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Recently seen movies #140

June 17, 2009

Yubisaki kara sekai wo (Japan, 2006) – 4/5

Isao Yukisada is a very uneven director with some pleasant films (A Day on the Planet) as well as some cheap tosh (Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World) in his filmography. Yubisaki kara sekai wo is a surprising and very nice effort from Isada. The 63 minute film follows four high school girls who all have problems in their life, and who have decided to commit a suicide together. But it’s not a dark film (appart from a heavy dose of scenes taking place night time) but rather the opposite. You could even say there’s a bit of Makoto Shinkai or Hiroshi Ishikawa is Yukisada’s directing here. The piano music, great theme song and magnificent cinematography create beautiful scenes and especially the ending is wonderful. Although there are a couple of weaker scenes the sentimentality that the director has been found guilty of a few times is missing from this film. Mitsuki Tanimura stars as one of the girls.

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Custom Made 10.30 (Japan, 2005) – 2/5

What started as a concert document evolved into a feature film. The fictional story follows two sisters (pop star Kaela Kimura and Erika Saimon) who dream of playing in a band. The storyline ultimately takes them to the Hiroshima Stadium, not as performing artists, but to witness rock legend Tamio Okuda’s epic concert. Custom Made 10.30 divides into two uneven parts. The first 80 minutes is miserable, full of dull visual tricks and appalling supporting characters. Susumu Terajima and Shingo Yanagisawa’s performances are nerve wrecking experiences. The beautiful Hiroshima landscapes is the only redeeming factor. However, the final 40 minutes is terrific. Most of it consist of Okuda performing several songs live. This footage is not only musically impressive but also visually first grade. Whether it makes the first 2/3 of the film worth enduring is a different story.

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Mizu no hana (Japan, 2005) – 3,5/5

Beautifully shot debut from Yusuke Kinoshita. The story is about a junior high school girl (Saki Terashima) who runs from home with her 6 year old half-sister (Himawari Ono). Some of the grounding for the story – drunken father, single mom who doesn’t have time for her daughter – doesn’t sound very delicate, but the director always keeps it very low key. There’s more silence than dialogue. Cinematography and soundtrack work well. Not quite as good as the atmospheric trailer, but Kinoshita definitely seems like a director to keep an eye on.

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