Survive Style Sonata + Bright Futures: Cine Wave Baraba w/ subtítulos en ingles

New Year + 2010 Favorites
January 19, 2011, 4:03 am
Filed under: 2010, Lists

This year I have given myself the goal of watching 213 films before the year is up. I know this is nothing compared to this guy but sometimes homework and other things ruin movie time. I use the term “film” loosely in the sense that DVD, streams, and video files will count along with theater presentations and in the sense that short films and series will count (for example the thirteen episode anime Baccano! can be looked at as film cut into parts). Only things seen for the first time will count.

First film watched this year was Elevator to the Gallows which hopefully the title will not be indicative of the year ahead of me.

Some stuff I was able to see and really enjoyed from this year. I don’t count film festival premiers for year and only look for date of the film’s domestic release. If I counted stuff to make it’s US debut in 2010 I would put Bong Joon-ho’s Mother at the top.

1. Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, US)

2. The Man from Nowhere (Lee Jeong-beom, South Korea)

3. Buried (Rodrigo Cortés, Spain)

4. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)

5. Golden Slumber (Nakamura Yoshihiro, Japan)

6. Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Imaishi Hiroyuki, Japan)

7. True Grit (Coen Bros., US)

8. Somos lo Que Hay (Jorge Michel Grau, Mexico)

9. Yuriko’s Aroma (Yoshida Kota, Japan)

10. Jack Goes Boating (Philip Seymour Hoffman, US)

11. 127 Hours (Danny Boyle, US)

12a. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, US)

12b. Tangled (Nathan Greno y Byron Howard, US)

13. Black Swan(Darren Aronofsky, US)/
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand

Stuff I Really Wanted to See But Couldn’t Because of Horrible Foreign Exposure in Certain Parts of the United States or Maybe I Have it Downloaded and Either Have Not Gotten to It Yet or Lack of English Subtitles:
Kokuhaku (will probably top the list from what I’ve heard about it)
I Saw the Devil
Let the Bullets Fly
Echoes of the Rainbow
Last Train Home
Live Tape
The Housemaid
13 Assassins

Also Really Dug:
Outrage, Jackass 3D, Despicable Me, Kick-Ass, Greenberg, Secret Reunion, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Loved Ones, La Pantera Negra, and finally the classy Mutant Girls Squad.

¡Hope for good future year!

UPDATE: Since the time of this post I have seen a great deal more 2010 films and would say that Ogigami Naoko’s Toilet and Nakashima Tatsuya’s Confessions would take the first and second spots while I Saw the Devil, 13 Assassins, Please Give, The Trip, Atami no Sousakan, and The Seaside Motel would have places on the list. (May/2/2011)


REVIEW: Golden Slumber
August 22, 2010, 8:24 am
Filed under: 2010, Reviews

Released: 2010, Japan

Director: Nakamura Yoshihiro

Sakai Masato
Takeuchi Yuko
Yoshioka Hidetaka
Gekidan Hitori
Hamada Gaku
Kagawa Teruyuki

Running Time: 140min

In this film from Fish Story director Masaharu Aoyagi is a small time celebrity but full time delivery man. His celeb status was a result of saving a pop idol from an attacker two years but now he is on the run for the murder of the Prime Minister is what could be called an update of North by Northwest in that an ordinary guy is avoiding the authorities while simultaneously trying to figure out why he was framed. This comparison only goes so far as Golden Slumber is just as much about Aoyagi’s college friends and their relationships than the mystery of his “crime”.

Sakai Masato gives a great performance as the wrongfully accused Aoyagi. Just by looking at him (see the poster) it is clear that this is an average guy trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuers. In the age of a war on terror there is also a technological boom where everyone has a recording device in their pocket which he uses to his advantage to make sure the feds (one played by Tokyo Sonata’s Kagawa Teruyuki) don’t off him in public.

References to the United States are included during scenes involving his pursuers as they cite the framing of Lee Harvey Oswald and American tactics on taking out a, proven or not, terrorist. “How many civilians are killed in the hunt for one terrorist leader?” asks the head agent chasing Aoyagi as his men torture one a college friend to Aoyagi. To which Aoyagi says, “this isn’t America.” “And thank God it isn’t” is the response he gets.  Although their actions may speak otherwise these agents deny the similarities with a straight face.

Since Fish Story was my first encounter with this director I was constantly comparing the films. Similar to Fish Story Nakamura takes the title of a song to title the film and makes it a character. The film also proves how skilled he is at weaving the past and present and overlaying the title song carefully into the climax. Running at a lengthy but not bloated two hours and twenty minutes the film seems to end abruptly at first but after some thought it was as a child’s stamp would say, “Excellent”. The appearance of abruptness is a compliment to how the film keeps you invested in the characters and their interactions rather than the why of the whole ordeal.

Without giving away too much that creates the fun of the film this web of characters, including a serial stabber, spin a sly farce that is a standout title from this year.

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