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The Uchouten Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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The Uchouten Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Written and directed by Mitani Koki (Welcome Back Mr. McDonald, Our House, University Of Laughs), this film is a rollercoaster farcical comedy, set in a grand, five star hotel on New Year's Eve. A collection of assorted characters check in over the course of the evening, crossing paths and ensuring chaos ensues, but all is resolved by the explosively frantic conclusion.

It is the end of the year and deputy hotel manager Shindo (Yakusho Koji - Shall We Dance?, Lorelei) has a deer research association's Man Of The Year dinner to organize, a press conference with a prominent politician taking place, not to mention the New Year countdown party. Add these to all the ordinary little emergencies that take place on a daily basis in a hotel of this size and tonight is going to be a busy one. Coping with misspelt banners, missing ducks and a call girl who seems adamant to get past security is one thing, but when his head bell hop says he wants to quit, a housemaid is mistaken for a rich guest's mistress and is whisked off to a secret rendezvous, the night is guaranteed to be a memorable one. And that's before even considering the guests!

Co-starring Toda Keiko (Quill), Shinahara Ryoko (Kamikaze Girls), Katori Shingo, Matsu Takako (The Hidden Blade), and Sato Koichi (Aegis) - to name but a few - The Uchouten Hotel is a riotous mix of comedy and drama, filled with oddball characters and implausible situations that make for a thoroughly entertaining stay.

© 2006-2024 Ltd. All rights reserved. This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Technical Information

Product Title: The Uchouten Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) The 有頂天Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (日本版 - 英文字幕) The 有顶天Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (日本版 - 英文字幕) THE有頂天ホテル スタンダード・エディション The Uchouten Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Matsu Takako | Yakusho Koji | Katori Shingo | Shinohara Ryoko | Toda Keiko | Sato Koichi | Aso Kumiko | Harada Mieko | Odagiri Joe | Terajima Susumu | YOU | Namase Katsuhisa | Kadono Takuzo | Kajiwara Zen | Ishii Masanori | Kabira Jay | Asano Kazuyuki | Karasawa Toshiaki | Nishida Toshiyuki | Ito Shiro | Tsugawa Masahiko | Kondo Yoshimasa 松隆子 | 役所廣司 | 香取慎吾 | 篠原涼子 | 戶田惠子 | 佐藤浩市 | 麻生久美子 | 原田美枝子 | 小田切讓 | 寺島進 | YOU | 生瀨勝久 | 角野卓造 | Kajiwara Zen | 石井正則 | Kabira Jay | 淺野和之 | 唐澤壽明 | 西田敏行 | 伊藤四朗 | 津川雅彥 | 近藤芳正 松隆子 | 役所广司 | 香取慎吾 | 篠原凉子 | 户田惠子 | 佐藤浩市 | 麻生久美子 | 原田美枝子 | 小田切让 | 寺岛进 | YOU | 生濑胜久 | 角野卓造 | Kajiwara Zen | 石井正则 | Kabira Jay | 浅野和之 | 唐泽寿明 | 西田敏行 | 伊藤四朗 | Tsugawa Masahiko | 近藤芳正 松たか子 | 役所広司 | 香取慎吾 | 篠原涼子 | 戸田恵子 | 佐藤浩市 | 麻生久美子 | 原田美枝子 | オダギリジョー | テラジマススム | YOU | 生瀬勝久 | 角野卓造 | 梶原善 | 石井正則 | 川平慈英 | 浅野和之 | 唐沢 寿明 | 西田敏行 | 伊藤四朗 | 津川雅彦 | 近藤芳正 마츠 타카코 | Yakusho Koji | Katori Shingo | 시노하라 료코 | Toda Keiko | Sato Koichi | Aso Kumiko | Harada Mieko | 오다기리 죠 | Terajima Susumu | YOU | Namase Katsuhisa | Kadono Takuzo | Kajiwara Zen | Ishii Masanori | Kabira Jay | Asano Kazuyuki | Karasawa Toshiaki | Nishida Toshiyuki | Ito Shiro | Tsugawa Masahiko | Kondo Yoshimasa
Director: Mitani Koki 三谷幸喜 三谷幸喜 三谷幸喜 Mitani Koki
Release Date: 2006-08-11
Publisher Product Code: TDV-16174D
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Duration: 136 (mins)
Publisher: Toho
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004306588

Product Information

タイトル:THE有頂天ホテル スタンダード・エディション





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This film has received 11 award nomination(s).
  • Japan Academy Prize 2007
    • Picture of the Year Nomination
    • Director of the Year Nomination, Mitani Koki
    • Screen Play of the Year Nomination, Mitani Koki
    • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Nomination, Yakusho Koji
    • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Nomination, Sato Koichi
    • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing Nomination, Ueno Soichi
    • Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Nomination, Taneda Yohei
    • Outstanding Achievement in Music Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Recording Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction Nomination
All Award-Winning Asian Films

YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Uchouten Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

View Professional Review:
May 10, 2006

Although he's only directed three films (All About Our House, Radio Jikan/Welcome Back, Mr. Donald, The Uchouten Hotel) and one TV movie, Mitani Koki has established himself very well within the Japanese film industry. A writer, first and foremost - perhaps Japan's most famous comedy playwright - he penned stage plays and drama serials through the early to mid-nineties before pursuing directing and then returning to the small screen, with his most prolific written work being Shinsengumi from 2004. That year also saw him churn out the script for Mamoru Hosi's magnificent University of Laughs, a brilliantly well-drawn satire on Japan's unforgiving censorship laws throughout the second world war. The film used two central characters confined to a single room for a duration of two hours to address such absurdities and show us a side of theatre that would all too often pass by. Mitani shows a wonderful flair for dialogue and a gift for spouting infinitely interesting bouts of exposition. He writes about people and how they can affect each other's lives in one way or another, intentionally or not. In The Uchouten Hotel Mitani continues to work much in the same way as the aforementioned film and to a large degree his television series by multiplying his numbers and ensuring undoubtedly his most ambitious film to date.

It's New Year's Eve and the Avanti Hotel is preparing a line up of events for the big occasion. Accommodation Manager Shindo Heikichi (Yakusho Koji) and his assistant Yabe (Toda Keiko) are busy seeing to it that guests are being comfortably checked in to their suites, while events manager Seo (Namase Katsuhisa) is trying to oversee the Stag Directors Association which is awarding "Man of the Year" to Professor Hotta (Kadono Takuzo). Incidentally, it just so happens that he's been having an illicit affair with an elusive call-girl named Yoko (Shinohara Ryoko) who has tracked him down at the hotel and is pestering guests with naked dancing photos of him that she keeps stored on her mobile phone, which Hotta naturally worries will see to him losing face. Meanwhile, a press conference looms for the corrupt Mutoda (Sato Koichi) who has some big news pertaining to a recent scandal, but is currently going through a guilt trip, experiencing self-doubt and questioning the point of such an event. Also set to arrive is popular entertainer Zenbu Tokogawa (Nishida Toshiyuki) who promises a grand old time for all, but seems a tad unstable in the mental department.

Elsewhere in the hotel the staff and other guests are beginning to have problems of their own. The curious Avanti chairman (Sato Koichi) takes off with magician Jose Kochi's (Terajima Susumu) face paint and subsequently goes into hiding, while room maid Hana (Matsu Takako) finds herself under interrogation from the son (Yoshimasa Kondo) of a wealthy businessman (Tsugawa Masahiko) when she gets mistaken for his mistress after trying on her clothes. Meanwhile, her friend Mutsuko (Horiuchi Keiko) is trying to do her job but the hotel porter Tange (Jay Kabira) constantly tries to have a moment alone with her so that he can profess his undying love. And then there's the bellboy Kenji (Katori Shingo) who has just quit his job at the hotel because he's come to the realisation that he'll never make it as a singer and he should perhaps go home and start a new life for himself. When his friend Naomi (Aso Kumiko), a stewardess, arrives at the hotel, she tells him that he can't give up his dream. But before he can make his decision, he is called into action one last time as the staff begin to struggle under heavy pressure. Things are about to go from bad to worse when faulty banners arrive, several entertainers cause havoc, reputations are challenged and a duck named Rub-A-Duck runs loose at the hotel of ecstasy.

The premise of The Uchouten Hotel is relatively simple, being set in the space of one evening with everybody working together in unison to achieve success; meanwhile guests come and go and things are thrown into disarray. Mitani takes such simplicity and relishes the opportunity to create havoc with it. Clearly he's a fan of Edmund Goulding's pleasant Grand Hotel from 1932 - based upon Vicki Baum's play - starring Greta Garbo; in fact, he pays the highest of respects by having the Hotel Avanti knitted out in a similar fashion, with star-studded names gracing room doors and suites containing mini-posters of said film. It's all very quirky and self referential and old blueprints provide Mitani with several options, but he takes on a sheer insane approach from which he never looks back. Situational comedy proves to be his forte here, with the characters being the sole reason to get into the whole ordeal. It even harks back to television shows such as Fawlty Towers, replete with crazy shenanigans and painfully embarrassing confrontations, so effective that we're left to wonder what these people will do next or how they'll get themselves out of sticky situations. Trouble is that they hilariously keep digging themselves bigger holes. The westernised approach to some of his work is most interesting and he's branched out in other areas in the past, having also based his first movie script Gentle 12 on Reginald Rose's 12 Angry Men, another major influence on his career.

Despite a running time of two hours and fifteen minutes, The Uchouten Hotel moves along at breakneck speed. Mitani might not have an extensive directorial background but he knows his way around a camera. The situations that he presents might well easily be captured by simple methods, but the director presents us with a fully breathing environment. The hotel feels alive, with no end of bustling and busy people, as scenes seamlessly converge and transitions come quick. Mitani's camera moves gracefully throughout the impressive looking hotel, while even the more intimate moments provide equally as much depth, with a great deal of one take situations; all this of course stems from his days in theatre where he is all too used to similar methods.

In keeping with the theatrical style of The Uchouten Hotel, Mitani has brought in a fantastic ensemble cast of seasoned veterans, familiar character actors, and rising talents. The list of people is huge - perhaps the best cast of the year - and Mitani skillfully weaves memorable character arcs for each one despite the complications that ensue. Those more familiar with Mitani's television work will spot several regulars, many of whom worked together on Shinsengumi, including Ito Shiro in a magical performance as the hotel chairman, decked out in white face paint; Sato Koichi trying to hold it together as a corrupt politician; Toda Keiko as Shindo's loyal assistant, Odagiri Joe (almost unrecognisable as the in-house caligrapher) and SMAP's Katori Shingo. Headlining is Yakusho Koji of Shall We Dance and University of Laughs (perhaps more familiar to many viewers for his turn in Memoirs of a Geisha) fame who is the perfect embodiment of a man insecure in his own ways. Authoritative and proud, his character takes an interesting journey as unforeseen events get the better of him, though certainly not his imagination. Special mention goes to Kadono Takuzo as Mr. Hotto (a.k.a. Snakeman), who is at the hotel to receive his "Man of the Year" award. As we discover, he has the odd skeleton in the closet and this evening's events are about to shake up his reputation big time. Kadono is really put through the paces and serves up a class performance as an easily manipulated, hooker-addicted buffoon who gradually descends into madness, all in the most hilarious of ways.

But these men are carried by so many great players, who have small but essential roles. TRICK's Namase Katsuhisa gets a valuable turn as events manager Seo, acting as a counter-balance to Shindo's calm authority, with Mitani also allowing him opportunities to show off his range of comedic skills. Western viewers might also recognise a few faces; YOU from 2004's Nobody Knows puts in another oddball appearance, this time as wannabe Jazz singer Sakura Cherry with which she does wonders; her vacant facial expressions and squeaky voice being highly deceptive until the final pay off. The brilliant Terajima Susumu turns up to entertain as a struggling magician, while Shinohara Ryoko lights up the screen with her evasive antics. Jay Kabira and Ishii Masanori do wonders with their characters of the hotel porter and hotel detective respectively, while Matsu Takako and Horiuchi Keiko breath plenty of life into their room maid roles. Almost stealing the show, however, is the legendary Nishida Toshiyuki as Zenbu "Maestro" Tokugawa. Nishida has had some up and down health problems over the years, but he's always bounced back more energetic than ever. As usual he puts his all into the role of a famous singer who finds himself struggling to come to terms with aging and losing inspiration; a backstage glance at the troubles of a performer who everyone believes is perfect. The actor perfectly balances hilarious comedy and light drama in a truly memorable performance. The most obscure honour goes to voice actor Yamadera Koichi - famed for his roles in Cowboy Bebop, Captain Harlock, Ranma ½ and Ghost in the Shell - as Rub-A-Dub the duck, the other member of a ventriloquist duo.

With all of his comical moments hitting every mark, Mitani still finds time to make a point of it all. Much like University of Laughs, he leaves us with a simple and kind message, which ends on a breezy, uplifting note. Both this and his previous screenplay University of Laughs offers the viewer a glimmer of hope as it tells us to simply be ourselves. Ordinarily I might find this kind of approach somewhat tiring and Mitani certainly pushes it upon the viewer several times, and yet it doesn't feel forced, instead rather sincere. The characters in The Uchouten Hotel represent characteristics in all of us and that makes it a wholly involving experience: deceit, vanity, pride, dreams and ambitions - a spectrum of human emotion and flaws that ultimately conveys to us that we should be true to ourselves. A chain of events occur in which two dozen characters - which amazingly never feels convoluted - affect the lives of one another. That's what reality is and that's what Mitani superbly captures: humanity in its simplest forms, despite some unlikely and considerably loopy scenarios.

Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio The Uchouten Hotel looks gorgeous. Slight edge enhancement quibbles aside (and it is very little to worry about) this is a damn fine release from DVD Toho, which offers a great amount of detail, deep blacks and good contrast levels. Colours are natural across the board, with nice skin tones and primary colours maintaining consistency throughout, with no bleeding or garish qualities, while the hotel aesthetics offer pleasing auburn and cream shades which give it that nice classic feel.

Sound options consist mainly of a 5.1 surround track, with an audio commentary in 2.0. Things sound great on the main surround front. This is a very talkie piece and it's nice to hear solid directionality, with the central speakers catering for much of the dialogue, while Honma Yousuke's infectious score is gracefully carried through to the surrounds. Here he provides another superb, cheery score that consists of a little classical, swing and jazz.

Optional English subtitles are included and come across clear and punctual, with just one or two very slight errors early on.

Mitani Koki and Fuji Television presenter Aya Takashima - who plays the screaming woman - offers up their thoughts on an audio commentary, while the rest of the bonus material consists of theatrical trailers, TV Spots and announcements. As usual there are no subtitles for the commentary track, which is a great shame as it comes across as being very lively and fun.

The Uchouten Hotel proves to be yet another triumph for Mitani Koki, delivering intelligence, sharp wit and hilarious visual gags, spurred on by a dedicated cast of wonderful faces. A superb presentation all round for one of this year's best films.

by Kevin Gilvear - DVD Times

May 10, 2006

This professional review refers to The Uchouten Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Special Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
A dazzling fusion of east and west, Mitani Koki's The Uchouten Hotel - the follow up to his acclaimed University of Laughs - opens up with a title sequence that would've been right at home in a 60s era Sherwood Schwarz production before spinning off into a high energy, multi-stranded comedy of manners that could easily have come from Robert Altman were Altman a good-natured Japanese. Set in the curiously anachronistic Avanti Hotel the film takes its enormous and diverse cast of characters through one madcap New Year's Eve with Yakusho Koji as the suave assistant hotel manager/ring leader.

It is New Year's Eve and the high class Avanti Hotel is finishing up the final preparations for their annual New Year's bash. Complicating matters are the incorrect party banners, the simultaneous Man of the Year banquet for a group of - wait for it - deer fertility enthusiasts, and the presence of a disgraced senator hiding out from the ravenous press corps who have gotten word of his presence. Add to the mix a renegade duck, a persistent prostitute, an ex-wife, a would be lover, a temperamental diva, and the usual assortment of broken hopes and bright new plans that accompany New Year's everywhere and you begin - just begin - to get a picture of what's going on. At the center of it all is Yakusho as Shindo, the casually competent assistant manager dancing from crisis to crisis, keeping all of the plates spinning.

A smart, light piece of entertainment with a dazzling array of rich characters and situations, the joy of a film like The Uchouten Hotel is the grace of its construction and director Mitani is an absolute master when it comes to juggling multiple plotlines and characters, the points of intersection seemingly casual and random but paying off handsomely as the film progresses. The cast is huge with a mix of well known - Yakusho, Terajima Susumu, an almost unrecognizable Odagiri Joe - and unfamiliar faces, and Mitani excels at giving each of his players distinct personalities and parts to play as the film progresses. He shifts easily from straight comedy to more dramatically tinged moments and equally easily between the different classes of the hotel.

This is the sort of film that, once upon a time, built Hollywood. It is constructed with style and class, geared to clever dialogue, smooth characters, subtle slapstick and just a touch of the absurd. The men are handsome, the women beautiful, and manners still count for something. It is a welcome throwback to the days when 'adult' meant 'sophisticated' rather than 'smutty'. It shows the same sense of observational humor laced with gentle satire that earned University of Laughs such high praise but on a much larger scale, with much higher character ambitions. Mitani is a writer's director, an occurrence so rare these days that it would be sure to set him apart from the crowd even if he were not such a damn good one.

The recent Japanese DVD gives you exactly what you would expect: an excellent transfer in the proper ratio with flawless English subtitles. The basic reality of the international DVD market today is that local companies are only interested in Asian titles that fall in either the high arthouse category or, preferably, the twisted and transgressive. This film falls into neither of these camps, which means that it is exceedingly unlikely to ever find a home outside of Japan. Don't let that deter you. It is well worth seeking out.

by Todd Brown -

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

Customer Review of "The Uchouten Hotel (Suite Dreams) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (2)

See all my reviews

September 16, 2007

Highly Entertaining! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
From Koki Mitani comes The Uchouten Hotel, a tremendously entertaining, all-star comedy of the highest order. It's New Year's Eve, and the Avanti Hotel must prepare for a major midnight bash. With the film's midnight deadline looming, hilarity ensues with mistaken identities, tenacious prostitutes, disgraced politicians, inter-office romance, lost loves, and a hard-to-catch duck. With the ever-reliable Koji Yakusho in the lead, you know you're in for a good time.

In addition to creatively adapting elements of Grand Hotel, Koki Mitani injects the film with the pace, wit, and elegance of the golden age of Hollywood. Channeling the likes of Frank Capra's endearing charm and Howard Hawkes' lightning-fast dialog, the film proves to be hilarious, uplifting, and wholly engaging. Highly recommended!
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Best Review
Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews

July 29, 2007

1 people found this review helpful

A true comic gem Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Yakusho Koji leads a stellar cast in the wildly entertaining "Uchouten Hotel", certainly the funniest and perhaps the best film I've seen this year. Inspired by the Hollywood classic, "Grand Hotel", this film weaves together the stories of a vast array of colorful characters into a seamless comic romp. This is life-affirming filmmaking of the highest order.

What makes it work so well is that we see a little bit of ourselves in every character. We laugh at their foibles; we rejoice at their small victories; we root for them through their challenges.

Of course, what makes it work so well also includes the masterful direction and editing of this great film. Putting together a story like this is as intricate as assembling a classic Swiss watch. Everything must work perfectly if the thing is going to work at all. And, believe me, "Uchouten Hotel" ticks along flawlessly, with one uproarious laugh after another.

Very, very highly recommended.
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Best Review
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