Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Film’

Insidious

Posted 13 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott MartinInsidious Film Poster

Insidious, USA, 2010

Directed by James Wan

There’s a sense of familiarity in a movie like Insidious. Horror movies these days are a dime a dozen, but Insidious‘s familiarity comes from a deeper place; it comes from true classics like Poltergeist (1982) or even Paranormal Activity (2007), whose producers helped get this film done. Those films work because they have a handle on their atmosphere, something every good horror film has. If you can’t control the tone of your film, how can you hope to control the tone of your audience? The answer to that seems easy – that’s why films like John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980) get remade, and films like Boogeyman (2005) are conceived every day. Tell some audiences to be afraid, and naturally they will be. An example of making your audience afraid, rather than simply suggesting their fear, is a Japanese film called Ju-on (2002), later remade in 2004 as The Grudge to, arguably, the same effect. An even better example is Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).

Screenwriter Leigh Whannell is similar to a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat; the effect comes from left field and the audience was probably told not to expect a rabbit in the first place. I remember watching the first Saw film (2004) and being blind-sided by the ending. After rewatching the film, I remember being blind-sided by the conditions under which the ending works. Twist endings, by nature, aren’t organic, but they can feel that way even if they are dependent on the rest of the film and a bit of smoke and mirrors. There is a twist here that some might see coming. The trickiest part to pulling off a twist ending is to get the audience too wrapped up in what’s going on to even remember that there’s an end. Good horror films with big finishes can do that; most of those get ruined with a sequel or a remake. Read More

13 Assassins

Posted 08 May 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead 13 Assassins kicks mountains of ass!

13 Assassins, Japan / UK, 2010

Directed by Takashi Miike

This movie kicks mountains of ass! From the opening scene, which depicts the ancient Japanese ritual suicide method known as harakiri or seppuku, Japanese provocateur Takashi Miike’s latest film is clearly not screwing around. The opening scene is a textbook case of the effectiveness of sound design in film: we are mercifully spared the visual details of the disgraced samurai slicing open his own belly with his sword, instead focusing on a long take of his agonized face with the hideous squelching sounds of the violent act filling the soundtrack, an effect that is arguably even worse than onscreen violence. I remember being surprised to hear that the latest film from Miike (Audition, Gozu) managed to get an R-rating, and the fifteen minutes cut from the original Japanese release for the international version probably accounts for this, but I have little doubt that this scene has been presented exactly as Miike intended. It is a brutal beginning to an extremely violent film, a scene that really lets the audience know what it is in for.

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Seven Samurai – The Rites Of Spring Of The Japanese Soul

Posted 29 Apr 2011 — by contributor
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

Akira Kurosawa's Seven SamuraiBy Frederic Erk

Seven Samurai, Japan, 1954

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is a masterpiece of harmony and artistic accomplishment, brought to life with the vivid and forceful genius of a director at peace with himself and his performance. A true work of art, it is a carefully and methodically adjusted masterwork, based on a classic story of war and justice, of struggling humanity and survival, pregnant with a Shakespearian conception of nature, revealing the generosity of well-tilled earth or magic spell of silent forests, where visual symbolism paves the way for metaphysical redemption.

Though simplistic in appearance, this story of seven samurai hired by farmers to defend their village and crops from rampaging bandits has universal, even mythological, significance. This is the story of mankind, always at struggle with itself for survival, and yet also looking for metaphysical redemption, which is, according to Kurosawa, only to be found in powerful harmony with nature. Kambei (Takashi Shimura), the older samurai, a self-described veteran of many lost campaigns, has the wisdom to recognize that only the farmers will eventually win this fight, because their relationship to life (and nature) is a fundamental one still unsoiled by social considerations or obsession for personal accomplishment, which is sadly the case for the samurai. Although farmers and samurai share the daily burden of fighting for their lives, only the farmers can provide the necessary condition for a lasting and constructive prosperity in the troubled and violent time of feudal Japan, whereas samurai have to find redemption through stoic balance, or put their sword to the worthy cause of social justice. Read More

Enter The Void

Posted 25 Jan 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Enter the Void, France / Germany / Italy, 2009

Directed by Gaspar Noe

Enter The Void is a strange and unique film experience. French filmmaker Gaspar Noe has always been known for the intensity of his vision. His 1998 debut, I Stand Alone, features one of the most unlikable protagonists in cinema history (Philippe Nahon’s brilliantly realized “The Butcher”), as well as moments of shockingly realistic violence and subject matter that includes incest and the brutal beating of a pregnant woman (who, it must be noted, is at least as unlikable as The Butcher himself). His highly polarizing 2002 follow-up, Irreversible, managed to drastically raise the already high ante with its horrifyingly unflinching and lengthy depictions of murder and rape; it may have had more theatrical walkouts than any single film in history, and has only arguably been topped by Lars von Trier’s Antichrist (2009) as the most disturbing film ever shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Now, with his latest feature Enter the Void, Noe seems to be pushing audience tolerance levels even further, albeit in a very different way. While I Stand Alone was essentially a one man show for The Butcher’s virulent hatred of pretty much everything and everyone (kind of like a French Taxi Driver, for people who thought the original was too cute and cuddly), and Irreversible showed extraordinary technical prowess with its impossible camera angles and chronologically backwards narrative (inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Memento), both films show a great artistic restraint and clarity of vision by comparison to the sprawling head-trip that is Enter the Void. For one thing, Void is nearly an hour longer than Noe’s previous features, taking the viewer on a wild and occasionally tedious ride full of even more dizzying and impossible cinematography than Irreversible. The film is nothing if not original, and Noe’s determination to push the boundaries of what cinema can do must be admired. Read More

VIZ Media Announces Season Finale Of Nura: Rise Of The Yokai Clan

Posted 22 Dec 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Animation, Anime, Film Industry News

By Jason A. Hill

NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN Movies i didnt getVIZ Media has announced that the season one finale of the online streaming anime hit series NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN will conclude on VIZAnime.com, the company’s premier website for anime, on December 27, 2010. Also announced is the manga (graphic novel) version of NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, which the anime is based upon. Created by Hiroshi Shiibashi, Vol. 1 will have its North American debut under the Shonen Jump imprint on February 1st 2011, is rated “T”™ for Teens and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

While the day belongs to humans, the night belongs to yokai, supernatural creatures that thrive on human fear. Caught between these worlds is Rikuo Nura. He’s three-quarters human, but his grandfather is none other than Nurarihyon, the supreme commander of the Nura clan, a powerful yokai consortium. So, Rikuo is an ordinary teenager three quarters of the time, until his yokai blood awakens. Then he transforms into the future leader of the Nura clan, leading a hundred demons.

Hiroshi Shiibashi debuted in Japan in Business Jump magazine with the series, Aratama. NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN is his breakout hit. He also worked as an assistant to manga artist, Hirohiko Araki, the creator of JOJO’s BIZARRE ADVENTURE (also published in North America by VIZ Media). Read More

VIZ Media Releases New Death Note: Black Edition

Posted 15 Dec 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Animation, Anime, Film Industry News

By Jason A. Hill

death note black edition movies i didnt getNew Edition Of The Riveting Supernatural Crime Mystery Features A Larger Size And Added Full Color Pages

San Francisco, CA, December 13, 2010 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the release of DEATH NOTE BLACK EDITION, an oversized version of the acclaimed supernatural crime thriller. Volume 1 hits stores on December 28th and includes the first two editions of the popular manga (graphic novel) series as well as added full-color pages. The DEATH NOTE BLACK EDITION will be offered under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint, is rated “T+”™ for Older Teens, and will retail for $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal … or his life? Read More

VIZ Media Animates The Holidays With A Special iTunes Promotion

Posted 15 Dec 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Animation, Anime, Film Industry News

By Jason A. Hill

vis media movies i didnt getFREE Episodes Available Download-To-Own For Limited Time

VIZ Media celebrates the season with a special Download-to-Own promotion on the iTunes Store in the U.S. (www.iTunes.com), perfect to round out digital holiday gift lists to delight audiences young & old.

Just in time for the holidays, from now until February 1st, download for FREE the full first episodes for VAMPIRE KNIGHT, BLEACH, KEKKAISHI, and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN. All subsequent episodes are available to rent for only $0.99 each, or to own for only $1.99 each.

Please visit http://www.itunes.com/anime for complete details. Read More