film, tech, photo, games, design...

Big season for JP Cinema


With Toronto currently unspooling, the festival season is now in full swing – and there are quite a few offerings from big name Japanese filmmakers.

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea – Hayao Miyazaki
This new Ghibli film directed by the one and only Hayao Miyazaki opened in Japan in July and made its international debut at the Venice Film Fest a few weeks ago. I’ve loved everything Miyazaki has ever touched – so no surprise I am highly anticipating this – which has so far received pretty positive reviews.
Official Site (JP – but some good pics)

Achilles and the Tortoise – Takeshi Kitano
I’ve missed Beat Takeshi’s last couple films (Takeshis’ and Glory to the Filmmaker!) but from all accounts that is a good thing. This seems to be another personal film about an artist with no real talent and features a good deal of his own paintings (like a number of his past films). I’m all for deeply personal (Kikujiro is one of my favorites of his) but how awesome would a new Takeshi gangster flick be?
TIFF writeup (also at Venice)

Sky Crawlers

The Sky Crawlers – Mamoru Oshii
A new anime from the acclaimed director of Ghost in the Shell, Innocence, Patlabor, and Jin-Roh – this sounds like an interesting diversion from his normal world of red-eyed villains and mechsuits. Best described in the TIFF writeup:

Dwelling in a pneumatic void of memories live the Kildren, teenagers destined never to grow up. Unless they are killed in action, they persist forever in a dull adolescence. The Kildren are a human breed of fighter pilots; created to play the much-needed game of war in a world that keeps real conflicts at bay, they are hired to entertain the citizens of Europe with their celestial battles.

TIFF writeup (also at Venice)

Still Walking – Hirokazu Kore-eda
Kore-eda is back with a story of life, death and family in modern Japan. Those who have never seen his 1998 classic After Life (Wandâfuru raifu) should really check it out. The English language remake is in the works right now in H.wood.
Tiff writeup

Tokyo Sonata – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kiyoshi tries his hand at family drama with a story that follows a man who loses his job but can’t admit it to his family. Familiar territory perhaps, but Kiyoshi is fantastic with his characters and this will be an interesting examination of honor in Japanese society no doubt.
Tiff writeup

Detroit Metal City

Detroit Metal City – Toshio Lee
I don’t know much about Lee (apparently most of his work has been in TV), but this adaptation of a famous manga has all the ingredients for some great JP wackery. Not to mention the fact that it co-stars Gene Simmons!

Souichi is a timid, sensitive and innately polite music geek who moves from the Japanese countryside to Tokyo with big dreams: he aspires to sing sugary love ballads and become a chart-topping sensation. But life does not turn out the way Souichi had hoped, and the only gig he can get is that of front man for the notorious band Detroit Metal City (DMC). Wearing a cape, tights and ghostly demon makeup, Souichi storms the stage each night as Johannes Klauser II, smashing guitars and spewing verbal filth in songs about murder and rape.

TIFF writeup

Hmmm, no Miike films at Toronto this year, though his English language western hit Sukiyaki Western Django is coming out in theaters this week. Be sure to catch it if you can. Also, I just finally caught Yoji Yamada’s beautiful Love and Honor (in the theater – two years after it was at Toronto) and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

Posted by enderzero at 1:34pm on Sep. 10, 2008