This year I concentrated on Hong Kong films and watched only three Japanese movies. Who knows when this many Hong Kong movies will again be shown at one festival. The Japanese movies I picked because they were shown at convenient times either between or after the Hong Kong movies I wanted to watch. Also Takeshi Kaneshiro is a favorite actor of mine..... and lots of other women judging by the cheers he received when he first appeared on screen.
K-20: Legend of the Mask. 2008. Japan. Directed by Shimako Sato. Starring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Takako Matsu. A big blockbuster movie directed by a woman. Set in a Japan where World War II never occurred. K-20, the Fiend with 20 faces, is a nasty thief who frames a naive circus acrobat played by Takeshi Kaneshiro. He escapes from jail, becomes K-20 to catch K-20 and sets out ot clear his name. Kaneshiro is wonderful as he leaps over tall buildings, rescues a princess and helps the poor. A very good action adventure with a wonderful set done by the production company who did Always: Sunset on 3nd Street.
Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit. 2008. Japan. Directed by: Minnoru Kawasaki. Starring: Akita Matsushita, Hide Fukumoto. & the voice of Takeshi Kitano. I think the title and movie poster say enough about this movie which was funny, silly, satrical (some great gags which would be major spoilers to describe) and thoroughly enjoyable. Shown with Gehara: The Long-haried Giant Monster.
Gehara: The Long-haried Giant Monster. 2009. Japan. Directed by Kiyotaka Taguchi. Starring Ken Osawa. 17 minutes. Just the right length for a movie about a giant monster who pops out of the ocean and runs through cites and countryside squashing everything in sight. The monster is funny looking and its hair reminded me of the scummy long hair I would find in our shower drain when the kids were teenagers.
Another picture of the monster from the NYAFF movie guide.