kaigou: this is what I do, darling (1 Ritsuka)
[personal profile] kaigou
Second installment:

  • Kaiji: the Ultimate Gambler (Japan, 2009)
    Oh, cripes, that was stupid. Even if Amami Yuki had a cameo.

  • Azumi (Japan, 2003)
    What is it with the Battle Royale trope, anyway?

  • Tajomaru (Japan, 2009)
    This starts out like it's a kind of brother-against-brother story, then segues halfway through into a retelling or recasting of a very famous story (just wait for it), and ends up almost a Robin-Hood kind of adventure. With a dramatically Korean-style happy ending.

  • Parade (Japan, 2009)
    Very art-house. Very much a movie where you've got to fill in a lot of the blanks. Also starring the same kid who was in Love Fight. I quit about three-quarters of the way through. Mostly just boredom.

  • JIN (Japan, 2009, 2011)
    Doctor travels back through time, to the decade just before the Boshun Wars. The first season was phenomenal, with amazing cameos of actual historical figures, and Uchino Masaaki's role as Sakamoto Ryoma just steals the show. Second season is when the politics really kick in, with the start of the Meiji Revolution, and I just wasn't in the mood to watch everyone die. Or something.

  • Ogu (Korea, 2003)
    A little indie film about an elderly woman looking for a shaman to get her life neatened up and everything squared away properly so she'll be able to join her husband in death... with three characters who are Taoist immortals, or maybe Korean folk-characters I don't know, or angels-of-death (or the shamanistic equivalent). A wry kind of humor.

  • Ichi (Japan, 2008)
    Ayase Haruka as a gonzo (I think the term is), a blind female entertainer. (Read up on the history of them; it's pretty fascinating stuff.) Early on, though, she was taught swordsmanship by the famous Zaitoichi, and is now seeking him. Another time of Ayase and Takao Osawa sharing the screen (other time is in the series Jin).

  • Bloody Monday (Japan, 2007)
    Oh, it's totally preposterous, and the second season opens with a fridge-stuffing, but somehow Miura made it not just worth watching, but positively riveting. Totally shonen-stuff, but still. So very much fun.

  • The Great Yokai War (Japan, 2005)
    It's like Takashi Miike doing Miyazaki. Just think of what you'd get if Tim Burton remade Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

  • Itsuka no Kimi e (Japan, 2007)
    I have no idea on earth why I even bothered.

  • Chonmage Purin (Japan, 2010)
    Another time-travelling story, only this time it's a samurai who falls into the present-day, hooks up with a divorced mother of one, learns to do household chores, and eventually becomes a pastry chef. There are some really sweet (and historically accurate) little touches in the samurai-character's actions, and some really hysterical parts, too. (Like the first time the samurai bathes, and the little boy comes tearing out of the bathroom to tell his mother, "it's a Kappa! a kappa!" and the samurai appears behind him, with long hair streaming down and bald pate shining just like a cup holding water. Snerk.)

  • Yobi, The Five Tailed Fox (Korea, 2007)
    Too much like a Japanese-anime knockoff -- not that this should be surprising, given how many Korean studios do the animation and betweening for Japanime -- but the voice acting is just... mediocre, and the story isn't much better. Pity.

  • Innocent Steps (Korea, 2005)
    Oh, look, it's another Simply Ballroom and its kin, but those movies didn't have Moon Geun-Young. She's pretty much the sole reason to watch the story. (And she really can dance like that.)

  • Love Shuffle (Japan, 2009)
    I kept trying to watch this one, because the premise is definitely unusual: six friends decide to swap partners on a regular basis, until someone manages to successfully pair up. Or something. (And apparently this swappage is regardless of gender, though I assume the conclusion is still heteronormative.) Unfortunately, it really drags at the start, as I was warned, but I still couldn't get past that and stick with it.

  • Keizoku 2: SPEC (Japan, 2010)
    Absolutely bizarre, against the grain, like Trick but with real cops, and the supernatural/paranormal turns out to be real... Todou Erika rocks this entire show, and I really did not see some of those final twists coming. Some, but not all of them... and I'm still trying to figure out what really happened in those last few frames.

  • Queens of Langkasuka (Thailand, 2008)
    It's everything the Pirates franchise wanted to be, if only it'd had seriously amazing female characters AND whales. And stingrays the size of small submarines. The three queens (sisters) are never dumbed down or made passive thanks to falling in love or some such crap. The spectacle is breath-taking in almost every single scene. (Plus it made me really fascinated about Thai history; the representations of the Queen's court -- and the incredible diversity of the diplomats due to the country's position as a major trading force -- was just so cool.)

  • Kimi ni Todoke (Japan, 2010)
    Another Miura Himura vehicle, but he actually does a very faithful live-action version of Kazehara Shouta (first seen in the anime adaptation). I'm ambivalent about the actress who did Sawako, but her sidekick-friends could've literally stepped right out of the anime. A sweet movie, as delicate as the anime and the original manga.

  • Curse of the Golden Flower (China, 2006)
    You want spectacle, this one rivals Queens of Langkasuka. Unfortunately, I think someone kinda forgot there needs to be something else in there, too, like a clear conflict, or empathetic characters, or... well, no, Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat are good enough they can inject some life into the story, but something about the editing, or the directing, or something just makes the entire movie drag. It takes itself oh-so-very-seriously, and does feel at times like it's got a Message. Something like, emporers are bad, mmkay?

  • Secret (Taiwan, 2007)
    Jay Chou's directorial debut, and he does a fairly decent job (and I think he also wrote the screenplay). He gets to show off his piano chops -- which are pretty amazing just as-is -- but... the movie's kinda split-personality. The first half is a sweet first-love romance and then halfway through WHAM it's something completely different. It's not horror, relax, but if I say more I'd spoil it. Just suffice to say that midway point was a pretty severe genre-jump.

  • Mushishi (Japan, 2006)
    Wow. The live-action version really was as bad as I'd been warned.

  • The Treasure Hunter (China, 2009)
    Another Jay Chou film, this time... I guess we could say "Indiana Jones Does China", but with a plot that's possibly even more convoluted. Plus, Chou/Jones doesn't get the girl, but the long-shot landscape images of the western Chinese deserts are still pretty amazing. Even with the video-game-style Big Finale.

  • Dream High (Korea, 2010)
    A definite sleeper hit. Most of the actors are idols, or relatively new, and there are some big-name cameos (that I wouldn't have known without reading dramabeans' recaps) -- but it's a series with a lot of heart. Sometimes funny, sometimes heart-breaking, but very earnest. It's Fame without the leg warmers, and a dose of Korean netizens.

  • G@me (Japan, 2003)
    Whatever you think is going on... isn't. Or is, but it's not all that's going on. I like the actors, but I think they were both kinda lazy on this one -- or maybe it's just that the script really isn't big on the emotional aspect, being too busy with the antics and twists.

  • Love Fight (Japan, 2008)
    See series of posts on this one.

Others around this same time are reviewed here: Sword In The Moon, Bambino!, Color Me Love, Hero.
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kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

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