The Clan - Tale of the Frogs (Finland, 1984) [DVD] - 3/5
Finnish crime film about a family of crooks, refreshingly different American gangster films. The criminals here are neither geniuses nor epic failures, but rather walking everyday tragedies. Three generations of drunks and thieves, stealing anything from chicken to a few hundred bucks worth of cash, and spending most of their time in prison doing 1-5 year stints. The youngest one, however, is trying to lead honest life. Theatrical acting, typical to Finnish films of the era, undoes some of the realism, unfortunately. The storyline could also be more original. Beautiful locations and nature are well utilized, however.
+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 47 (part 1/2)
Sushi Girl (USA, 2012) [DVD] - 3/5
Five criminals get together several years after a failed diamond gig. Their aim is to find out who took the diamonds, the prime suspect being the new guy who got caught by the cops and was just released from prison. A needlessly nasty, Reservoir Dogs meets Torture Porn variation is nevertheless an effective crime film with an underlying (very) black comedy aspect. It's well enough written to keep you attention till the very end, although it may not eventually make as much sense as it should. There are several good performances as well, with Mark Hamill being a standout as a disgustingly sadistic and (intentionally) irritating psychopath. The title refers to the wonderful Japanese tradition of using a naked woman as a human sushi plate, with the men's meal placed on her body by chef Sonny Chiba, who instructs the lady prior to the clients' arrival “don’t move a muscle, whatever you see.” It's adds a rather interesting element to the film. Chiba himself only has a couple of minutes of screen time.