Category Archives: MOVIES

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Program Part 1: Opening and Closing Films and Competition Films


The organisers behind Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) released the full programme of every film that will be screened during its run from March 03rd until March 12th last week and it’s an impressive line-up.

The beginning of the year is always a busy one when it comes to international film festivals since Rotterdam and Berlin showcase their programmes and start screening things that will filter to the rest of the world at some point. Add the Osaka Asian Film Festival to that list because it is establishing itself as a platform for Asian filmmakers. This year demonstrates why it has a growing international reputation since there are many world and international premieres and a lot of filmmakers are going to attend the festival to talk about their work. On top of writing my usual previews for the aforementioned festival, I am working for Osaka as well.

Full disclosure, I am at the festival in the capacity as a writer, helping out with the event and watching some of the films. I will attempt to review as many as possible but for now, I’ll give previews.

I’m very excited to bring these previews to you not least because I wrote the synopses for each of them and I got a chance to watch some of the films already and the amount of talent I have seen is impressive. As a person based in the West, sometimes it’s difficult to see what the rest of the world produces in terms of cinema so this is a real education for me. The titles from the Philippines and Thailand have been really impressive and show local film industries that are producing daring and interesting works.

Here’s what has been programmed for the opening, closing and competition films. There is mention of guests but to …continue reading


Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 Full Line-up


The full line-up for the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) was revealed earlier today and for the 12th edition of OAFF., the number of selected films has reached an impressive 58 in total, including 16 films in Competition.

There will be films from 19 countries and regions, including China, Hong Kong, Korea, the USA, and Japan, will be screened and out of that selection there will be 16 world premieres, 4 international premieres and 1 Asian premiere. The festival takes place from March 03rd (Fri) until March 12th (Sun).

As mentioned in my post announcing the opening and closing films, this festival will be the place to watch many of the latest and greatest titles from across Asia as well as plenty of home-grown films.

There’s a strong showing from Hong Kong with an interesting father and son appearance for Eric and Derek Tsang. Both are actors with the former being of the same generation with and a collaborator of Jackie Chan, taking a leading role in an indie film called Mad World (2016), a film looking at the pressures of working-class society in Hong Kong as well as mental health. The latter is also a popular actor (see The Thieves) but he has moved into directing with the award-winning Soul Mates (2016), a film about the bond between two female best friends. It looks a lot like the Shunji Iwai classic Hana and Alice (2014) thanks to it two leading ladies who put in strong performances that critics raved about. Also putting in a strong performance is the lead actor in I Am Not Madame Bovary, Fan BingBing, who takes on the lead role of a woman swindled and dragged through the mud by her ex-husband and desperately trying to clear her name. It, like Mad World, is …continue reading


8 Japanese Films for Foodies

1.Tampopo (1985/2016)

Recently remastered in 4K resolution, 1985’s Tampopo tells the story of a band of ramen ronin who mentor a widowed restaurateur on her quest for the perfect soup recipe. Comic relief comes from the erotic exploits of a yakuza food addict. So, you name it, Tampopo has it: food (obviously), drama, violence, sex, inspiration and (unfortunately) a couple of unethical scenes. To give you an idea, when I watched it at the theater in Nashville, Tennessee, an offended individual actually got up and walked out.

2. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012)

You don’t have to be a Japanophile or a sushi fanatic to fall in love with this documentary. An open heart is all you need. An empty stomach won’t hurt either. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the tale of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, the oldest chef to earn three Michelin stars and regarded by many as the world’s greatest sushi master. Bringing forward strong aspects of Japanese culture, this documentary is essentially the tale of the pursuit of perfection and its cost, while featuring saliva-inducing, gorgeous close-ups of steamed rice and super fresh sashimi.

3. An (“Sweet Bean,” 2016)

Have you tried a dorayaki (sweet bean-filled pancake) yet? If not, watching An will make you want to. Sweet bean-filled anything may or may not be yours truly’s guilty pleasure! This is the touching story of an uncommon friendship between a lonely male confectioner, a 76 year-old-woman and a high school girl. It is (dare I say it) a sweet and simple story told with plenty of heart. Exploring the power of life’s simple joys in relieving burdens, uniting souls and the need to hand down skills from generation to generation, An will definitely leave you moved.

4. Rinco’s Restaurant (2011)

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My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy – Review


Kanade Amakusa – a boy cursed with the mental power who will turn any multiple-choice quiz he thinks about into a reality. However, one day in school, he is given another choice: a beautiful girl will fall before him or he will fall from the rooftop in female clothes. Although he chooses the first option and it comes true, he and his new-chosen love – Chocolat – are in for a hilarious multiple-choice adventure. This show is funny, cute, smart, and has a surprising amount of depth. I thought it was going to be a slice-of-life style show where there is no real overarching plot and the show would just focus on separate things that happen in the main characters life. This was not the case and the overarching story was interesting and drew me in. The show also had me laughing out loud multiple times. It was able to be serious too with good character development and an ending that, while typical for a harem anime, was still satisfying and set things up for a potential second season.

Interestingly, Kanade’s reactions to the first Mental Choice (yes its a pair of perverted choices) is a litmus test of sort for …continue reading


Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya: Complete Collection – Review


Illya (Illyasviel von Einzbern) is a typical young girl attending Homurabara Academy who just happens to have a slight crush on her brother-in-law. Then, one night, a magic wand called Magical Ruby falls from the sky into her bath and tricks her into signing a contract. At first it was looking like a typical magical show with just Fate characters added to the mix. However, later in the series the action scenes actually got me interested to finish through. When the announcement for second season was announced, I went ahead and read the manga from there and found out there was a deeper storyline and before I knew it I got hooked onto the series so I’m excited for what comes in second season. The series’ storyline after this season does resemble to me of Mahou Sensei Negima’s manga version by Ken Akamatsu, as well as a bit of Madoka Magica’s but rather Fate’s Dark side of their story.

On the surface you have yet another magical girl/comedy/parody of the genera that uses familiar characters from the fate franchise to pull in the audience. At the core you have a clever, interesting. very action packed and some times cynical anime that …continue reading