Kumiko Aso

Kumiko Aso

Kumiko Aso Quick Links

Film RSS

Pulse (2001) Review


Extraordinary
Following on the heels of Hideo Nakata's original Ringu and Takashi Shimizu's Ju-On, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2001 masterpiece Pulse is, at first glance, simply another J-horror film obsessed with the malevolent dangers posed by technology. Yet though the Internet becomes the conduit for otherworldly forces exerting their influence over the living, Kurosawa's film, largely forgoing traditional scare tactics in favor of a mood of dawning irrational terror, shares little with its Japanese contemporaries save for some aesthetic similarities (an austere color palette, measured pacing, long-haired female ghouls). As with his similarly magnificent serial killer saga Cure, Kurosawa assumes the superficial trappings of a genre only to utilize them for a philosophical inquiry into the disaffection and loneliness of modern existence. And with this tale of online-fostered apocalyptic alienation, the iconoclastic writer/director eerily pinpoints the means by which technological tools designed to foster greater interconnectedness instead - through encouraging depersonalized, anonymous interfacing with others - merely contribute to greater societal isolation.

Communication breakdown is Pulse's primary preoccupation, an infectious ailment that spreads throughout Tokyo like a plague - or, more aptly, like a computer virus, as a program on botanical nursery worker Taguchi's (Kenji Mizuhashi) floppy disk seems to spark a chain of catastrophic web-based events involving forlorn ghosts. When Taguchi goes missing from work, colleague Michi (Kumiko Aso) visits his apartment, where a disheveled Taguchi - when his guest's back is turned - uses a rope for fatal purposes. Examining the disk her friend had been working on, Michi and friend Junco (Kurume Arisaka) discover a haunting image of Taguchi's flat in which a computer screen projects the identical scene they're looking at, as well as a shadowy spectre staring into another monitor. Not long afterwards, Michi's television goes haywire (while a newsman discusses a long-lost communiqué) while her other co-worker Yabe (Masatoshi Matsuo), after receiving anonymous phone calls from someone pleading "Help me," unlocks a mysterious room whose doors are sealed with red duct tape. And in a concurrent storyline, technophobic economics student Kawashima (Haruhiko Kato) teams up with a computer lab worker named Harue (Koyuki) after stumbling upon a strange website called The Forbidden Room which depicts fuzzy people somnolently moving about their tiny abodes.

Continue reading: Pulse (2001) Review

Casshern Review


Good
Exhausting, this remake of a '70s anime film was produced at the same time as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, using the same device of all-CGI backdrops combined with real actors. Well, mostly CGI backdrops, and mostly real actors. Too bad the one-note plot -- mutant race attacks the world and only a mythical superhero can save it -- is tired and dull, and can't even begin to carry its 140-minute length. It really wears you down.

Ringu 0 Review


OK
The final film in the Ringu series, Ringu 0 takes us back 30 years to learn the origins of that girl in the well, who she was, and how she ended up down there.

Too bad it's not a very compelling story. Sadako (Yukie Nakama) is an actress in college -- sort of -- and she's so nuanced that she draws the ire of her fellow actors. This culminates in Sadako being beaten to death by the troupe and coming back as a ghost to get her revenge. Sounds cool, but unfortunately the film spends about 85 minutes getting to the juicy bits. So for about 20 minutes, we've got a cool little thriller on our hands -- culminating in a cool and harrowing hunt through the woods. The other 80 is nothing but padding.

Continue reading: Ringu 0 Review

11'09''01 - September 11 Review


Good
Simple premise: Eleven filmmakers each get 11 minutes to put their thoughts about September 11, 2001 into film. Documentaries about 9/11 have certainly been made to date -- I'd be surprised if less than a dozen had been released -- and this very format has even been done before too (see our review of Underground Zero).

What September 11 has that the other films don't is star power and international perspective. The 11 directors who submit work here represent a walk of fame of international cinema. Though I'm not familiar with the work of Samira Makhmalbaf (Iran) or Idrissa Ouedraogo (Burkina-Faso), to name a few, names like Penn, Lelouch, Iñárritu, Nair, and Loach represent some major names.

Continue reading: 11'09''01 - September 11 Review

Kumiko Aso

Kumiko Aso Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Actor


Suggested

'Lost' BBC Session By Led Zeppelin Recovered And Restored

'Lost' BBC Session By Led Zeppelin Recovered And Restored

The 1969 session, including the only known recording of 'Sunshine Woman' by the band, will be included on a re-issue of 'The Complete BBC Sessions'...

Michael J. Fox Joins Coldplay On Stage To Perform 'Back To The Future' Songs

Michael J. Fox Joins Coldplay On Stage To Perform 'Back To The Future' Songs

The 55 year old actor joined Chris Martin and co. on stage in New Jersey to perform 'Earth Angel' and 'Johnny B. Goode'.

Bjork Announces Virtual Reality Exhibition In London, Plus Single Live Show

Bjork Announces Virtual Reality Exhibition In London, Plus Single Live Show

Bjork Digital comes to London's Somerset House in September, along with a single live show at the Royal Albert Hall.

Advertisement
Has Kanye West Broken The Law Over Taylor Swift Phone Call?

Has Kanye West Broken The Law Over Taylor Swift Phone Call?

Kim Kardashian released an audio excerpt from a phone call between Kanye and Taylor Swift over the lyrics of 'Famous' - but if it was recorded...

DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall Album Review

DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall Album Review

There's very much a strength of conviction in remaining what you were, but arguably more so in becoming what you want to be.

'Poldark' And 'X Factor' Set For TV Clash In September

'Poldark' And 'X Factor' Set For TV Clash In September

The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.

Guns N' Roses detained for gun possession

Guns N' Roses detained for gun possession

Guns N' Roses were detained at the Canadian border last week for gun possession but they're adamant the weapon didn't belong to them.

Advertisement

Kumiko Aso Movies

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.