Top Ten Japanese Films

Japanese film grew out of a fine tradition of theater and stage acting, unlike any seen elsewhere in the world. The style and proficiency of the Japanese tradition translated to a grandiosity and beauty unlike anything the world would see from another culture. The aesthetic mastery of film space by auteurs the likes of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, or Ozu and the ability to turn animation even into masterpiece have made Japanese film one of the greatest national entries into the pantheon of world cinema. The list below is not the ten most intriguing, or ten most interesting, or ten most popular Japanese films ever made, but the ten Japanese films that I believe represent the most important aspects of the cultures contributions to film.

Chushingura – The 47 Ronin is a classic Japanese tale, originally Kabuki that found its way into a slew of film adaptations in the 20th century. While not the first, nor necessarily the best, this version captures the tale the most fully and displays the action on a grander scale than any of its predecessors. Hiroshi Inagaki directed and starring Toshiro Mifune, the star of Japanese cinema at the time, it told the tale as well as any other film of the times.

Grave of the Fireflies – One of the saddest movies ever made, directed by Isao Takahata, one of Miyazaki’s few peers, also a director for Studio Ghibli. It tells the tragic tale of a young boy and his younger sister trying to survive during World War II Japan. The sheer force of this film, actually enhanced by its animation, has brought the toughest of friends to tears. Brutally touching.
Hana-bi – Beat Takeshi is a highly regarded modern Japanese director who has managed to show up just about everywhere as a director, an actor, an author, a television host. His name is so common that he changed it to be more dynamic, but the cultural aspects of his importance aside, he’s one hell of a good director, and probably helped form the modern definition of the Japanese crime drama/thriller genre. His work in Hana-bi displays this best.

Crazed Fruit – Nakahira Ko’s classic is one of the enduring film works of the fifties, culturally. It captured the post war flaming youth genre wonderfully while showing the world what Japan was doing as it rediscovered itself. It catapulted a new genre forward and today is still considered one of the greatest modern productions from Japan (non-historical).

Early Summer – Yasujiro Ozu’s works spanned an epic career of development in both thought and vision, but this is considered by many his greatest, as the self destruction of a Japanese family, one of his most common themes.

The Life of Oharu – The classic Japanese novel of a court lady devolved to a common whore, Kenji
Mizoguchi’s grandiose affair is a beautifully shot, wonderfully scored masterpiece that outlines the greatest of the many Japanese specific flairs for the aesthetic in film.

Tokyo Olympiad – The only documentary on the list, Tokyo Olympiad is the product of Kon Ichikawa’s reconstruction of documentary footage from the 1964 Olympics, the first ever held in Asia, then in Tokyo. His tale focuses on the human, the spectators and the preparations rather than the superhuman feats of the athletes, showing the entire process, not merely the adrenal pumping climax. One of the greatest sports films ever made.

Ikiru – While Seven Samurai is his most favorite, many will agree that Ikiru is his greatest film. Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru tells the tale of a Japanese business man with little time to live and a life he wants to take the time to live. It’s Kurosawas sharp indictment of bureaucratic living and the necessity to find a purpose in life, not to waste it.

Spirited Away – Hayo Miyazaki is considered by most to be Japan’s most prolific living film director. And he creates animation. Such as it is that his work speaks to the import of animation in the Japanese cultural consciousness. His work is some of the best animation in the world, beautiful fairy tales told of various cultures and tales, and this is the best of them all. Spirited Away is a film any child or adult should see in their life time.

Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai epic founded and set the pace for the modern samurai film, and the spaghetti western, and a half dozen other films and genres the world over. Of every film on this list, this is the one you’re most likely to have seen and enjoyed. It opened the West to the films of the East and made Kurosawa a name to be remembered. Kurosawa’s scope and film mastery as seen in Seven Samurai make this one of the greatest films ever made, anywhere. The classic tale as he wrote it of seven ronin (unemployed samurai) going to the rescue of a small village being pillaged by bandits is as classic as its stars and director.

Adult Dating Online Services – Look Before You Leap

Internet dating services have become almost commonplace, so many adult dating online sites are trying to introduce features which will make them stand out from the crowd. One of the strategies which some of them have adopted, for good or bad, is to eliminate any idea of romance and long-term relationships from their sales pitches, and target the eighteen-and-older population for with promises of a great deal more than companionable walks in the rain and evenings by the fire.

X-rated Adult Dating Online Services

Adult dating online sites are rather like adult films; you know when you buy a ticket to an adult film that you can expect some rather explicit sexual content. Adult film sites are aimed at singles–although they may be visited by married people as well–who want casual sexual relationships without having to commit to developing a relationship with their “dates.” For those who are not able, or do not want, to work on a committed relationship, but want a sexual partner, there are many adult dating online sites ready to help.

Swingers will never be at a loss when it comes to finding adult dating online sites. Wife-swapping, sexual fantasies, and fetishes all have their places in the adult dating online world. There is a freedom of thought shared by those who patronize adult dating online sites which you are unlikely to experience anywhere else.

The anonymity of these sites give those first exploring them the courage to continue, and when they learn that there are others who share their sexual tendencies, they become less concerned about the stigma which may be attached to their activities. Adult dating online sites are one place where many people finally feel like they fit in.

Traditional Adult Dating Online Service

There are, of course, many adult dating online services [http://www.1onlinedatinghelp.com/] geared towards those who are genuinely interested in finding others with whom they can build lasting relationships. Adult dating online sites designed to bring people together for companionship are one of the best ways that busy career people can find time to meet other compatible people without having to go on date after date.

If you are thinking about using an adult dating online service, be sure to take a long hard look at how it presents itself before you casually provide any of your personal information. You don’t want to be either disappointed, or shocked and embarrassed, but the nature of the offers you receive from other members!

“Escape From Planet Earth”: Fun for Kids and Adults

Family comedies often focus so much on entertaining kids that the films forget about the adult viewers. “Escape from Planet Earth” provides enough laughs that kids and their parents will enjoy the film.

Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser, “The Mummy”) is an astronaut loved by people of all ages. Whenever an alien planet kidnaps a person, Supernova rushes off to help. He gets help from his brother Gary (Rob Corddry, “Hot Tub Time Machine”), who stays close to home at Mission Control. When a distress signal comes in from the Dark Planet, Supernova thinks he should immediately rush to help, while Gary thinks his brother should stay back and let someone else go.

Supernova goes against his brother’s wishes and runs off to the Dark Planet. Once there, viewers learn that the Dark Planet is actually Earth. When an evil military man decides to take Supernova hostage, Gary discovers that he’s the only one who can save his brother and defeat the evil lord of the Dark Planet.

Films aimed at children tend to keep their content light, but “Escape from Planet Earth” actually has a few darker moments. A spaceship traveling at high speed crushes a man, and a few scenes involve cannibalistic aliens. After Supernova reaches the Dark Planet, he encounters a general who often teases and tortures aliens who have found their way to Earth. Those scenes might be a little too dark for smaller children, but they keep this film from being just for kids.

The humor in the film falls on the shoulders of Fraser and Corddry, and they do a great job of keeping the laughs going. Corddry superbly plays the straight man, while Fraser does a brilliant job of playing the action hero. Fraser clearly draws from his work on films like “The Mummy” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” and while he voices a character that looks nothing like him, adult viewers will find themselves picturing him every time the character opens his mouth.

Adult viewers will also get a kick out of General Shanker, who runs the Dark Planet. Voiced by William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame, the General is crazy and funny. While the script calls for a dark and sinister General, some viewers may be reminded of Shatner’s work on commercials for Priceline.com and smile whenever he starts talking. Shatner injects just the right amount of humor, and the General becomes one of the most memorable characters in the film.

Some viewers may feel put off by the stereotypes portrayed in the film. Nearly every female character is a sweet and loving woman who stays at home to raise the kids and cook dinner for her husband. The scientists don’t get off easy either. Even Gary, who is clearly the star and heart of the film, is a down-on-his-luck man who others tease and call a nerd because he likes science. His own son gets the same treatment, and some might find those scenes a little hard to watch.

“Escape from Planet Earth” is the type of movie where viewers need to listen closely when characters are speaking because the cast contains many quality actors and actresses. Ricky Gervais (“Ghost Town”) turns up as Mr. Bing, while Jessica Alba (“The Fantastic Four”) plays Lena. Viewers will also hear the voices of Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City”) and Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) popping up in the film. Those actors and actresses add plenty of laughs, playing characters similar yet at the same time completely different from their other on-screen roles.

2016: Top Horror Films To Get Excited About In The New Year

We’re only four months into the new year and it seems that horror movie buffs all around the world already have their hands full in terms of new gems to get excited about.

Horror fans across the globe seem to have been suddenly blessed as of recent. This particular area of the film world has finally begun to thrive into a very glamorous and properly appreciated culture in film. Though we have sure suffered our weight in remakes and endless sequels, it’s no doubt that we are seeing some of the most original and artistic horror films of our generation.

Though when awards season comes around, reality strikes yet again. The Horror and film noir genre’s unique and underground artistic expression just may be doomed to be seen as an underrated spark outside the spotlight.

But perhaps we shouldn’t feel so down about this, could the fact that it resides out of the spot light be the reason for it’s eternal genius? Each year, we see our fair share of remakes of old classics and endless sequels to the point of no return (Fast And Furious has gone on to the point where it’s nowhere but down from here, so we might as well keep going) but it’s balanced out by rare gems that proves why horror is the epicentre for free artistic expression.

The fact that the horror genre remains slightly underground, for the most part, makes it very much easier to have something made. Horror directors, particularly indie horror directors, tend to take more chances, but why?

Horror has become the breeding ground for underground artists. Made by artists, for artists. Normal guys, trapped in their room working up concepts with their friends after band practice, these are the people behind the camera in the horror film genre. Horror is the Heavy Metal of film culture.

Horror artists seem to have a slight sense of playfulness that more serious screenwriters or directors tend to lack. And it is the lack of seriousness that goes into the process of crafting a story that leads to the genius that is free expression, that leads to a beautiful script.

It’s not certain why, but horror filmmakers just have something else pumping through their veins, something that you can’t teach. Something you’re born with, and it’s what makes this genre the immortal beast that it always will be.

So without further adieu, here is the best horror movies, in and out of the spotlight, to check out in the new year so far…

Emelie

The film that is guaranteed to scare the life out of every parent who watches.

I certainly won’t be hiring a babysitter any time soon…

A desperate couple who struggles to rekindle the excitement in their relationship hires Emelie (Or whom they think to be Emelie) to look after their daughter and two sons. The oldest brother, and strongest amongst the siblings, holds a painful responsibility of defending his siblings as he uncovers the truth behind Emilie’s intentions for the night that follows.

With superb child acting and an impressive story arc, this film will scare you in a way you would never expect. In a world where we are led to be frightened by gore and jump scares (not that there’s anything wrong with that) this film gets into your head and frightens you in a more psychological but terrifying manner.

This film is certainly a hidden gem, and is easy to miss, so it certainly earns it’s spot as #1 on the list.

10 Cloverfield Lane

J.J Abrams doing horror is a stroke of genius that gives us hope that the Writer/Director will continue his ventures into the Genre. It’s always exciting to see a well beloved story told in a new light, if remakes and sequels must be a thing, this is the way to do it.

We are introduced to Michelle (Played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who decides to skip town within the aftermath of a bad breakup, driving down the night highway in a disarray of bad emotions. The next morning, Michelle finds herself chained to a wall of an underground bomb shelter. She is greeted by Howard (A fantastic performance by John Goodman) who claims to have rescued her from a car accident that night.

But as her senses return, Michele struggles to trust Howard of his intentions as she and Emmett (played by John Gallagher Jr) can’t help but risk their lives to get a peek at what lies outside the shelter.

This film is terrifying in the sense that it revolves around three characters dealing with a particularly bad situation. Throughout the film you find yourself trapped in a hot box with these three characters as it has you, as an audience member, struggle to find a moral centre. Of course, Michelle is the obvious voice of reason in this film, right? The fact that we have gotten a peek at “What’s out there” leaves us at quite an advantage over the characters. But to look at it from the character’s perspective is something else entirely.

These people have no clue, not one of them, what exactly is happening outside the bunker. Howard is simply an average guy fighting to keep his neighbor’s alive for the sake of the future of the Human race. And Michelle and Emmet are simply bewildered and scared survivalists trying to wrap their heads around it.

It is the thrill ride of a lifetime and is definitely a film well worth a trip to the local Theatre.

The Neon Demon

This Danish-American film noir piece is slowly catching the audience’s eye as it creeps into post production for a release this summer.

The Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning as a young aspiring model who ends up targeted by a group of dangerous, obsessive woman who will stop at nothing to obtain what she has.

The cast also includes Keanu Reeves, Abbey Lee, and Christina Hendricks, a long time collaborator of director, Nicolas Refn.

A lot about this film has still been left to mystery, but a look at the cast and artwork alone certainly leaves you asking questions and wanting more.

An interesting nugget of information regarding these characters is the relation to Countess Elizabeth Bathory De Ecsed, who was credited to being among the most prolific female murderers in history, one of the films main inspirations. If the darkness of it’s source material is to be any clue as to what Nicolas Refn has in store, we are in for quite a twisted and unique performance.

After the fascinating Cinematography and dark conceptual work of Refn’s past work (Only God Forgives, Drive), this will be a change of pace for Refin, taking a turn from the world of troubled male bad boys to a film completely dominated by female characters. A very positive step forward in a genre in film that has been primarily dominated by Male leads.

Though Keanu Reeves sits amongst the supporting cast, one of the more exciting cast choices the audience can look forward to is Christina Hendricks. Hendricks has more than proved her acting ability as Joan Harris in the emmy award winning television drama Mad Men and continues to raise the bar in her performances in film, from her more subtle role in one of Refn’s finest pieces of work, Drive to her supporting role in Dark places, she seems to steal the show wherever she goes.

The road from Television into Film is a dangerous one, and few actors have the skilled ability to maintain the momentum on the road between, but there is no doubt in the matter that Christina Hendricks has all that it takes, keeping the audience drawn in close, curious as to what hand’s she hasn’t dealt yet.

The Witch

As bleak as horror films come, this one certainly takes the lead.

Eclipsed in melancholy and darkness, this is certainly one of the most satisfying horror films of the year.

After being forced to abandon the Village, a Farmer (played by Ralph Ineson) and his family are left to survive in an isolated farm near the woods. But as tensions rise after the disappearance of the youngest child, trust is questioned between the family. After being accused jokingly of Witchcraft by her younger siblings (Played by Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson), the Mother (played by Kate Dickie) is driven to mad suspicion of thomason’s faith to The Lord and The Devil.

This film will make you scream at the screen, watching the hope slowly decay as the story creeps toward its demise.

The child actors seem to outshine the adults in this film, giving hauntingly talented and twisted performances.

A Handful Of Good Books For Young Adults

There are tons of good books for young adults to be found. It is true that not many reach the superstar success of Harry Potter or Twilight, but the young adult genre is competitive and ever-growing, and there are many best-selling novels that you may not hear about. The authors and books suggested in this article are just a few of very many. Each is unique, original, entertaining and well-written, and has a big (and growing) fan-base.

The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer defies genre, and is smart, funny and slick besides. A child genius and criminal prodigy, young Artemis Fowl is the heir to the Fowl criminal empire. A dab hand at devious plots and a connoisseur of electronics and cutting edge tech, Artemis discovers the existence of fairies and hatches a plot to ransom one for the legendary pot of gold. Things get hairy when the victim turns out to be LEP Recon Officer Holly Short – a pixie that just happens to be an elite law enforcement agent.

Colfer has grabbed the imagination of millions with this superb blend of slick action, gadgets to make even Q green with envy, well-conceived and -developed characters, classic fantasy elements and witty, smart narrative. The novels have been made into graphic novels and there is a film in development.

Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath – The three books in the Inkworld series by Cornelia Funke – are captivating. Maggie and her father Mo, a book-binder, have always shared a love of reading, but her experience of adventure is limited to the page. When weird – and sometimes too-familiar – characters start popping into their lives, Mo packs Maggie into their car and they skip town, and Maggie starts to suspect that her ‘average’ dad is anything but. She is correct – Mo is a Silvertongue, possessed of the magical ability to read things out of their stories and into the ‘real’ world. Trouble is, he has no control over what comes out, and for everything that comes out, something from the real world has to go in.

Pursued by a motley crew of villains trying to destroy ‘Inkheart’ – The book they escaped and the same book that Mo’s wife disappeared into years ago. Brendan Fraser plays Mo in the recent hit movie adaptation of Inkheart.

Any list of good reads for young adults (however brief) cannot omit the genius of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books or the dark mastery of Neil Gaiman. Read anything written by either master for a fantastic experience – if you are undecided, opt for the superb novel Good Omens, which they wrote together. Movie-fans will recognize Gaiman’s name from the movies Coraline and Stardust – both adapted from his novels. Terry Pratchett’s name should also ring a bell – the Discworld has inspired films, TV-shows, comics and video games.

The task of writing a complete list of ‘good books for young adults’ is herculean – there are too many to choose from. The best way to find books, though, is to read books – go to the library, your preferred bookstore or website, and start turning pages: the perfect fantastic world is out there waiting for you to jump in.