1-20 of 23 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
In Japan, ¥100 goes about as far as a dollar. That’s how much everything costs at the store where Ichiko works in “100 Yen Love,” a Japanese indie with the soul of a 1970s American film — a project that might’ve caught Hal Ashby’s eye, for example — and a cast of wise-cracking slackers who’d be right at home in a movie like “Clerks.” But what makes director Masaharu Take’s modest local drama so well suited to international exposure is the stunning character arc at the film’s center. One can only hope Western fests will give this ferociously well-acted winner a shot.
When we meet Ichiko (Sakura Ando), she’s a slouchy, disheveled mess: unkempt, unmotivated and barely able to hold herself up straight — the polar opposite of the energetic cult leader Ando played in Sion Sono’s “Love Exposure,” the film that launched her career. Skulking around at home in a baggy, »
- Peter Debruge
Tokyo Tribe, 2014.
Directed by Shion Sono
Tokyo is split into a number of hip hop obsessed tribes. One of the gangs want to take over the city, but the rest aren’t going down without a fight.
After the four hour exercise in Catholicism and upskirt shots that is Love Exposure, and the farewell to cinema that is Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, Shion Sono loses all the good faith his fans put in him with Tokyo Tribe.
It’s got the same kinetic energy as Shion’s other movies, with some amazing choreographed violence and a beautiful pallet of colours making up this deranged and disgusting future, but the rampant sexism ruins pretty much everything, if the ‘hip hop musical’ vibe doesn’t put you off first.
Shion Sono is a director that’s willing to take risks. »
- Gary Collinson
This weekend is shaping up to mirror early fall, when specialty distributors packed theaters with new titles. Many of those disappeared quickly, and this weekend could be similar as companies usher in about a dozen limited-release theatrical newcomers. Focus Features’ The Theory Of Everything, however, has amassed a good amount of attention. Directed by Oscar winner James Marsh (Man On Wire), the Stephen Hawking biopic is opening two months after its Toronto debut. Two notable nonfiction titles also join the fray this weekend: Cinema Guild’s Actress, from director Robert Greene, and Zipporah Films’ National Gallery by nonfiction maverick Frederick Wiseman. Both deserve attention as the awards-race heats up. Two years after the theatrical bow of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, the 16th U.S. President is the focus of Amplify’s The Better Angels — though it focuses a very different phase of his life. Distrib Films is opening Italian political »
- Brian Brooks
Drafthouse Films is bringing the madness to Us shores with Sono Sion's Why Don't You Play In Hell hitting select theaters and VOD platforms across the nation on November 7th and we've got an exclusive clip from the film along with a brand new red band trailer to whet the appetite.Master filmmaker Sion Sono (Love Exposure; Cold Fish) describes his frenzied, gleeful new masterpiece as "an action film about the love of 35mm." Based on a screenplay he wrote nearly fifteen years ago, Why Don't You Play In Hell? is among Sono's very best work, as his trademark excess and outrageousness is infused with an affection for the previous century of Japanese cinema. This is Sion Sono with his talent and unique vision completely unleashed.There's...
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Second in Japan only to Takashi Miike as an outrageously prolific and wicked genre geyser, Sion Sono is most notorious here for the four-hour teen-perv epic Love Exposure (2011). This cut-artery farce is less typical, and a good deal goofier, riffing on yakuza films by way of Hong Kong comedy, a wink-nudge-slash reflective Tarantino-ness, and millennials' absurd nostalgia for the '80s. Sono makes long movies obese with plot, and here we have, over a 10-year span, a movie-drunk amateur "cinema club" called the Fuck Bombers getting entangled with a mob war that evolves, preposterously, into a film shoot, so as to showcase one boss's punky actress-daughter, to impress her mother, who's getting out of prison after slaughtering the other gang's men in a lake of blood years ea »
This is a reprint of our review from the 2013 Venice Film Festival. "Crowd-pleasing" is not an adjective typically associated with Japanese director Sono Sion. For a decade or so, he's been celebrated among cinephiles for his abrasive, challenging films like the four-hour long "Love Exposure," and the post-2011-tsunami "Himizu," which was something of a favorite here in Venice two years ago. But his latest, "Why Don't You Play In Hell?," is something of a departure—an ambivalently loving tribute to both the action movie and filmmaking in general, not so much blood-splattered as blood-drenched. It seems destined to be a midnight movie cult hit, but still feels very much a Sono film. The plot is... hard to put into words. Ten years before the events proper begin, a teenage group of would-be movie makers, the Fuck Bombers, form, bonded by a love of classic action flicks. Meanwhile, young Mitsuko (who stars in the. »
- Oliver Lyttelton
With its arrival on North American shores imminent a new trailer for Sono Sion's gonzo Why Don't You Play In Hell has arrived online. I literally ate my shirt at Fantastic Fest last year because of this film (and R100, it was a team effort) and the general level of insanity it inspires. Here's how the Toronto International Film Festival pitched it back in the day:a renegade film crew known as "The Fuck Bombers"! Yakuza gangsters hell-bent on revenge! Decapitated heads! A French kiss from a mouth full of broken glass! And a catchy toothpaste commercial jingle ... ?! Cult film director Sion Sono, known for his outlandish work including Suicide Club, Love Exposure and Cold Fish, is back with Why Don't You Play in...
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Let’s just start this out with a simple statement: See This Movie. Sion Sono’s Cold Fish was one genuinely unforgettable experience and now his followup, Why Don’T You Play In Hell? is set to make viewers’ eyes open even wider than before. A complete homage to 35mm action films, Why Don’T You Play In Hell? made quite the impression at last year’s Fantastic Fest and was quickly acquired by the gang over at Drafthouse Films, who is making quite the name for themselves by releasing films that challenge the genres that they fall into. The Yakuza-based action film recalls some very Tarantino-esque territory (in a good way), giving viewers a very bloody good time. If you’re a fan of Sono’s previous films (including Suicide Club and Love Exposure as well an many others)
Drafthouse has now unleashed a brand new, very awesome poster for the film, »
- Jerry Smith
, meaning there’s plenty of pinku-style nudity and threatened rape, martial-arts action and the occasional blood geyser. If that sounds like fun, it is, although the latest from the culty maker of “Suicide Club,” “Love Exposure” and last year’s Tiff Midnight Madness audience-award winner, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?,” is so insistently over-the-top from the start that the results are just fairly amusing when they ought to be exhilarating. Already in release in Japan, “Tokyo Tribe” should sell in other Asian markets where hip-hop has made strong pop-culture inroads. Elsewhere, it will have campy appeal as a niche home-format item.
Sadistic, cannibalistic yakuza boss Lord Buppa (the almost unbearably hammy Riki Takeuchi, a Takashi Miike veteran) keeps the various individual gangs dominating Tokyo districts at war with each other, while biding time until the day he’ll exterminate them all. That day has arrived, just as his »
- Dennis Harvey
Raindance Film Festival announced its’ 2014 programme today in central London and Thn was there to check out the line-up. This year’s festival will take place from 24th September – 5th October and will screen 100 feature films and over 150 short films.
Now in its 22nd year, the festival has a strong legacy of showing alternative films and uncovering the hottest new filmmakers to hit the cinematic scene. Raindance-premiered hits include Memento, Old Boy, The Blair Witch Project, Pusher, Ghost World and Love Exposure.
The opening night gala film, taking place on the 24th September, will be Mike Cahill’s sic-fi drama I Origins starring Brit Marling. Cahill’s debut feature, Another Earth (co-written by and also starring Brit Marling) premiered at Raindance in 2011. I Origins follows the story of a molecular biologist and his laboratory partner who uncover evidence that may fundamentally change society as we know it. The film premiered »
- Victoria Bull
Exclusive: Ahead of next month’s Toronto International Film Festival, La-based Xyz Films has pacted with Nikkatsu to handle North America sales on two of the Japanese distributor’s anticipated genre titles. Tokyo Tribe, the latest from helmer Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish, Why Don’t You Play In Hell?), is adapted from Santa Inoue’s manga about futuristic gang wars waged between thugs who battle through violence and rap. The film is written and directed by Sono and is set to open Tiff’s Midnight Madness program next month. Producers are Yoshinori Chiba, Kinya Oguchi and Nobuhiro Iizuka.
Xyz’s also repping North America on action-thriller Yakuza Apocalypse from Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi The Killer, 13 Assassins). The gangster pic/horror mash-up stars Yayan Ruhian of Xyz-produced The Raid and The Raid 2 alongside Hayato Ichihara in the story of a young yakuza who discovers his seemingly invincible boss is a vampire. »
- Jen Yamato
Exclusive: Ahead of next month’s Toronto International Film Festival, La-based Xyz Films has pacted with Nikkatsu to handle North America sales on two of the Japanese distributor’s anticipated genre titles. Tokyo Tribe, the latest from helmer Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish, Why Don’t You Play In Hell?), is adapted from Santa Inoue’s manga about futuristic gang wars waged between thugs who battle through violence and rap. The film is written and directed by Sono and is set to open Tiff’s Midnight Madness program next month. Producers are Yoshinori Chiba, Kinya Oguchi and Nobuhiro Iizuka. Xyz’s also repping North America […] »
After delivering gonzo efforts like "Why Don't You Play In Hell?," "Love Exposure" and "Cold Fish," Sion Sono is coming to the Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness lineup with his latest "Tokyo Tribe." And the filmmaker is once again ready to drop a whole lotta crazy. Blending hip hop, the yakuza and the director's trademark visuals, we'll leave it to the synopsis to try and explain what the heck is going on in the trailer for this musical thing: Set in an alternate Tokyo of the near future, director Sion Sono continues his run of sensational films with the explosive street gang tale Tokyo Tribe. Tokyo Tribe is the first live-action adaptation of the best-selling manga series Tokyo Tribe 2, by Santa Inoue, which has sold two million copies and has been published in Asia and the west to great popularity. Okay, that didn't help much, but this is one you gotta see to believe. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Okay, I doubt Charles Bronson will be there, but if anyone could pull it off, Colin Geddes could. There are few things I look forward to with more fervor each year than Toronto's Midnight Madness selection each year. Programmer Colin Geddes is not just a phenomenal ringleader, an instigator of a controlled cinema riot every single night of the festival, but he is also a tremendous friend, the sort of person who is a pleasure to bump into anywhere at any festival in the world. Today, the announcement was made of his line-up, and my first reaction is, "I can vouch for some of those." I really liked "The Guest" when I saw it at Sundance, and I think it's got one of the weirdest performances of the year in the form of Dan Stevens, previously best known for "Downton Abbey." It's from the same team who brought you "You're Next, »
- Drew McWeeny
Hell Frozen Over: Joon-Ho’s Dystopic Thrill Ride an Arresting Examination of Cold Humanity
His first feature film since 2009’s Mother, as well as his English language debut, Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, based on the French graphic novel series “Le Transperceneige,” has been hyped at fever pitch ever since storming the box office in his native South Korea last year. After a much publicized haggling between the director and the Weinstein’s’ wish to trim twenty minutes away for the American palette, it’s a glorious win for art over commerce with the release of the title as the director originally intended it. Not to mention it moves as slickly as the rattling train upon which its set, speeding through a running time that slightly curbs over two hours at a brilliant pace.
Simply, a post apocalyptic tale showcasing mankind’s innate need for degrading hierarchies even when facing extinction, »
- Nicholas Bell
Partnered as always with your NYC go-to for summer movie madness, the New York Asian Film Festival, Japan Cuts' full lineup of fresh or rare Japanese films is, on its own, always something to talk about, and never something to miss. So thank the gods the 2014 edition, happening at Japan Society, July 10-20, is looking mighty robust. While such 2013 Festival stalwarts, like Sono Sion's Why Don't You Play In Hell, finally get their NYC premieres, its the inclusion of work new to these shores that is getting my head to turn. Of note: the world premiere of 0.5mm, which stars Love Exposure's Ando Sakura as an at-home elder care worker. Ando Momoko's film is being touted as a comedy. And yes, star and...
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“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
Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the first of two female directors in the lineup: Naomi Kawase's "Still the Water." The director: Naomi Kawase (Japanese, 44 years old). It's possible for certain filmmakers to become prominent, celebrated figures within the festival circuit without making much of a dent in the real world, even in the art-house sphere. Naomi Kawase is a good example. Favored by selectors and juries alike, even her most generously awarded films have secured minimal international distribution -- making her at once a familiar and unfamiliar presence in the lineup. Born and raised in Japan's rural Nara district, »
- Guy Lodge
Closing off the 2013 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival is a new film by long time Fantasia favourite Sion Sono. Sion Sono is one of the few filmmakers to completely embody the ethos of Fantasia and he has been an almost constant presence at the festival since he won the award for most ground-breaking film for Suicide Club in 2002. His newest movie, Bad Film, was edited together from over 150 hours of footage he shot in 1993 and will be making its Canadian Premiere at this year’s festival. In anticipation of this film, I am counting down Sion Sono’s five best films.
5. Noriko’s Dinner Table (2006)
A vague prequel to Suicide Club, Noriko’s Dinner Table remains somewhat on the fringes of popularity with North American audiences. Though it does not reach the breadth of Love Exposure, it is perhaps closest to that film in style, as it examines »
- Justine Smith
Suffer the Children: Sono’s Social Dystopia a Melancholy Landscape
It appears that 2014 will be a year that sees a flood of Sion Sono’s back catalogue finally hitting Us theaters. A pair of 2011 titles will be released concurrently from Olive films, the cap of his hate trilogy, Guilty of Romance, and the more substantially impressive, Himizu, a manga adaptation updated to reflect the devastation of post-tsunami Japan. The flood continues with the release of one of Sono’s most restrained films ever with The Land of Hope, which closely examines a family in a fictionalized district directly affected by nuclear radiation. While Hope plays sort of like an update of Shohei Imamura’s Black Rain (1988), it’s a far cry from the desperate rage imploding the societal core clearly on display here. And while, by Sono’s standards, it seems just conservative enough with its violence to convey a »
- Nicholas Bell
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