Sunday, September 20, 2020

Laplace's Witch jmovie review

 

It is not often that during a movie that I will question why all the people involved in the movie signed out in the first place. Did they not read the script? Sure their agents would have read the script and realised how horrible it was?

 

We are not talking about people who need any work they can get. We are talking about Hirose Suzu, Tamaki Hiroshi, Moriyama sensei from Doctors, Shida Mirai, Lily Franky and Toyokawa Etsushi. Surely they would know what a trainwreck of a movie this would become just from the script?

Of course the answer was that Laplace's Witch is was based on a novel by Higashino Keigo and that Miike Takashi. Yes, Miike who directed such classics as Zebraman but who also made really bad movies like Ryu ga Gotoku which didn't respect the source material. Maybe everyone signed on after reading the book not caring how small their part was.

I have no idea how good the book was but Laplace's Witch is probably the worst Japanese movie I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of stinkers. The plot, dialogue and exposition is so freaking bad and at the end when everyone starts monologing I was wondering if the actors themselves knew if the movie was bad and that the script was all over the place.

Absolutely do not watch Laplace's Witch. There is no saving this movie. Its so bad that it is tragic. I have not watched a Miike Takashi movie in years and I don't want to watch his movies anymore. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Kotaki Kyoudai to Shikuhakku

 

Kotaki Kyoudai to Shikuhakku is about two brothers who are at low points in life working as rental oyaji. The oldest Ichiro is an unemployed former teacher who cannot get a job and the younger Jiro is happy go lucky house husband whose wife wants a divorce.

Kotaki Kyoudai to Shikuhakku is a laid back comedy about two down on their luck rental oyajis getting hired to help people with various things in their life and their attempts to be useful. 

When I say comedy I mean very understated and dry. Usually I like dry but I found the first half to be pretty slow and I was tempted to drop the show. I had read some good things about Kotaki Kyoudai so I pushed on and the second half started to good pretty good.

My favourite episode is the Bob story in episode 9. It was funny and an interesting commentary on society and our need for validation. The last few episodes had really good acting and writing leading to a strong finish.

I have asked this question before. Would I take a slow start along as a jdorama finished strong? Definitely. Its much more deflating when a jdorama starts strong, show so much potential and wastes it all away.

The question is the second half strong enough make up for the slowness of the first half. It was good but not good enough. Certainly a memorable second half though. I would say Kotaki Kyoudai is a watchable, laid back show that picks up in the second half. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Rest in Peace Ashina Sei

 

Just saw the freaking news that Ashina Sei has passed away. She was found in her home and was only 36 years old. Please cancel 2020. She was always in my book of actresses I was always happy to watch and I probably most remember her from Giragira. RIP Ashina Sei.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

No Side Game Episodes 1+2

 

No Side Game is a rugby jdorama from 2019 made to capitalise on the Rugby World Cup which Japan did really well. Its been a while since I've watched a sports jdorama and similar to KimuTaku's Pride, its about the corporate team of a car manufacturing company.

Oizumi Yo is the bigwig from the main office who was exiled to be the general manager of the rugby team Astros with no knowledge of the game and no budget. The Astros also have been having bad results and in danger of being demoted. So you have manager and team who are both in a do or die season.

Somehow they've have managed to get the great Matsu Takako to play his wife but I guess the fact that her role is minor and she probably shot it all on a house stage over a few week had something to do with it. Still its a role that any actress could have done and to see Matsu Takako in it is a bit weird.

One good thing about No Side Game is that they have a lot of rugby players in it. Usually in jdoramas, they have a lot of idorus in them (I am looking at you buzzer beater) and everything looks so fake. It also helps that rugby is 15 on 15 so people are not so exposed.

They've got enough actors in No Side Game to do the acting but importantly is the people who play the sport to make it look real. We haven't had our first game yet but I'm pretty sure it will be decent and explain rugby strategies to the audience.

I really liked the twist at the end of episode 1 because it brings an interesting dynamic to the relationship between general manager and coach. And another thing, I don't remember watching any series or movie, Japanese or otherwise about the how GMs and coaches work together.

I like rugby union so I am enjoying this show being subbed by blitz fansub who have done up to episode 6. You can't really go wrong in the underdog sports genre. Watchable.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Mrs Cinderella Episodes 1+2

 

Half the fun of watching old jdoramas is marveling at how some actors have not changed in 23 years due to the magic of plastic surgery. The other half of the fun is watching my favourite actors in their younger days and what drew me to Mrs Cinderella is that its starts Yakushimaru Hiroko and Uchino Masaaki.

Mrs Cinderall is your standard housewife dorama. Yakushimaru Hiroko is married to a mothercon and the mother in law is living in the same house. Talk about a sure death. Bossy mother in law (is there any other kind in jdoramas), no kids and husband who can't make decisions without his mom means that the author is trying to get the audience's approval for Yakushimaru Hiroko to have an affair with Uchino Masaaki.

The writer also sets up the husband to have an fling as well and the question is who will cheat first in episode 3? I have not seen Kurotani Tomoka (on the left) in a long time. She was in plenty of shows playing supporting characters back in the day.


Mrs Cinderella seems pretty standard as far as affair jdoramas go. Its certainly no Aoi Tori, which was one of the earliest jdoramas I had seen and became the gold standard of fling jdoramas. I wonder how I would view Aoi Tori after so many years and interestingly, Aoi Tori and Mrs Cinderella both came out in 1997.

Since Mrs Cinderella is a pretty standard jdorama, I would recommend it only to people who like old jdoramas. I am still seeding the raws on nyaa so get it asap before I have to stop seeding for space reasons and thanks to Avallac'h for the subs.


Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Yoru no Sensei Episode 1

 

Once upon a time or more precisely 2004, Mimura was in a jdorama about a night school called Medaka and it was good. Its definitely on the list of jdoramas that I would like to revisit.

Then Mimura was in a jdorama with Mizuki Arisa called Saito-san which was very good and must watch. I also recommend everyone avoid Saito-san 2.

10 years later in 2014, Mizuki Arisa starred in another night school jdorama except the gimmick this time is that she was the mama of a snack. It definitely feels like things have come full circle and on top of it, Renbutsu Misako is in Yoru no Sensei.

So first episode goes exactly to the GTO formula. Teacher brings Mizuki Arisa to teach the night school to challenge the evil school principle and condition is that the teacher will resign if any of the students quit.

We all know how the GTO formula works. The question is how entertaining the stories behind the students are and how much the show can make us care about them. 

The story has a build in advantage because everyone in the class are underdogs who are trying to get somewhere in life so the audience is already rooting for them by default.

Thanks to evasive for subbing this 2014 show. I am not expecting too much but I am hoping for some feel good entertainment that won't try too hard to feel good.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Samurai's Promise Jmovie review

 

Its been a while since I've watched a jidaigeki movie. Absolutely loved the first two Yamada Yoji samurai trilogy movies but I have been watching a lot more jdoramas compared to movies. Okada Junichi is the main character in Samurai's Promise as a samurai who got kicked out of his clan and left with his wife played by Aso Kumiko.

Unfortunately, Aso Kumiko got sick and died but not before making Okada Junichi to go back and help his old friend Nishijima Hidetoshi who was Okada Junichi's rival for Aso Kumiko. 

If you have seen jidaigeki, you know how it goes. You have the highly skilled but poor samurai going against corruption and useless bosses but no one can do anything because there are so many unwritten rules among the samurai and no one can really speak the truth.

The beginning was confusing for me as I was trying to figure out who was who and what was happening. I am grateful for the English subtitles because I would have been lost otherwise. After all the political talks, the movie slowly ramps and we get a lot of action in the end.

I can't complain about Samurai's Promise except for CG blood but I found it not as good as Twilight Samurai or the Hidden Blade. I can't exactly tell you why because they are all variations of the same formula but Samurai's Promise did not move me as much as the other two movies did.

Watchable but not memorable for me. If you are looking for a samurai movie, keep your expectations low and you might be surprised. Or just watch for Aso Kumiko.