Tag: Japan

“We’re out of sake for the saint” | Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)

Within Japan Humanity and Paper Balloons has long been celebrated as one of the greatest films ever made, as well as one of the most significant films in the jidai-geki, or period drama, genre. Internationally, however, it has remained obscure until very recently. Part of its problem is that its director, Sadao Yamanaka, died a year after ...

REVIEW: Adrift in Tokyo (2007)

Long-time student and layabout Fumiya (Joe Odagiri) owes ¥800,000 to loan sharks. When a middle-aged thug named Fukuhara (Tomokazu Miura) comes to collect, he offers Fumiya a choice: either come up with the money in the next few days, or join Fukuhara on a leisurely walk through Tokyo and Fukuhara will give him ¥1,000,000 in ...

REVIEW: The Woodsman and the Rain (2011)

In a small town in northern Japan lives Katsu (Koji Yakusho), a 60 year-old lumberjack. He's still grieving for his wife, who died two years earlier. He's fighting with his son, who seems to spend all day sitting on the couch watching television. When a film crew arrives from Tokyo to shoot a zombie movie, ...

REVIEW: Robo Rock (2007)

There will always be a special place for the ultra-low-budget cult film, produced on a shoestring but boasting a highly idiosyncratic storyline and a distinctive tone. They're often quite shakily produced, with more enthusiasm than craft, but they have such a punk-rock enthusiasm that it's difficult not to forgive their drawbacks and focus on whatever ...

REVIEW: Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017)

Mary is staying with her Great Aunt Charlotte while waiting for her parents to return home and her school holidays to end. When she finds a strange blue flower in the woods, she finds herself whisked away on an adventure to a magical academy for witches and warlocks hidden among the clouds. Wonder turns to ...

REVIEW: Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler (2009)

Kaiji Ito (Tatsuya Fujiwara) is a listless 30 year-old compulsive gambler. When a friend whose loan Kaiji promised to guarantee skips his payments, Kaiji finds himself confronted by a local loan shark and given two choices: pay up the millions of yen in debt and interest, or take his chances on a high stakes card ...

REVIEW: Destruction Babies (2016)

Shota (Nijiro Murakami) lives alone in a tent in the small Japanese town of Mitsuhama. His older brother Taira (Yuya Yagira) is on the streets of the nearby city Matsuyama. Taira is fixated on having fistfights. If he sees a target on the street who looks as if they can present a challenge, he simply ...