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Tokyo Sonata Review


Extraordinary
Starting out like a gentle family melodrama, this gorgeously made Japanese film morphs into something much darker as it progresses. And in both its economic premise and family observations, it couldn't be any timelier.

Ryuhei (Kagawa) manages a busy office and is so stunned when he's made redundant that he doesn't tell his wife Megumi (Koizumi). He pretends to go to work every day, hanging out near a homeless centre with an unemployed friend (Tsuda). Meanwhile, Megumi is battling her own inner demons, wishing her life wasn't so dull. And their sons have problems too: teen Takashi (Koyanagi) decides to join the US military in Iraq, while preteen Kenji (Inowaki) spends his lunch money on piano lessons, discovering that he's a prodigy.

Continue reading: Tokyo Sonata Review

Tokyo Sonata Review


Very Good
The differential separating Kiyoshi Kurosawa's bizarre Tokyo Sonata from his oeuvre of uneasy art-thrillers is that its eerie atmosphere isn't brought on by signs of the paranormal. Though built on a variation on Laurent Cantet's dire Time Out, Sonata is not haunted by the ghosts of technology and history, nor does it thematically concern itself with the threat of contagion. Well, at least not directly.

Entering the office one day, Ryuhei (Teruyuki Kagawa), husband and father of two, finds his job thrown to a younger man and his new place at the back of the unemployment line. He goes home and acts as if nothing happened, even helping a fellow severed salaryman with his own charade. Meanwhile, his eldest son (Yu Koyanagi) thinks his best place is in the U.S. Army, serving the Iraq Occupation. On the other hand, his youngest son (Kai Inowaki) takes his lunch money and begins taking piano lessons. Ryuhei approves of neither.

Continue reading: Tokyo Sonata Review

Last Life In The Universe Review


Very Good
''This is bliss.'' So reads the suicide note Kenji (Tadanobu Asano) clutches in his hand as he prepares to hang himself in his Bangkok apartment. A Japanese expatriate, Kenji works in a local Japanese library and brings his librarian tendencies home with him, filling his flat with nothing but books and organizing his socks, kitchen knives, and shoes with obsessive attention to order.

It's a mystery why Kenji wants to off himself, but the first clue soon arrives, ringing the doorbell. Kenji's hanging is interrupted by his brother Yukio (Yutaka Matsushige), a loutish yakuza who has hightailed it out of Osaka after sleeping with the boss's daughter and has arrived in Thailand looking for a safe place to stay. It's not safe enough, though. Another yakuza shows up and shoots Yukio, but Kenji is quick enough to shoot the killer. With two dead bodies in his apartment, Kenji decides to take a walk.

Continue reading: Last Life In The Universe Review

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Last Life in the Universe Movie Review

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