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
Tourists, even locals of the right persuasion, often invoke the movie Blade Runner when talking about Tokyo. Director Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction film is full of evocative images, some of them clearly Japan-inspired, like that of a geisha popping pills on a giant advertising screen above a rain-drenched neon metropolis. Our first introduction to Rick Deckard, the film’s main character, played by Harrison Ford, comes outside a noodle bar, whose elderly counterman beckons him with Japanese greetings, like “Irasshai,” and “Dozo.” But to what extent, really, did Tokyo inspire the look of Blade Runner?Read More
It’s been six months since The Gaijin Ghost first had an article published on another site. In a guest post dated April 27, 2017, yours truly wrote for TDR Explorer about Toyville Trolley Park, which is sort of a sub-port within the larger port of American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea. This post was submitted on a trial basis, prior to entering the WordPress system as a contributor over there. Writing it involved referencing some translated information from the official Tokyo Disney Resort blog.
For the author, it was as much a learning experience as it would be for readers, inasmuch as the Tokyo Disney Resort blog called to attention certain unsung details of the Toyville Trolley Park area, things I had never noticed, such as the trolley track and the mock box office windows built into the entrance arch. On a trip to DisneySea earlier this year after the opening of Nemo & Friends SeaRider, I managed to catch Toyville Trolley Park at a time when it was relatively deserted, since its star attraction, the park’s most popular ride, Toy Story Mania!, was temporarily closed for refurbishment.Read More