Posts Tagged ‘ 5-Star Films ’

J-Film Thoughts & Commentary: 2001-2009 – Contemporary Masterpieces (Five-Star Films)

Contemporary Japanese cinema is a tough area to navigate.  You’ve got the idol fluff, the TV-Corporation produced C-movies, the mainstream films that are actually good, and the art-house, among others.  Here’s a list that includes my favorite films released between the years of 2001 and 2009.  It will be updated as new films are added to it, as it will be used as a reference post.  Ever wondering what you should watch next?  There’s a good chance that you’ll find something you love in every one of the following films.  Some films are graded higher because I just loved them so damn much, some are graded higher because they are just damn well-made.  In any case, this is a good list.  Hopefully you can enjoy these films as much as I have.

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Review: Be Sure To Share (ちゃんと伝える)

Be sure to share, be sure to share, be sure to share…

Rating: ★★★★★

In Short: Sion Sono’s Be Sure To Share is a touching and inspiring film about familial bonds and how important the little moments spent with loved ones are.  Superbly directed and acted, Be Sure To Share is, in my opinion, Sono’s best film.  It is poetic and beautiful, utilizing basic and classical cinematography in order to convey the thoughts and emotions of the characters.  If Ozu were still alive today, he would have made this film.

Be Sure To Share opens by showing parts of events explored more thoroughly later in the film, establishing the basic premise: a husband/father/teacher (played by Okuda Eiji) is hospitalized with stomach cancer.  His wife and son visit him every day.  Shiro, the son, struggles with his father’s illness as he has always seen him as a healthy, commanding presence.  As his father was his teacher and soccer coach in school, Shiro was never able to connect with him until he became hospitalized.  This newfound emotional connection between father and son translates into promises such as “let’s go fishing together after I get better”.  The situation is further complicated when Shiro discovers that he may also have stomach cancer, and that it could possibly be worse than his father’s.  The ensuing emotional struggle causes Shiro to question what love is and how important the little moments spent with loved ones truly are.  He often questions his longtime girlfriend, Yoko (played by Ito Ayumi), if she would stay with him if he had terminal cancer. Continue reading

Review: Fish Story (フィッシュストーリー)

The song that saved the world…

Rating: ★★★★★

In short: Fish Story will take you on a wild, improbable ride in which you cannot help but smile once throughout. It is a film that rewards multiple viewings as it will leave you thinking and wishing to watch it again almost immediately. Inspired acting and an incredibly well put together set of events leads to a movie that definitely should be seen. My favorite film of 2009 so far.

If you haven’t seen Fish Story yet, you may want to stop reading this review after this paragraph. There aren’t spoilers in my review, but it is one of those movies that is best viewed with no preconceived ideas about the plot. Watch the film and enjoy the twists and turns that the story takes. It is a ride that most will undoubtedly enjoy. Continue reading