Movie Review: Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) — Japanese Documentary

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

What is perfection? I don’t know. But the road to perfection is a delicate combination of passion and dedication that can only be carved with a sashimi knife. If anyone knows about the road to perfection its Jiro Ono the legendary sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro. You don’t have to be a chef or even a sushi lover to appreciate this documentary. ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi‘ will definitely have any movie goer dreaming of sushi.


The film goes deep into Jiro’s world; his world of sushi. Its really a lifestyle bio as it draws on a man’s past upbringing and looks towards his future ambitions. As an 85-year old with one son managing a sister restaurant and another son under his watch preparing to take the reigns, Jiro is still perfecting his craft. With a compelling score and crisp cinematography, the documentary highlights various aspects in the art of sushi from vendors to apprentices.


About the Film

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar.

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world and as a loving yet complicated father. (Magnolia Pictures)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a whole-picture type of documentary. Another good watch featuring Jiro is from the TV show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Travel Channel). This clip focuses on the ‘perfectly timed, 15 courses in 20 minutes’ which is infamously known as the best sushi meal in the world:

Directed by: David Gelb

Reviews: Rotten Tomatoes // The Globe & Mail // The New Yorker

Official Facebook page

aparoo says 5/5, watching this documentary the first time was depressing for me because I wish I was aware of Jiro and his sushi back in 2007 when I visited Japan.

Stream: YouTube

Image source: // Magnolia Pictures

Movie Review: An Assassin [Asashin] (2011) – Japanese Movie

Asashin,  An Assassin

An Assassin‘ (Asashin) is director Go Ohara‘s latest action film that can also be tagged as a Japanese film noir. With an underworld backdrop and a typical assassin plot (mistake, girl, destiny, survive) there is not much to be offered by the story. — Especially with what seems to be either an underdeveloped script or an attempt to show silence and brute force. The silence is mostly from weak dialogue with long pauses and long close-ups with extended facial expressions. This causes any emitted emotion from the scenes to simply wither away and make you wait, what seems like forever, til the next cut scene.

“Human drama that arises between a ‘Pitiless assassin’ and ‘One high school girl’. A fierce friendship with the one who risked his life.” (IMDb)

Japanese trailer (Twitch)

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But with all that, there are still some redeeming qualities to the film. For example, I only realised when “France” was mentioned the second time why the score was French strings. There are other symbolic gestures throughout the film which give it a raw-noir feel instead of simply a low budget and small production feel. More so, the low budget and small production is a notable element of the film adding to the raw-noir feel (as I call it) because it was filmed entirely at night in Sendai Miyagia, a famous shrine grove. Even the overzealous gun play and frequent cigarette smoking grows on the viewer as the film progresses. I know we all want guns that don’t have to be reloaded..

an assassin 3

Starring: Ryoma Baba //Sayuri Iwata // Yuki Kubota // Hassei Takano
Written by: Kubota Hiroyasu // Go Ohara

aparoo’s words: action, film noir, underworld, assassin, righteousness, romance, brotherhood, loyalty, fight, survive

aparoo says 3/5

Stream: Dramacrazy
Download: Asia Torrents

Movie Review: Tokyo Sonata (2008) – Japanese Movie

tokyo sonata cover 1

Tokyo Sonata is a melancholic dramedy in a class of it’s own.  Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa‘s sidestep away from bizarre horror flicks plotted him into a bizarre family drama with dark comedy undertones. It’s bizarre but full of intent and controlling of mood and pace, as is his other works. Tokyo Sonata has a conflict of beauty and tension throughout, as it makes a powerful depiction of Japanese society, culture, identity and family. If you thought your family was dysfunctional or even falling apart, think again.

Synopsis // Detailed synopsis

tokyo sonata family

It doesn’t take long to realize that internal and external conflicts associated with each character / family member act as greater destructive catalysts to the family’s make-up. So the viewer is dealing with both individual and greater whole self-destruction. The film has focus on finding ones true self and the forces that may or may not behind it. It also paints a picture of behaviour (and socioeconomics) in contemporary Japan, for better or worse. The characters and family as a whole are a defined parallel to Japan (seen by the Director and many others) as the businessman-father loses his job, the housewife feels a void, the older son is lost and defiant, and the younger son is trying to find his place (with himself and in the world) as he explores his true desires (or tries to).

“An ordinary Japanese family slowly disintegrates after its patriarch loses his job at a prominent company.” (IMDb)

tokyo sonata piano

“This film will portray a very ordinary family in modern Japan. I start from a point where lies, suspicion and a complete breakdown of communication already have established themselves within the family. Without a doubt, this is “modern” and this is also “Japan”. However, I would like to show a glimmer of hope in the end. Can I do that? Even if I could do so, would that be something that saves a conventional family? I just do not know now. Since I do not know, I have a strong desire to make this film.” — Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Director’s Statement)

Reviews: Midnight Eye // Japan Cinema // Rotten Tomatoes

Starring: Teruyuki Kagawa // Kyoko Koizumi // Kai Inowaki // Yu Koyanagi

aparoo’s words: family drama, dark comedy, Japanese society, individual identity, conventionalism

aparoo says 5/5

Download: Asia Torrents

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