"It's the ultimate live action film, made by a seasoned animator, a director who fully understands and exploits the power and appeal of an all-enveloping atmosphere."
"Dolls is a tragedy wrapped up in a very stylish and atmospheric cocoon, allowing the audience to be swamped by its sadness, but without ever letting go off the beauty that surrounds it."
"As far as realistic drama goes, this is as close to perfection as I've seen. If you're into Japanese dramas and you haven't seen this yet, there is no better film I could recommend."
"Innocence is a cinematic celebration. It's an audiovisual delight, it's thematically sound and rich and it invites you to watch and enjoy it time and time again."
"Fans of animation and high adrenaline cinema owe it to themselves to check this one out, as long as you embrace its juvenile pleasures, Dead Leave serves pure and unadulterated bliss."
"Tsukamoto's Tetsuo is an almost perfect cyberpunk endeavor, sporting lush black and white visuals and a superb industrial soundtrack, while providing a nerve-wrecking and overwhelming experience."
"The entire film is an oddly compelling and insanely stylized fever dream that left me completely dazed and fully perplexed, a rare and significant accomplishment."
"Apart from the somewhat disappointing opening short, Genius Party Beyond is worthy of its title."
"Symbol is a rare film. Ultimately creative, laugh out loud funny and leaving you in a slightly bedazzled trance."
"The presentation is gobsmackingly beautiful, with soundtrack and cinematography constantly feeding off of each other. The acting is superb, the story intriguing and the pacing pretty damn perfect."
"A perfect score and absolutely stunning visuals transport you to a different world, only to let go of you 60 minutes later, comforted and touched by the film's protagonist's struggle."
"Ritual is rather long, running a little over two hours, especially when you consider the fact that the characters you'll be spending your time with aren't all that charming or lovable."
"While the ending of Patlabor 2 reaches back to its origins a little too abruptly, the rest of the film is A-grade Oshii material that should please fans of the man's work."
"What Sekiguchi realized with Survive Style 5+ is extraordinary. Even though the film lasts 120 minutes it is packed to the brim with little bits of pure genius."
"Okiura's film is up there with the best Japanese animation has on offer."
"Tanaka's gentle and loving approach and Terajima's superb portrayal of his character takes you along an amazing trip full of endearing, funny and warm moments."
"Tekkonkinkreet is a film with a very authentic (Japanese) anime feel, yet it still benefits greatly from Arias' outside influences."
"My Neighbors the Yamadas is a film often overlooked by Ghibli fans (and anime fans in general) just because a simple screen shot cannot capture the amount of love and detail that this film harbors."
"Finally there is Atsushi Kaneko's Crawling Bugs, a more cartoonesque short about the perverse obsession of a fan for a stage actress."
"People not liking adhd animation, purely visceral cinema or semi-random pop chaos, do stay away from this film."
"It's beautiful, heart-warming and extremely delicate. It's a film that puts you at ease and even prolongs that state of mind until long after the credits stopped rolling."
"Fans of Tsukamoto might be a little surprised by the stilted acting, the strong dramatic undercurrents and the softer, more poetic scenes."
"It was a long time since I last watched Talking Head and I wasn't really sure how well I could trust my initial response to the film."
"Tsuburo no Gara is first-grade cyberpunk cinema."
"If you want to see a more experimental and serious side of Miike, this film is definitely recommended."
"Visitor Q is a crazy film. It contains some truly disturbing and shocking scenes, but the light tone and underlying concept betray a smarter film. It's not just shock cinema made to repulse."
"Playfully poetic, magically serene and pleasantly dreamy, watching the film is a calming experience that puts you right in there with the characters while providing a superb aesthetic frame."
"Short Peace proudly honors the the rich tradition of Japan's animated anthologies. It's up there with the very best, bustling with innovation and creative freedom."
"Yakuza Apocalypse is the kind of Miike I adore. The film looks good, sounds good, is stacked with crazy ideas and even weirder characters and dares to cross the line of common sense more than once."
"One of the most uniquely satisfying animes ever released. A film that can only be compared with a very concise selection of otherwise incomparable animation projects."
"Oshii's film remains a monument of film making that still knows to impress and entrance. It's a superb sci-fi film, boasting tons of highly atmospheric scenes and a good story to boot"
"You may think 64 minutes is rather short, but it's perfect for a film like this."
"That said, it didn't make the film any less enjoyable, on the contrary even. Tokyo Tribe is a killer ride from beginning to end. It's brutal, outrageous, funny, weird and it has a terrific drive."
"It's a wonderfully stylized, strongly realized and often completely baffling film that has both heart and brains and lacks any kind of commercial filter."
"Monday is entertainment in the purest sense of the word."
"They left Nihei's appeal and style intact, the action sequences are brutal and the megastructure looks as cool as it does in the manga."
"It's original, quirky, stylish and otherworldly. A tough cookie on the outside, but incredibly rich in taste and texture on the inside."
"Once it picks up steam it never falls back, propelling itself to an inevitable climax that left me perplexed and impressed. "
"Antiporno is a great example of why Japan's pinku films enjoy such a peculiar status among film fans and why it's been such a fertile breeding ground for young, talented directors."
"Whatever the case though, Tag is a unique film. It kept me guessing the entire way through, there are some very memorable scenes and the acting is spot on."
"With only 55 minutes between start and finish, Electric Dragon 80000V is a quick watch. That said, if you don't appreciate what Ishii is doing here it might still feel like a two hour hell."
"Some people won't really pick up the film's bitter core, for them there are still the lovingly detailed visuals and the stunning atmosphere."
"That's It is a blast. Energetic, mysterious, fun, wild ... it's just one big entertaining mess. The film looks great, sounds great and the actors are all on top of their game."
"The bottom line is that, all things considerend, Reiketsu-hen shouldn't work as well as it does."
"It's lush looking, well acted, aptly scored and surprising at every turn. It's quirky and giddish, but at the same time it's also dark, brooding and lingering."
"Kitano's humor is simple, somewhat childish and often improvised, but thanks to the typical editing and his superb comical body language it works wonders."
"The Clone Returns Home is one of the most impressive dramatic films I've seen in a long time. It lingers, it surprises, it impresses and it leaves you in a daze."
"That said, Confessions is definitely one of the best 2010 films I've seen so far. It's an audiovisual masterpiece, bearing an interesting plot, powerful emotions and some poignant social commentary."
"Don't expect a typical horror/mystery flick (despite many claims of Lynch-like scenes), Gozu is a superb comedy meant for people who like their slice of cinema a little different."
"That said, I loved every minute of High & Low: The Movie. The action superb, the styling is just insane and the pacing is pleasantly fast."
"The film is smart, looks and sounds great and is filled to the brim with creativity. It is immensely funny, even if you can't catch all the details on the first viewing."
"The mix of drama and mystery is brilliantly executed. The symbolism might lack subtlety, but Sugimori goes a long way in compensating that with strong imagery that will burn itself deep in your mind."
"With a superb soundtrack, two killer leads and some visual punch he delivers a film that has the power to linger. That is, if you can stomach what Kumakiri has to show."
"It's a tough choice deciding whether it's Air Doll or After Life that ranks as my favorite Koreeda film, but I'm glad he finally cashed in on the potential he showed in After Life."
"A must see this one, if only to marvel at the insane creations and the wacky surreal scenes that come from a silly subject turned serious."
"The Taste of Tea is a lovingly executed ode to laziness, boredom and feeling at ease."
"Here's to hoping we'll ever see Kon's final film (Dream Machine) completed."
"Overall Dead End Run is a fun, varied and classy anthology film where Sogo Ishii allows himself to show his more experimental side while leaving room for some softer touches."
"Ponyo is a feast for all fans that were wishing Miyazaki would return to his pre-Mononoke era, and for those people it might even reach the same heights as Totoro did."
"Usually negative feedback lowers people's expectations (which is a good thing), in this case many potential viewers seemed to dismiss this film completely without even giving it a fair chance."
"It seems Tanaka is back where he belongs, after going through some rougher patches in the late 00's. Chasuke's Journey is visually stunning, well acted, original and most of all unique."
"Suffering of Ninko is the kind of film that made me fall in love with Japanese cinema all these years ago. It's different, fun, it looks great and its overall very creative."
"Fireworks is a real delight. It's a simple, accessible film but with enough unique elements to keep you surprised and interested. The film is also the perfect showcase for Kitano's versatility."
"The animation is detailed, the direction solid and the film avoids any kind of filler, keeping the running time below the 90-minute limit."
"Needless to say, this turns Izo into a pretty tough experience. As the minutes pass and the bodies pile up, the film starts to weigh on its audience."
"Watching Why Don't You Play In Hell? will tell you a few things about Sono's dreams and aspirations as a young director."
"The real-world setting mixed with slight fantasy elements makes the film a bit more accessible compared to Shinkai's earlier films."
"Arias' sense of humor is considerably different from Kitano's, but Heaven's Door could be mistaken for one made by a Kitano apprentice."
"Hoshi creates a wonderfully magical drama, serving just the right amount of drama, geekiness, magical realism and love for his characters."
"I used to compare Trava: Fist Planet to Dead Leaves, nowadays I'm not sure if that's a fair comparison."
"Time is slowly taking away some of the impact of Memories, but there is still plenty of beauty here to keep you amazed for the entire running time."
"If you still haven't seen enough bodily mutations, strange nose guns or creative ways to slice people in half (or more parts), this is a film that cannot be missed."
"The Wind Rises is more than worthy closing act. It's one of Miyazaki's best films, a stunning ode to passion and perseverance in the face of a looming war."
"After Life is about enjoying and appreciating the good things you have. Warmly recommended for everyone who doesn't mind the modest pacing and styling."
"It's beautifully shot, wonderfully scored and aptly acted. It scores well in just about every department, showcasing the progress Tran has made as a director."
"The first hour or so provides a solid setup, introducing all characters and factions related to the Yakuza gang, while the final 30 minutes are the icing on the cake."
"The best thing about this anthology is that you really can't do justice to the visual beauty with simple screen caps."
"Sunao Katabuchi crafted a gentle, warm and endearing film, but not without its share of sharp critique and gut-wrenching drama."
"What Yamaguchi lacks in budget he makes up in inventiveness and creativity. The result is a highly entertaining film that contains plenty of treats to keep you interested throughout."
"While Kiriya does his best to make that happen, his approach simply isn't popular enough to turn Casshern into a universally revered film."
"Getting Wild With Our Monkey is a seriously demented, yet absolutely fun trip. A film that needs to be experienced rather than understood."
"Seshita is quickly making a name for himself. Making an entrance like this into the Gojira franchise is pretty daring, but it's a bet that paid off."
"My favorite Nakashima film so far. His next project looks more like a regular Japanese drama, but after such a sugar rush that doesn't really come as a surprise."
"Even though the films Kitano made prior to Sonatine aren't bad at all, Sonatine is the first true testament to his genius."
"The Case of Hana & Alice was better than I expected."
"Beautifully animated and scored, sporting a strong cast of characters, an intriguing plot and a fair selection of interesting themes, Sky Crawlers is Oshii's most complete film to date."
"A true fantasy film that betrays I.G's struggle with full-CG animation, but makes up for that with excellent art direction and bucket loads of creativity."
"Bunny Drop is a lovely film with lots to smile about. Wonderfully acted, creatively visualized and aptly scored, you can't really go wrong with this one."
"There's enough madness here to fill 3 or 4 separate films."
"Ishii truly reinvents himself here and comes with a film that's just as unique as his previous work, only very different in tone."
"The blend of an explicit and vibrant stylistic signature and upbeat musical numbers with a deeply tragic narrative is impossible to explain, it just has to be experienced first-hand."
"Hiroki delivers one of the most natural, confident and empathic dramas I've ever laid eyes on. On the outside it appears to be a simple film, but underneath lies a wealth of emotions"
"Monsters Club is my favorite Toyoda so far. The film is a beauty, the atmosphere is tangible and the imagery unique."
"There is a clear possibility of oversaturation though. The World of Kanako isn't subtle and doesn't offer much in the way of breathers."
"Tengan's Sekia is a little gem."
"The good thing is that it's not all just an ode to himself, Kitano doesn't mind making some fun of himself or the people around him."
"There are moments of blissful comedy, moments of utter relaxation and moments of simple wonder."
"It's this exact balance that makes Funuke a truly special experience."
"For a while Versus was one of my all-time favorite films, but the recent wave of Japanese splatter films changed things a little."
"Steamboy is a treat for animation fans everywhere. Simple enough to not alienate Western audiences, superbly animated and spilling over with lush details."
"Tokyo Gore Police is gory, fun, funny, weird and insane, but at the same time the realm in which it exists start to grow on you."
"It presents a whole new way of applying cyberpunk aesthetics to a film subject, mixing it with a documentary take on one of the most interesting characters I've ever seen in film."
"Smuggler is an extremely entertaining slice of dark entertainment. Littered with weird and freaky characters, the four chapters play out well and make for an interesting finale."
"The film looks good, sounds great, sports an incredible opening animation sequence and boasts a list of superb actors."
"For a 10-year old animation film The Place Promised in Our Early Days still looks and feels remarkably fresh."
"Tokyo Fist is somewhat of a forgotten Tsukamoto film, which is weird considering its many qualities."
"It's a cute and interesting fantasy tale with a darker edge, never outstaying its welcome and leaving a fresh impression."
"It was more than 10 years since I first watched this film and so I wasn't quite sure if it would still hold up after all this time."
"Even though its appeal might be limited to a rather small group of film fans, I still feel 19 is undervalued (and incredibly underwatched)."
"Hana and Alice is a film for fans of Japanese drama."
"Gemini could be considered a good entry-level Tsukamoto since his typical style isn't as demanding as in his other films."
"Death Trance didn't perform very well internationally, possibly explaining why this is Shimomura's only film to date."
"Takahata is one of the absolute masters of animation."
"Those who really want to see the film will be required to be a little adventurous, but fans of Ishii and/or Asano would do good to go through the trouble."
"Ninja Kids!!! is the perfect example of demented Japanese kids entertainment that's weird enough to appeal to adults, at least those with some memories of their lost childhood."
"If you think it all sounds rather dull than that's perfectly understandable. The thing is, it really isn't. Breathe In, Breathe Out is a beautiful, pure, subtle and heart-warming drama."
"Kotoko is another work of love."
"A must for Kitano fans and probably art fans alike (as all paintings were made by Kitano himself and are apparently based on existing paintings)."
"Somehow Until the Lights Come Back never found its way into the mainstream, even though it's a pretty accessible film. It's sweet, upbeat, feel good, a tad long maybe but never slow or boring."
"Tsukamoto went through his own transformation when the previous millennium ended, A Snake of June is one of the films that illustrates that pretty well."
"Garden of Words is everything you'd expect from a Shinkai film."
"This is not a very happy film, nor is it very subtle."
"Glory to the Filmmaker is one big happy mess of filmmaking, referencing many other directors, resembling many more, but defying them all by making something totally unique and totally Kitano."
"Porco Rosso remains one of my favorite Miyazaki films. Personally I prefer his softer, smaller films over his big epics, as they are more aimed at atmosphere and less at getting a message across."
"If romance isn't your thing this anthology probably isn't going to persuade you, but within the genre this is definitely one of the better offerings out there."
"Haze is a landmark in Tsukamoto's oeuvre. The possibilities of DV allowed him to go back to his roots."
"Cold Fish is a film that will sit well with those who appreciate awkward, cruel and excessive Japanese cinema."
"Nakajima's first film is not for everybody. It combines the rawness of films like Pornostar and even IrrÃ©versible with the poetry and drama of films like Tokyo.Sora."
"Nishimura adepts can rejoice, Helldriver is up there with the best, sporting roughly two hours of madness, hilariously out-of-place social criticism and tons and tons of liters of blood."
"Strange Circus is a stellar film that still counts as one of Sono's absolute best efforts to date. The subject matter is rather risqué though and Sono's approach is far from subtle."
"The Great Yokai War was Miike's first venture into big budget cinema aimed at a younger audience."
"Goth is a strong film, elegantly transporting its audience to the universe of two unique individuals finding each other in a world that isn't really their own."
"Still, the feeling remains that at times Rubber's Lover could've been just that little bit more insane."
"Pistol Opera is not the easiest of films. You have to accept that the story is a mere hook for some cinematic fun while Suzuki takes a little run with his audience."
"The first fifteen minutes where a little though, but once Sumida starts his descent into madness the film never back down."
"It's one of the few films that manages to have a physical effect on its audiences, something I can truly appreciate. To endure is to overcome, and once the film is finished you do feel somehow reborn."
" If you're in the mood for action or lots of plot twists, there's little here for you. But if you're up for a little variation on the Ghibli magic, this film might be a pretty good bet to make."
"A wonderful collection of shorts, visually pleasing, fun to watch and from time to time refreshingly weird."
"Gantz:O is brutal, action-packed and a bit mad in the head."
"Sakuran is a cool film, if only because it gives you something worth looking at for its entire running time."
"I still need to see Hanging Garden and Unchain, that said I believe Blood of Rebirth belongs to Toyoda's best output to date and could be the start of something beautiful."
"If you like 120 minutes of stylish showdowns, explosive action scenes and over-the-top characters, Eiichiro Hasumi delivers one of the best films in ages."
"Don't let that hold you back though. Love Exposure is a great experience, offering lots of weirdness, fun and shock while never boring its audience."
"R100 is a crazy film, full of deadpan comedy, weird references and an internal logic that convinces without making any actual sense."
"Because the film lacks any sense of urgency or lingering drama, it's probably not for everyone."
"The result is a strong, remarkable drama with no weak points and a few stand-out scenes that linger long after the end credits have faded from the screen."
"It's more of the same of course, just 130 minutes of that same fun, entertaining and surprising comedy that makes Miike films such unique experiences."
"Lu over the Wall is the perfect blend of Yuasa and Miyazaki. A film that feels creative and original, but is also sweet, warm and comfortable at the same time."
"The Tale of Princess Kaguya is still a marvel to behold and definitely worth your time, but it's also a film that feels like a natural end to Takahata's career."
"The Tale of Iya is a film that comes with a built-in audience."
"JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is commercial cinema done right. It's big, bold and visibly backed by a sizeable budget, but at the same time it also feels original and creative"
"130 minutes is quite long for an anime feature, but Yamada need every minute of that to tell this story."
"As the Gods Will is a typical Miike flick in the sense that it's pretty much pointless to compare it to other films out there."
"Above all though, Kamikaze Girls is a lot of fun. It's a crazy, creative, vibrant film that keeps a pretty strict pace and only slows down a little towards the end of the film."
"A film that aptly blends the more serious elements of Japanese drama with some fantastical touches and a slightly more accessible front, without going full commercial tearjerker."
"Stereo Future is a film that is starting to show its age in places, but Nakano's playful yet targeted direction makes sure it's not just an artifact of its time."
"Pink and Gray is a pretty great film, but some familiarity with the director will definitely help you to appreciate it to its fullest."
"A damn slick, sexy and entertaining film, sporting great visuals, a strong soundtrack and a solid cast while being edgy and challenging enough to stand out from the crowd"
"It's a stylish, relentless and moving drama, sporting excellent performances, a superb score and some high quality cinematography."
"That said, there is still plenty to enjoy here. It seems that with each new film Miike raises the bar on production level. For Love's Sake looks absolutely stunning, from start to finish."
"Zebraman 2 is not all that easy to recommend. Depending on what you expect or demand from a sequel, it's either a missed opportunity or a definite improvement over the first film."
"After Welcome to the Space Show, The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is somewhat of a return to form for Yuasa."
"Maybe the soundtrack could've been a little better, maybe the visuals appear a little empty at times, but that's just nit-picking."
"Even though this film may be a bit too dense and slow for some, once Gojira awakes there's still plenty of massive and all-destructive chaos to look forward to."
"There are moments of sheer genius here, hidden away in a film that comes off just a little to modest for its own good."
"It's comforting to know Shunji Iwai is back and hasn't lost his touch."
"Shady is a film that takes a bunch of familiar elements, rearranges them slightly but deliberately and adds a dash of its own uniqueness."
"The film never slacks and even gives the viewer a nice look into the whole gang structure in between the fights, making it a little more than just another butt-kicking action flick. "
"It's short, it packs quite a punch and even though I had some minor gripes, the pacing, the visual quality and the kick-ass lead character make it very easy to forget about these minor quirks."
"Batman Ninja features sprawling animation, an amazing art style and some wacky action, making it a blast from start to finish."
"LoveDeath brings a guaranteed 150 minutes of fun if you accept it for what it is. It's all fluff, all style, no substance and utterly weird, but that's what makes these films so much fun."
"Yuasa delivers a wildly original, splendidly executed and surprisingly emotional animation that defies categorization and comparison. Mind Game is a film that needs to be experienced."
"Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai is a much needed entry in the anime feature film segment. It isn't based off of a big, popular franchise."
"Wool 100% is a film that you just have to see. You might not like it, but at the least it's an experience worth having."
"Toyoda made an impeccable sequel to Miike's first two films."
"The animation is abundant and on point, the voice acting is superb and the plot balances small human drama and wild fantasy perfectly."
"I do think Night's Tightrope is a film that could please a broader audience, but it's pretty obvious that it's not going to get that chance."
"Kiriya serves a roller-coaster ride, but one that makes sure that the better moments can be relived late at night while lying in bed with your eyes closed."
"A very touching, very dear yet very sad story about a boy that got a lot less out of life than he deserved."
"If you don't mind a bunch of 40-year old actors playing 16-year old high school student with greasy hair and no manners to speak of, you're probably fine."
"If you feel like watching a smooth, agreeable and warm-hearted drama on a leisurely summer day, The Furthest End Awaits is a perfect match."
"Miki has a unique, dead pan sense of humor that pushes the film forward. I can only hope he continues to make films in the same vein as his work doesn't really compare to anything else out there."
"Café Lumière held up pretty well, which isn't even that surprising knowing its appeal lies in the mundane."
"Donju brings a special breed of humor, mixing dry deliveries, nonsensical dialogue and random interludes to a strange puddle of laughs."
"On a technical side the film is more accomplished than his earlier work, it contains more than enough quirky Miike touches and while certified strange and off-kilter, it's not all-out insane."
"If you appreciate Omori's uncompromising and bleak look at our society, Whispering of the Gods is one of the purest films you'll find out there."
"Uchida delivered this amazing genre bender that may leave the uninitiated a little stunned, but should be required viewing for everyone with a soft spot for Japanese genre cinema."
"It's a truly pleasant experience from start to finish, but the lack of dramatic events is sure to leave some scratching their heads."
"Itsuji delivers a unique, quirky and mysterious little film that knows how to charm."
"It all adds up to something quite weird and quite unique, but also quite specific and niche. Going in with a good understanding of how and what the film makes fun of is probably a prerequisite."
"Hiroki made a pretty brave move here, incorporating new elements from other genres into his movies without changing anything of his trademark style."
"Kawamori presents a worthy and classy tribute to the genius of Miyazawa, a film that may not be your average biography, but is much better because of it."
"It's a fun, quirky and silly film that slowly grows on you and leaves you behind with a warm smile."
"A film that combines a myriad of crazy ideas and styles, blending black comedy, musical and claymation as if it was the most normal thing in the world. To Miike's credit, he makes it all work."
"Dead or Alive 2: Birds is an important step in Miike's progression as a director. It's a well-rounded film, one that works as a drama as well as a crime flick."
"Battle Royale is still an amazing experience. It's dynamic, in-your-face, strange and more than a little bewildering, but most of all it's a hell of a lot of fun."
"Shark Skin Man is starting to show its age a little. It's a bit dreary and murky for a comedy and more recent films have improved greatly on the formula."
"That said, Paprika is still an amazing film with plenty of memorable moments and a superb finale. If I sound a little negative that's only because his first two films are hard to surpass."
"Love on Sunday is an endearing film with a warm, summery vibe, strong performances and effective drama without any false sentiment."
"Exte: Hair Extensions might feel like his most commercial film to date, but that is mostly a disguise. It's a fun, crazy and surprisingly eerie film."
"Destruction Babies is a great film. It walks a fine line between accomplished cinema and maverick nihilism and succeeds with deceptive ease."
"And while all of that might sound pretty serious and even heavy-handed, it's amazing how light and flirtatious Ogigami manages to keep her debut film."
"Nasu is a great seasonal film. Its summer vibe is tangible, it coincides with the Vuelta and it gives one of the best depictions of cycling ever caught on (fictional) film, let alone animation."
"Tony Takitani is one of the finest exercises in balancing style and content I've ever seen. Form, narrative and characters are really one here and feed off each other the entire time. "
"Well acted, beautifully shot and neatly scored, this film is for those who enjoy the more poetic side of Katsuhito Ishii, but can handle this style in a light and undemanding context."