Fantasia Festival Review: Monster Seafood Wars

“Monster Seafood Wars” (2020) is directed by Japanese filmmaker Minoru Kawasaki; who is best known for making cult classics such as “Executive Koala”, a black comedy about a salaryman (who is also a koala) who faces an identity crisis and a murder charge when he is falsely accused for killing his wife; and two underdog sports films including “Calamari Wrestler” and “Crab Goalkeeper”. Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: Monster Seafood Wars

Retrospective Review: Gaea Girls

If the term “women’s wrestling,” makes you think of the glitz and glamour of the Netfix show GLOW or even the women’s divisions of American promotions such as the WWE, then “Gaea Girls,” will be a shock to your preconceptions. Directed by Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams, this documentary exposes the brutal training regimes and initiations that young girls in Japan choose to face in order to earn their place performing in the hallowed ground of the squared circle. 

For decades in Japan, entire organisations have been dedicated to women’s wrestling, and drawing a rabid and predominantly female fanbase. Gaea Girls is built around one of the biggest names in the history of women’s wrestling, Chigusa Nagayo. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Gaea Girls

Review: First Love

“First Love” is a comedy-drama, set in one of Miike’s favourite environments, the world of the Yakuza (Gangster). A promising boxer, Leo (Masataka Kubota), is surprisingly beaten in a contest and is informed it is probably due to an inoperable brain tumour. Whilst walking the streets attempting to process this news, he bumps into drug-addicted sex slave Yuri (Sakurako Konichi) and inadvertently messes up an attempt by a crooked cop and an up-and-coming Yakuza to steal a drug shipment from the local crime family. Along the way, we meet One-armed Chinese crime bosses, deadly female assassins, and murderously unhinged girlfriends, amongst other characters too numerous to list. Somehow, amongst the violence and craziness, the two form a connection with each other, but only if they survive. Continue reading Review: First Love

Review: Weathering With You (Tenki no ko)

There are days in which we’ve wished we could influence the weather. Whether it’s to have sunshine on your wedding day, to enjoy the heating sun on your birthday or to get snow when you’re about to go on a ski trip. We might not have that power but Hina Amano from “Weathering with You” (2019) definitely has it. Her wonderful and unique story is now being told in a beautiful, blissful and gorgeously made film by writer/director Makoto Shinkai (“Your Name” (2016), “The Garden of Words” (2013))

Hina (Nana Mori) is going through a very difficult time as her mother is ill. She sits beside her bed every day of the week, and the young girl’s future seems very uncertain. Despite all the tears and heartbreak, there’s also a little bit of sunshine in Hina’s life. Both literally and figuratively speaking. During an enjoyable warm day, Hina passed through a magical pathway that will change her life forever. Continue reading Review: Weathering With You (Tenki no ko)