Posts Tagged ‘ Letters From Iwo Jima ’

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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Roger Ebert’s Japanese Film Reviews

Roger Ebert is possibly the world’s best-known film critic and has been at it for years, contributing reliable reviews and critical analysis that many English-speaking film-goers turn to when in doubt about what to spend their money on.  He has a massive collection of reviews on his website, over 6,400 according to movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.  Roger Ebert’s collection of reviews includes a large amount of foreign films, many of which are Japanese.  He lists Ozu Yasujiro as one of his favorite directors, so his films are well-represented, but he seems to also have a penchant for Koreeda Hirokazu, Miyazaki Hayao, Kurosawa Akira, and other Japanese greats such as Mizoguchi and Imamura.

This was a difficult list to put together.  The idea came to me as I was sitting at work, wondering if Ebert’s review database was sortable or searchable in some way.  I arrived at home to find that it is tough to pinpoint his reviews of Japanese films, though searching the website can net a few.  So, I poured over countless reviews to find the Japanese films represented in this list.  It’s probably not a perfect representation–I’m sure I missed some–but there is a wealth of great films along with Roger Ebert’s expert opinions and analysis here.  Although I don’t agree with him on everything, he is mostly spot-on.  Ebert has seen a great amount of Japanese masterpieces and you’ll notice that out of the 61 films on this list, 52 of them received a rating of three stars or higher (out of four) or are on his “Great Movies” list.  Truly a great list for anybody interested in foreign and masterful cinema.

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