Reader recommendation by James Harben
Gusha no bindume; AKA Hellevator: The Bottled Fools
DIRECTED BY: Hiroki Yamaguchi
FEATURING: Luchino Fujisaki, Yoshiichi Kawada, Ryôsuke Koshiba
PLOT: A dystopian future civilization lives in a vast underground complex where each floor represents a different part of society, from housing and schooling up to more sinister departments, culminating in . . . → Read More: READER RECOMMENDATION: HELLEVATOR (2004)
Reader Recommendation by Fredrik Allenmark
DIRECTED BY: Hiroshi Teshigahara
FEATURING: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida
PLOT: An entomologist ends up trapped together with a woman in a house at the bottom of a sand pit in the desert, where they are forced to spend their nights shoveling sand.
WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: . . . → Read More: READER RECOMMENDATION: WOMAN IN THE DUNES (1964)
“Otomo, who wrote and directed the movie, has told interviewers that he set out to ‘make a film that would be a jumble of images, instead of just showing the highlights of each scene’, and on that score, he succeeded.”–The Los Angeles Times, in a dismissive review entitled “High-Tech Hokum From Japan”
DIRECTED BY: . . . → Read More: 158. AKIRA (1988)
DIRECTED BY: Mamoru Hosoda
FEATURING: Voices of Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba
PLOT: Math and computer whiz Kenji battles a rogue artificial intelligence who is wrecking the virtual world of Oz and seizing corporate and government computer accounts, while simultaneously posing as the boyfriend of a classmate he has a crush on during her family celebration. . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: SUMMER WARS (2009)
DIRECTED BY: Hayao Miyazaki
FEATURING: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning (Disney dubbed version)
PLOT: Two young girls befriend a forest spirit who lives in a tree near their new country house.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: My Neighbor Totoro is somewhat strange, like being dropped into the unfiltered imagination of a six-year old girl. . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988)
Rabitto Horâ 3D
DIRECTED BY: Takashi Shimizu
FEATURING: Hikari Mitsushima, Takeru Shibuya, Teruyuki Kagawa
PLOT: A young boy has nightmares about a giant bunny after he euthanizes a wounded rabbit on the playground; his mute older sister tries to keep him from being sucked into another world.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Tormented . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: TORMENTED (2011)
DIRECTED BY: Yûdai Yamaguchi
FEATURING: Tak Sakaguchi, Mari Hoshino
PLOT: A boy with a (literally) killer fastball grows up to become a vigilante, is imprisoned, and is blackmailed into playing on the jailhouse baseball squad despite the fact that he has sworn never to use the fatal pitch again.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: DEADBALL (2011)
“I love the animation, ’cause it’s very magical and very… fantapsychological?”—12-year old Josh Hutcherson (who played Markl) on Howl’s Moving Castle
DIRECTED BY: Hayao Miyazaki
FEATURING: Voices of Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall (US dubbed version)
PLOT: Sophie is an 18-year old girl who works in her mother’s hat . . . → Read More: 146. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004)
Tôkyô Zankoku Keisatsu
“She is the only actress in the world who can look so beautiful just standing in the midst of a gushing spray of blood.”–Yoshihiro Nishimura on Eihi Shiina
“I wouldn’t say I liked being covered in blood… [but] I really love the surrealism and beauty of these scenes, while I’m getting covered . . . → Read More: 142. TOKYO GORE POLICE (2008)
Uchu kara no messeji
DIRECTED BY: Kinji Fukasaku
FEATURING: Philip Casnoff, Peggy Lee Brennan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Masazumi Okabe, Vic Morrow, Makoto Satô, Etsuko Shihomi, Sonny Chiba
PLOT: A race of evil robotic samurai conquer a peaceful tribe of leaf-headed aliens, who send out eight magic space nuts to track down reluctant heroes to save their planet.
. . . → Read More: CAPSULE: MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978)