Answer (2011) Movie Trailer: Shinsuke Sato

  • Film-Book
The Gantz: Part II: Perfect Answer Movie Trailer has premiered. Shinsuke Sato‘s Gantz: Part II: Perfect Answer (2011) stars Kazunari Ninomiya, Kenichi Matsuyama, Kanata Hongô, Natsuna Watanabe, and Yuriko Yoshitaka. Gantz: Part II: Perfect Answer‘s plot synopsis: Part II continues were Part I left off where “after trying to rescue a man on the subway tracks, two teens wake up in a room dominated by a mysterious black sphere that sends them to hunt down and kill aliens hiding on Earth”. We previously posted the Gantz (2011) Movie Trailer for Part One. The movie trailer starts out slowly but then the action kicks in around the half way point. I wish there were english subtitles for this movie trailer but the viewer gets the feeling that there is internal strife in the protagonist’s group.

More about this sequel:

In the sequel (which was preceded, of course,
See full article at Film-Book »

Gantz: Perfect Answer Trailer and Gallery

In the sequel (which was preceded, of course, by both Manga and Anime versions of Gantz) Kei Kurono (played by Kazunari Ninomiya) works with other players involved with Gantz to revive those who died during the first film. Although details of the film are shrouded in mystery, we can clearly see that Kato Masaru, (Kenichi Matsuyama), will return as well as a bunch of new antagonists. Gantz is losing energy and it appears Tae Kojima, (Yuriko Yoshitaka), is a target for the next mission. Kei Kurono is now torn between saving the girl he loves or completing the final mission of Gantz. To access the gallery, just click below:
See full article at ComicBookMovie »

Rinko Kikuchi: the interview

Her smouldering looks and natural talent have made Oscar-nominated actor Rinko Kikuchi a star of the big screen. But she's also a favourite among fashion's elite. We catch up with Japan's most versatile leading lady

Rinko Kikuchi stands very still. It's the stillness of someone in perfect control, someone quietly absorbing a bright unfolding fame, the stillness of a turned-off fountain in a shopping centre after dark, pennies glistening at the bottom.

In 2006 Kikuchi became the first living Japanese actress to be nominated for an Oscar in 50 years for her role in Babel – a role where (then 25) she played a deaf-mute 16-year-old, completely silent throughout. Babel was a drama about communication, with her grieving, speechless schoolgirl the stand-out performance in a film starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. In a scene set in a strobe-lit, noisy Tokyo nightclub, Kikuchi hears nothing, only feeling the music. Her delicate, expressive face registers
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

International Trailer for ‘Norwegian Wood’

Here’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Even though it showed at both the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals to not-so-great reviews, Norwegian Wood is still something I find myself curious about and excited for. Based on the novel of the same name by Haruki Murakami, directed by Tran Anh Hung and starring Kenichi Matsuyama and Rinko Kikuchi, the romantic drama has just gotten a trailer from The Guardian (via NoneSuch), and I think it looks pretty beautiful.

The shots selected here feel like there’s a real sense of thought put into them, and also have a satisfying look to them on a purely technical level. The two leads look pretty nice together, although this lets us know pretty clearly that it might not work out for them. It’s also nice that the preview has the Beatles song that shares a name
See full article at The Film Stage »

Watch: International Trailer For Anh Hung Tran's 'Norwegian Wood'

Watch: International Trailer For Anh Hung Tran's 'Norwegian Wood'
A fresh, English subtitled trailer for the "Norwegian Wood" or as Radiohead fans know it as: "that-movie-Jonny-Greenwood-is-scoring." Starring Rinko Kikuchi and Kenichi Matsuyama, and based on the book by Haruki Murakami, the film is a coming-of-age story told in flashback, spurred by the sitar strings of The Beatles’ title song. It played at Venice and Tiff to lukewarm reviews, and has already hit theaters in Japan. If anything, the film looks gorgeously shot and we have to admit, for a film that has been flying well under our radar, we're intrigued. However, for most, it will be the score that…
See full article at The Playlist »

First teaser for Sabu's live-action adaptation of "Usagi Drop"

The official website for Sabu’s Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) has been updated with a 52-second teaser trailer.

Based on a josei manga series by Yumi Unita, the film stars Kenichi Matsuyama as a young office worker named Daikichi who notices a little girl named Rin (Mana Ashida) at his grandfather’s funeral. He soon discovers that she’s actually the illegitimate daughter of his grandfather by an unknown mother, and that there’s really no one else around to care for her due to the social stigma attached. Daikichi decides to take it upon himself to raise her, even though he has no wife to help him and no experience with children.

Usagi Drop” will be released by Showgate in Japan on August 20, 2011.

Watch »
See full article at Nippon Cinema »

Jonny Greenwood's Soundtrack To 'Norwegian Wood' Gets U.S. Release On March 8th

Radiohead and Jonny Greenwood fans rejoice, the guitar slinger's latest film composition won't cost you a dinner and a movie for two people, so save that money you were going to spend on an import. Nonesuch Records have announced that Greenwood's score for Anh Hung Tran‘s “Norwegian Wood” will get a stateside release; it was released in Japan last year. The film, starring Rinko Kikuchi and Kenichi Matsuyama and based on the book by Haruki Murakami, is a coming-of-age story told in flashback, spurred by the sitar strings of The Beatles’ title song. It played at Venice and Tiff to…
See full article at The Playlist »

Trailer for Nobuhiro Yamashita's "My Back Pages"

On Monday, a trailer for Nobuhiro Yamashita’s upcoming film, My Back Pages, surfaced on Yahoo’s Asmik Ace Entertainment channel.

Based on Saburo Kawamoto’s autobiographical novel “My Back Pages: Aru 60-nendai no Monogatari” (A Story of Life in the 60s), the film is set during the student protests at Tokyo University. At the time, Kawamoto was working as a journalist covering the protests, which were in reaction to the Japanese government’s tolerance of Us involvement in the Vietnam War and the use of Okinawa as a staging ground for that war.

Satoshi Tsumabuki plays a reporter named Sawada who interviews protesters and collects data on behalf of the editorial department of a weekly publication. As tensions ramp up in the late 60s, he meets a young activist who introduces himself as “Umeyama” (Kenichi Matsuyama), although his real name turns out to be Katagiri. Katagiri tells him “Guns
See full article at Nippon Cinema »

Gantz (2011)

  • Planet Fury
Directed by: Shinsuke Sato

Written by: Hiroya Oku, Yûsuke Watanabe

Cast: Kenichi Matsuyama, Kazunari Ninomiya, Yuriko Yoshitaka

Music by: Kenji Kawai

What is it about live action film adaptations that are just so inferior to their original counterpart?

Without even including anything directed by Uwe Boll, I bet you can easily name five bad live action films that were adapted from either a video game, a book, an anime, or the like. It’s not difficult, is it? I can personally name five films simply from the last few years: Hitman, Dragonball: Evolution, The Last Airbender, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Now, I bet you can’t do the same for good live action film adaptations, can you? Off the top of my head now, I can give small kudos to films like Harry Potter, the original Resident Evil, and the original Spiderman. The point
See full article at Planet Fury »
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