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12:00 PM on 08.02.2014

Fantasia Review: Live (Raivu)

To those who know it, Noboru Iguchi's name brings up a very particular image. In fact, when people with only a tangential knowledge of Japanese cinema, Iguchi's work is probably the first thing they think of. It's exactly the...

Alec Kubas-Meyer


4:00 PM on 07.17.2014

Ghibli's The Tale of Princess Kaguya gets English cast and release date

While I may only like a small selection of Studio Ghibli's films, there's no mistaking their quality. Based on the Japanese tale "The Tale of Bamboo Cutter" and directed by Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies), Princess Kag...

Nick Valdez



NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen photo
NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It's been an odd week. On Monday, we posted my review of R100, a film so crazy it inspired a man to eat his shirt. On Tuesday, we posted my review of Why Don't You Play in Hell?, a film so insane that it inspired a man to make a shirt-eating bet in the first place. But those were warm ups. What I was really doing was priming myself to write about quite literally the weirdest movie I have seen in my entire life: 3D Naked Ambition.

I always kind of expected the weirdest movie ever to be from Japan. I mean, that's where the previously two mentioned films and other bonkers stories like The Warped Forest came from. That movie has fruit with actual vaginas.

But 3D Naked Ambition has risen to the top. How, you might ask? Well...

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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NYAFF Review: Why Don't You Play in Hell? photo
NYAFF Review: Why Don't You Play in Hell?
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Last year, Japan Cuts played Sion Sono's Bad Film, a project filmed back in 1995 but not finished until 2012. In my non-review of the film, I unequivocally called it a masterpiece, and I stand by every word. It is a labor of love that throws caution to the wind in order to just make a freaking movie, everyone and everything else be damned. This is Sion Sono's world and you just have to deal with it.

Why Don't You Play in Hell? is a celebration of that worldview. And it's every bit as brilliant as you could hope.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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NYAFF Review: R100 photo
NYAFF Review: R100
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Thanks to R100, we know the proper recipe for a shirt: 24 hours in a slow-cooker, with red wine sauce, celery and carrots. Not because the film involves shirt eating (not directly at least), but because it forced Twitch founder/editor Todd Brown to eat his own shirt. 

Before it screened at Fantastic Fest late last year, he made a bold claim, if any film was half as crazy as Why Don’t You Play in Hell (review forthcoming), he’d eat his shirt.

R100 called Brown's bluff, and he made good on his promise. It's fitting, really, because that's exactly the kind of thing someone in R100 might be forced to do.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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Japan Cuts 2014 continues where NYAFF leaves off photo
Japan Cuts 2014 continues where NYAFF leaves off
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

With our NYAFF coverage still running strong, it seems an appropriate time to let you know that there's much, much more where that came from. Starting this Thursday, July 10th, the Japan Society kicks off their NYAFF crossover. Through Sunday, each film will be a co-presentation, and then Japan Cuts takes on a life of its own and runs through the 20th.

Japan Cuts is the largest Japanese-centric film festival in North America, and there's always at least a couple of fantastic films that I gush about for the rest of ever. I already know that I won't be shutting up about Sion Sono's Why Don't You Play in Hell, which may well be his best film (other than the literally perfect Bad Film), and though I haven't seen it, I'm pretty sure that Neko Samurai is going to rock my world.

Below you can find the schedule, information about the films, and basically anything else you could possibly want to know about the festival. And if you're attending any of the screenings, let me know. I'll be around the Japan Society quite a bit. You should say hello.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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NYAFF Review: Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats photo
NYAFF Review: Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Japanese comedies have a reputation for being wild and crazy.

Let me rephrase that, Japanese movies have a reputation for being wild and crazy. And there's truth to that argument. Japanese films are on the whole weirder than those from other countries. Their comedies are particularly noteworthy, and some truly bizarre films have come out of that country recently. (In fact, we'll have reviews of two of them later this week).

But Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats is an exception to that rule. While it has some of that Japanese weirdness, it lacks the over-the-top insanity you might expect. Before the screening, someone in the audience said that he expected it to be NYAFF's sleeper hit.

I think he was completely right.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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NYAFF Review: The Eternal Zero photo
NYAFF Review: The Eternal Zero
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

The Eternal Zero is one of the biggest blockbusters ever released in Japan. A tale of the World War II from the viewpoint of the fighter pilots who took on the American forces. An ostensibly epic tale celebrating... something, The Eternal Zero hits the beats of an emotional story, but it doesn't actually hit any of the emotion.

If I learned one thing from this experience, it's that Japan's audiences are every bit as gullible as America's.

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2:00 PM on 07.03.2014

Japanese teaser for next Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There

Based on Joan G. Robinson's novel of the same name, When Marnie is There is about a lonely little girl who befriends a ghost. I've never read the book myself, but if it's being adapted by Studio Ghibli, I'm sure it's equal p...

Nick Valdez

5:00 PM on 06.11.2014

Flix for Short: Poulette's Chair, designed by Ghibli animator Yojiro Arai

Poulette's Chair, directed by Hiroyasu Ishida with character designs from Ghibli animator Yojiro Arai (From Up On Poppy Hill, The Secret World of Arietty) is a short and sweet animated short about a little girl and her living magical chair. There's not much to say as the film itself is less than five minutes, but the kinetic movement is absolutely splendid. Give it a watch, yeah? [via io9]

Nick Valdez

2:00 PM on 05.06.2014

First trailer for Rurouni Kenshin sequels, Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends

Since watching the first Rurouni Kenshin adaptation, I've been anxiously awaiting for the first footage of its sequels, Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends. Taking place during the manga's Kyoto Arc (which is in fact so a...

Nick Valdez





1:00 PM on 04.25.2014

Teaser poster and images for next Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There

While I'm not the most well versed Studio Ghibli fan at Flixist, even someone with little knowledge like myself can't deny how beautiful their films are. Based on the book by Joan G. Robinson, and handled by The Secret World ...

Nick Valdez

6:00 PM on 03.28.2014

Katsuhiro Otomo's Short Peace will be shown in select U.S. theaters

Katsushiro Otomo, the Japanese animation director most well known for his seminal film Akira, has a brand-new animated film about to his U.S. shores! Well, sort of. Short Peace is actually a collection of four short films pr...

Liz Rugg



Review: Guilty of Romance photo
Review: Guilty of Romance
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

I greatly enjoyed Himizu, another 2011 Sion Sono film released last week in NYC theaters, but there was something it lacked that I expected from that sort of film: sex. It had the violence (although it was definitely subdued in comparison to some of his other films), but there was none of the weird, creepy nudity found in some of his other films. I wasn't unhappy about it (it would have added nothing to that film), but I was surprised. When I checked out Guilty of Romance and randomly clicked on a part of the timeline, I found myself staring at a woman on all fours in a colorful room, presumably a love hotel, in the middle of that most intimate of acts.

And there was the Sion Sono I had expected. For better or worse, what Himizu lacked, Guilty of Romance has in spades.

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Review: Himizu photo
Review: Himizu
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

I can see why Sion Sono was drawn to Himizu. The manga, which ran from 2001 to 2002, seems like exactly the sort of thing that would appeal to the man who made Cold Fish and Suicide Club. But that's not really a compliment. 

Immediately after finishing the film, I went to read the manga. Usually I'm not particularly interested in checking source material after seeing an adaptation, but the film deals rather explicitly with things that hadn't taken place when the manga was written. And now, 43 chapters later, I can say that the film is indeed very different from the manga.

And that is a very good thing.

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10:00 AM on 01.27.2014

Rupert Sanders to direct Ghost in the Shell adaptation

It's been a long time coming (as Dreamworks purchased the rights six years or so ago), but things have finally begun moving forward for a live action adaptation as Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell manga gets its director,...

Nick Valdez

1:00 PM on 01.10.2014

The Simpsons pay tribute to Studio Ghibli films

This Sunday on The Simpsons, Comic Book Buy is getting married in "Married to the Blob." Sure, Comic Book Guy (or Jeffrey Albertson) has been in romantic relationships before, but now that he's apparently romancing a manga a...

Nick Valdez

2:00 PM on 01.03.2014

First batch of images for the two Rurouni Kenshin sequels

I've recently started watching anime and the like (I've always been more inclined to manga comics because it takes up less of my time), because One Piece is neat and I wanted to branch out into other titles. Titles such as No...

Nick Valdez

8:00 AM on 12.17.2013

Miyazaki's The Wind Rises gets English voice cast

Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises (which could very well be his final film before retirement) has been inching closer and closer to a domestic release after it's fly through Japan. Shortly after getting the first US trailer for...

Nick Valdez

8:00 PM on 12.09.2013

Live-Action Kiki's Delivery Service pops trailer cherry

There are very few things that make me squeal like a teen age girl that was asked to prom by the star quarterback, and this is one of them! Eiko Kadono's classic Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin)&nbs...

Michael Jordan



Review: It's Me It's Me photo
Review: It's Me It's Me
by Hubert Vigilla

Doppelgangers are the stuff of horror and of comedy. It would be uncanny to see yourself as a stranger -- the self's own reflection as the Other -- and yet being able to step outside yourself might provide you with some perspective about your own buffoonery. I suppose there's another issue in all this. There's the unstated question: would I be my own friend or my own worst enemy?

In It's Me It's Me, there's a bit of comedy and a bit of terror involved in this tale of multiple doubles. (I guess technically that'd just be "multiples.") When the film embraces its strangeness it's like the Japanese cousin of Being John Malkovich, Michel Gondry's odder movies, or a Franz Kafka story. (I guess technically that'd just mean work kind of like Japanese writer Kobo Abe.) Strangeness really is the film's strength, and that winds up being its throughline.

[This review was originally posted as part of our coverage of the 2013 Japan Cuts Film Festival. It has been reposted to coincide with the film's New York theatrical release.]

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1:00 PM on 10.01.2013

Trailer: Like Father, Like Son

Like Father, Like Son is an intense-looking family drama from Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda. The story centers on a young family who realize that their son was accidentally switched at birth with another boy, and the fo...

Liz Rugg