Nyotaiju Gun Woman (Gun Woman)

Jan 1, 2015

Nyotaiju Gun Woman (Gun Woman)

Director: Mitsutake Kurando Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Mitsutake Kurando’s cult action film boasts one of the genre’s few semi-original premises: A revenge-bent doctor turns a young woman (former porn star Asami) into the perfect assassin and sends her to invade the lair of ...

Top 10 films of 2014: made in Japan, for Japan

Dec 24, 2014

Top 10 films of 2014: made in Japan, for Japan

Are Japanese films in decline? Not at the box office, where they still beat the Hollywood competition (with the huge exception this year of “Frozen”), but what about international festival invitations, awards and critical buzz? The answer depends on your perspective. For overseas festivals ...

Hill of Freedom: 'Looking for lost love in a Seoul back alley'

Dec 17, 2014

Hill of Freedom: 'Looking for lost love in a Seoul back alley'

Speaking in another language makes you a different person, especially, I’ve noticed, if you happen to be a non-native fluent in Japanese. The mild-mannered Aussie transforms into a slangy tough-guy, rolling his r’s and living in his own mental version of a yakuza movie. ...

Ju-on: Owari no Hajimari (Ju-on: The Beginning of the End)

Dec 17, 2014

Ju-on: Owari no Hajimari (Ju-on: The Beginning of the End)

Director: Masayuki Ochiai Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Horror veteran Masayuki Ochiai attempts to revive the moribund “Ju-on” (The Grudge) series with that genre flick perennial: the origin story. Model/actress Nozomi Sasaki gives good scream as the elementary school teacher investigating the mysterious absence ...

Ai no Uzu (Love's Whirlpool)

Dec 10, 2014

Ai no Uzu (Love's Whirlpool)

Director: Daisuke Miura Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Daisuke Miura’s adaptation of his stage play about eight strangers who sign up for a sex party in Roppongi was rightly tagged with an R-18 rating e_SEmD there’s plenty of explicit sex — but the film, ...

Looking Japan's film-industry myths in the eye

Dec 3, 2014

Looking Japan's film-industry myths in the eye

Who doesn’t love a listicle titled “(X) surprising things you never knew about (Y)”? What surprises me about a lot of commentary on the Japanese film industry — from insiders and outsiders alike — is how it substitutes judgment calls (usually of the “Japanese ...

Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)

Dec 3, 2014

Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)

Directors: Kentaro Otani, Keiichi Sato Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Based on Yana Toboso’s best-selling manga, this Kentaro Otani fantasy/action film stars Hiro Mizushima as a demon who becomes a butler to the cheeky teenage heir (Ayame Goriki) to a toy-company fortune. Suave, but ...