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Japan Challenge (Official, May 2021)

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mjf314
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#81

Post by mjf314 »

You're missing the runtimes for me. I watched 4 episodes of Hero so far. Most of the episodes are about 47 minutes. Episode 1 is 59 and episode 11 (the last episode) is 66. If it's easier to just use the average runtime, then it's about 50 minutes per episode.
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#82

Post by sol »

TraverseTown wrote: May 2nd, 2021, 4:55 pm
sol wrote: May 2nd, 2021, 6:35 am Decided to watch this one after TraverseTown recommended it in the coming-of-age results thread. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I can see what Traverse likes about it (usually we see very eye-to-eye on films).

5. August in the Water (1995) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113834/

This has some striking shots of various swimming pools and deep blue water, but it is only in the second half of the film (post-accident) that I thought that the plot really got going. Even then, I wish the film made more out of the ambiguity over whether she is schizophrenic (as the doctors believe), enlightened (as she believes) or confused as a result of disturbing dreams. Whatever the case, her perception of the world, water and stones is all quite interesting.
Thanks for checking it out! The other film by Ishii I really love is Angel Dust (1994), a somewhat chilling crime thriller about a serial killer who kills undetected on the subway once everyday. Love the vibes.
No problem. I think I have more overlap with you than anybody else at least when it comes to the 500<400 exercise. Added Angel Dust to the bottom of my watch-list. I'll raise it higher up the watch-list if I respond well to the other two I already have slotted in.
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#83

Post by Onderhond »

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03. 3.0* - Lady Snowblood [Shurayukihime] by Toshiya Fujita (1973)

Infamous revenge flick, in part popularized by Tarantino's Kill Bill. And sure enough, Lady Snowblood's influences are clear enough. A lady in a colorful kimono and carrying a big, bold umbrella is on a mission for revenge. It's a simple enough concept, elevated by truly striking cinematography. Yuki is a fierce woman who trained long and hard to become a ruthless assassin. Her goal is to avenge her family, which was ravaged by a band of swindlers before she was even born. Once she is ready to enact her revenge, her first goal is to track down the swindlers. For that she requests the help of a friendly clan. Lady Snowblood is a film with two faces. The action scenes are lovely and the cinematography is awesome, with strong colors and nifty camera work. The plot structure on the other hand is disappointing (way too many flashbacks) and much time is wasted on inconsequential plot points. It's a shame, as at its best this film is really something. It's just not very consistent.

Is this even a country?
xx. 3.5* - Asia Strikes Back [Ajia no Gyakushu] by Gakuryu Ishii (1983)
01. 2.5* - Another Heaven [Anaza Hevun] by Jôji Iida (2000)
02. 3.0* - His Motorbike, Her Island [Kare no Otobai, Kanojo no Shima] by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi (1986)
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#84

Post by St. Gloede »

3. Escher dori no akai posuto / Red Post at Escher Street (2020, Sion Sono)
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13245934/

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Large, hectic, silly, over-the-top, all over the place Red Post at Escher Street is a film about making a film that turns into a film about making a film. I may indeed have been a step there as the very first scene opens with "action". We instantly get the sense that we are in for yet another meta epic by Sono and as an enormous character gallery starts to be introduced it is hard not to think back to his greatest films.

The main question that on my mind while watching Red Post at Escher Street was whether it is a return to form or an exasperation of a style as Sono starts to run out of passion and ideas, and honestly, I have a lingering feeling that the truth is somewhere in between.

There is a clear point of inspiration, even real poignancy here, which while cookie-cutter in its be the protagonist of your own story messaging riffs delightfully with cinema conventions as the people you don't see or focus on: the extras and those who don't make it through their auditions take the forefront.

There's plenty of fun moments, especially in the final climax, with some fun camera play - at the same time it really feels poorly thought out in many ways - including a half-assed ghost angle, and the silliness often feeling like a shadow of what we have seen before. It would be wrong to say the energy Iis missing in such a high tempo work, but it is hard not to make the connection that the burnt-out director trying to get back to his roots is Sono himself. The sense that he is indeed a little burnt out and putting on his "best show" is looming - and while everything we see has the classic Sono touches it just feels a little slimmer and missing the punch, atmosphere and utter delight of his key work. There is a sense that this is slightly more manufactured: but it is still Sono doing what he does best and while a little more tired, it is still a delight. 7/10.


4. Denki kurage / Play It Cool (1970, Yasuzô Masumura)
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065626/

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The extreme jump in quality in Masumura's work as the 70s hit is a true tragedy, and Play It Cool, despite being at the brink of the decade, has the same feeling of cheapness. He had, of course, already toyed with exploitation, including his visually stunning, almost surrealistic Blind Beast (1969), but what he would turn in this decade could almost have been put together by any talented schlock-maker. The best I can say is that he has managed to compose the film fairly well - though by no means stunning or beautiful (unlike almost every film he made in the 60s). "Tragedy" is the only word for it.

Like so many Japanese films of the era, rape seems downplayed and in part made attractive for men in the audience - though, as a slight improvement the film feels more misandrist and misogynist - as most men are shown as abusive scum - and in some ways, our lead's early statement that she "hates men" is shown to be a fairly good inference on male behaviour. We follow a young girl, left on her own after her mother goes to jail, and ends up as a bar hostess - expected to be a prostitute. There is a sense of dark comedy, and attempts at empowerment - hence perhaps also the title - but almost everything that goes right for the lead is not really on her initiative. It is better, and certainly not as cheap and exploitative as many contemporaries, but coming from Masumura - and taken with other cheap 70s efforts, like Play, Music and Hanzo the Razor: The Snare shows how far the master had fallen. 5/10.
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#85

Post by sol »

Melvelet wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 7:55 am - Please think about a movie for the bonus challenge if you are interested/generally willing to watch other people's recommendations (no pressure though)
Hmm. I wasn't going to, but with the quota reduced from 5 to 3 to earn an extra nomination, why not?

I think I'll do what I did on the DTC thread and only promote stuff that I've watched during the month. With that in mind, my first nomination is the best Unofficial check that I have seen so far this month: The Forest of Love by Sion Sono. It's 500<400 eligible, guys!
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#86

Post by Onderhond »

Missed the part where we can recommend a film!

Let's go for My Man [Watashi no Otoko] then. Dark, uncomfortable drama, bringing Tadanobu Asano and Fumi Nikaido together. Nice introduction into the oeuvre of Kazuyoshi Kumakiri.

I'll try to watch the recommends of others, but seems I've seen all eligible films already :P
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#87

Post by St. Gloede »

Missed that too. I'll recommend my go to film for absurd Japanese awesomeness with Okamoto's Aa bakudan / Oh, Bomb (1964)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0307937/

It is a surreal Yakuza musical action comedy.

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#88

Post by ororama »

1. The Sleeping Beast Within (1960) * 86 min.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053992/

*First time viewing.
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#89

Post by Onderhond »

St. Gloede wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 11:57 am Missed that too. I'll recommend my go to film for absurd Japanese awesomeness with Okamoto's Aa bakudan / Oh, Bomb (1964)
Perfect :thumbsup:
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#90

Post by monclivie »

4. My Sons (1991) - 8.3/10
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102488/

A little gem from Yôji Yamada with some of my favorite themes - Japanese countryside, family gatherings, budding romance, growing old alone. Also, one of the few films where instead of waiting for the end I was disappointed that it's not an hour longer. I really wanted more of these characters and their stories.
Since it has only 22 checks right now (with 0 dislikes), i'll make it my recommendation. It's not quite a masterpiece, but it pleasantly bridges the gap between Ozu and Koreeda if anyone's interested, and I believe it deserves a little more recognition.
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ネタバレ
1. Adrift in Tokyo (2007) - 8.4/10
2. My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday (2016) - 8.5/10
3. Lady Snowblood (1973) 7.1/10
4. My Sons (1991) - 8.3/10
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#91

Post by Onderhond »

monclivie wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 12:36 pm Since it has only 22 checks right now (with 0 dislikes), i'll make it my recommendation. It's not quite a masterpiece, but it pleasantly bridges the gap between Ozu and Koreeda if anyone's interested, and I believe it deserves a little more recognition.
I need to watch more Yamada, so it's a welcome recommend. I tend to find his films just a little too cheesy (and usually a bit long too), but I'll give this one a go, as I have no idea where else to start in his more than expansive oeuvre :)
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#92

Post by flavo5000 »

Melvelet wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 7:55 am The leaderboard is up now. Some notes/questions:

- Wish to see other lists? I will try to add a table with general lists (TSPDT, DtC, 500<400, ...) soon - for those I also take list wishes
- Please think about a movie for the bonus challenge if you are interested/generally willing to watch other people's recommendations (no pressure though)
- which lists do we want to work on collectively? Kinema Junpo 200 and what else?

Also thanks for all the IMDb links, updating is much faster this way :)
I also forgot about the recommendations. I think I'll throw this oddball monstrosity out there:
Moeru butsuzô ningen a.k.a. Burning Buddha Man (2013)
Whether you love or hate this, you can't argue it's... uniqueness...
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#93

Post by monclivie »

Onderhond wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 12:38 pm
monclivie wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 12:36 pm Since it has only 22 checks right now (with 0 dislikes), i'll make it my recommendation. It's not quite a masterpiece, but it pleasantly bridges the gap between Ozu and Koreeda if anyone's interested, and I believe it deserves a little more recognition.
I need to watch more Yamada, so it's a welcome recommend. I tend to find his films just a little too cheesy (and usually a bit long too), but I'll give this one a go, as I have no idea where else to start in his more than expansive oeuvre :)
Can't guarantee anything, but I didn't notice any cheese in that, as opposed to the fair amount of cheddar in Lady Snowblood :P It's also divided into chapters and the plot is always moving forward, often changing the location too, so it didn't feel long at all.
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#94

Post by flavo5000 »

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4. Shôjo shôfu: Kemono michi a.k.a. Path of the Beast (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1980)
I find it a little perversely bizarre and somewhat amusing that there are multiple pinku films on the Kinema Junpo list. While this is pretty misogynistic and sleazy, it also offers a fairly interesting character study of a young woman who feels trapped in a cycle of promiscuity that she feels is inevitable. While it may not be one of the greatest Japanese films ever made, I think there's more to it than some give it credit for.

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5. Keiko desu kedo a.k.a. I Am Keiko (Sion Sono, 1997)
This fairly early Sono film is even at barely over an hour an intentional exercise in patience as a girl named Keiko keeps a visual diary of her banal existence. Despite a visually rich color palette and some ideas that pre-sage the Youtube era, this one drags. You'll be counting the seconds along with Keiko...

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6. Gojô reisenki a.k.a. Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle (Gakuryu Ishii, 2000)
Steeped in spirituality and folklore while remaining rooted in reality, Gojoe attempts to strike a tenuous balance that's hampered by weak effects in places and an arrhythmic pacing that just doesn't entirely work for me. Having said that, the movie still has its moments but Ishii has done much better.

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7. Aihyôka: Gun-kyu a.k.a. Gun-Kyu: War Pigeon (Yûichi Kanemaru, 2008)
Holy shit...This was one of the more unintentionally funny movies I've seen in a while. NOOO! NOT THE PIGEONS!!! Is there a less menacing bird than a pigeon? Maybe? but no one has made a horror movie where people have visions of pigeons ripping their eyes out. At multiple points in this movie, I found myself cackling out loud at how serious this movie took its supremely stupid premise. Recommended for some MST3K-style party watching maybe but certainly not as something that's actually even remotely creepy.

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8. Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryô no tsubo a.k.a. Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka, 1935)
After watching Humanity and Paper Balloons, I was impressed with Yamanaka's film talent and curious about what a samurai comedy would look like in his hands. Sazen Tange is a pretty rollicking fun movie that feels fresher than its 1935 release date would imply. While maybe much more of a comedy than it is a samurai film, it's definitely worth watching for fans of classic Japanese cinema.
Spoiler
1. Yurîka a.k.a. Eureka (Shinji Aoyama, 2000)
2. Ai to makoto a.k.a. For Love's Sake (Takashi Miike, 2012)
3. Ninjô kami fûsen a.k.a. Humanity and Paper Balloons (Sadao Yamanaka, 1937)
4. Shôjo shôfu: Kemono michi a.k.a. Path of the Beast (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1980)
5. Keiko desu kedo a.k.a. I Am Keiko (Sion Sono, 1997)
6. Gojô reisenki a.k.a. Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle (Gakuryu Ishii, 2000)
7. Aihyôka: Gun-kyu a.k.a. Gun-Kyu: War Pigeon (Yûichi Kanemaru, 2008)
8. Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryô no tsubo a.k.a. Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka, 1935)
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#95

Post by Traveller »

11. Pleasures of the Flesh (1965) - 7/10
12. Swing Girls (2004) - 6/10
13. The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan (1970) - 7/10
14. Silence Has No Wings (1966) - 8/10
15. No Longer Human (2019) - 8/10

Again two great movies today – both contenders for best one seen so far this year.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059159/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435434/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065503/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203987/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt10065976/
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May Challenge: Image
But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
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#96

Post by Onderhond »

Traveller wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 3:13 pm 15. No Longer Human (2019) - 8/10
More :poshclap:
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#97

Post by Melvelet »

I added some guide to Japanese movies on general list x to the OP
If someone is working on a different list and wants to have an intersection, just ask
Current recommendation: Mandala (1981)


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Current focus: Doubling the Canon nominees, Japan, South Korea

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#98

Post by Traveller »

Onderhond wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 3:17 pm
Traveller wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 3:13 pm 15. No Longer Human (2019) - 8/10
More :poshclap:
I just lined up Sakuran (2006), so I should be seeing that in the next few days. And if I can locate Diner (2019) this month, it'll be high on the watchlist as well. Thanks again for the recommendation – such a vibrant, colorful style to indulge in. On a side note, I read somewhere - maybe you mentioned it - that she is a photographer (of flowers), and I thought that especially showed in No Longer Human (2019). So far her movies have been (one of) the highlights and the most promising discoveries this year.
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May Challenge: Image
But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
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#99

Post by Onderhond »

Traveller wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 4:04 pm I just lined up Sakuran (2006), so I should be seeing that in the next few days. And if I can locate Diner (2019) this month, it'll be high on the watchlist as well. Thanks again for the recommendation – such a vibrant, colorful style to indulge in. On a side note, I read somewhere - maybe you mentioned it - that she is a photographer (of flowers), and I thought that especially showed in No Longer Human (2019). So far her movies have been (one of) the highlights and the most promising discoveries this year.
She got big as a pop(star) photographer before she got into movies. Her pictures are super vibrant too, so it's no surprise her films turned out that way too. Not sure about flowers specifically, but if I google her name + photography then a lot of pics seem to include flowers, so I'm sure it's an import motive in her work.

Have fun with Sakuran!
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#100

Post by Onderhond »

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04. 3.0* - Oh Bomb [Aa Bakudan] by Kihachi Okamoto (1964)

A high-energy comedy with strong musical and theatrical influences. It's very different from the other Okamoto films I've seen so far, it also made me realize I haven't seen too many overt classic Japanese comedies yet. Clearly I've been missing out, as this is way better than his more serious efforts. After serving time in jail, Ona (an oldskool Yakuza boss) is finally allowed to rejoin society. The world has changed while he was away, nobody cared to inform Ona though. When he returns to his former gang, he discovers it was turned into a company, with no more room for him there. The plot isn't too exciting, Okamoto's directorial interventions are. The way he plays with different styles and influences, alternates between different forms of comedy and keeps on reinventing his own film is simply wonderful. I didn't really care for the bland black and white cinematography, Yûnosuke Itô is a bit much and not everything works equally well, but Oh Bomb is definitely worth seeking out if you love a director who dares to take a risk.

Is this even a country?
xx. 3.5* - Asia Strikes Back [Ajia no Gyakushu] by Gakuryu Ishii (1983)
01. 2.5* - Another Heaven [Anaza Hevun] by Jôji Iida (2000)
02. 3.0* - His Motorbike, Her Island [Kare no Otobai, Kanojo no Shima] by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi (1986)
03. 3.0* - Lady Snowblood [Shurayukihime] by Toshiya Fujita (1973)
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#101

Post by pitchorneirda »

"Art is like a fire, it is born from the very thing it burns" - Jean-Luc Godard
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#102

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

3. Kibô no kuni [The Land of Hope] (2012, Sion Sono) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2283017: 6.5 - Sono tries his hand at more conventional drama in this drama inspired by the Fukushima disaster. So this is Sono at his most restraint, resulting in a delicate paced movie. Unfortunately this slower pace also means the movies drags in the last hour. With many scenes repeating character or plotpoints that already been made abundantly clear before, this could have easily be condensed from being 133 minutes long to under 2 hours. While it has some touching moment. The movie actually is at it best when it mixes the evolving drama with satirizing the Japanse behavior and mindset. Isao Natsuyagi and Naoko Otani who play a elderly couple stand out as the heart of the film.
The Taste of Blood on White Rice
1. Onna hissatsu ken [Sister Street Fighter] (1974, Kazuhiko Yamaguchi) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073714/: 8.0
2. Onna hissatsu ken: kiki ippatsu [Sister Street Fighter 2: Hanging By A Thread] (1974, Kazuhiko Yamaguchi) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0183704/: 7.5
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#103

Post by Onderhond »

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05. 1.0* - Singapore Sling by Koji Wakamatsu (1993)

Japanese directors rarely fare well when they venture outside their home turf, the 80s and 90s weren't really Wakamatsu's best eras either. Just to say that expectations were pretty low when I started Singapore Sling. I wasn't really prepared for a film this bad though, it is by far the worst thing I've seen from Wakamatsu up until this point. Tatsuya is on a honeymoon in Australia. A couple of unfortunate encounters land him in jail, where he's imprisoned without a chance of ever getting out again. His wife tries her best to launch an appeal, but it's Tatsuya's inmates who are his best chance of escaping his current predicament. The performances are terrible, the soundtrack is absolutely atrocious, the films looks dirt cheap and the action is bland (though it's still the best part of the film). I'm not quite sure what drove Wakamatsu to make this, it's just a poor mix of crime, thriller and action elements that doesn't even make sense as cheap shelf filler.

Is this even a country?
xx. 3.5* - Asia Strikes Back [Ajia no Gyakushu] by Gakuryu Ishii (1983)
01. 2.5* - Another Heaven [Anaza Hevun] by Jôji Iida (2000)
02. 3.0* - His Motorbike, Her Island [Kare no Otobai, Kanojo no Shima] by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi (1986)
03. 3.0* - Lady Snowblood [Shurayukihime] by Toshiya Fujita (1973)
04. 3.0* - Oh Bomb [Aa Bakudan] by Kihachi Okamoto (1964)
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#104

Post by DudeLanez »

8. Ninjô kami fûsen (Humanity and Paper Balloons, 1937, Yamanaka) 7/10
9. Nijûshi no hitomi (Twenty-Four Eyes, 1954, Kinoshita) 8/10

I'd like to recommend Mittsu no ai (Three Loves, 1954) by Masaki Kobayashi with just 8 checks so far.
Japan Challenge
1. Sono yo no tsuma (That Night's Wife, 1930, Ozu) 7/10
2. Suzaki Paradaisu: Akashingô (Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District, 1956, Kawashima) 7/10
3. Ai no mukidashi (Love Exposure, 2008, Sono) 7/10
4. Shin Gojira (Shin Godzilla, 2016, Anno) 6/10
5. Akanishi Kakita (Capricious Young Man, 1936, Itami) 6/10
6. Karumen kokyô ni kaeru (Carmen Comes Home, 1951, Kinoshita) 7/10
7. Doro no kawa (Muddy River, 1981, Oguri) 8/10
8. Ninjô kami fûsen (Humanity and Paper Balloons, 1937, Yamanaka) 7/10
9. Nijûshi no hitomi (Twenty-Four Eyes, 1954, Kinoshita) 8/10

Recommendation: Mittsu no ai (Three Loves, 1954) by Masaki Kobayashi
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Blue Ribbon Award 24/64 * Mainichi Film Award 27/74 * Kinema Junpo Award 32/92
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#105

Post by 3eyes »

1. Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold / Zatôichi senryô-kubi(1964) [#6 in series]
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130377/

Been meaning to get back to Zatoichi for quite a while. I aim to watch a few more this month. The series is great fun for a lifelong swashbuckler fan.
:run: STILL the Gaffer!
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#106

Post by jdidaco »

Thank you for hosting, Melvelet!

Starting the challenge under the blessings and roaring auspices of Daimajin ('Daimajin ikaru') and a yokai/kappa ('Yôkai Daisensô'),

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1. Daimajin (Kimiyoshi Yasuda, 1966) 7.5/10
2. Daimajin ikaru (Return of Daimajin, Kenji Misumi, 1966) 8/10
3. Daimajin gyakushû (Wrath of Daimajin, Kazuo Mori, 1966) 7/10
4. Yôkai hyaku monogatari (100 Monsters, Kimiyoshi Yasuda, 1968) 7.5/10
5. Yôkai Daisensô (Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare, Yoshiyuki Kuroda, 1968) 8/10
6. Tôkaidô obake dôchû (Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts, Kimiyoshi Yasuda & Yoshiyuki Kuroda, 1969) 8/10
7. Onna jigoku uta: Shakuhachi benten (Women Hell Song, Mamoru Watanabe, 1970) 7.5/10
8. Aishu no circuit (Circuit of Sorrow, Tôru Murakawa, 1972) 7.5/10
9. Yomigaeru kinrô (The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf, Tôru Murakawa, 1979) 9/10
10. Ôkami: Running is Sex (Wolf, Banmei Takahashi, 1982) 8/10
11. Saraba aibô: Rock is Sex (So Long, My Partner, Ryûdô Uzaki, 1982) 7/10
12. The Harlem Valentine Day: Blood is Sex (Shigeru Izumiya, 1982) 8/10

Image

Links,

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062851/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062853/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062852/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200301/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0164402/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0202627/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2389704/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0286444/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080159/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8495134/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5672908/reference
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3309152/reference
mjf314
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#107

Post by mjf314 »

Spoiler
1. Hero (2001) episodes 1-2 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0288960/
2. Hero (2001) episodes 3-4 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0288960/
3. Hero (2001) episodes 5-6 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0288960/
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#108

Post by St. Gloede »

5. Teito monogatari / Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988, Akio Jissoji)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096240/

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Akio Jissoji supernatural epic is a massive surprise for the once prolific arthouse director with a striking, unique style, turned softcore sleazy director (the 70s were rough for most Japanese directors). Here we find him carrying what can best be described as a campy trip into madness which, without the occasional touches of actual strong cinema and cinematography (not consistent) could have come out of the Shaw Brothers over in Hong Kong. The special effects, especially the stop motion monsters, are strong and eerie for the time, though it feels thoroughly silly - and it is hard to see if is intentional or unintentional in parts. It is a bloated mess, with a string of characters we can't care about, and a only moderately effective bad spirit - but at its heights, it does work (to an extent). At worst though, it feels like trashy schlock (ala Shaw Brothers). You can see Jissoji exercising some familiar and cool visual ideas, and it is a shame that I could not like it more. However, while this worked largely failed for me, I can imagine there being a relative niche that might end up loving it - so if it sounds like something you might enjoy - give it a look. 4/10.

*If it was not from '88 I would have recommended it to Onderhond. ;)


6. Golgo 13 (1983, Osamu Dezaki)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086148/

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Episodic and compressed to the point that you get a long string of characters barely get their 1 scene set-up, Golgo 13 feels like a compilation of a cheap, mediocre TV show. The main selling points seem to be sex scenes, complete with sleazy rape scenes. The large action scenes are likely the best part of the film, and where it feels the most adequate - but frankly, this is just a sloppy film that feels much, much longer than it is. 3/10.
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#109

Post by Onderhond »

St. Gloede wrote: May 4th, 2021, 8:06 am *If it was not from '88 I would have recommended it to Onderhond. ;)
A pretty great genre film that made me think of Carpenter's dark fantasy work. Jissoji is clearly the better director though, with strong camera work, great lighting and some solid special effects he delivers a film that is not only good fun, but also looks surprisingly beautiful, even to this day. Quite the discovery this, I'll have to look into Jissoji some more.

I liked it better than his Buddhist trilogy :P
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#110

Post by St. Gloede »

Onderhond wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 8:26 pm Image

04. 3.0* - Oh Bomb [Aa Bakudan] by Kihachi Okamoto (1964)

A high-energy comedy with strong musical and theatrical influences. It's very different from the other Okamoto films I've seen so far, it also made me realize I haven't seen too many overt classic Japanese comedies yet. Clearly I've been missing out, as this is way better than his more serious efforts. After serving time in jail, Ona (an oldskool Yakuza boss) is finally allowed to rejoin society. The world has changed while he was away, nobody cared to inform Ona though. When he returns to his former gang, he discovers it was turned into a company, with no more room for him there. The plot isn't too exciting, Okamoto's directorial interventions are. The way he plays with different styles and influences, alternates between different forms of comedy and keeps on reinventing his own film is simply wonderful. I didn't really care for the bland black and white cinematography, Yûnosuke Itô is a bit much and not everything works equally well, but Oh Bomb is definitely worth seeking out if you love a director who dares to take a risk.

Is this even a country?
xx. 3.5* - Asia Strikes Back [Ajia no Gyakushu] by Gakuryu Ishii (1983)
01. 2.5* - Another Heaven [Anaza Hevun] by Jôji Iida (2000)
02. 3.0* - His Motorbike, Her Island [Kare no Otobai, Kanojo no Shima] by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi (1986)
03. 3.0* - Lady Snowblood [Shurayukihime] by Toshiya Fujita (1973)
:cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

When you like a film made before 1980/1990 it is extremely high praise, and hopefully, something that will make everyone seek it out.

I'm not surprised you didn't like the B/W cinematography (IU suppose) but that is (IMO) one of its great strengths (and one of the reasons why 60s Japan is so strong in general - though Okamoto's films, along with some others, tend to be elevated further). The shots are just stunning, intricate and filled with visual tension. I'm sure how they managed to train so many cinematographers to create visions this exciting (and of course the tragedy is that the medium would be cheapened down in most films over the next decades - thank you colour film ...). But that's just a personal note.

I'm not surprised you liked Aa bakudan as much as you did (beyond the age, b/w, etc.) as Okamoto as it is such a hectic film, mixing so many styles and just not resting in the way so many other works do - it is always throwing something new at you. This also ties in with its stylistic cues and the battle between old and new Japan, i.e. traditional Japanese music and theatre for the old guard and pop music, jazz, etc. for the younger generation - and when a film goes into "karaoke mode" you know you are watching something that is really going for it.

None of Okamoto's other films are as crazy, except The Human Bullet - which is further in the surreal direction. My favourite of his, The Elegant Life of Mr Everyman, is more narrative driven, but also mixes styles, including animation - and could be called a more darkly comedic live-action Yamadas.

I think his "action" films are the ones that may speak to you the most though. His action-comedy Epoch of Murder Madness is also absolutely insane and high tempo (a bit too silly in places though) and should be right up your alley. You may also like Desperado Outpost (and if so, seek out his other dark comedy action war films).

Okamoto is one of the most eclectic directors of all time (IMO) doing more surreal efforts, alongside Samurai films matching up to Kurosawa, action comedies, bleak dramas, etc. side by side and back to back. The bleaker, "serious" or traditional efforts may not speak to you as much, but the action comedies should definitely be tested.
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St. Gloede
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#111

Post by St. Gloede »

Onderhond wrote: May 4th, 2021, 8:15 am
St. Gloede wrote: May 4th, 2021, 8:06 am *If it was not from '88 I would have recommended it to Onderhond. ;)
A pretty great genre film that made me think of Carpenter's dark fantasy work. Jissoji is clearly the better director though, with strong camera work, great lighting and some solid special effects he delivers a film that is not only good fun, but also looks surprisingly beautiful, even to this day. Quite the discovery this, I'll have to look into Jissoji some more.

I liked it better than his Buddhist trilogy :P
Haha, I can imagine. (and good call on my part then :D )
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#112

Post by Mario Gaborović »

05. Maboroshi no hikari (1995)

Spoiler
01. Gyakuryû (1924) + Last Order: Final Fantasy VII (2005) + Kingyo (2009) + AKB48: Ambulance (2014)
02. Gojira (1954)
03. Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi (1945)
04. Izo (2004)
imdb links:
Spoiler
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#113

Post by Onderhond »

St. Gloede wrote: May 4th, 2021, 8:25 am The bleaker, "serious" or traditional efforts may not speak to you as much, but the action comedies should definitely be tested.
I'd only seen Kill! and Sword of Doom before, which really didn't do much for me. But I'll be sure to check out more of his work now (though I'll probably be sampling with greater care rather than just go through his oeuvre at random).

As for the b&w photography, I prefer the high-contrast variants over the more dullish grey/grey ones. It's not that I don't like b&w in general, it's just that like with color photography, I prefer films that go for a bolder visual approach. I really liked the style in Funeral Parade of Roses, or the many 60s Wakamatsu's I've seen. For a film that is as "colorful" as Oh Bomb , the greyish b&w look didn't do much for me.

But a nice recommend altogether. Other recommends for overt/high energy classic comedies are always welcome. :cheers:
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#114

Post by hurluberlu »

2. Homunculus (Takashi Shimizu, 2021) 6 :imdb:
Last edited by hurluberlu on May 5th, 2021, 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#JeSuisCharlie Liberté, Liberté chérie !

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#115

Post by sol »

Okay, I decided to finally see this since I have been using its catchy title as a tagline for the entire challenge. :pinch:
Big Man Japan
1. One Cut of the Dead (2017)
2. Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)
3. Tetsuo - The Bullet Man (2009)
4. A Colt is My Passport (1967)
5. August in the Water (1995)
6. The Forest of Love (2019)
7. One Missed Call (2003)
8. Big Man Japan (2007) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0997147/

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The transformation and giant monster fight scenes are great, full of absurd creatures, like a round body with a phallic eye that it throws out at everyone (see above) to a strangulation monster that crushes buildings as it tries to hug them. The fight scenes are generally few and far between though and the filler (interview questions) soon tires. With a really out-there, baby-kicking ending, this works overall but is a bit dull when there's no monsters on screen.
Former IMDb message boards user // iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | My top 750 films // Long live the new flesh!
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#116

Post by Onderhond »

sol wrote: May 4th, 2021, 1:42 pm this works overall but is a bit dull when there's no monsters on screen.
The comedy is a bit too dry and meta I guess (I absolutely loved it though), if you want more of the zaniness I suggest you watch Symbol (if you haven't already).
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#117

Post by flavo5000 »

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9. Hentai kazoku: Aniki no yomesan a.k.a. Abnormal Family (Masayuki Suo, 1984) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085671/
Long before making the critically well-received Shall We Dance?, Masayuki Suo made this pink film as his debut. I haven't actually seen Shall We Dance so I can't compare the two, but I know this is intended as a kind of parody of Tokyo Story which I can actually see elements of. Suo apes Ozu's style at times, with actors addressing the camera directly and shooting statically at somewhat low angles to give a feeling of space. As far as pink movies go, the character building in it actually isn't bad and the raunchiness is fairly tame as far as these kinds of things go. You could certainly do MUCH worse as far as the pink genre goes.

Image
10. Burû firumu no onna a.k.a. Blue Film Woman (Kan Mukai, 1969) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1468704/
Since I already had the Third Window Pink Films Vol. 2 blu-ray out for the previous film, I decided to go ahead and watch the other film in the set it was paired with. Blue Film Woman is a VERY different kind of pink film from Abnormal Family. It's more abstract and mean-spirited with psychedelic camerawork and more deviant behaviors. The plot is also pretty threadbare, mostly used as a means of serving up its perversion.

Image
11. Kutabare akutô-domo - Tantei jimusho 23 a.k.a. Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards (Seijun Suzuki, 1963) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056989/
Suzuki's early '60s crime flicks are usually a reliable dose of fun and Go to Hell Bastards is one of the better ones. While it lacks some of the more surreal touches of films like Branded to Kill that have made Suzuki a name in arthouse circles, it's so exuberant, colorful and briskly paced that it doesn't matter. Oh and it also has a completely dope soundtrack. This is easily one of Suzuki's most watchable movies.

Image
12. Riyû a.k.a. The Reason (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 2004) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468846/
Riyû is a sprawling over 2.5 hour story of murder and family told from multiple different unreliable perspectives via a series of interviews with people involved and flashbacks. While it feels hard to get a hold on at times, especially early on, as the layers begin to weave around one another with both corroborating and contradicting narratives, a story begins to take shape that makes for a very compelling experience. Ôbayashi directs it with a confidence and clarity that shows how great a director he can be when remaining focused on the end goal. I'd rank this as one of his best frankly.
Spoiler
1. Yurîka a.k.a. Eureka (Shinji Aoyama, 2000)
2. Ai to makoto a.k.a. For Love's Sake (Takashi Miike, 2012)
3. Ninjô kami fûsen a.k.a. Humanity and Paper Balloons (Sadao Yamanaka, 1937)
4. Shôjo shôfu: Kemono michi a.k.a. Path of the Beast (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1980)
5. Keiko desu kedo a.k.a. I Am Keiko (Sion Sono, 1997)
6. Gojô reisenki a.k.a. Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle (Gakuryu Ishii, 2000)
7. Aihyôka: Gun-kyu a.k.a. Gun-Kyu: War Pigeon (Yûichi Kanemaru, 2008)
8. Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryô no tsubo a.k.a. Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka, 1935)
9. Hentai kazoku: Aniki no yomesan a.k.a. Abnormal Family (Masayuki Suo, 1984)
10. Burû firumu no onna a.k.a. Blue Film Woman (Kan Mukai, 1969)
11. Kutabare akutô-domo - Tantei jimusho 23 a.k.a. Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards (Seijun Suzuki, 1963)
12. Riyû a.k.a. The Motive (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 2004)
Last edited by flavo5000 on May 5th, 2021, 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#118

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

flavo5000 wrote: May 4th, 2021, 2:38 pm 9. Hentai kazoku: Aniki no yomesan a.k.a. Abnormal Family (Masayuki Suo, 1984)
Long before making the critically well-received Shall We Dance?, Masayuki Suo made this pink film as his debut. I haven't actually seen Shall We Dance so I can't compare the two, but I know this is intended as a kind of parody of Tokyo Story which I can actually see elements of. Suo apes Ozu's style at times, with actors addressing the camera directly and shooting statically at somewhat low angles to give a feeling of space. As far as pink movies go, the character building in it actually isn't bad and the raunchiness is fairly tame as far as these kinds of things go. You could certainly do MUCH worse as far as the pink genre goes.

10. Burû firumu no onna a.k.a. Blue Film Woman (Kan Mukai, 1969)
Since I already had the Third Window Pink Films Vol. 2 blu-ray out for the previous film, I decided to go ahead and watch the other film in the set it was paired with. Blue Film Woman is a VERY different kind of pink film from Abnormal Family. It's more abstract and mean-spirited with psychedelic camerawork and more deviant behaviors. The plot is also pretty threadbare, mostly used as a means of serving up its perversion.
These two are also on MUBI (well the Dutch one at least). Haven't seen them. But for if anyone wants to see them after reading your reviews. They were on my watchlist already.
11. Kutabare akutô-domo - Tantei jimusho 23 a.k.a. Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards (Seijun Suzuki, 1963)
Suzuki's early '60s crime flicks are usually a reliable dose of fun and Go to Hell Bastards is one of the better ones. While it lacks some of the more surreal touches of films like Branded to Kill that have made Suzuki a name in arthouse circles, it's so exuberant, colorful and briskly paced that it doesn't matter. Oh and it also has a completely dope soundtrack. This is easily one of Suzuki's most watchable movies.


Spoiler
1. Yurîka a.k.a. Eureka (Shinji Aoyama, 2000)
2. Ai to makoto a.k.a. For Love's Sake (Takashi Miike, 2012)
3. Ninjô kami fûsen a.k.a. Humanity and Paper Balloons (Sadao Yamanaka, 1937)
4. Shôjo shôfu: Kemono michi a.k.a. Path of the Beast (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1980)
5. Keiko desu kedo a.k.a. I Am Keiko (Sion Sono, 1997)
6. Gojô reisenki a.k.a. Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle (Gakuryu Ishii, 2000)
7. Aihyôka: Gun-kyu a.k.a. Gun-Kyu: War Pigeon (Yûichi Kanemaru, 2008)
8. Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryô no tsubo a.k.a. Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka, 1935)
9. Hentai kazoku: Aniki no yomesan a.k.a. Abnormal Family (Masayuki Suo, 1984)
10. Burû firumu no onna a.k.a. Blue Film Woman (Kan Mukai, 1969)
11. Kutabare akutô-domo - Tantei jimusho 23 a.k.a. Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards (Seijun Suzuki, 1963)
12. Riyû a.k.a. The Motive (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 2004)
Indeed a dope early 60's Suzuki yakuza movie
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#119

Post by Traveller »

16. Till We Meet Again (1950) - 8/10
17. Umbrella Flower (2000) - 8/10
18. Third Base (1978) - 7/10
19. Tony Takitani (2004) - 9/10
20. Tokyo Knight (1961) - 6/10

Oh Toni, what have you done to me, bringing back the distant past, those memories…
Yesterday’s great films were contenders, but this is the best film I’ve seen this year so far - first new favorite in almost a year. All around another great day of movies.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043093/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0261000/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078386/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420260/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055529/
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But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
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#120

Post by Onderhond »

Traveller wrote: May 4th, 2021, 3:09 pm 17. Umbrella Flower (2000) - 8/10
Awwww, I thought I'd found another recommendation, turns out I never saw the EN title of this one before. Really loved Kaza-hana back in the day, it's up for a rewatch in the coming months/year. I'll see if I can prioritize :)
Traveller wrote: May 4th, 2021, 3:09 pm 19. Tony Takitani (2004) - 9/10
Amazing film alright. :cheers:
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