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

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

Unread post by HungFist » 15 Aug 2019, 14:26

Inujini seshi mono (犬死にせしもの) (Japan, 1986) [VoD] - 1/5
Fisherman Hiroyuki Sanada and two pals go pirate in 1947 Japan. A rather miserable drama with awful quirky direction and performances, including a couple of Japanese Richard Nortons. Sanada is the only one who comes off at least half-tolerable. I gave up after 40 minutes and fast-forwarded the rest, which seemed to be even worse.

Lover’s Time (Koibitotachi no jikoku) (恋人たちの時刻) (Japan, 1987) [VoD] – 3.5/5
Kadokawa discoveries, part deux. Great opening scene with cute, disturbed girl (Michiko Kawai from Somai’s P.P. Rider) silently watching the sea. She sees a lonely surfer boy swallowed by the waves. The next moment two biker guys emerge and try to rape her. The surfer boy manages to drive the goons away, but gets knocked out in the process. The girl, who seems more irritated than shocked by the incident, comes out from hiding, still minus the clothes which she doesn't seem to mind. As the story continues, he develops an obsession to get her to go out with him. The girl (she lives with an old sculptor as his nude model) then asks him to track down a missing person.

There's an odd quality to the film from the very beginning that I kept wondering about till Japan-best screenwriter Haruhiko Arai's (Rape Ceremony, Distant Thunder, Vibrator) name popped up in the OP credits, followed by Shinichiro Sawai's directorial credit. Sawai did Tragedy of W with Hiroko Yakushimaru, and this movie has the same kind of grip and relative grit. Not Arai at his most steady handed, yet endlessly interesting with plenty of unusual character details and melancholy, often captured by Sawai with ultra-long takes against gray Hokkaido fall backdrop. And the score is a by a certain Joe Hisaishi, who plagiarized his own work for A Scene at the Sea. Almost like a film from an alternative universe where idols do nudity and have traded bubblegum pop for dark psychological movies.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 21 Aug 2019, 18:00

New Battles without Honor and Humanity (新仁義なき戦い) (Japan, 1974) [BD] - 3.5/5
The somewhat over-rated Battles w/o Honor and Humanity series has never been most exciting Fukasaku in my books, and the New series even less so. But this first one, while a rehash of the original films, features very enjoyable performances by all supporting actors (Watase, Matsukata, Ike, Tanaka et. al) and some magnificent character play between Sugawara and Wakayama. Even the humour works better than in most Fukasaku films.

The Miracle of Joe Petrel (海燕ジョーの奇跡) (Japan, 1984) [VoD] – 3.5/5
Toshiya Fujita's gangster film loosely based on the 4th Okinawa Yakuza Conflict (also the base for Okinawa Yakuza War, 1976) where a Kyokuryu-kai president was shot dead by a hitman. The film starts out a bit dull, but gains momentum when the titular killer flees to Manila (fully fiction from here on) where he hooks up with Japanese small time gangster (Yoshio Harada) who deals anything from women to VCRs. Fujita uses the foreign location expertly, capturing the corruption, dirt, sleaze and beautiful nature, while steering away from the travel show / tourist filmmaker approach that plagues many similar Japanese productions. Leading man Saburo Tokito could be more charismatic and there are a couple of misfire clichés in the action, but overall the film is impressive.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 25 Aug 2019, 14:47

Time and Tide (時代屋の女房) (Japan, 1983) [VoD] – 2/5
Nice guy antique store owner Tsunehiko Watase meets idiosyncratic girl Masako Natsume, then later another odd girl (also Natsume). A rather dull and very Shochiku-like drama co-scripted by Haruhiko Arai, whose usually identifiable touch is barely visible here, save for the normal guy / strange girl premise. Watase is very good (he's hugely under-rated, with solid performances one after another in both action pictures and dramas), the score is alright and there's some good use of cat-cam, but the film lacks bite.

Love for an Idiot (痴人の愛) (Japan, 1967) [VoD] – 3/5
A couple goes domestic World War III in Masumura's exceedingly 60s gender satire. A pre-otaku era salaryman (excellent Shoichi Ozawa) gets a young wildcat (Michiyo Yasuda) as his pet, a role she goes along with for a while till she gets bored with the old geezer trying to fit her into his idea of what a woman should be like. There are some crazy outfits and amazing still photos, wickedly funny observations about desperate men, and fine performances too, but the lack plot can make all the rage a bit numbing at times. Michiyo Yasuda, who is better known as Daiei’s late 60s action Duracell Bunny (Lady Sazen and the Drenched Swallow Sword, Bamboo Leaf Omon) does a surprisingly daring role, however, there is doubt whether it’s really her or a body double in the numerous nude photos. Oh, and the English title is a bit different from the Japanese “An Idiot’s Love”, the idiot being the salaryman. Based on a 1924 novel by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki - bit ironic considering how unmistakably 60s Masumura's film is. There had been at least 2 earlier film adaptations as well, in 1949 and 1960.

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

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 26 Aug 2019, 11:16

The Shaolin Avengers (1976)

Entertaining semi-remake of Men from the Monastery, with an unhealthy fixation on Fu Sheng's bum!

7/10
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 02 Sep 2019, 16:35

A Man's Showdown (男の勝負) (Japan, 1966) [TV] - 1.5/5
Hideo Murata was a pretty big ninkyo star in the 60s despite lacking anything resembling charisma. His enka singing career ensured his popularity. This is a co-starring vehicle for Murata and Shigeru Amachi, an actor who did better when portraying suffering, morally compromised tough guys (e.g. Yellow Line, The Tale of Zatoichi). They make a rather dull heroic duo against crooked Bin Amatsu. Young Sadao Nakajima directed this under Masahiro Makino’s supervision. The film feels more Makino than the Nakajima. Not so much a terrible film as just a boring one. The only energetic scenes are in the mid third: a duel between Murata and Amachi, and a stylishly executed sakazuki scene.

The X from Outer Space (宇宙大怪獣ギララ) (Japan, 1967) [VoD] - 3/5
A pleasant surprise for a non kaiju fan. The opening half is dull as they tend to be, but then you get Guilala, the Nicolas Cage of giant space monsters! From there on it’s non-stop destruction with a wonderfully monotonic score, an exciting car vs. giant monster chase, and the infinitely charismatic antenna-headed space-bird on drugs, Guilala.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 04 Sep 2019, 17:35

Mosquito on the 10th Floor (十階のモスキート) (Japan, 1983) [35mm] – 2/5
Yoichi Sai's debut, a depressing life-is-shit picture with Yuya Uchida as a cop in debt (to the bank, not the yakuza, unfortunately). He proceeds to do... very little. I first saw this on DVD and found it largely a bore; a 35mm screening a decade later did not change my mind. Flat filmmaking and a non-eventful story that Uchida's convincing performance can't save.

Failed Youth (青春の蹉跌) (Japan, 1974) [35mm] – 4.5/5
Tatsumi Kumashiro's legendary youth film. This was his first movie for Toho, a departure from Roman Porno. The politically conscious script by Kazuhiko Hasegawa (The Youth Killer, The Man Who Stole the Sun) follows indecisive university student Ken'ichi Hagiwara and hopelessly in love younger girlfriend Kaori Momoi in the midst of young confusion, violent student radicalism and an era where modern and traditional clashed. It's a slow-burner, but excellently acted by Hagiwara and Momoi (also look out for Meika Seri as a street beggar) and filmed with loads of meaningful long takes, including an amazing love scene in the snowy mountains near the end. And the score is just beautiful! Kumashiro's masterpiece, no doubt! The film's obscurity shows just how little Toho cares for their own catalogue titles: chosen by the nation's best known film journal Kinema Junpo as the 21st best Japanese film ever made, Toho has not even bothered putting the film out on DVD (though it’s finally coming in December 2019).

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

Unread post by HungFist » 08 Sep 2019, 16:23

The War of the Sixteen Year Olds (十六歳の戦争) (Japan, 1973/1976) [35mm] – 4/5
Funeral Parade of Roses director Toshio Matsuda's bloody excellent youth film set in rural Japan. This has one of the best opening scenes I've seen since Kiyoshi Nishimura's Too Young to Die (1969), with a young man arriving a town, and falling in love with a 16 year old girl as they watch the police pull two dead bodies from a river, all against a great rock song (the film's soundtrack is absolutely stunning!). Pure cinema! The film then follows their relationship as WWII traumas begin to surface in the town and lead the film down a far darker - and ambiguous - path. There are some jarring cuts and imperfections that make the film no less fascinating, and an amusingly gratuitous topless scene for Akiyoshi who looked pretty stunning at 19. Filmed independently in 1973, but not released until 1976. This became instantly of one my favourite 70s youth films!

Gambler - Counterattack (博徒斬り込み隊) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] - 3.5/5
Part 10 in the Gambler series (not to be confused with the Gambling Den series) which begun as ninkyo films, but got hijacked into the jitsuroku territory by Kinji Fukasaku and Junya Sato. This one is an impressively cold depiction of lone wolf Koji Tsuruta (in a more cynical role than usual) becoming a gangster clan's consultant. Director Sato focuses on the underworld politics and power struggle that involves the yakuza and a cold blooded, calculating police commander Tetsuro Tamba who would love to the clans slaughter each other off. It's a talkative film with some superb, atmospheric scenes, but not as intense as some of Sato's later movies, or as comprehensive as in Organized Crime 2 (1967), Sato's best gangster film.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 10 Sep 2019, 16:08

Sting of Death (死の棘) (Japan, 1990) [VoD] – 2.5/5
An unfaithful family man and a ‘jealous to the point of mental illness’ wife face each other in a series of heated but unnaturally formal dialogues only interrupted by occasional surreal visions and scenes of almost horror film like dark atmosphere. Not an easy watch at 114 min, nor am I sure if this is good cinema, or just pretentious art. But it is, at least partly, oddly captivating and somewhat memorable, and that's something. 1990 Cannes Grand Prize of the Jury winner. Director Kohei Oguri releases films very sparsely: he has directed only six movies in 34 years, from 1981 to 2015.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 73 (2/2)

The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf (蘇る金狼) (Japan, 1979) [35mm] – 4/5
A toxic, overly contrived and positively astonishing anti-hero spectacle with badass Yusaku Matsuda an office worker at day and a villain climbing the underworld ladders at night. Haruhiko Oyabu’s source novel delivered 2½ films worth of gangster plotting and action crammed into 131 minutes, filmed by Toru Murakawa with his trademark one-shot action bravuras and mindboggling sexism. Matsuda is 6'0" of toxic masculinity, groping women, dealing drugs, blasting inferior men (“got kids? They’ll be happier without you!”) and going bananas over the sense of power after he has turned villainous corporate bosses into his slaves. And who could forget the strange ending. Sonny Chiba ventures into the film as nerdy, glass-wearing extortionist about an hour in and stays on board for 30 minutes – he’s one of the big names in the incredibly packed cast alongside Mikio Narita, Asao Koike, Koichi Iwaki, Toru Abe, Shin Kishida, Kenji Imai, Yutaka Nakajima, Kyosuke Machida and others. Frankly, a bit of an epic mess, but a tremendously entertaining one with style to spare. And the ultra-funky score is superb. Matsuda’s best action film.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 15 Sep 2019, 15:34

Play it, Boogie-Woogie (スローなブギにしとくれ) (Japan, 1981) [VoD] - 3/5
A slice of life picture with a bar / semi-drifter girl, an angry youngster with a bike, a divorced asshole, and a middle aged woman living with him. There's no plot, just one year of gritty life. And it works. Yoshio Harada (the asshole's friend), Hideo Murota (bar owner) and Kahori Takeda (teenage mom) have supporting roles, Kenji Sawada, Akira Takahashi and several others cameos. Toshiya Fujita directs.

Crazed Beast (狂った野獣) (Japan, 1976) [35mm] – 3.5/5
Sadao Nakajima's outrageous action farce that is essentially one 78 min action sequence. Punks Takuzo Kawatani and Ruyji Katagiri highjack a bus which, unbeknownst to them, is already carrying a bigger bad guy Tsunehiko Watase. This is an obvious production follow-up to Kinji Fukasaku's car chase film Violent Panic: The Big Crash (1976), with largely the same cast but more hysterical approach. The bus is loaded with quite some characters and the cops chasing the bus are the most self-destructive bunch I've ever seen. Watase, who had already starred in Violent Panic, got a bus driver’s license and proceeded to do his own stunts, including flipping the bus on its side (the other actors who remained inside the bus were the expendable Piranha Corps. Kawatani, Katagiri and Takashi Noguchi, the rest of the passengers were replaced with dolls) despite Nakajima trying to stop him! I hated this film upon my first viewing about 10 years ago when I expected a serious action drama à la Violent Panic, but found it quite amusing this time. The funniest scene: an old woman consoles children who are scared of Kawatani’s character: "don't worry, that uncle will be caught and get death penalty".

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

Unread post by HungFist » 18 Sep 2019, 17:15

Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (新座頭市・破れ!唐人剣) (Japan, 1971) [35mm] – 3/5
This is the only film in the series where Zatoichi farts! On someone's face, even! The reason I bring this up is that that fart in descriptive of the film: funny and functional, but rather unambitious, which is a shame for this being Zatoichi vs. the One-Armed Swordsman, Katsu vs. Wang Yu. Pitting the two giants against each other is only right, but doing it on the excuse of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings is just lazy writing. There was potential for more. Also, you’ve got to wonder how smoothly the filming went? Neither one of the two stars are known as the easiest people to work with, and this has them playing their most beloved characters in a Japan vs. China death match. Reportedly an alternative cut was released to HK audiences with additional and altered footage.

South to the Horizon (南へ走れ、海の道を!) (Japan, 1986) [VoD] – 3/5
Three Okinawa punks fuck with the yakuza and pay the price. Fast forward one month and shift gear to revenge film as combat vet older brother Koichi Iwaki comes out of the jungle for vengeance. The main target is yakuza boss Hideo Murota. Delightfully violent b-action film disguised as Shochiku studio production, by former porn director Seiji Izumi who splatters the walls with blood and can't even resist wielding some chainsaw. Plenty of bad writing, several gaijin supporting actors (mostly good, not bad guys) and music cues so bad they shouldn't suffice even for b-cinema. And it's all rather enjoyable; the kind of action cinema Japan wasn't producing anymore in the 80s. You just need to get past the deceivingly dull opening act. Director Izumi’s 80s mainstream work has been a discovery: he also did the renegade biker cop film On the Road (1982) and the gritty delinquent girl rock picture Majoran (1984), both minor cult classics.

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 23 Sep 2019, 18:04

Festival Dispatch Gaiden - Japanese Films

Toxic Insects (ドクムシ) (Japan, 2016) [DCP] – 2/5
Oh, look, it's another Japanese flick about some people playing a death game! How exciting! Some folks wake up in an abandoned and locked down school building, there's a timer counting down five days, a table with a cooking pot and a butcher knife but no food and the usual shit goes down. The only point of interest here is that the film was directed by Kayoko Asakura, a woman, which isn't exactly common for Japanese genre cinema. So it becomes kind of interesting how she'd film a rape scene, for example, but I'm kind of reaching here. Rina Takeda was in this too, interestingly enough, and the effects are alright.

The Boy From Hell (地獄小僧) (Japan, 2004) [Digibeta] – 4/5
The best cinematic translation of a Hideshi Hino manga to date and yes, I'm counting the two times he directed adaptations himself. It really leans into the manga-ness of things by, for example, slapping a huge prosthetic nose on a detective called Hanamizu (literally Detective Snot), who happens to be allergic to criminals, and many other aspects of the production. It's obviously very low budget but I admire the ambition and inventiveness of what director Mario Asato has pulled off here. The story is about a mother going to increasingly extreme measures to bring back her son after he dies in an accident and to cure him of his appetite for human guts afterwards. Unfortunately, this looked like absolute shit projected on the big screen. They asked for a print for screening and were sent a goddamn digibeta! I know this had a theatrical premiere in Japan as there's a stage greeting as an extra on the DVD but I don't know if that was screened from the same digibeta or not. It was really rough on the eyes and I was frankly relieved when it was over and we got to...

Ju-On: Black Ghost (呪怨: 黒い少女) (Japan, 2006) [DCP] – 1.5/5
Another Mari Asato film and part of a two-part release (the other being Ju-On: White Ghost) to commemorate 10 years of croaky hairghosts. I hated this when it originally came out and it wasn't any better this time. The plot is - I swear to God - about a vengeful cyst! It's absurd but not in any fun or entertaining way. Stylistically it's totally different from Boy From Hell, so that says something about Asato's versatility. She's successfully channeling the style established by Shimizu's films here. And yes, in case anyone is wondering, there's a "Female Terror" focus going on this year, which resulted in all sorts of exciting screening opportunities.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 23 Sep 2019, 18:19

Guro Taku wrote:
23 Sep 2019, 18:04
The only point of interest here is that the film was directed by Kayoko Asakura, a woman, which isn't exactly common for Japanese genre cinema. So it becomes kind of interesting how she'd film a rape scene, for example, but I'm kind of reaching here.
Those were my thoughts about Girls, Dance with the Dead (aka Idols and the Undead) (2015) when I saw it in Yubari. The next year when they had Toxic Insects I decided I don't need to see it.

btw, there seems to be some kind of hate campaign against Girls, Dance with the Dead with its 1.1 IMDb rating with over 400 votes. It's bad, yes, but not THAT bad. The rating was 1.1 with 99 votes already at the time of the Yubari screening (I wrote that in my review) when the film had only been seen at a few domestic festivals, and such a film shouldn't have an IMDb rating at all since Japanese people don't really use IMDb and far bigger films take much longer to get even 5 votes... I don't know what's going on with it.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 25 Sep 2019, 14:28

Downtown Heroes (ダウンタウンヒーローズ) (Japan, 1988) [VoD] - 1/5
Deadly Yoji Yamada boredom. Even Hiroko Yakushimaru can't save this as she is barely in it despite being the 1st billed. Yamada is more interested 1940s boy’s boarding school drama and nostalgia than her or, well, anything of interest. Had I had a rope, I would’ve probably hanged myself watching this.

Heaven Sent (Kamisama ga kureta akanbo) (神様のくれた赤ん坊) (Japan, 1979) [VoD] - 3/5
A surprisingly good road movie drama/comedy with careless Tsunehiko Watase finding out he's a dad to a small kid - maybe. The mother took off and left a list of 5 potential dads. Watase of course figures it must be one of the other 4. Companion Kaori Momoi isn't all too happy but stick along for a road trip to dump the kid to the real dad (the others can be blackmailed out of some money, they figure). One of the funniest segments features Watase catching one of the potential dads… in the middle of his wedding ceremony! Jidai geki & yakuza veteran Kanjuro Arashi (in his last role at 76 years old, he died the following year) is in the film too, in a bit that's bound to bring a smile to any genre film fan's face. Also, the child (child, not baby despite the erroneous Japanese title) is not irritating at all, in fact, he barely does anything but sit silently). Honest crowd pleasing entertainment, but also well made with good pace and script. Haruhiko Arai is credited as contributing writer, but the main credit should no doubt go to writer-director Yoichi Maeda.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 27 Sep 2019, 16:12

Best Guy (ベストガイ) (Japan, 1990) [VoD] - 1/5
A miserable Top Gun derivative from Toru Murakawa. The biggest problem is that while it's as superficial as Top Gun, it's not any wilder, imaginative or exploitative, it's just duller. The characters are cardboards, the Canadian band doing the music awful, and the film goes on forever at 114 min. The action, with some decent flying clumsily mixed with cast insert shots and background projections, seems half-watchable at first but even these scenes drag to no end. The title supposedly refers to a Japan Air Self-Defense Force rank, but it conveniently also works as a Karate Kid reference (known as “Best Kid” in Japan).

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 74(1/2)

Hokuriku Proxy War (北陸代理戦争) (Japan, 1977) [35mm] – 4/5
This would be one of Fukasaku’s best movies if it wasn’t for the inconsistent tone. The problem is Ko Nishimura and Hana Hajime overdoing their cowardly boss roles to a comedic effect, an example of Fukasaku’s trademark authority hate materializing as comic goofiness instead of nihilism. It’s a shame as the film is otherwise terrific with chaotic violence as shocking as ever, another mother fucker score by Toshiaki Tsushima, and most importantly the snowy Hokuriku locations as a truly freezing backdrop for the action. Hiroki Matsukata is great as a psychotic, opportunistic yakuza (based on real life Kawauchi-gumi leader Hiroshi Kawauchi) and Sonny Chiba appears briefly as an Osaka yakuza boss (based on gangster Jiro Yanagawa). Chiba has two or three scenes, though his mullet is the most memorable part of his appearance. Tsunehiko Watase was also cast, but replaced by Goro Ibuki after he suffered a car accident on the snowy roads during filming. The film was Fukasaku’s swansong for the jitsuroku genre (Sadao Nakajima put of a few more in ’78 and ’79). The same year also saw the final Toei entries in the karate and pinky violence genres. The end of an era.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 02 Oct 2019, 18:00

The Villainess (South-Korea, 2017) [DVD] - 2/5
Korean actioner opens with mechanical PoV action scene that forgets to tell us why this little girl of a protagonist is supposed to be able to beat more bad guys than Bruce Lee in his dreams. The film gets better as it goes on, with a cute love story + the unusual twist of the antiheroine having a baby girl to take care of. Unfortunately the action doesn't get any better, with more complex but nonsensical camerawork that lacks understanding of action cinema dynamics. Feels like a hyper-active video game at times, amateur martial arts movie at others. Some of the stunt work is impressive, however.

Cat Girl Gambling (賭場の牝猫) (Japan, 1965) [BD] - 3/5
Early female gambler film, surprisingly not by Toei or Daiei, but the hip Nikkatsu. Yumiko Nogawa is very good in the lead, extremely beautiful and determined yet somehow fragile in a way most Toei heroines were not. The fact that she does not fight in the film translates to character realism rather than conservatism. The gambling scenes are excellent as well, with the course of the game depicted in detail, which is vital for sustaining suspense and not always done right in yakuza films. There's even the fun game tactic laid out for all the wannabe cat girl gamblers out there: show some thigh and the players are less likely to notice you are cheating! And finally, the film is lower key and void of the pathos of many Toei films. A richer storyline and more focus on the modern milieu would not have hurt, however. As it stands, the film is good but not especially memorable.

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

Unread post by Guro Taku » 04 Oct 2019, 20:13

Festival Dispatch - Korean Excursion

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (곤지암) (Korea, 2018) [DCP] - 1.5/5
Found footage hijinks about some youtubers investigating a supposedly haunted (and abandoned) mental asylum for epic clicks. There was a lot of hysteric screeching which kept me mostly awake.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 05 Oct 2019, 16:10

Cat Girl Gambling: Naked Flesh Paid Into the Pot (賭場の牝猫 素肌の壷振り) (Japan, 1965) [BD] - 2/5
A direct follow-up with Nogawa now working in a bathhouse where gangster runaway Nitani (different role than last time) seeks shelter. Nogawa’s detective uncle is again investigating the case with young partner Tatsuya Fuji. Nogawa is her usual electrifying self, but the story is dull as dishwater with no gambling until the second half and only about 45 seconds of action in the entire film. Nikkatsu fans may get more out of it than I did.

Cat Girl Gambling: Game of Sharpened Fangs (賭場の牝猫 捨身の勝負) (Japan, 1965) [BD] – 2.5/5
The last in the trilogy, notably better than part 2. Nogawa gets acquainted with an honourable gang boss running a strip joint (!) (no nudity, however) who is being harassed by a crook boss. The enigmatic Nogawa dominates the screen, especially whenever someone tries to fuck with her - she's really fantastic, like Meiko Kaji but cuter and spicier. And she wears tattoos perhaps better than any other female star. She also gets to do a bit more action here, in addition to the great dice matches. But as usual, the storyline isn't especially dynamic and doesn't always even feel much like a gangster picture with the softer Nikkatsu drama touches.

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

Unread post by HungFist » 09 Oct 2019, 13:55

King Kong vs. Godzilla (キングコング対ゴジラ) (Japan, 1962) [VoD] – 3/5
Fun entry with an awesome monster pairing, a more watchable than usual media satire storyline, and perhaps the most awesomely ridiculous Godzilla discovery scene in the whole series. Osman Yusuf appears for a few seconds as well. Version reviewed: Japanese.

Sister Street Fighter: Fifth Level Fist (女必殺五段拳) (Japan, 1976) [BD] - 3/5
The least in the series, yet packed with small pleasures. Shihomi in a hippie costume, future ATG director Claude Gagnon as a US drug lord, and ATG talents Ken Wallace & Michi Love as half-blooded siblings in a ridiculously manipulative yet sympathetic sub-plot. Shigehiro Ozawa helms it as pg-rated affair, which is a stumbling point for many fans. The real problem: a conservative doubt whether girl power goes all the way after all, given in Watase's speech about a woman's place and later verified when he needs to save Shihomi, something unheard of earlier in the series.

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Guro Taku
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 13 Oct 2019, 14:04

Peanuts (ピイナッツ 落華星) (Japan, 1996) [DVD] – 2.5/5
A minor action/yakuza comedy from Takashi Miike's early V-Cinema days. Riki Takeuchi and Koyo Maeda are the leads. They help a suicidal fish vendor who's up to his neck in debt to a yakuza gang and things escalate from there. It's a decent timewaster and Miike shows some of his talent, especially during the climactic shootout. Worse films of his have gotten releases in the West but this is hardly essential stuff either.

Turn Over (濃蜜舌技 めくりあげる) (Japan, 1996) [VoD] – 3/5
A solid pink film from the extremely prolific (as actor and director) Yutaka Ikejima, here working from a script by his wife Kyoko Godai. A woman wants to throw herself off a bridge after her boyfriend of two years breaks things off with her. The guy who stops her from doing so is looking for his ex-girlfriend, who he is planning to kill. The woman makes off with his gun and from then on plans to kill her ex as well. Some surprisingly poignant observations on relationships and love, decent cinematography and a pretty interesting story for a 90ies pink flick elevate this above the rest.

Groper Train: School Uniform Hunter (痴漢電車 夢うつろ制服狩り) (Japan, 2007) [VoD] – 2.5/5
Asami stars in this Naoyuki Tomomatsu sex comedy, as a girl who gets groped on trains and runs into another girl who lets guys grope her before blackmailing them. Of course, Asami's character eventually discovers she likes getting groped and her boyfiend gets "raped" by a MILF in a love hotel ("Mommy had a lot of fun!"). My favorite scene was when Asami's character, just having fucked some greying old guy, busts his bubble of genuine love by telling him she's just exploring her sexuality. Tomomatsu uses horror film techniques (spooky lighting and wind blowing her hair) as she proclaims: "I am a naughty woman!" This was filmed 10 years before Tomomatsu started to use his films to preach about how train groping was essential in any functioning society and the 60 minute flick is breezy and fun, despite the usual overlong sex scenes.

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

Unread post by HungFist » Today, 14:32

Son of Godzilla (怪獣島の決戦 ゴジラの息子) (Japan, 1967) [VoD] – 2.5/5
Godzilla teaches toxic masculinity to his son. Intelligent kaiju film was 50 years ahead of its time.

High Noon for Gangsters (白昼の無頼漢) (Japan, 1961) [DVD] - 4/5
An excellent early Fukasaku picture, a racially and sexually charged heist thriller. Seven people gather in a mansion, four of them blackmailed by gangster Tamba who has compromising information on them. And the four are all foreigners (a black G.I., a racist white American and his wife, and a Korean). "$300 000 for me, $200 000 for the six of you, that's $50 000 a head" Tamba says, and remarks after being told his math is off "school math won’t cut in, at least two of you are gonna die, that’s $50 000 a head". There's terrific tension throughout and some witty dialogue in both Japanese and English (Tamba interpreting his Japanese lover for the American wife: "She said you're pretty charming for a pig"). The foreign cast is passable, and the white American actually speaks fluent Japanese while Tamba speaks understandable English. The heist itself is a bit rushed and there's an uninspired twist here and there, but only noticeable because the film is damn good overall!

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