What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Film Reviews and Release Comparisons
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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The Last Hero (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 1.5/5
Film producer / narcotics criminal / Haruki Kadokawa’s directorial debut is a motorbike racing movie with an overdose of 1980’s aesthetics. The film follows its yuppie hero swimming naked in private pool, lifting weights, walking around his house bare-assed while drinking wine, and trying to decide which tuxedo to wear tonight – all in one montage scene with Rosemary Butler’s Ridin’ High playing on the soundtrack. The film even features an American businesswoman the protagonist can speak broken English with. The racing scenes are wonderfully shot, but the film as a whole is an overlong drivel with uninvolving characters and all the worst 80’s trends.

Score (Japan, 1995) [DVD] – 4/5
V-cinema gone big screen in a B-cinema classic. Atsushi Muroga’s action film shamelessly rips off Reservoir Dogs, throws in John Woo action, and mixes with nonsensical “cool” dialogue. The film lacks a single idea of its own, but it’s incredibly energetic and action packed with non-stop gunplay, explosions and car chases. The cast is a collection of V-cinema tough guys playing Tim Roth look-a-like, Anthony Wong –look-a-like, and a couple of Michael Madsens + and local Filipino stuntmen performing insane stunts. The film is set in Nevada, but the police are driving cars that have Manila’s logos on them!

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See the (German) trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9nsdM8ONNw
Topic: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6584

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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13 Assassins - International Cut (2010-Japan-UK) ***
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Post by grim_tales »

I'd been meaning to see that. Is the Japanese version not English friendly?

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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grim_tales wrote:I'd been meaning to see that. Is the Japanese version not English friendly?
Are they ever?
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think the JP cut has ever been released with subs.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Post by luckystars »

HungFist wrote:I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think the JP cut has ever been released with subs.
Dont think it has but the extra scenes are on the UK (subbed of course)
2010 - The return of the HK movie industry :)
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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There's a pictorial on Movie Censorship and it doesn't look like I missed anything much (least of all the buggering!).
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Post by luckystars »

Markgway wrote:There's a pictorial on Movie Censorship and it doesn't look like I missed anything much (least of all the buggering!).

LOL the ANAL scene added new depth to the film :D
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Post by Markgway »

luckystars wrote:LOL the ANAL scene added new depth to the film :D
I suppose it filled a void...
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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Score 2 (Japan, 1999) [DVD] – 3/5
Actor Hitoshi Ozawa takes over the directing duties in a very passable, though less stylish sequel. The film adds an original storyline and a pair of boobs to the gangster death match set in an amusement park. Solid action non-sense, but lacks some of the outrageousness of the original.

Hakuchû no onna gari (Japan, 1984) [35mm] – 3/5
Three psychotic and heavily armed soldiers engage in woman hunting in a rare Nikkatsu violent pink. Men are executed art sight; women are played with before killing. The roughie is deranged entertainment from the outlaw years of Japanese cinema, but does not reach the level of style and nastiness found in the genre’s best efforts. Compared to Rape! 13th Hour and Whire Rose Campus: And then Everyone Gets Raped, the film is relatively standard stuff. The most memorable moment comes at the end with the fully naked victim grabbing an assault rifle from one of the assaulters. Director Chusei Sone was one of the studio’s most consistently good directors, but he has done much better films than this.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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Love Hotel (Japan, 1985) [35mm] – 4/5
The unexpected pairing between erotic manga author Takashi Ishii and eccentric genius director Shinji Somai resulted in one of the best films ever released under Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno banner. The character drama is full of Somai’s trademark tracking shots, but even more important is Ishii's staggeringly good screenplay. The ending is one of the most beautiful in movie history. The film deservedly cleaned the table at the Yokohama (mainstream) Film Festival: best film, best director, best screenplay, best cinematography, best leading actor and best new actress. Cinematographer Noboru Shinoda later become Shunji Iwai’s frequent collaborator with films like All About Lily Chou Chou. Ishii himself made his own directorial debut Angel Guts: Red Vertigo based on the same storyline.

Rape and Death of a Housewife (Japan, 1978) [35mm] – 3/5
Noboru Tanaka’s docudrama based on true story of three youngsters raping and killing the wife of their newly made friend. Although a Nikkatsu Roman Porno production, the film is a serious coming-of-age drama. It serves as an example of the extraordinary freedom the studio occasionally granted to its most valuable directors, allowing Tanaka tone down the usual sex and sleaze and focus on storyline. Tanaka uses docudrama tools effectively and captures the spirit of the time on film. The cast and characters are also reasonably good, especially Hideo Murota as the victim’s husband. The ending, however, comes somewhat abrupt. With so much build up, a stronger ending would have been sufficient.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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Angel Gust: Red Flash (Japan, 1994) [VHS] – 2/5
A weaker film from Takashi Ishii’s most creative neo noir period. The late entry into the Angel Guts series is not a Nikkatsu production – the Roman Porno series came to an end in 1988. The film is a relatively ambitious pink thriller with heavy psychological undertones, but Ishii has done similar themes with more success before. The director’s trademarks are obvious – as well as those of Brian De Palma – but the storyline comes out messy with all its twists, and Ishii doesn’t reach the level of visual style that could be expected from him.

Mosquito on the 10th Floor (1983) [DVD] – 2/5
Rock star Yuya Uchida plays a piece of shit cop who owes money to everyone but intends to pay no one. ATG-style slow paced misery-drama focusing on dislikeable people who rarely do anything worthwhile. A strong film in its genre, but not my cup of tea. Takeshi Kitano appears in small supporting role.

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The Bicycle Thief Was Bad (Japan, 2006) [DVD] – 1.5/5
A man steals bicycle and travels Japan for 7 days. The indie film comes with some magnificent landscapes, but is so clumsy and pretentiously artistic that even the great images cannot save it. Koji Wakamatsu’s Bicycle Chronicles is a far superior film of the same theme.

Dead Run (Japan, 2005) [DVD] – 3.5/5
Sabu’s gritty youth film falls somewhere between Akihiko Shiota, Ryuichi Hiroki and Shunji Iwai. The film suffers from silly and overly dramatic plot turns, especially when Ren Ohsugi enters the film, but also comes with wonderful moments of fresh air. The beautiful gray look, some wonderful moments in the outdoors and the performances by Yuya Tegoshi and Hanae Kan are spot on. With better screenplay (although Kiyoshi Shigematsu’s original novel is certainly to blame as well) the film could’ve been terrific.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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Evil Ninja (Japan, 2009) [DVD] – 2.5/5
Another standard Seiji Chiba outing, saved by an excellent action design by Yuji Shimomura. The film looks cheap and was shot in the same locations as half of Chiba’s other films, including Kunoichi, Nukenin and Alien vs. Ninja. The screenplay, however, is slightly better than expected, and Shimomura’s action choreography comes with some of the best katana fights in recent Japanese cinema. Chiba’s most famed film Alien vs. Ninja remains in a league of its own, but for a cheaply made V-chambara one could do worse than Evil Ninja.

Irezumi: Spirit of Tattoo (Sekka tomurai zashi) (Japan, 1982) [DVD] – 4/5
An excellent drama starring Tomisaburo Wakayma as an old tattoo artist. He is visited by a beautiful woman who is obsessed with having her back tattooed. The charismatic Wakayama is excellent in his role, supported by detail loving direction by Yoichi Takabayashi. The tattoo scenes are brutally powerful and unique. A beautifully shot and atmospheric film.

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From Here to Nowhere (Japan, 2012) [Yubari Fanta 2013] – 2/5
23 year old Ken Kawai’s road movie is a humoristic coming of age story where no one really comes of age. The good meaning slacker film follows a good-for-nothing boy who meets an eccentric prostitute in Tokyo. The film has its moments, but the style has already been mastered by directors such as Nobuhiro Yamashita and Yuya Ishii. Kawai’s film feels too derivative in comparison, and is weakened by stiff acting. Nevertheless, Kawai and his 24 year old main actors put their hearts into the film and don’t try to fish laughs with loud and childish slapstick. A graphic sex scene comes as a surprise.

Winter’s Alpaca (Japan, 2012) [Yubari Fanta 2013] – 3.5/5
Japanese culture worships anything cute and sweet. It is no wonder Alpaca, the bad smelling mixture of sheep and camel, has become a local favourite. Yuji Harada’s black comedy Winter’s Alpaca casts alpacas in a supporting role in a yakuza blackmail story. The half-hour short film roughly resembles the early comedies of Nobuhiro Yamashita. Drama is well made and humour unexpectedly dark, cleaning the floor with the audiences sympathies. Acting and tech credits are also good enough to raise the film above amateur productions.

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The Savage Five 3.5/5 Enjoyable Shaw Brothers Chang Cheh movie is a simple tale of a town invaded by a gang of outlaws looking for someone to open a safe they'd stolen from a nearby town.great cast, (David Chiang,Ti Lung,Chen-Kuan-Tai,Danny Lee,Frankie Wei etc.) the German BD from TVB is a thing of beauty,marvellous transfer and excellent subtitles. very expensive though.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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Wouldn't mind getting that BD... but it's way out of my price range.

I managed to get New One-Armed Swordsman on a trade (which favoured me).
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

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Markgway wrote:Wouldn't mind getting that BD... but it's way out of my price range.

I managed to get New One-Armed Swordsman on a trade (which favoured me).
yeah they are expensive...i justify it because i don't buy anywhere near the amount of discs i used to (these days i tend to get a lot of stuff by trading in CEX) but as no doubt you'll have reead the same thread over at KFC they are supposedly re-releasing these as plain BD's at a much lower price point.
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saltysam wrote:yeah they are expensive...i justify it because i don't buy anywhere near the amount of discs i used to (these days i tend to get a lot of stuff by trading in CEX) but as no doubt you'll have reead the same thread over at KFC they are supposedly re-releasing these as plain BD's at a much lower price point.
The Mediabooks are very nice - but I would be just as happy with standard packaging if it cost half the price.
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Meatball Machine (Japan, 2005) [DVD] – 3/5
Yudai Yamaguchi’s splatter punk film was originally directed by Junichi Yamamoto based on his late 90’s short film, with creature design by Keita Amemiya. When the production ran out of money, Yamaguchi took with heavy participation by Yoshihiro Nishimura. The result is a slightly underwhelming but relatively entertaining Tetsuo esque mutant battle movie with surprisingly good characters. Nishimura’s main contribution is make-up effects and mutant suits; bloodletting is given less attention.

Reject of Death (Japan, 2006) [DVD] – 4/5
Yoshihiro Nishimura’s spin off short film for Meatball Machine is in some ways more successful than the main feature. The fast paced 10 minute flick is a treat to Nishimura fans, with numerous characters Nishimura would later re-use in films such as Tokyo Gore Police making an appearance. Short in length, Nishimura packs enough gore and special effects to fill five average horror films. Asami and Takashi Shimizu co-star.

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Yukuharu (Japan, 2012) [Sapporo Short Fest] – 2.5/5
Jason Gray’s directorial debut, shot in Tokyo with a Japanese cast. Two elementary school students with a crush on each other share the walk home and discover they know each others’ secrets. The 13 minute short film is very “Japanese” in its colourful and effective visual style contrasting spring (cherry blossom) and fall. The young cast is quite good and the film holds the attention well. Ultimately, however, the film is not quite as successful as it could be. Gray uses music and visual effects to underline moods too much, and the storyline becomes predictable towards the end. Nevertheless, it’s a pleasing small film for the most part.

River (Japan, 2012) [Sapporo Short Fest] – 3.5/5
An interesting psychological short film (23 min) by the potential future promise Ikuro Tomeda. The director combines quiet youth drama and slight mystery, with the emphasis firmly on the former. Above all, the film is a portrayal of alienation and lack of communication between teenage brother and sister. Captivatingly directed, Tomeda cuts the dialogue to the minimum. Cinematography would benefit from better quality digital video, though.

Transferring (Japan, 2012) [Sapporo Short Fest] – 4/5
A beautifully filmed short film follows two alienated high school girls who become friends. The 20 minute film is a Shunji Iwai / Jun Ichikawa esque addition to the distinctly Japanese sub-genre of high school films focusing on friendship between girls. Director Junichi Kanai handles the material as skilfully and delicately as the genre’s masters. Aoi Morikawa, who also starred in this year’s not-so-good Schoolgirl Complex movie adaptation, and Riko Masuda portray the main characters skilfully. Director Kanai has his feature length debut, Yurusenai, aitai (2013) hitting the Japanese theatres later this year. A director to keep an eye on.

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Serpent’s Path (Japan, 1998) [DVD] – 4/5
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s pitch black thriller/comedy follows two men taking revenge against a scum who murdered a child... even though they’re not entirely sure they’ve got the right man. Excellent characters, good screenwriting and minimalist humor make this one of Kurosawa’s best films, despite a poorly executed shootout scene near the end. The film requires patience and concentration – Kurosawa doesn’t explain everything inside out.

Eyes of the Spider (Japan, 1998) [DVD] – 3.5/5
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s slow paced yakuza film first pretends to be a revenge tale, but soon after takes an entirely different direction. The odd film shares some resemblance to Kitano and Miike, but is far more minimalist. Kurosawa’s own, better known but inferior movies Cure and Charisma also make a good comparison. The gray visual look, use of open outdoor locations, and Sho Aikawa’s performance are spot on.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Post by EvaUnit02 »

These are all films that I saw during Madman's Reel Anime 2013 film festival.

Garden of Words - 5/5
Utterly wonderful. Gorgeous animation and a realistic, heart warming love story. Makoto Shinkai A++ Trader, would verb again. I really need to get around to seeing more Shinkai films than this one and Voices of a Distant Star.

Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo - 3.5/5
Just as much of a brain boiler as End of Evangelion. I greatly appreciated the much cleaner storytelling than EoE. Didn't suffer one iota from not having seen Eva 2.0, since it's more or less a continuation of EoE - I've seen the original TV series and EoE many times.

Ghost in the Shell: Arise OVA #1 - 4/5
A faithful reboot to the franchise that left me very satisfied. The narrative cornerstones of GitS are utterly intact:-
  • Solid detective procedural storylines
  • Layered conspiracies
  • Real world relevant political and social commentaries
A Letter to Momo - 4/5
A lovely little film. Very Miyazaki-esque.

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Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Japan, 2013) [Cinema] – 3/5
Sion Sono’s welcome return to blazing pop cinema is a mixed bag. The film that plays as a tribute cinema gets off to a good start with romance, violence, and heart pounding soundtrack. Unfortunately the film loses its pace towards the halfway; and the climax is a horrifying CGI disaster of a bloodbath that is a disgrace to traditional action cinema! Even then, most of the film is solid entertainment with wonderful performances by Fumi Nikaido and Tak Sakaguchi as a Japanese Bruce Lee wanna-be!

(here's the wonderful toothpaste commercial from the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viU4P_XG_eA )

Garden of Words (Japan, 2013) [DVD] – 4.5/5
High school boy and a 27 year old woman skipping work meet in a park on rainy days in a breathtakingly beautiful 45 minute film by the world’s best anime director, Makoto Shinkai. Wonderful story and characters, with typically gorgeous Shinkai visuals, and unfortunately an industry standard mediocre J-pop theme song. Product placement (Kirin beer, Ghana and Meiji chocolate) comes out a bit amusing in animated context, but is probably just a part of Shinkai’s realism: the locations are also real and depicted with accuracy.

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Land of Hope (Japan, 2012) [DVD] – 2/5
Sion Sono’s second 3/11 film is a TV-level nuclear disaster drama. Sono uses a fictional Nakashima prefecture to re-create the Fukushima disaster. Strong criticism on the government aside, the film is a restrained family drama, playing much like a sentimental TV film. Sono’s usual bite is nowhere to be found. Isao Natsuyagi’s performance is the film’s strongest asset.

Asia-Pol Secret Service (Japan / Hong Kong, 1966) [35mm] – 3.5/5
A gloriously stupid but superbly stylish 007 rip full of sexy cars, cool agents and femme fatales. This Japanese version of the Nikkatsu – Shaw Brothers collaboration features no Wang Yu in it. The co-production was filmed in two versions, with Hideaki Nitta playing the lead role in the Japanese print and Wang Yu doing the exact same poses for the Shaw Brothers version, with the rest of the cast remaining the same. The film plays much like the hundreds of ultra-hip action Nikkatsu movies that preceded it, but the collaboration with Shaw Bros. allowed a larger, multi-national scale. Despite being very much a Nikkatsu action film, the Chinese print is superior thanks to Wang Yu’s wonderfully energetic and campy lead performance.

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