films seen
average score
Japan - 49 years old
Alive and kicking
more info



2016 / 99m - Japan
Crime, Thriller
Himeanole poster

Talk about a film with mood swings. The first half offer a solid combo of dry and dark comedy. Nothing too overt, but there are some good laughs. The second half is dark, brutal and delivers a serious kick in the gut. One of the most crass and surprising turnarounds I've seen, but it sure was impressive to witness.

Come On Irene

Itoshi no Irene
2018 / 137m - Japan
Come On Irene poster

A neat little surprise. The film reminded me a little of the gritty Japanese dramadies that were in fashion ten years ago. Come On Irene offers a weird blend of genres that's pretty much impossible to pin down. The fact that it's so unpredictable is both a blessing and a curse, but in the end the balance is positive.

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Iwao is a deadbeat who still lives with his parents. He has a crummy job in a pachinko parlor, and he has no outlook on finding a proper soulmate. One day he decides to pack up and go to the Philippines to buy himself a wife. When he returns, his father is deceased and his mother isn't too pleased with Iwao's choices in life.

Performances are strong, the film looks rather polished and even though it's quite long, it never really drags. The main reason is that director Yoshida keeps jumping between comedy, crime and drama, which makes it difficult to see where it is all leading. The film comes quite close to greatness, but stops short of making it all the way.

My Little Sweet Pea

Mugiko-san To
2013 / 95m - Japan
My Little Sweet Pea poster

A tiny Japanese drama that starts off pretty cute, but gets progressively more dramatic. It's a pleasant film with nice characters and some interesting takes on loss and mourning, but in the end, it lacks a little bite to set itself apart from so many others. It really is an overcrowded niche and one that is happy to stick to a formula that works.

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Mugiko lives together with her older brother. She lacks direction and has no idea what to do with her life. Their mother walked out of them years ago, something that left a gaping wound. Suddenly, their mother finds her way back into their lives, and Mugiko ends up shacking up with her. While she wants to reconnect, there's also a lot of anger and resentment to deal with.

The performances are solid, the cinematography and setting are pleasant and the drama in the second half leaves its mark. It's just that there isn't that much here which could leave an indelible impression. It's a good, adequate drama that is sure to please fans of the genre, but if you've seen your share of Japanese dramas, it doesn't pop enough.

The Workhorse & the Bigmouth

Bashauma San to Big Mouth
2013 / 119m - Japan
The Workhorse & the Bigmouth poster