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Sunshine Cleaning: to ensure her son can get a good schooling, a struggling mum enters the lucrative, but stomach-turning, crime-scene cleanup business. The best part of this is that it’s fairly funny and upbeat considering the grim subject matter; the characters aid this most, other than the most annoying kid in history – If that was my spawn I’d have beaten him into shape by that age. Emily blunt looks great as an angsty goth, nails the accent and steals the show for me. Amy Adams was solid too – but was clearly during her ‘must have a scene in my underwear’ phase. Chloe form 24 once again plays her bread and butter TOTAL WEIRDO role – needs to diversify! The direction and story are both simple and effective, although it goes a little off-chorus in the final third, but enough groundwork was put in at the start to give this a nice indie sleeper-hit feel to it. Sunshine Cleaning cleverly walks the line between funny and serious, and successfully avoids become farcical or gloomy.

Score: 6/10

JAPANORAMA - SF WASABI RICE BANNERJAPANORAMA Jiro Dreams of Sushi,  Sukiyabashi Jiro, JAPANORAMA Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Sushi Pieces, Roppongi Hills, Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono

Jiro dreams of Sushi: documentary exploring the life of 85-year-old sushi master and his modest, Michelin 3-star restaurant. Being the titular character, it is mostly centered around Jiro, who is an intriguing person with an admirable lifelong passion & pursuit to continually improve and create sushi dishes that get as close to perfection as possible. It’s interesting that his suppliers also had an emphasis on mastering their craft and techniques. We see Jiro as a worker, businessman and parent – although you couldn’t help but feel for the elder son, having such a great legacy towering over him, and such large geta shoes to fill! Some of the shots are absolutely sushi-porn, if you have a taste for the stuff there’s no way you’ll survive this without an appetite by the end – more generally, the whole film’s well shot with some nice use of tilt-shift/time-lapse etc to break up the indoor interviews. What’s more interesting than the sushi aspect is the insight into Japanese traditions (like eldest son stepping up to father’s job) and general work ethic and wisdom of someone with a lifetime of experience. We see a lot of scaling, peeling, slicing, gutting, massaging, pasting… for something that simple, it’s intriguing to see how much work, thought and preparation goes in to it. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a really good documentary, but it never really goes anywhere due to he micro nature of the subject – he opens talking about striving for perfection, and closes in a similar manner.

Score: 7/10

JAPANORAMA Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Sushi Pieces, Roppongi Hills, Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono