There is only one week left until Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters in Japan and around the world. The global press tour for this movie has already been making the rounds in places like Mexico City, and on the night of Wednesday, December 6, director Rian Johnson, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and stars Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) came to Tokyo to promote the new film. One by one, their cars pulled up at Roppongi Hills Arena, where they took part in a red carpet event and stage greeting, followed by a Q&A and a special screening of 13 minutes from The Last Jedi at Toho Cinemas Roppongi.Read More
Though he professes to be a “recovering politician,” the sight of former Vice President Al Gore’s face or mention of his name may nonetheless stir up immediate politicization among people of fervent, long-held convictions. Some U.S. voters who did not cast a ballot for Gore back in the 2000 presidential election are probably still going to reject what he says out-of-hand, simply because they have fixed notions about who he is and what he stands for.Read More
At the 2017 Tokyo International Film Festival, the awards for Best Artistic Contribution and Best Actor went to the Chinese film The Looming Storm. Helmed by cinematographer turned director Dong Yue, and starring Duan Yihong, the title of the film refers to the 2008 Chinese winter storms, though one could be forgiven for mistaking the title as a reference to rain, since the film is set in an industrial town where it always seems to be raining.
The Looming Storm plays upon the amateur sleuth tradition to tell the story of a security guard who becomes involved in the investigation of a murder—multiple murders, actually. To slap this movie with the “serial killer” sub-genre tag would be a slight misrepresentation, however, because The Looming Storm unfolds as more of a character study about a man obsessed with solving a crime that is much bigger than him. In this respect, the film that it is perhaps most reminiscent of is Zodiac, director David Fincher’s 2007 anti-mystery about a San Francisco cartoonist who got caught up in the Zodiac Killer case.Read More
“One day a fugitive appears in a village. He enjoys the calm, friendly atmosphere there, but also senses that something is not quite right.”
This is the intriguing setup, listed in notes for the film Gutland, from the official program for the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (hereafter referred to as TIFF-JP, in order to differentiate it from the Toronto International Film Festival, where Gutland made its world premiere in September). Writer-director Govinda Van Maele, who hails from Luxembourg, first became a figure on the film festival circuit ten years ago with a short film entitled Josh. It seems only fitting, then, that the person behind this blog—coincidentally also named Josh—should take a quick stab at reviewing Gutland, which screened in competition this year at TIFF-JP and which marks a very assured feature film debut for Van Maele.Read More
In 2014, the Disney animated feature Big Hero 6 made its world premiere at the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival. It was an obvious choice for this film to debut in Japan’s capital, given that Japanese culture played such a heavy influence on the film’s production design.Read More