Reviews written by registered user
dondau1

9 reviews in total 
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Fish Story (2009)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
One Of Those Films You Just Can't Forget., 25 July 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Flawed? Yes. Not Quite a Masterpiece? Certainly. But one of those rare films that renews your faith in how delightfully a motion picture can portray the human condition.

The Bad? Just two scenes. One which I would have cut severely and another where the Director let an actor down and should have gone for realism rather than comic petulance. You see if you can figure out which scenes I mean. *hint* One of them is with my favorite and brilliant Japanese character actress. An instance where a director took someone's strength and turned it into a weakness.

Having said that, all I can say watch the film and be thankful that there are directors and producers and actors who participate in film like this. The payoff is magnificent, but getting there is half the fun. I love the way the Japanese look at themselves...the way they hold the mirror up...the way they look at redemption.

Let me see if I can make this easier. If you like Wes Anderson, you'll probably like this film.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Fine cast and strong subject matter makes for compelling drama., 30 June 2014
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Japanese have a knack for creating soap opera styled tear jerkers. This is not one of them. Boku No Ita Jikan is an extremely compelling mini series, starring Miura Haruma and Tabe Mikako along with an excellent supporting cast led by Mizuki Yamamoto and Shunsuke Kazama. Even while exploring the horrors of a incurable disease like ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease), Boku No Ita Jikan still manages to be an equally compelling love story, due to the strong acting and great chemistry between the two leads. Mira Haruma and Tabe Mikako have proved themselves to be two of Japan's finest actors and Tabe Mikako is swiftly growing into one of Japan's superb character actors with an amazing gift of transformation. She is truly quite versatile. Even though Miura Haruma carries quite a heavy load as the male lead, the strong support and empathetic performance that Tabe gives, makes this series much more than just your typical JDrama. 4 thumbs up from me.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Tokyo Bandwagon Has Heart and Spirit....And Love., 8 December 2013
10/10

One of the things Tokyo Bandwagon has going for it, is the positive message it sends out. It just has a good feeling to it. Add to that a wonderful cast headed by brilliant character actress Mikako Tabe and you have all the ingredients for a successful season. Now, I know I single out Tabe right off the bat, but that shouldn't take anything away from the rest of this superb cast which includes Kazuya Kamenashi, Kôji Tamaki, Sei Hiraizumi and many more talented actors. Being American, I sometimes wonder how much of the story gets lost in translation, so to speak, especially when a show is complicated or deals with things that can be arbitrary or have multiple interpretations. Be this as it is, the feelings that come through with this show run the gamut and do not get lost with the interpretation coming from the subtitles. So, by all means, watch this wonderful Japanese show, it's well worth it and course it stars Mikako Tabe, who is so very gifted, with her ability to transform and become the character. I just wish she would come over to America and be in one of our longer running shows.

"Sunshine" (2011)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
My wife thinks I'm a masochist for getting hooked on Japanese Television., 24 March 2013
10/10

Everything the first reviewer said and more. I'm only a third of the way thru Ohisama, but already I've lost about half my body weight in tears. Sad tears, happy tears. Hell, I'll cry if Yuki Yagi stubs her toe. Is it me? Am I at a time in my life when I'm more prone to these type of tearjerkers? I'm a heterosexual man in my sixties, who has gotten hooked on Japanese film and television and who, without subtitles, would be desperately searching the vast American wasteland of television, for anything that even remotely comes close to being as good as Ohisama.

So...how did I get here? Indirectly, because of one of Japan's finest character actors, Mikako Tabe, who from Kimi Ni Todoke led me to Deka Wanko and a guest appearance by Yuki Yagi, which led me to Flowershop Without Roses and finally to Ohisama. Are we clear on that? Mostly random chance and a little help from Google, has changed my viewing habits. Happily so.

Now, I'm not going to waste your time trying to give a detailed review. The first reviewer did an eloquent and spot on job reviewing Ohisama. Let me just say that this character driven drama's trip through a period of time in the life of Yoko and her friends and family, who are engulfed in a mesmerizing and chaotic period of Japan's history, is well worth the time watching. And as usual, I'm again impressed with the quality of acting that comes from Japan. In fact, the acting is so good, that you tend to overlook any flaws that may occur while creating serialized television, because you care about the characters. You want them to flourish, to succeed, to realize their dreams. You want them to overcome those obstacles in their way and find the happiness that all people deserve, but few ever really find.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
No one can make me cry like the Japanese., 14 February 2013
10/10

This might rank as my favorite Television mini-series, along with Roots and Lonesome Dove. I had to keep my handkerchief at the ready, through every episode. The warmth, the depth of feeling, the love and the heartbreak conveyed by Shingo Katori, Yuko Takeuchi and Yuki Yagi was inspiring. I'm singling them out, but this series also had a brilliant ensemble cast, capable of playing just the right amount of tears and laughter. The relationship between Ejji and Shizuko was wonderful. Japan has a treasure with Yuki Yagi. She must be Japan's answer to Dakota Fanning. I can't recommend this series enough. Eleven episodes fly by like a warm wind, leaving us wanting more of these wonderful people.

Another Fine Family Show!, 10 February 2013

Mikako Tabe has another winner with "Naniwa shônen tanteidan". It's a fun family comedy/drama and another nice vehicle for Tabe who has proved over and over, that she is one of Japan's finest character actors. She has amazing versatility and her skills should only deepen as she grows older. I wish she could branch out into international films, but Japan might miss her too much. My one regret with this series, is that they didn't use Yuki Yagi, a fine little actress in her own right, all that much. One liners, here and there, were all they gave her. It seemed such a waste. But that aside, another triumph for Mikako Tabe and the rest of this fine cast.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Comedy with a Pure Heart., 3 February 2013
10/10

This series was not only hilarious, it was moving as well. Going from deep and poignant emotion to wacky physical comedy and covering many core life issues in between. How perfect is a series when you have Yagi Yuki and Mikako Tabe playing the same role at different ages? About as perfect as it gets. In fact, this is such a strong cast, filled with many fine actors, that I can't pick out a week link. It all comes down to purity, for me. A purity of spirit, with some of these Japanese television shows. A strong core. Good values. Solid emotional content and a good heart. Skilled, committed actors, who are able to transcend the limitations of their budget and create a very watchable Comedy/Drama. I highly recommend this show.

Mikako Tabe Continues to Impress!, 30 January 2013
10/10

I agree with the other reviewer and found this series to be entertaining and enjoyable. A solid cast, headlined by the brilliant Mikako Tabe, who is proving herself to be quite a fine character actor as well as being cute as a bug. Tabe has quite a future ahead of her and I would love to see here breakout into international cinema. I plan on viewing more of her work to witness her progression as an artist. I see her as someone quite capable of of competing with some of America's top actresses. She appears focused, attuned to her emotions and capable of fine physical acting as well strong internal acting. I'm very impressed.

I found Deka Wanko to be hysterically silly and fun and sometimes touching. Well worth watching.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Ranks up there with The Railway Children and Swiss Family Robinson., 17 January 2013
10/10

I'm a fan of the anime and found the film to be quite charming and moving, the characters endearing and well acted and the overall feel of the film, wholesome. The casting was spot on for the principals. Mikako Tabe, as Sadako, was especially impressive, as were the the actors playing Chizu, Yanosan, Ryu and Kazehaya. I don't know if this film is for everyone, but as an older person, with a varied taste in film and entertainment genres, I rank it up there with The Railway Children and The Swiss Family Robinson. My only complaint were the constraints put on it time wise. Trying to fit a 24 episode anime into a two hour film is a difficult task. The filmmakers succeeded, but I and I'm sure most fans of Kimi Ni Todoke, could have easily sat through a four hour version.