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Australia's Japanese Film Festival, now in its 18th year, has just announced its special guests for the Sydney leg of the program this year. They are Suo Masayuki, director of such Japanese classics as Sumo Do, Sumo Don't and Shall We Dance? and young actress Kamishiraishi Mone. The two guests will be here for the screening of their new film Lady Maiko on November 16, which will be followed by a Q&A session. Lady Maiko is a musical comedy set in the world of geishas and is loosely based on Audrey Hepburn's My Fair Lady. Suo selected Kamishiraishi to play the lead role from over 800 applicants. You can visit the Festival's Official Website for more details. ...
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This year, Australia's Japanese Film Festival is not only massive in terms of number of screening locations (which include Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Broome, Cairns, Canberra, Christchurch, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Townsville and Wellington), but also the quantity and quality of the films being showcased. The festival will open with the Australian Premiere of Lady Maiko, a musical comedy by Suo Masayuki (Sumo Do, Sumo Don't, Shall We Dance?), which is loosely based on the Audrey Hepburn classic My Fair Lady. The Closing Film in Sydney and Melbourne will be The Vancouver Asahi from director Ishii Yuya (The Great Passage), based on the true story of a Japanese-Canadian baseball team in Vancouver. In all other cities, the Closing Film will be A Tale of Samurai Cooking...
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There is not a cynical or mean-spirited moment in Peter Chelsom's new film "Hector and the Search For Happiness," and the film's observations about life are in some ways so direct, so fundamental, that it would be easy to shrug it off and laugh at its sincerity. Happiness is a subject I've been thinking about quite a bit this year. At 44, I find it elusive, temporary. I've upended my life this year, moving out of my house, negotiating a divorce, building a new life to share with my kids, and even exploring the notion of new love, and all of it has been life-altering and shattering and scary and exhilarating, and above all else, necessary. Completely and totally necessary. When I was a young man, I saw happiness as something that landed on you, something that was simply a by-product of living life. I took happiness for granted, and »
- Drew McWeeny
Tokyo — “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends,” the second installment of a two-parter about a reformed sword-wielding assassin in post-feudal-era Japan, opened at number one with $8.6 million on 717,958 admissions for the Sept. 13-14 frame. That was 55% better than the opening weekend B.O. for the previous installment, “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno.”
The film’s total take for the three-day holiday weekend was $12 million.
Meanwhile, “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno” ranked in at number seven with a cume approaching the five billion yen ($47 million) milestone. Both films are Warner Entertainment Japan productions.
Also entering the rankings last weekend was “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which grabbed the number three spot with $2.9 million on 176,233 admissions and 595 screens.
Bowing at number five was “Lady Maiko,” a singing-and-dancing musical by “Shall We Dance?” director Masayuki Suo. The film took just over $1 million on 91,772 admissions to rank in at number five, and is expected to pass the $10 million mark. »
- Mark Schilling
Hector and the Search for Happiness, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, is the kind of adaptation that could turn into a new favorite for millions, or completely ruin the book for everyone, without a lot of room to fall anywhere in-between. There are tone requirements, a wide range of emotion, and supporting characters that need to be worked in to things just so.
The big questions that creates in this case revolve around director Peter Chelsom, and Simon Pegg. I’m generally fan of Pegg, but can he go everywhere this film will need him to, and go to all of those places effectively? I’m not sure. Chelsom is a different case, and isn’t a name that most people are going to be able to easily associate with his body of work as a director. The Mighty is an under-appreciated gem, and Serendipity is »
- Marc Eastman
Simon Pegg has faced zombies ("Shaun Of The Dead"), an alien invasion ("The World's End"), super villains (two "Mission: Impossible" movies, with a third on the way), been blasted into outer space (two "Star Trek" films) among other adversity. But in "Hector And The Search For Happiness" he faces his most intriguing obstacle yet: inner peace. Heading to the Toronto International Film Festival where it will make its North American premiere, 'Hector' shows a different side to Pegg to those more familiar with his genre work, and this exclusive clip displays the more thoughtful yet still playful tone of his latest effort. Peter Chelsom ("Shall We Dance," "Serendipity") directs, and Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård, Jean Reno, Veronica Ferres, Barry Atsma and Christopher Plummer co-star in a movie following a psychiatrist who having lost the ability to offer insight to his own patients embarks »
- Edward Davis
Happiness means steering clear of “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” A supremely irritating marriage of picture-postcard exoticism and motivational uplift, this misguided comedy-drama tells the story of a British therapist who upends his comfortable lifestyle and travels the world looking for the secret to inner joy — like an “Eat Pray Love” remake for men with too much time, money and existential ennui on their hands. Trite, flat-footed, culturally insensitive, and sagging under the weight of more than 25 credited producers, Peter Chelsom’s film will need every ounce of charm and cachet it can wring from star Simon Pegg to achieve box office traction. Following an Aug. 15 U.K. release (in a version that runs six minutes longer, with negligible differences) and a North American launch at Toronto, it begins a Stateside platform release Sept. 19 through Relativity Media.
Attempting to reproduce the simple, childlike prose style of Francois Lelord’s popular source novel, »
- Justin Chang
Director: Peter Chelsom; Screenwriters: Maria von Heland, Peter Chelsom, Tinker Lindsay; Starring: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård, Toni Collette, Jean Reno, Christopher Plummer; Running time: 120 mins; Certificate: 15
Simon Pegg tackles the meaning of life as the eponymous wanderer and/or wonderer in an adaptation of a book by French psychiatrist François Lelord. Hector and the Search for Happiness is part fable, part self-help manual with echoes of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but like that film, there's a considerable gap between its deeply profound objective and the soft handling.
Hector is subject to gentle teasing for taking life too seriously, but he isn't a purely comic character and that's unfortunate for Pegg who usually gets laughs playing pompous idiots. He's much less compelling being moody and teary-eyed, especially because he doesn't have much to complain about. Hector is a successful psychiatrist who lives in a plush London home with a lovely girlfriend, »
Peter Chelsom, whose next movie is the soul-searching comedic drama Hector and the Search for Happiness starring Simon Pegg, is in negotiations to direct Relativity Media's upcoming sci-fi adventure Out of this World.
Out of this World follows a young boy named Gardner, who grows up on Mars, raised by a group of scientists. As a teen, he retuns to Earth, where he travels across the United States with a female friend hoping to seek out his biological father.
No production or casting details have been revealed. »
Simon Pegg is back with his special brand of happiness, this time as a psychiatrist in the throes of professional existential crisis, who sets out to taste the world for himself and learn just what it is that makes people happy.The film is based on a popular novel by French psychiatrist François Lelord, Le voyage d'Hector ou la recherche du bonheur ("Hector's Voyage or the Search for Happiness"), a thought-provoking book on the psychology of happiness, written for laypeople. The film seems like it might be a bit... mushy... and director Peter Chelsom certainly has a record of feel good fare with the likes of The Mighty, Serendipity, the Richard Gere-starring remake of Shall We Dance? and, wait for it, Hannah Montana: The Movie to his credit. However, the cast in this includes...
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Can you believe we're less about two months away from Fall movie season? By mid-September studios and indies start to slowly roll out their more prestige releases some of which may or may not be awards season fodder. One film arriving in September that might not be on your radar yet is Peter Chelsom's "Hector and the Search for Happiness." Based on the novel by "Le voyage d'Hector ou la recherche du bonheur" by François Lelord, "Hector" is essentially the tale of a London psychiatrist (Simon Pegg) who doesn't understand why his patients can't cheer up. In a funk himself, Hector decides to span the world in search of joy. The film features an intriguing ensemble cast including Rosamund Pike as his patient girlfriend waiting back home (you'll also see her in "Gone Girl" in October), Toni Collette as that old flame he can't get over (thankfully she appears »
- Gregory Ellwood
Pegg plays Hector, an eccentric yet irresistible London psychiatrist in crisis: his patients are just not getting any happier! He’s going nowhere. Then one day, armed with buckets of courage and an almost child-like curiosity, Hector breaks out of his sheltered life into a global quest to find out if happiness exists. More importantly, if it exists for Hector. And so begins a colorful, »
- Michelle McCue
BBC One thrashed rivals ITV in the 2014 World Cup Final ratings, overnight data reveals.
Germany's victory over Argentina on ITV scored just 2.82m (12.0%) at 7pm on average, with a peak of 3.64m (13.0%) at 10pm.
Earlier on BBC One, Countryfile appealed to 4.50m (28.3%) at 6pm.
On Channel 4, 1997 classic Titanic attracted 850k (3.4%) at 7pm (121k/0.5% on +1).
Channel 5's Big Brother continued with 800k (2.8%) at 9pm (128k/0.5%).
On ITV2, The Only Way Is Essex entertained 498k (1.9%) at 10pm (162k/1.3%). »
Two action movies opened in U.S. theaters this past weekend. One of them — which you may not have heard of, thanks to the Weinstein Co.’s criminally nonexistent marketing campaign — is “Snowpiercer,” Bong Joon-ho’s marvelously imaginative dystopian railway thriller. The other one — which you have undoubtedly heard of and perhaps already seen — is “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Michael Bay’s brain-dead celebration of stunted male adolescence.
Film Review: “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
These movies are, to put it mildly, rather different. If “Snowpiercer” offers a master class in tension and pacing, then “Transformers 4″ plays like a remedial course in bloat and overkill. Bong’s movie unfolds on a train doomed to forever circle the globe; Bay’s movie trots the globe and feels like it lasts forever. “Snowpiercer” is a resourceful independent production that will, with any luck, translate strong reviews and word of mouth into respectable arthouse success Stateside. »
- Justin Chang
Ken Watanabe is taking on one of the most iconic musicals for his American stage debut, and will star as the king of Siam in Rogers and Hammerstein's “The King and I,” Lincoln Center Theater announced on Monday. Set in the 1860s, “The King and I” follows the tempestuous relationship between the king of Siam and Anna Leonowens (Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara), a British schoolteacher the king brings to his country to tutor his many wives and children. The musical gave us such memorable songs as “Getting to Know You,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.” See also: Rose Byrne to. »
- Linda Ge
Simon Pegg is known best for fleeing zombies, solving small-town crimes, and trying to escape the end of the world. But now he’s found himself with a relatively simpler goal: to find happiness.
A new promo for Hector and the Search for Happiness shows Pegg as a young London psychiatrist who’s married to Rosamund Pike (The World’s End, Pride and Prejudice)—yet somehow deeply unfulfilled. So Hector decides to jet around the world, asking strangers in foreign countries to explain what makes them smile. The whole thing bears a resemblance to a certain 2010 film about another soul-searching world traveler. »
- Jackson McHenry
Japan’s rarefied geisha culture is kookily crossed with Broadway musicals in “Lady Maiko,” Masayuki Suo’s variation on “My Fair Lady.” Gorgeously appointed and exuberantly choreographed, this crowded ensemble drama is a visual treat that, at well over two hours, needs a romantic spark to give it stronger dramatic momentum. Audiences aware of what a tacky knockoff “Memoirs of a Geisha” was may well appreciate the production’s dedication to authenticity, but it doesn’t entertain on the level of Suo’s “Shall We Dance,” or boast the zany humor of “Maiko Haaaan!!!” Still, Suo’s rep and the fascinating subject matter should ensure a decent run in select Asian markets.
The ancient, masonic world of geishas, sometimes referred to as Hanamachi (Flower Street), is almost synonymous with Kyoto, a city proud of its artistic heritage and exclusion of non-locals. However, the film reveals that since the profession’s heyday, »
- Maggie Lee
Q: “What are the grounds for divorce in this state? “
No – it’s not the Richard Gere/ Susan Sarandon film from 2004. That was a remake of the same-named 1996 Japanese film. Both of those films had grammatically correct titles ending in question marks but this is The Hi-Pointe’s Classic Film Series so of course it’s the 1937 Shall We Dance starring the great team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
In Shall We Dance Fred Astaire played Peter Peters, an American ballet dancer who’s known as Petrov. He wants to blend classical ballet with modern jazz, and when he sees the picture of tap dancer Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers of course), he immediately falls in love with her. Before they know it, they’re married. Or at least the press thinks so. Shall We Dance was the seventh of the ten Astaire-Rogers movie. This confection has the »
- Tom Stockman
“How long will it take?” asks the protagonist of Naomi Kawase’s “Still the Water” as he watches a goat being slaughtered. Many viewers will find themselves asking the same question as they sit through the Japanese helmer’s latest, a soporific drama devoted to thrashing out the meaning of love, life and death. Moving from her native Nara to the semi-tropical island of Amami-Oshima whence her ancestors hail, Kawase embraces nature worship and pompous philosophizing in her indulgently mannerist style, which, over the course of two hours, overwhelms a small yet potentially moving story of two teenagers dealing with separation within their families. The French-Japanese-Spanish co-production is assured a release in Gaul and Nippon, but chances for theatrical play elsewhere look iffy.
Following a typhoon that swept Amami-Oshima, an island between Okinawa and Kyushu, 16-year-old Kaito (Nijiro Murakami) spots a dead man with a tattooed back bobbing on the waves. »
- Maggie Lee
Cannes - If "masterpiece" is a word that critics should use with extreme caution -- never more so than at film festivals, where snap judgments are unavoidable but inflexible -- the same should probably go for the filmmakers under scrutiny. Naomi Kawase, the Japanese auteur arguably revered more by Cannes programmers than by anyone else, became a target of derision last week when she announced in an interview that her new film "Still the Water" is her "masterpiece," and that her eyes are firmly fixed on the Palme d'Or. Defenders pointed out the possessive qualifier she attached to the word: declaring a film one's own best work is different from branding it one for the ages. Either way, however, it was something probably best left unsaid -- and with the turgidly precious "Still the Water" now out in the open, it's harder still to believe. Perhaps enough of Kawase's pet »
- Guy Lodge
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