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David L ReinkeDec. 30, 2015 - 12:37AM JST
Star Wars singing contest ... Where's Bill Murray?
Nothing but Star Wars,
It's got to be Star Wars,
All of the time."
--Bill Murray, SNL
Posted in: 'Kohaku' New Year’s Eve singing contest will be invaded by 'Star Wars'
David L ReinkeDec. 16, 2015 - 09:16AM JST
LEGO -- the best toy ever.
I played with LEGO when I was younger, as did my daughters and now my grandsons. With enough time, talent, and bricks, you really can build anything.
Posted in: Building blocks for the future
David L ReinkeDec. 14, 2015 - 01:25AM JST
"...people here simply can't act and almost all Japanese films are strange and boring..."
Chushhingura (any number of versions)
Fires On The Plain,
The Human Condition,
A host of incredible actors in the Kabuki Theatre:
Yes, I which more actors were that 'bad.'
Posted in: Teaser gives us our first peek at Japan’s upcoming Godzilla movie
David L ReinkeNov. 24, 2015 - 09:12AM JST
"...1983’s “Return of the Jedi” that culminated in Luke’s patricidal killing of Vader."
Well, not quite.
Luke does cut off his father's hand during their light saber duel, but Vader dies from wounds sustained while saving his son, Luke, from the wrath of the Emperor.
That aside, the article rightly credits Williams with creating a series of scores that deftly enrich the universe created by Lucas. It is now impossible to imagine Star Wars without the iconic music by John Williams.
Posted in: In 'Star Wars,' classical music has rare giant impact
David L ReinkeNov. 07, 2015 - 10:19AM JST
Saw this film at a screening a couple of weeks ago -- enjoyed it very much. The cast is in top form and the story told with wit, intelligence, and a heavy dose of irony. The scene of the confrontation between Trumbo and John Wayne elicited well deserved applause from the audience. This is a film worth seeking out.
Posted in: 'Trumbo' resurrects Hollywood's darkest chapter
David L ReinkeOct. 11, 2015 - 01:02AM JST
"the tourists do not want to see "traditional" ninja ..they want to see the ninja and samurai as portrayed in kabuki which is what they have seen in the western films."
As portrayed in any number of films (both Japanese and Western) perhaps so, but as portrayed in Kabuki?
Most Americans have not seen Kabuki, unless they happen to live near one of the handful of universities with active Japanese Theatre programs (like the University of Hawai'i at Manoa) and even then, ninja do not appear as characters in that many Kabuki plays, nor are those plays the ones usually selected for performance in English. (More common are Kanjincho, Sukeroku, Narukami and very rarely Chushingura.)
However, when it comes to film (Hollywood, Anime, TV's American Ninja Warrior) your point is well and fairly taken. Indeed, the historical reality might disappoint.
David L ReinkeOct. 04, 2015 - 11:06PM JST
Ah Hollywood ...
They call it Show Business for a reason.
Posted in: Ad-driven Scorsese film premieres in S Korea
David L ReinkeOct. 01, 2015 - 12:46AM JST
What -- Did Thomas not pay a visit to the Kabuki-za?
Posted in: Thomas the Tank Engine’s video visit to Japan is more Japanese than life in Japan
David L ReinkeSep. 16, 2015 - 09:08AM JST
The film is "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" while the stage play is simply "The Rocky Horror Show."
We actually staged an 'imaginary kabuki' version of this play, calling it the "Onnagata Pinker Show." at the University of Hawai'i back in 1981. It was, to say the least, an imaginative take off on the original.
Posted in: Tokyo International Players to perform 'The Rocky Horror Show'
David L ReinkeAug. 17, 2015 - 12:42AM JST
We have been presenting Kabuki, in English, at the university of Hawai'i (and at other select universities) for years now, always to sold-out houses. This includes both classic plays (Chushingura, Kanjincho, Ibaraki) as well as fusion, or what we call 'imaginary kabuki' plays (Richard III, Revenge At Spider Mountain, The Emperor Of Mars).
That this production in Vegas enjoyed an audience of over 10,000 on Friday night is impressive but not completely surprising. Kabuki is a wonderful theatrical art form, full of life and energy. There is spectacle, but there is more, much more, for these are stories that delve deeply into the human condition -- love, sacrifice, the corruption of power -- themes that are universal.
Bravo on this initial success in Las Vegas, but the real question remains: Will traditional Kabuki prove as popular not only in Vegas but in the the wider US?
I think it can, but only if Shochiku, and its US partners, are willing to spend not just the money, but also the time to build an audience. If they are, then Kabuki could finds the US to be very receptive indeed.
Posted in: Kabuki show debuts at Las Vegas Bellagio as MGM eyes Japan
David L ReinkeJul. 06, 2015 - 10:08AM JST
I can not speak to the efficacy of the Japanese government's efforts to promote Japan, however...
Ignoring, for the moment, the monster in the room (Godzilla) I do know that when the University of Hawai'i mounted a production of The kabuki play Chushingura, under the direction of Nakamura Matagoro II, it played to sold out houses for three weeks in Honolulu (8 performances per week) a sold out tour if the neighbor islands and then a six week coast-to-coast tour of the U.S. each performance sold out. Likewise, our production of Kanjincho, under the direction of James R Brandon & Onoe Kikunobu, also enjoyed a sold out run in Honolulu.
The annual Anime Expo at the Los Angeke Convention Center just finished, once again enjoying robust attendance. At the 2010 convention a live stage show, by a troupe from Tokyo, of a ghost story performed in Japanese, was enthusiastically received by the standing room only audience.
Perhaps it is the case, as noted above, that the material selected and how it is presented, are the critical factors in their success or failure to attract an audience. Clearly the interest exists and their are audiences willing to pay to see good films, plays and works of art.
Can the Japanese government do more? No doubt.
I, for one, would love to see more Kabuki here in the US. The NHK used to broadcast, weekly, kabuki plays. They have a vast library of classic plays featuring some of the greatest actors to grace not just the Kabuki stage but any stage in the world. The government should make those recordings available, at a very attractive price, in the US market. Will they be as big as Godzilla? Perhaps not, but wth time and patience the will find a following here in the US.
Posted in: Gackt lashes out at Cool Japan: 'Almost no results of Japanese culture exported overseas'
David L ReinkeJun. 21, 2015 - 11:53PM JST
It is all about the money, and Hollywood listens closely to the cash register, after all, they call this "Show Business" for a reason.
So vote with your wallets. Go to those stories you want to be told.
That said, some stories really do work better on television. Stone's Alexander the Great is a case in point. Stone has recut the film half a dozen times now and still can not seem to get the film the way he wants it. This may be that the story of Alexander is simply too great to be told effectively even in a 3+ hour film. However, as an episodic series, like those on HBO, he just might be able to tell the story he wants to.
On the other hand, a film like Zack Snyder's 300, is all about the visuals and so works better on a larger canvas where the visuals can easily overwhelm the viewer.
As for the 70's being the "Golden Age" of cinema...
Yes, there were lots of great films in that decade, but the golden age?
In the 70's they were talking of the 40's as the golden age, and no doubt in the 2020's they will be looking at the 90's as the golden age.
It is story telling and every year there are stories well told and not.
Posted in: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says 'Exorcist' director
David L ReinkeJun. 20, 2015 - 10:02AM JST
Sorcerer was an excellent film, a re-make of a great European film, but excellent in every respect.
For the director of The Exorcist to complain about the take over of Hollywood by fantasy films as opposed to those 'rooted in realty' rings just a tad bit hallow. Besides, it was Woody Allen's Annie Hall that won the Oscar for best film in 1977, not Star Wars.
That said, Friedkin is absolutely correct, some of the very best work is being done on television, particularly stories that require time to develop their plot and characters. We can hope that Friedkin does direct again.
David L ReinkeJun. 06, 2015 - 01:58AM JST
"Putting a white actor in a role for an Asian is just as ridiculous as casting an Asian actor to play a white person...."
I guess people feel differently about stage productions as opposed to films.
Denzel Washington gave an excellent performance as Mark Antony
As did Lawrence Olivier as Othello
So too Bando Tamasaburo as Lady MacBeth
In my brief theatrical career I was fortunate to be cast as Daimyo Wakasanosuke in the Kabuki play Chushingura. The play's director, Nakamura Matagoro II, said I had the perfect 'kabuki nose.' In fact our entire cast was quite mixed, both by race and gender. It is a reality of university theatre that there are often more women than men available for casting, so we had women cast in many of the male roles. No one, not the theatre critics in Hawai'i and the Mainland, or audiences anywhere, expressed any concerns about the casting.
Even in films, there seem to be 'levels of outrage' when it comes to race and casting.
Chinese actors were cast to play Japanese geisha in the film Memories Of A Geisha...
Mako playing a Chinese coolie in The Sand Pebbles
Or George Takei playing a Vietnamese officer in The Green Berets
I am told by a technical advisor who worked on Geisha that they cast the best actors they could find given not only the dramatic requirements of the part, but also the issue of language. Is this an example of that old saw that 'all Asians look alike'?
And not just Asians, for Eli Wallach played Latino in several films including The Magnificent Seven, but he is not even remotely Hispanic. So too Jennette Goldstein who played Private Vasquez, a Latina Space Marine, in Aliens.
Where is the outrage over this casting?
If strict ethnic casting were enforced in the theatre then so many great roles would be denied to so many great actors. Indeed, the world of Kabuki, a most marvelous art form, would be closed to me, and my life would be just that much more diminished.
Posted in: Cameron Crowe apologizes for casting Emma Stone in part-Asian role
David L ReinkeApr. 24, 2015 - 11:32PM JST
"Thew Force is strong with this collectible..." -- D. Vader
Posted in: Darth Vader becomes decorative doll for Boys’ Day
David L ReinkeApr. 10, 2015 - 10:01AM JST
Godzilla -- what's not to love?
Now that he is a resident of Tokyo, will he run for mayor?
Posted in: Godzilla appointed Tokyo resident, tourism ambassador
David L ReinkeMar. 17, 2015 - 01:04AM JST
And now for something completely different ...
I wish the console makers, in particular Sony PS, would consider resurrecting some of the old war game / strategy games formerly available only on a PC or Mac.
At E3, several years ago, that suggestion was floated to the game developers behind the city building games Caesar III & VI, Cleopatra and Zeus (among others). and their argument against was the poor resolution of the current systems (the PS2 and original Xbox.) They put a lot of detail into their games and they wanted them to be seen in all their high-rez glory.
Fair enough but now the argument holds no water. The PS is HD and the processor is easily powerful enough to handle any war game (which do not require much if any animation).
The developers at Riot Games told me that it was really a matter of surface area for game control/interface. In fact many of them played and enjoyed war games (a large number of them would meet one or twice a month to play 'old fashioned' map & counter and Euro-style strategy boardgames. So the interest is there, but they though the system design argued against such games on a console.
But I wonder ...
Now I do realize mine is a lonely voice in the wilderness, but I do think it is possible, technically, to convert some of the great old war games to the PS3 or 4 and I also believe these games would find an audience among console gamers ready for something different. Indeed, if such games were averrable, Sony might discover an entire new legion of gamers ready to join the PS ranks.
Just a wild thought on Monday morning ...
Posted in: The PS4 is selling like hot cakes all over the world…except in Japan. But why?
David L ReinkeDec. 21, 2014 - 09:29AM JST
At least Hollywood still has Nazis and Martians to play the bad guys. The Martians do not yet have a lobby, and no one is going to defend the Nazis.
Posted in: 'The Interview' jeopardizes overseas movie villains
David L ReinkeNov. 19, 2014 - 12:30AM JST
He was outstanding in the film Yakuza -- his performance was one of the high points of that film.
Posted in: Actor Ken Takakura dies at 83
David L ReinkeOct. 19, 2014 - 04:51PM JST
"The Force is strong with this book." -- D Vader.
Posted in: Star Wars English-Japanese Dictionary for Padawan learners
Search the Largest English Job Board in Japan.
Feb. 11, 2016 - 11:22AM JST
Clinton has a long history of support for civil rights.
I'll never forget those television pictures…
Posted in: Christie, Fiorina drop out of Republican presidential race
Michael Net Work
Feb. 11, 2016 - 11:21AM JST
The** first 50 years** of childhood are the hardest
Posted in: 71-year-old woman torches her son's room for not cleaning up mess
where are the personal dosimeters??? there should be a badge on each lapel
Posted in: Risky work
Feb. 11, 2016 - 11:19AM JST
spray your attacker with sabre red.Then follow up with a dagger to the center mass.
Posted in: What to do if someone on the street goes berserk
Hasan Az-Zaki Rahim
Feb. 11, 2016 - 11:17AM JST
A 19-year-old gets 9-13 years in prison for Kawasaki teen's murder?
Well, after I read this…
Posted in: 19-year-old gets 9-13 years in prison for Kawasaki teen's murder
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