Blog Archives

A Silent Voice (2016)

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A Silent Voice poster

Two thirds psychological study on bullying and disability, one third first love romance (and I’ll use that term very lightly here), A Silent Voice, based on the highly-acclaimed manga by Yoshitoki Oima, plots the unexpected turn that lives can take on, if not the simplest then at least the most uninformed of choices. To its great credit, however, it doesn’t in any way sugar coat the fact that some of those turns can get ugly, can have consequences we … (read more)

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Harmony (2015)

Better living through technology. But at what price? In the best tradition of classic speculative science fiction, Studio 4°C’s animated film Harmony, based on the novel by Project Itoh, examines this question through a mirror darkly. In the future, the world has been reduced by nuclear war and illness into sterile country states complete with regulated borders. Inside those borders, the Admedistration (not a typo) and a militarised version of the World Health Organisation ensure that all good citizens … (read more)

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Creepy (2016)

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It’s not that I live on a diet of serial killer movies and thriller novels. I did read Silence of the Lambs once, so I would never consider myself an expert, but for some reason – maybe the title, or maybe the fact that plenty of other Kiyoshi Kurosawa films (like Retribution and Real to name just a couple) have been fairly hair-raising – I did in all honesty expect this 2016 murder thriller Creepy to be far creepier. … (read more)

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Empire of Corpses (2015)

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So, I’ve discovered a concept more disturbing than a zombie apocalypse, and of course it’s all thanks to anime. Well, anime and maybe Mary Shelley, and at a guess, cancer. Empire of Corpses was science and speculative fiction author Project Itoh’s (aka Satoshi Itoh) last, unfinished novel. He died of cancer in 2009 at the very young age of 34, and it’s perhaps no surprise that what he was writing immediately before his death was a somewhat hauntingly desperate, slightly … (read more)

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Six Four (2016)

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For those who mark time in the West, 1989 was a common year, 365 days long. For Japan however, it was two years in one. The Japanese calendar is based on periods or eras, marked for every year of an emperor. 1989 was the year that Emperor Hirohito, the ruler that had seen the nation both into and out of the Second World War and beyond, died at the age of 87. He passed away on January 7, one week … (read more)

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Top Secret: Murder in Mind (2016)

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Director Keishi Otomo, whose brilliant Rurouni Kenshin trilogy was probably one of the best anime/manga adaptations to hit our screens in the last decade, exhibits an equal amount of mastery over thriller genre mise-en-scène in his latest film Top Secret: Murder in Mind, but it seems in this case he perhaps needed a better screenplay writer. Or maybe Japanese action cinema just has to more seriously consider spanning manga/anime adaptations across more than one movie as a default setting, … (read more)

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The Boy and the Beast (2015)

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Mamoru Hosada has in some respects done what it seemed next to impossible to do a decade ago — make a name for himself in the Japanese animated feature film space. With the glut of it’s-a-movie-of-the-series films — understandably because that’s where the money’s at domestically — features that find their way beyond Japan’s borders and onto our cinema screens are a little few and far between and there are only a handful of directors known in the mainstream outside … (read more)

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Bilocation (2013)

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Mari Asato spins a new take on the well-worn theme of of doppelgängers in this creepy thriller. Bilocation is about an aspiring painter named Shinobu (Asami Mizukawa) and the harrowing discovery that she has an identical self who is traipsing around the city with a completely different will and in a parallel existence, totally unaware that she is just an apparition of the real copy.

Shinobu is a loner, preferring to spend her time in her studio painting, hoping to … (read more)

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