Father Geek here in ol' Austin, Texas welcoming back our longtime Tokyo reporter on Japanese cinema, pigmon. He had some family health issues that kept him away from the keyboard throughout the summer and early Fall, but he's back with us now, annnnnnd we are looking forward to his regular weekly reports once again. He may also be putting out a Japanese language version of AICN (not just Japan-AICN) in the near future... We'll let you know when and where that's happening right here in this column, sooooo stay tuned for that update...
* There was a Huge press conference for a different version of "Kill Bill" held in Tokyo last week. Mr.Tarantino, Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Sonny Chiba, Julie Dreyfus, Chiaki Kuriyama, Lawrance J Bender,and Yohei Taneda(production designer) attended this packed conference.
The greatly excited Mr.Quentin Tarantino looks so hyper at this conference you would think he was about to explode right there on the stage. He said loudly and with very much pride, "You guys will be seeing the much better one! Americans and Europeans are seeing a weaker one!". Known as the "Japanese version" this KILL BILL will be including many more violent shots than the American version that is showing right now on the screens in Japan as well as the rest of the world.
* Well popular mobile novel(you can read only by moblie phone through the net ,"Deep Love" will be big screen. Michika Shigeizumi won big role through audition out of 1600 candidates. Its story about 17 years old high school prostitue meeting lots of people and learns what love is. "Deep Love" is extremely popular among high school students. Yoshi,the author of this novel will direct the movie as well.
* Toei co. will produce "Shi Ni Hana"(death to flowers) which features Japanese elderly great actors,such as Hisaya Morishige,Tsutom Yamazaki,and Yukio Aoshima. 5 guys escape from nursing home and plan bank robbery and success to get big bucks. Kendo who works for Toei.co.will direct this slow action movie and it will be releasing next summer.
* Shochiku co. will produce SIFI fantasy,"Hinokio" which is directed by Akihiko Akiyama who has been top Japanese visual effects supervisor("Rampo","Kappa","Acri",and "Final Fantasy:The Movie"). A boy refuses to go to school,goverment's special robot goes to the school instead of boy...Shooting should be starting soon and will be at the theaters next March.
* Yuji Osada of Toei produced "T.R.Y." recieved best actor award at 48th annual Asia Pacific Ocean Film Festival in Iran. Also Kouichi Takeuchi and Yoshio Inagaki,both production designer for "T.R.Y." recieved best art direction award as well.
* For the fisrt time,all 58 local film commissions in Japan gathered and have meeting which is sponsered by Agency forCultural Affairs. Compared with American and European film commissions,Japanese film commissions is far from succeed. Still many civilians are not corported film produciton. These days,many good film projects from the US abondoned filiming in Japan,such as "Kill Bill" and "Last Samurai". High cost of rental fee of studio and eqipments,high taxes,and high wages of crews are some of the reasons.Director Yusuke Narita says,"Why city goverments can stop the traffic for marathon but not for film producion! This is reality of location shooting in Japan!". I agree with him.
* Tom Cruse will attend world premire of "Last Samurai" at Tokyo Roppongi Hills theater on November 20th. This is going to be his third visit to Japan this year.
* These are list of Tokyo International Film Festival 2003 competition category. I don't have time to see any of movies this year,so those of you who sees these movies,please send me reviews to me.
- A Day on the Planet
- Calendar Girls
- Dreaming of Julia a.k.a. Cuba Libre ,
- Feathers in My Head,
Director:Thomas de Thier
- FirefliesRiver of Light,
- Good Bye, Generalissimo! ,
- God Is Brazilian ,
- Omen ,
- SANSA ,
- Santa Smokes ,
- Till Terror a.k.a Schauder
- The Suit ,
- Winning Ticket ,
* Miike's latest movie,"You've Got A Call" which will be world premire at Tokyo Intetnational Film Festival,theme songs will be singing by one of the actress from the movie,Kou Shibasaki("Battle Royale" and "Yomigaeri"). She sold more than 900,000 cds of theme song of "Yomigaeri" which was released early this year. "You've Got A Call" will be released next January and producers expect big hit for both movies and soundtrack.
* Press conference of "Cutie Honey" was held on 22nd of October,in Tokyo. Director of this film is Hideaki Anno of "Evangelion".Shooting is completed already and post production goes smoothly for next May release. Cutie Honey who is played by Eriko Sato wears more than 30 costumes. Warner Japan is looking for world wide release.
* Also same author of "Cutie Honey",Go Nagai's another project "Devil Man" is in production now. I saw some of the footage at press conference on 30th of October in Tokyo,it looks great. Full CG Devil Man looks so cool. Protagonist is played by twins,Hisato and Yusuke Ito who is the member of singing unit,Flame. Director is Hiroyuki Nasu and will be released next summer.Toei co.plans to show all over the world.
"Sky High" directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
I met Ryuhei at press screening of "Underworld" and he arranges me to see "Sky High". Well, this is his best effort so far."Sky High" is based on well popular late night TV show. The bride,Mina(Yukiko Shaku) got killed brutally at wedding. Heart was missing on bride's body.Her soul has arrived at grudge gate where soul can choose next stage: 1 go to heaven in peace, 2 stay as ghost spirit in this world and 3 kill one person and go to hell.Kanzaki(Shouske Tanihara) who is the police detective,is searching who kills his Mina. She was 4th victims. He remembererd that he saw mysterious woman at the wedding.Kanzaki found out that she worked for DNA scientist,Kudo(Takao Osawa). Meantime,Mina became the gurdian or judge of grundge gate. From now on,she leads human spirits.Don't expect too much acton on this movie. Ryuhei is famous for fast pace action direction,but "Sky High" focus on drama. Of course there are various scenes feature top rated battle,especially final battle between Kudo and Mina. Takao Osawa who is appeared Ryuhei's anthter masterpiece,"Aragami",performes great evil character.This movie will satisfy both Ryuhei and horror/action manias. Moreover,"Sky High" tv series will be remaked in the US.Negotiation is underway....
* (New )Kill Bill
* (New )Tears of the Sun
* (1)Ougon No Hou
* (2)The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
* (6)Spy Kids 3D Game Over