BBC 4: Jonathan Ross’ Asian Invasion – Japan

January 12, 2006 at 6:23 pm (J-Movies, Other Films of Note)

Must See TV this aint, but not Must Miss either…

A three-part series that follows the host to Japan, Hong Kong and Korea as he claims to explore the world’s most innovative cinema.
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“Nice eye candy, though far from authoritative. Even far from comprehensive. Heck, might as well just say it: If you want a decent intro to Japanese Film you better look elsewhere.” ~ 72HW
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As charming as the show’s “Lunch with Ryuhei Kitamura” and all to brief Miyazaki interview segments are, the remaining 90% will be of little use to anyone familiar with Japanese cinema except for possibly the otaku set.
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Shimizu and Ichise At It Again

December 27, 2005 at 2:43 pm (J-Horror, J-Movies)

Dark Tales of Japan
(Japan – 2004)

Producer: Ichise Taka

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“J-Horror Anthology done the amusing, highly watchable beer drinking movie way! Well worth a spot on your list of future rentals. ”

~ Gaijin Otaku Gundan
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Ichise Taka – a name that commands respect from some J-Horror fans for his part in the ‘Ringu’ and ‘Ju-On’ franchises, while it rouses snorts of disdain from others who blame him for making Hollywood aware of the ‘Ringu’ and ‘Ju-On’ franchises. (That screwed up their private ‘cool kids only’ happy fun time club see.) Whatever your take on the guy, he’s done a lot of amazing work over the years and there’s no arguing the name lends authority to any project he produces.

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Clown Prince Of All Cinema

December 26, 2005 at 11:00 am (J-Movies, Kitano Takeshi)

Takeshi KITANO

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“For my money, only two directors alive today consistently produce films that I consider flawless: Scorsese and Bito…”

~ 72HW

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Into a very poor Tokyo family on January 18th, 1947 came a boy who would be plagued with hardship, self doubt and detached indifference even after becoming a household name, loved by millions all over Japan. First winning fame as a stand-up comedian, then a wild TV host and finally for violent Yakuza films he directed and starred in – the meteoric rise of “Beat” Takeshi would nearly come crashing down. In 1994 a drunken motorbike ride found its end wrapped around a rail-road barrier, seriously injuring the star and paralyzing the right side of his face. Many predicted he would never again return to the spotlight, but from the introspective convalescence which followed, ‘Bito’ would emerge utterly transformed.

Infused with intricate symbolism and singular subtext, the films he began to make would instantly transcend all previous accomplishments and earn prestigious, winning nods from Cannes, Venice, Toronto and Tokyo film festivals among many others. Perhaps more importantly the sweeping vision and stunning beauty he found within himself resonated with movie goers around the globe – many of whom openly worship the man they have lovingly proclaimed Kitano: God Of Cinema

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Agitator, madman or stunning genius?

December 26, 2005 at 10:50 am (J-Movies, Miike Takashi)

Takashi MIIKE
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“In my opinion, he represents quite possibly the single greatest directorial talent ever unleashed upon the world of cinema…”

~ 72HW

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Born on August 24, 1960 on the outskirts of Osaka in a small town called Yao, Miike was a young teen when his father took him to see his first movie: Steven Spielberg’s Duel. From there he later developed an avid admiration for Bruce Lee, the only person of which he professes being a true fan, and thus began young Miike’s journey into motion pictures. After trying on many different hats for size he enrolled in a Yokohama school of broadcasting, later stating about the decision “It really sounded like the ideal chance to escape home and do nothing.”

At first working only on TV productions, he eventually found opportunities to join film crews and eventually came under the wing of Shohei Imamura in 1987 where creative urges began to take shape. Four short years later the headstrong, now very motivated upstart had clawed his way to 1st Assistant Director and caught the attention of Toei studio heads who gave him a shot directing a title for their emerging V-Cinema product line. This straight to video marketing strategy would quickly prove to be an unprecedented money machine and Miike would fast become its bleeding edge poster boy.

In the 16 years since his V-Cinema debut Miike has directed a whirlwind over 60 films ranging from shockingly violent to serenely beautiful, clinically coherent to nightmarishly discordant and everything in between. A large number of which have won praise from all quarters, earned him a ravenous cult following and not only changed the shape and texture of Japanese film, but arguably the entire industry around the world.

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