October 18, 2013

K-20 Fiend with twenty faces

Heikichi Endō is a circus acrobat who is deceived by K-20 and is set up to take the fall for the phantom thief. Using his incredible physical dexterity, Heikichi wages war against K-20 in order to clear his name, fighting alongside K-20's next wealthy target, Duchess Yōko Hashiba, and her fiance, brilliant detective Kogorō Akechi. But what is the ultimate decision Heikichi has to make?
Kaneshiro Takeshi, Matsu Takako, Nakamura Tōru, Kunimura Jun, Takashima Reiko, Hongō Kanata, Masumura Tōru.
Japanese dialogue with optional English subtitles.
Special features: original and English trailers; Viz Pictures presents.

A fun film initially about mistaken identity and then... Also very "steam punk" in design. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 61833-D Released in 2008 137 minutes


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October 17, 2013

Dr. Akagi

Set on a small Japanese island near the end of World War II, this is the story of a doctor's obsession to retain his decency and stamp out a deadly disease.
Special features: Photo gallery; original theatrical trailer.
Akira Emoto, Kumiko Aso, Jacques Gamblin.

A wonderful and sentimental film as only the Japanese can do. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 35201-D Released in 1998 130 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2013

20th Century Boys

It all begins in 1969 when a young boy named Kenji and his friends write The Book of Prophecy. In their book, they write about a future where they fight against an evil organization trying to take over the world and bring about Doomsday. In 1997, Kenji and his friends must save mankind before the climax of their book becomes a reality.
Based on the manga 20th century boys and 21st century boys by Naoki Urasawa.
Toshiaki Karasawa, Etsushi Toyokawa, Takako Tokiwa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Hidehiko Ishiduka, Takashi Ukaji, Hiroyuki Miyasako.
Extra features: trailers; Viz Pictures presents.

We have all three films in this series. I found them very enjoyable and somewhat suspenseful. ~Mike

20th Century Boys 51282-D Beginning of the End 142 minutes 2009
20th Century Boys 53887-D The Last Hope 140 minutes 2010
20th Century Boys 53888-D Redemption 155 minutes 2010

Posted by mcmike at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2013

Big Man Japan

Daisato transforms himself into a stocky, stick-wielding giant who is several stories high in order to defend Japan and its citizens. However, unlike his predecessors, who were all national heroes, he is an outcast among the people he protects.
Includes special features : the making of Big Man Japan; commentary; deleted scenes.

Cartoony and somewhat creepy as only the Japanese can do. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 49246-D Released in 2007 108 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

Love Exposure (Ai no mukidashi)

In order to please his sin-obsessed father, Yu goes on a sin spree where he becomes a master of up-skirt photography. However, things take a turn when he falls for the beautiful Yoko, a young woman who despises all men.

Just a wonderful, albeit long, movie it touches on most of the cultural stereotypes. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56851-D Released in the U.S. in 2011 237 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Cutie Honey

In this live action anime film Honey is an office worker who hides a secret. Developed by her father, Honey has the 'Love system' a necklace that allows her to transform into the super hero Cutie Honey.
Special features: Making of Cutie honey ; trailers.

As some might say, it is what it is. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55574-D Released in 2007 93 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2013

The X from Outer Space (Uchū daikaijū Girara)

When a crew of scientists return from Mars with a sample of the space spores that contaminated their ship, they inadvertently bring about a nightmarish Earth invasion.

Guilarium is needed to kill Guilara! This is a Criterion release and it is a beautifully restored version. I used to watch this film on fuzzy UHF, seeing it now I realize how much fun it must have been to watch these monster movies in the theater. If you are a fan this will certainly rekindle your love for these movies. We recently received all of the Godzilla movies on DVD.

Askwith Media Library 60851-D Released in 1967 88 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2012

Space Battleship Yamato

The Yamato has only 365 days to make a 148,000 light year voyage from Earth to the planet Iscandar and return with a neutralizer that will cleanse Earth's irradiated atmosphere. To avoid nuclear fallout, survivors of a surprise attack from the planet Gamilus are living in underground cities--but the radiation is seeping down. On their trip, the Yamato surives oceans of concentrated sulfuric acid, a metal eating gas attack in space and battles with Lord Desler's fleet.

This is a very good film with great special effects. Sacrifices must be made to save the planet. This is the live action version we also have the animated version, see below. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56549-D 131 minutes 2010

Uchū senkan Yamato
An edited version of the television program that aired 1974-1975, tells the story of the space battleship Yamato that plays an important role in saving twenty-third century Earth from total destruction.

Askwith Media Library 53950-D 135 minutes 1977


Posted by mcmike at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2012

Magic to Win (Kai xin mo fa)

"The world constituted of five elements: gold, wood, water, fire and earth. In the wizardry world of Happy Ghost: Magic to Win, it revolves around the story of 'Five Element Wizardry.' Hong Sum-Kwai, a university professor, is the wizard of water of 'Five Elements Wizardry.' Although he casts magic spells in daily life, his superpower remains a secret. Then by accident, his power is transmitted to his student, Macy, bringing an enchanting and meaningful adventure to his ordinary girl."

A bored and disenchanted high school volleyball team with Macy as their captain, decide to help others with Macy's new found magic. While enjoying the success, Macy is confronted by another magician who has had his power taken away. After finally convincing Macy to help, the adventure begins.
This film is fine for children: Probably ages 7 and up. Some action and explosions and some low key violence (pushing each other and disappearing using magic) between the magicians. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 57720-D 100 minutes 2011

Posted by mcmike at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2012

Princess from the moon (The tale of Taketori)

After what looks to be a meteor crashes into a bamboo forest, a man finds the crash site and discovers an interesting shaped rock. The rock cracks open and a baby emerges, the child grows quickly, it is able to walk by the time it gets completely out of the "rock." The man takes the baby and the rock home and he and his wife decide to raise the baby as if it were their own. The rock turns out to be made out of the purest gold, raising the status of the man and wife. As questions mount they move away from the village. What seems to be a few short months the child has grown into a young woman. Dad thinks it's time to find a suitable husband. The adventure starts. This is a wonderful mythical tale from Japan and thoroughly enjoyable. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 57232-D Original release 1987 DVD 2002
PAL Region 2 format

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April 17, 2012

Himitsu no hanazono (My Secret Cache)

What does it take to make someone happy? Wealth? Fame? Power? For hyperactive, materialistic Sakiko, it's finding a suitcase stuffed with 500 million yen. She sets out on a manic quest to track down the case, mastering a bizarre range of activities, like rockclimbing and scuba-diving, as she goes. Her relentless pursuit, combined with her wicked sense of humor, makes for a wild satirical commentary on the human conditions of conformity, materialism and obsession.

This is a very fun, nice film. With a smart, wise mother, detached father and bratty sister watching and wondering, Sakiko loves counting money. Her whole life is about the accumulation of money. After getting a job at a bank, it is robbed and Sakiko is taken hostage because she will not let go of the suitcase full of money. All and all film offers insight to the silly side of modern life. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 50603-D 83 minutes 1996

Posted by mcmike at 01:35 PM | Comments (1)

April 05, 2012

Kamome Diner

Set in a Japanese diner in Finland, the story revolves around the diner and its owner, Sachie, and the friendships that Sachie develops with her customers and employees.
Also includes a 40 min. film about Helsinki where the film was shot, film trailer, and trailer for the film "Megane."

Kamome is a very sweet, quirky film. It is wonderfully shot with a great cast. The Finnish scenery is outstanding. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56768-B Blu-ray 102 minutes 2006

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March 21, 2012

The exquisite short films of Kihachiro Kawamoto

Minimal, delicate and wonderfully detailed Kihachiro Kawamoto was a master puppeteer ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 47949-D 1968-1979 DVD release in 2008 99 minutes

01 |a Hanaori = The breaking of branches is forbidden (14 min., 1968,) -- Oni = The demon (8 min., 1972,) -- Farce anthropo-cynique = An anthropo-cynical farce (8 min., 1970,) -- Tabi (zenchōban) = The trip (12 min, 1973,) -- Shijin no shōgai = A poet's life (19 min., 1974,) -- Dōjōji = Dojoji Temple (19 min., 1976,) -- Kataku = House of flames (19 min., 1979,)

Breaking of branches is forbidden: A monk orders a young acolyte, who has a fondness for sake, to guard a cherry tree.

Demon: Two brothers, living with their aged mother, go out into the forest to hunt. In the forest, a demon's arm attempts to overpower one of them. They cut off the arm and bring it home, only to find a more horrible fate at home.

Farce anthropo-cynique: A dog race is interrupted by a ringmaster who mistreats the animals. The crowd becomes incensed and the ringmaster runs for his life.

Trip: A young girl sets off on a surreal metaphysical voyage to the learn the pain and joy of life.

Poet's life: A worker fired from a factory for demanding higher wages is plagued by ghastly nightmares. Based on a story by Kobo Abe.

Dojoji Temple: On their way to worship at a Buddhist shrine, two monks stop over at the home of a young woman. Their hostess develops an all-consuming passion for the younger of the two, but he rejects her. When she finds that he has left, she follows him in the form of a serpent.

House of flames: On his way to the capital, a Buddhist monk stops over in a hamlet to ask the villagers the way to an ancient monument known as the Seeker's Mound. Though they cannot help him, he comes upon it by chance and meets the ghost of a young woman who, five centuries before, was loved by two men, a poet and a warrior. When they shot a paradise duck in order to prove their worth, she was overcome by guilt and drowned herself. As a result her suitors concluded a suicide pact and ever since her soul has been in torment, enveloped in a house of flame.

Posted by mcmike at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2011

Gagaku: Japan's ancient music & dance

The music known as Gagaku spread from China throughout East Asia, reaching Japan in the 5th through 9th centuries. This traditional court music has undergone some changes, but its fundamentals remain unchanged. Gagaku is thus the world's most ancient form of orchestral music.

Excellent descriptions of some instruments and dance techniques. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56047-D 90 minutes 2011

Posted by mcmike at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2011

Glory to the filmmaker! (Eiga kantoku, banzai!)

Takeshi Kitano plays a version of himself in which he's a struggling director cycling through a number of different genres in an effort to complete his latest project.

(Beat) Takeshi Kitano is one of Japan's greatest actor/directors. In this film he exposes his deadpan comic sense while those around him are slightly insane. This is a very funny film, although probably not suited for the whole family. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55704-D 105 minutes 2007

Posted by mcmike at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2011

Princess Raccoon (Operetta tanuki goten)

Amechiyo is an exiled prince who meets the exotic and mysterious Tanuki in the forest and becomes smitten with her beauty. However, he discovers she is actually the Princess Raccoon. The two fall in love, despite everyone's warnings. When tragedy strikes after the celebration of the Princess' un-birthday, only true love can save her.

A great and surprising movie. It is wonderfully theatrical and has outstanding special effects. ~Mike

Released in 2005

Askwith Media Library 54772-D

Posted by mcmike at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2011

Train Man (Denshaotoko)

A film adaptation of a true event, a shy nerd falls hard for a girl he rescues on a commuter train. Seeking advice on how to ask her out, he turns to the internet and begins soliciting help through an online forum.

Cool, sweet and enjoyable. ~Mike

Released in 2005

Askwith Media Library 50166-D

Posted by mcmike at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2011

Always (sunset on third street)

A wonderful story. Of course very sentimental, funny, loving and beautifully shot. ~Mike

Released in 2005

Askwith Media Library 47161-D

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Tokyo Godfathers

The story takes place on Christmas Eve in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Middle-aged has-been Gin, aging transvestite Hana, and teenage runaway Miyuki are homeless friends who have formed a makeshift family structure bond. That bond is tested when they find an abandoned baby while searching for food in a trash dumpster. They try to care for the infant themselves, and travel throughout the city in search of the baby's parents.

Very enjoyable, fun and witty. ~Mike

Released in 2003

Askwith Media Library 37835-D 91 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2010

Memories of Matsuko

Father requests his son to clean out his aunt's apartment. The son finds his aunt had a life of broken dreams and abuse. This is a story of someone who cares for others and knows that good intentions can overcome only to be abused by those around her time and again. It is a sometimes funny, very stylized, sentimental, heartbreaking tale. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 47162-D

Posted by mcmike at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2010

The most terrible time in my life

Detective Maiku Hama navigates the Yokohama underworld with super cool threads and two-fisted street smarts. But when he comes to the aid of a Taiwanese waiter at a local parlor, the unflappable Hama has no idea what he's in for. Though seemingly a luckless immigrant on the threshold of Yokohama's gutter, Hama's client holds the secret to a ferocious gangland revenge triangle that soon has bullets, fists, and severed fingers flying.

One for the personal collection. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 42394-D and 37600-D

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March 24, 2010

Battle of Okinawa

This final stand against the Allied onslaught soon becomes the bloodiest battle of the Pacific Theater, taking the horrors of war to a level never before seen, as the desperate Japanese Army tries to demonstrate to the Americans what they should expect when they assault the Japanese mainland.

Askwith Media Library 47785-D

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February 25, 2009

Casshern

Set in the late 21st century, Earth is in crisis and the future of mankind is at risk. Hope lies in a geneticist's discovery of a "Neo-Cell" which can rejuvenate the human body, but it is used by an evil corporation to create a race of mutants bent on the annihilation of humanity. A powerful warrior, Casshern, emerges in the battle against this new menace. Only he can save the human race as it fights an ultimate war against its own extinction.

Askwith Media Library 46479-D
2004 Japanese
Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya
Written by Dai Sato & Shotaro Suga
Special effects -Dreamworks

Posted by mcmike at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)