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Ryuichi Hiroki Movies

July 13, 2008

Vibrator (Japan, 2003) – 3/5

Hiroki’s road movie feels almost like a follow up to the director’s earlier film Tokyo Garbage Girl. Although they are not related, thematically and technically Vibrator is like the next stop on the same road. The characters are about 10 years older but with similar problems in life, only seen from a more mature perspective. The full screen presentation of the predecessor has been replaced with a more crisp – although still adequately grainy and intimate – widescreen HD image. The director’s slight angst is visible, but his approach is still easily more interesting than that of those dry and bland blockbuster directors that dominate most of the box office. Vibrator works best in the beginning. The middle part goes down a bit, but the ending is rather satisfying. Nao Omori and Shinobu Terajima give convincing performances as a truck driver and drifter girl who decide to hoop up for some time in the lack of better things to do in their life.

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Love on Sunday (Japan, 2006) – 3/5

After several darker themed (although beautifully shot) films Hiroki takes a lighter turn. Love on Sunday is a rather good high school drama, not overly mainstream on all areas but far more accessible to casual viewers than most of the director’s films. The screenplay has some problems, especially one unconvincing supporting character, but Hiroki gets close enough to the characters without too much underlining. The visual look works, too, a bit surprising considering I’m not a fan of boosted contrasts. But the film looks gritty and homemade enough to set it appart from most other, overly polished youth films. Don’t go expecting anything too special, and you may be positively surprised. It’s a conventional character circle seen through Hiroki’s observant eyes. Takami Mizuhashi’s performance in the lead role is very good.

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Tokyo gomi onna (Japan, 2000) – 3/5

Former pink director Ryuichi Hiroki’s contribution to the 6 part Love Cinema series is a story of a girl (Mami Nakamura) who collects people’s trash and falls in love with a rock musician living upstairs. Shot on digital and looking good, but the film’s young and unhappy slacker characters can be a bit hard to connect with. It depends on the viewer’s own personality to some extent, though. Acting is fine. There’s a tiny bit of unneeded indie drama hippiness to the production, but generally Hiroki’s cinematic touch is pleasing. Some scenes, like the night restaurant sequence and the ending, are terrific.

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