Movie Review: Oppai Volleyball (2009) – Japanese Movie

oppai volleyball cover

Oppai Volleyball is a great little sports comedy about boobs, and volleyball. That’s right, boobs (oppai)!  Its lighthearted, youthful and fun. Entertaining throughout, with a comedic approach to the underdog, puberty and teaching. As goofy as the movie is, its also meaningful and a great coming of age or ‘life’ story.

Trailer: unable to embed

Set in the 1970’s, Haruka Ayase (Hotaru no Hikari) plays a  newly transferred, young and enthusiastic teacher who takes it upon herself to coach the boy’s volleyball club. The club is a small group of ‘loser’ boys who mostly just think about girls and are far from athletic. Somehow, the promise of them seeing the teacher’s boobs if they win a game comes to fruition.

oppai volleyball poster 2

“Whilst obviously a must-see for all fans of Haruka Ayase, it should also be enjoyed by anyone looking for sports comedy, light personal journey drama, or a non-stop onslaught of breast jokes.” (BeyondHollywood)

Reviews: BeyondHollywood // TwitchFilm // Portastylistic // LoveHKFilm

aparoo’s words: dramedy, comedy, lighthearted, uplifting, inspiring, adventure, youthful, coming of age, life, journey, sports, underdog, coaching, teaching, boobs, breast jokes, courage, esteem, motivation

aparoo’s Haruka Ayase pics

aparoo says 4 boobs / 5 boobs… because 5 would be weird

Download: AsiaTorrents

Stream: YouTube (opening scene had me laughing; below)


Movie Review: Kiseki (2011) – Japanese Movie

kiseki poster

Kiseki (I Wish) is a bit of a lighthearted dramedy, even without too much seriousness and no punchlines. And actually I didn’t have my first chuckle until about an hour into the movie. Its more of a pleasant, natural and simple film with a story that you can take to heart. Its shot mostly with still-hand camera and realistic dialogue. Its as much a children’s movie as it is humanistic. Kiseki is a story about family and childhood.

kiseki family

The story, which was written after the lead child actors (real-life brothers) were cast, is centered around two brothers separated by their parents divorce and their ‘wish’ of reuniting. With a proclaimed storytelling style and ability, Hirokazu Koreeda (Air Doll, Nobody Knows) puts life and the innocence of children in context “with his style of naturalistic filmmaking, with its avoidance of melodrama and sentimentalism” (Japan Times).

While there were a few moments where the novice child acting was apparent, their overall character portrayals leave a good impression. Similarly, the star-studded supporting cast help balance the screen-time and plot.

Child cast: Koki Maeda Oshiro Maeda  Ryoga Hayashi Hosinosuke Nagayosi Kara Uchida Kanna Hashimoto  Rento Isobe

Other cast: Nene Otsuka Joe Odagiri Yui Natsukawa Hiroshi Abe Masami Nagasawa Yoshio Harada Kirin Kiki Isao Hashizume

kiseki brothers

Reviews: Japan Times // Variety // Rotten Tomatoes // alualuna

aparoo’s words: lighthearted, dramedy, natural, family, humanistic, childhood, innocence, life

aparoo says 4/5, great story but seemed to run kind of long (2h 10min)

Stream: Dramacrazy

Download: Asia Torrents

Lust, Caution (2007) – Chinese Movie – Review

Lust, Caution cover 1

Lust, Caution is not short of being another master-piece by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) than it is another one of his controversial films (Brokeback Mountain). FYI, the films aforementioned have both won an OscarLust, Caution has a long list of nominations and awards itself. Its to no surprise that the espionage thriller (and perhaps erotic) film was based on a novella — by Elieen Chang whom is known for her love-tension fiction.

lust, caution 2007 pic 1

The movie itself is quite long, so the “caution” and “lust” is quite drawn out. The word erotic is often tagged to Lust, Caution for its ‘explicit sex scenes’.  Aside from being a captivating erotic melodrama about forbidden love, its an espionage thriller of great proportion. In the context of a Japanese occupied Shanghai, its actually quite epic.

Full plot (spoiler, don’t even read it, just watch)

“…the story of a group of patriotic Chinese students who hatch a plot to assassinate the Japanese-allied intelligence chief in World War II-era Shanghai.” (Movie247)

English trailer

“An espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai, in which a young woman, Wang Jiazhi, gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure, Mr. Yee.” (IMDb)

Starring: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai // Tang Wei // Joan Chen // Leehom Wang

Full reviews: Guardian // Rotten Tomatoes // indieLondon // MonkeyPeaches // Mvhit // Gypsyscribe // Sex and the University // Etheriel Musings // NY Times // Telegraph

aparoo’s words: provocative, drama, romance, espionage, thriller, suspense, explicit, erotic, love, lust, passion, sex, politics, revolution, oppression, freedom, war

aparoo says: 5/5

Stream: YouTube (HD)