Akira Emoto

Akira Emoto

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Villain Review


Excellent
A difficult, realistic look at a complex situation, this film explores good and evil in a way that's far more thoughtful than we usually see in cinema. And its emotional crescendo is reminiscent of Anderson's Magnolia or Haggis' Crash.

The lonely Yuichi (Tsumabuki) is trying to find love in an online chatroom, but the chirpy Yoshino (Mitsushima) ditches him when she meets the much cooler Masuo (Okada). When Yoshino turns up dead, the police suspect Masuo of murder.

Meanwhile, Yuichi meets Mitsuyo (Fukatsu), a girl who's clearly more on his wavelength. But he soon becomes the lead murder suspect. At the same time, Yoshino's father (Emoto) and Yuichi's grandmother (Kiki), who raised him after his mother left town, are both struggling to find peace with the situation.

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Another Heaven Review


OK
There are two kinds of Japanese thrillers: Those that don't translate very well to the Western world, and those that don't translate at all.

Another Heaven (from one of the producers of Ringu) is pretty squarely in the latter group, though that doesn't make it as complete a waste of time as it ought to be. It starts with promise: A group of cops investigate a murder scene: The victim is dead on the floor, his head sliced open and his brain cooking in a pot of stew on the stove. What follows gets confusing, and fast, as it turns out a bunch of brainless folks are on the loose, and they're all killing people before they die themselves.

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The Eel Review


OK
Takuro Yamashita is a bland, efficient little man who worked nine to five in your standard office job, going off on fishing excursions during the weekend. He hardly emotes at all, and when he discovered his wife sleeping with another man one night he dispatched her in a chilly, businesslike manner then immediately turned himself in. He spent eight years in prison.

Shohei (Black Rain -- not the Michael Douglas version) Imamura's new film, The Eel, documents this quiet, eccentric character during his first several months of parole. What starts out as the story of a murderer shifts gears to become a quirky character study with more than a little touch of farce as he attempts to start his life over as a village barber in a small seaside town. He doesn't seem to like people very much, spending most of his time confessing to his eel, which "listened to him" as his pet during those hard years in prison.

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11'09''01 - September 11 Review


Good
Simple premise: Eleven filmmakers each get 11 minutes to put their thoughts about September 11, 2001 into film. Documentaries about 9/11 have certainly been made to date -- I'd be surprised if less than a dozen had been released -- and this very format has even been done before too (see our review of Underground Zero).

What September 11 has that the other films don't is star power and international perspective. The 11 directors who submit work here represent a walk of fame of international cinema. Though I'm not familiar with the work of Samira Makhmalbaf (Iran) or Idrissa Ouedraogo (Burkina-Faso), to name a few, names like Penn, Lelouch, Iñárritu, Nair, and Loach represent some major names.

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THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI Review


Good

The master Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano made his reputation in the United States with his violent, whisper-to-a-scream gangster films like "Sonatine," "Fireworks" and "Brother." His most dedicated fans also know about his softer side, shown in warm, almost sentimental works such as "A Scene at the Sea," "Kids Return," "Kikujiro" and the extraordinary "Dolls," which has yet to secure a distributor here.

None of this prepares us for "The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi." Even if you've seen some of the classic 1960s-era Japanese films (many of which are available on DVD) about a blind masseuse and accomplished swordsman, you're at a disadvantage.

Based loosely on the novels by Kan Shimozawa as well as the original films, "The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi" begins normally enough. The rock-steady, stoic actor Kitano (known in an acting capacity as "Beat" Takeshi) appears as the bleach-blond title character, eyes glued shut, head cocked to one side as if to listen to the world. He's taunted by a band of would-be robbers and he vanquishes them with very little effort, barely registering a hint of an expression.

Continue reading: THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI Review

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Akira Emoto Movies

Villain Movie Review

Villain Movie Review

A difficult, realistic look at a complex situation, this film explores good and evil in...

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THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI Movie Review

THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI Movie Review

The master Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano made his reputation in the United States with his...

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