Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

24Jun/070

Nightmare Detective (2006)

Nightmare Detective

Japanese Title: 悪夢探偵 (Akumu Tantei)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Supernatural
Starring: Matsuda Ryuhei, Hitomi, Ando Masanobu, Osugi Ken
Screenwriter: Tsukamoto Shinya
Director: Tsukamoto Shinya
MPAA: R

Synopsis: Mysterious deaths burst out on scene in Tokyo with victims brutally injuring themselves till their death. An investigation lead the detectives to an unknown phone number starting with the number '0.' A witness tells the detectives that before one of the victims died, it seemed like he was having a nightmare. Detective Kirishima (hitomi) refused to believe that the deaths were simply suicide and contemplates that a killer who can manipulate people in their dreams is on the loose. While gathering information, Kirishima and her colleague Wakamiya (Ando Masanobu), stumbles upon one about Kagenuma, a man whom can enter people's dream. Now, they must seek out his help and find an end to the nightmare that plagues Tokyo.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Nightmare Detective is a movie that is a refresher on the Japanese horror movie scene. More than just the usual hack-and-slash horror movies, it takes a different approach using the mystery behind dreams as its approach. The movie is not entirely about dreams, however, because it also focuses on the inner depths of human nature. Most of the characters in the movie have an inner-self that they hide from the outside world and watching their inner selves unfold is the most shocking.

The acting done by the cast is superb with Matsuda befitting the role of the nightmare detective, who is everything but happy. The nightmare detective is negative, antisocial, and suicidal to boot, and Matsuda plays his role well. His occasional scowls and negative comments can be rather humorous despite the movie being horror. Hitomi's role as Kirishima is only mediocre; she is neither good nor bad. Viewers probably won't be able to sympathize with her character much. The acting overall done by the actors and actresses is excellent though.

One of the downside of the movie is that some answers are left to be unanswered in the end. However, on further speculation, it seems that the director is planning on creating the sequel as well as a third installment to wrap things up, and hopefully answer all previous questions that are addressed in the first movie.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this movie. Viewers should be forewarned that there are rather gruesome scenes, but it's nothing that might give you 'nightmares.' This is one of the better movies in Japanese horror, and I'm definitely waiting for its sequel set to be released next year.

20May/070

Collage of Our Life Fan MV,

Artist: Suara
Song: Seiza
Creator: zettaireality

6May/070

Collage of Our Days (2003)

Collage of Our Days

A.K.A.: Love Collage and Collage of Our Life
Japanese Title: 恋愛写真 (Renai Shashin, Love Photograph)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Psychological
Screenwriter: Kaoru Ogawa
Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Starring: Matsuda Ryuhei, Hirosue Ryoko
MPAA: PG-13

Synopsis
Makoto (Matsuda Ryuhei), an aspiring photographer, falls in love at first sight with the bright and enigmatic Shizuru (Hirosue Ryoko) during his university days. Inspired by Makoto's photographs, Shizuru becomes interested in photography and seeks guidance from Makoto. In such a short time, her quick progress results in many maginificent photos causing Makoto to grow jealous. Soon enough, his jealousy was too much to bear when Shizuru won a prize for her photos causing their relationship to break. Before leaving, Shizuru makes a promise to him to visit her once he has fulfilled his dream of becoming a successful photographer. Three years after their separation, Makoto receives a letter from Shizuru with her photos, but days after, he learned that she was already dead for over a year. Not admitting this, Makoto set out for New York with one of Shizuru's photos in hand in order to find her...and himself.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Love Collage, also known as Collage of Our Life, is a surprising film and it has a lot to do with its title. Despite one of its title being Love Collage, this movie is far from being one of those romantic and sappy movies about boy-meets-girl. It isn't an ordinary love story. Rather, it is more of a movie about a journey Makoto takes to find Shizuru, who represents himself in a way.

The movie is more about Makoto with his relationship with Shizuru as a backdrop. Makoto, before meeting Shizuru, is just taking photos for the sake of taking it. His photos are pretty, but lack life, just like him. Once he meets her, he is not only amazed by her beauty but her personality that is so full of life, what he's been lacking all this time. He couldn't help but be enraptured by her. Shizuru's way of taking photos is different from Makoto. She jumps into the scene with her camera and captures its life while Makoto uses his camera as a barrier and takes picture of what he sees, and not what he feels. Being around Shizuru, he realizes his flaws in photography.

With her absence, Makoto lacks the one thing that makes him feel alive: Shizuru and her photos. Her pictures affect him in such a way that he feels that he's living in a different world--her world. He yearns for that feeling again three years after their separation leaving him stranded in New York, looking for his dead ex-girlfriend. He's truly searching for himself deep down. He's searching for the one thing that makes him feel complete.

The movie is classic in the way that it presents Makoto and his journey of finding himself in an ex-girlfriend who's been dead for over a year. However, the movie loses its way near the end with the climax that has a rather maniacal feel to it that really turns me off and just ruins the pace that the movie had. The climax really strays the movie from its initial purpose. However, the movie manages to come back to its initial purpose in the ending and manages to answer the question presented in the beginning of the movie. There are some racial stereotypes that needs to be overlooked for the sake of watching this movie. Not to mention, Ryuhei's English in this movie is a bit monotonic. The acting from both Ryuhei and Ryoko is superb nonetheless and brings this movie to life.

Overall, with its flaws, this movie is still a beauty on its own if a person forgets about the out-of-place climax. The movie is less about love and more about a journey through life.

11Mar/070

Rampo Noir Fan MV

Artist: BUCK-TICK
Song: Dress (Bloody Trinity Mix)
Creator: zettaireality

8Mar/070

Rampo Noir (2005)

Rampo Noir

Japanese Title: 乱歩地獄 (Ranpo Jigoku)
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Surreal
Starring: Asano Tadanobu, Narimiya Hiroki, Matsuda Ryuhei
Screenwriters: Akio Satsukawa (story "Kagami jigoku"), Atsushi Kaneko (story "Mushi"), Shiro Yumeno (story "Imomushi"), Suguru Takeuchi (story "Kasei no unga")
Directors: Akio Jissoji (story "Kagami jigoku"), Atsushi Kaneko (story "Mushi"), Hisayasu Sato (story "Imomushi"), Suguru Takeuchi (story "Kasei no unga")
MPAA: NC-17

Synopsis
Rampo Noir is a movie anthology comprising of four stories by Hirai Tarou--better known under the pen name Edogawa Ranpo. The first story "Mars' Canal" follows a naked man (Asano Tadanobu) standing at the edge of a swamp in a depressing landscape. He sees a reflection of a figure in the lake, reminding him of his lover, and he reminisce his last encounter with her. The second story "Mirror Hell" follows a detective trying to uncover a case where women end up dead, their face melted and skull burnt. The women all have a connection with Toru (Narimiya Hiroki) who has an obsession with making the ultimate mirror--a project that threatens to drive him insane. The third story "Catepillar" follows a veteran who returned from war a hero, but he has lost all of his limbs and the ability to speak or hear. His wife dutifully cares for him but is growning bored of the task, and begins to torture her husband. Artist Hirai Taro (Matsuda Ryuhei) spies on the couple. At the same time, Detective Akechi (Asano Tadanobu) receives a message from The Man with 20 Faces which links to the couple. The last story "Crawling Bugs" follows the pretty actress who meets with her lover every night at the usual place. Her driver, Masaki Aizo (Asano Tadanobu), has an obsession with her. It all becomes too much for him to watch her from afar and he begins to plot a plan to make her his forever.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A+ (Masterpiece)
Rewatch Factor: High
Comment: This is one of the best and beautiful Japanese horror film ever. Unlike other horror movies with usually involves a psycho serial killer, this movie focuses on something more horrifying: human nature. The stories all have some similaries to the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, which are gruesome, terrifying, and surprising. Each story in this anthology has one thing in common: they focus on the depths of the human mind, its limits, and its insanity. The violence in this movie isn't physical, but the presentation of some of the scenes is just horrifying and hard to digest. Although a viewer doesn't technically see in the movie, but the movie causes the viewer to imagine it and the human imagination is a powerful thing. Also, this movie does have sex in it but it's not the romantic sex a person would see in love movies. The sex is rather...mature and definitely NOT for people under 18. This movie is just excellent with the great storyline and interesting (and I do mean interesting!) characters. Each story wraps in a jaw-dropping ending, which leaves the viewer daze for a good 5 minutes. Overall, Rampo Noir is one of the movies everybody need to watch more than once. There really isn't any other movie like Rampo Noir. It deserves its own category.

6Mar/070

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (2006)

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A

Japanese Title: 46億年の恋 (46-Okunen no Koi, 4.6 Billion Year Love)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Surreal, Homosexual
Starring: Ando Masanobu, Matsuda Ryuhei
Screenwriters: Ikki Kajiwara and Hisao Maki
Director: Takashi Miike
MPAA: R

Synopsis
Tension grows strong in an all-boys juvenile detention facility at the admittance of two men prosecuted for murder. The strong and aggresive, Kazuki Shiro (Ando Masanobu), and the pretty and passive, Ariyoshi Jun (Matsuda Ryuhei). The quiet and passive Jun is attracted to the aggressive Shiro who has tattoos all over his body. However, Shiro is found lying dead in the shower one day. On top of Shiro's body sits Ariyoshi Jun strangling on Shiro's neck and then letting go. Three words escape Jun's mouth: "I...dit it."
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A+ (Masterpiece)
Rewatch Factor: High
Comment: First, I have no clue why some fans of the famous director, Takashi Miike, said that this movie is garbage out of the other movies he has directed. Now, I may not watch Takashi's other movies but this movie is definitely not garbage. It takes time and patience to digest this movie, which means rewatching it. When I watched this movie, I was fascinated by the beautiful visuals and the tension-wrenching plot. Garbage? Far from it. Every scene is itself a symbol, and if a person doesn't notice those scenes, the movie will seem a bit confusing. The movie shows a great contrast between Shiro and Jun, the aggressive force and the passive force. The contrast is wonderfully presented in the movie using symbols such as the space shuttle and the pyramid. The only thing I could actually see wrong with this movie is the fact that it is not chronologically in order, but I believe Takashi intended to be that way so that everything ties in the end. Because the movie jumps back and forth between past and present, people might feel a bit frustrated because they won't know if what they are seeing is the past and present. I experienced this as well but patience is key. I actually like the fact that it's not in order because it fits so well with the nature of this movie, and it just goes to show that reality isn't orderly like we think it is. It is a state of disorder. Obviously, this movie far from being orderly. People just need to look beyond the pretty visuals and see the meaning behind them. I doubt Takashi put those scenes there because they are eye-catching. This movie is a masterpiece whether people will believe it or not. Don't just watch this movie; understand it, feel it.

6Mar/070

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A Fan MV

Artist: Schwarz Stein
Song: Corroded Cage
Creator: zettaireality

6Mar/070

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A Fan MV II

Artist: Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan
Song: Silence
Creator: zettaireality

12Jan/070

9 Souls (2003)

9 Souls

Japanese Title: ナインソウルズ (Nain Souruzu)
Genre: Drama, Psychological, Life
Starring: Matsuda Ryuhei, Harada Yoshio, Yamada Mame, Kunimura Jun, Chihara Koji, Itao Itsuji, Kee, and Onimaru
Screenwriter: Toshiaki Toyoda
Director: Toshiaki Toyoda
MPAA: R

Synopsis
Nine prisoners manage to escape from prison in hopes of finding a secret treasure whose location was revealed by the tenth prisoner that was taken away by the prison guards. Together all nine of them, each guilty of different crimes, goes out into the real world. While being careful not to get caught by wearing weird disguises, often dressing in drag, and taking on obscure identities, each of them realize that the journey is more than it seems. Each prisoner has his own dreams and troubles that he escaped from previously, and now that they're back in the real world, they must learn to face every single of them. A journey that's less about the treasure and more about the prisoners making up the loose ends in their life as well as finding that special something to make them whole again.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A+ (Masterpiece)
Rewatch Factor: High
Comment: At hearing the words "prison break" one might think that this movie is like The Shawshank Redemption. However, this movie takes on a whole different turn with a not-so-happy yet surreal outcome. This movie is a really awesome movie but it takes patience to watch this movie, especially the first forty minutes. The first forty minutes are very slow-paced and it's very easy for anyone to be frustrated and confused at the amount of lead characters. The first forty minutes of this film is like the opening of an adventure as the director lets the viewer in on each character, what motivates them, what they want from life, and the various details of their crimes. However, there is still that ounce of mystery to every single character because in the end, it's difficult to say whether or not one truly understands them. Despite that, the introduction contains some tiny and necessary details that just adds more to the brilliance of the movie.

After the forty minutes is when this movie really begins and it is when the viewer will truly see the masterpiece unveiling before his or her eyes. It is so easy to be sucked into this movie as one watches as each character tries to make up the loose ends but still couldn't escape from the vast scrutiny that society gives them. From here on do the viewer truly learns why each prisoner decides to escape, whether to see a loved one or to atone for their past sins. It seems the only one that doesn't fit into this circle is Michiru (Matsuda Ryuhei). There are many scenes in this movie that are so surreal, breathtaking, and heartbreaking. That's not to say that this movie is entirely serious. There is a bit of humor in the movie especially when the characters dress in drag and some of the dialogue is very funny. What adds more to this movie is the strong performance by the lead actors and once again, I am impressed with Matsuda Ryuhei's acting once more. Because of Ryuhei's character role, one who rarely speaks and rarely does anything, he fades into the background easily, but once it is his time to shine, he changes from a typical wall flower to a different man altogether. To sum it up, this movie combines surrealism, psychology, and human struggles all in one masterpiece. If you are expecting kick-ass action from this film, you will be disappointed. Instead of action, this film takes a pyschological approach on what makes a person simply a person. Anyone and everyone need to see this film, and not just once either.

3Jan/070

Nana MV

Artist: Yuna Ito
Song: Endless Story

Lyrics Translation
If you haven't changed your mind
I want you to stay with me tonight
I'm tired of pretending to be strong
I was too young
Every time I think about you baby
Now I can say it, I miss you
It's so hard to say I'm sorry

I want to keep singing this song
For you, not for anyone else
It's an endless story, always shining
Always, I want to tell you, forever

Memories of our time together
Don't erase them, don't go away
Just let them melt warmly, I want to make sure
These drops of tenderness spread out in my heart
I'm missin' you so much it hurts
Our hands overlap, don't let go

If just one wish could be granted
I want to keep singing this song once more
It's an endless story, filled with unceasing love
Tell me why, tell me, forever

I want to keep singing this song
For you, not for anyone else
It's an endless story, always shining
Always, I want to tell you, forever