Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

20May/070

Sway (2006)

Yureru

Japanese Title: ゆれる (Yureru)
Genre: Drama, Family
Screenwriter: Miwa Nishikawa
Director: Miwa Nishikawa
Starring: Odagiri Joe, Kagawa Teruyuki
MPAA: R

Synopsis
When successful Tokyo photographer, Takeru (Odagiri Joe), returns home for his mother's funeral, he faces problems he has been running away from for several years. He comes face to face with his older brother, Minoru (Kagawa Teruyuki), and his childhood friend Chieko. A hiking trip with Minoru and Chieko leads to a fatal result when Chieko falls from a suspension bridge to her death and Minoru is put on trial for murder. This forces Takeru to reconsider his fast-paced life and the slow, traditional life he came from.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Yureru unravels truth about human nature with its rather simple storytelling. Although it circles mainly around a courtroom investigation on a woman's death, it is neither courtroom drama nor murder mystery. Instead, it seeks to find out what lies underneath human skin. An investigation into Minoru's role in Chieko's death provides some insight, but what matters here is not the truth but trust, perception, and how the human can sway so easily from the truth. Characters and relationship are stripped down to their core and what the viewer shockingly see is selfishness, fragility, and resentment.

Odagiri Joe fits perfectly in the role of Takeru as a confused, swaying Tokyo photographer with forgotten memories of his hometown. And Kagawa Teruyuki is great in his role as Takeru's older, Minoru, who simply stays bound in the hometown working for his family's gas station with no aspirations of his own. Their personalities contrast and their relationship is tense beneath after years of very little contact and unspoken words. The two brothers go hiking with Chieko with her ultimately falling to her death and Takeru watching from afar. However, trust begins to sway in the courtroom as Takeru gets mixed feelings of what he thinks he sees and what he truly sees.

Yureru is a great movie about the human trust and perception. Sometimes what we think we see is not what we see in reality. Our memories can be clouded by hate and resentment. It makes you really question human testimony in the courtroom. However, this movie is more about family ties and how one event can cause the family relations to slip and waver. What or who is the one that swayed in the end? The bridge, or the man?

6May/070

My Father’s Ocean, My Sky (2006)

Chichi no Umi, Boku no Sora

Japanese Title: 父の海、僕の空 (Chichi no Umi, Boku no Sora)
Genre: Drama, Family
Starring: Takizawa Hideaki, Takahashi Keiko, Yamazaki Tsutomu, Abe Asami, Miyazaki Aoi
MPAA: PG

Synopsis
Kyouhei (Takizawa Hideaki), living in Tokyo, is working day-by-day to support himself and his dream of becoming a musician. Upon quitting his job, he resorts to selling his prized eletric guitar so that he could pay his rent or risk getting kicked out. In a fit, he returns home and on the way, he receives a phone call from his father whom he had an argument with before leaving him. He decides against going home and meets Susumi, his father's friend, on the way back. She notifies him that his father is suffering from cancer and might not be able to live long. As a result, he decides to give up his dream of becoming a musician and faces his father once more.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: This Japanese movie is a rarity in its attempt to describe the relationship between a father a son as well as the hardships in reaching one's dream. Kyouhei leaves home to reach for his dream but he gets lost along the way and because of his pride, he couldn't return home to his father. However, he uses his father's sickness as an excuse to temporarily retire from his dream and to face the problems he had been trying to run away from. This is something that anyone, not just men, can relate to when watching this movie. Kyouhei goes through a major character development upon returning home from a kid to a full-fledged adult. What I love best about this movie is the changes that Kyouhei goes through and the things he learned from his father. Though his father is no composer, his father strives to write a song for his late wife, something that touches Kyouhei's heart and everybody hearts as well. At first, I didn't like Kyouhei much because of his attitude, but as he changed I slowly liked him more and more. The emotions depicted in this movie is such a tear-jerker that I couldn't help but cry when it got near the ending. There's something that anyone can learn from this movie, so it's definitely not something to miss.

12Jan/070

Fly, Daddy, Fly (2006)

Fly Daddy Fly

Korean Title: 플라이 대디 (Peul-lai Dae-di)
Genre: Drama, Family, Life
Starring: Lee Moon Shik, Lee Jun Ki, Poppin Hyeon Joon, Lee Yeon Soo, Kim So Eun
Screenwriter: Choi Jong-Tae
Director: Choi Jong-Tae
MPAA: PG-13

Synopsis
An ordinary businessman in his forties, Jang Ga Pil (Lee Moon Shik) returns home one day to find his daughter sexually molested by high school boxing star, Kang Tae Wook. Realizing that he has neither the money nor the background, Ga Pil couldn't stand up for his daughter like he said he would. With his father-daughter ties being threatened, he realizes that he must do something. He finally resorts to appear at Tae Wook's high school in an attempt to stab the guy but instead encounters another student, Go Seung Suk. Seung Suk agrees to teach Ga Pil how to box so that Ga Pil can teach Tae Wook a lesson and earn back his dignity as a father.
Source: iHeartJunKi.com

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: At first this sounds like a typical hero story where an unlikely guy goes to prove himself and probably ends up victorious in the end. The bad side is that it is just that kind of movie. The good side is that it has other elements that seperates it from other movies of similar genre. There are rarely any movies that portray a father-daughter relationship where a father is willing to risk his life to protect his daughter in such extreme ways. This movie has it and that's one of its key points. This movie does at a great job at emphasizing that Ga Pil used to be the average man working in an average company and loves his family very much. He doesn't deserve to come home one day finding out that his daughter was beat up by a bunch of punks. He doesn't know what to do especially when it's obvious that the punk's family is higher in status than him. Lee Moon Shik does a great job at portraying this father role. I could seriously feel his frustration at his own failure to protect his only daughter. Not only that, but Ga Pil's relationship with Seung Suk is like friends or even like a father and son. Seung Suk teaches Ga Pil to fight so that Ga Pil can regain his confidence and dignity. Seung Suk's past is revealed in the middle of the movie and that is one powerful and emotional scene. I think that Lee Jun Ki does a fantastic job at portraying Seung Suk, a mysterious adolescent with a painful and traumatizing past. One of the movie's highlights is the acting by these two main leads. It's true that the basic plot isn't anything original but it's the elements and other details that sets this movie apart from the rest. This movie is very enjoyable and a person doesn't really have to think much when watching it. It's a great movie that anyone can watch with their friends and family.