ANNOUNCEMENTS

20 MOVIES in 1 month challenge: 17/20

Next reviews: 30+ Single on Sale, Okja, Bloody Monday S1, Heroine Shikkaku, The Beauty inside, Terra Formars, Ayashii Kanojo, Secret Message, Vancouver's Asahi, Onmyuji ~The Yin Yang master~, Onmyouji II, Hajimari no uta, Dive to the future, The professor and his beloved equation, The Commitment, Maison Ikkouku 1,2; Very ordinary couple; Rurouni kenshin ~Kyoto inferno~, Attack on titan 1,2; I have to but new shoes; Blackboard 1,3; Beyond the memories; Gangnam blues;

Currently watching: Bloody Monday S2, Karei naru spy, Brilliant Legacy

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Deka Wanko (2011)


Country: Japan
Format: drama in 11 episodes
Genre: detective, comedy
Cast: Tabe Mikako, Tegoshi Yuya, Sawamura Ikki, Masu Takeshi, Ohkura Koji, Mikami Kensei, Watanabe Naomi, Ishizuka Hidehiko, Taguchi Tomorowo, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Sano Shiro, Ito Shiro, Ueda Koichi, Imai Kazuko, Shimura Rena,
Synopsis: Drama: Hanamori Ichiko, a rookie detective with an amazing sense of smell, is newly assigned to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Having 7 men as her colleagues it is sure to get interesting as Ichiko tries to find her place in the cruel men's world with her cute poodle Patrache and Lolita clothes.
Christmas SP: Wanko is in France on holiday, when she suddenly pumps into Kiri, Koma and Duke in Paris! Yana's personal things got stolen and Shige's location is unknown. Wanko also meets a girl named Leticia whose boyfriend Shige is living in Japan. Things get more absurd when they are suddenly called back to Japan and Wanko ends up in parallel world in Edo-period. 
Rating: 4/5
It is definitely not another usual detective drama. It is based on same-named manga by Morimoto Kozueko.
Ichiko gets her nickname Wanko for several reasons - beside the fact that her nose is as good as dog's one ("Wan" is the sound the dog makes in Japanese and "Wanko" resembles a small puppy), her name meas "First/One Child", which is half translated by Duke who says "One-ko", which seems to others as "Wanko". Her clothes are absolute love and I noticed that many things were from Angelic Pretty shop (Girls, if you want to look as cute as Wanko then I added a link to shop), at least some of her head-dresses. She is talking to herself out loud a lot, which makes her annoying to others, but it is damn funny when the situation is rough. She is naive and never gets the atmosphere. Sometimes she rushes into the action with out confirming the facts, which leaves her into the situation of being kidnapped countless times. 
 Shigemura (Shige) is the best negotiator. I think he never visited the actual crime-scene, but he had 100+n ways to make the culprit to confess. He is the man with many mysteries. You never know what is his deal, because he never gives any direct answer when it comes to something personal. He might be as great in his job as he can be, but there are times when even he needs help. There are jokes about Sawamura Ikki dramas and his real life self too as some people say in drama that Shige looks like Sawamura Ikki.
 Koma is almost like a leader. He has been in the group longest with Shige and that is the reason why these two keep fighting with each other. Others describe him as a smoker with long oily hair - even when he has just washed them. (no room to add a picture)
Yanagi (Yana) is one of the most useless ones in the group. He is very emotional, always torn between Shige and Koma and he has a different taste in women as others. Even though he looks like he would not harm a fly, he gets really violent when he is irritated - Wanko feels his head kicks really often.Wada (Chanko) is a former sumo, who loves to eat. He is prone to accidents, even though he hardly gets into real action as he is too slow. He is a man of few words and like you know than every big chubby guy has one cute secret in the closet.
Kirishima (Kiri) is the ikemen of the force, even though you might had imagined him being taller while you read the manga, but well Tegoshi pulls it off with his powers too. Kiri is very short-tempered, most of the time seems to be angry and he is the one who must put up with Wanko the most. He actually almost becomes her trust-person, because she calls him a lot. He is forced to play newly-weds, cross-dress, go undercover as an idol and so on. I am going to ruin the excitement and say that you do not know until the end if Kiri has feelings for Wanko or not - there are some many  jokes and hints for it. I seriously think that it might be Tegoshi Yuya's best role ever, at least the most interesting. It was funny as they put in NEWS and Tegomasu related jokes, as you know, Tegoshi is a member of both of them. For explanation "Juice" and "NEWS" sound similar in Japanese and in movie, when Wanko says that in kindergarten Yuya and Takahisa fought for her, it is hinted to Masuda Takahisa who is Tegoshi Yuya's co-member in NEWS and duo-partner in Tegomasu.
Duke (just Duke) has been in the group for a year, he entered with Kiri, who is pretty much his best friend. Duke has grown up in States so he is bilingual with English being his mother tongue. Sometimes he even does not understand if he is speaking in English or in Japanese. Like I understood, then his mother was Japanese and father American. Even though Mikami Kensei should be pure Japanese, he makes a great accent in both Japanese and English.
From other characters the most important is Mikhail von alt Oppenbauer zon (also sometimes
written as Micheal). I bet that he and Wanko would start to date if Mikhail would be an human. He has a different relationship with Wanko - they are biggest rivals, but at the same time thier mutual understanding is incredible.. and actually from time to time Mihkail takes a human form in Wanko's imagination. I still do not understand why his name is Mikhail - it is Russian name, not German..
It is funny and not that serious drama. It does not suit for people, who are looking for realism, but I recommend it to people, who want to have a great laugh. I must say that only thing that stopped me from adding final star was the missing KirixWanko joke in the end of the SP. how to say it? The cherry was missing from the cake.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

SuckSeed: Huay Khan Thep (2011)


Country: Thai
Format: movie
Genre: school, music, romance, friendship
Cast: Pachara Chirathivat, Jirayu La-Ongmanee, Nattasha Nauljam, Thawat Pornrattanaprasert,
Synopsis: Ped had never listened to music until introduced to the music world by a classmate Earn (sometimes written Ern), whom Ped had a crush on. Unfortunately soon after Earn left to Bangkok for good. Years later they meet again, when Earn moves back and starts to attend the same high school. At the same time, Ped's best friend Khung (Sometimes Koong) decides to make a band Khung &Friends to pick up girls and one-up his popular twin brother Kae. Things get serious when Khung also fells in love with Earn, who has amazing guitar skills, and up-coming is the biggest youth band contest.
Rating: 3/5
It is really funny and sad story about friendship. love and music. I have not seen many Thai movies, but I mostly kept laughing during watching it. I know that most viewers have loved this movie.
Ped is controlled, the good guy, shy and he cannot say his feelings out loud, which makes situations difficult for everyone. It is not like he has no his own thoughts, but he wants to appeal to everyone and does not want to have fights. Jirayu La-Ongmanee was the only actor from leads who has acted before - for others it was the first role ever.
Khung is the cool guy in their friendship. He does not think much and wants everything fast, he has those small short-lived thoughts that he never accomplishes. Since childhood he has been competing with his popular twin brother Kae. It is actually very sad to see how Khung felt like he was loser, because his brother succeeded in everything. Even though you can see their fights and not talking in the movie, you can still see that brothers are brothers and they will step out for each other when needed. As I told he falls in love with Earn, his confession is one of the most cutest things on Earth. Pachara Chirathivat acted both Khung and Kae's roles. He was nominated for Best supporting actor at National Film Association Award 2012.
Last member of the Khung &Friends is drummer X (Ex). He is the unluckiest of them, because he prone to all kind of accidents - most of the time he has some plaster casts or braces. He has a love story of his own too. On this moment, I remind you that there are a lot of gays and tomboys in Thai, so it adds more fun to the movie. His father, a baker, tends to tell many embarrassing stories of him.
Earn is very supportive, positive and understanding. I do not know if it is a big spoiler, but I did not understand why she started to play for The Arena (Kae's band). I know she wanted to play at the contest, but she knew that guys thought of The Arena as their biggest rival - especially Khung.
They explain the meaning of SuckSeed in the movie - I guarantee that it is not something nasty to do with sucking and it is not "succeed" written wrong as I thought at first.   What makes this movie really special is that they added cool music scenes, where real Thai bands make an appearance, into it.
Although, I do not understand a word of Thai language, these songs are amazing and thanks to the translators I got to know the lyrics too - plus points for those as the lyrics are connected to the situation. Here's some names of the bands - Bodyslam, So Cool, Aof Big Ass, Black Head, Paradox etc. In addition, it shows the evolution of music listening devices - it starts with cassettes, then CD-players and ends with I-Pods. I bet that all 90s kids remember these things.
All actors play the instruments for real and Suckseed became an official band, with Nattsha Nauljam, for Mun Kai Mak (Chick Mountain Music Festival 2011), when they were given an opportunity to perform with professional bands.

SPOILER review: I think that it was wrong of Earn to use Ped's lyrics for The Arena song. I know that Ped had written the song for her, but it does not mean she has to use it for winning. It was so sad that Ped and Khung did not talk for so long time. Almost in the end, they are at class reunion, where they make up again. The saddest is that Ped breaks up with Earn ("mates before dates"), but they still do not stay friends with Khung. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hyoten (2006)


Also known as: Freezing point
Country: Japan
Format: movie
Genre: drama, life&death
Cast: Ishihara Satomi, Morisaka Ei, Iijima Naoko, Nakamura Toru, Tegoshi Yuya, Togawa Fumiya, Kitamura Kazuki, Honjo Manami, Kubozuka Shunsuke, Nakao Akiyoshi, Kaku Chikaku, Yasuda Misako, Kanjiya Shihori, Jinnai Takanori, 
Part One Synopsis: The Tsujiguchi family tragedy starts when their 3-years old daughter Rumiko is found murdered. Keizo, a respected doctor who runs his own hospital, blames his wife Natsue as he thinks she was having an affair with his colleague. To make her suffer more he decides to adopt a baby Youko without telling Natsue that the girl is the daughter of the man who killed Rumiko and later hang himself. He plans to reveal the truth once Natsue has given her heart to the child. It is difficult to forgive the ones you hate.
Part Two Synopsis: SPOILER!!! Youko survives and Takagi confesses that he lied - Youko is not Shaichi's daughter. Youko decides to go to college, but her real mother and younger brother appear on screen. In addition, both Toru and Kitahara are still in love with her and Saichi's real daughter is closer to them than they thought.
Rating: 3/5
It is based on same named novel by Miura Ayako. It was a mindf***. I cannot understand how can somebody have so much hatred in himself/herself. I had very diverse emotions while watching it - on one hand it was interesting and beautiful, but then again it got boring and slooooooooowww..
Youko was the most pitiful one in the movie. She got hurt so much, but she still loved Tsujiguchi family. For a little child it is painful to look for her parents from the crowd, but not to find them. It is amazing how she was able to cope with her mother's hatred. I give extra points for Ishihara Satomi acting, her shock scene was brilliant, on other scenes she did not need much acting skills, because Youko's character was always one and the same or amazed by Mother's pride.
Father Keizo was the first one to think about the plan to use Youko as revenge. It was horrible of him! It was cruel of him to hate little innocent girl for 9 years! It was a bit unfair of him to blame his wife too - but there is a saying that people in grief want to have somebody alive, who will suffer because of the blame. But after he started to love Youko as his own daughter, he turned into a wonderful father. 
Natsue has mental issues from the start, but sometimes it gets worse and she ends up as lunatic.
 I agreed that it was partly her fault that Ruriko was murdered - which mother lets under 3 years old girl go out on her own?! She was sinful woman, even though she actually did not cheat on Keizo, but that manipulating and flirting was O.o. Also, she was very royal, arrogant and lady-like. In the second part there is one very weird scene, which was the most difficult to understand, when two mothers talk and their talking turned into competition of who was the worst mother and the conclusion is "You have made great job raising her up.." and I was WTRamen?!
Tooru has a big sister-complex as he knows that Youko is not his real sister. Ever since Youko was little Tooru has protected her and I think that he cared the most about her. His feelings brought different thoughts to me - because they were not blood related, it was okey, but then again they were brother and sister who have grown up together (but would not that be still more like childhood friends who grow into lovers?)  He always says what is on his mind and is very honest - the most honest character in the movie that is full of lies. It is interesting to see jealousy from Tegoshi Yuya's face xD About his acting... same as all his that time movies/dramas.
Shortly about other characters. Murai was a playboy, bitch and total bastard - he had no feeling of responsibility, though in the end he might have felt some guilt in front of Matsuzaki Yukako. Yukako was Keizo's secretary, who was madly in love with Keizo - she was rather naive and thoughtless in her actions. Her feelings were pure and beautiful, but a bit over-exaggerated. My favourite character was Tatsuko - she said smart things and loved Youko as her own daughter. Tatsuya - Youko's real brother was a bit weird at first. It more looked like he tried to flirt with her, but later it was understandable that he just wanted to get to know his sister. Lastly, Junko was very outgoing and honest about her background, but later she disappeared from the scene. 
It is about forgiveness and how small the world actually is. The coolest thing in this movie is to see the improvements in society. As the story goes through 1946 to 1967 (in later 2006 too), then we can see how women's fashion changes and how the mechanics, as phones, TV-s and cars, improve.

SPOILER review: most of them are the negative reasons. First of all, Tegoshi Yuya and Kanjiya Shihori had a horrible kiss-scene. There were possibilities to do it into that scene beautifully, but it was just quick and he hardly kissed her! Also, I was disappointed that Youko married to Kitahara, because it truly felt like she did it out of sympathy. She always said that she is irreplaceable for Kitahara, but she never thought that she was the one and only for Toru. 
It is amazing how parents still loved each other - after 20 years of hating and revenge, they still loved each other. I guess that was the reason why they never thought of a divorce.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Saikou no jinsei no owarikata ~Ending Planner~ (2012)


Country: Japan
Format: drama in 10 episodes
Genre: drama, family, life&death, detective
Cast: Yamashita Tomohisa, Eikura Nana, Maeda Atsuko, Chinen Yuri, Ono Ito, Sorimachi Takashi, Mikami Kensei, Yamazaki Tsutomu, Kanie Keizo, Quests: Tamamori Yuta, Anne,
Synopsis: Ihara's family business is rather unusual - for 4 generations they have worked as funeral parlors. Second son Masato hated this job and left home some years ago. On one unlucky day Masato's  life is turned up-side-down, when he is close to losing his former job and receives a call from home - dad has passed away. Since older half-brother Kento is on one of his unknown trips and three younger siblings - cripple Haruka, university student Hayato and highschooler Momoko - still growing up at home, Masato takes the responsibility and takes over the household and continues 5th generation at funeral shop. At the same time, he befriends with local police, especially with young rookie Sakamaki Yuki, and co-operates with them in investigations.
Rating: 5/5
I did not think that it is going to be that interesting. It actually is not that sad as you might think from the synopsis and it is definitely much more interesting than usual detective dramas.
Masato has many different sides. As a manager he did his job, which made him bitch. In love he is playboy and cheater as his girlfriend (only mentions and photo) is in England. Other than that, he is very reliable, honest, caring, soft-hearted and loves his family the most. He also acts like the eldest son when Kento is not at present. It is very different role from Yamashita's previous roles and his acting is more natural. To my surprise, he was the first and only one from the main cast who knew how to act crying and I have a feeling that his amazing crying-scene was not made with fake tears..
Eikura Nana plays the part of Sakamaki Yuki. I liked Yuki's character. Despite being a detective and being surrounded by crime and murders, she keeps her positive way of life. She drinks much and most of the time ends up drunk as a fish so that Masato must push her home in cart. She has a special nickname for Masato - Masapyon, which was actually the nickname how Masato's girlfriend called him, which made me think if it is really suitable for a friend to call with same nickname as girlfriend does? She also proved that even police uses Google to search information - professional, ne?
There has been much comments about Maeda Atsuko. She almost got ban from acting together with Johnny's and her screen time was cut down, because ratings showed that viewers changed channels on when she was on screen, literally she was made into reason of  low ratings. I think it is unfair  accusation, because I find her acting bearable, well if we look that it was her 10th acting role, then it is slightly bad. At the same time, Haruka's character was partly in fault - she was too sensitive about her leg, time to time too emotional and annoying. I do not understand why they had put so much of her love story into drama, because others had only one episode about  their love life, so her continuing story was almost out of context. My complaints for Maeda Atsuko are that her acting of disabled leg
was horrible and too fake, also she should have opened her mouth more to have clearer pronunciation - her words were hard to understand. I hope that now on solo career she takes up some acting and singing lessons to improve herself, because otherwise she will be forgotten with some years.
Because Hayato and Momoko were the youngest and they were kinda similar, I am going to talk about them together. They both were more selfish and thoughtless then others, it might have been due to the fact they grew up without mother longer than Masato and Haruka. Momoko has an ability  to eat in every possible situation or if she does not eat the food, it ends in her face after she has again insulted Haruka. Neither of them has much screen time, so I cannot comment their acting much, I feel just sad that they beat up Chinen Yuri -.-
Kento, more referred as Ken-ni or Aniki (older brother), is very caring, but many of his actions did not seemed to be for the sake of others, more they were easier ways for him. He always left without saying goodbye and never revealed where he was or what he was doing. He also had serious doubts as, in the end, he still was only a half-brother to others. Well, later he has some other problems too, but about that in Spoiler review. The Ihara family had serious communication problems - they all loved and respected their dad, but their family life lacked in solving problems and helping each other. It is interesting to see how they are rebuilding the trust and family ties with each other. There is a saying that critical situations do two things - they break up people or grow stronger together.
I should mention Iwata-san too, but I bet any extra word about him, might be a spoiler, so you know where to find information about him ;)
In conclusion, it is a heartwarming drama, which combines family life, detective and even a bit supernatural. The star of the drama is Yamashita Tomohisa - he has made a great comeback since starting solo career. And this drama is watchable for all viewers as it is not that big tearjerker.
(The starting clip actually reminds me NEWS Bathday commercial some years ago..)


SPOILER review: The thing about Kento is that he has a tumor - a fast paced brain tumor, but I must say that the saddest scenes are when Masato finds out about it. Even Kento's dying is not that sad as drama shows long and clear his last moments. But more spoilers are attached to Iwata-san. As you might understand since one episode - he does not eat or drink anything and since another episode you start to think why anybody else has not seen him? At first, I thought he is like some kind of Masato's conscience. It would have been a good idea, ne??  I think it was in 8th episode where it comes out, that actually he was Yuki Grandpa's soul. Which is the reason why the drama is also supernatural. In a weird way it was not annoying at all. From all the episodes, there was only one thing I hated from the bottom of my heart - why Nagamine (Yuki's partner) had to die? He had just married and was becoming dad -.- It is way too unfair.