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What Asian Films Have You Been Watching Recently?

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  • What Asian Films Have You Been Watching Recently?

    There's a already a similar thread on the General Cinema side, but I think it would be nice to have a sister thread just for Asian stuff. Let's get started.

    Diamonds of the Andes (Japan/Brazil, 1968) [35mm] - 2.5/5
    Director Buichi Saito directed one of the best Lone Wolf and Cub films: Babycart in Peril (1973). His 1960's films can be quite different, as showcased by this Nikkatsu flick filmed in Brazil. Akira Kobayashi stars as a former criminal living a new life in South America, but haunted by old enemies. The film is visually stylish and features bits of solid action at the beginning and end, but the emphasis is on the storyline, which consist of not-so-inspired character drama and love triangle. Tetsuro Tamba co-stars as a Japanese detective.

    The Elder Sister (Anego) (Japan, 1969) [35mm] - 2/5
    Toshio Masuda once said that audiences went to Toei's yakuza films for the action, and to Nikkatsu's crime films for the stories. That springs to mind when watching Buichi Saito's Anego (Elder Sister), a feminine yakuza drama with very little action in it. Unfortunately it's not a very memorable story, nor is there anything special about the execution. Akira Kobayashi pops up a number of times to save the day, always just on time. Note: IMDb lists an English aka The Woman Gambler, but that's likely to be a mistake. There are no gamblers in the film.

    Also caught two films in the Yuzo Kayama retrospective in Jimbocho in Tokyo

    Contract Killer (Japan, 1968) [35mm] - 2.5/5
    Two professional killers battle in a highly stylized and very 1960's action drama. The film opens quite well and can get pretty trippy along the way, including a bizarre dance sequence set in a hotel room, but the ending doesn't live up to the expectations. Despite the two men being top sharp shooters, the film concludes with them running on a beach and shooting at each other from close distance. Yuzo Kayama stars, former Nikkatsu starlet Ruriko Asaoka plays his girlfriend.

    The Creature Called Man (Japan, 1970) [35mm] - 3.5/5
    Here's a Toho action film John Woo has probably seen more than once. It follows a policeman who is determined to stop a professional killer who has been hired to assassinate a political figure. The killer then, unexpectedly, falls in love with a lonely American woman. It all leads to a heroic bloodshed finale in which both men put half dozen bullet holes into each other. Add slow motion, freeze frame, jazz tunes on the soundtrack, mutual respect between two professionals, and a car that is (nearly?) identical to the one Tony Leung drive in Hard Boiled. The film starts a bit slow and does have its clumsy moments, but it keeps getting better and better. The last 20 minutes is superb. There's also a lot of English dialogue. Lead actor Jiro Tamiya either had some skills to begin with, or the common courtesy to learn to pronounce his lines. The same can't be said about many Japanese actors these days.

  • #2
    Well done Takuma...Finally managed to get your ass into gear and make the thread you have been promising!!!

    Haven't watched any Asian movies recently i shouldn't really be writing here....

    Will edit this later tonight when I PURPOSELY watch an Asian movie to write about here!!


    • #3
      It wasn't about getting a thread started... it was about getting some content done for it. You should know


      • #4
        Finally caught up The Raid 2. Pretty outstanding. Also watched Miike's Crows Zero. I liked what I saw but had a hard time staying awake.
        "My mouth is laughing but my mind is not." -Me, I said that.


        • #5
          Originally posted by slizwiz View Post
          Also watched Miike's Crows Zero. I liked what I saw but had a hard time staying awake.
          I hated Crows Zero when I first saw it. I though everything from editing to cinematography were wrong. I only liked the soundtrack.

          Then I saw Crows Zero 2, which was an improvement in every area. Better editing, better cinematography, better fights, really gay, still great soundtack except for that damn Meisa Kuroki... really liked it.

          I then decided to give Crows Zero 1 another try. Yep, it still sucked


          • #6
            Last weekend I watched Blind Beast (1969) for the first time, and I loved it except for the fact that the English subtitles on the version I was watching seemed to arrive about 2 minutes ahead of all the dialogue. Still, I thought it was a fascinating, macabre and thought-provoking picture.
            It's all in the reflexes.


            • #7
              Gozu (Takashi Miike, 2003) - Still my favorite Miike film. It always gets compared to Lynch and Cronenberg which I totally get but the style of surrealism on display is quintessentially Miike. Who else would think of a yakuza boss that can only get off with a ladle shoved up his ass? Another thing I'll always find neat about this film is Renji Ishibashi and Ken'ichi Endí´ appear together in it a year before Ishii's Flower and Snake which both are also in.

              Time (Kim Ki-duk, 2006) - My second favorite Kim flick right being The Isle. Leave it to Kim to look at the sunny side of humanity. Why do I have the feeling that this scenario is highly possible?


              • #8
                Moosic Lab 2014
                Moosic Lab is an indie cinema movement which brings together young filmmakers and rising bands / artists. I've seen a small number of quite interesting works at Yubari, such as Fuck Me to the Moon and Idol is Dead, so I went to a couple of screenings when the event was held in Tokyo. Big mistake! From now on I will leave it to Yubari to find the gems.

                Nobidorando (Japan, 2014) - 1/5
                Music documentary featuring mostly talking heads and Shinjuku footage filmed from a moving car. Cinematic merits are non-existent.

                Ankoman (Japan, 2014) - 1.5/5
                Low budget indie drama features surprisingly much sex, but is frustratingly amateurish. Dialogue is often difficult to hear and director Yutaro Nakamura tries to steal the show with an endless rant in his supporting role. The main characters are two female roommates, both pretty and going naked countless times. As a slice of life drama it starts alright, but becomes irritatingly loud with constant screaming and crying towards the end.

                Iruka sjoho da, watashi wa (Japan, 2014) - 1.5/5
                A girl with psychic powers battles an evil schoolgirl with similar powers. Over-stylized and flashy mini-budget Japan “cult” cinema resembling the works of Tetsuya Nakashima (Kamikaze Girls) but far more amateurish and with added CGI splatter. A pretty miserable film with amazingly cool animated opening and ending credits sequences.

                Koibun X (Japan, 2014) - 2.5/5
                The first film in this the 2014 Moosic Lab set that didn't suck. The storyline features a young man with no memory waking up in a park naked, then knocking out another man and stealing his clothes and identity, which starts a chain reaction of misunderstandings among young people who are dating each other and preparing for a rock concert. It's a bit too cleaver on its own right, and has the feel of a film school work, but it's actually rather enjoyable. Visually a bit bland (but not ugly), acting is not bad, music is kind of good, the girls are cute, and the film's got heart. I went in expecting the worst, but this kind of won me over little by little.


                • #9
                  3D Sex and Zen : Extreme Ecstasy (2011) 3/5

                  Finally got around to seeing this "re-imagining" of the great CAT3 movie SEX and ZEN.
                  Lots of nudity and "carry on " humour don't manage to save this rather drab affair that verges into violence and nastiness with a sudden twist in the second half...then some dodgy matte paintings and "comin at ya" style knives etc further drag you out of the movie...Nowhere near as good as the first one, it misses the mark by quite a large margin as the nudity and CGI penis do actually take the place of any real story and mood.....If you wanna watch SOFTCORE movies with japanese actresses there are loads out there...i was expecting more from a movie called SEX AND ZEN.....

                  I heard they are making a sequel though as it grossed loads of cash!!


                  • #10
                    well, at least in the theatrical 3D version you get boobs on your face, rather literally

                    I thought it was ok, although that certainly had something to do with the theatrical presentation. Can't imagine it being half as good at home, and it wasn't that good to begin with.

                    I heard tons of people from Mainland China came to HK to see it.

                    I didn't care much for the original Sex and Zen, but the first sequel was kinda good.


                    • #11
                      Yokai Monsters (Japan, 1968) [35mm] - 3/5
                      An entertaining family monster film. The Japanese title Yokai daisenso (The Great Yokai War) is the same as the 2005 Takashi Miike film which, however, isn't much of a remake. Considering the title, there is very little in terms of yokai war except for the last 10 minutes.

                      Young Beast: Secret Pleasures (Japan, 1980) [35mm] - 1/5
                      A lousy attempt at arthouse Roman Porno by Kazunori Takeda. The true story follows a student who is bothered by his parents who keep fucking while he's trying to study for entrance exams. He eventually goes crazy. Misery drama with unattractive people done without much skill. The erotic value is below zero as well.

                      Tokyo Tribe (Japan, 2014) [DCP] - 4/5
                      Against all expectations, Sion Sono's battle rap musical is a pretty damn badass film for most of the time. The film is set in the dystopian Tokyo which is ruled by violent rapper gangs. The production design is breathtaking, the film is packed with stunning tracking shots and there's pretty good HK and Thai influenced martial. Sono also doesn't forget about ridiculously masculine mayhem and frequent female nudity. Unfortunately the film also comes with too many characters and too little story, which burden the film towards the end, and miserable CGI one must wonder why on earth does Sono keep putting it in his movies? Even then, the film is a blast!

                      Shady (Japan, 2012) [DCP] - 3/5
                      Highly praised debut feature by Ryohei Watanabe doesn't quite live up to the hype. The film begins as a tale of two high school girls' friendship, and then proceeds to become a psychological study that isn't quite that original, however. There are good moments throughout, and the post-credits sequence is brilliant, but the film is also slightly artificial and clumsy at times. However, for a 25 year old director's first feature film it's certainly a promising start.

                      I'm amazed I finally managed to catch this in theatre. It was playing in Tokyo 1.5 years ago, but it finished a few days before I arrived the city during my travel. The next time I was in Tokyo it was set to play a few days after I left. There was even one screening this summer when I was in Tokyo again, but The Street Fighter (1974) was playing at the same time, so, no. Now it finally had two screenings in Sapporo, and during the first I was in Tokyo of all places. Managed to catch it in the second screening.


                      • #12
                        Silk Hat Boss (Japan, 1970) [DVD] - 2.5/5
                        A very mediocre Tomisaburo Wakayama vehicle following Toei's milk-to-death production policy. Wakayama stars as Silk Hat Boss, the comic relief from the Red Peony Gambler (1968-1972) series. This spin off is a yakuza comedy with strong nationalistic flavor and occasional action scenes thrown in. Its merits rely mostly on familiar cast - including Junko Fuji in a supporting role - and strong action finale. Wakayama also sings the theme song. That alone should be something.

                        Silk Hat Boss 2 (Japan, 1970) [DVD] - 3/5
                        A superior sequel that resembles the naughty entertainment director Norifumi Suzuki is best known for. While still following the old school ninkyo yakuza film formula, the sequel adds a hatful of mad slapstick comedy and random girls getting their breasts out every 20 minutes. The film is hardly a great example of old school yakuza cinema, but it does come with enough silly entertainment for 90 minutes. Action has been cranked up as well, Ms. Fuji does another quest appearance, and even the comedy scenes are occasionally funny.

                        Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (Japan, 2014) [DCP] - 2/5
                        The first Rurouni Kenshin movie was ok: it had surprisingly good action, pretty visuals and a nice pop-cinema feel to it despite being a shabby idol product. This sequel is an instantly forgettable teen opera. It's pretty idols everywhere, bloated uninspired action, bland Hollywood-style score, and a constant feeling that you've seen these scenes done so much better with real actors 40-50 years ago. The darker tone of the story makes many of these flaws only more distracting. 75-80% of the audience in the screening were women, probably came to see Takeru Sato. Makes sense.


                        • #13
                          Finally caught Teruo Ishii's SHAMELESS: ABNORMAL AND ABUSIVE LOVE on a German bootleg.


                          • #14
                            Caught a couple Miki Sugimoto flicks earlier. The first was the Toei 70s biker flick, HELL RIDERS IN KYOTO aka WILD SEX GANG with the screenplay penned by Norifumi Suzuki. It was ok and had its moments but I enjoyed the made for TV series, THE DARK MAGISTRATE much more. Miki plays a shamisen player who sidelines as an assassin bringing corrupt Nagasaki merchants to justice and it stars Kinnosuke Yorozuya in the lead but Kunie Tanaka steals the show IMHO. He is absolutely splendid as the hard drinking "doc" who dispatches his victims with surgical scalpels. It runs 26 eps and it's fairly predictable as the storyline for each ep doesn't vary much but for those that enjoyed BAIAN THE ASSASSIN, this will be right up your alley.


                            • #15
                              47lab, I was hoping you'd come back! The forum has been missing you.

                              Shameless is an odd, but entertaining film. I was doing DVD collection clean up last year, but I couldn't let go of this one. Very 60's...