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Special Actors (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region A

Kitaura Ayu (Actor) | Ueda Shinichiro (Director, Writer)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

One Cut of the Dead director Ueda Shinichiro returns with another inventive comedy for his sophomore effort Special Actors! Like his first film, Ueda's second solo feature is filled with an unpredictable makeshift spirit and infectious passion for performance and filmmaking. Special Actors rounds up a mostly no-name cast to play characters developed with the actors through an extensive workshop.

Kazuto (Osawa Kazuto) is a nervous, struggling actor who especially loves a superhero movie of his childhood. But he's unlikely to become a superhero himself given his pesky habit of fainting under pressure. One day, Kazuto runs into his estranged brother (Kono Hiroki), who recruits him into the Special Actors agency. Special Actors dispatches actors like Kazuto to orchestrate and act out elaborate scenarios for clients in the real world – in other words, con jobs. When he's cast to save a schoolgirl's family from a cult, Kazuto finally has the chance to become Rescueman.

This edition comes with trailer and music video.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Special Actors (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 茄哩啡事務所 (2019) (Blu-ray) (香港版) 茄哩啡事务所 (2019) (Blu-ray) (香港版) スペシャル アクターズ Special Actors (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Also known as: 特殊演員 / 特約經紀公司 特殊演员 / 特约经纪公司
Artist Name(s): Kitaura Ayu (Actor) 北浦愛 (Actor) 北浦爱 (Actor) 北浦愛 (Actor) | 大澤数人 (Actor) | 河野宏紀 (Actor) | 富士たくや (Actor) Kitaura Ayu (Actor)
Director: Ueda Shinichiro 上田慎一郎 上田慎一郎 上田慎一郎 Ueda Shinichiro
Writer: Ueda Shinichiro 上田慎一郎 上田慎一郎 上田慎一郎 Ueda Shinichiro
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2020-08-07
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition What is it?
Sound Information: Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM)
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Rating: IIA
Duration: 110 (mins)
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1094469818

Product Information

* Special Feature:
- Trailer
- Music Video

"Kazuto is not a typical actor... actually, he's not an actor at all!
He's just a timid young guy who regularly faints from stress, hopelessly impressed with the psychic strength of the Rescueman B-movie hero. Or perhaps Kazuto is actually... Somehow Kazuto ends up being a key 'Player' in a real life drama in which a young woman, Rina, is brainwashed and stops talking. She is about to transfer the family inn to the heartless 'Rice Ball' cult! Her sister, Yumi, desperately asks the Special Actors to help. A complex plan is devised, and everything depends upon... Kazuto!? Various aspiring actors gives it their all as they play their roles on the ultimate stage of everyday life. Just when you think you understand who is who and what is what, an unbelievable twist!"
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

Other Versions of "Special Actors (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Special Actors (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

August 31, 2020

Put yourself in the shoes of director Ueda Shinichiro for a minute. Your low-budget zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead has just become the most profitable film in the history of Japanese cinema. The anticipation for your next film is sky-high. How will you meet those expectations? Should you take advantage of your newfound clout and make a film with a sizable budget?

Believe it or not, Ueda chose not to go down that route just yet. After writing and co-directing low-budget caper Aesop's Game with two fellow indie directors, Ueda sticks to his roots for Special Actors, another low-budget comedy that he had committed to before the commercial success of One Cut of the Dead. Though it's missing the bravura twists of Ueda's breakout hit, Special Actors retains enough of its predecessor's joy and almost scrappy charm.

Like One Cut and a number of other Japanese indie films, Special Actors was shaped through workshops with his actors. Ueda first picked 15 actors from a nationwide audition. After gathering the actors' ideas for a plot, Ueda wrote the screenplay with roles that are tailor-made for the actors. Ueda chose Osawa Kazuto (only in his fourth acting role in ten years) as his hero, also named Kazuto, a security guard who is so timid that he faints whenever he gets nervous. Every night, Kazuto returns home and loses himself in the superhero tokusatsu series that he's been obsessed with since he was a child. After losing his job, Kazuto runs into his estranged brother, Hiroki (Kawano Hiroki), who tells Kazuto that he now works as an actor for a talent agency named Special Actors.

However, Special Actors is no ordinary agency. Its elite creative team, which includes a scriptwriter and an acting coach, sends actors to create situations that serve the clients' needs. These range from fake guests at a wedding to playing a molester so that a nerdy salaryman can play the hero in front of his girlfriend. When he learns that Kazuto is out of a job, Hiroki invites him to join the team.

The rent-your-fantasy-fulfillment/do-it-all agency idea has already been done in films such as Iwai Shunji's A Bride For Rip Van Winkle, but Ueda's focus on the creators rather than the clients creates likely intentional comparison to how a film crew puts together a film production. Like One Cut, Special Actors is a humorous and heartfelt ode to the process of playing pretend and make believe. This is especially apparent when the film's main plot kicks in: When the owner of a family-owned hotel is believed to be under the influence of a cult, the owner's younger sister hires the agency to expose them before they take over the hotel. What follows is an elaborate but low-tech caper in which the agency uses every trick in their book to put together an elaborate production that will delegitimize the cult.

Using a more straightforward caper narrative than One Cut's two-hander structure, Ueda finds humor in the cult's absurd merchandising (the cult's logo is shaped like a riceball) and his characters' blunders. Like his previous film, Special Actors is about how his protagonists fulfill their potential and save the day. The stakes aren't particularly high, and the happy ending isn't very hard to guess, but the joy of watching Special Actors is the creative and often hilarious ways that Ueda's twist-filled script uses to take his audience to the inevitable.

While its low budget would be a challenge for most filmmakers, Ueda seems to embrace a pared-down aesthetic that lends the film a folksy, do-it-yourself charm that will inspire aspiring filmmakers all over the world. The inconsistent performances of Ueda's cast can hurt the film at times, as one can expect on a film featuring amateur actors, but it's hard to not to fall under the spell of Ueda's zany creativity and enthusiasm for filmmaking.

by Kevin Ma

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.
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