9 items from 2016
There’s no mistaking that Japanese helmer Shinsuke Sato’s Midnight Madness-ready title “I Am A Hero” is an adaptation of a manga — specifically, Kengo Hanazawa’s comic of the same name. Sato has never strayed far from the form: His directorial CV is a list of live-action and animated feature-length film versions of popular manga titles, and his cinematic style favors angles and framing that feel directly lifted from the page and brought crisply to life.
That could suggest a lack of dynamism in the final result, or a slavish aestheticization of the image — as in the Hollywood adaptations of “Sin City” or “The Spirit,” for example. But Sato does not just get the style of his film from the graphic tradition of its source material. He and co-writer Akiko Nogi also understand the other secret of the medium’s massive popularity: the addictive, page-turning genre thrills it can deliver. »
- Jessica Kiang
“Detective Conan: The Darkest Nightmare,” the 20th feature episode in the animated series about a teenage genius detective trapped in a boy’s body, won its second straight weekend at the Japanese box office during the peak Golden Week holiday period. The film earned $6.1 million on 522,000 admissions to run its cumulative total to $22.5 million, with Toho distributing.
Debuting in a second place on 471 was Disney’s “Zootopia.” The animation took $4 million on 330,000 admissions. This was nearly 10% better than the opening frame for the Pixar animation “Inside Out,” which finished its run in Japan with $36 million.
Highest ranking among new local films was Toho’s “I Am A Hero,” a disaster thriller based on a best-selling novel about a zombie-like holocaust. Yo Oizumi stars as a struggling manga artist turned killer of the undead. Bowing on 284 screens, the film recorded $2 million on 160,000 admissions.
- Mark Schilling
Full Metal Alchemist’s next film adaptation will be live-action, with fans of the extremely popular anime already getting fired up.
The filming will begin this June in Italy, with the release in Japan being scheduled for 2017. The movie will use a combination of real actors and CGI. Fumihiko Sori (“Ping Pong”, “Ashita no Joe”) will direct and the cast revealed is as follows:
Ryosuke Yamada (Asssassination Classroom) as Edward Elric.
Tsubasa Honda (Blue Spring Ride) as Winry Rockbell.
Dean Fujioka (Dance! Dance! Dance!) as Roy Mustang.
Ryuta Sato (Tokyo Tribe) as Captain Maes Hughes.
Yo Oizumi (Kakekomi) as Major Shou Tucker.
Yasuko Matsuyuki (Smuggler) as Lust.
- Panos Kotzathanasis
The Blue Ribbon Awards are film-specific prizes awarded solely by movie critics and writers in Tokyo, Japan.
The awards were established in 1950 by The Association of Tokyo Film Journalists which is composed of film correspondents from seven Tokyo-based sports newspapers. In 1961, the six major Japanese newspapers (Yomiuri Shinbun, Asahi Shinbun, Mainichi Shinbun, Sankei Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun andNihon Keizai Shinbun) as well as the Japanese Associated Press withdrew their support for the Blue Ribbon Awards and established the Association of Japanese Film Journalists Awards, (which were held a mere six times). In 1967, the awards were cancelled as a result of the Black Mist Scandal, a baseball bribing case. In 1975, the awards were revived, and have continued until the present day. The annual award ceremony is held in a variety of places in Tokyo every February.
Although the award is not acclaimed highly on an international level, due to their long history and the rigorous screening process, »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
[Guest reporter Jenny Nulf shares her impressions of three movies from this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, including I Am Not a Serial Killer, I Am a Hero, and Pet.]
I Am Not a Serial Killer: What happens when a movie gets stuck in limbo for three years? Well, the director is given enough time to create a slow-burning monster movie that will lurk in the back of your mind long after viewing it.
In a tiny Midwestern town, John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records) works with his mother and aunt at a funeral home, helping her embalm the dead bodies. A possible sociopath, John also chats regularly with his psychologist, Dr. Neblin (Karl Geary), about how to subside his murderous tendencies. Then things start to go wrong when an actual serial killer sweeps through the town, and when Max discovers the identity of the killer, it takes him down a terrifying path of self-discovery. This is not your average, sweet coming-of-age story.
I Am Not a Serial Killer’s slow and methodic pace will keep some at bay, but director »
- Jenny Nulf
Two worlds collide once young Kyuta (Shôta Sometani) and warrior Kumatetsu (Kôji Yakusho) meet in Mamoru Hosoda‘s The Boy and the Beast. The former was recently orphaned after his mother’s death (she had divorced his father years ago and her family refuses to get in touch with him), currently working his way towards becoming a solitary street urchin full of dark rage aimed at the human race for causing him such pain. The latter is a candidate to replace the Beast Kingdom Jutengai’s lord—a fighter of immense power but little discipline who probably won’t stand a chance against his opponent Iozan (Kazuhiro Yamaji). One needs a father and the other an apprentice. One to learn strength and love while the other discovers humility and patience’s immense value.
It’s all pretty familiar—at the beginning. The film’s first half can get tedious as a result. »
- Jared Mobarak
Simply put, the SXSW Film, Music and Interactive Festival is one of the biggest, most prestigious events in the media calendar. Taking place annually in Austin, Texas, it is beloved by film fans and filmmakers from all over the world, and has reached such heights by building a reputation for showcasing excellent content. This results in a high level of competition, with the Narrative Feature category alone having received 1442 submissions this year, and the documentary feature category having received 1,013.
The 2016 event looks to be particularly exciting, with many world premieres and feature debuts already announced. The Narrative Feature category will include Julia Hart’s Miss Stevens, Debra Eisenstadt’s Before The Sun Explodes, Joey Klein’s The Other Half, and Musa Syeed’s A Stray, among others, while the Headliner category will feature Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some.
- Sarah Myles
The Tall Man's sphere is aiming its blades at Austin, as Bad Robot's 4K restoration of Don Coscarelli's Phantasm will screen at South by Southwest 2016 as part of the film festival's recently revealed Midnighters lineup:
From SXSW: "Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.
Director/Screenwriter: Mickey Keating
The year is 1978. A team of wannabe crooks botch a small-town bank heist and flee with their hostage deep into the California desert, where they find themselves in a harrowing fight for survival against a psychotic ex-military sniper. Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat Healy, Alan Ruck, Darby Stanchfield, Larry Fessenden, Graham Skipper, James Landry Hebert, Michael Villar
- Derek Anderson
Based on the popular recent manga of the same name and rated as arguably the ‘greatest zombie manga ever made‘. Let’s hope that the movie leaves up to the very high expectations.
The film originally premiered at the Sitges Film Festival in October 13, 2015 and will finally get its general release in April.
The story begins with Hideo Suzuki, a 35-year-old manga artist assistant, whose life seem to be stuck around his exhausting but low-paying job, unfulfilled dreams, strange hallucinations and unsatisfying relationships. He sees himself as a supporting character in his own life, has low self-esteem, resulting in frustration.
One day, the world as Hideo knows it is shattered by presences of a disease that turns people into homicidal maniacs, whose »
- The Tiger
9 items from 2016
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