Thursday, April 24, 2008

ANGELINOS! 1960s Nikkatsu Action Series this Weekend!

Hi Blog,

This weekend: Fri, Sat & Sun at the Egyptian!


Friday, April 25

Saturday, April 26

Sunday, April 27

These are rare screenings of rare films and most are not available on DVD anywhere! (Not legally that is...) Live subtitling by Marc Walkow of Outcast Cinema (curator/organizer of this traveling series).

Quite simply, if you love Japanese cinema and are a fan of 'cool' stuff, you need to be there. Are you cool enough? Shishido 'Ace' Jo cool??

The Sky Crawlers Trailer (スカイ・クロラ 予告編)

Nice. Thx Logboy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Opinion: Yasukuni Doc Should be Leaked onto the Internet

Hi Blog,

Recently, it seems like every day-- multiple times of day, even-- when I hit my usual news sites and clear out my RSS reader, there are more and more articles about the whirlpool of controversy and bullshit engulfing Li Ying's YASUKUNI documentary.

I have to say, that those conservatives who are handicapping the release of this film and are stifling the very right to free speech and expression in Japan are in violation of the basic freedoms guaranteed under Article 21 of the Japanese consitution:
Article 21.Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.
(2) No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated. (Link.)
My anger surrounding this has everything to do with my belief that if the pro-censorship nationalists and conservatives win here, then I believe that Japan's constitution, and by proxy, the social freedoms it guarantees will be severely compromised.

But I have a simple solution to this problem. Argo pictures should just eat the loss and leak the film to the Internet-- once the genie's out of the bottle the enemies of this film can stew in it. I say, put it up on YouTube in sections; let people download it via Bittorrent; put it up on iTunes and charge for it! Hell, there's NO need to even do subtitles, let translators around the world do it for you.

The point is, the film can't be resigned to a traditional death and burial at the hands of those who have an agenda antithetical to the will of the country and the people. It's that simple. That's my unsolicited opinion.

Yet another link.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Hi Blog,

I haven't had any time to write about the documentary YASUKUNI, by Japan based Chinese ex-pat Li Ying, and the controversy that is swarming around it but fortunately people who are much smarter and more articulate than me have!

Because I think this is important, I'm including a link to a great article about the film, that also includes an interview with Li Ying. The link can be found below.

In the meantime, here's what you need to know:
  • There's a major freedom of speech issue that has developed as a result of this documentary. Nationalists and conservatives both within and outside of the LDP have decried the film as a Chinese campaign to discredit Japan, and by proxy, the Emperor.
  • At issue: Movie theaters around Japan that had agreed to screen the film have backed out at the last minute citing safety and security issues that might arise out of the inevitable [violent?] protests by Japanese nationalists.
  • Defenders of the film and those who believe in the constitutional right to free expression claim that it is a well orchestrated campaign by conservative LDP leaders in cahoots with nationalist groups (that act as their strong arms) to stifle diverse and free expression in Japan. Critics claim that it represents an abuse of public arts funds to support what they believe to be essentially anti-Japanese film.
  • What the real issue is: Freedom of expression in Japan. With recent political trends there are questions about whether basic civil liberties are being compromised -- or destroyed -- in Japan by members of the LDP... Certainly things there have become much more difficult recently for foreign nationals.
At any rate, at the Japan Focus e-journal David McNeill and John Junkerman have assembled a very good article and interview with Li Ying about the documentary YASUKUNI and the issues surrounding it. It is recommended reading. Link.

Monday, April 7, 2008

POUNDING! Yubari Fantastic Film Festival Short Film Winner "A Woman Who is Beating the Earth" is On-line!

Hi Blog,

Got a missive from Señor Tom Mes -- my friend and editor at Midnighteye central-- telling that the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival jury award winning short "A Woman Who is Beating the Earth" (「大地を叩く女」aka. Daichi o Tataku Onna) can [at the moment] be watched on-line.

In a meat shop in a half-deserted shopping center, a woman is pounding pork tenderloin, making it just the right thickness for cutlets. Pounding! And pounding! The pounding beat gets faster and louder, and the earth starts to tremble. This is an amusing film, expressing the feelings of a woman with sounds with a completely new style and approach. It is another version of "Carne" by a woman director. The film, ambitiously directed, invokes the instincts of the viewers. It will for certain become a cult hit.
I've been up to my ears in work and family stuff so I haven't had a chance to peep it yet, but I plan to scoop out 21 minutes in the next 24 hours to watch it.

But really guys, how can Isshin Inudo and Tom Mes be wrong?

Watch it here.

Link to Yubari program page with the director
Inoue Tsuki's pic and blurb.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Karaoke Terror DVD! (aka. Showa Kayo Daizenshu)

Hi Blog,

Yesterday I was very happy to receive my copy of Synapse Film's KARAOKE TERROR DVD. (To be released: 4/29/08) For those who missed my posting(s) from waaaaaay back when, this release contains my first official DVD liner notes.

Produced by my pal Marc Walkow, the disc looks good and the packaging is nice. But really, I guess that I'm just stoked to actually have some liner notes that are on paper instead of being put physically on the DVD.

Oh and in other news, I'm still waiting for my copies of the APPLESEED: EX MACHINA DVD! (Released 3/11/08) Not only am I apparently well featured in the DVD featurettes, my wife and I did a bunch of translation and transcription of the interviews for the disc. But, no, apparently that's not enough for Warner Bros. who mysteriously can't be bothered to send me my gratis copy. What gives?

Well, I guess we all know that Synapse is far cooler than WB. And that's the truth, Ruth.

Read my old Midnighteye review for KARAOKE TERROR here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

THIS SATURDAY! Japan Film Festival: Talk and Symposium

Hi Blog,

As I posted earlier, I will be giving a talk at the Japan Film Festival.

Tomorrow, in fact, Saturday, April 5th.

Additionally, I will be participating in a panel discussion on Japanese films in the US with several filmmakers and commentators. Should be interesting.

As to what I will be talking about, my topic will be a kind of continuation of my J-Horror article and critique that I wrote for Midnighteye back in 2006: "The Death of J-Horror?".

The new piece is tentatively titled: "From J-Horror to J-Horror-wood: As authentic as a California Roll". Basically, I have some new thoughts on J-Horror and how it is being remade in Hollywood (and abroad) and how it fits in the world marketplace.

There's a chance that after this is all said and done, that I will organize my thoughts into an essay and either post it as a follow up on Midnighteye or on these digital pages. But rather than wait around for it, come and hear it straight from the... erm... horses mouth.

Here's the skinny:
UCLA Symposium (presented by JFFLA and UCLA-JABA)

Date & Time: April 5th (Sat) Entrance opens at 3pm
Start at 3:15pm
Close about 7pm

Venue:  UCLA Anderson School of Management Korn Hall, 110 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Theme: Japanese Films in the US: Past, Present, and Future

See ya there!