For years to come, Studio Ghibli fans will no doubt remember 2013 fondly as a year that has brought two new releases from the great animation studio: Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Isao Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The last time this happened was 25 years ago when Miyazaki’s My Neighbour Totoro and Takahata’s Graves of the Fireflies were simultaneously released in Japanese theaters. So there is really no better time than now to revisit some of … (read more)
Regular visitors to our website would know that we just love Takashi Miike. And why wouldn’t you? From his early crazy films like Ichi the Killer and Gozu, to commercial films like Crows Zero and Ninja Kids!!!, to the more recent critically acclaimed films like 13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, he has just proven himself to be one of the most prolific, imaginative and skillful directors working in the world today. Just how many … (read more)
If you ask me what my absolute favourite anime series from the last decade was, I will answer with a high level of certainty: ‘Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex‘. The handsomely drawn, brilliantly scripted and amazingly entertaining series is quite simply a modern anime masterpiece. The genius behind Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was director Kenji Kamiyama, and from this man now comes a new anime series, Eden of the East, which I … (read more)
I like sports movies, and I love Japanese sports movies. They are often touching, usually inspiring, and almost always entertaining. Sumo Do Sumo Don’t was one of the first sports movies that I have ever seen, and what a fine example of the genre it still is. I have had the joy of seeing this film again with its release on DVD in Australia, and here are my thoughts some 15 years on from the time I first saw it … (read more)
It seems that every time I read or hear anything about Merantau, the new action film from Indonesia, it is invariably being compared with the Thai martial arts classic Ong Bak. Having just seen Merantau myself, I can certainly appreciate some similarities between the 2 films, in particular the starring of an unknown actor who has amazing fighting skills, combining speed, agility and fearlessness to wow the audience. However, there are also quite a lot of very obvious … (read more)
I am not a runner, and when I do run, I feel the pain (in my legs) more than I feel the wind (on my face). So after learning in Feel the Wind that anyone can run and enjoy running, I have decided I ought to get off my bottom a little more and do some exercise. Yes, Feel the Wind is that kind of movie. It is uplifting and inspirational, as it describes an incredible level of fitness that … (read more)
Hanamizuki is a personal favourite of mine amongst all the films that I have seen at this year’s Japanese Film Festival. It is perhaps not as accomplished in various aspects as a few of the others, but it has managed to touch me and tug at my heartstrings in a way that no other films have done.
Based on the lyrics of a moving love song by Yo Hitoto (played in full at the end of the film), this story … (read more)
If I were to make a film about my life right now, ‘Zero Focus’ would be a most appropriate title. But no, the Japanese film Zero Focus is not about some dude who is overworked, underpaid, struggling to juggle multiple commitments, while trying to watch as many good films as possible, all resulting in chronic sleep deprivation and therefore a pathologically shortened attention span. Instead, it is a suspense mystery drama.
The main character is Teiko (Ryoko Hirosue), a newly … (read more)