Blog Archives

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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A Lone Scalpel (2010)

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Imagine this: You are in a situation where you could save someone’s life, but in doing so you risk losing everything (and I mean everything) that you have. Would you do it? ‘Perhaps not’, I hear you say. How about if you are a doctor and that person you could save is your patient, would you be prepared to carry out your duty by performing that life-saving operation despite the possibility that you may lose your medical licence and … (read more)

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Still Walking (2008)

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Koreeda must be among the gentlest of modern filmmakers and Still Walking the almost perfect inverse to the so-called extremism driving populist interest in Asian cinema.

Why gentle? Koreeda takes a melodramatic premise here (concerned with the devastation that a tragic death wrecks upon surviving family members and one person connected with the incident), pads his story with bitter males and eccentric females, fiddles with a basic array of conflicts (young vs old, husband vs wife, city vs country, life … (read more)

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Shikoku (1999)

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I like my Japanese horror. I like getting the bejeesus scared out of me by some master of total creepiness with a budget in two figures. I even, in a weird sort of way, like the inevitable aftermath of a good horror film: lying wide-eyed and quivering in bed, quilt pulled up to my chin, scanning the darkness for signs of ghosty activity. It’s surprising I’ve got any bejeesus left, in fact.

Shikoku, however, is no threat to anybody’s … (read more)

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Zatoichi (2003)

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I am not a critic. I am a reviewer.

(It’s a line I’ve nicked off an article Steven Grant (an American comic book writer) once wrote in one of his forums. It being applicable, I thought I’d use it for myself.)

So why the distinction and why now? Well, the thing with being a reviewer is that all I really do is fulfil a consumer role — I basically recommend whether something is worth seeing or not. I’m not really … (read more)

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