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Thread: What Asian Films Have You Been Watching Recently?

  1. #91
    I remember reading Takuma's review of Jailbreakers at his SoC blog and always wanted to check it out. It recently became available with fan subs, so I made a point of watching it. yeah, it's more of a gags and comedy family friendly affair but still entertaining. Btw, Takuma, do you know which film it was that they showed during the prisoners' special movie night when the guards unknowingly were showing some lesbian scene after they switched reels?

    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  2. #92
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    No, I'm not sure which movie it was.

  3. #93
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Honour Among Brothers (Japan, 1966) [TV] - 3.5/5
    Solid ninkyo yakuza film by one of the genre's best directors, Kosaku Yamashita. Unlike some others, Yamashita could usually be relied on to deliver films with good characters. This one stars Saburo Kitajima as swindler who is caught cheating by yakuza movie villain Toru Abe. Owners of the gambling den, honourable yakuzas Hiroki Matsukata and his boss Hideo Murata, put their honour at stake when they decide let him free for three days so that he could meet his mother, whom he has been searching for all his life, while Abe does everything in his power to profit from the situation. A good film with some very powerful moments, and great supporting performance by Koji Tsuruta, although some of the plot twists have since become a bit of a cliché.

    Zatoichi Challenged (1967) [35mm] - 3/5
    An entertaining Zatoichi film with a great final duel. The standard storyline and direction are a little disappointing considering the film was helmed by Kenji Misumi, but this was a common problem with many Zatoichi films.

    Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival (Japan, 1970) [35mm] - 3.5/5
    A fine Zatoichi film that feels like a journey to the long-gone Japan. Great scenery, pretty girls, and better than average characters. The only disappointing aspect is the final duel between Katsu and Tatsuya Nakadai, which is not bad, but should've been better considering the talent involved.

    Side note 1: one of the most beautiful 35mm prints I've ever seen. I could have eaten if for breakfast.
    Side note 2: almost full house, great to see Zatoichi remains very popular.


    Master Night Manipulator: 1000 Women Killer (Japan, 1971) [TV] - 1.5/5
    Playboy Tatsuo Umemiya is a pimp who tricks and blackmails girls into prostitution, and sleeps with all of them, including one blonde gaijin. It's a rather good looking film, but it's a bit difficult to find a reason to care. It's not a comedy, it's not much of a crime film, and it's so mild that it can barely be balled exploitation. It's just a movie about playboy Umemiya. Colourful visuals are the films biggest - and perhaps only - appeal. Original title: Yoru no teihashi: suke chi hitokiri.

    Wild Cop (Japan, 1973) [DVD] - 3/5
    Dirty Harry influenced cop film with Tetsuya Watari as a detective who spends most of his time beating, drugging or suffocating suspects. And when he isn't, he's either giving nasty looks to his superiors or visiting a girl whose boyfriend he killed. Gritty and entertaining, but mostly unexceptional. More action and character development wouldn't have hurt; now the film pales in comparison to Kinji Fukasaku's terrific and somewhat similar Yakuza Graveyard (1976), also starring Watari. The finale is quite memorable, though, with Watari literally crashing into the villains' headquarters with a front loader, and the film is never boring.



    Wild Cop Returns (Japan, 1973) - 3/5
    A slightly superior sequel. There's a great scene early on where cop Watari handcuffs a gangster to his patrol car window, throws the poor man on the roof and then rides back to the station as if there was nothing odd going on. It's scenes like this that make both Wild Cop quite fun to watch, but they also suffer from the lack of characterization and action scenes that aren't quite as stylish as you'd wish (although they are entertaining). The film contains a best insult in recent memory, with Watari calling a certain woman "cockroach bitch".

    Beast Hunt (Japan, 1973) [35mm] - 3.5/5
    A gritty, extremely realistic cop film follows detectives trying to track down a bunch of kidnappers who are holding a company boss for ransom. The film contains some exceptionally intense sequences and scenes that reach a completely unexpected outcome. It's lacking in character development , though, and often trades cinematic thrills for realism. What it does with its material is nevertheless quite impressive. Though not quite as good, it could probably be named as one of the seminal Japanese police films alongside Car 33 Doesn’t Answer (1955) and High and Low (1963).

    The Magic Blade (Hong Kong, 1976) [DVD] - 4/5
    Two swordsmen try to protect a mysterious dart while legions of weir assassins are sent after them. There's a bit of spaghetti western as well as Lone Wolf & Cub vibe to this atmospheric swordsmen-on-the-road film. Despite the title, it is a relatively down to earth affair and doesn't feature the kind of cheesy special effects extravaganza some other Hong Kong fantasy wuxia films do. It's actually a bit too fast paced in some parts; the ending however is truly fantastic. I couldn't help but to think this would've been even more impressive in a theatre in 35mm.

    Shaolin Soccer (Hong Kong, 2001) [DVD] - 1/5
    Wait, this is what we were all getting so excited about 15 years ago? Unwatchable CGI mess with very, very few laughs. I couldn't finish it even by fast forwarding. I don't think I'm going to try re-watching Kung Fu Hustle anytime soon.

    The Lost Virgin (Japan, 2002) [DVD] - 3/5
    Director Toshiki Sato was one of the "Four Heavenly Kings of Pink", who were using the genre to make highly personal films, and whose work often found more appreciation among the arthouse crowds than regular pink audiences. This one is a realistic drama about a single woman who loses her virginity to a no-good guy while in high school, then meets him again 5 years later, and then one more time 10 years later. Though hardly an exceptional film, and the acting isn't all that great, there’s something oddly captivating about its socially conscious depiction of the era and characters. It’s unmistakably a film born between the late 90s / early 2000s pink and indie drama genres. The screenplay was written by Shinji Imaoka.

    Litchi Hikari Club (Japan, 2015) [DCP] - 3.5/5
    Odd, but interesting film by young rising talent Eisuke Naito, who can usually be relied on to deliver something spicy. This one is based on a fantasy/dystopia/horror/boy's love manga following a group of 14 year old boys who are seeking eternal beauty. They build a robot, Litchi, which is programmed to abduct beautiful young girls for them. However, their sexual desires are purely homosexual. The film is being largely marketed for female audiences with its popular "boy's love" theme - indeed, there were quite a few high school girls in the audience - while director Naito is what you'd label as "violence director". There isn't so much violence in Litchi Hikari Club, but when the violence hits, it's incredibly juicy and meaty splatter done without a drop of CGI. Litchi, likewise, is a fantastic steam punk creation brought to life using only practical effects. The characters, beauty seeking, ultra-cool, manga-like gothic boys can be somewhat alienating for many viewers, and their power/love struggle is the film's weakest point. The film also runs a bit too long. But damn if the ending isn't fantastic, and feature one of the greatest "human explosions" ever.

    The Bride of Rip Van Winkle (Japan, 2016) [DCP] - 2.5/5
    Well, this was frustrating. Iwai, the director of such incredibly good films as Swallowtail Butterfly and All About Lily Chou Chou, has gone all Japanese and delivered a melodramatic tear fest. Without going into spoilers, it has us follow a naive girl putting her trust in the wrong people. All for the sake of tears, and then some more tears. The film also deals with family rental, something Sion Sono did much better in Noriko's Dinner Table a decade ago, and cyberspace, something Iwai did much better more than a decade ago in All About Lily Chou Chou. It's all the more disappointing because it's not a bad film. It looks and feels Iwai; not Iwai at his best but Iwai nonetheless, and it's very, very well acted by lead star Haru Kuroki. The three hour running time isn't a problem at all either. The shorter 2 hour cut would probably be best avoided as I can only imagine it emphasizing the weaknesses and cutting out much what is good about the film. As a director Iwai still seems worthwhile, but as a writer, what happened?
    Last edited by Takuma; 05-05-2016 at 03:19 AM.

  4. #94
    An Andalusian Dog enandalusiskhund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takuma View Post
    Now that is one snazzy looking dude! Thanks for the reviews, Takuma. I love reading about obscure Japanese cinema I'll never get to see.
    Kristi kraft betvingar dig

  5. #95
    I caught Yoshitaro Nomura's 1965 movie, THE SCARLET CAMELLIA earlier. Didn't enjoy it as much as his other more "film noir" works but Shinoda muse, Shima Iwashita certainly put on a masterful performance & captures every nuance as an avenging femme fatale.
    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  6. #96
    Kureyoshi Kurahara - ANTARTICA (1983)

    I'm not a real animal lover but you have to be soulless to not shed some tears after watching this one. I read the 'real' Taro & Jiro huskies are stuffed an on display at some museum in Hokkaido.
    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  7. #97
    Great reviews, Takuma.

    I want to see BEAST HUNT and the WILD COP films.

  8. #98
    Herman Yau - FROM THE QUEEN TO THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE (2001)

    Yau's take on the aftermath of the justice meted out in the infamous Braemer Hill double murders which rocked HK in the mid-80s.
    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  9. #99
    I caught Daniel Lee's 1998 film, TILL DEATH DO US PART & quite a depressing movie from start to finish but it sure made me appreciate Anita Yuen all the more. Also watched Yoshihiro Nakamura's, THE SNOW WHITE MURDER CASE. Maybe my fave Nakamura movie since GOLDEN SLUMBER. Whatever the case, Nakamura is definitely one of my top 5 favorite contemporary directors.
    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

  10. #100
    Caught a quadruple bill earlier today...first up was Noboru Tanaka's 1980 roman porno, HARD SCANDAL: SEX DRIFTER...





    Next up Iranian director/photographer, Amir Naderi's homage to Japanese cinema called CUT.



    Next on the list was a short experimental film by Isamu Hirabayashi which follows a fictional SDF(?) member walking along the path of destruction left by the great Tohoku earthquake/tsumani.




    Last was probably the most interesting of all -- Kazuo Hara's searing & intensely personal documentary about his rebellious ex-bar girl gf, Miyuki in EXTREME PRIVATE EROS: LOVE SONG (1974). The onscreen birth was harrowing viewing for sure!

    "only the simplest can accommodate the most complex"

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