Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer of '15

Work has been coming my way fast and furious, preventing me from updating ye old blog. In the time between now and the last update I’ve subbed lots of films and crafted their English PR text, something I find a lot of fun to do. Well, not swimming and hanging out on a pristine beach with a Piña colada buzz going kind of fun, but fun as in challenging, enjoyable, and if everything goes well, highly satisfying.

That Miike movie I worked on, “Yakuza Apocalypse,” opened some two weeks back (6/20/2015), along with two other films I slaved away on: Ju-on: The Final Curse, and Torakage. I celebrated the same-day opening of three films I worked by not seeing any of them. Instead, I had a beer with Ed G, one of my best friends in this whole crummy world, and my girlfriend Miyako, while looking out on the full-sized Godzilla head in Shinjuku. It was a lot of fun to just gaze over a huge, decapitated Godzilla head thinking, "If it hadn't been for the success of the US Godzilla film, this cool as bunk bust wouldn't be here." I'll drink to that!

It doesn’t matter much about going to see films I worked on anyway since I find those opening day events with actors and directors a bore. The people on stage always talk about the same thing: How tough the set was. How cold or how hot the set was. What ungodly hour of the day they had to wake up at. How hard everyone worked. What a genius the director is. Blah, blah, blah. Most of the time it's a pack of lies. So, I’d rather my seat go to a fan who eats this sort of nonsense up.

“Yakuza Apocalypse” had its international premiere at Cannes Film Festival recently, and I’m pleased by the reviews of the film. As a subtitlest, it’s always a good sign when you find lines of dialogue quoted in reviews, which pretty much means “mission accomplished” in my book. In fact, my favorite review of the film comes from Indie Wire, in which the reviewer kindly writes, “the subtitles are pretty hilarious throughout.”

You can find that review here, if you like:

Indiewire: The Playlist

And, in return, the review is pretty hilarious throughout as well.

A fun thing I did recently was a Bigfoot show following a screening of “Exists,” the Bigfoot movie directed by Eduardo Sánchez. Being a semi-well known Bigfoot enthusiast in Japan, I was contacted by the releasing company here and asked to put on a show, which I was happy to do. I gathered a bunch of odd Bigfoot related photos to detail the history of Bigfoot in America (and Canada). Best of all was getting to project the Patterson–Gimlin film onto a large screen. One of the audience members thanked me for this afterward, saying they never thought they’d ever get to see it projected that large. Yeah, that was a fun show. Bigfoot rules.

And, so, yeah...despite what I said above about after screening shows, I always do my best to make them visually interesting and truly informative. 

I also did a short stint in the first episode of the upcoming Ultraman TV show. Not like I’m any great fan of Ultraman, but it was nice to help my friend Taguchi, the director of the episode. I think it’s going to be broadcast this month in Japan. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos, not that I really would have anyway as it was all pretty standard fare for me. But it was nice to be able to take Miyako over to Nikkatsu and show her the studio and give her a taste of what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years in Japan.

Well, subbing and all that aside, my big news is that I got the still job on a major film out of Toei Studio. Shooting starts in the middle of July and will gone on until early September. At the moment I’m busy gathering shots that will be used as props in the film (ID badges, photos on walls, family portraits, etc).

I have to say, it’s entirely enjoyable to be working on a real studio film with a fairly large (by Japanese standards) budget and not those cheap quickies that have mind-numbingly short shoots that end just when you're starting to get a feel for the whole thing. Also, by being a studio film, it means I don’t have to deal with emotionally disturbed people, which is the bane of almost all of the B-movies I’ve worked on in Japan. But I do so love B movies...

Oh, and my Eiga Hiho writing has been going great (more news on this later). The publisher even tapped me to write a set report on “Yakuza Apocalypse,” which is currently on sale in bookstores in Japan in a mook called, 『別冊映画秘宝 世界鬼才映画監督列伝』, which my friend Matt Alt deciphered as meaning, "Eiga Hi-Ho Supplemental: Legends of World-Class Genius Directors." Yeah, his Japanese puts mine to shame.

Anyway, that’s it for the time being.

Oh, and yesterday I began my 23rd year of living in Japan. Let's see how things go from here... Have a great summer!