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The Golden Rock in Japan - Summer 2008 Edition - Part 1

After my first year of film school, I decided to take another trip to Japan, this time for four weeks. While the biggest difference this time around is that I spend most of my time in front of a TV in an apartment at a suburban city in Saitama prefecture, some things remain the same during my trip to Tokyo a few days ago:

For example, Cameron Diaz is still pimping out cell phones:


Yon-sama is rocking Pachinko parlors big-time now:


They still apparently love the Death Note movies:


In fact, they love Death Note so much that they let L sell other stuff now:


And of course, I’m still grabbing an obscene amount of A4-sized movie posters (they sell these things at the Broadway Cinematheque, you know):



This is only a part of brilliant movie promotions the Japanese can pull off. Of course, this is basic:


And I guess a poster like this on each side of Shibuya Crossing is basic too:


And this was just pretty cool:


Then they add some crazy cross-promotion along with it. This was at the Tower Records soundtrack section.


By the way, I did see the Ponyo on a Cliff trailer, and it looks extremely cute. As far as I can tell, it’s about a sea creature (the one in the picture above) who comes above the water and develops a friendship with a human boy. I’d say…Totoro meets Spirited Away, but I shan’t.

I saw the trailer when I went to watch Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour at the nearby theater.


At 136 minutes, The Magic Hour is a more focused film that Mitani’s Suite Dreams, which means that it’s not as deserving of its epic length. However, from what I understood (roughly 60% of the movie), it was still a very funny film that’s a love letter to movie magic without being self-congratulatory. The gangster-vs-actor pretending to be a gangster stuff are pretty universal, and ought to travel fairly well overseas. Overall, I had a good time, and I look forward to watching it again with subtitles.

I also managed to catch the controversial documentary Yasukuni (with English subtitles):


The intimate 100-seat theater in Shibuya. The screen seemed like a big screen TV,


Since I did see this with subtitles, I will be reviewing this soon. The question everyone is probably asking is whether the film is anti-Japanese. While I’d say that it’s not anti-Japanese, I would say that the viewpoint can be problematic for some and I can see where the conservatives got some of their ammo against the film. It’s a film filled with emotional outbursts, so it’s expected that the response to the film is similar to what’s in the actual film.

Anyway, I’m almost halfway through my trip, and I’ll be catching at least two more films: All Around Us, and Kore-eda’s Aruitemo. Also, I’ll be covering some music stuff in the next report. Until then, back to regular news postings.

2 Responses to “The Golden Rock in Japan - Summer 2008 Edition - Part 1”

  1. Gabriel Says:

    Do you speak Japanese? If not, how do you managed in Japan–do friends help you out with the language?

  2. GoldenRockProductions Says:

    Hi, Gabriel,

    I spent a year in Japan as an exchange student and studied the language for two and a half years. My speaking is no good, so I generally just don’t talk much out there myself, but I know how to listen enough to dare taking on an unsubtitled screening once in a while and was surprised that I even understood about half of it.

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