Blog Archives

Shield of Straw (2013)

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Shield of Straw is the closest thing to a Hollywood blockbuster that prolific director Takashi Miike has ever made. Working with a large budget, Miike has created something big, bold and at times beautiful. Unfortunately, like many Hollywood films, Shield of Straw also suffers from issues of implausibility and often it simply feels overblown.

When the granddaughter of a wealthy man is brutally assaulted and murdered, he offers one billion yen to anyone who kills the alleged perpetrator, a known … (read more)

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Wolf Children (2012)

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Wolf Children screens nationwide at Reelanime, 13th – 26th of September. Check the website for session times.

You could probably be forgiven for wondering whether you’re watching a secret project of Hayao Miyazaki’s in Mamoru Hosoda’s new animated feature film Wolf Children. His sweet-bordering-on-saccharine domestic fable about two siblings gifted with the tendency to turn into wolves shares many a standard “Ghiblism” – the quaint rural setting to which the family escapes the stress of urban life; the … (read more)

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Goemon (2009)

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Over the past few years, the Japanese Film Festival has emerged as one of the best film festivals for Asian film lovers across Australia. Goemon was the fifth and last film that I saw at the 2009 Festival, and I continued to be impressed by the variety and quality of films showcased. Many of you would have read my short reviews of some of those films, and here I want to share with you my thoughts on Goemon.

Goemon … (read more)

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Ichi (2008)

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Zatoichi is a legendary blind masseur and sword master, a fictional character who has appeared in numerous Japanese movies and television shows. The original films starred Shintaro Katsu, and many of them have now become classics. In 2003, Takeshi Kitano gave his own interpretation of the character in Zatoichi, a hugely entertaining movie. And now, the Zatoichi legend lives on with Ichi, a ‘re-imagining’ of the Zatoichi tale that features a young swordswoman.

In ancient times, troupes of … (read more)

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Crying Out Love, In The Centre Of The World (2004)

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Dante once wrote “Places that are empty of you… are empty of all life” as an expression of the void created by the absence or loss of a loved one. It is this obtusely tragic sentiment which is explored by Isao Yukisada’s seventh feature film Crying Out Love, In The Centre Of The World. How does one deal with the loss of a loved one? Do we face it head on or do we turn our back to it; … (read more)

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Aragami (2003)

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Aragami is absolutely vintage Kitamura. A small cast (of three, unless you count one who dies about two minutes into the film). An unfolding mystery. And a couple of surprise twists which will jolt a surprised laugh out of you.

This and 2LDK were made as part of a friendly competition between directors, and of course being a Kitamura fan I like this one best. It’s odd, though, because not much really happens. There’s talking, eating, fighting, more talking, more … (read more)

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