Posted in Film Festivals, Film Screenings

RIDM – Montreal International Documentary Festival – Nov 8-18, 2018

There are some documentaries from China and Japan in this year’s edition of RIDM (Montreal International Documentary Festival). It has screenings from November 8-18, 2018 mainly at Cineplex odeon quartier latin, Cinema du parc and Cinematheque quebecoise.

There are several Japanese documentaries screening from Kazuhiro Soda (a director based in New York City). There’s one Danish documentary appropriately titled “Dreaming Murakami” about the Danish translator of Haruki Murakami’s books.

“A Little Wisdom” by Kang YuQi follows boys being raised in a monastery in Nepal. There is also “Self-Portrait: Sphinx in 47 KM” by Zhang MengQi.

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Posted in *Recommended, Music, Next Music From TOKYO, Reviews, Video

Next Music From TOKYO vol 13 live show

I missed the last volume in May due to personal reasons (and certainly regretted it) so I was looking forward to this one even more with its stellar lineup. It also reminded me of the first NMFT show (vol 8 in May 2016) that I ever saw since Mass of the Fermenting Dregs were returning. Another thing it shared in common was that there were no idol acts. Vol 9-12 all had idol acts.

After the unfortunate closing of long time venue Divan Orange, vol 12 was held at La Sala Rossa which I’ve never been to so I’m not sure what the vibe and surroundings were like there. Vol 13 changed venues again to Le Ministere. I like this venue. It’s small and intimate, easy to get too and is actually fairly close to Divan Orange’s old location. There’s wasn’t as much space for the merch tables and no fussball table but I think it’s a good replacement. Sound was good as far as I could tell.

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Posted in Art & Animation, Festival du nouveau cinéma, Film Festivals, Trailers, Video

Festival du Nouveau Cinema – Oct 3-14, 2018

This year’s Festival du nouveau cinema screens many intriguing films from around the world from October 3-14, 2018 at Cineplex Quartier Latin, Cinema du Parc and Imperial cinema. There is as usual a great selection of East Asian films. I won’t list them all but I will mention some of the ones I look forward to seeing the most.

Films from China have often been lacking at festivals (perhaps in part due to censorship) but this edition features Jia ZhangKe’s latest film, Ash is the Purest White starring his wife and muse Zhao Tao and Liao Fan, an actor’s who’s been in many good films that I’ve enjoyed. Other actors in the film include Feng Xiaogang and Xu Zheng which make up an impressive cast. Long Day’s Journey into the Night directed by Bi Gan stars Huang Jue and the ever compelling and beautiful actress Tang Wei.

From Japan, the festval brings Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest work Shoplifters, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. It has an excellent cast including Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, and Kirin Kiki (her last film before she passed away in 2018). I’m biased since I’ve enjoyed many films by this director but I think this is a must-watch. Killing directed Shinya Tsukamoto stars Sosuke Ikematsu and Yu Aoi, both very good actors. Mamoru Hosoda’s latest animated film Mirai looks delightful for kids and adults. I’ve enjoyed past anime films by this director. There are also restored versions of older Japanese films from 60s, 70s & 80s which should intrigue those with a longer history of Japanese film viewing than myself.

The South Korea film I’m eager to see is Burning by Lee Chang Dong, whose previous film I saw was very engaging and thought provoking. This one stars Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, and Jeon Jong-seo.

From France, there’s the animated film Funan directed by Denis Do about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. It won the Crystal Prize for Best Feature Film at Annecy International Animated Festival.

There are also other films from South East Asian countries such as Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.

Trailers after the jump.

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Posted in Music, Next Music From TOKYO

Next Music from Tokyo vol 13 tour – Oct 5-10, 2018

Next Music from Tokyo or should that be Next Music from Tokyo & Taiwan? Because for the first time in the tour’s history, it will be inviting a non-Japanese band. This band is from Taiwan but has toured in Japan so it would seem that some Japanese fans are aware of them. The other four bands come from Japan and not just Tokyo but other cities like Osaka. Two bands return from past volumes. There’s Otori making their second showing and Mass of the Fermenting Dregs making their third appearance, the first band to do so on the tour. But if you want to be picky this would be the second appearance of the reformed band, the original lineup was all female who broke up but then a few years ago the original bassist reformed the band with two male members. I had previously seen this band in Vol 8, which was the first NMFT show that I ever attended and I’ve  attended every show since then except vol 12. The other two bands are new to the tour and both are all female trios: UlulU and Paranoid Void.

It kicks off with two shows in Toronto on Friday October 5 and Saturday October 6. Then in Montreal on Sunday October 7 and ends in Vancouver on October 10. Tickets can be purchased online now.

More videos after the jump.

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Posted in *Recommended, Food, Reviews

Food Fight! Japanese Cheesecake [日本のチーズケーキ]

Uncle Tetsu VS Yoko Cheesecake

Food Fight! posts will be totally biased where I compare the same or very similar foods and declare a winner (or not). For this inaugural edition of I have sacrificed my health and waistline to compare two Japanese cheesecakes that are currently available in Montreal.

Before we go on, it’s important to note that Japanese cheesecake is significantly different from traditional or Western cheesecake. Japanese cheesecake is perhaps more similar to a sponge cake than a traditional cheesecake. The Japanese version is also known to be very jiggly and fluffy. I’ve seen the terms “cotton cheesecake” or “soufflé cheesecake” to refer to the Japanese cheesecake as a way of differentiating it from its Western counterpart.

TetsuVsYoko

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Posted in Art & Animation, Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Penguin Highway – film review – Fantasia 2018

PenguinHighwayPenguin Highway / ペンギン・ハイウェイ (2018)

DIRECTOR: Hiroyasu Ishida
WRITER: Makoto Ueda
CAST: Kana Kita, Yû Aoi

Synopsis

Adpated from a book, a 4th grade boy has a crush on an older woman who works at the dentist’s office that he goes to but that’s not the only thing on his mind. When penguins start appearing in his town, he decides to investigate with his best friend.

Review

This film exhibits one of the great things that make animation a special medium. There are simply things you can draw that you couldn’t possibly replicate in real life or even with the aid of photo-realistic computer graphics. That sort of imagination and creativity are on display in this film.

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Posted in *Recommended, Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Inuyashiki – film review – Fantasia 2018 [Recommended]

Inuyashiki-poster-723x1024Inuyashiki (2018)

DIRECTOR: Shinsuke Sato
WRITER: Hiroshi Hashimoto
CAST: Noritake Kinashi, Takeru Satoh, Kanata Hongo, Fumi Nikaido, Ayaka Miyoshi

Synopsis

A father who gets no respect from his family finds out he has cancer and then he gets hit by something really bright. Instead of death he finds out that he’s become a cyborg with amazing abilities. He decides to help people with his new abilities. However, there is also a high school teenager who became a cyborg with the same amazing abilities but he decides to kill and eventually goes on a murder spree that the police cannot stop.

Review

I’ve read a couple of the early volumes of Inuyashiki so I had some familiarity with it before watching this movie. The older man, Ichiro Inuyashiki (Noritake Kinashi) as the hero against the young high school teen, Hiro Shishigami, (Takeru Satoh) as the villain makes for an interesting contrast from the start. We can see why and how each one decides to do something different with his new cyborg body. Both actors are excellent in their roles. Satoh is very convincing as a dangerous psychopath but he also have a few people he cares a lot about. It’s practically refreshing to have a villain that’s actually fleshed out and feels like a real person (well in the emotional sense).

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