Archive for June, 2010

J-Film Thoughts & Commentary: 1990-2000

Musings, praise, critique, descriptions, commentary…all in a few sentences.


Alright, here is a collection of some of my comments and thoughts on various films between 2000 and 1990.  The films that I have written reviews on elsewhere in my blog are not included here, find links to them in my J-Film Review Database.  This post will be continuously updated.

I have seen a massive amount of contemporary Japanese films, most of which were released post-2000.  Admittedly, I need to watch more classic cinema, and you’ll see more comments and thoughts trickle in as I watch more.  Many of these films here will be highly rated, just because I have chosen to watch good films that were recommended to me.  An entry on films released before 1990 will be posted in the future, as will entries on films released after 2000.  This is primarily a reference post that I will link to in my J-Film Review Database.  Please feel free to recommend any Japanese films released in this time period by commenting below.  Enjoy my opinions! Continue reading

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Contemporary J-Actors/Actresses: Separating the “Actors” From the “Idols”

A characteristic issue in Japanese cinema today is the massive popularity of “idols,” controlled by talent agencies.  Idols, to me, are defined as multi-talented, young, cute, cuddly, and pure (appearance-wise) media sensations.  They often go through expansive, quick, and tough training brought about by their talent agency so they are ready to be worked to the bone doing various publicity stunts such as appearing on variety shows, looking good in photoshoots, acting in TV dramas, and possibly joining boy or girl idol bands.  The main draw of idols is how they look, not how they act or how well they sing.  Most of them have a very short span of popularity and often fall from glory once they age a bit.  There are, however, exceptions to this; notably the most famous guys coming out of the talent agency Johnny’s Entertainment.  SMAP, consisting of 5 members who are currently some of the most famous people in Japan, debuted in 1991 and continue to be mega-popular.  Arashi, again from Johnny’s Entertainment, is set up to remain popular for a while as well. Continue reading

Contemporary Japanese Film: Where to Start?

Are you desiring to begin your journey to Japanese cinema enlightenment, but don’t know where to start?  Do you study Japanese with Anime, but want to move on to live action?  Are you a film lover who wishes to expand your horizons by looking into contemporary Japanese film?  I’ll attempt to provide a basic introduction to contemporary Japanese film and recommend 5 movies that I feel are great starters for any film fan wishing to venture into the realm of contemporary Japanese cinema. Continue reading

Great Scenes: “Food fight” from Family Game

Family Game (家族ゲーム) is a 1983 film directed by Morita Yoshimitsu.  The film explores many social issues in Japan at the time including, but not limited to, dysfunctional families, competitive educational problems, and bullying.  Family Game is about the Numata family, which consists of mother, father, and two sons, Shinichi and Shigeyuki.  Shigeyuki is a junior high student who will be taking his high school entrance exams soon, while Shinichi is already attending a prestigious high school.  Shigeyuki’s grades, unlike his elder brother Shinichi’s, are poor.  So his father finds him a private tutor, Yoshimoto, and expects him to help Shigeyuki improve his grades and pass the entrance exam to a top high school.  Yoshimoto is a student at a third-rate University, but still manages to exponentially improve Shigeyuki’s grades using strict and overly odd tactics.  Family Game is a brilliant film that keeps you interested and laughing.  Employing dark humor, Morita effectively keeps the film entertaining while also being provocative.  The film reaches its climax in the following scene. Continue reading