Is Takashi Miike’s “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney” the “Scott Pilgrim” of Japanese cinema?

Is Takashi Miike’s “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney” the “Scott Pilgrim” of Japanese cinema? (photo)

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While I’m a fairly big video gamer, I never owned a Nintendo DS, and because of that, I never really got a chance to play one of the system’s most unique titles, 2005’s “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.” Combining both touchscreen and microphone support, “Phoenix Wright” allowed you to play as an ambitious defense attorney, navigating through investigations and trials as you attempted to absolve a series of rotating clients. The game was highly praised for its innovative gameplay and its ability to bring a true crime drama to a handheld device.

Back in June we told you that acclaimed director Takashi Miike was set to direct the Japanese adaptation of “Phoenix,” and now we have the first trailer. While there are no English subtitles, one thing is clear: Miike is determined to integrate the game’s fundamental look and feel into his film. Graphics flutter across the screen and the characters’ exaggerated expressions have all transitioned their way to the movie.

All that immediately raises comparisons to another genre film, last year’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” Director Edgar Wright won fan raves by sticking to much of the comic book’s original essence and adding in substantial video game elements, such as sound effects, graphics and quick cuts that simulated comic panels.

Miike’s “Phoenix Wright” does resemble “Pilgrim” — at least the trailer does — which raises the question: can his film succeed where Edgar Wright failed? Much of what made diehard fans love “Scott Pilgrim” — all those aforementioned nods to the source material — managed to turn off regular audiences, and the film was a high-profile box office bomb. Obviously Miike is dealing with a different audience, but “Scott Pilgrim” died a quick death in Japan as well. Was that because they didn’t know the comic book? Or were they as turned off by the filmmaking style as American audiences?

We don’t know yet how representative the trailer is of the rest of the film, but Miike is walking the same tightrope as Edgar Wright. He does have more things working for him, though. The Japanese market is obviously much smaller than North America, meaning if even a fraction of those who purchased the games turn out to theaters, it could be enough to float the film. Also, the Japanese public as a whole is more technology-geared than Americans and the country also houses two of the largest console makers, meaning a movie that plays up its video game roots could be accepted more readily.

Overall though, the movie’s success will probably boil down to whether it tells a good story. But as Edgar Wright found out, sometimes wrapping that story around a completely faithful ode to the source material could spell the difference between a film’s life and death.

Let us know your thoughts on the “Phoenix Wright” movie in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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